Pilley was born in Memphis, Tennessee where her family has lived for 5 generations. She began playing piano at age 5. They later moved to South Carolina where she began winning piano competitions at age 12, and had her debut with the Charleston Symphony Orchestra as a solo artist at 16. She graduated with a degree in piano performance from The EASTMAN SCHOOL OF MUSIC, with studies in jazz composition. While there she performed in master class with Jean Pierre Rempal, Itzah Perlman and Leon Fleisher. She attended the Aspen Music Festival and had private studies with Lee Luvisi. She was also accompanist for the Reina Sofia International Competition in Madrid Spain with world reknown flutist Kent Jordan & CBS recording artist as well as master flutist Sanae Nakayama Sony Classics/Japan.
She received a Master of Music in Studio Writing and Production from The University of Miami and studied privately with Ivan Davis, performing extensively and featured in his artist series on Beethoven & Schumann. It was also there that she won first prize in the prestigious Mozart Competition.
Pilley then moved to NYC and continued her private piano studies with Lillian Kallir. She immediately started working as a pianist in theater, touring nationally, but became unsatisfied with this direction and began hanging around the music building and scraping together work as a keyboardist for hire. She quickly gained recognition as a pop/rock musician and appeared in video and television programs on MTV, BET, PBS, HBO & the Lifetime Network. She was the featured keyboardist/talent for MTVs ace award winning show TURN IT UP!, and SPOTLIGHT CAFE with Denis Leary, for which she co-wrote both theme songs as well as composing her award winning classical string quartet composition "Snowpony" which was released on D'Note Records by the group "Cello" on their self-titled debut CD.
She began singing and playing her own music with her original band ilas Dress, who's debut CD IGNORANCE AND BAD MANNERS, was received with critical acclaim, charting on CMJ and landing her a recording contract with Allen Kovaks label, BEYOND (BMG), and a co-publishing contract with TRIO PUBLISHING (Nashville). Her music is currently featured in several soundtracks. She is an ASCAP award winning songwriter and featured artist in the organizations showcase series at the Sundance Film Festivel, where she has shared the stage with Jen Chapin and India Arie.
She was the associate music director for 7 years of the long running NYC hit TONY & TINAS WEDDING and is currently head of A&R for Mamapalooza Records for which she is also a featured artist. She is also VP/Owner of Mamapublooza Publishing and is a judge for the 6th year running in the Independent Music Awards.
EXTRA Stuff: Pilley is very proud of her father, world reknown scientist, John W. Pilley, Professor Emeritus & the owner/trainer of Chaser, the dog who scientifcially has the largest vocabulary of any animal in the world and most recently featured on 60 Minutes with Anderson Cooper. She was thrilled to be able to collaborate with her father on his 2014 New York Times best selling book about his adventures with Chaser. "Chaser, Unlocking the Genius of the Dog Who Knows 1000 Words" with Co-Author Hilary Hinzmann. www.chaserthebordercollie.com