A Star’s Land of Music… Wendy Starland was named Vh1’s “Best and has opened for Sean Paul, Grandmaster
Emerging Artist” in the nationwide contest, Step Up And Rock. Starland was also honored by The Songwriter’s Hall Of Fame for her top 10 hit song,Dancing With The Sea.Her single was released in Europe alongside multi- platinum artists, Norah Jones, Feist, and Edie Brickell, to name a few.
Her song landed at #8 on the charts, giving her the opportunity to tour throughout Europe to thousands of fans. She was a featured performer, opening for Sheryl Crow, Jack White of the White Stripes, The Romantics, and country music star, Ronnie Dunn (of Brooks & Dunn). She also performed at the Toronto International Film Festival, at the premiere of Entourage star, Adrian Grenier’s movie, Teenage Papparazzo. Starland was featured on the Songs Of Love For Japan album to support Tsunami Relief efforts along with Tori Amos, Sara Bareilles, Ani DiFranco, Antigone Rising, Brandi Carlisle, Toby Lightman, Lenka and others.
Wendy Starland was solely responsible for discovering multi-Grammy winner, Lady GaGa, and landed her a production deal with the multi-platinum producer for Beyonce, Jessica Simpson, etc. that resulted in GaGa signing major label record and publishing deals. Wendy and Lady GaGa have written songs together over the years while Starland was also helping to develop GaGa’s creative and marketing strategy.
Starland is a lead vocalist on multi-platinum artist Moby’s Grammy nominated album, “Last Night,” which went to #2 on the Billboard charts. She has also sung backup for Michael Bolton on CBS’s “The Early Show”
Flash, Shawn Colvin, Vonda Shepard, Fishbone, The English Beat, Mike Posner, The Pointer Sisters, Karl Denson, The Romantics, Ronnie Dunn, Chris Shiflett of the Foo Fighters, and Universal/Verve artists Jonatha Brooke and Lucy Woodward. She has written and recorded duets with Lady Gaga, Ben Lee, The Wu Tang Clan, Apl.de.Ap of The Black Eyed Peas, Juliette Farrell, and Capone of Island Def Jam’s Capone & Noriega.
Donna Karan, celebrity clothing line Boy Meets Girl, Pink Pump, P2, Cakewalk by Roland, and Mobile Vision Player, are all using her music and image in their campaigns to represent their multi-million dollar companies.
Starland’s songs have been heard in countless movies and TV shows, including MTV’s hit series “The Hills,” “Jersey Shore,” the lead promos for 2 NBC primetime series, “Las Vegas” and “Hawaii,” “Daily 10,” E! News Live,” and “E! True Hollywood Story,” ABC’s “Regis & Kelly,” etc. A song Starland co-wrote and produced is featured in Ubisoft’s new video game, “Rocksmith,” alongside The Rolling Stones, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Radiohead, etc. out now on Xbox and PlayStation 3. She also licensed 16 songs to the popular video game Rock Band 3. Her new song “All The Way” is featured in the upcoming commercial for MoboVivo. Starland collaborated with legends and Grammy winners : Stephen Bishop, Tony Levin, Jerry Marotta, Arturo O’Farrill, Oz Noy and Conductor Luisella Chiarini with the A.C.O. Val Vibrata Symphony Orchestra in Abruzzo, Italy.
From the moment I met Wendy Starland, and from our initial phone introduction, I knew she was someone and something special. I knew that I was not only blessed to be granted this interview, but from the perspective of a new journalist, this was no light feat. She is one of the warmest and kindest souls you would ever want to meet. Her energy is invigorating, and her soulfulness extends far beyond her music. She takes your spirit places through her gifts and captivating voice in song, and it is no different when you sit and spend time with her in person. There was no way I would visit LA on business and not look her up. We had already missed each other once during the holiday season in New York City, and I was not going to let that happen again. There are some people in your life you meet for a reason, others for a season… Wendy is one I hope to stay in touch with for this lifetime. Her commitment to family, friends, and the world through her music is phenomenal and she’s making sure that she not only gets connected with her audience, but stays there!
Welcome to the world of Starland!
By Stefany J.
HMM: How did you grow up?
