Gig Seeker Pro


San Francisco, California, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2017

San Francisco, California, United States
Established on Jan, 2017
Band Pop Synth




"Debbie Neigher Steps Out of Her Comfort Zone With Bold New Project Lapel, Shares Lush 'Summer Vacation'"

After establishing her rep as a piano-playing singer-songwriter (and activist), Debbie Neigher felt the need to "rip the rug out from underneath me" -- musically, at least. The answer is Lapel, a new moniker whose track "Summer Vacation," from the upcoming debut album Periphery, premieres below.

"I just got to a point where I realized I realized the music that I'd always done didn't necessarily move me anymore," says Neigher, who was born in New York state and now resides in San Francisco. "I wanted to try something totally new while still trying to create really authentic, narrative music." And the easiest way to do that for Neigher was to step away from the instrument she's been playing since she was four years old.

"I made a rule for myself that I wasn’t allowed to use any piano on the (Periphery) record," says Neigher, who co-produced the album along with Beau Sorenson (Death Cab for Cutie, Sparklehorse, Tune-Yards). Taking influence from artists such as St. Vincent and Tune-Yards, Neigher "tried to create an album that I would want to go see live and create it in a new something I would want to listen to and dance to. So I started coming out with something that was a little more modern, incorporating electronic and organic sounds without sacrificing good lyrics, craft, innovation, all those things."

Neigher acknowledges that the process was terrifying. "There was a point where I wanted to scrap 50 percent of the record," she says, "which is actually a good sign. If you're creating something you're so uncomfortable with it means you're pushing yourself in new territories -- which is really good." She reached a comfort level with encouragement from others, including John Vanderslice, who produced Neigher's first two albums and owns Tiny Telephone studios where Periphery was recorded. The title track, she says, was a song that helped her get over the hump, while "Summer Vacation" -- which was among those Neigher wanted to discard -- stands out from the rest of the album with its lush and organic feel. "I wanted to blend a lot of the classical and jazz training I had growing up with this kind of synth-pop trail that I was on," Neigher recalls. "I thought, 'I love all of these genres. How can I attempt to blend them together to forge a new creative path but still keep the craft of songwriting authentic to the types of songs I value?' It was really challenging, but I think I definitely found that common ground."

Neigher, who releases Periphery on Sept. 14, has been busy with other projects as well -- specifically chosen by Tune-Yards to create an original track for Red Bull Radio's "C.L.A.W." (Collaborate Legions of Artful Women) show and also performing at the San Francisco Unite for Justice rally protesting Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. She's formed a quartet to play live Lapel shows, and she envisions the moniker as a going concern -- and her most honest creative expression at this point in her career.

"I feel like it took a lot of years of writing and performing," Neigher says, "but I feel like this project finally feels like the music I was supposed to make. It feels like the best and most exciting thing to me right now, so there will definitely be more." - Billboard

"Lapel Makes Smart, Subtle Pop for Rage-Inducing Times"

Lapel Makes Smart, Subtle Pop For Rage-Inducing Times

Lapel performs at the Unite for Justice rally at San Francisco City Hall on Aug. 26. (Kendra Rom)
At August's Unite for Justice rally against Brett Kavanaugh's Supreme Court nomination, San Francisco singer-producer Lapel stood in front of hundreds of demonstrators at San Francisco City Hall to perform her song "Less of a Woman." The elegant indie pop tune, with a big, soaring hook designed for singing along, offers an affirmation that Lapel never heard growing up, but wishes she had: that whatever choice a woman makes with her body is valid.

As Lapel took the stage, exhilarated, a group of older protesters took her by surprise. The women lined up in red robes and white bonnets from The Handmaid's Tale, the Margaret Atwood novel and Hulu series where female characters are reduced to birthing machines with no say over their own bodies. The robed women stood in front of the stage ominously, underscoring the rally's message that, with the newly seated Justice Brett Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court, a woman's right to an abortion and affordable birth control is in jeopardy.

"It was really powerful. The mayor spoke. All these incredible people spoke," Lapel recalls, still breathless. "When your music can be combined with that, that's very, very special."

Lapel, aka Debbie Neigher, makes smart, subtle pop that is informed by her past as a social worker and present as a concerned citizen. Though her music fits just as comfortably at a music festival as does at a protest, she doesn't package it as a hipster-feminist soundtrack of the #resistance; instead, her warmth and genuine empathy are palpable in the lyrics.


Lapel's new, synth-driven indie pop album, Periphery, works like a conch shell: though pretty and delicate at first, a deeper listen reveals a howling wind of grief and rage. The Kavanaugh confirmation and its surrounding saga—Dr. Christine Blasey Ford's emotional testimony, the hasty FBI investigation, the female senators submitting their "yes" votes—is a recent source of Neigher's frustration. When she and I meet for coffee the Monday morning after Kavanaugh was confirmed, she says she's recovering from a stress-induced cold.

"I've been telling my friends the patriarchy crushed my immune system," she says. "I've been so angry for weeks."

Lapel's upcoming release show for Periphery, a Noise Pop production at San Francisco's Cafe Du Nord on Oct. 11, is one way she's taking action. Sales from her merch table benefit Planned Parenthood. The abortion rights advocacy organization NARAL will also have a table at the show informing concert-goers of volunteer opportunities.

Lapel. (Shervin Lainez)
Neigher's activist approach to her art stems, in part, from her previous career as an advocate for homeless youth. Upon moving to San Francisco after graduating from Tufts University in 2009, she became an employment counselor at Larkin Street Youth Services, where she also led art and music classes.

"It was one of the most incredible experiences of my life that I think totally rewired my brain," she says. "It taught me how to listen to people. And just like, the resilience and courage of these young people and to know that there's people like that all over the country is just—you know?"

Neigher left social work in 2013 to pursue music full time. She released two piano-driven solo albums under her full name and became a backing vocalist and keyboardist for a variety of local and national indie rock and pop artists, including Ezra Furman, Curls, The Family Crest, Andrew St. James, King Dream, The Sam Chase and the Untraditionals and Kendra McKinley.

Neigher, who is classically trained, says she gave herself a "no piano" rule for composing Periphery, her debut as Lapel. Though the album is a testament to her voice and vision, several collaborators helped her electropop compositions feel dynamic and alive. She enlisted Tiny Telephone Studios' Beau Sorenson, who has worked with Death Cab for Cutie, Tune-Yards and Superchunk, as a co-producer and "synth wizard." Jazz Mafia leader Adam Theis lent his expertise to the horn arrangements; KQED Women to Watch alum Minna Choi of Magik*Magik Orchestra composed gorgeous, sweeping string sections.

Bay Area's John Vanderslice Stays True to Analog and Indie Artists

On Periphery, Neigher processes large-scale social issues, but the album delves into pockets of pain. Much of the album alludes to Neigher's high school boyfriend, who died of an overdose several years ago. The two had kept in touch; the last time they spoke, he asked Neigher for sheet music to one of her songs.

"The title Periphery has a few meanings, but one of them was that I felt like he and other people battling addiction kind of live on this periphery between life and death," she says. "[The album] kind of my own personal arc of healing and processing around his death."

On the thumping "Stop Opening the Door," danceable yet wistful, Lapel wrestles with haunting dreams that remind her of her ex. On "Fumes," she clings onto fading memories of him: "My memories spit out random pictures like a broken slot machine / Skinny wrists and spotted arms trying so hard to cover me."

