Singer Kimberlee looks to spiritual

Palo Alto Daily News
By Thomas Leupold, Palo Alto Daily News Staff  

For some people, being laid off from a steady job at Silicon Graphics in Mountain View might be a tragedy. For Kimberlee Leber, 31, it meant she finally had time to pursue her dream.

The marketing administrator-turned-musician has taken to the studio and the stage, and will be performing with her band EvenNow at Jumpin' Java in Mountain View tonight.

Love, forgiveness, peace
She got serious in August, after losing her job, and already she's recorded a five-song EP called "Learning How To Love." Launching her musical career simply as "Kimberlee," she sings about love, forgiveness, and peace, with the occasional religious references.

That's nothing new -- the Artist Formerly Known as Prince, Tori Amos, and dozens of other pop acts have plenty to say about God. But Kimberlee's music radiates from her beliefs.

Her bandmates are fellow churchgoers. Her song "Love Your Enemy" is an obvious reference to Matthew 5:44. "Love Never Fails" was written for a church event, Kimberlee said.

Still, it's not what you'd call "Christian music." Kimberlee herself describes her sound as "Melissa (Etheridge) meets Chaka (Khan)."

Musically, she draws inspiration from Aretha Franklin and country artist Wynonna, and like them, Kimberlee has a smooth, powerful voice.

Her distinctive vocals lend a soulful R&B flavor.

Jewel, McLachlan influences
Kimberlee cites folk-pop divas Jewel and Sarah McLachlan, and former Christian act as helping to make popular music more accepting of spirituality.

Along with that spirituality, Kimberlee brings the idealism of a fledgling artist.

"All I ever wanted to do was inspire people through song," she said.

Writes own material
And she's willing to do more than just sing about the world change -- she enjoys performing at charity fund-raisers. She performed last year at a leukemia benefit in San Francisco, and hopes to do so again this March.

Kimberlee, who writes all her own material, calls on her victories and defeats in her music -- She calls it "a shared diary" -- but always tries to come back with a positive message.

"Forgiveness is the key -- no matter who we are, where we're from or where we're going," she said.

Kimberlee plays at 8 tonight at Jumpin' Java, 744 W. Dana St.,
Mountain View.

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