Image © Andrew Hammer 2009
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Photo © Ian Octoman 2009
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Image © Ian Octoman 2009
Wendy Starland for Beauty Society
Image © Beauty Society 2009
click on image for MySpace
Image © Ian Octoman 2009
(01 July 2009) Interview. We connected with Wendy Starland for an interview in the run up to the completion of her self-titled album. We review the tracks and include the results of this interview below. Commercially savvy, Wendy Starland is a very busy woman. She travels extensively and spends a tremendous amount of time in the studio perfecting her upcoming album. She is seventy-five percent of the way towards completion of her new, currently self-titled, CD. She said that she and her set of producers are making great headway. She has her first single being released on dPulse/Universal near the end of July, beginning of August. The single is going to called "Love Will Come To You" and will have four remixes as well.
Wendy told us that she travels worldwide, and most recently she was in New York and Los Angeles in a very short span of time. She just completed a photo shoot for a clothing company called Boy Meets Girl. The clothing line is worn by such notables as Paris Hilton and Linday Lohan. She is very excited to be involved with this visionary company. Wendy is currently sponsored by celebrity clothing line Deesh, who is using her music and image to represent the collection in their fifty million dollar ad campaign (featured on national TV, Teen Vogue, Teen People, Cosmo Girl, Elle Girl, Women's Wear Daily, and The New York Times). In addition to working with Boy Meets Girl, Wendy recently became the new spokesmodel for Beauty Society, representing their celebrity skin care and makeup line.
The artist categorizes her music as World Pop and feels that her sound is more solid and long lasting, compared to some music that only features current or trendy cultural sounds. Wendy describes her music as having authenticity and coming from her soul, allowing her audience to relate to the genuine nature of her work. Her music is very well-liked` in Europe and she has an extensive tour coming up. She was saying that her music is quite well known across the pond, and she is anxious to extend her listening audience to more of the US.
In discussing her development as a musical artist, Wendy recalled always having had an interest in music as well as in art/painting. She listened to everything and was exposed to music in her family. Wendy's father plays classical piano, and the genetic strength for music was linked to her grandfathers who both played instruments and sang, as well as her uncle is a guitarist and played with renowns such as Bruce Springsteen, Black Sabbath and The Allman Brothers. She was taught to sing by her nanny, Rosetta Atkins, who was considered to be a second mother to Wendy and helped to foster her talent. Her nanny was a Southern gospel singer, and encouraged Wendy to listen extensively to the radio and imitate both the male and female vocalists. She was drawn to the textured voices, and her own unique voice was acknowledged by her teachers at an early age.
Wendy told us that her big break came as a fourteen year old teenager when she was attending a concert by Maceo Parker, who is the sax player for music legend James Brown. During the show, he pulled Wendy up on stage and had her sing with the band. She was called upon a second time during the show and she scatted for twenty minutes to an improvised song, receiving a standing ovation from the appreciative audience. At that point, Parker told her she had this incredible gift and it was her destiny to pursue music. This moment was a life-changing experience for Wendy and she never looked back.
She released her single, "Dancing With The Sea," through Universal Music on a compilation that included such artists as Norah Jones, Katie Melua, Edie Brickell and Feist. She reached #8 on the charts and performed in a solo concert, at the National Philharmonic to an audience of approximately 3,000 which was also televised on network TV. She is comfortable performing at large venues, but also likes the intimacy of smaller venues, playing to audiences of around 50-100 people where she can relate on a different level.
Wendy also created an all female tour of solo artists called Sonica that in addition to herself includes Kristin Hoffmann and Natasha Alexandra. They are working over the next year to release a compilation CD and, working with E1 Entertainment and director Craig D'Entrone of MTV's hit series True Life plan to air a TV show of live performances. They plan to incorporate the talents of legends such as Tony Levin (John Lennon, Peter Gabriel), Jerry Marotta (Peter Gabriel, Sarah McLachlan) and Arturo Ofarril. Sponsors include Bosendorfer pianos, Nord, Mobile Vision Player, Boy Meets Girl by Deesh, and Crave. Sonica was featured on the February 2008 cover of Indie Sounds Magazine.
