Vonda Shepard: Vonda and her piano. That’s SOLO, the new album which features many of Vonda’s originals (“Lose My Way,” “Don’t Cry Ilene,” “The Sunset Marquis,” “Soothe Me,” “I Know Better”) as well as some favorite cover ballads (“Walk Away Renee” and “You Belong To Me”).
SOLO provides the perfect opportunity to get to know Vonda’s earthy and accessible style and her intimate interaction with her audience. During the coming year, most of Vonda’s shows will feature just her heart, voice and piano. This includes more openers with Sugarland, with whom she’s worked since 2010. The clarity of her voice and the grace of Vonda at her piano on SOLO shows the beauty and richness of Vonda’s music. Says RED at Redhotvelvet.co.uk: “It’d be hard to argue that the Californian is a bad performer. She’s incredible… Shepard gracefully pounds the grand piano and manages to ooze a presence which seeps into the spellbound audience… it’s thoroughly refreshing to see such inherent talent performed naturally with such sunny disposition… Delectable.”
With over 12 million album sales to her name, two Golden Globes, two Emmy Awards, two Screen Actor’s Guild Awards as well as the Billboard prize for selling the most television soundtrack records in history for the hit TV series Ally McBeal, Vonda is a world-renowned artist who continues to delight audiences with her magnanimous live performances. She dedicates songs, tells stories, and at the same time, projects dynamic charisma and intimacy with her audience.
Just as Vonda’s songs reflect an independent woman with profound and self-reflective insights on relationships, her approach to running her career in today’s ever-changing music scene is based on that same strength and sense of purpose. She is a consummate artist and businesswoman with her own label, Hotele´ Records. ”I love the idea of making and releasing my own records exactly the way I envision them, then going on the road, getting the music out there and having a blast doing it all. I have a tremendous amount of energy for music and life.”
Born in New York City, Vonda’s family moved to Los Angeles when she was a child, and by age 14 she was performing original material at small L.A. clubs. She played keyboards and sang with Rickie Lee Jones, Al Jarreau, and Jackson Browne, eventually opening for Browne in the U.S. and Asia. She has also performed with the Indigo Girls and The Funk Brosthers (a highlight of her life), and she has shared the stage at music festivals with Sting, The Eurythmics, Santana, and Matchbox 20.
“Can’t We Try,” her duet with Dan Hill, hit #6 in 1987. In that same year, Vonda secured her first solo deal with Reprise Records and two years later her eponymous album was released. The Top 10 AC Radio and VH1 hit single “Don’t Cry Ilene” brought her outstanding and unmistakably bluesy voice to a wide audience and caught the attention of the critics. In 1992, her follow-up album, The Radical Light was released.
Vonda has always taken a unique approach to her career, attracting everyone from established music artists to television producers to rally behind her. In 1995, no longer with Reprise, Vonda borrowed money (and Jackson Browne’s studio) to make her third recording, It’s Good, Eve, and released it independently. It was this album that caught David E. Kelley’s ear right at the moment he was searching for a voice for his new TV show Ally McBeal. Throughout the show’s five year run, Vonda performed on each episode and produced the show’s music, recording almost 500 songs featuring artists including Gladys Knight, Sting, Barry Manilow, Al Green, Chubby Checker and Jon Bon Jovi.
Most recently, in addition to opening for Sugarland’s summer 2010 and 2011 tours, Vonda has been performing at her own international and domestic concerts, plus numerous private and fund-raising events. Vonda has also been in the studio recording her next album.
