Lisa Donnelly
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Lisa Donnelly


Band Pop Singer/Songwriter


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Los Angeles Residency Begins @ HOTEL CAFE in April '09 With CD Release Party on May 29, 2009 at The Roxy Theater on Sunset.

LOS ANGELES, CALIF. – "When I look back I realize: I’m a writer who sings," declares Los Angeles via Kansas singer/songwriter Lisa Donnelly. On her debut We Had A Thing, Donnelly teams with co-writer/producer/multi-instrumentalist Rob Giles (The Rescues) & Rich Jacques, alongside songwriter Kevin Hunter, engineers John Morrical (Rancid) & John Fields (Jonas Brothers). Chris Bellman put the finishing touches in mastering at Bernie Grundman Studios. The disc is due June 2, 2009 on indie Sound/B-Team Media.

Excelling at dance and theater, Lisa was a late bloomer when it came to music. “All my life I couldn’t figure out what my biggest passion was,” she recalls. “It never occurred to me to sing in bands until I was a freshman in college in San Diego.”

After fronting several bands – including L.A outfit A.M. Pacific – Donnelly embarked on a solo career and found a kindred spirits in Rob Giles and Rick Jacques. She recalls, “In all of my time in L.A. no one had ever asked me the right questions,” she further explains “they wanted to know who I was and what I wanted to say and then from there we could figure out how to say it together.”

Donnelly has crafted ten smoldering tracks that in a recent “Indie Artist Spotlight” feature declares, “will take you on a ride.” On the opener “Laugh,” Donnelly proclaims, “sex and money make the world go around,” in the words of an 83-year old clairvoyant who reads her future, backpacks through the cobblestone streets of Spain with the guitar-toting troubadour, “Julian,” and sizes up an interest of lust on “Little Devil.” further praised the debut, “rooted in folk/pop, she crosses genres and sounds, weaving Indian sitar for eastern flavor in "Blue," while gravitating to the blues with the ballad "Stuck In A Rut," and showcasing her fresh, sharp wit in the pop single "Laugh."

In 2008, Lisa co-headlined the Roxy in Los Angeles with Rooney and Brett Dennen, was a featured indie artist on the “AFL Music – The Cause” compilation alongside talent such as Joshua James and Priscilla Ahn and earned a spot on the MTV “Choose or Lose” tour performing in her hometown of Lawrence. Prepping for her debut, Donnelly recently previewed songs to a packed house at the Hotel Café in her adopted hometown of Los Angeles.

Lisa Donnelly will begin a Sunday night residency in Los Angeles at The Hotel Café April 5, 19, 26 & May 3 before celebrating the release of We Had A Thing at the Roxy on May 29.

For more information on Lisa Donnelly, please contact THINK PRESS:
Monica Hopman / (818) 291-9513 / - Think Press

"Lisa Donnelly at the Mint"

"Lisa Donnelly's live show is a tour de force. With precision and polish, she opened big and never dissipated or disappointed, even for a moment. Her songs are works of true art suitable for framing, while her performance produces the sort of heartfelt magic that is memorable for everyone involved. This is an artist with a real future." - Music Connection Magazine-Los Angeles

"CD Review: Lisa Donnelly, "We Had A Thing""

"Open your heart and close your legs
They only want what makes ‘em beg
Get hurt and do it again — and laugh at it all"

Lisa Donnelly’s We Had a Thing opens with “Laugh,” a perky piano-led pop song with a catchy melody and the sage advice laid out in the lines above, but she isn’t just another Sara Bareilles or Colbie Caillat; as this 10-track effort makes clear, she’s just as comfortable vamping it up, as she does in the funky, fingersnap-laden dance number “Little Devil,” or spinning gauzy webs of atmospheric sound, as on the moody ballad “Julian.”

In the not-too-distant past, Donnelly would have been classified simply as a singer/songwriter, but in these days of microformats and crusted-over lines in the artistic sand, Thing feels like a defiant work of eclecticism. She’s already been accused of “hopscotching,” which is valid, I suppose, but when you’re this good at writing indelibly catchy melodies, the ability to swerve from irresistibly catchy uptempo pop (“Naturally” [download]) to moody, vaguely Fleetwood Mac-ish balladry (“Better”) — and then head into Emmylou Harris territory (“Stuck in a Rut”) — is an asset, not a liability.

Singer/songwriters aren’t exactly in short supply these days, and even keeping track of the ones talented enough to make it is a full-time task — but if she can navigate her way through a crowded marketplace, Lisa Donnelly has the voice, and the material, to carve out a niche among fans of catchy, smartly written pop music. (It also doesn’t hurt that she’s smoking hot, but hey — every artist needs some kind of image “hook” these days, right?) In a fair and just world, Donnelly would reach Katy Perry-sized success before the year is out. (Also, Perry herself would be eaten by bears on live television. But the world isn’t fair.)
- Popdose

"Lisa Donnelly Brings Tears, Sitars and a New Record to The Roxy"

Lisa Donnelly's album release show proved that this indie songstress was no longer in Kansas anymore. Her adolescent dreams to move to L.A. and pursue a career as a musician fully reached fruition last Friday night at The Roxy, securing her a merited spot in the national singer/songwriter scene.