She told us that Telemundo is currently producing a TV series on up-and-coming artists and will feature Wendy in a half-hour production based entirely on her career. World famous filmmaker Trilby Macdonald (Museum of Modern Art) is also producing a special on Wendy. There is no air date yet. She is currently composing the entire two-hour score for an upcoming HBO documentary, "Sample Sale." Other original songs used in visual media include "Stolen Love," written in memory of ten friends and loved ones lost in the September 11, 2001 attacks as well as on MTV.
She has many accolades to her name including being chosen as "Best Emerging Songwriter" by The Songwriter's Hall Of Fame and gave a live performance at their ceremony. Major awards and recognition include her being named as "VH1's Best Emerging Artist." VH1 has also licensed five of her songs for use in their programming. The list of her projects is quite long, including concert, film, television, and spokesperson endorsements. She sings the lead vocal for "I'm In Love" on Moby's Grammy nominated album, Last Night. The album is currently #1 on the Billboard Charts.
Wendy is very well connected through MySpace (as well as Facebook and Twitter) and feels that it is certainly an all important location for musical artists today. She is able to relate directly to her fans and have more personal contact with her public. Look her up on these popular networking sites.
Album Review. Wendy Starland's new self-titled CD will be released soon. This collection of songs highlights her unique soulful style and exquisite vocals. Her music envelops a broad range of influences and can be classified as pop, ambient and jazz, with a strong flavor of Latin and soul. Her strongest influences are from Sting, Sade, Seal, The Police, U2, Stevie Nicks, Peter Gabriel, Norah Jones, Macy Gray, Shirley Caesar, and Carole King. She also incorporates atypical instruments like Spanish guitar and tabla in a number of her songs.
Our pre-release included seventeen tracks and begins with the fast paced "Love Will Come To You." The song maintains a strong, rhythmic and catchy beat while she speaks of opening up your heart and taking chances for love to come to you. She has a hit single with her lush "Dancing With The Sea," which hit #8 in the Billboard charts. Smooth jazz pervades this marvelous track, featuring her beautiful vocals, gentle guitar and percussion. It evokes a Latin flair to this passionate song.
"Stolen Love" has also been successful in being selected as the love theme for Universal Studio's film, Living The Lie, starring Cameron Diaz, Jon Bon Jovi and Kathleen Turner. There is a poignancy and uplifting quality to this track. She showcases her tender and heartfelt lyrics combined with her soaring vocals. Wendy has a strength and maturity of voice that enrapture the listener. "Stolen Love" is also one of her favorite tracks, which she wrote after losing ten friends in the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center. Striking keyboard instrumentation opens the upbeat, jazzy style of "Live For Today." Her sexy vocal and musical crescendos urges one to "live for today, or time will pass you by."
The listener can't help but move to the lucrative "Temptation." Gentle percussion progresses to an hypnotic beat that tantalizes the senses mixed in with alluring vocals. Ror-Shak's album, Deep, features Wendy in the standout track "Rescue Me." The tender "Return" is a wonderful illustration of Wendy's vocal prowess. Her evocative strength and sometimes raspy deliverance is a genuine treat to listen to. She does not fail to impress with this striking song.
She changes pace with the exciting "Do Your Dancing." The provocative beat continues with the Latin influenced "Holiday." Her rendition of the cover, "On and On," is particularly appealing, with her high impact vocals. Wendy places her own distinctive flair on this classic tune that brings this song to new heights.
The flowing and compelling melody in "Stone's Throw Away" has dynamite, sometimes gritty vocals. There is no doubt in Wendy's command of the music. She continues the drive and intensity in "Turn Another Page." Her lush rendition of "Streaks Across The Sky" exhibits her sensivity of lyrics and great songwriting. Her lovely range is prominent and her voice soars with the appealing melody. This dreamy state is highlighted in the uplifting "Kisses." Her voice has a sexiness that grabs the senses. Our pre-release concluded with the emotional "All I See."
Wendy Starland certainly does not fail to please with the collection of poignant and dynamic songs. She expresses her sense of style with jazz and world music influences packed with wonderful virtuosity. Her innovative approach to her music creates an intensity that is far beyond ordinary. Wendy's sophistication, gorgeous vocals and overall sound is stellar and electrifies the senses.--Audrey Elliot in New York