The Most Unofficial Official Bio Ever
I'm not going to waste your time with some braggedy-brag bio full of fluffy words that make me sound like I'm a bigger deal than I really am. I am an artist simply because it is fulfills me to tell stories and make up melodies to go along. It helps me sort through the clutter in my head, the reasons for my struggles, and to understand the beauty of the human condition. I write songs for therapy, and also to preserve memories. So here's a little bit about how I found songwriting...
Growing up in Georgia with an off the wall family that included carnies, a deaf grandmother that did makeup and hair for dead people, grandparents that lived on the banks of the Okefenokee Swamp, a legless aunt, a dreamer, Bible-beating dad, a lioness, closet-poet, mother, I could go on...I found myself as a little girl deeply attracted to the stories my parents and other members of my family told me. No surprise that later in life I fell in love with Flannery O'Connor. I also loved the old country music my dad would play for me from his reel-to-reel, and the old rock n roll songs my mom lit up and danced to when she heard. My brother and I saved our allowance for records and concert tickets. Our first concert was Prince, the Purple Rain tour. Little sis was too young to go.
Mom was a middle school teacher that wrote and directed musicals for kids and became involved in our community theater. When I got to high school, I found myself signing up for chorus, drama, dance, and participating in musicals where I surrounded myself with young, dramatic, weirdys like myself that liked to trade Shakespeare lines, make up songs around campfires, and create home videos. I still love all of those friends for inspiring me so much and helping me develop the courage to be my true self.
After high school I received a scholarship to the Cincinnatti Conservatory of Music where I studied musical theater for two years. But my Dad gave me his guitar before I left for school, and I found myself more interested in learning chords and making up songs in my dorm room, mostly silly ones, instead of spending hours in the practice rooms at school and competing for roles in shows. It just wasn't a fit for me. And I also liked to stay up all night, which became a problem for me in my second year, when I was required to show up for a 7am modern dance class. As a result of missing too many classes and mouthing off to my instructor, I was told I would be failing modern dance and would lose my scholarship, BUT I could redeem myself by making up the classes and apologizing to my teacher. I did apologize, but I did not make up the classes, and I left.
My next move was a graveyard shift as head donut processor at Krispy Kreme...awesome. And then a year at the University of Georgia as a history major, huh? Then a summer job in a country music show at a theme park, where in my purple wranglers, cowboy boots, and big hair, it occurred to me that I wanted to write songs (thanks to some lovely, life changing inspiration from Nanci Griffith's album, "One Fair Summer Evening"), so I announced to my family I was moving to Nashville. My concerned, but supportive Dad, stepped in with a suggestion that I go to Belmont University where they had a music business program...and recording studios!! That sealed the deal.
I finished college, where I learned about recording, got a little better as a guitar player, and then ran off playing bar gigs for a few years all around the southeast, but mostly in Georgia. Four hour shifts of covers mixed with some of my own songs (peddling my garage-recorded CD from the corner of the room), lots of drinking, lots of driving, lots of tips, lots of loading in heavy PA equipment all by myself, because I didn't play music venues, I played dives mostly. I played anywhere...my brother and I once played a gig together for a Super 8 Motel opening. But I got sick of that after a while, because I wanted more and more to play my own music, and as much as I respect and love the Indigo Girls, I couldn't play another one of their songs without smashing someone's beer out of their hand with my guitar.
So I moved to Los Angeles...land of dreamers, artists, weirdos, adventurers...my people - a place where I was forced to put my own art out in the world, because there was no market for cover artists. In my 13 years there, I played keyboards, sang and wrote for a neo-soul band called Paper Sun, wrote and sang with a super hippy and fun Laurel Canyon band called the Bennett Cale Project, and then I ventured out on my own with solo work. At the time I was living in a Hollywood apartment with a big old thrift store piano, a bed and pretty much nothing else, and that's where I really began writing about my life, my past, my crazy family.
I booked two weeks studio time at New Monkey Studio (former studio of Elliott Smith, one of my heroes) on a credit card. No producer, no band, barely enough songs, but somehow it all worked out, and I made Amarillo, my first real solo project (second to my garage album) all recorded on analaog tape with a live band. Oh, sidenote, I prefer analog over digital, because the performance is imperfect but more emotional and in the moment.
Are you still with me? This is long...I'm almost done.
Following Amarillo, I've toured all over the country, written songs for TV and film, played music in a couple of films, and made another album in Asheville, NC, called Too Many Heartaches that is broken up in to two releases, Pt. 1 is out, Pt. 2 is coming soon. It was while I was making this record, I met songwriter Sarah Roberts, who blew me away at a Hotel Cafe, Hollywood, show one night...I walked away crying from her songs and the magic of her voice...I'd never heard anyone sing like that before. We were brought together by a mutual friend, which led to our band Ladies Gun Club, my absolute favorite musical project ever. We made an EP quickly in a Laurel Canyon studio, produced by Mike Vizcarra. It's just called Ladies Gun Club. But then all this pregnancy and babies started with the two of us. Ha! Over the last six years one of us or both have been pregnant, but no one is pregnant now, and just last month we released our first full length album, Take My Love Away, a psychedelic, hillbilly experience in feminism, witchiness, and just plain ole love.
Oh...and I don't want to forget to tell you about my punk rock adventure that happened last fall when I went to Bisbee, Arizona with two long time friends that I previously wrote and played with in other bands, Jason Thomas Gordon and Cary Beare. We spent four days locked up in a warehouse writing and recording stream of consciousness style, punk rock music. We screamed, we cried, we bled, we acted like teenagers, and it was fucking great. We are called The Rodgers, and we have an album called You Ain't Us. It's filthy and juvenile.
So there you have it...if you made it this far, you're probably a stalker or my management company. Thanks for listening. I love you too.
If you want the "who I've played with, who I've worked with, industry bio" send me a note, and I'll make up something that will blow your mind.