My Official Bio: For more info, please go to http://www.myspace.com/leeannzarrella
Hailing from Waterbury, CT, Lee-Ann Zarrella has been everything from a Division One soccer player, to an elementary school teacher, a coach, a drummer, a poet and a visual artist. Although she's been successful in all of these fields, the talent that has evoked the most emotion in both herself as well as everyone who has seen or heard her perform is her voice. Her unapologetic and raw talent is reminiscent of Janis Joplin, Etta James, Bonnie Rait, Eva Cassidy and Aretha Franklin. Yet, she adds her own color to a canvas of contemporary artists like Amy Winehouse, Susan Tedeschi, Jennifer Nettles and Beth Hart. She is her own voice, her own style, and she is determined to overcome all obstacles that come her way.
Her father was a small appliance repairman who constantly played the records of Dave Brubeck, Frank Sinatra, and Harry James. As a child, she would sit in the backyard and record stories and songs onto dozens of cassette tapes- and that was the extent of her formal voice training. When her father finally pulled out his old drum set, she taught herself how to play by breaking every cymbal and old drum head. Weeks later, she started a garage band. However, she gave up the dream of being in a band when she went to college in 1998, and it wasn't until November of 2004, when Phil Beach discovered her at an open mic in Southbury, CT, where she was reading prose and singing a capella, that she was given an opportunity to become a professional singer.
Through her experiences with Beach's band, Veloray (Phil Beach, Lee-Ann Zarrella, Fred Krug, Bob Csugie, Chris Fogelstrom), and through the encouragement of her producer Fred Krug, she finally took the risk and gave up teaching in order to become a singer. Fred coached her voice through the making of Veloray's 5 song demo, and later through a demo of cover tunes.
In no more than 2 years, Veloray played shows throughout New England and even as far away as Tempe, AZ. They played the Block Island Music Festival, were runners up at the Mohegan Sun Battle of the Bands in the summer of 2006, won the Western CT State University Battle of the Bands in 2006, and they won the I95.1 Garage Band Challenge, landing them an opening spot for Orleans at The Taste of Danbury. With Veloray, she performed live on I95.1, opened for Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers, and Veloray received a variety of great local press.
When Veloray decided to take a break in April of 2007, local producer Paul Leka (Reo Speedwagon, Gloria Gaynor, Harry Chapin, Steam, The Lemonpipers) took an interest in Lee-Ann's voice, and he inspired her to take her singing to the next level. So she and Fred did exactly that and started writing songs together.
Now that she and Fred have teamed up with engineer and producer Gary Fulton (Sonic House Post and Wager Studios), they are very excited about shopping the songs they have worked so hard on this past year. Gary hears the stuff that IS Lee-Ann, and by allowing her to spread her wings creatively, he has become her greatest mentor.
In addition to her solo music, Veloray has come back from a year-long break to finish their full-length album and begin playing only select dates, so soon Lee-Ann will be lending her vocals to the songs she helped write not so long ago. When completed, they plan on taking what once was local success to a much broader audience as well.
Lee-Ann is also looking forward to co-writing and recording a song with one of her greatest heroes, Tony Richards.
More recently, she sang background vocals for Aidan Nolan's upcoming album with internationally known producer Stephen Lightfoot. The experience was incredible, and Aidan and Stephen have already written a song for her!
She and Fred Krug also opened as an acoustic duo for Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Ronnie Spector in August of 2008.
You can feel the power of Lee-Ann's voice when you are simply listening, but there is nothing like experiencing her soul in the same room. Lee-Ann's never ending quest to perform has led her to the latest chapter in her career. In December 2007 Lee-Ann joined the local funk band FBI (Funk Brokers, Inc.) and the 11 piece Rubber City Blues Band. Both bands have a number of shows scheduled for 2008.
Some venues L-A has performed:
Symphony Space - NY, NY
The Red Door-Watertown, CT
Cafe 9 - New Haven, CT
Toad's Place - New Haven, CT
The Peddlar's Daughter - Nashua, NH
Captain Nick's - Block Island, RI
The Last Exit - Tempe, AZ
Main Pub - Manchester, CT
The Yucca Tap Room - Tempe, AZ
The Georgetown Saloon - Georgetown, CT
Daniel Street (Milford Oyster Festival) - Milford, CT
The Taste of Danbury 2006 - Danbury Green
Westover School - Middlebury, CT
Quassy Amusement Park
Outdoor Summer Venues include - Watertown Summer and fall Festivals 2008, Thomaston Summer Concert Series, Torrington Summer Festival, East Hampton Old Home Days Festival, Naugatuck Summer Concert Series