JANELLE DONOVAN BIO  by Scott Yanow

 

During the past 15 years, Janelle Donovan has gained a strong reputation as a very talented singer/songwriter. Her beautiful voice and her intelligent and often-insightful lyrics are always an infectious combination. 

 During the past 15 years, Janelle Donovan has gained a strong reputation as a very talented singer/songwriter. Her beautiful voice and her intelligent and often-insightful lyrics are always an infectious combination.  Janelle was literally born around music. “My mother said that when she was pregnant with me, she would put a record player on her stomach and play Beethoven.” Born in Brooklyn, she remembers hearing a variety of music while growing up. “I listened to a lot of classical music which was played in the house, and then I got into my mother's record collection which included Sarah Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald, Ray Charles, Johnny Mathis and Peggy Lee. I would take those records into my room and sing along with them, trying to master the masters.”

 She began performing when she was just five years old at summer church schools. Throughout her school years, Janelle was often the lead in whatever productions were taking place. She also began writing original music at the age of six. In addition to composing lyrics and music, she wrote stories and plays, winning a regional play writing contest in high school that had renowned novelists as judges. She also wrote her school's graduation song. Janelle attended Syracuse University as a performing arts major, taking classical and formal voice lessons, acting and writing classes. She performed as an acting intern in the Syracuse Repertory Theatre which hosted off-Broadway productions. She also began performing at a piano bar when she was a freshman, working as both a cocktail waitress and a singer who performed jazz standards.While she performed jazz and pop standards at clubs off campus for a time, she soon grew tired of singing other people's music when she had original ideas of her own. She became a regular performer at a folk club, Captain Mack’s Clam Shack, that featured some renowned artists such as Dave Van Ronk, and also performed her own material at civic events and showcases.A turning point in her career was when she met Tony Perrino. “He became my comrade-in-arms in music. I would ad-lib the melody and write most of the lyrics. He would then take the melody, play around with it, come up with other ideas, and we would work back and forth to create songs.” Perrino's long list of associations include Delbert Mc Clinton, Dan Toler, Dickey Betts, Orleans, the Blue Oyster Cult and many others. The duo was eventually joined by Joe Mele, a very versatile guitarist who is also a writer and has worked with B.B. King, Aretha Franklin, Buddy Guy as well as Dickey Betts.  Ten years ago at Janelle's instigation, the trio formed Tone Records. Among their releases since then have been Take Me On A Moonlight Ride, the EP Christmas Love, and the Spice Of Life love song collection “Love Songs for ...Only You”.  Janelle performed a guest vocal on the recent Blues Noir CD, “What I Am”.  She sang on the duet “One Red Rose” with composer Peter Corrigan, and received rave reviews. A project very close to Janelle's heart was Monahan's Old Truck, a memorial CD that was released at the one-year anniversary of 9/11. It includes interviews with many of the firefighters (the proceeds go to the firefighters' families) and it features inspirational music. In addition, Janelle uses her songwriting abilities to help kids who have disabilities, motivating the children to work with language and be creative. “I find it incredibly rewarding.” During their years together, Tony, Joe and Janelle have continued to write and record a wide variety of material including more than enough blues and jazz songs to fill an additional CD to be released , “Magnetic Eyes”. While gaining many fans for her songs and her singing, Janelle Donovan has won quite a few awards including the North East Songwriter of the Year awards for 2000 and 2001. the Female Vocalist of the Year for 2001 and the Sunrise Award for up and coming vocalists. As can be heard on her gutsy vocalizing on the lowdown “One Red Rose” from the What I Am CD, Janelle has developed into a powerful blues singer. Other recent songs find her swinging (“Magnetic Eyes”), bluesy (“First Falls The Heart”) and performing the uptempo party song “I Cant Help It Honey (I Was Born That Way).” After urging from her fan base to expand their holiday album and a recent move to LA, she initiated collaboration with Mark Cargill CEO of CCI Media (producer/violinist with famed recording associations such as Quincy Jones, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Michael Buble’, and Outkast) and Greg Cook(engineer/producer for CCI Media) to expand her Christmas Love EP into a full-length CD (it will be released soon), singing like a 1950s jazz vocalist on “Good King Wenceslas” (aka “Good King Jazzman”). Yet on “Christmas Eyes,” she sounds quite at home on a pop classic love ballad. In fact, that original song could become a standard in the future.Janelle's eclectic nature is natural. “My mother was born and raised in a small town in Georgia and loved Johnny Cash. My Dad was from New York, and loved Beethoven and Mozart, and my older brother, Chris, was into all types of soul music and r&b. I had a broad exposure to music including gospel, and it has all woven itself together. Ray Charles is an inspiration to me because he could sing and write in many different styles. That is what I aim for. I've written a lot of Americana and country songs but now I think my strongest suit is in bluesy jazzy pieces. My fans don’t expect me to fit into one style all of the time.”Janelle Donovan sounds like herself no matter what the style, and her consistent high quality and growing body of work are quite impressive. “For the future I have no intention of stopping my writing. I hope that someday when I'm long gone, a little girl somewhere will be sitting at the piano listening to my songs and using them as a guide for her own musical growth. I hope that the music I leave behind will inspire people.” And we all hope that there is a great deal more to come from Janelle Donovan.

Janelle Donovan BIO por Yanow Scott en Espagnol
Durante los últimos 15 años, Janelle Donovan ha ganado una sólida reputación como cantante con mucho talento y compositora. Su hermosa voz y sus letras inteligentes y perspicaces, a menudo son siempre una combinación infecciosa. Si bien es más conocida por sus fans por su país y canciones roots Americana, en los últimos tiempos se ha abierto e incluyó blues y el balanceo de jazz también.

 Janelle nació literalmente alrededor de la música. "Mi madre dijo que cuando ella estaba embarazada de mí, se ponía un reproductor de discos en su estómago y tocaba a Beethoven". Nacida en Brooklyn, se  recuerda haber escuchado una variedad de música mientras crecía. "Yo escuchaba mucho la música clásica que se disputó en la casa, y luego me metí en la colección de discos de mi madre, que incluía a Sarah Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald, Ray Charles, Johnny Mathis y Peggy Lee. Me gustaría tener los registros en mi cuarto y cantar junto con ellos, tratando de dominar a los maestros. "

  Ella comenzó a actuar cuando tenía apenas cinco años de edad en escuelas de la Iglesia de verano. A lo largo de sus años escolares, Janelle era a menudo la iniciativa en lo que las producciones se estaban produciendo. También comenzó a escribir música original a la edad de seis años. Además de componer letras y música, escribió cuentos y obras de teatro, una obra de teatro ganadora del concurso regional de la escritura en la escuela secundaria que habían novelistas reconocidos como jueces. Ella también escribió la canción de su escuela de graduación.

 Janelle asistió a la Universidad de Syracuse, como las artes escénicas más importantes, tomando clases de canto clásico y formal, la actuación y clases de escritura. Actuó como pasante actuando en el Teatro de Repertorio de Siracusa que fue sede de producciones off-Broadway. Ella también comenzó a actuar en un bar de piano cuando era una estudiante de primer año, trabajando como camarera de un cóctel y un cantante que realiza estándares de jazz. Mientras realizaba estándares de jazz y pop en los clubes fuera de la escuela por un tiempo, pronto se cansó de cantar la música de otras personas cuando ella tenía ideas originales de su cuenta.Ella se convirtió en un intérprete habitual en un club popular, almeja Capitán Mack Cabaña, que contó con algunos artistas de la talla de Dave Van Ronk, y también realizó su propio material en los eventos cívicos y vitrinas.

 
Un punto de inflexión en su carrera fue cuando conoció a Tony Perrino. "Se convirtió en mi compañero de armas en la música. Yo improvisaba la melodía y escribir la mayoría de las letras. Luego tomaría la melodía, jugar con ella, llegar a otras ideas, y que iba a funcionar un lado a otro para crear canciones. "Larga lista Perrino de asociaciones incluyen Delbert Mc Clinton, Toledo Dan, Dickey Betts, New Orleans, el Azul Oyster Cult y muchos otros. El dúo se unió finalmente por Joe Mele, un guitarrista muy versátil que también es escritor y ha trabajado con BB King, Aretha Franklin, Buddy Guy, así como Dickey Betts.

 

Hace diez años por iniciativa de Janelle, el trío formado Tone Records. Entre sus lanzamientos desde entonces han sido,” Llévame de paseo luz de la luna”, el EP de Navidad Amor, y la colección de amor Spice Of Life canción "Love Songs ... Sólo para ti". Janelle realizado una voz invitada en el reciente CD de Blues Noir, "Lo que soy". Ella cantó en el dúo "Una Rosa Roja" con el compositor Peter Corrigan, y recibió críticas muy favorables. Un proyecto muy cerca del corazón de Janelle fue Antiguo Monahan de Camiones, un CD conmemorativo que fue lanzado en el primer aniversario del 9 / 11. Incluye entrevistas con muchos de los bomberos (lo recaudado se destina a las familias de los bomberos) y cuenta con música inspiradora. Además, Janelle utiliza sus habilidades de composición para ayudar a los niños que tienen discapacidad, motivando a los niños a trabajar con el lenguaje y ser creativos. "Me resulta muy gratificante." Durante sus años juntos, Tony, Joe y Janelle ha seguido escribir y grabar una gran variedad de materiales incluyendo más de blues y canciones de jazz lo suficiente para llenar un CD adicional que se publicará, "Ojos Magnéticos" .

  Si bien ganando muchos fans de sus canciones y su forma de cantar, Janelle Donovan ha ganado un buen número de premios incluyendo el Nordeste Compositor del Año "para 2000 y 2001. La Vocalista Femenina del Año para el 2001 y el Premio de Sunrise para nuevos cantantes.

 Como se puede escuchar en su valiente vocalizando en toda la verdad "Una rosa roja" en el CD Lo que Soy, Janelle se ha convertido en un cantante de blues de gran alcance. Otras canciones de su reciente hallazgo oscilante ("Ojos Magnéticos"), blues ("El Primero Bajó el Corazón") y la realización de la canción de fiesta uptempo "I Cant Help It Honey” (yo nací de esa manera)." Después de instar a su base de fans de ampliar su álbum de vacaciones y una reciente mudanza a Los Ángeles, se inició la colaboración con Mark Cargill director general de Medios de Comunicación ICC (productor / violinista con las asociaciones de grabación de famosos como Quincy Jones, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Michael Buble, y Outkast) y Greg Cook (ingeniero y productor de los medios de comunicación CCI) para ampliar Navidad Amor EP en un CD de larga duración (que se dará a conocer en breve), cantando como vocalista de jazz en la década de 1950 "El Buen Rey Wenceslao" (también conocido como "Good King Jazzman"). Sin embargo, en "Ojos de Navidad", que suena muy a gusto en un amor balada pop clásico. De hecho, esa canción original podría convertirse en un estándar en el futuro.

 La naturaleza ecléctica de Janelle es natural. "Mi madre nació y se crió en un pequeño pueblo de Georgia y agregaron Johnny Cash. Mi papá era de Nueva York, y le gustaba Beethoven y Mozart, y mi hermano mayor, Chris, fue en todos los tipos de la música soul y r & b. Tenía una amplia exposición a la música incluyendo evangelio, y lo tiene todo se entrelazan. Ray Charles es una inspiración para mí, porque podía cantar y escribir en diferentes estilos. Eso es lo que aspirar. He escrito mucho de la cultura americana y el país, pero ahora creo que mi juego es más fuerte en el blues piezas de jazz. Mis fans no esperan que encajar en un estilo de todo el tiempo. "

Janelle Donovan suena como ella misma sin importar el estilo, y su alta calidad constante y creciente cuerpo de trabajo son bastante impresionantes. "Para el futuro, no tengo ninguna intención de detener mi escritura. Espero que algún día cuando ya no este, una niña en algún lugar va a estar sentado en el piano escuchando mis canciones y utilizarlos como una guía para su crecimiento musical. Espero que la música que yo deje  inspira a la gente.” Y todos esperamos que no hay mucho más que venir de Janelle Donovan.

CHRISTMAS EYES LINER NOTES

A major singer/songwriter with a compelling voice and the ability to write insightful lyrics, Janelle Donovan has always loved Christmas songs. “My parents were into Christmas music and had tons of albums. The whole family sang along together. My two brothers, my sister and I used to sing Christmas carols all through the neighborhood.”

In 2001 Janelle (along with Tony Perrino and Joe Mele) recorded an EP, Christmas Love, that became very popular. “People loved the fact that we did some originals plus interesting arrangements of old favorites. The only complaint I ever got about the album was that the fans wanted more, a full CD.” The title cut in particular was a hit and Janelle had success performing at Christmas festivals, even singing for the official lighting of the New York State Christmas tree.

Janelle first met Tony Perrino in the 1990s and they have been writing songs together ever since. Perrino, who has played with Delbert McClintock, Blue Oyster Cult, Savoy Brown, Dickey Betts and many others, is a multi-instrumentalist who not only plays bass, drums, organ, keyboards, percussion and flute but is a fine singer too. Through Perrino, Janelle was introduced to the versatile guitarist Joe Mele who is also an excellent bassist. After moving to Los Angeles, the singer has been fortunate to meet Mark Cargill and Greg Cook. “Mark is one of my co-writers and is an exquisite violinist who works many of the major studios in town. When I hear the solos and fills that he played on the album, I get chills. Greg Cook is a very sophisticated piano player and keyboardist. Mark and Greg know how to blend with my voice and weave in and out with my singing.”

 

Joined by Tony Perrino, Joe Mele, Mark Cargill and Greg Cook, four of her favorite musicians and people, Janelle has expanded the original Christmas Love EP into a full-length CD titled Christmas Eyes. The collection begins with the title cut. “Christmas Eyes” (written by Janelle, Cargill and Cook) is a memorable ballad that could become a standard someday. “When I wrote the lyrics for this song, I was thinking about the people all around me who were struggling to make ends meet. Folks had lost jobs, health insurance, homes. I have family and friends that I love who were struggling just the same. I wanted to reach out and lift people’s spirits. I remembered Christmas eves in my past when times were dire, but we found a way to be merry by treasuring each other and remembering where all good things come from- a power greater than ourselves. For myself, I know that if I am full of resentment and looking for someone to blame, I can’t feel much joy or gratitude. It’s not that circumstances shouldn’t change, but sometimes in order to find peace, I need to let go of my worries-to allow myself to find personal power in the things that can not be taken from me, such as the sparkle in a loved one’s eyes. That is what 'Christmas Eyes' is about.”

 

On a swinging “Good King Wenceslas,” which is subtitled “Good King Jazz Man,” trumpeter Andrew Carney is a featured guest. This joyous version of a traditional Yuletide favorite (which was originally an ancient drinking song) features Janelle as a jazz singer. She is clearly inspired by the playing of both Carney and Cargill

 

Silent Night” starts out in a straightforward manner, features some beautiful violin playing, and becomes jazz fusion with the passionate guitarist playing of Mele.

 

Of the originals, “Dancing Round The Tree With Santa” is perhaps the most fun and certainly quite fanciful. “This was inspired by a little girl from our family. I loved watching her when she was three, being so happy dancing around the Christmas tree even though there wasn't any music. In the song I have everyone dancing, including Santa.” The goodtime country song is followed by the traditional “Go Tell It On The Mountain” which is given a country/bluegrass treatment. Perrino takes a down home vocal that contrasts well with Janelle, and Mele's country guitar fits the piece perfectly.

 

Count Your Blessings,” which was introduced by Bing Crosby in the 1940s, gives one a rare opportunity to hear Tony Perrino playing some very effective flute. The superior obscurity has philosophical lyrics about being grateful that makes it a logical part of the Christmas season.

 

The country ballad “Christmas Love,” which Janelle co-wrote with Perrino, was a hit for her in 2001 and still sounds fresh and relevant a decade later. Its sentiments are timeless.

 

Since we had such a great violinist in Mark, and I had always wanted to hear an instrumental rendition of 'Silent Night,' I had his violin replace my vocal for the second version. The musicians created an interesting blend of jazz and bluegrass.”

 

The sacred piece “O Come O Come Emmanuel,” is described by Janelle as “a plea for heavenly help. When I hear it I feel like I’m standing out on a desert plain looking at a huge sky full of stars.” The CD concludes with a second version of “Christmas Eyes,” the album mix. The piece is a perfect Christmas Eve love song, six minutes that can be spent slow dancing in front of a warm fireplace.

 

The music on Christmas Eyes, which covers a wide range of styles and mixes together newer pieces with traditional songs, forms a heartwarming, compelling and festive set of music. In summarizing the message behind the music, Janelle Donovan says, “I hope that listeners will remember what they already know in their hearts, that Christmas is much more than the material aspects. The important things are the treasures in life, especially our loved ones. I also hope that listeners will find this music to be a lot of fun.” Considering how infectious the collection is, there is little doubt that Christmas Eyes will be enjoyed all year round.

 

Scott Yanow, Author of ten books including The Jazz Singers, Swing, Jazz On Film and Jazz On Record 1917-76

 

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