As Periphery traverses personal and political topics, Neigher modulates her voice from quiet whispers to frustrated screams, making audible a quiet, private pain and transforming it into a collective catharsis. - KQED

"SF singer-songwriter Debbie Neigher take music in new direction as Lapel"

SF singer-songwriter Debbie Neigher take music in new direction as Lapel
Ryan Kost October 12, 2018 Updated: October 14, 2018, 12:40 pm

Lapel, formerly Debbie Neigher, performs her debut album at Cafe du Nord on Thursday, Oct. 11.
Photo: Jana Asenbrennerova
After the opening act, the room began to swell. People pushed right to the front of the stage, all awash in the glow of soft pink and blue lights. Not long after, Debbie Neigher stepped out from a side room and the applause began, loud and long.

Neigher looked out, her smile as wide as her eyes, light catching the glitter on her face. She didn’t say a word; she just started singing.

“We take the asthmatic elevator to the top of the motel/ We stay up on the rooftop living off cheap champagne and caramels/ And I’m not coming down.” The song, “Snow Globes,” picks up right around then, the drums get louder, more immediate.

Neigher was into it.

This performance, on Thursday, Oct. 11, at San Francisco’s Cafe du Nord, doubled as an album release for Neigher. She’s been in the Bay Area music scene for a decade, but that night she was introducing “Periphery,” her debut album released in September under the moniker Lapel, a new project and a new direction for her. If she was nervous, she didn’t look it. She just looked at home.

A couple weeks earlier, sipping coffee on Valencia Street, she explained why that might be.

“It feels so much more like the music I’m supposed to be making,” she said.

Two things stand out about Neigher when you first meet her. First, she seems very, very — almost intimidatingly — cool. There are the dark-lined eyes and the small nose ring. She’s a person with bangs who can actually pull off bangs. The night of the show she was wearing a retro orange dress with a cape and clear plastic heels.

Second, she doesn’t seem to be aware of the first fact at all. She’s humble, self-effacing, incredibly earnest.

Lapel, formerly Debbie Neigher, performs her debut album at Cafe du Nord.
Photo: Jana Asenbrennerova
Neigher has been making music since she was about 13 or 14. At age 31, that means she’s been making music for more than half her life. When she started, a lot of piano-heavy music was making the rounds. Vanessa Carlton road a piano through traffic in a music video; Regina Spektor, Fiona Apple, Alicia Keys, they were all filling their pop songs with rich, heavy keys.

Listening to the music she’s put out over the years under her name — just Debbie Neigher — those artists’ influence, the whole feeling of early aughts nostalgia, stands out. And for a long while, Neigher was at home with that sound. But over the past couple years, it started to feel weird, like an itchy wool sweater or too-tight pants.

“I just felt like I wasn’t making music that compelled or excited or moved me,” she said.

So she started writing and creating in a different way. “What would I actually want to go see live? Who would I want to be a fan of? I want to move. I want there to be grooves and beats.”

She also made a rule for herself as she started to craft Lapel: no more piano.

“It was kind of taking up the entire frame of the photo of the songs,” she said. If she “scooped it out,” there was so much room for other things.

Lapel still sounds like Neigher, and her attention to songwriting remains. She manages to talk about death (“The day you died my heart cracked wide open/ The yolk’s been spilling everywhere/ There, I’ve gone and done it all again/ I’ve spent another song on you”); women’s rights (“You feel purpose with a kid on your hips/ I feel purpose with this on my lips”); even police brutality (“You take one look at me and you assume/ You have your uniform and I have mine/ What does yours get you this time?”) in ways that feel natural and right.

“It’s a really delicate dance because 99 percent of the time it comes out awful and trite,” she said.

And even though the piano is gone, her songs are full of sound. The night of her album release party at Cafe du Nord, the stage was occasionally packed with instrumentalists.

But Lapel — the name comes from Margaret Trudeau, a former first lady of Canada: “I want to be more than a rose in my husband’s lapel” — is also very much its own thing.

Liam McCormick has known Neigher for many years. She’d occasionally sing and play in his band, the Family Crest. McCormick remembers a night about a year ago when he and Neigher had gotten together to share some of their new music. She played him the stuff she’d been working on as Lapel.

“My head exploded when I heard her record,” he said.

He knew that she’d been experimenting with synthesizers, and it’s not that he doubted her ability — “She’s extremely talented,” he said, “but it was still hard to imagine her moving from the piano to that starker space. It worked. Effortlessly.

“I think it’s happened extremely organically,” he said. “She clearly spent a lot of time thinking about the production.”

The one through line, as McCormick sees it, is Neigher’s voice, it “stands out to me more than anything.”

That was true the night of the show, too. No matter how many people she’d invited on stage, Neigher’s voice cut cleanly through it all. She’s able to run through a series of notes with such an ease and speed that they all run together. (McCormick called it a “glissando.”)

Neigher hardly spoke onstage that night. There were a few words here and there, mostly thank yous — to her producer (Beau Sorenson) to the sound tech, to the crowd.

Instead, she just sang as Lapel, dancing to her own music, happy to let it speak for itself.

Lapel, formerly Debbie Neigher, after her concert at Cafe du Nord.
Photo: Jana Asenbrennerova - San Francisco Chronicle

"Debbie Neigher Unveils New Project, Sound Under Moniker Lapel"

Debbie Neigher unveils new project, sound under moniker Lapel
Ryan Kost September 28, 2018 Updated: October 3, 2018, 1:19 pm

Debbie Neigher, under her new moniker Lapel, is performing at Cafe Du Nord.
Photo: Shervin Lainez, apel
Debbie Neigher is not new to the Bay Area music scene. She’s been here for about 10 years, putting in time as a keyboardist and backup singer for local bands, including Ezra Furman and the Family Crest. She’s also steadily dropped her own (often piano-heavy) work over the years, tapping into sounds that recall a certain early-aughts nostalgia.

But Neigher is ready for a change. So, on Thursday, Oct. 11, at San Francisco’s Cafe Du Nord, she’ll be introducing audiences to Lapel, a new project that incorporates the attention to songwriting she’s always displayed, while pushing herself to embrace sounds that feel more current. Gone are the rich piano keys. Instead, Neigher plays in the emptiness that’s left behind, applying synthesizers and other electronic instruments to help accent vocals that are able to exist as both ethereal and assertive.

Neigher’s been moving into this project for a while. Now that she’s released her debut album, “Periphery,” she says she’s never made music that felt so right.

Lapel: 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 11. $15. Cafe Du Nord, 2174 Market St., S.F. - San Francisco Chronicle

"Dave Smith Instruments Artist Spotlight"

After years as a backing vocalist and keyboardist sitting in with bands like Ezra Furman, Curls (Christopher Owens of Girls), and The Family Crest, Debbie Neigher has stepped out on her own with Lapel, a new solo project from this San Francisco music scene veteran. By turns playful and personal, introspective and danceable, Lapel’s debut record Periphery (out September 14) — co-produced by Beau Sorenson (Death Cab for Cutie, tUnEyArDs, Bob Mould) and Neigher herself —marks a new sound for the artist, trading the piano-based indie pop of her past solo releases for an immersive electronic sound, with contributions from members of Geographer, Astronauts, Etc., and the Magik*Magik Orchestra. Neigher named the project for a quote by the Canadian activist Margaret Trudeau: “I want to be more than a rose in my husband’s lapel.” In other words, Lapel is a new beginning, but it’s been a long time coming. “It’s a proclamation,” says Neigher, “against allowing yourself to be defined or diminished by anyone else.” Lapel was recently hand-picked by tUnE-yArDs to create an exclusive track for her Red Bull Radio show C.L.A.W. (Collaborate Legions of Artful Womxn). Lapel has also performed at the Noise Pop Festival, and has been hailed by KQED as a “Bay Area Musician to Watch in 2018.”

