Randi Driscoll
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Randi Driscoll

Los Angeles, California, United States | SELF

Los Angeles, California, United States | SELF
Band Pop Singer/Songwriter

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In today's flood of indie music, it is challenging at best to stand out in the crowd. It seems even more so now as indie artists are securing their own pathways to artistically fulfilled freedom and success minus the constraints of music label decision makers. Today's indie artist must find a niche, a sound, and a style that is all their own while running the marathon endurance race that has become the U.S. indie music scene. Randi Driscoll is a great example of such an indie singer-songwriter who has so much going for her in terms of talent and ability, that after a few moments in her presence behind a baby grand, you can't help but get swept up in the excitement of watching someone that is destined to be a household name. Remember, it folks Randi Driscoll.

With all that New York City has to offer in terms of nightlife and entertainment, one of the talent offerings on Friday, November 6, 2009 was the CD release concert held at the The Triad Theatre by the very talented and beautiful piano playing singer-songwriter, Randi Driscoll. Randi's concert was a celebration of the new songs CD, 365 Days as well as a few songs from projects past. Randi shared the stage with Noah Heldman on percussion and guitar, Leenya Rideout on fiddle, mandolin and backing vocals, and David Gurland on backing vocals. The concert was filled with much excitement from the crowded room of loyal fans, friends and family members many of whom had travelled from several other states to see this rising star.

From Randi's entrance from behind the black velvet split curtain upstage, you instantly felt the high wattage of her stage presence. Randi sat behind the piano and started in with her first song of the night, "I Used to Be That Stupid Girl" from 365 Days which sings of an awakening and awareness in the pursuit of finding ones self in a better place. "Stupid Girl" was then followed by the song "Lucky" which is the title track from her CD, Lucky released in 2006. The song "Lucky" tells the story of the string of life oddities, mishaps, and uh-oh's in the singers personal and touring life that seems rather endless. Randi's perspective is that of taking lemons and making lemonade or as was the case here, a really great song that's delivered in a tongue-in-cheek manner while poking fun at herself and her luck. "Lucky" also showed the audience a lighter and more playful side to the wide emotional range this artist is capable of covering. Randi's third song of the night and the second performed from 365 Days was the emotionally raw and revealing song "Witness" which exhibited Randi's ability to take the audience from the frolicking fun and pluckiness of "Lucky" to the emotionally pleaful and painful introspective song like Witness in the space of a few vocal notes which were nestled in a soft and rolling piano melody. The fourth song on the playlist was "Beautiful Disaster" from Randi's 2002 CD, The Play. "Beautiful Disaster" was another powerful and emotionally filled gem that dove into a love that has ended ruinously.

By the time "Beautiful Disaster" was finished, you recognized Randi as an artist who is both raw and brave in her daring self revelations, but also as a true inspiring master of the piano based singer-songwriter genre. Randi's piano skill and melodic ability in her musical arrangements provide another insight that she is an artist who has the complete package as a performing singer-songwriter. To add to this powerhouse package of talent and skill, is Driscoll's keen and expert ability of connecting to everyone in the room as a group while making each individual feel like as though she is singing to just you while sharing these intimate stories.
Randi's between song patter is definitely an enjoyable aspect to her live shows. Some artists lack the ability to segue way from song to song smoothly and seamlessly, yet Randi does it not only with the flawlessness of a seasoned pro, but also with a sense of ease, comfort, and an exact timing that takes the room collectively into the journey that is the next song.

The next musical offering made that immediate 180 emotional turn that Driscoll does so well by going from the loss and sadness found in "Witness" and "Beautiful Disaster" to lighthearted, hopeful and cheerful, in the song "So What" from 365 Days. Equally hopeful, lighthearted and up beat in lyric content, music arrangement and emotional meaning were 365 Days' "You Make Me Believe", "Always Time for Life", the very ingeniously written "Facebook Song", and the title track "365 Days."

One of the final songs of the night has an amazing story attached to it. The song is called "What Matters" and has come to be known by many of Randi's friends and loyal fans around the U.S. as one of her best and most moving songs. " What Matters" is the song that Randi wrote and recorded in response to the horrific hate crime attack that took the life of Matthew Shepard in Laramie, Wisconsin back on October 7, 1998. This song touches and moves the listener to a place that raises awareness, inspires action like Randi's own to stand with the LGBT community and saying that brutality, hate speech, and viciousness are not the answer and can not be a part of the human condition. Randi has worked for years in tandem with the Matthew Shepard Foundation and Judy Shepard to bring awareness to the fight for LGBT equality and the end of LGBT hate crimes. It is because of artists like Randi Driscoll whose music makes a difference, reaches the masses, and helps change hearts and minds, that progress is made. "What Matters" is the musical tribute to Matthew Shepard and the Shepard family, who after 10 years of Judy Shepard's patience, endurance and resolve, were successful in spearheading the recently passed Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act bill which was signed into law by President Barack Obama on October 28, 2009.

