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Vonda Shepard

 
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Recorded Jan. 16, 2014

 

BIO

Singer/songwriter Vonda Shepard enjoyed one of the more unique career breakthroughs in pop music history; while most performers rely on radio airplay or relentless touring to win fans, Shepard instead shot to fame as a result of the hit television series Ally McBeal, which featured her performing live on an almost weekly basis. Shepard was born in New York City in 1963, but her family relocated to California a few years later; there Shepard studied voice and piano, and was just a teen when she recorded “Can’t We Try,” a duet with singer Dan Hill. After touring as a backup singer for Jackson Browne, she recorded her self-titled Reprise label debut in 1989, the LP sacrificing the bluesy soulfulness of her music in favor of slick production values. Only weeks after the release of her 1992 sophomore effort, The Radical Light, Shepard was dropped by Reprise; she spent the next several years without a label or a manager, instead becoming a fixture of the L.A. club circuit. There she developed a small but ardent cult following, independently releasing It’s Good, Eve in 1996; among her fans were TV producer David E. Kelley and his actress wife, Michelle Pfeiffer, and when Kelley set about creating his comedy-drama Ally McBeal for the Fox network, he tapped Shepard to become the show’s musical voice. Not only was The Radical Light’s “Searchin’ My Soul” used as the series’ theme, but Shepard herself became a regular cast member, playing the house performer at the local nightclub the program’s title character and her co-workers frequented. As Ally McBeal emerged as a breakout hit, it reignited Shepard’s career, and a major bidding war to land the rights to a series soundtrack followed, with the record Songs from Ally McBeal appearing in mid-1998. By 7:30 was released in April 1999 by Jacket Records; a second Ally McBeal collection followed later that same year.

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Vonda Shepard, often known as the musical voice of the Ally McBeal TV program, 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. The clarity of Vonda’s voice and her grace at the piano shows the beauty and richness of her music. In addition to the growing popularity of her live shows Vonda enjoyed one of the more unique career breakthroughs in pop music history. While most performers rely on radio airplay or relentless touring to win fans, Shepard instead shot to fame as a result of the hit television series Ally McBeal, which featured her performing live on an almost weekly basis. While Vonda Shepard’s shows always feature her heart, voice and piano for this January 16th show at the Belly Up she was joined on stage by her four piece band featuring guitarist James Ralston, bassist Jim Hanson, drummer Pete Thomas and keyboardist Mitchell Froom.


Born in New York City, Vonda Shepard’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 as part of Rickie Lee Jones, Al Jarreau, and Jackson Browne’s bands. Vonda eventually toured as the opening act for Jackson Browne’s tours in the U.S. and Asia. After touring as a backup singer for Jackson Browne, she recorded her self-titled album. She has since performed with Sugarland, The Indigo Girls and The Funk Brothers (a highlight of her life), and she has shared the stage at music festivals with Sting, The Eurythmics, Santana, and Matchbox 20.


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. The clarity of Vonda’s voice and her grace at the piano shows the beauty and richness of her music.


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.



Total Play Time: Approx. 65 Minutes
Engineered by Alex Somerville


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