By Kristen Maldonado
Multi-award winning singer and musician Vonda Shepard may have gotten her big start working on the hit TV show Ally McBeal, but her talent and heart are what have made her a world-renowned artist. Before heading to the Big Apple to perform at B.B. King’s on May 21, Vonda stopped to speak with TheCelebrityCafe.com’s Kristen Maldonado about what audience members can expect at her show, her new album Solo, and how much she loves connecting with fans.
TheCelebrityCafe.com: You’re performing at B.B. King’s in New York City this month – are you excited?
Vonda Shepard: I am so excited! First of all, I love New York tremendously. I was born there. I didn’t grow up there – I lived there until I was like less than two – but I just love it. I did live there for a year once when I was 30. My dad lives there and basically I just get so excited to come to New York. It’s so diverse and B.B. Kings is a blast. I’ve been there about seven times I think.
TheCelebrityCafe.com: What do you think you’ll be performing?
Vonda Shepard: I’ve been just doing an eclectic set list with the stuff from From the Sun, a couple from By 7:30, a couple from Chinatown — those are my solo albums. I always do a section where I do like the R&B, up-tempo, fun stuff. The party section. Those are more like the Ally McBeal covers, the R&B-style ones. And then I do a couple of the big, great ballads from that show. It’s really a mixture. And I might do a new song! I’m just writing a brand new song and I love it. So I might debut a new song there if I’m brave enough! It’s really cool. It’s a very dynamic show.
TheCelebrityCafe.com: You mentioned you do some of the songs from Ally McBeal. Do you feel that show really put you out there as an artist?
Vonda Shepard: It definitely put me out there in a huge way. It opened the door to my international touring career as well, which has been fantastic because I love going to Europe too. It was just a great gift at a time when I was dying to work and I finally got this opportunity. Its been a long time since the shows been on obviously – I had a lot of hardcore fans before the show and then I have some that have never seen the show, so the audience is very diverse. And then there are the people who just are there to hear the Ally covers and I say, “Okay, call me and I’ll come play your wedding for that!” But, yeah, Ally McBeal was a great gift in my life.
TheCelebrityCafe.com: You mentioned you’ve gone to Europe and toured all over. So you do a lot of touring?
Vonda Shepard: I do a lot of touring, yes, and I have my whole life ever since I was 19-years-old, when I used to tour with Al Jarreau, Rickie Lee Jones, and Jackson Browne as a side musician. And then I did my own touring headlining all over the world. I’ve kind of backed off a little bit because of having a son. I’ve brought him with me many times on tour, but I’ve kind of backed off a little bit as far as Europe goes.
TheCelebrityCafe.com: Is your son interested in music as well?
Vonda Shepard: He is. His favorite composer is John Williams. Cliché at his age. He sings the entire score of Star Wars, including all the little miniature bits between them. I think he may have musical talent. My husband is also a musician, so I think we passed it down.
TheCelebrityCafe.com: Your new album Solo is out. Can you tell us a little bit about it?
Vonda Shepard: Sure. I had been getting a demand for it basically and then it just stemmed from when I was playing live, those songs that I played solo were more powerful and the reaction was too. My hardcore fans who I listen to on Facebook were saying, “Do more of that! Do more of that!” So I said, okay, this is a good kind of interim album. I had lots of material so I re-recorded songs that I loved from my own album.
TheCelebrityCafe.com: It also sounds like a fan album because you took the advice of the people who love your music.
Vonda Shepard: I do [that a lot]. In fact, I just did this thing called “Stage It” – like an online, live streaming concert from my own studio. And that’s the same kind of idea. As you play, you’re watching your computer and you can see all the comments. They request songs…I listen to them and it just went over so well.
TheCelebrityCafe.com: Do you have anything else coming up that you want us to know about?
Vonda Shepard: I’m right in the thick of writing a new album with all new material. I’m very excited about it. I finally broke this huge, like 80-foot, cement wall that I had to get through to start writing. It’s intimidating to write a new album, but finally I broke through it and now I’m on the other side of the inspiration. I’m like Dorothy and now everything is in color finally. That’s where I am, and I hope to have a lot of songs done really soon and then start recording them.