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She's sung at Royal Albert Hall in England and the Tokyo Dome in Japan. A song she co-wrote with Yanni was performed at the Taj Mahal in India.

Now veteran Twin Cities vocalist Pamela McNeill will make her debut at the Dakota in Minneapolis on May 30.

It's a rare opportunity for McNeill to offer her original material in the Twin Cities. Usually, she's part of tribute shows to Fleetwood Mac (13 years and counting), Pink Floyd (performed by the Fabulous Armadillos) and a rock 'n' roll Christmas concert (21 performances per year). Pre-pandemic, those gigs added up to about 150 nights a year. Nowadays, she averages 60 to 70 annually.

After spending a busy week in Nashville performing, writing songs and doing a photo shoot, McNeill chatted about her upcoming EP and the "surreal" performance at Royal Albert Hall with Rick Astley. Here are excerpts.

Q: How often do you perform your original music?

A: Not as often as I'd like. I plan to do a lot more. It was not as easy to do because I was part of the Fabulous Armadillos for almost 20 years and we were so busy all the time. That's wonderful. I sort of had to take a step back a couple years ago to focus on my own solo career. I'd love to play original music four times a month.

A lot of my fans used to come out and see me at Bunkers and the Fine Line. I haven't played downtown [Minneapolis] in years. It'll be fun to be back downtown again.

Q: Tell me about your new EP coming out in late July.

A: "Wave After Wave" was recorded in Nashville. But it's got more of a rock feel this time. It's six songs. Two of them are reimagined from previous albums. "In My Next Life," when I originally did it, it was just piano, vocal and a bass. Very low-key. With this new band, they took it and just gave it this heavy, more rock edge. It's an angry song about someone who was not a good person to me years ago. I thought I'd put that away, but as soon as I heard the version it brought that all back. It's amazing, the power of music.

One of the songs called "The Ocean," I wrote in Clearwater Beach [Florida]. I saw people walking on the shore and giving their pain or whatever it is to the ocean. I feel like the ocean is really healing.

Q: Tell me about "Boys Lie," the single.

A: That was a song that came to me when I was in my apartment, I'd just gone through a divorce in 2018, I think. All of a sudden it dropped out of the sky [she sings]: "Why do boys lie/ why do they run." It's one of those ones that came really fast. It's about going back to someone you think you're done with and then they keep pulling you back in. It's sort of questioning yourself and thinking you've got this nailed and there it is again.

Q: How often do you go to Nashville?

A: I get there at least two or three times a year. Last year when I was making the new record, I was there probably five times doing different things. I just wrote with a woman named Jan Buckingham; she wrote "Cleopatra, Queen of Denial" for Pam Tillis. I love that city. It's got a great energy. And I've got a lot of friends there. It's always fun to go there and just soak it up.

Q: Tell me about your very first gig.

A: It was a rock band called Mroz, named after the guitar player's last name. They were all college guys and I was 16. My first gig was at Winona State University opening up for the Suburbs. My mom took me to the local mall [in Winona] and bought me a sparkly dress and we got onstage in this gymnasium. It was pretty amazing. I like to say it was all downhill after that. A lot of bars and stuff. It was all good.

Q: What bands have you played with over the years?

A: I was in a cover band based out of Hastings called Heartbreaker in the '80s. I was recruited for a short moment to sing backing vocals for Lamont Cranston when I was 20. Then I moved to England. I was a backing singer for Rick Astley for a while. I played with a band in Japan called TM Network. They were huge. When I came back to America in 1991, I was in Jonah & the Whales for a while and then I started the Pamela McNeill Band in 1999. We played the Cities for many, many years until I got diagnosed with sarcoidosis in 2004. I lost my ability to sing for about a year but I joined the Armadillos shortly after that.

Q: What was it like to perform at Royal Albert Hall?

A: This was 1988 or something. My first gig with Rick Astley was at Royal Albert Hall singing for the Smash Hits Poll Winners Party. It was my birthday. Singing live on TV. It was so surreal. What a beautiful place. It's probably my favorite place I've ever played just because it's so historic and grander than life.

Q: And the Tokyo Dome?

A: That is a huge place. With TM Network, they were the Duran Duran of Japan. They had places in London where I was living at the time. They rehearsed for two months and then we went to Japan. It was incredible. I had these gas permeable lenses because I'm blind without glasses. I lost one of them before the show. And right before we went onstage, the other one had to come out. I essentially did the show blind and I had to walk down this huge staircase and do all this choreography and it was broadcast live on TV. I made it. I was so nervous. It was definitely a crazy moment in my life.

Q: How did you come to write with Yanni?

A: I had known him because my ex-husband [Dugan McNeill] was in [the Twin Cities band] Chameleon with him. He'd come to the Target Center and he called us backstage. He said, "Someone gave me your demo tape and I love your writing and you have a beautiful singing voice. We should work together." I was flying out to L.A. I ended up writing his first song with lyrics, "Love Is All." It was on the "Tribute" [1997 concert] album [sung by Vann Johnson]. It was performed at the Taj Mahal and the Forbidden City in China. We ended up writing another three songs together.