Granada Introducing Manchester soul singer Mica Millar with echoes of musical greats

Video by ITV Granada Reports correspondent Elaine Willcox

Manchester Soul singer Mica Millar is preparing for the biggest gig of her life.

She is launching her debut album 'Heaven Knows' with her eight piece band in a headline show at Manchester's Albert Hall in September.

Her incredible vocals have already drawn comparisons with some of the soul greats Amy Winehouse and Adele, as her record is released with much critical acclaim.

Mica says, "I really loved that somebody commented on similarities to Adele and Amy Winehouse with that Manchester northern grit".

As well as working as an artist, she also lectures and self-financed the record, and has a US distributor. She directs and edits her beautifully filmed and choreographed music videos herself.

She says, "I have really taken a leap of faith with this record and invested everything I had in it".

Mica Millar has a mixed of soul, gospel, blues, jazz and Motown

'Heaven Knows' is a modern collection of soul songs, drawing inspiration from blues, gospel, jazz, and the 60s and 70's classic Motown girl groups.

Her influences include Stevie Wonder, Etta James and Prince.

Her singles 'Preacher Man' and its gospel vibes and 'Girl' written on international Women's Day is a song to empower women and she is seen on stage surrounded by women.

Mica Millar wrote 'Girl' on International Women's Day

The record has taken three years to produce, after Mica broke her back in a trampoline class in January 2020 and feared she could be paralysed.

She had mental pins inserted in her spine after crushing her vertebrae and spent six months in a back brace.

She had to learn to sing again, with her usual power during her painful rehabilitation.

But the traumatic accident opened up new opportunities to work remotely with some of the greats in the industry around the world.

Multi platinum producer Brian Malouf mixed the tracks on the record in Los Angeles. Malouf worked with Stevie Wonder and Michael Jackson on his 'Bad' album.

He said working with Mica was 'every engineer's dream' with outstanding songs and likening her approach to the legendary Quincy Jones.

She recorded the album at the famous Abbey Road studios in London, with Geoff Pesche mastering the tracks. He worked with Bowie, Ed Sheeran and Adele.

Mica says breaking her back opened up opportunities to work with the greats in the industry

In her performances Mica gives everything, emotionally connecting with the songs, something she learnt from one of her musical heroes Aretha Franklin.

Mica, who was born in the Withington area of Manchester says as a child 'she wasn't a good singer, but had a loud voice and could project.'

She said she learnt her art with practice and writing her own songs. She also shares her skills with students at the BIMM Institute in Manchester.

She was filmed performing her latest single 'Heaven Knows' in Manchester's Albert Hall and can't wait to take to the iconic stage again on 25 September, to officially launch her album.

"Certainly for somebody from Manchester performing at a lot of small venues across the city, this will be a really triumphant moment for me, so I'm really excited".

Find some of the other Granada Introducing artists here: