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Judge for ToniLee 1

Jamestown , CA
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Portrait of ToniLee 1
All songs written copyright ToniLee. * Except"Home". Guitar and vocals ToniLee

I have been asked to share some info about myself by fellow Ourstage fanatics, so I will post an article . Thank you for listening!!!!

ToniLee shares energy, soul in her music

By JEFFREY WILLIS, Daily News Copy Editor

It's a woman and her guitar up on stage. The blonde is tall, although you can't tell by the way she's sitting. In between each of her songs, she stops for a moment to talk with the audience. She lets out a full-body laugh and starts playing Stevie Nicks' classic "Landslide." The song is at an instrumental point where the guitar chords seem to dance together, when suddenly a motorcycle's engine is revved outside, shaking the world around it like a huge clap of thunder. Everyone turns to look. She doesn't. She keeps playing, her head rocking back in forth in time with her fingers on the guitar. The motorcycle leaves and all that you hear are those dancing chords. Then ToniLee starts singing the next verse, seemingly oblivious to anything but her music. "Some people play it for business. Some people play it for pleasure. I do this because I love to give energy to the audience," she said while on break at the Boathouse Oyster Bar. "I love to give, and when I give I get to take something, too. "It's a feeling that I couldn't explain. It's an emotion that I take home with me, and it makes me go. It makes me carry on. When I'm singing, I'm giving you my soul." ToniLee Abt, professionally known as just ToniLee, grew up in California and said she had been playing for as long as she could remember. "I always wanted to be a singer since I was a little kid. I used to listen to Joan Baez and imitate her on camping trips. My parents went camping a lot. I'm a hippie kid," she said. She also admits her singing wasn't always what people wanted to hear. "My friends told me to shut up," she said. "I remember once it was in 10th or 11th grade and I wanted to go out with this really cute guy, and my friends said you can go out with him if you don't sing in the car. "I sang as loud as I could in the car that night." It was about that same time that she first started playing in a band. "In 10th grade, these guys who were like 25 came to my choir class and asked me if I'd be in their band," she said and jokingly added, "I don't think they wanted me to be in their band, they just thought I was cute. And they wanted my cute friends to go hang out with them." She said her influences at the time were Foreigner, Loverboy, Black Sabbath and Pat Benatar. "I love '80s hair-rock big time," she said. "I sang in an '80s hair-rock band for a long time." And, yes, she did have the hair. Today she listens to Sheryl Crow, Edwin McCain, '70s rock, bluegrass and the new wave of pop-country music. Although throughout the years she worked as everything from a waitress to a real estate agent, ToniLee said she has always focused on her music, playing in several different bands. She even won the Washington Area Music Association Award for best vocalist in the rock category. "They put me in the guys' category because there were no other girls. And I won, which was really cool," she said. As far as being in such a male-dominated business, she said it does require a lot of work to earn respect. "The hardest people it's been to prove myself to has been other male musicians," she said, "but as far as crowds go, they love seeing a girl." After playing in bands for several years, she said she wanted to try a solo career. "One day I just decided that I wanted to do it all myself. It was just something that I had to prove to the world and to me," she said. Which brings ToniLee to her next big project. After playing solo gigs for years, she is releasing her first CD, appropriately titled "Just Me," which features all original music. She said the best way to describe her music is simply "chick rock," and added that although she would love to have a CD with a full band, most people said they wanted to hear her traditional acoustic sound. She also noted that a benefit to making the CD was being able to sing harmonies, which she's unable to do when performing live. ToniLee said the actual process of making the CD "was just tedious, and exasperating and fun all at the same time." And as far as where she goes from here, she said, "I want to sell my CD. I want to sell my songs. I would love to hear Faith Hill sing one of my songs or something. And I love that people love me and want to hear me sing." The CD "Just Me" can be purchased when she's playing at her venues.

ToniLee performs at the following places and times: Tuesday: Boathouse Oyster Bar, 8 p.m.-until Wednesday, Thursday: Dock O' The Bay Beach Bar, 7 p.m.-until Friday: Ramada Plaza Beach Resort, 4-7p.m. Friday, Saturday: Caffe Italia, 7 p.m.-until, dinner music