Deborah Crooks is a vibrant artist carrying on the San Francisco tradition of powerful female singer/songwriters with literate lyrics and progressive musical attitudes; well respected within the music scene and increasingly so outside of it
The California-born and bred singer/songwriter grew up at the nexus of two tectonic plates; close to a city known for its history of social, musical and political upheaval. But the lid really came off of Crooks’ creative self during her studies at Colorado’s The Naropa Institute, whose ecumenical Buddhist-based educational philosophy of the school inspired Crooks to take up Buddhist practice, begin studying yoga and to see her creative side as a spiritual outlet. Around the same time Crooks experienced the Telluride Folk Festival, and was inspired to walk in the footsteps of such literate artists as Michelle Shocked, Lucinda Williams and Shawn Colvin.
Having built a worldview through the lens of opportunity and tragedy, Deborah sees in her surroundings the opportunity to make the world a better place. She has lived through earthquakes, personal loss and even the 9/11 attacks in New York City. As a songwriter, Crooks reflects the contradictions she sees in the world in song, unveiling in her lyrics truths that are simultaneously pragmatic and mystical. The Blues/Americana musical blend that is her canvas is simply the base from which Crooks’ songs grow. Ultimately, her music is a cultural ecotone born of her California roots, her spiritual development, her transcendent instinct and the quest for enlightenment that is both of and divergent from the disparate influences that bore it. The various tensions that swirl about the life of Deborah Crooks have catalyzed a songwriting talent that is soul-wise and edgy. Combine this with Crooks’ distinctive voice and you’ve discovered an artist capable of owning a room. Deborah Crooks doesn’t so much blow you away as she creeps into the questing places in your soul and insinuates herself as the reflective voice that sheds wisdom on a worrisome world. It’s this quality that first gained Crooks the attention of RockerGirl Magazine for her 2003 debut EP 5 Acres. The Roberta Donnay-produced EP landed Crooks on the RockerGirl Discoveries compilation and gained Crooks a national audience for the first time. In 2007 Crooks followed up with an EP entitled Turn It All Red, a stepping stone to her first full-length album, the stormy Adding Water To Ashes, released in 2009. 2010 saw the release of two EPs from the prolific singer/songwriter, which she recently repackaged into one CD '2010,' made possible by a Bay Bridged Grant. The recordings demonstrate Crooks’ social conscience in full force and display some of her most focused songwriting to date alongside a powerful cover of Neil Young’s “Heart Of Gold.
A frequent performer, Deborah regularly collaborates in the studio and onstage. She recorded a 5-song CD with Alex Walsh, ‘The Crooks/Walsh Blues, (2009)’ the same month she toured the Northwest as part "Indie Abundance™ Music, Money & Mindfulness" with two other artists. She's co-hosted the local chapter of Songsalive! participates in the ongoing Bay Area Song Collective and co-writes with many other artists. Notably side collaborations have included co-writing with Pop Tuna’s B.Z. Lewis, resulting in the tracks "You Are Home" (chosen for both the Java with Jahvalin Indie Artist CD 2005 and the Indie Music for Life), "The More I Know" (2005) and "All This Love," (2006); and with Stefan Gustafsson (Luminous Family Trust).
In 2010, she co-founded The Great Idea Tour with fellow songwriter and yogini Jean Mazzei, performing at music venues and LuluLemon stores across the nation to promote music and mindfulness, and was a featured speaker at SXSW Music about ‘people, purpose, passion and performance.” She's also appeared at MacWorld 2010 in SF, where she spoke about songwriting and the creative process of record production.