Randi Driscoll is definitely a talent whose star seems to shine brighter and brighter with each musical endeavor. Sounding like a hybrid vocalist of Martina McBride, Norah Jones and Sarah McLaughlin, Driscoll's live performance encompasses a down home, girl next door sensibility with a vocal power and delivery that is part silk, part satin, part angora and part steel as she dares to bare and share an emotional range few people care to allow themselves to feel privately let alone on a stage in front of audience. Randi Driscoll is definitely an indie artist that delivers the goods in a complete package who doesn't ask that you fall in love with her but she instead earns your love, one powerful and beautiful song after the other.

For more information about Randi Driscoll, please visit www.RandiDriscoll.com - Terry Christopher


" up and coming acoustic artist...."

for more reviews, press, articles, quotes, please go to www.randidriscoll.com - Rolling Stone Magazine


BMI (www.bmi.com)
American Performing Rights Organization Summer/Fall 2002

With a voice that combines the melodic "come hither" quality of Kate Bush with the impassioned "watch your step" timbre of Tori Amos, Randi Driscoll has long been gaining notoriety as an artist and songwriter to watch. After being noted as an up and coming acoustic act by Rolling Stone in 1997, Driscoll began to build her career, opening for the likes of Jonatha Brooke, Bonnie Raitt, Linda Ronstadt and Dar Williams.

read the full review...

But what has recently brought Driscoll the most notice and the most personal fulfillment has been the success of her song "What Matters." The song was penned after the untimely death of Matthew Shepard as a result of the brutal hate crime perpetrated against him. Shepard died in Laramie, Wyo. on October 12, 1998 after having been beaten and tortured because of his homosexuality and the blind, hateful ignorance of his attackers. "I was really affected by that story," says Driscoll. "I took a picture of Matthew into my room with my keyboard and wrote the song. I was just going to send it to his parents to say 'I'm sorry, and we all grieve for your son.' I played it at a show in San Diego and the crowd really responded to it - they were holding one another and crying - and I realized that the story had affected everyone."

Since that night in California, Driscoll has taken the song around the country in aid of an important cause. "I was persuaded to record the song, but I couldn't stand the thought of ever making a dime off it. So I decided the only way I could do it was if $100% of the money that came in from it went to anti-hate crime charities." Matthew's mother, Judy Shepard, heard the song, invited Driscoll to meet with her and ultimately endorsed "What Matters" for the Matthew Shepard Foundation. The Foundation, led by Judy and Dennis Shepard, works to increase awareness about the dangers of ignorance and intolerance and to encourage education and respect for all people from all walks of life. The CD single is currently available from New Light Media with a message from Judy Shepard.

"I do a lot of engagements with Judy Shepard where she'll be the keynote speaker and I'll play the song," Driscoll adds. As well as increasing awareness and helping the anti-crime cause in live appearances, the song has been noted in Rolling Stone and featured on a number of documentaries, in the Spike Lee-directed iam.com commercial, and in an upcoming NBC film on Matthew Shepard's life.

In addition to her work with "What Matters," Driscoll has embarked on a series of adventures, both for her career and her chosen cause. She has performed at the Lincoln Center for the Bang on a Can festival, the HRC Dinner in Washington, D.C., wan femmusic.com's 2000 Artist of the Year award and is a five-time San Diego Music Awards nominee.

Randi Driscoll's music is smart, piano-driven pop with hints of Joni Mitchell and Sarah McLachlan delivered by a warm, emotive voice and engaging melodies. Her recent work with Taxi, the A&R connection service for independent artists, is showing promise in conjunction with her rising profile in the song-writing world. "Taxi is very, very cool. Their screening process is great and they're selective about who they approach and how they approach them."

Her 1999 release Climb is an emotional evocative work - equal parts punchy folk, straightforward poetry and lush romanticism . Driscoll's strength as a songwriter is an intuitive straight-to-the-bone understanding of the unperpinnings of human relationships, actions and reactions.

Driscoll says, "I've been learning after September 11 that people really want to do the right thing. They want to make a difference. And this song is, without a doubt, the most important thing I've ever done."

