Orange City News

Kimberlee exhibits a well-trained voice

By Nao Gunji

Some day, when her voice is recognized by the whole nation, perhaps by the whole world, she would still be "Kimberlee," the soulful singer from San Francisco."

That's because Kimberlee, who will be performing at Borders in the Block of Orange Sturday from 8 to10 p.m., sings not because of fame or money, but out of a love for music and care for others.

When meeting her in person, one is surprised that such a deep, bluesy, distinguished voice emits from such a slender woman.

When she was 15, her mother took her to Judy Davis, the Oakland vocal coach who trained Janis Joplin, Barbra Streisand, Frank Sinatra, Jefferson Startship, En Vogue, and more.

Normally, Davis didn't teach anyone under 18, but Kimberlee's unique, mature voice and her mother's determination to get her the best allowed for exception.

Although Davis did help her voice to reach higher levels, Kimberlee was born with a gifted voice. She grew up in a family that shared a love of music and her mother wanted her to express herself in music.

"Instead of reading to me, she sang for me," Kimberlee recalls. Musicians who have had a great impact on Kimberlee include Wynonna, Aretha Franklin, Janis Joplin, Ann Wilson, and Pat Benatar.

Being a full-time musician is not something everyone can do easily. It takes great talent, continuous effort, having faith in one's self...and luck.

She and her husband, Matthew, came to Los Angeles eight months ago to make her second CD with producer/songwriter/keyboardist, Paul Laurence. Kimberlee sees her experience in the "land of desperate" as being fortunate.

"We started seeing a significant difference. We've got a lot of people on my mailing list. People are definitely responding. I think it just takes a lot of effort. So, that is why I am constantly working, trying to get my name out there," she said.

Her musical creativity comes from things she has gone through in life and things she has learned and felt -- joy, pain, trial, adversity and love.

"My husband, he inspires me a lot. He really, I think, teaches me how real unconditional love can be in a relationship, in a human relationship. I write about everything from death, forgiveness to love, abuse, everything that I have experienced. I believe other people have experienced that, too."

When she was eight, Kimberlee found out from television about the existence of starving children all over the world, and she knew then that music was what she wanted to do to make a difference in other people's lives.

"Love Never Fails," "Stop This Train," "Wake Up" and "Love Your Enemy" are titles of her songs form her second album, "Learning How To Love." The message of these songs is positive and guides listeners to a better state of mind; that is probably why Kimberlee is called a "soulful singer."

She wants to share her music with her audience and hopes they can relate to it; she sings from her soul. For example, the lyrics of "Stop This Train" describe her painful memory of her mother's remarriage and her wish to gain control in her life. The tone of the song echoes the delicate lyrics and finds a positivity in bitterness. "The great thing about performing live is that you get instant feedback from people. I have had people tell me that I touch them. Before I perform my songs, I share why I wrote the songs. I am finding out that it's impacting people and helping them feel that they are not alone. Healing and changing for the better is possible," she said.

Kimberlee has also done benefit concerts for AIDS and leukemia and used music as a positive tool to help others.

Even though her focus is not making money or being famous, she feels comfortable making music as her profession. "It's wonderful. I think that the greatest thing that anybody can do is to do what they love most and to be able to make money out of it."

Also, she never forgets to thank her husband, who understands and supports her unconditionally.

"Love is patient. Love is kind. Love is not proud, does not envy and does not keep a record of wrongs." Kimberlee quotes God's defintion of love in the Bible as what it means for her and hopes to possess it as well.

"I am blessed. I am married to somebody who gives me that kind of love in ways I had never experienced.

"I have been touring Borders Books and Music. It is a great location and always gets a big crowd. I think that's what is wonderful about Borders, that there is always a lot of people there of all ages. And it is a great testing ground for my music."

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