Vonda Shepard’s recent concert, her personal side and upcoming projects

Vonda Shepard doing an excellent rendition of Aretha Franklins Chain of FoolsThere is only one word to describe Vonda Shepard’s voice – “Soulful”. This is my second time to see her at the Coach House and she never ceases to amaze me with her phenomenal performance, boundless enthusiasm and intimate rapport with her audience. It was like I was on the set of Ally McBeal, but even better because it was longer….

Shepard started with the song “The Wildest Times Of The World”. The audience was so mesmerized at times that you could hear a pin drop.. Vonda is so comfortable performing on stage. She even cracked a few jokes about her legs. The fans on the other side of the concert hall could not see her. The piano was blocking her face and all they could see were her legs. So Vonda joked that each side of the audience should take turns so everybody can see her perform.

She can really pound those piano keys. After around 5 songs, Shepard stood up and mentioned her 8 year old son, who is the love of her life.

Next she sang the acoustic version of “I Only Wanna Be With You” which gave me goosebumps. I captured part of her performance and posted it to YouTube. You can watch the video here.

Vonda Shepard performed songs from her different albums of course, especially from the Ally Mcbeal soundtrack. At encore, Shepard did an excellent rendition of Aretha Franklin’s “Chain of Fools” and everybody stood up and danced. When the concert ended, Shepard greeted fans and signed autographs. She was personable with the fans and exhibited warmth and friendliness. The concert was a little short but the audience enjoyed every minute of it. I would see her again for the third time around or even 4th and 5th.

Vonda Shepard performing songs from her various albums

Vonda Shepard Interview

I was able to interview Vonda before her concert at The Coach House. Read about her personal side and her upcoming projects.

Popbuff: On your latest album, SOLO, you have originals and some cover ballads. Why did you pick to include “Walk Away Renee” and “You Belong to Me” in your latest album. They were already included in your first album.

Vonda: We chose songs that we thought sounded good played on just a piano, without any other instrumentation other than my voice. The first Ally McBeal album, which featured the above mentioned songs was actually my fourth album. As you may notice, all of the songs from Solo are from previous albums, including Soothe Me, from By 7:30, Maryland, from It’s Good Eve, etc… I tried out many songs while practicing for this album, and the songs the we chose, after rearranging them to include string parts, etc., incorporated into the piano, were the ones that sounded best.

Popbuff: How do you write your music?

Vonda: My usual method for writing is to sit at the piano and noodle around until something clicks and feels inspired. At this point, I turn on my recording device and try to capture the moment. The best thing I can do at this point, when I know I’m on to something special, is to just play the ideas as they come, without much editing – just to let the music flow – then edit later. When I’m really in writing mode, I’ll then immediately sit in a chair and listen to what is there, looking for the most inspired moments. Usually there will be a lyric idea embedded in the gibberish, as well as a melody. It’s surprising how the good ideas can change or slip away if you don’t capture them somehow. Lyrics come last for me, unless it’s the rare case where I write a long poem or song away from the piano. Lyrics can often take months for me… but with this new, upcoming album, suddenly lyrics are really coming to me quickly (after years of working…haha!)

Popbuff: You’ve been performing all over the world. Do you have any memorable moments with fans that you would like to share?

Vonda: My latest memorable moment happened to occur last night! I had the privilege of being asked to be in Randy Newman’s Faust, in New York, playing his love interest. I’ll never forget the feeling of singing Feels Like Home with the legendary Randy Newman in front of 2,500 people and thinking “this may never happen again in our lives, and this is a truly special moment”.

Vonda Shepard with her band singing her version of I only Wanna Be with You

Popbuff: You are known on the TV show Ally McBeal as the resident performer at the bar where the characters hang out after work. Do people go to you and recognize you as the performer at the bar? What do you miss about being a part of this hit show from the ’90s?

Vonda: I do still get recognized, but only when I blow dry my hair and wear make-up, which is very seldom! When I perform, there is definitely still a faction of people who identify with that time in their lives when they watched Ally, and many, many people over the years have said they were pretending they were in that bar when they watch me perform. I don’t miss being part of the show, though is was a wonderful experience. I’ve moved on, but will always have lovely memories of working with the band, producing the musical guests the actors, the crew… what a ride that was. Such a gift.

Popbuff: Do you play any other instruments aside from the piano?

Vonda: I play a bit of guitar and percussion. On Wikipedia it says I play bass, but I have only played bass once in my life at a party – I suppose somebody who was there posted it on Wiki!

Popbuff: How was it working with David E. Kelley?

Vonda: David Kelley was a dream to work for. He gave me such artist freedom, within the structure of the script, and really trusted my musical instincts. It’s remarkable to work for someone so powerful who hasn’t let that power corrupt him. He’s a lovely person.

I’d love to sing with Seal – either to do a tour with him, or write and sing a duet… maybe it would help if I let him know this…!!!

Popbuff: Is there any artist you would like to collaborate with in the future?

Vonda: I’d love to sing with Seal – either to do a tour with him, or write and sing a duet… maybe it would help if I let him know this…!!!

onda Shepard singing I Only Wanna Be with You

Popbuff: What’s in store for Vonda?

Vonda: I’m 7 songs into writing the new album, which I will “crowd fund” through KickStarter in the next few weeks. I have 10,000 likes on FaceBook, so if everyone contributes a little, it can happen!

Popbuff: Any words for the fans?

Vonda: To the fans… I am not always the best at Tweeting, or Instagram, etc., but I’m beginning to get more involved, now that I know how to do it…haha! This new album will be a lot of fun – I kind of designed it to have a few more uptempo tunes to play live that are really funky and dance-able, but still with my style – as well as several ballads with piano. Touring to be posted soon…please check website. Also, I’d like to thank any fans who are reading this for their heartfelt support and kind words. Even though I don’t answer every Facebook comment, I do read most of them.

I want to thank Vonda for sharing her thoughts during her busy tour around California. You can learn more about her at Vonda Shepard . Also special thank you to Jill Coyle, Stefanee Freedman and Naomi and Reena.

 

Vonda Shepard at The Coach House

Vonda Shepard's Searching My soul from Ally McBealGirls Night Out at Vonda Shepards concert Vonda Shepard with popbuff blogger Ruchel FreibrunVonda Shepard with a fan

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Comments

  1. I love the YouTube video of Vonda. Did you do the video with your Canon Rebel?

  2. Good to hear that the girl is still at it!!

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