With a new record The Play, due out in January 2002 and some serious tour plans in the works, Driscoll is still reeling from the effects "What Matters" has had upon her personally. "Songwriters can be pretty self-absorbed with trying to get our songs radio play and are we gonna get a deal. But when you take some time off and do something like this, you quickly learn what's really important in life. You meet people like the Shepards who are these unbelievably gracious, wonderfully compassionate people who don't seem to have any hate in them. They're just trying so hard to see that something good comes out of their son's death. It makes you stand back and realize what in life really matters."
- Performing Songwriter


"I was just sitting there the whole time in awe. She should be playing for a sold out crowd at "The Garden" not a handful of people at a little college like this. You were absolutely amazing. Beautiful songs, Beautiful voice.... I had a blast."
Ryan Allender, Student
Marietta College - FROM randidriscoll.com


Story by Eric Rohr

When Melissa Etheridge was asked to write a song for the U.S. women's soccer team in 1998, what she came up with was something entirely different. "I'd go to work on this soccer song, and I'd be working more on this Matthew Shepard song," she says, referring to the die University of Wyoming student who had been brutally murdered in Laramie a month earlier. "A week later I got two pages worth of Matthew Shepard and nothing on the soccer team."

Etheridge is not the only one taking on Shepard's cause. Randi Driscoll, a Los Angeles singer-songwriter, wrote a ballad called "What Matters" for Shepard's parents, Judy and Dennis, after seeing his funeral on the news. The CD single of the song has sold about 1000 copies, with proceeds going to tolerance organizations like the Matthew Shepard Foundation. - Rolling Stone Magazine


Discography

"365 Days"- 2009
Produced by Grammy Award Winner, Larry Mitchell
Featuring duet with musician and MLB third base coach, Tim Flannery
"Lucky"-July 2006 Dramatique Records
"When You're Here" - Single Dec 2005
The Play - 2002 - Dramatique Records Produced by Larry Mitchell
( Featuring "Tell Me", from the WB's
Dawson's Creek)
What Matters - Official Benefit single for the Matthew Shepard Foundation- Named Top 10 Pride Anthem, Advocate Magazine
"What Matters" featured on Love Rocks, (HRC, CENTAUR) with selections from Pink and Dolly Parton

Photos

Bio

Randi Driscoll is an award winning singer/ songwriter who has shared the stage with Bonnie Raitt, Jackson Browne, Jason Mraz, Bruce Hornsby, Cyndi Lauper, Dave Koz, Pat Benetar, Linda Ronstadt, Rufas Wainwright and numerous others. Her accolades include; two special mentions in Rolling Stone Magazine, The Essential Piece Award from The Matthew Shepard Foundation, and Campus Activities Magazine’s Female Performer of the Year. Randi’s music has been featured in several films, documentaries, a commercial directed by Spike Lee and the hit series Dawson’s Creek. Randi’s performance credits include appearances at, Lincoln Center, The Seattle Opera House, The Walnut Creek Theatre, The Joint, ( Las Vegas) The Japan Center for the Arts ( Los Angeles), The Portland Opera House, Place des Artes (Montreal), Paramount Studios, The National HRC Dinner honoring Sec. of State Hillary Clinton, The Gig, The Mint, Anthology, and hundreds of clubs, theaters colleges and universities nationwide. Randi’s music has also been performed by choirs live on stage at several venues including; Carnegie Hall (NYC), The Disney Hall (Los Angeles, CA ) and the Broad Stage Theatre in Santa Monica, CA.

Randi is perhaps best known for her song What Matters, a benefit single that has raised more than $45,000 dollars for the Matthew Shepard Foundation, whose goal is to replace hate with understanding, compassion and acceptance. A documentary about What Matters, has won several film festival awards and the song was featured in the NBC film, The Matthew Shepard Story. Randi has been awarded a "Campy" from Campus Pride for her volunteer activism work for GLBT causes.

Randi tours year round promoting her independent music and has successfully moved over 20,000 copies of her original music. She has recorded on well over one hundred cds,
of varying genres and with several international artists, including; Jamie Reno, Cynthia Fawn Eagle, Dana Lee Wood, Live at Paramount Studios, RED WHITE AND BLUES, with GMCLA, and eight recordings with major league coach of the SF Giants, and musician, Tim Flannery.

Randi is also a professional public speaker and she appears regularly at Colleges and Universities, presenting her program, “Music That Matters”

Randi Driscoll’s latest release, 365 Days, is a musical collaboration with Grammy Award Winning Producer, Larry Mitchell and several songs from the cd have been placed n films and documentaries.