A singer/songwriter born of a jazz degree, sideman vocal work, and life. This debut solo album deliciously blends her emotional intuition, skill as a professional vocalist, smart but catchy music and arrangements, and lyrics that reveal her depth. THE SHORT VERSION: Calley Bliss, New York City-based recording and performing artist, is one singer/songwriter you'll want to keep on your radar. After going into the studio in December of this year, plans to release her debut solo album are set for March 2010. The album, entitled 'Pigeonholed', will consist of several flavors of Calley's writing, which fluctuates between jazz, soul, and pop, with occasional elements of folk mixed in, incorporating her versatile voice which gives each individual song it's own unique flavor. As a vocalist, she's been compared to the likes of Feist, Peggy Lee, and Joss Stone, with an even, velvet tone frequently accented by sensitive uses of breathiness, vibrato, and a keen sense for lyric inflection. After growing up around Minneapolis, Minnesota, Calley acquired her training in jazz voice from the acclaimed University of North Texas jazz program, before coming to New York. After five years of study and performance around Dallas/Fort Worth, Calley said goodbye to her comfortable steady gigs and freelance work, and hello to the Big Apple. As a working musician she's done everything from studio work to wedding bands and back-up vocals; sung top 40's, pop, swing, jazz, rock, and soul. In addition to freelance jobs singing for corporate and private parties in New York, recently she's worked with Maryland-based Severn Records as a resident back-up vocalist, playing various blues festivals around the United States, and recording on four of their artists' albums. Calley plays with her own band around New York City, as well as occasional national and international venues. Click the 'live' tab for show listings. THE LONG VERSION I grew up in the burbs of Minneapolis. From a very young age I took an immediate interest in music - my mother tells a story of me as an infant in my crib rocking myself to sleep in time with the music in the tape player. At the age of three, I was often caught practicing my smile and posing in front of the mirror. This is how mom said she knew she was raising a future performer; 'ham' is the endearing term my older sister still prefers to call me. It started innocent enough. I idolized singers like Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, and Celine Dion; the regular suspect pop stars of the day in the late 80's and early 90's. I was (and still am to some degree) an impulsive child, and in an attempt to ground me, my parents encouraged that I think of other, more stable professions that I might be interested in. So at the young age of seven, I decided I wanted to be a veterinarian, animals having been another passion of mine. This idea stuck with me until a fateful day in the fourth grade. I had just finished a performance in the school musical. I'd been cast the lead in the children's production of, 'Bach to the Future: the Life Story of Johann Sebastian Bach' as Bach himself. An unassuming audience member (probably someone's grand-mother or aunt) congratulated me on my performance, and asked if I planned to pursue singing when I grew up. I, with my ten years of wisdom, responded that of course I would love to, but it wasn't very practical and so I planned to become a veterinarian. To this she replied, 'Oh honey, you are too young to give up on your dreams! If what you want is to become a singer, then that's what you should do!' I decided she was right. It sealed the deal, and ever after I've accepted my fate. The life of a musician can be unstable and unpredictable, and I believe happiness lies in the choice to love these factors instead of seeing them as casualties of the profession. I have no idea who that woman was, but without trying to be melodramatic, she changed my life from that moment on, and for that I am ever grateful. I was fortunate to not have the typical theater mother and father to shove me into talent agencies and headshots, and cart me around the city for auditions. They felt childhood was too important to miss out on, and told me if I really wanted to be a singer, I would have to find out how to do it on my own. Of course, if I'd had the know-how to find the talent agencies and auditions, I know my parents would have taken and supported me. But being the slightly 'concentration-challenged' and social child that I was, there were too many other things in the moment to focus on like boys, and sports, and dances. So I did all the classic school-related music activities-- I was active in school choirs, band, and musicals all through junior high and high school. I gave up dance after fourth grade to join a Minneapolis girl's choir called Bel Canto Voices. Took up the alto sax in sixth grade, after being denied the right to study drums, due to my lack of prior piano study. (Okay, I'm still a tad bitter about this, but one day I WILL conquer the drum set!) In high school I was one of three drum majors to a 330-piece show style marching band, a member of the concert chorale, and also auditioned into an extra jazz choir class that met every morning at 6:55 to rehearse for 50 minutes, before the normal school day commenced. Yup, I was a band geek AND a choir nerd. I also took music theory as a senior, by which time I was both determined and scared to death to go to college as a music major. At the urging of my high school band director, Nathan Earp, I applied to the University of North Texas Jazz Department. I had no interest in becoming an opera singer, though I did want my college degree. Jazz, I knew, would kick my booty into shape. I was ready to commit to music, and figure out what I needed to do to create a career out of it. I no longer wanted to be a pop-idol. I wanted to really learn music and acquire the knowledge to be a respected musician. Well, I definitely got the booty-kicking I'd wanted that first year of college. My parents, I later found out, were nervously waiting for the day when I would call home, proclaiming I'd given up on college and was going to try to make it 'on my own'. I can't blame them, but I'm proud to say I didn't drop out. Over the next five years I would come to learn more than I ever anticipated about music, about other instruments, about writing, about musicians and their lifestyles and quirks, but mostly, about myself. Each year felt completely different from the last, and I quickly learned what it was to be not only an adult who is responsible for her own actions, but a musician who is responsible for her own growth. I worked whenever and wherever I possibly could. The college was in Denton, on the outskirts of the Dallas / Fort Worth Metroplex, and I started singing trio gigs with a bass player in town, who hired me to do cocktail hour gigs for the University. I was then referred by a friend for a gig in a variety cover band, singing backup vocals. This lead to other cover band gigs. My own gigs. Duo gigs with a piano player, a guitar player. Eventually some studio work. Pop gigs, jazz gigs, show tunes, lead vocals, back-up vocals, studio vocals where I covered all parts, etc. I did it all and loved it all. Was fortunate enough to always have a steady gig, and then freelance as a supplement. There were quite a few styles to be covered, and I really had fun trying to manipulate my voice to imitate each of the original singers as closely as I could. This taught me as much as, if not more than, any of the classes I took in music school. I loved trying to sing like Stevie Wonder, and then Michael Jackson a few minutes later, and then Patti Labelle, and then Christina Aguilera, etc. At the end of this five-year marathon, I cultivated an even deeper love for music. I still have a deep love for performance and love to be on stage (all singers have a little diva in them - I can say that, as I AM one), but I've also really grown to love writing music, finding out how tonalities and instruments and life can affect one another, and have found a real passion for lyrics. I now reside in Brooklyn, in hopes to continue my growth as a musician, and a person. I think the two are interconnected and inseparable. I find I write the best music when I am at my emotional highs and lows. I love New York City for all it's stimulants, and respect it, and those who live in it, for the challenges offered by it. NYC is truly a world unto it's own, and like no place I've previously traveled to, or lived in, limited as that number may be. I've found myself to be more grateful for small accomplishments, yet realize there will always be greater levels to which I can push myself. I find I have more awareness to my miniscule existence on this planet, but also the incredible ripple effect a single person can have. I'm not trying to sound existential, and none of these discoveries are by any means anything new or genius, but they are incredibly interesting to me nonetheless. If you actually read this whole thing, thank-you. You're either a fast reader, have a long attention span, are killing time at the day job, or you're my mom. :) Take a listen to my music, the work I've done in the past, etc. And if you like, shoot me an email, or better yet, come out and see me perform sometime. If you have come out for a show, know that you are veritably an inspiration to and for me. Thank-you all for your support.