We chatted with Debbie about how she’s using the Mopho x4.

What made you choose the Mopho x4?

“I was incredibly impressed by the versatility, power, and range of the Mopho x4, especially for its size and portability. I really haven’t found anything else quite like it. I’ve loved and trusted Dave Smith synths for years, so when it came time to purchase my own, this was an amazing option.”

How are you using it?

“I’ve used the Mopho x4 for many studio projects as well as live performances. In addition to my own project, Lapel, I’ve been a backing keyboard player and vocalist for over a dozen bands, and it really seems to be the one constant, magic ingredient that each band is excited to incorporate into their sound, no matter what their style is.”

What’s one of your favorite things about it?

“As a songwriter and composer, I really enjoy the journey of hearing a sound or chord or mood in my head, then attempting to pull that sound from the ether, to eventually hearing it back from speakers in the studio. It’s a surreal process trying to materialize sounds from your imagination, and when you have an instrument like the Mopho x4 with so much character and originality, it makes that process a lot more enjoyable.”

What does it give you that other synths don’t?

“It’s extremely rare to find a synth with such rich bass tones, dreamy pads, and piercing lead lines all in one, especially for the size. Additionally, the ability to connect it with the Sound Editor software has also allowed me to swap patches with other friends who have the Mopho x4 when I need to sub for them in other bands, which is an extraordinary help.”

Any interesting tricks or techniques you’d like to share?

“Having aftertouch is a huge asset for me, as I’m almost always playing another keyboard at the same time, and this frees up my other hand. I also love the Sub Octave and Noise features. The design and layout of the Mopho x4 is so intuitive that these knobs help me add grit and growl extremely quickly.” - Dave Smith Instruments / Sequential

"The Deli Magazine Artist of the Month"

Lapel is the winner of The Deli Magazine's fan-voted Artist of the Month Award for January 2018. - The Deli Magazine

"Mixtape: Bay Area Musicians to Watch in 2018"

The many challenges of 2017 didn’t magically disappear when the year ended, but one bright spot in 2018 is the wealth of emerging Bay Area musicians poised for big breaks. This mix showcases 14 local artists to watch in the coming months, highlighting a variety of genres including hip-hop, electronic pop, folk, and punk.

Several of the acts included here released acclaimed projects in 2017. Rose Droll’s debut EP, Photograph, introduced an extremely talented singer-songwriter who had, for years, accumulated countless home recordings but only recently began performing live. Madi Sipes & The Painted Blue are getting ready to release a second EP. (Last year’s Sex & Sadness received an endorsement from Elton John on his radio show.) Oakland rapper ALLBLACK had a similarly accomplished 2017, capped by the launch of the KimSon EP in October and a nomination for “Rookie of the Year” by Thizzler.

The mix also showcases several exciting, newer projects from great long-time Bay Area musicians. Curls was originally a studio collaboration to support the latest solo recordings of Christopher Owens of Girls, but they eventually emerged as a real band. Lapel finds local singer-songwriter Debbie Neigher moving away from folk and rock influences, instead exploring a new sound mixing by electronic pop and R&B. And while you might not yet be familiar with the intense post-punk of Fearing or the thrashy hardcore of Primal Rite, these bands draw talented members from local bands Creative Adult and Scalped, respectively.

Listen to the mixtape to learn more about all 14 artists.

Rose Droll, “A Change in Weather”

Curls, “Emotion”

Ricky Lake, “Wino”

Spiritual Cramp, “All My Friends Are Out Tonight (Alright)”

Ismay, “River of Light (Through the Inland Empire)”

Remember Karen, “Afternoon Waking Life”

Madi Sipes & The Painted Blue, “Sex & Sadness”

Just Rese, “Fluffy Pink Lights”

Fearing, “Black Sand”

Primal Rite, “Demon”

Lapel, “Less of a Woman”

The Saxophones, “If You’re On The Water”

Cryderman, “Albatross”

ALLBLACK, “Change The Gloves” - KQED

"Premiere: Lapel sings “Fumes” at 25th Street Recording"

If you follow Lapel on social media, you might have seen this video already. But for its official blog debut, we're bringing you her song "Fumes," performed at Oakland's 25th Street Recording, a dark-but-sparkling track with serious '90s vibes at the chorus.

"Fumes" comes from her celebrated full-length, Periphery — her first under the name Lapel — which wowed locals last year. Want to see her in person? You can check her out with Gardens & Villa at the Chapel on January 25.

Gardens & Villa, Lapel
The Chapel
January 25, 2019
9pm, $16 - The Bay Bridged

"5 Noise Pop Festival 2019 concerts to catch"

Who needs muddy fields and flooded Porta-Potties when we can depend every year on Noise Pop to turn our city into one big indie-rock stomping ground?

The 27th annual Noise Pop Music and Arts Festival brings more than 150 acts to the Bay Area for a mix of the usual big-name underground guitar acts, with plenty of other esoteric offerings. Spread over multiple days at more than a dozen indoor venues in the city and the East Bay, the best part is you can leave the sunscreen at home.

Here are The Chronicle’s picks for the acts to catch at Noise Pop 2019:

The Scottish indie pop group Teenage Fanclub.
Photo: Donald Milne
Teenage Fanclub
The Scottish indie pop band’s major-label debut, “Bandwagonesque,” was named record of the year by Spin magazine in 1991, beating out Pearl Jam’s “Ten” and Nirvana’s “Nevermind.” It never quite lived down the hype, but Teenage Fanclub’s bittersweet melodies still endure as the group makes an increasingly rare stateside appearance.

The Love Language, the North Carolina band fronted by Stuart McLamb, kicks off the night.

8 p.m. Monday, Feb. 25. The Fillmore, 1805 Geary Blvd., S.F.

My Brightest Diamond.
Photo: Heather Nash
My Brightest Diamond
Led by vocalist Shara Worden, My Brightest Diamond lingers between the classical and avant-pop worlds. She’s on tour in support of a new album, “A Million and One,” co-produced with the Twilite Tone (Gorillaz, Kanye West, Common, Kendrick Lamar), that further expands her musical palette.

But don’t snooze on opening acts Zola and Lapel. The latter is the alter ego of San Francisco singer-songwriter Debbie Neigher, who made her debut as Lapel with the album “Periphery” released last year.

8 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 26. Rickshaw Stop, 155 Fell St., S.F.

Albert Hammond Jr.
The Strokes member’s signature rhythm-guitar sound propelled the band to fame and sparked the rebirth of the New York City rock ’n’ roll scene at the turn of the century. Now going it alone, Albert Hammond Jr. is scheduled to perform in support of his fourth and latest solo album, “Francis Trouble.”

Support comes from the Los Angeles duo In The Valley Below and the She’s, the all-girl indie pop band made up of four San Francisco natives.

7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 27. The Independent, 628 Divisadero St., S.F.

Malaysian pop star Yuna’s latest album is “Chapters.”
Photo: Verve
The Malaysian pop singer, born Yunalis Mat Zara’ai, has drawn as much attention for her choice to wear a hijab as for her sweet, ’90s-influenced R&B songs. She performs material from her most recent album, “Chapters,” a collection of coming-of-age songs for a woman who grew up in a conservative home finding her way in the modern world.

Opening the show is Atsu, the Eritrean singer-songwriter out of Oakland, and Nicotine.

7 p.m. Friday, March 1. The UC Theatre, 2036 University Ave., Berkeley

Zach Condon of the band Beirut.
Photo: Christophe Archambault, AFP / Getty Images
The musical project of Zach Condon performs in support of the outfit’s latest release, “Gallipoli,” which once again conjures funeral mariachi horns, French chansons and Eastern European rhythms.

The bill also features Helado Negro, just one of the guises of the restless Ecuadoran-born Brooklyn musician Roberto Carlos Lange. His music channels his many influences — fusing syncopated Latin rhythms, crisp indie-rock riffs and soaring melodies.

7 p.m. Saturday, March 2. Fox Theater, 1807 Telegraph Ave., Oakland

The 27th annual Noise Pop Music and Arts Festival: Monday, Feb. 25-March 3 at various San Francisco and East Bay venues. Tickets to individual shows and events are available, some free. Festival badges $199-$850. For ticket information and the complete lineup, visit

Sound off! Your guide to Noise Pop Festival 2019 - San Francisco Chronicle

"We’re co-presenting Lapel and Emily Afton at Cafe du Nord. Join us."

If you haven't heard Lapel's debut record, Periphery, by now, after all our shouting about it, we aren't sure what it will take for you to do so.

One way you can help us help you: Head out to Cafe du Nord on October 11 and hear it live and in person.

To be clear, this isnt Lapel's "debut" in the truest sense of the word: Debbie Neigher has been slowly making a transformation from the piano-based balladry made under her given name to the smooth electronic sounds and urgent themes of Lapel. Featuring a backing band bursting at the seams with Bay Area music movers and shakers (members of Geographer, Astronauts, Etc., Magik*Magik Orchestra, and more), Periphery is one of the Bay Area's standout releases of 2018.

Lapel's getting some support from Oaklander Emily Afton and Meernaa. So come out to Cafe du Nord on next Thursday, and start closing out the year by looking back at some of the Bay's best.

Emily Afton, Lapel, Meernaa
Cafe du Nord
October 11, 2018
8pm, $12 (21+) - The Bay Bridged

"Lapel releases her debut album ‘Periphery’ featuring “Less of a Woman”"

Congrats are in order for San Francisco synth pop artist Debbie Neigher who now goes by the monkier Lapel. Today she drops her debut album Periphery featuring the single "Less of a Woman." The single alone was previously chosen by Harvard MBA grad and feminist musician Madame Gandhi (The Fader, Billboard, Vogue) for her weekly Spotify playlist, "The Future is Female."

This is a new venture for Lapel. “With Lapel, it finally feels like I’m making the music I’m supposed to make,” Neigher says. “It feels exciting and genuine to me. On this record, I really wanted to rip the rug out on everything I’ve done — I wanted a new name and a new sound. This is me finally stepping out and saying, ‘This is who I am and what I’m about.’”

Neigher needed a new name for herself and for this, we can thank author and actress Margaret Trudeau's 1977 interview in which she is quoted saying, "I want to be more than a rose in my husband’s lapel." This rang a bell with Neigher: “I love that quote. It’s about feminism. It’s about not wanting to be defined by someone else. Trudeau went on to have a significant impact as a mental-health advocate, too. She was an incredible woman."

New name. New album. New feels for the listener.

Periphery is out now. Have a listen and tell us what you think! - The Bay Bridged


Lapel’s intimate, ethereal “Lead Me Back to You” highlights an inner conflict born out of desire, denial & longing as she finds herself coming back to love.
For fans of Rhye, Tennis, St. Vincent
— —

Some attractions are too strong for us to ignore; for whatever reason, we find ourselves coming back to the same person again and again, despite our best attempts to fight the feeling. From an outsider’s perspective, it makes sense – there might be something there – but when we’re in the thick of it, we don’t see all the moving pieces; we just go from moment to moment, running like mice through a maze. Often it’s important to take a step back, out of your situation and your whole world, in order to understand (and deal with) yourself. Lapel’s rich, dreamy single “Lead Me Back to You” finds a moment of clarity within an introspective escape, blending deep emotion with vibrant sound to create a memorable and meaningful listening experience.

Show me both your hands,
we’ll leave the door open
Slow down.
You read both my palms
with both the blinds drawn,
I know now.
I was wrong…
Listen: “Lead Me Back to You” – Lapel

Atwood Magazine is proud to be premiering “Lead Me Back to You,” the lead single off Lapel’s upcoming debut album, Periphery (independently out September 14, 2018). Though new in name, Lapel is but the latest creative phase for San Francisco-based artist Debbie Neigher, who released two powerfully evocative albums, Debbie Neigher and Unravel, under her own name in 2011 and 2013 respectively. While her previous material ranged from classic Carole King-like singer/songwriter content to provocative indie folk and minimalist pop, Neigher’s work as Lapel feels intimately focused – both sonically and stylistically. Lapel is a concept as much as it is an artistic identity, a powerful reclamation and proclamation of the self.

Periphery - Lapel
Periphery – Lapel

Inspired by a famous 1977 quote from author and actress Margaret Trudeau – who, when asked about her previous marriage to the Prime Minister of Canada, replied, “I want to be more than a rose in my husband’s lapel” – Lapel is “about not wanting to be defined by someone else,” as Neigher puts it.

How many lives do I
have to live to get it right?
How many roads
do I have to drive
just to lead me back to you?
To lead me back to you, my love.
It feels only too fitting (with perhaps a dash of irony) that “Lead Me Back to You” should serve as the introductory single off Lapel’s forthcoming debut. The song highlights an intense inner conflict born out of desire, denial, and longing as the narrator finds herself coming back to love, and her partner, over and over again.

Lead Me Back to You - Lapel
Lead Me Back to You – Lapel

Smoky synth pads set the scene as Lapel sings to the lover she’s denied herself, asking for forgiveness for her failures to accept her feelings, and her love, sooner. Written like some sort of backroom, midnight confessional, “Lead Me Back to You” isn’t really about the relationship between oneself and another; it’s about one’s relationship with oneself, and the obstacles we place in our own path toward happiness and healing.

Why might we deny ourselves that which we want the most? How does our self-perception differ from reality – and how much control do we have over our own feelings? Lapel struggles to answer these questions in the anthemic chorus, diving into herself with a massive outpouring of emotion: “How many lives do I have to live to get it right? How many roads do I have to drive just to lead me back to you?” She’s ready to stop denying herself, but the road ahead is murky: It’s a task far easier said than done.

Give me both your hands,
I’ll leave my eyes open, go down.
I loved you in reverse,
the world was ready first,
I know now, this was real…
My judge’s robe pools at my feet,
like a winding black creek.
I’ll follow you upstream
if it’s not too late to wash me clean.
Lapel © 2018
Lapel © 2018

“This song is about the juxtaposition of being in love and being in denial… Denial that you may have missed your chance to be with the person you’re meant to be with, and more specifically, denial about one’s own sexuality in the process,” Lapel tells Atwood Magazine. “You can fool yourself into thinking you’ve moved on or things didn’t work out for a reason, but your mind keeps leading back to that same person from your past over and over again.”

She continues, “I really wanted the style of this recording to be an homage to Sinead O’Connor’s cover of “Nothing Compares 2 U”; the arrangement is so minimalist and yet the song is so gut-wrenching and powerful. So much of that impact comes from the lyrics and delivery of the vocals, and making sure that none of the instrumental parts are overdecorated, so it was a great challenge for [producer] Beau Sorenson and I to fine-tune the balance between minimalism and power in the production of ‘Lead Me Back to You.'”

How many lives do I
have to live to get it right?
How many roads do I have to
drive just to lead me back to you?
How many sleepless nights
next to someone else’s side?
I’ve been sleepwalking my whole life
just to lead me back to you,
To lead me back to you my love.
Lush and orchestral, emphatic and ethereal, “Lead Me Back to You” indulges in a blend of acoustic and electronic instrumentation as Debbie Neigher finds her self and her voice, as well as her sound. “I made a rule for myself on this new record – I wasn’t allowed to use any piano,” she explains. “This is me finally stepping out and saying, ‘This is who I am and what I’m about.’”

Lapel is truly a brand new world – an opportunity for Debbie Neigher to shed all pretense and be exactly what she wants to be. Expressive and raw, textured and dark, “Lead Me Back to You” is just the beginning – an introduction to what Neigher and Lapel have in store for us. Stream “Lead Me Back to You” exclusively on Atwood Magazine! - Atwood Magazine

"Tuesday Tracks: Your Weekly New Music Discovery – Sept. 18"

Lapel, “Summer Vacation” – Debbie Neigher, better known as Lapel, is an introspective feminist. Behind her carefully chosen name is the inspiration from a Margaret Trudeau quote: “I want to be more than a rose on my husband’s lapel.” Neigher’s worldview colors the lyrics of Lapel’s single “Summer Vacation.” Her synth-pop groove beautifully intertwines with the sentimentality behind her words. She sings full of reassurance toward her partner. - Riff Magazine

"Lapel Drives Social Movement Through Songwriting"

Lapel Drives Social Movement Through Songwriting
Debbie Neigher always had trouble expressing her feelings. Despite her parents’ careers in psychology, both she and her brother struggled with communication throughout their childhoods. Then, when she turned 13, Neigher started to write her own music. “My family wasn’t very open or communicative with our emotions,” says Neigher. “Songwriting has always been a place for me to experiment with that.”

What started as simply a way to express herself, developed quickly into a passion and a career. Over the past few years, Neigher has exploded into the Bay Area music scene with her rich vocals and touching songwriting. “Music has always been so present in my life from such a young age that it feels inherent and inevitable,” says Neigher. “It’s always helped to elicit what I’m feeling, provided a window into other cultures to learn about their history and politics, and forged a community for me at many stages in my life. It really just moves me like nothing else can.”

Neigher’s first serious project was her self titled band where she wrote, recorded, and performed all of her original songs with a full band; the sounds of which are teeming with heavy keyboard melodies and vocal foundation with harmonies, drums, bass and orchestral instruments. She released her first, self titled album, Debbie Neigher in 2011, and her sophomore album, Unravel, in 2013. In 2015, she released the popular single, It Never Snows Here, which confronts the passing of time and loneliness through the eyes of an East Coast native who moved out West. It’s the kind of slow, powerful ballad that will have you belting in the shower or in your car.

Now, she’s working under the moniker Lapel, where she still writes, records, and performs with a full band though now with an edgier, more worldly feel drawing from powerful female-fronted bands she’s inspired by like St. Vincent, Tune-Yards, and Sylvan Esso—and she stepped back from the piano in a major departure from her previous sound. Based off her new producer, it makes sense. Co-produced by Beau Sorenson (Death Cab for Cutie, Tune-Yards) and herself, her heartrending vocals are there, but you feel new hints of an artist in discovery, a sense of seeking and wild freedom. The result, as heard in her current single, “Less of a Woman” is staggering.

“I really wanted to make a stark creative departure from all of my past work, both sonically and visually, and it’s been incredibly challenging and rewarding trying to overhaul everything and pushing myself to dive into more uncharted creative territory,” says Neigher. “All of my previous albums were centered around the piano, which took up a ton of rhythmic and harmonic space, and was reminiscent of a style of music I hadn’t listened to for years. With this new project, I made a rule for myself that I wasn’t allowed to have any piano on the record, stripping away the main character I had relied on for years and instead challenging myself to use synthesizers and electronic percussion to build a different soundscape.”

The sound is modern and synth-driven pop with a classic songwriting style. Her love of old jazz standards by Duke Ellington and Harold Arlen and their sense of storytelling exudes as she focuses on writing strong bridges that take the listener somewhere else. Her new album, set to be released September 14, brings together notable local artists to help create her vision: Cody Rhodes (Geographer, Curls) contributed all of the live and electronic drums, Derek Barber (Bells Atlas) wrote guitar parts, Jess Silva added harmonies, and Scott Brown (Astronauts, Etc.) recorded the bass, with her longtime friends and musical collaborators the Magik*Magik Orchestra (Death Cab for Cutie, The Walkmen) writing and arranging the string parts on the record.

It’s in this body of work that her inner feminist comes out, and she touches on so many topical subjects like reproductive rights and self-worth. “One of my main goals of Lapel is women lifting up other women through music. So many of the bands/engineers/producers/venue staff/festival bookers/label heads in the music industry are male, and women face so much overt and subtle sexism in this business. I can’t count the number of times I’ve walked into a music venue carrying an instrument and people still assume I’m not in the band or I must be the singer because I’m a woman. It’s really important to me to have two women front and center in our live shows, commanding our instruments and voices, and singing about our personal experiences surrounding feminism, fear, self-doubt, and strength. We also raise money for Planned Parenthood at every show.”

This is nothing new for Neigher though as her songs have been used in the Lifetime series, Dance Moms, where the music spoke to young girls, many of which went on to cover her music or wrote to her to share their own similar experiences. “To me, that is really the greatest honor you can ever hope to achieve with your music.” Music to her goes beyond self expression; it has the power to impact beyond an individual level to a community and globally. “It helps people get lost, get found, get comforted, connect with others, feel like there’s someone else out there who knows what you’re going through.”

Lapel Press Photo 1 (Shervin Lainez)

Unsurprisingly, music has played a major role in Neigher feeling like part of the Bay Area community. When first moved to San Francisco at 22 years old, she spent three years working with homeless youth, and was endlessly moved by the children’s resiliency in the face of great trauma and uncertainty, especially in a city like San Francisco, where problems with affordability and class warfare are continually on the rise. “Continuing to participate and believe in the music community has helped me to remain optimistic about the city’s future,” Debbie says. “It’s served as a spark in the conversation on how to keep this city vibrant with art and culture.”

Most of the new album is centered around the death of her first boyfriend from a drug overdose, and all the different ways she tried to understand and cope with it. “It was both heart wrenching and incredibly therapeutic to go through the process of writing the record, and I really hope it resonates with those who have lost someone they’ve loved to addiction, or people who are struggling with it themselves.”

With that being said, she still wants people to move and dance at her shows. Where there’s room for movement and fun is the type of concert she personally enjoys going to the most, and thus the environment she wants to create with her own live performances. “I think even when the subject of a song is heavy or difficult, there is always hope there, because you’re out there sharing it in public, trying to reach out, connect, and uplift the people around you.”

When she’s not creating and recording her own music, Neigher plays keys for the Sam Chase and the Untraditional, King Dream, Andrew St. James, and recently sat in with Curls (Christopher Owns of Girls) and the Family Crest. She strives to connect with as many people as possible, both emotionally and viscerally. But her ultimate goal as an artist is to tour the world with her band—and to someday hear her music in a film as she is constantly pushing to further her communication through songwriting. It’s also a matter of finding fresh outlets to express herself with the shift in the music industry.

“ It’s very difficult being an independent musician in 2018 with the industry constantly changing and becoming oversaturated–I think a lot of pillars of the business are in upheaval now that record sales have plummeted, and everything feels much more economics/survival-based rather than creativity-based.”

At the same time, it’s her strength in helping others—and herself—that propels her forward. It’s all about taking the leap. That sensation transcends all aspects of her life to help her achieve self love on and off the stage. “You have to get onstage and fully commit to and believe in your flaws, secrets, quirks, and pain, or else people just won’t believe you or connect with you.”

Catch Lapel at their next show at Bazaar Cafe in San Francisco July 28th. The event is part of an all-day music marathon called “Bazaarstock,” honoring 20 years of local music. To stay up to date on new song releases and upcoming performances, follow along on social media @lapelsings and Spotify, and their website. - Rogue Habits

"Bands In Portrait: Lapel"

“I always look at past records like prom dresses,” explains San Francisco based singer-songwriter Debbie Neigher. “At the time you thought you were just the star — you felt so awesome, and you thought that you were wearing the most beautiful dress in the world...And then, you look back at photos, and you're like, 'How did I walk out of the house in that?'"

Neigher has been a songwriter in the Bay Area for around seven years, and right now she is in a period of transition. After touring piano-based music for almost a decade, she came to the point of reflection. “I just realized a few years ago that I hadn't...actually listened to that type of music in a long time. It was kind of just what I've always done...I just wasn't actually inspired by that kind of music anymore,” confides Neigher.

So she did what all good musicians do at these moments: she changed. Out went the carefree piano melodies, in went a synthesizer. “I made a rule for myself that I wasn't allowed to use any piano!” she says. This new vision led her to her latest moniker, Lapel.

A few hours before our interview she shares her as-yet-unreleased album under the new name. The difference is stark — there's a fusion of genres: pop, R&B, dance. Whereas her previous albums sounded more organic, this album feels like a melting pot of ideas wrapped in a blanket of electro samples.

Among all this change, she has not disregarded her old music — as much as it is a dress she may not wear at the moment, Neigher remains proud of the work she created. “Every record is a snapshot of wherever you were in life,” she says. “I still am really, really proud of my past records because that's who I was...I still think that the production is great and the songwriting is good. But there's always a little bit of cringe; a healthy little sprinkle of cringe.”

The third song on the album is called “Less of a Woman.” It is a conversation between two women about reproductive rights and choice. “I felt like I really wanted somebody to tell me, or just women in general, that your reproductive choices or abilities [do] not define your worth or value as a woman, which is just a message that we just do not hear nearly enough,” she says.

Instead of waiting for someone else to have this talk with her through music, she decided to write the song she wanted. “The song was written as a conversation between two women, so you hear us [Neigher and band member Jess Silva] alternating the lines of the verses and then really coming together in a super powerful way for the choruses,” she says.

“I can't speak for all women. We all have different experiences,” she says. “Because it was so personal and it was a very specific thing I was feeling...I crafted it to be more of a conversation,” she explains. “There's also the whole chorus, [which] is expressing your own self-consciousness about speaking out, about those things. Does this actually make me less of a woman if I choose not to have kids or if I'm not able to? So it is like being able to talk about it.” The end result is a lively, yet affecting record; Neigher purposely injecting effects and loops to give it a “bombastic” feel.

I ask her about the other conversations we should be having at the moment. "Where do I begin?" she responds. “I think there's so much that we need to destigmatize around abortions, around talking about our periods, talking about our bodies,” she says. “A lot of good work is finally starting to happen...[but] there's just so much [to do]...Dismantling the patriarchy, battling sexism across so many fronts, rape culture, income inequality. There's just so much work to be done,” she expresses.

“There's a product out there now, Thinx...that's specifically-designed underwear for women with their periods. Can you imagine seeing that 30 years ago? So things like that, where little things are starting to become a little bit more normalized or talked about,” she shares.

We move on to talking about the local music scene. “There’s a ton of band incest,” she says, jokingly. “You go to a show, and you always run into someone.” We talk around the familiar narrative of people leaving the Bay Area: Austin, Portland, and LA are all places close friends of hers have moved to make music. “[Here] We all have to hustle so much just to pay rent, and then on top of that to pay for recording, to pay your musicians, to pay for graphic design and gas money to get to gigs. All of it is really challenging.”

I ask her what could be done to stop artists leaving. We discuss supporting not just musicians, but also teachers, social workers, and “the types of professions that keep the city what it is.” In true Bay Area fashion, she even mentions an idea that sounds like it could be an app: a punch-card system, or loyalty card, that would reward you for attending local shows with free drinks. “If you set up a lifestyle where your work provides everything for you — your meals, you're eating dinner at work. Big tech companies, they encourage you to stay late and your culture is centered around work. You have all these amazing perks and activities and free meals. And you live in a high-rise that's nearby. And then you take the shuttle to work. You're never actually interacting so much with local culture. It's all a little bit siloed. And a bit isolated.” She shares this from a position of caring — some of her best friends work for tech companies and have to work through the struggle of balancing their jobs and interacting with the local culture.

For now, Neigher is focused on playing shows and preparing for the launch of the new record. With a new sound and an opportunity to explore topics in a new way, Lapel looks like a prom dress Neigher will be wearing for some time. - The Bay Bridged


US frontwoman takes her sultry cues from Kali Uchis on this psychedelic and soulful romp - Mystic Sons


Hi Debbie, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?
2018 has had a beautiful start, thank you! I was very lucky to win The Deli Magazine’s Artist of the Month Award and started off the year in a full-on Daria costume onstage at a 90s themed New Years Eve show!
Can you talk to us more about your new single “Less Of A Woman”?
This song is very special to me – I wrote “Less of a Woman” as a conversation between two women (which you can hear in the verses between myself and my amazing bandmate Jess Silva) reassuring each other that our ability or desire to have children does not determine our value or self-worth. It feels like I’ve waited my whole life for the world to tell women that we are in fact in charge of our bodies and futures, and when I still wasn’t getting that message, I decided to write this song so I could hear it said back to me in a way. At the same time, the entire chorus is a question – “Does it make me less of a woman?” Despite how I feel politically or intellectually, I’m a product of the same society that constantly repeats sexist messages, so there is still an inherent self-consciousness to these decisions and questions.
Did any event inspire you to write this song?
I don’t think a singular event inspired the song, but rather an accumulation of my anger and frustration with misogyny, the way women’s bodies are treated and talked about, and the countless ways women are shamed when it comes to reproductive healthcare and decisions. Writing about social issues is very tricky though, and can come off as trite or didactic, so I was very deliberate in creating something that was positive, empowering, and a song you could actually dance to!
Any plans to release a video for the single?
I have a few videos in the works for some upcoming singles, though I have a dream of recording a live performance video for “Less of a Woman” in partnership with the Women’s Audio Mission here in the Bay Area, the only professional recording studio in the world built and run by women. My vision would be having every performer, videographer, audio engineer and mastering engineer identify as female, so the entire project would be woman-produced from start to finish, which is unfortunately super rare in our industry.
The single comes off your new album Periphery – what’s the story behind the title?
The title has multiple meanings, all related to edges and boundaries – first, it’s named after one of the tracks and upcoming singles from the album, which felt like a key that unlocked the entire record for me. I really wanted to move away from all the piano-based music I had made previously, and the use of synthesizers, blending of organic and electronic sounds, and pop/R&B feel of the song felt like I was finding my stride in a new style of writing.
Second, the majority of the record is written about someone I lost to drug addiction – I felt like he was always living on the periphery of life, somewhere between life and death, and when he overdosed, I was still searching for him and trying to understand where he was and what it all meant throughout my grief process, which you can hear being explored throughout the whole record.
How was the recording and writing process?
Because of the emotional topic of the record, as well as trying to challenge myself with an entirely new style of music, it was pretty excruciating at times! When you’re trying to create something in uncharted territory for yourself there can be a ton of doubt and second guessing, but I truly believe that’s where the greatest work and growth comes from. It was also some of the most fun I’ve ever had in the studio, exploring so many types of synthesizers and electronic elements.
What was it like to work with Beau Sorenson and how did that relationship develop?
I can’t say enough wonderful things about Beau! He was the perfect work partner, co-producer, and champion for the record, especially in those moments where I felt like, “can I really pull this off? Does this sound insanely cheesy? Can I really write a dance song?” He is a brilliant engineer, producer, and has a gift for knowing exactly when to step in and when to let the artist find their own way out of a puzzle. He’s also worked with some of my all-time favorite artists (Death Cab for Cutie, Tune-Yards), and it was such an honor getting to work together on something that felt so new and monumental for me.
How much did he influence the album?
Beau has an amazing knowledge and collection of synthesizers and drum machines, which was one of the main reasons I wanted to work with him in the first place. These sounds were crucial in separating this new project from my past records under my own name. The more I worked with him the more I got to see his talent, creativity, and artistic prowess, in both subtle and expansive ways. There were so many times when I was stuck on a certain part of song, and he found a way to lift it to where it needed to go. At the same time, he was incredibly receptive to all of my ideas and visions for the record.
What role does San Francisco play in your writing?
I think the people of San Francisco, more than the city itself, inspire my writing – most of the music I listen to actually comes from different parts of the country/world. I have been so lucky to find the most incredible community of musicians here, whose kindness and encouragement matches their fierce talent. This album would not have been possible without the brilliance of Cody Rhodes (drums), Scott Brown (bass), Minna Choi (Magik*Magik Orchestra), Adam Theis (horns), Derek Barber (guitar), and Jess Silva (vocals), and of course Beau.
Do you tend to take a different approach when you are collaborating with someone else rather than working alone?
I always write my songs by myself, so when it’s time to collaborate with other musicians it’s a huge relief and a lot more fun! I think you get the best work out of people when they have a sense of creativity and ownership of the parts they come up with, so I always like to balance communicating my ideas for a song while leaving lots of room for the player to explore and create.
Where did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?
The record tackles addiction, my own relationship to feminism, and police brutality, so there’s a lot of heaviness and honesty in the lyrics. But as I mentioned above with “Less of a Woman,” I really didn’t want to write an album full of sad, dark, slow songs – I wanted to keep that earnestness and substance while still making music you could move to – there are many shades of grief and overcoming oppression, and I think the variety of songs and styles on the album reflect that.
Any plans to hit the road?
We’re playing a series of California shows this month and will definitely tour around the record release!
What else is happening next in Lapel´s world?
I’m so overjoyed to finally release the record and play more live shows this year – it’s such a gift to be able to make and share this music, and I really feel like this is the best work I’ve made!
Listen here - Vents Magazine


San Francisco Lapel presented the potent new single of confident & assertive purpose “Less Of A Woman”. Aspects of identity are observed through the comparative lens that finds Lapel breaking out the molds & expectation of others in the quest to truly be the person they want to be (no matter what anyone else says or thinks). - Impose Magazine

"[Listen] Lapel - "Less of a Woman""

If you’re craving a genuine source of female empowerment not found in the pages of a magazine, look no further than San Francisco’s Lapel.

The project from singer-songwriter Debbie Neigher, Lapel is forging her own path in a world so hellbent on molding women into one narrow lane. The singer is getting ready to release her upcoming debut album, Periphery, and first single, “Less Of A Woman,” dives right into one of the many issues women face of deciding to not have children.

“I wrote this as a conversation between two women reassuring each other that our ability or desire to have children does not define our value or worth.”

Brimming with glittery, electro-pop, “Less Of A Woman” is an anthem for those who know who they are and who don’t need the approval of the world to live life on their own terms. It’s about damn time! - The Daily Listening

"Lapel Premieres "Less of a Woman" With Us"

As we reach the end of the year, things tend to slow down a bit. That's why we're shaking things up with a premiere from one of our favorite local artists: "Less of a Woman" by Lapel.

You might know Lapel as Debbie Neigher, who made her mark on the local scene as an Oakland musician, collaborating with Bay Area neighbors like Christopher Owens, Ezra Furman, and the Family Crest. As Lapel, she trades her previous piano-based work for synthesizer-backed sounds — more about that in our recent Bands In Portrait with her.

Her new single is written as a conversation discussing their social and cultural worth of women without children, posing the question "Does it make me less of a woman?"

The answer is no. No, it doesn't. - The Bay Bridged

"Review + Photos: Becca Richardson at Amado’s"

“This is a safe space,” jokes Becca Richardson while playing new material during her show at Amado’s on Thursday, February 18. The former Google employee lived in San Francisco before moving to Nashville in 2015. One of her last shows in San Francisco was at the previous incarnation of the show's venue, the speakeasy Viracocha.

Before the show, Richardson seemed to be continually saying hello to people and sharing moments with friends. Her broad smile radiates from wherever she is in the room, like a magnet for more people to say hello — friends sharing jokes or reminiscing about times gone by. The community she left behind in San Francisco was out to celebrate one of its own, who just happened to be living 2,000 miles away.

Thinking back on the move to Nashville, Richardson expresses how it had initially been a scary thought, because she was stepping away from a community she knew. However, it was a step she felt she needed to take so that she could focus more singularly on music. “When you're here [in San Francisco], the main industry is tech, so everyone you meet is like, ‘I work at Facebook,’ ‘I work at Google,’ ‘I work at YouTube,’" says Richardson. "In Nashville, it [the main industry] really is the music industry. Everyone's like, "I am a songwriter. I'm a producer. I'm a backup singer. I teach guitar lessons, but I'm also in this band.”

Her music has grown with that kind of focus. Her latest album, We Are Gathered Here, is a deep and rich collection of songs. From the elecro-influenced opener "Wanted” to the soft and emotive “Before the Chorus,” it is an album that invites you in for a fireside chat and creates moments to disappear into.

At Amado’s she performs solo, and it is a fitting complement to the rustic decor of the venue. The distortion of the guitars adds a layer of soulfulness to the sound, which is as raw as it is beautiful.

Becca Richardson at Amado's, by Robert Alleyne

I ask about the cultural differences she sees in Nashville compared to the Bay Area, and she tells a story about an experience at Nashville Flea Market during the beginning of the election cycle. “I saw a bumper sticker,” she explains, “It said, ‘Hillary Clinton is just a white Obama with PMS!’ I was like — ‘Alright. We're not in San Francisco anymore'...that's racist and sexist, and it's like 10 words — that's quite an accomplishment,” she says, only half-jokingly.

“It's definitely different...[there are] some benefits to not being in my liberal bubble anymore. My thoughts are challenged a lot more. I have to think about what I believe in,” she says. “I think that's changed me as an artist and a person.”

“I have people on the street that I live on, in Tennessee, that have Confederate flags in their yard,” she says when I ask about whether or not she ever feels unsafe. “Being face-to-face with it, it challenges you a lot more to [ask], ‘OK. Where is this coming from?’” she says. “You really do start to question things more...Being a woman of color and seeing a big pickup truck that's jacked up and some young dude driving it with two Confederate flags flying in the back. That's immediately making me tense up,” she says.

