It’s rare to find a person in this world that truly moves us. Shakes us to our core. Inspires us with their work to create new passions and pursue life in completely different ways. And when we find those people, we always want to hold onto a part of them as a reminder of new inspiration and joy for the future. For myself as well as many others, Vonda Shepard is one of those people. Since her days of belting out songs on Ally McBeal, Shepard has been wowing the American public with her soulful sound. She has a smile that lights up the room, a sharp sense of humor and an undeniably beautiful voice that makes her truly shine among the endless sea of musical monotony. And for one special night, One World Theatre was able to host this fantastic artist and share her gorgeous talent with Austin.
I had the opportunity to meet with Shepard before the show, discovering she is just as charming and friendly offstage as she is on. According to the songstress, she found her passion in music at nine years old when she began to write poetry in her spare time, turning verses into songs. This undeniable desire to create music eventually led Shepard to sing back-up for the likes of Jackson Browne, and start her own solo career where she was discovered by Ally McBeal creator David E. Kelley, lending her voice and songs to every episode.
Millions of album sales and countless performances later, Shepard remains a tried and true musician, continuing to create new sounds and head out on tour to share her music with the fans. When asking what continues to motivate her craft, Shepard described the unwavering connection she still feels with her audience at every show, as well as the adventure and excitement of stepping into a new city each time, and discovering the nature around her. Now about to embark on a solo tour in Europe, the songbird also discussed her current songwriting process, expressing how every artist needs the “courage to create” in order to unlock their own inner talent. While Shepard has toured all over the nation in addition to Europe, she described One World Theatre as being a “top of the line” venue, providing the quintessential Tuscan villa backdrop reminiscent of her travels, as well as a company that has taken great care of her crew.
As for her performance, it’s safe to say this gifted artist blew the entire audience away. From singing Aretha Franklin covers, to songs off her latest album, From the Sun, to her classics like “Searching My Soul,” Shepard electrified the stage with her other-worldly voice and commanding presence. In between songs, she peppered the show with tales of singing back-up for Al Jarreau in Europe and had the entire audience in laughing fits after performing an impromptu “funny dance” on stage. Who knew she was a such a comedian too? It was a real treat to see an artist with her capabilities and notoriety be so down-to-earth and approachable. As I was listening, I could feel goosebumps the more she sang knowing myself and everyone in the audience was getting the rare opportunity to see this striking musician live, and in such an intimate venue. Inside the One World Theatre, there is truly not a bad seat in the house. Furthermore, hearing her buttery voice resonate through the entire music hall made you feel as though you were standing within inches of her, an experience that could never be duplicated in a large auditorium. The icing on the cake was having legendary guitarist James Ralston (Tina Turner) and bassist Jim Hansen (Bruce Springsteen) combine with Shepard to create a spirited indie soul sound that made smiling contagious among the audience.
There is no denying the pure magic that is felt at One World Theatre. Among the rolling hills just west of the city, this unique music hall is full of incredible ambience and one of the most private and exclusive stages in which to see world-renowned artists. Getting the chance to be a part of the Vonda Shepard performance in this space not only created a fantastic production, but a priceless experience that could only be cultivated at this theatre. For anyone who hasn’t experienced a show, I urge you to come and see what you are missing out on. One night here, and you will understand why people continue to frequent this theatre for years to come.
Author’s Note: A special thanks to Vonda Shepard for her time spent interviewing and incredible graciousness. You are a true inspiration to us all.
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