Wendy’s Music Bio 2023
Poet, artist, musician, Wendy has been writing music even as she was learning the piano at age 7. Her love of writing, poetry, and music has been longstanding, and she took piano lessons through grade school and high school with a few years off when her first teacher retired until she found a new teacher. She played the French Horn in a middle school musical, and the band teacher tried to recruit her to band to no avail. Wendy sang in choir at church and in middle school and was cast in three musicals where she gained stage experience.
As a dance student and a gymnast, she performed on stage in Jazz dance, and in gymnastic performances in various venues. She often sang solo or lead songs for the American Baptist Youth Association when she held various positions of leadership as a youth.
Her piano lessons included classics of Bach, Beethoven, Rachmaninov to traditional American composers, to pop music, rock music, and jazz, which her instructor insisted she play to learn in order to better read the music and rhythm and not rely on playing by ear so much to hymns and traditional gospel music.
Wendy wrote poetry and submitted art to Kennings Literary Magazine at Hanover College where she was on the editorial board, often voting against her own submissions to make sure they ‘earned’ their place in the magazine. She picked up a guitar sometime during the college years, and learned a little bit, enough to teach a neighbor in Camden, NJ how to play the intro to Metallica’s Sandman while she was there on an educational mission.
From scribbling penciled in notes on staff paper, to singing new songs into creation while mopping the floor, Wendy has continually created music and lyrics to entertain her children, lighten up difficult tasks, and punctuate events, even while playing and practicing instruments gave way to other duties and interests.
After her divorce and with her grown children having left the nest, she remembered her long list of things she longed to do someday when she had the time. She went to the local music store and got her Sigma Martin and a little Luna amp with some cords and chords to get back into playing guitar.
She began writing music even as she relearned basic guitar skills, and eventually got an 88 key digital piano as well. It was after her dog, Freyja, died of cancer, that she began to play daily and threw herself into the music as she grieved during the times she would have been walking, feeding, or grooming the beautiful Bouvier who had been her strength and companion.
As a writer and poet, she begins most songs that have lyrics with the lyrics and builds the music around the words. Instrumentals are composed primarily on their main instrument whether that is guitar, piano, or harmonica. With her uncanny knack for having memorized most of the parts of thousands of songs, she will often interject lyrics, melodies, harmonies, or background vocals from famous songs into random conversations, free time music play, or to match or reveal a background noise that resembles the reference song.
In Milwaukee she began attending musical improvisation workshops where she took her rudimentary skills and began unlearning the rules of music and met Rosalie Robison with whom she would release the experimental, Blues inspired collaborative album, Patchwork Blue. To her astonishment, Wendy realized that she had picked up an enormous and somewhat debilitating case of stage fright, that she spent years working through to be able to play and sing in front of people again.
She took a guitar class at MATC with Berkeley trained Steve Peplin of the band Strangelander and was mentored and encouraged by multi-instrumentalist and poet Rick Ollman, pianist Dean Lea, and locally renowned jazz guitarist Manty Ellis among many other accomplished musicians who attended and led the improvisation workshops. She performed several times with Unrehearsed MKE alongside other musicians in the Milwaukee area.
The open mic stages in Bloomington, Indiana where she moved after leaving Milwaukee, provided the platform and encouragement to continue getting on stage and working through the jitters, the jello legs, the fumbling for the lines, and generally building her confidence for in-person performance. During that time, she released several EPs, a classical crossover trilogy, and some singles even while working on the latest collaborative EP with Rosalie entitled, Celestial Tryst.
Her musical influences run from 80s pop music, 90s grunge rock, 90s punk rock, Moody Blues, Grateful Dead, Ramones, Country music, Dolly Parton, Cher, Madonna, Cyndi Lauper, 00’s pop music, Taylor Swift, P!nk, Old Blues, Mississippi John Hurt, Tracy Chapmen, Pink Floyd, Folk music, Southern Gothic, Cello music, Baroque music, Tchaikovsky, Joni Mitchell, Patti Smith, Aretha Franklin, Eartha Kitt, Ella Fitzgerald, Roberta Flack, Sister Rosetta Tharp, Rhiannon Giddens, Kirk Fletcher, Ron Carter, Bob Weir, and numerous other bands and musicians.
As poets and punks are rebels by nature, there’s no getting away from the sense of observation and concern over the state of the earth and the humans who inhabit it, and Wendy often writes and sings of love, loss, and hope, even as she advocates for nature and justice and a rising tide of human consciousness and spiritual connection.
Poetic Mixtures (Poetry with soundscapes)
Nothing to See Here (Studio experiments)
Patchwork Blue (Collaborative Blues inspired experimental)
Infection Trilogy (Classical crossover)
Fancy Car (alt rock single)
A Truth and A Lie (post punk single)
Celestial Tryst (Collaborative romantic indie pop)