Becca Richardson at Amado's, by Robert Alleyne

A lot of this went into her music; it is one of the reasons We Are Gathered Here feels cathartic to listen to. “I'm a deeply personal writer. My songs are generally just meditations on things that I'm feeling or going through,” she explains. "I went through the whole emotional period of thinking Donald Trump is a the outcome [of the election], which was devastating. The album was made through that whole time period,” she says. “After we finished it, when I was trying to think of a title for it, I was just ruminating on our whole process. It was a very collaborative record. I made it with two producers in Nashville and wrote some of the songs with them as well. That's why it's called 'We Are Gathered Here,' because I just felt we're in this moment where we just are with each other. That's what we have,” she says.

Becca Richardson at Amado's, by Robert Alleyne

We’re gathered here because that is what we have. It is a statement that lingers in my mind for much of the evening. A raw statement on the situation many people in this country find themselves in. Using experiences and safe spaces, we have to make sense of what is happening around us. Thursday very much felt like a shared experience. When Richardson joked about “talking to someone you don’t know” while she was tuning her guitar, conversations and laughter almost immediately filled the room.

Opening the night were Al Harper, playing their first show, and Debbie Neigher’s new project, Lapel. With a Julie Indelicato on sound, it felt like the show was doubling as a celebration of Bay Area women in music, ahead of Saturday’s march!

At the end of our interview, Richardson reminisces about the city — and its changes — one last time. “When I left San Francisco, the scary thing to me was seeing all the places that I had played starting out, starting to close,” she says. “It just really saddened me because I think the culture of the Bay, especially in San Francisco with the amount of money that's here with the tech thing, it seems, in a sense, the art was getting lost.

“What is a culture in a city without the art? That really is what makes people love this place, even if they don't realize it. [What] makes a city vibrant, is the artists,” she says. “That's why it's really special for me to be playing here again, because I thought this place was lost forever, but when I heard that it had a new name and they were still doing shows here, I was like, 'That would be perfect to come back here and play again.'” - The Bay Bridged

"Lapel Brings Fun But Introspective Feminist Pop to the Rickshaw Stop"

The San Francisco-based Debbie Neigher, who goes by the name Lapel, provides danceable pop music with an edge. The seasoned keyboardist and backup vocalist gets her name from an anecdote about Margaret Trudeau, who responded to an interview question about her marriage with the phrase, “I want to be more than a rose in my husband’s lapel.” Her latest single “Less Of A Woman” (streaming below) follows the same feminist wave as her namesake, proclaiming her as a femme fatale force to be reckoned with in the Bay Area scene. She will be bringing her introspective pop to the Rickshaw Stop on December 13th, and then later to The Crepe Place in Santa Cruz on January 6th. - Lilly Milman - Deli Magazine

"This Week’s Shows: Jan. 15-21"

Wednesday, Jan. 17

Josh Ritter & the Royal City Band at the Teragram Ballroom
Glaare and Thief at Resident
Cheap Tissue, Ex Stains, Tenement Rats and Daddy Dodge at the Echo
Eric McFadden at the Mint
EasyFriend, Magic Bronson and Apollo Bebop at the Hi Hat
Gregory Uhlmann and Alan Hampton at the Moroccan Lounge
Michael Blume and Hailey Knox at the Bootleg Theater
Craig David and Jimbo Jenkins at the Roxy
Ulson and Failing Up at the Silverlake Lounge
Lapel, Shydoll, TUFT and Fuzz Francis at the Satellite
Alex Bloom at the Love Song
Nandes and Dee-1 at Los Globos
Low End Theory at the Airliner
Twin Seas, Dreamlover, Mind Monogram and Siam Jem at La Cita
Jared & the Mill, Daniel Kirkpatrick and Hamish Anderson at the Hotel Café
Erin Willett, Static & Surrender and Ryan Tharp & Jacob Furr at the Hotel Café Second Stage
Mitchell Schaffer, New Media and Fine Pines at Harvard & Stone
Elvis Monroe at Avalon
Marty Stuart & His Fabulous Superlatives and Deke Dickerson at the Troubadour
Skye Delamey, Escritura, Cherry’z, Stars at Night, Alianza Rebelde and Miercoles de Ceniza at the Whisky a Go Go
Feed the Kitty and Everett Coast at the Viper Room
Just Dave’s Last Chance Country Jam at the Maui Sugar Mill Saloon
Jamie Bullock, Stephanie Hatzinokolis, Mic Dangerously, Lara Beers, Chris Shaw and Scott Wittenberg at Saint Rocke
Zolopht and the Higgs at the Wayfarer
Mustard Plug, Buck-O- Nine and CodeName: Rocky at Alex’s Bar
Shwayze at SLO Brew
The Federal Affair at the Federal Bar
Garrett Morris at the Catalina Club - Buzzbands.LA

"Lapel: "Less of a Woman""

Debbie Neigher is a musician from San Francisco who in the past has performed with Ezra Furman, Christopher Owens and the Magik*Magik Orchestra. “Less Of A Woman”, its touch light and its message assured, is smart, elegant and the debut single from her Lapel project. Recorded at her hometown’s legendary Tiny Telephone Recording, you can find this on Spotify and Apple Music now. - The Autumn Roses

"Indie Pop-Ups Weekly Round-Up No. 51"

It took a while for singer-songwriter Debbie Neigher to free herself of her ‘classic piano’-constraints. She now embraces electronic music and reinvented herself as Lapel. Her debut song “Less Of A Woman” is a bright, positive synthpop song about womanhood and the desire to have children. Empowering in both lyrics and music. - Indie Pop-Ups


"Less of a Woman" - The first single from Lapel's upcoming debut album "Periphery."



In a 1977 interview, Margaret Trudeau was asked about her marriage to the former Prime Minister of Canada. An accomplished professional and mental health activist in her own right, Trudeau wasn’t having it. "I want to be more than a rose in my husband's lapel,” she replied.

The sentence has been stuck in Debbie Neigher’s head ever since, like a song that’s familiar but impossible to place. Lapel, the new solo project from the San Francisco singer-songwriter and musician, delivers a similarly elegant declaration of identity -- a fresh debut from a Bay Area music scene veteran. After years as a backing vocalist and keyboardist sitting in with bands like Ezra Furman, Curls (Christopher Owens), The Family Crest, and the Magik*Magik Orchestra, Debbie Neigher has claimed her place in the spotlight.

By turns playful and personal, introspective and danceable, Lapel’s debut record Periphery marks both a new sound and a new level of creative control for the artist. While Neigher, a lifelong pianist, earned critical accolades for her lush, lyrical indie-pop on her 2013 solo work Unravel, the piano “had started to feel like a ball and chain,” says Neigher. “So I made a rule for myself that I wasn’t allowed to use any piano on this record.”

Inspired by the space that remained, she felt a new freedom to experiment, and invited friends from Geographer and Astronauts, Etc to help her craft an immersive, atmospheric and entirely new electronic landscape. Recorded at John Vanderslice’s Tiny Telephone studios, the record was co-produced by Beau Sorenson (Death Cab for Cutie, Tune-Yards) and Neigher herself.

The result is a confident record with a singular voice: Neigher delves fearlessly into a range of serious topics, from the personal (the death of her first boyfriend from a drug overdose) to the global (police brutality, reproductive rights). “This was an opportunity to play a new character, with a new sound, in a whole different visual universe,” says Neigher.

In other words: Lapel is a new beginning, but it’s been a long time coming. “It’s a proclamation,” says Neigher, “against allowing yourself to be defined or diminished by anyone else.”

Band Members