Riki Michele & Tim Tormey
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Riki Michele & Tim Tormey

San Diego, California, United States | SELF

San Diego, California, United States | SELF
Band Pop Singer/Songwriter


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Review: Riki Michele's "Surround Me""

Surround Me
Artist: Riki Michele
Label: Independent
Tracks: 12/ 51:31
Since it has been 9 years since Riki Michele's last release One Moment Please, the question raised is has it been worth the wait. The answer is resounding yes, absolutely yes. Produced, recorded, and mixed by Julian Kindred this is a perfect album, there is not one thing wrong with it. The singing, playing, writing, everything is right on track. Michele and Julian have assembled some of the best players in music today, Steve Hindalong, Tim Chandler, Marc Byrd and David Kindred among others all turn in fine performances. Back on the old American Bandstand kids would rate a record by telling Dick Clark, I'll give it a 10, its got a good beat and you can dance to it. This album rates a 10 all the way around. Now, watching me dance is an experience that has brought fits of laughter to more than one person, but I can picture in my mind throngs of kids dancing to this entire project with wild abandon. It has the kind of vibe that forces you to want to move around.

Since it has been 9 years since her last release a number of younger listeners might not be familiar with her work as a solo artist or as the backing vocalist and whirling dervish for the "Worlds Coolest Band", Adam Again. I will say without hesitation that Riki Michele is one of my three favorite female vocalists, the other two being Maire Brennan and Joann Hogg. Michele has a voice that is pure, sweet and sensual all at the same time. She has written or co-written every song on the album and her talent as a writer is just as profound as her vocal abilities. I assume that by the time this album hits the stores it will have been picked up by one of the big boys.

By Chris MacIntosh

- The Phantom Tollbooth

"A "Shrink" Wrapped Review - Riki Michele's Surround Me"

Allow me to take you on a guided tour of Riki Michelle's 12-room haunted mansion. For those who have never paid a visit to Surround Me, I'm referring to her new CD. Without a doubt, this is the antithesis of No Doubt's Rock Steady (arguably the most fun anyone has had on an album since the B-52s released Rock Lobster).

Enter at your own risk. There is no welcome mat or doorbell at this mansion. The "windows" are as tiny as the snapshots that appear on the front of the CD, discouraging audio voyeurs and letting in only a modicum of light. Each "window" is framed with rich layers of deftly executed, if melancholic, electronic rhythms and other dark ambient textures. Furthermore, each "window" is double-"pained" with stained glass, revealing the long-suffering aspect of love juxtaposed alongside a myriad of rich religious images. Though you'll need to leave the playful side of your inner child at the door, the rest of your inner child may be vicariously rediscovered in this vulnerably revealing rendering. But wait, there's more than meets the ear!

Go ahead. Open the door, but leave it ajar, just in case the wailing walls of sound begin to close in on you. After all, the album was not entitled Surround Me on the basis of an arbitrary whim. The introductory song, "Mystery to Me" presages the nature of the bittersweet treasure that awaits the listener lingering hesitantly at the doorstep of the musical mansion. "We're finding something unique/something painful/but extremely educational," she reveals in a decidedly cautionary tone. Anne Hirsch recently referred to term "gift of trauma," and that philosophical recasting of the role of suffering as a blessing seems prominent throughout Surround Me.

You may want to run and hide, but your best bet is to surrender. "Giving Up," with its persuasive lyrics and alluringly hypnotic musical tapestry may talk you into doing just that. A graciously received gift of seasoned wisdom is offered in "She Said (Grandma's Words)." The ghost of a distant past will revisit you in "If I Remember," in which she offers "A second of aching." Just when you thought it couldn't get any darker, there's light at the end of the corridor. It shines resplendently on "Radiant" and "Forever Bright." The light fades as you enter the "crying room" in "Compassion." At last, we come to the end of our tour. While you may have felt "Deflated/crushed beneath the weight of it" there is an exit door in Surround Me -- one that will leave you "hopeful." "Hopeful/I can see a light, see a light/Surround me, surround me." As I exit this musical mansion, the light fades, and all I remember is the darkness. Though I'm now craving a steady diet of No Doubt's Rock Steady and I'm hungry for a generous helping of the B52's Rock Lobster, I shall someday revisit Riki Michele's musical mansion. As Riki Michele passionately proclaims in "Treasure you," "I have uncovered jewels," and each time I return, I know I will uncover more.