Feisty Folk is the best description cooked up thus far to describe L.A.based singer- songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Sara Dee. Her incomparable and vintage vocal stylings are reminiscent of high-profile artists such as Amy Winehouse and Melody Gardot. In 2011, Dee produced and released her debut album, "In Joy," and in 2013, "Born Curious," with over 500 albums independently sold. Dee has since gained an international fan base and shared the stage with Golden Globe and Emmy winner Vonda Shepard and 3x Platinum Billboard Artist Anna Nalick. Her most recent album features fellow Los Angeles-based artists, including piano man Aaron Beaumont (of Mots Nouveaux, Milan Records), who LA Weekly calls "a new Elton John." Dee's melodies range "from beautiful and soft to severe and raw" - a 1920's speak-easy flare with flavors of an acoustic/gospel-based sound.
Dee has enjoyed radio play on KRUU FM with her two singles "We Can Be Love" and "Make Believe," (In Joy, 2011) also catching the attention of Dirty Hippie Radio who wrote, "beautiful, retaining a twang of the rawness she possesses... an almost eerie polka gives way to a piano- and organ-based jazz-blues beat. Straight from the go, Dee makes it clear she's got pipes. A voice strong enough to clean the rust off nails... Pretty meets gritty. Tribulation finds hope."
Cindy Alexander: I’m a Mom of twin girls and my life is a whirlwind of pretend-play, Yo Gabba Gabba, toddler germs and MUSIC. I spend a lot of time at Target. I have a cat that can talk (he says “hello” and “I love you”, seriously). I used to have my toe nails polished at all times but now they are on the back burner until Chip tells me I look “ghetto” and begs me to go to the salon. I love those days…at the salon, not being called “ghetto.” I crave guacamole, constantly (except when I was pregnant). I can turn any conversation into a song. I cry easily but I laugh even easier. I give everything away. I’m loyal to a fault. I’m moody. I clench my jaw when I sleep sometimes. I love my family. They love me too. My nickname is “pnut” (like peanut). I have the greatest friends on earth. I have very few socks that match. Somewhere there is a black hole with all my miscellaneous socks….and my guitar picks. I’m lucky and I’m blessed. I am passionate about cancer prevention, awareness and finding a cure. Add to that heart disease. I believe in Love. I Love. And I am Loved. And some people say that I’m a highly functioning dysfunctional, the most organized disorganized person you will ever meet but I manage to get stuff done…eventually. I agree with them.
Now here’s the stuff THEY want to know about me:
Born weighing only four and a half pounds but with the voice that could fill a stadium…her parents figured G-d had a plan, they just weren’t in on the joke. They sent their little “peanut” to the “crying doctor” when she was 5 only to be told she just “wanted attention.” By 20 she stopped crying but she had head aches. And one day, Cindy Alexander was so irritated and grumpy because the guy who lived in the apartment above her blasted his stereo so loud that it brought on her migraines – so finally she crawled out of bed, pounded on his door and asked him to turn it down. Instead of fighting, Cindy and Paul Trudeau became best of friends, wrote a bunch of songs and started a band.
After a couple of years, a lot of gigs, and a ton of emotional epiphanies, Cindy put out a cd which was a compilation of her demos: See Red. Most of the tracks were produced by David Darling (Boxing Ghandis/ Tom Waits/ Meredith Brooks/ Brian Setzer) and Paul Trudeau. See Red earned a nomination for Album of the Year by the L.A. Music Awards, who the year before crowned her Songwriter of the Year and nominated her for Female Vocalist of the Year. The “Peanut Gallery” (aka Cindy Alexander fans) grew exponentially and Cindy rode the wave of the internet, topping charts at mp3.com and becoming one of Amazon.com’s best indie sellers.
In 2003 she released her 2nd CD, SMASH, also nominated for L.A. Music Award’s Album of the Year. Smash features co-writes with Grammy Award winners Gary Harrison and Dennis Matkosky. She was named CNET’s Net Music Countdown Net Unknown of the Year (joining past recipients such as Michelle Branch) and was named Female Artist of the Year by Just Plain Folks, also winning Pop Song of the Year by the same organization.
