Kimberlee & EvenNow aim for national fansSan Mateo County Times
By Natalie T. Del Conte
The Bay Area has produced popular bands like Green Day, Smash Mouth, and Third Eye Blind -- all men. The time is right for a woman musician to emerge from the local music scene.
So says Kimberlee, 31, whose stage name is simply Kimberlee.
This Santa Clara resident's music career is flourishing. Kimberlee and her band EvenNow have performed locally for two years. Kimberlee, who worked in the marketing department at Silicon Graphics before she became a casualty of layoffs last summer, decided to pursue music on a full-time basis.
Along with her Bay Area appearances, she has sold 500 copies of her album,"Learning How To Love." She also has sung the National Anthem at the U.S. Olympics as well as at San Francisco Giants, San Jose Sharks, Sacramento Kings and Golden State Warriors games.
Kimberlee writes her own music, and she bases her songs on her own experiences. She sings a soulful mix of country, R&B and folk.
How does being a full-time musician compare to being a full-time executive?
I love doing it. It's all I ever really wanted to do. I've been privileged to do this because I have a very supportive husband.
How did you get started in music?
Well, I've wanted to be a musician since I was 8 years old. And I got a guitar at the age of 12, but I didn't really study guitar....I studied voice with Judy Davis in Oakland when I was 15. She didn't accept students under 18, but my mom was so persistent, she accepted me. She has worked with Barbra Streisand, and Eddie Money and a lot of other great artists.
Would you say that you use your voice more than your guitar in your music?
Definitely. I play guitar but my voice is my real instrument. I'm not a guitarist that can sing. I'm a singer that can play guitar.
What motivates you to continue with your music?
I remember seeing an infomercial when I was 8 years old about starving people in India. It really touched me and it made me want to help people through music. I want to help people who are emotionally, physically or spiritually oppressed. I've always believed that music is a very strong medium for communication. More so than the spoken word because people aren't as willing to listen to that. But it's easier to get a message of hope across through music. And the world definitely can't get enough of that.
What kind of inspiration do you find to write your music?
I write based on my own experience and the things that I see in my life. As human beings we share a lot of experiences -- of course, on different levels. But I like to write about things that we all share. Forgiveness is a topic I seem to write a lot about. If we don't forgive, we perpetuate a lot of problems -- whether it is racism, abuse or fights with your spouse.
Who are your biggest influences as a musician?
Some of my influences are Melissa Etheridge, Chaka Khan and Bonnie Raitt. I've done a lot of styles and tried to come up with a sound that is reflective of my R&B influences but also incorporate some acoustic sounds. I like to say that if Janis Joplin and Aretha Franklin ever played together, it would be the same as what I do.
Do you think it is more challenging to make it as a musician in the Bay Area as opposed to other places?
I've thought about that a lot lately. It's obviously not harder than Los Angeles or New York or Nashville. But I really believe that it is time for a woman to emerge from the Bay Area music scene. It is challenging, but I'm here and I'm going to do what I can here. It really is about who you know and who can help you. That's why I'm looking for a producer. I think that will help my career a lot.
Does musical talent run in your family?
My younger brother, Chad, plays the guitar. He actually plays for some tracks on my CD. My mom is also very creative. Her side of the family has a lot of musical talent. One of my cousins plays drums for The Charlie Daniels Band and my great grandpa came from Nashville and performed in vaudeville acts. It's amusing because I've never met these people but we are connected, not only by blood, but by music as well.
How can we find your CD and find out about your performances?
My CDs are available on Amazon.com and at Rasputin Records. You can also go to my Web site. It is www.Kimberlee.com
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