Solo artist and harmony singer Vonda Shepard wasn't born in a cardboard box, but her parents did carry her around in one for a few days after she was born.
"They were poor - they couldn't afford anything else," she said. "But it's not a sad story. They were artists, so it was fun."Born to a performance artist/mime father and a mother who worked as a model, Shepard took piano, acting, voice and ballet lessons while growing up in Los Angeles. Later, she landed backup vocal gigs with Rickie Lee Jones, Al Jarreau and Jackson Browne.
After two albums for Reprise, Shepard just released her latest effort, "It's Good, Eve," on the Agoura Hills independent VesperAlley Records. She's joined by Lili Haydn (violin), Van Dyke Parks (accordion) and Browne (backup vocals) on the often-acoustic collection of original material.
"At first I wanted to start my own label, but it was such a full-time job that it became too much," Shepard, 32, said from her westside home. "It was taking away from my creativity."
It was while attending a convention of triple-A (adult album alternative) radio stations in Boulder, Colo., last year that Shepard met the owners of her current musical home.
"We've been waiting for a format like triple-A where you can hear Crowded House, Joni Mitchell and R.E.M.," she said. "It's a trend in radio that's growing throughout the country."
- Fred Shuster