Meet Wendy Alane Wright: Wendy Alane Wright, pop/R&B singer, writer and producer has worked with many notables including Candy Dulfer, Johnny Lang, Tony Scott, Wayne Brady, Jeff Trachta, Philip Michael Thomas, Billie Myers, Linda De Mol, Big Logic, Deezer Dee and blues legend Solomon Burke.
Wendy had several pop and club hits, including the 1990 single Feel The Rhythm, which enjoyed rotation on VH1, BET and MTV and reached #20 in the Netherlands top 40 and Unforgiven (1992), which reached #30 in the Dutch Disco Dance Charts. Wright also co-wrote, co-produced and performed featured vocals on the Tatjana Simic pop hit Feel Good," which reached #25 in Netherlands Top 40, went platinum in Scandinavia and appeared on numerous compilation CDs worldwide.
After extensive live performances in the US during the years 2000-2006 with bands including the jazz group Asha, swing band Art Deco and His Society Orchestra and her own R&B blues band Billy's Night Out, Wendy's first solo album, As I Am, was released January, 2007. The tracks are pop, jazz and ballads. As I Am is available at her website http://www.wendywright.biz, http://www.musicforte.com and http://www.myspace.com/wendyalanewright.
Teachers and/or influences? My greatest influences were my parents. My father taught me to love music and shared with me music from the greatspeople like Stevie Wonder, Al Green, Marvin Gaye, and Gladys Knight. My mother also loved music and played it most of the day, specifically people like Neil Diamond and Fleetwood Mac. In fact, one of my greatest memories from childhood was laying around on the living room floor in the dark with my family listening to Neil Diamond. Being brought up by a white mother and a black father, I was exposed to white and black/soul music; therefore my own music often has elements of both. My personal musical influences, as I started to perfect my craft of singing, were Anita Baker, Michael McDonald, John Waite, Barry White, Mariah Carey, Jean Carne, Whitney Houston, Teena Marie, and more.
I knew I wanted to be a musician when... I knew I wanted to be a musician when I was a child and sat in my room all alone with my record player in a boxthat's how they used to make them. I would put on Barry White's You're The First, Youre The Last, Youre My Everything and sing and cry my eyes out. I fell in love with music from that song. And all I ever wanted to do was sing since then.
Your sound and approach to music: My approach to music is simple. I like great harmonies, pretty music, live instrumentation, especially piano and saxophone. I either write lyrics and then work them into music, or listen to a track and a melody and lyrics just come to me. I love being in the studio, improvising on a track, listening back and deciding what I want to keep and finding those magical moments. Those magical moments I am talking about are the ones you hear on other peoples records that are so incredible to you that you rewind them and play those moments over and over again. It may be a catch in the throat or the way the line lands on you and touches you emotionally. For me I love those moments in music and the process of uncovering them when I work.
Your teaching approach: I teach vocals at times and I find the greatest impediment to people is their fear of others and the opinions of others. I believe strongly that you should work to be all you can be. Don't worry about other peoples journey, or sound, or style. Just be yourself. And a lot of making music is just trusting what comes from your heart and soul and going with it. I help my new students get over the fear of others, and try to focus them on just expressing whatever they feel. So I focus on performance instruction, rather than vocal. I think a singer either has a voice or doesn't, and if they have the burning desire within them to train it and grow it they will. The desire is something you can't teach.
Your dream band: My dream band would be music that is R&B-based, with great mid-tempo grooves, live piano, sax, bass and drums. Heavily instrumental along with really moving lyrics, pretty chords and changes and a group of people who just like to have fun. I would love to work with Eric Marienthal, Michael McDonald and Brian Culbertson.
I was first exposed to jazz circa 1973, when I met a fellow who ran Kappy's Record Store over near 10th Ave., on 42nd St. in NYC. We really clicked and when I told him I played piano and went to Music & Art HS, and had just started at City College of NY as a music major, he asked if I liked jazz...I said yes but I didn't know much about it, but that I did have sheet music for many popular 1920's through 1940's tunes by noted composers (Porter; Gershwins; Irving Berlin; Rodgers & Hammerstein/Hart; Jerome Kern; Lerner & Loewe; etc.) that my mother had sung beautifully starting in the 1940's including tons of famous show tunes, and I played many of those songs already
I was first exposed to jazz circa 1973, when I met a fellow who ran Kappy's Record Store over near 10th Ave., on 42nd St. in NYC. We really clicked and when I told him I played piano and went to Music & Art HS, and had just started at City College of NY as a music major, he asked if I liked jazz...I said yes but I didn't know much about it, but that I did have sheet music for many popular 1920's through 1940's tunes by noted composers (Porter; Gershwins; Irving Berlin; Rodgers & Hammerstein/Hart; Jerome Kern; Lerner & Loewe; etc.) that my mother had sung beautifully starting in the 1940's including tons of famous show tunes, and I played many of those songs already. SOOOO... he started me off LP's by Oscar Peterson, Art Tatum, Bud Powell, Errol Garner, Bill Evans, Monty Alexander, Charlie Byrd, and Dave Brubeck... does it get any better than that? ...No, it doesn't. I was hooked!!
I met and had a master class with the late music giant John Lewis, leader of the Modern Jazz Quartet! This was at CCNY in 1977. I was blessed! It was an incredible class... how could it have been anything else?!?!
The first jazz record I bought was...I bought numerous records from my friend at the record store, as mentioned above. He introduced me to nothing but music giants/legends! I think The Dave Brubeck Quartet, Greatest Hits, was actually the first one.
My advice to new listeners... study first--understand the rudiments--solfeggio, keys, scales, and basic chords. Read a book or take a class that includes the study of chord progressions, especially in jazz. It should ideally be a piano class so you can play multiple notes together. Have a good EAR or else it's not really worth it in my view...to become a musician, a good EAR for music is about as fundamental as breathing! Learn to read chord charts--i.e., lead sheets - wherein you play various voicings of the chords--major, minor, dominant 7th (alterations of these, you can learn over time - the basic chords are most important for starters), plus the melody, on the piano or keyboard. If you have to read the exact notes, then it's not the same as actually internalizing it & getting it all into your head. If you can do this, I think you're ready not only for listening to jazz, but understanding many concepts of it! Of course...anyone can listen to jazz... but I think it's so good to also have a grasp of it.