Vanessa Van Spall & Ian Hisert

Vanessa Van Spall & Ian Hisert

BandPopFolk

Vanessa Van Spall's brand of piano pop weaves a rich tapestry of emotional reflections, hopes and dreams, with a power, tenderness and honesty in the vocals that draw upon havng lived through the tragedies and comedies of life.

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Biography

S.F. BASED CONFESSIONAL SINGER/SONGWRITER
WHIPS UP A HEARTFELT, INCISIVE AND BITTERSWEET ‘COTTON-POLY BLEND’
OF ROCK, BLUES, GOSPEL AND POP ON HER INDIE DEBUT
* * *
Showcasing The Diverse Songwriting Skills of Van Spall and Keyboardist Ian Hisert
The Album’s 12 Tracks Were Produced By Veteran Rock Drummer Atma Anur (Journey, Third Eye Blind, David Bowie)
* * *
Van Spall’s Kickoff Single “Save Me” has been on the top 10 on the FMQB AC Radio Charts 5 weeks in a row!

Everyone knows that California’s Bay Area is full of brilliant “techie geeks” and incredible indie musicians, but we rarely think of these two different worlds colliding. That’s about to change with the emergence of Vanessa Van Spall, a powerful confessional singer-songwriter who deferred her lifelong goal of making music to enter the lucrative (and far less risky) world of information technology.

While working in corporate project management, she won the attention of a colleague, Ian Hisert, by showing him some database tricks. By night, Hisert was a keyboardist in a popular local 80s band, and he inspired Van Spall to stop being afraid of her dreams and get working on her first album.

The two began performing together at Bay Area hotspots like San Francisco’s Blondie’s Bar & No Grill, Starry Plough in Berkeley and The Bistro in Hayward. The compelling result of their eventual songwriting collaboration is Van Spall’s stylistically diverse debut Cotton-Poly Blend, whose 12 tracks draw from her love for rock, blues, gospel and pop, as well as a cool mix of Hisert’s lighter side with her unique dark and brooding vibe.

“Save Me,” the infectious, Fiona Apple-flavored first single, recently spent 5 weeks on the top 10 of FMQB’s AC radio charts. FMQB tracks Secondary and Tertiary Hot AC Radio stations across the country.

Cotton-Poly Blend was produced by veteran rock drummer Atma Anur, whose extensive resume boasts workwith everyone from Journey and Third Eye Blind to Richie Kotzen and David Bowie. True to the spirit of eclecticism that the album title promises, Anur adds exotic elements of Indian Bangra music to the mix.

“I originally met Atma when I was 16 and was on the path of having a musical career that I always should have been on,” says Van Spall, whose early musical memories include harmonizing with her friend at church at age 12. “He encouraged me to sing back then and meant a lot in my life, but we lost touch for a long time after that. I went to college, got a degree in history from San Francisco State and got married while he moved to L.A. I didn’t see him for ten years and then ran into him just as our careers were moving in similar directions. It was a great experience to work with him after all that time.”

While the singer attributes her edgy, brooding side to “typical artistic temperament,” there is an ultimate optimism in her lyrics that gives Cotton Poly-Blend an overall feeling of optimism after a series of struggles. The title of the forward thinking, easy rocking “Hopeful” captures that sentiment beautifully, as does “Follow Me,” in which she sings eloquently about that point in her life when she was struggling with the dilemma of finally pursuing or giving up her dreams. Her lyrics provide heartfelt, bittersweet and piercingly incisive reflections on the ups and downs she has been through. Musically, it’s just like the title implies, capturing multiple moods and styles—from unplugged acoustic numbers to more synthesized ‘80s influenced songs.

“This album represents the culmination of a few years worth of work, spanning a number of seasons in my life,” she says. “A lot of the songs were written right after my divorce. In fact, a lot of them came from a period where I was in the middle of that, while at the same time moving residences and being laid off from work. I think that all of the life experiences have made me a kinder person overall. I remember being very critical when I was younger, but time and these hard experiences mellowed me out and gave me a deeper understanding about other people.

“Maybe I never should have run from my dreams,” she adds, “but my songs reflect a broader life experience than I had starting out at 16. I hope people can relate to that and appreciate it. This music is for anyone who’s ever made mistakes, been afraid or just taken the long way to get there.”

That long road was paved with a great deal of musical ambition from the get-go. The daughter of a church music minister, Van Spall—who moved back to her hometown San Francisco during high school after four years in Chicago--began performing for live audiences at age 5, started piano lessons at 6 and won her first statewide songwriting competition in second grade. While she performed in musical theatre in high school, the lifelong choir singer grew disenchanted with this type of performing “since I didn’t like the acting part and felt it was more important to express my own voice. That’s where songwritin

Lyrics

Hopeful

Written By: Vanessa Van Spall/Ian Hisert

An hour past the sunrise
In a San Francisco morning mist
Driving down Van Ness toward the shoreline
Through the fog daylight persists

There’s not that many people here
And everything looks new
It’s surprising how the morning
Can sometimes brighten up my view

Chorus:
And I sure feel hopeful
Hopeful that the day will be beautiful and chase despair away
I sure feel hopeful
Hopeful that the day will be beautiful and chase despair away

I’ve been on this street before
Probably a thousand times
But I never headed toward the shore
Never saw the turning tide

Maybe it’s the lighting
Maybe my new direction
What had never seemed inviting
Now looks at me and beckons

(Chorus)

© Vanessa Van Spall, Ian Hisert

Palm of Your Hand

Written By: Vanessa Van Spall

When the sun casts a long shadow
Over the rolling hills
And the wild romance of our hearts has become still

That’s when I know you’ll be here for a long time
Interlacing Your fingers
Through my days and You hold me in the

Palm of Your Hand
Safe in the
Palm of Your Hand
I am
Engraved on Your hand
Where I’ll never leave

I see the wind blow a wavy pattern through the shifting sand
Looks like long fingers tracing on the barren land

I’m still standing here, my accusers can’t be found
After all these years,
You’re still writing on the ground where I’m standing in the

Palm of Your Hand
Safe in the
Palm of Your Hand
I am
Engraved on Your hand
Where I’ll never leave
Where I’ll never leave
Where I’ll never leave

Not Sorry

Written By: Vanessa Van Spall

My liaisons with loneliness
Made me do things I’m not proud of
I said goodbye to my heart
When I began my search for love

My encounters with emptiness
Caused me to break some rules
My pursuit of happiness
Has ranked me with fools

But I’m not sorry
Excuse me if I don’t repent, and I don’t beg your pardon
No, I’m not sorry
I confess to no regrets because, in fact, there are none
But I’m not sorry
Excuse me if I don’t repent and I don’t beg your pardon
No, I’m not sorry

Forgive me if I don’t apologize
I cannot say it would be wise
The wave of remorse could be deadly
Flooding my emptiness by drowning me

But I’m not sorry
Excuse me if I don’t repent and I don’t beg your pardon
No, I’m not sorry
I confess to no regrets because, in fact, there are none
But I’m not sorry
Excuse me if I don’t repent and I don’t beg your pardon
No, I’m not sorry

And I’m not praying anymore
I know I’m on my own
Maybe it wouldn’t be this way
If I hadn’t felt alone

But I’m not sorry
Excuse me if I don’t repent and I don’t beg your pardon
No, I’m not sorry
I confess to no regrets because, in fact, there are none
But I’m not sorry
Excuse me if I don’t repent and I don’t beg your pardon
No, I’m not sorry

© Vanessa Van Spall, Ian Hisert

Follow Me

Written By: Vanessa Van Spall

Let the dream break
Let it fall away
The calling inside of the ache
Will remain

When all seems lost
And you’re torn apart
Then your life is just about
To restart

A message from
the still voice, still
whispering below
all the noise

Follow me
I’ve always been by your side
Follow me
And let me be your guide

Wonders on earth
An ecstatic sky
New visions rushing
Through your mind

You answered the call
That you finally heard
Now escape to
Chase the Word who cries

Follow me
I’ve always been by your side
Follow me
And let me be your guide
Follow me

Leave your past behind, and do not weep for nature’s crime
The healer of your mind can also resurrect the time

Let the dream break
Let it fall away
The calling inside of the ache
Will remain

Follow me
I’ve always been by your side
Follow me
And let me be your guide
Follow me…

© Vanessa Van Spall, Ian Hisert

Save Me

Written By: Vanessa Van Spall

Brush the hair from my eye
Hear my unspoken cry
But don’t say a word
I’ll know that you’ve heard
By your tenderness

You save me
Save me each day from the world’s cruel way
You keep me
From falling, from drifting away

I’ll wipe the tear from your eye
Hear your disheartened sigh
Hold your head to my breast
I will love you the best
With my tenderness

You save me
Save me each day from the world’s cruel way
You keep me
From falling, from drifting away

My heart would recede
Sink under my need
Without your affection
I bleed and I bleed
I’ll push back your sorrow
Listen to your soul
Release my affection
I won’t let you go