Donnelly's lighthearted, yet soulful performance revealed a maturity in her solo debut that most sophomoric albums yearn to achieve. From toe-tapping tune "Laugh" to sultry, sitar-featured ballad "Blue," Donnelly dropped knowledge and beauty onto a crowded room of willing Sunset Blvd. spectators. And her supporting cast of a band, whom she noted was "as fun to hang out with as [they were] to make music with," was the deliciously eclectic icing needed make Donnelly's sound that much sweeter.

The playful and refreshing folk-pop vixen's performance showcased her versatility and range in both singing and songwriting. Donnelly's candid lyrics and sometimes bluesy and jazzy feel-good melodies took the audience on her long-winded journey of inspiration, through the calles of Spain in "Julian" back to the lonely porches of Santa Monica in "Stuck in a Rut."

"Everyone has a special relationship with this city," said Donnelly on her six-year stint in L.A. It just so happened that she decided to share hers, chock-filled with all its emotional rigors and triumphs, with her latest LP "We Had a Thing," out now.

Donnelly summed up the evening with "Let Go That Weight," a response to a question once asked of her: "What would you say if you were on a stage and you could talk to the world?" Donnelly's genuine talent and belief in her craft (evidenced with tears shed at the show's end) will undoubtedly grant her more chances to tell the us what she wants to say. -Sara Tan
- The Deli-Los Angeles


We Had A Thing (2009)



“Life takes a lifetime,” sings Lisa Donnelly in “Naturally,” one of 10 radiant songs on her solo debut, We Had a Thing. With Zen simplicity, this phrase neatly introduces a superlative singer/songwriter who embraces existence and inspiration with equal fervor. Her songs capture fortuitous moments as she marvels at an 83-year old clairvoyant who reads her future at a dinner party on “Laugh,” backpacks through the cobblestone streets of Spain with the guitar-toting troubadour, “Julian,” and sizes up an interest of lust on “Little Devil.” Electronic and organic textures illuminate her irrepressible artistry with prevailing grooves and vibrant instrumentation.

Born in Lawrence, outside of Kansas City, Donnelly’s kinetic childhood energies were channeled into a whirlwind of pursuits at which she excelled: dance, tennis, acting and academia. “All my life I couldn’t figure out what my biggest passion was,” she remembers. “It never occurred to me to sing in bands until I was a freshman in college in San Diego. When I look back I realize: I’m a writer who sings.”

Returning to study at Kansas University, Lisa, waiting tables in a local club, would sit in with the resident bands. Lisa recalls her invitation into this circle of musicians as “a handful of 40 year-old dudes wanting me to sing with them so I started going around to hole-in-the-wall bars in Kansas City, Lawrence & Topeka. I was not even legal, but I was making money singing covers and learning about the blues.” Blues, Donnelly says, draws her into its core. “I like the rawness. Lyrically, it never apologizes for itself. The blues takes my blues away.”

Returning from a study trip to Spain, she decided to channel her energies into singing. “Putting all logic aside, my brain and heart were more invested in the theater, but my soul – the part of me I felt came to life when I was in Spain --was completely enamored with music. I knew I had to explore it.” Lisa first organized her own band in Lawrence & began writing songs for the first time in her life. She then made plans to convene in Los Angeles with a Boston band from Berklee, but the project faltered. Instead, she fronted the L.A. band A.M. Pacific and was subsequently indoctrinated into the Hollywood club scene of The Roxy, The Viper Room, and The Derby. She appreciates the camaraderie of being in a band. “I do not sit in a dark room by myself and write songs 12 hours a day. I like collaborating. I never wanted to be a solo artist.”

Although recording a solo CD might seem a contradiction, collaboration is a huge part of Lisa’s creative process as her alliance with co-writer/producer/multi-instrumentalist Rob Giles on We Had a Thing confirms. She recalls their initial meeting. “He asked, ‘I need to know what your 10 favorite records are and why. And I need to know if you had five minutes to talk to the world what would you say and how would you say it?’ I almost started crying – in all of my time in L.A. no one had ever asked me the right questions. It was deep and real: he wanted to know who I was and what I wanted to say and then from there we could figure out how to say it together.” Another key player on the songs is co-writer Rich Jacques, whom Donnelly invited to participate as a co-writer and co-producer with Giles, and songwriter Kevin Hunter who co-wrote “Better,” and “Let Go That Weight.”

Asked to describe herself in three words, Donnelly laughs, “Oh! My! God!” before she avows, “I am comfortable with myself, sometimes to a fault, I’m really outgoing, and I’m a little scattered.” In her “making of” video for We Had a Thing she relates that she feels like she’s “standing at the bottom of a huge mountain.” She notes, “I don’t know how things are going to turn out for me but I’m willing to make any sacrifice. Every night before I go to sleep I think of three things I’m grateful for. You can’t write music from the heart and not love from the heart.”