Denise Ostler
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Denise Ostler

Band Comedy Singer/Songwriter


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My first CD "Welcome to Asheville" just out July 2009



I spent my childhood in the walnut & peach orchards of the California Central Valley with my Texan grandparents who listened to country music and made me my first instrument: a cigar box strung with rubber bands. At home with my mother we listened to Miriam Makeba, Mose Allison, Joan Baez, Peggy Lee, Carmen McCrae, the Porgy & Bess soundtrack, and Rachmaninoff. I took up violin in elementary school and sang in the chorus. It was a total rush, no kidding. In high school, I played in the orchestra pit for local productions of obscure musicals. It was a total rush too, no kidding. I lived in Paris France for a year where I played tunes from my childhood on my violin in the subway. In college I taught myself to play the dulcimer by lifting the tunings off a Joni Mitchell album and wrote a few songs of my own.

Since coming to Asheville 17 years ago from Portland Oregon, I have worked as a hypnotherapist, sculptor, and housepainter. It has not been a total rush, no kidding. I have been studying voice and composition with Danny Ellis off and on for over 10 years.

A few years ago I fell in love with an antique ukulele. It's a lot like a cigar box with rubber bands. My first song was a jingle for a local TV show called Kiss My Asheville. Many tipsy friends felt spontaneously guided to contribute to the writing of this song which is now called Welcome to Asheville. Trouble at the West End Bakery soon followed. The diversity of people that relate to this song continues to surprise. I'm ARC Overnight is an homage to late night DJs everywhere and actually gets played at 1 a.m. on WNCW. Eliot Wadopian and River Guerguerian lend a nice groove. People ask about the Beaver Lake song: it's just based on a dream I had. Some of my songs have French lyrics which are translated loosely within the English lines. I've played 2008/09 at house parties, Asheville Fringe Festival, Asheville Rejects Film Festival, Jubilee Cancer Benefit, and La Zoom Tour Bus. I was an alternate finalist for Flat Rock songwriting contest 2008 and hope to place in top 10 this year. Monday nights I often sing at Tressa's Jazz & Blues Club in downtown Asheville.