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February 24, 2012

VONDA SHEPARD - IN PRIME TIME



VONDA SHEPARD AT THE RRAZZ ROOM







VONDA SHEPARD AT THE RRAZZ ROOM


VONDA SHEPARD WAS BORN IN NEW YORK, BUT ENDED UP IN CALIFORNIA WITH HER PARENTS. Before she was 20, Shepard did some backing up singing for Jackson Browne and Rickie Lee Jones. Later she worked with Al Jarreau, Julia Fordham and Chaka Khan. That’s all a good career start.

It was in 1987 that Reprise Records made a record deal with Shepard, but it was a short-lived deal. However, she got a great break when Michelle Pfeiffer spotted Shepard singing at an L.A. Night Club. Pfeiffer’s husband David E. Kelley was developing the TV series “Ally McBeal.” Kelly cast Shepard as the resident singer in the local bar, frequented by the star of the show. “Searchin’ my Soul” -- reached over one and a half million copies. That put Shepard in lofty heights.

Shepard brings fresh life to many standards like “Someday we’ll Be Together” and Don McLean’s “Vincent” are a couple of the standouts. Shepard is still riding the crest of her popularity. She may not sing it tonight at the Rrazz Room – but a favorite of mine is “To Sir With Love.” Yummy – it’s just outstanding. “Crying” is also one of the famed song versions that I hope you get to hear.

Shepard is one of the most soulful singers to come around. She’s not a weak singer – she belts those songs right out of the club. To sum it up – Shepard has -- “that Wowing Talent!”
And do try to persuade her to sing, “What becomes of the broken Hearted.” I’m looking forward to this exhilarating evening tonight (Feb. 24) and Saturday night the 25th at the Glorious Rrazz Room in the Hotel Nikko. It will be a reason to celebrate.

(((Lee Hartgrave has contributed many articles to the San Francisco Chronicle Sunday Datebook and he has produced and hosted a long-running Arts Segment on PBS KQED))) 

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