I’ll save you
Save you each day from the world’s cruel way
I’ll keep you
From falling, from drifting away

You save me
Save me each day from the world’s cruel way
You keep me
From falling, from drifting away

Merry Christmas Song

Written By: Dayavanth M. Emmanuel

Long long ago
On a star studded night
As the morning star paved a way of light
Wise men from afar came to a manger
Where the shepherds were lead by an angel
To see worship the light of the world
Born to give sunshine if we trust in his word

We wish you a merry Christmas
We wish you a merry Christmas
We wish you a merry Christmas and a happy new year
We wish you a merry Christmas
We wish you a merry Christmas
We wish you a merry Christmas and a happy new year

Now it’s time to rejoice
A new day has dawned
And the sunshine will light every heart
Heaven and earth can now be one
For there’ll no longer be worlds apart
Sing hallelujah sing to the Lord
Glory to God forever and ever

We wish you a merry Christmas
We wish you a merry Christmas
We wish you a merry Christmas and a happy new year
We wish you a merry Christmas
We wish you a merry Christmas
We wish you a merry Christmas and a happy new year

Let peace on earth and goodwill to men
Reign forever more, let’s say “amen”

We wish you a merry Christmas
We wish you a merry Christmas
We wish you a merry Christmas and a happy new year
We wish you a merry Christmas
We wish you a merry Christmas
We wish you a merry Christmas and a happy new year

Chasing The Weekend

Written By: Lit By Lightning

You send a postcard with a picture of the ocean
Water rockin’ back and forth I feel the motion
Can't even read what you wrote in the smeared ink
Paper and words marked with tears making me think

Heels on the sidewalk
Sound in the dead of night
I'm walking home now
Something isn't right

Chasing, chasing the weekend
Chasing, chasing the weekend
Making time for you and me
Making up our story
Chasing, chasing the weekend

You used to touch me with a car alarm vibration
Screaming in time to the beautiful invasion
But now I stare into the screen and type the letters
What made me think that I could do this forever?

Heels on the sidewalk
Sound in the dead of night
I'm running home now
Something isn't right

Chasing, chasing the weekend
Chasing, chasing the weekend
Making time for you and me
Making up our story
Chasing, chasing the weekend

Heels on the sidewalk
Sound in the dead of night
I'm running home now
Something isn't right

Chasing, chasing the weekend
Chasing, chasing the weekend

©2009 Lit By Lightning

Marked With A Kiss

Written By: Lit By Lightning

Marked with a kiss
Remember this
Marked with a kiss
Photograph this
Only taken in my mind
Only taken in my mind

And there's the couch we sat on
Together scared of our dreams
There in the basement café
Monday night
And there's the drink you bought me
To keep my hands from shaking
It wasn't you, it wasn't me
It was just...

Marked with a kiss
Remember this
Marked with a kiss
Photograph this
Only taken in my mind
Only taken in my mind

Now there's my hand inviting
And yours is reaching out too
The door to our adventure
Open wide
And it's our eyes that whisper
And tell us both what to do

It wasn't you, it wasn't me
It was just...

Marked with a kiss
Remember this
Marked with a kiss
Photograph this
Only taken in my mind
Only taken in my mind

My mind is filled with pictures I just didn’t notice at first of you and me
Only now that I know what it was all about I see

It wasn't you, it wasn't me
It was just...

Marked with a kiss
Remember this
Marked with a kiss
Photograph this
Only taken in my mind
Only taken in my mind

Saving Us For Later

Written By: Lit By Lightning

It’s Friday night
I’m getting’ bored
Been waiting on you
And the perfect time to

Let it out, let it out, let it out like the rain
Let it out, let it out, let it out like the rain
Water down, water down, water down all the pain
Let it out, let it out, let it out like the rain

I’m getting’ thirsty
Could I put you on
Kettle on the stove
Will you ever blow?

Let it out, let it out, let it out like the rain
Let it out, let it out, let it out like the rain
Water down, water down, water down all the pain
Let it out, let it out, let it out like the rain

I'm not the kind to keep
All my wrapping paper
I can't live my life
Saving us for later

Water's boiling now
But I'm already gone

Let it out, let it out, let it out like the rain
Let it out, let it out, let it out like the rain
Water down, water down, water down all the pain
Let it out, let it out, let it out like the rain

I'm not the kind to keep
All my wrapping paper
I can't live my life
Saving us for later

©2009 Lit By Lightning

Discography

Cotton Poly Blend (2007)
Time Converged (2002)

Set List

Original music with a few covers.
Up to three 45 minute sets.