Cindy kept busy touring in 2004 with a new distribution for her own label, JamCat Records, earned three more awards (LA Music Award for Indie Pop Artist of the Year, JPF Songwriter of the Year, and All Access Magazine Best Female Vocalist), and recorded her 3rd CD with Dave Darling: Angels & Demons.
Angels & Demons was released in ’05 to glowing reviews, and a live performance on air for Mark & Brian (KLOS 95.5 fm and affiliates) sparked an immediate sell out of ALL of Cindy’s CD inventory and a huge influx of new fans. That energy fueled a string of dates opening for AMERICA and Cindy began headlining festivals as far away as Barbados. Angels %26 Demons won LA Music Awards Independent Pop Album of the Year in 2006.
June 2006 unleashed a new compilation entitled “Eclectic Cafe” on Water Music Records featuring Cindy’s song “4 Hours” alongside cuts by Aimee Mann, Heather Nova, Tracy Bonham, Moby and Duncan Shiek.
Summer/Fall 2006 was a huge turning point. On a whim, Cindy joined the cast of NBC/David Foster’s Star Tomorrow, with the understanding that it was a talent contest based upon original material and artistry, quite unlike the American Idol shows. After months of head to head competition with some of the best indie artists in the US, and battling it out on the world wide web, Cindy WON a deal with a major label. Well, sort of. After a LOT of consideration, soul searching and an extended tour in the Pacific Rim entertaining our Troops, Cindy decided that it was an offer she COULD refuse and consequently, shared the news with her fans. Their overwhelming support of her decision to stay indie resulted in enough pre-orders and donations to the production account to completely fund the making of WOBBLE WITH THE WORLD, Cindy’s fourth CD which was released October 2007 and immediately nominated for Independent Album of the Year, Best Female Vocals, A/C Artist of the Year (South Bay Music Awards) and Best Songwriting (Rock City News). “Wobble” is produced Cindy’s long time friends and musical co-horts, Dave Darling and Paul Trudeau, with a special guest appearance by Michael Bacon on “Bloom.” The digital-only version of the CD contains an extra bonus track, “Slow Motion Miracle” which proceeds are donated to a charity close to Cindy’s heart: www.wespark.org.
It’s been awhile since “pnut” has torn up the scene but that’s because she got married, had twins and has spent the last few years raising her daughters. Viewing life and love from a completely different perspective, Every Rise and Fall, to be released March 2012, tackles issues such as fertility, marriage, motherhood, aging, birth and death…a “coming of age” album in every sense of a sensitive word. Produced by now Grammy nominated Dave Darling, Every Rise and Fall features another guest appearance by Michael Bacon on cello, and musicians Arlan Oscar (Joe Bonamassa/Janiva Magness) on organ and wurlitzer, Carl Sealove (Bob Dylan/Boxing Gandhis) on stand up bass/ bass guitar, Chip Moreland (Altered State/Dread Zeppelin) on drums, Dave Darling on guitar/backing vocals, and of course Cindy on vocals and piano.
Cindy has toured nationally and internationally, and has shared the stage with such bands as The Bacon Brothers, America, Suzanne Vega, Joan Osborn, Art Alexakis (Everclear), Bob Schneider, Ben Taylor, The Bangles, Edwin McCain, Marc Cohn, Howard Jones, Joe Bonamassa, Dishwalla, Gin Blossoms, Karla Bonoff, and the list goes on and on. Her performances have been called “star quality” and the “best of the L.A. Music Scene,” charming both audiences and critics alike.
Cindy has also appeared on several soundtracks and compilations: Sugar %26 Spice soundtrack on Trauma Records, Chilled Sirens on Water Music Records, Sunday Brunch on Treadstone Records, Eclectic Cafe on Water Music Records, and Back Home, a compilation of female singer songwriters that benefits Children International. Her music has been featured in films (Here on Earth, Smokers, Sugar & Spice, Dorm Daze II) and television (Party of Five, Chasing Farrah) and at a Petco (and we hear Office Depot on a weekly basis) near you.