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“According to my dad, my mom could shatter a glass with her voice!” laughs songwriter and musician Adrienne Zolondick, when asked about her musical roots. “My dad grew up in a Jewish section of Brooklyn and between the ages of nine and sixteen, he sang in the synagogue choir as a star soloist. The choir leaders all vied to snap up my dad to sing with their choirs. He traveled all over the country. My dad was a touring musician!”
Adrienne’s grandfather was a cantor in the synagogue and both her grandmothers came from musical families. “I sang with my mom and sister in three part harmony all the time!” Adrienne fondly recalls.
Adrienne pauses. “Come to think of it, my mom even hired musical babysitters for me. I remember four sisters who rotated as our sitters who would bring their guitars over and we’d all sing while they were babysitting. It’s no accident I am a musician!” remarks Adrienne, laughing.
With such a vibrant upbringing, it’s no wonder Adrienne developed a unique and iconoclastic style that is all her own. Compared to singers like Joni Mitchel, Norah Jones and Stevie Nicks, Adrienne’s voice is pure emotion, stylistically elegant, soulful, and ethereal.
“I went to Walnut Hill School of the Performing Arts in Natick, Massachusetts. But my voice was very young and small back then and I didn’t quite understand all that I learned in those four years singing classical music as well as show tunes,” she confesses. “As I got older, I learned to stretch my voice by putting on my favorite song at the time and copying what the singer was doing. I learned a lot singing along with Heart, Fleetwood Mac, Joni Mitchell, Carole King, and Ricki Lee Jones.”
The expert vocal training Adrienne received helped her sing what she was hearing correctly. “I didn’t choose to wail and scream like Janis Joplin because I didn’t like how it felt in my voice. I preferred a nuanced, emotive type vocal style. It seemed to suit my songwriting,” she says.
Adrienne’s guitar style, patterned on the finger picking of James Taylor, is another technique she learned, then made her own. “When I was in the summer program at Berklee, I had fifth row seats to his concert and watched him like a hawk. I learned his songs exactly like he played them from listening to records. I’ve never relied on sheet music. I’ve always relied on my ear to hear vocals and music. I was able to learn Taylor’s style, then tweak it to make it my own,” says Adrienne.
Adrienne achieved local success in the Metro Boston area. Her song “Overboard” was one of the most requested songs on WERS, long a bell weather of excellent music. She was nominated for a Boston Music Award and featured in Boston Women Magazine. Songtalk, published by the National Academy of Songwriters, said, “Adrienne is an enchanting… exquisite talent.” In an article entitled Adrienne – More than Just FolkLore, the live review states, ” There’s a mystical quality in her writing that I’ve seen in few other performers. It is beyond me someone this talented has not been signed to a major label record deal.”
It’s perhaps Adrienne’s work with the seminal band Aye in the mid 90’s that helped define her voice, writing and performing style. “I met Marsia Shuron Harris when we were both busking in Harvard Square,” says Adrienne. “Aye was born soon after. A friend suggested we try Key West as a place that offered a lot of opportunities to play.” The pair bought a VW bus and headed south. Key West offered Aye steady work and allowed the pair to “get our act together while getting paid,” says Adrienne. “We were able to play original material in touristy spots that were more used to cover-songs.”
Aye worked for eight years as a band before parting ways. The breakup of the band coupled with the dissolution of a long romance, left Adrienne adrift but she soon anchored herself in her music.
“Many of the intense tunes on my new record,Chameleons, were inspired by my sadness around this break-up. Heartache is quite a stir for me when it comes to writing music,” she confesses. “When I am happy, I am usually out enjoying life with my friends and family. When I am sad, or moved emotionally, the music, lyric and melody starts to flow.”
Chameleons is due out this summer. Filled with her unique writing and otherworldly voice, Chameleons is a collection of songs that reflect Adrienne’s unique music,voice, heart, and soul.