A Shrink Rapped Review by
Bruce L. Thiessen, Ph.D.,
Licensed psychologist,
a.k.a. Dr. B.L.T., The Song Shrink

- The Phantom Tollbooth


"Riki Michele & Tim Tormey: Live Bootleg" (2010)

This 6-song EP features three Michele originals (“Forever Bright,” “Treasure You,” and “The Sweetness”), one Tim original (“Serenity”), and two covers — Shawn Colvin’s “Get Out of This House,” and the Beatles “I’ll Be Back.” Raw. Live. Bootleg. Available for purchase at http://www.rmandtt.com

"Big Big Town" (1989) – Riki Michele

Riki Michele’s groundbreaking first album. This CD did everything the Lilith Faire revolution did, but 10 years earlier. Produced by Gene Eugene. Available for download at iTunes or for purchase at Amazon.com

"Surround Me" (2007) – Riki Michele

This is the release that the “Phantom Tollbooth” described as “… a perfect album…” Available for download at iTunes and for purchase at CDBaby.com or Amazon.com

"Hope and Healing" (2003) – Tim Tormey

Tim’s debut solo album that CD Baby described as “a folk/pop treasure of solid melodies, meaningful lyrics, and top-notch acoustic guitar work.” Available for download at iTunes and for purchase at CDBaby.com or Amazon.com

"One for the Road" (2007) – ACT (with Tim Tormey)
Tim’s acoustic collaboration with Claudia Fernety and April Elliott Kent. Available for purchase at www.rmandtt.com.

"R and R" (1991) – Tormey and Elliott
A collection of originals and beloved covers by Tim and Dennis Tormey and April Elliott (Kent). Available for purchase at www.rmandtt.com



Born and raised in southern California, Riki Michele began singing as early as she did talking. The daughter of a Pentecostal preacher’s family, Riki was singing in church at an early age.

At age 16, Riki joined the band Adam Again. The band’s pioneering combination of toughened college rock and dynamic funk exhilarated and confused, as most pioneering efforts do. Rarely leaving their California confines, the band managed to influence and inspire across national boundaries. Their live shows were the stuff of legend, as a solid funk groove held court for the band’s searing guitar work and often tender, heart-rending songs. Influences were felt from artists such as Jimi Hendrix, Zapp, REM, Prince, Talking Heads and Bill Withers. The band recorded five albums before ending in 2000 after the death of the band’s leader, Gene Eugene.

As Adam Again’s underground following grew, Riki decided to step out into the role of solo artist, beginning with the groundbreaking album Big, Big Town. Recorded in 1989, the album was an ahead-of-its-time blend of groove-based programming, acoustic-derived songs and dynamic guitar-organ interplay. The album generated outstanding reviews and began the process of innovative musical explorations. An alternating cycle of solo and band albums bring Riki to the release of Surround Me.

Like Riki Michele, Tim Tormey started his relationship with music very early, learning guitar at age 8 and playing for church shortly after that. In high school he became best friends with Scott Craig, one of the “New Mouseketeers” from the late 1970s revival of the Mickey Mouse Club. Together they formed a band that gigged around Southern California and had some label interest but, as all good boy bands do, broke up as adolescence ended. In his early 20s Tim was part of an L.A. band called “Private Parking,” then began hitting the coffee house circuit as a member of “Tormey and Elliott,” a singing/songwriting trio with the album "R & R" to their credit. In 2003, Tim wrote and recorded a solo release, “Hope and Healing.” In the mid 2000s, Tim was part of another acoustic trio, ACT, with April and friend, Claudia Fernety. ACT played numerous So Cal festivals, and recorded the album “One For the Road” in 2006.

Riki Michele & Tim Tormey combined forces in 2009 and have been playing out with their brand of acoustic/alternative music in San Diego since.