WS: I grew up in New York City in a conservative household. My parents are loving and busy people. They hired a babysitter, a 250 pound gospel singer from the south, who basically became my second mother. She taught me how to sing by imitating the voices on the gospel radio station we listened to, both men and women’s voices. By the time I was 6 or 7, I had learned several techniques of how to use my voice and was able to choose the sound I wanted to distinguish myself, so I started writing songs on the piano.
“I was always a dreamer growing up. I still have poems I used to write about singing from when I was a little girl. I guess I knew what I wanted pretty early on.”
SHE’S MORE THAN A STAR, SHE’S OUT OF THIS WORLD!
Photo By: Ian Octoman
My grandfather was a painter and sculptor and my family trained me to follow in his footsteps – unlike my uncle who was a guitarist who played with Bruce Springsteen and opened for acts like The Allman Brothers and Black Sabbath. I had a rigorous training for painting, but was overworked and felt isolated being cooped up in a painting studio all day. I turned to music to let it all out. My grandfather, who was also my idol, was not pleased and said I was wasting my talent on music. My decision to pursue music instead of painting came after I was pulled up on stage by James Brown’s saxophone player, Maceo Parker, and scatted on his stage for 20 minutes. It was written up in the newspapers the next day.
HMM: What made you become a singer and who were some of your earlier influences?
WS: I’ve been singing since I was 3 and writing songs since I was 7. It never felt like a choice, it was just something I always had to do – like breathing. Song writing also became an important outlet for me. My uncle made sure I had great musical influences from an early age and gave me The Police album, Synchronicity, which is still probably my favorite record of all time. My babysitter introduced me to Shirley Caesar’s music and I instantly loved Gospel. I think those two influences in particular have a lot to do with how I sound today.
HMM: How hard was it breaking into the music business? We hear stories all the time of people who try for years and never make it, and then other stories of overnight “in the right place at the right time” sensations. Which one do you think there’s more of? Those who pay their dues,or opportunity meeting preparation?
WS: I have been a combination of both. But there is no doubt I have paid my dues.I learned my craft at such a young age and have been honing it ever since. The vast majority of artists who make it in this business are great at what they do and have put in the time together-regardless of whether or not you like their genre/songwriting style. Breaking into the industry is a whole other craft altogether-it is a cut throat business. Everyone I know who is in the business has a horror story – even the most successful ones. You may have to wait years for your big break, but when that time comes, you have to be flawless.
HMM: How do you maintain your integrity in an otherwise very competitive and sometime unscrupulous industry?
WS:I was raised with a strong set of values. I am lucky to have the people around me that I do who will always keep me grounded. There will always be sharks and greedy people trying to tear you down, but it’s who you are in the face of adversity or fear that truly defines you. Having integrity is a choice, and something I will continue to choose throughout my life.
HMM: What advice do you have for others who have THE dream?
WS:This dream requires 100% of your time, effort, energy, courage, discipline, and faith. Be sure that you are prepared for a full commitment-and if you are-get ready for the roller-coaster.
HMM: What is it about music that makes you do what you do?
HMM: How difficult is it to maintain a work-life balance? What measures do you take to ensure that you have that?
WS: I love what I do so it very rarely feels solely like work. I am so grateful to spend almost all of my time making music. It is truly a privilege. I do have a group of close friends also known as “Team Fun” who certainly help me find that balance. I’d consider showing you a picture of what our Sunday Sunday looks like. We are typically poolside with a fruity cocktail.
HMM: Would you consider yourself a driven person? What makes you a powerhouse woman?
WS: I am driven to the point of no return. This is because I am so in love with what I do. To be a creator,you get to set the mood.You learn about yourself-your strengths and weaknesses. My passion for music will never die and so I’ll never stop.
HMM: What are some of the things you do to wind down and relax after grueling performances and preparations for them?
WS:To prepare for a grueling performance I will do vocal exercises that sound like I am imitating a tea kettle. I have to hold my jaw to isolate the muscles in my throat, and it looks as bad as it sounds. But it does the trick! To wind down I will do the norm – take a hot bath and snuggle.
If I could call all the shots, I would create a law that required all corporations to incorporate charitable giving into their business model.
(Photos By: Ian Octoman)
I’d like to be remembered as a classic artist who makes music that is timeless and meaningful. I want it to remind people of important moments in their lives and make them remember how they felt in those moments every time they hear one of my songs.
I’ve always said I wanted to live an inspired and inspiring life. Making inspiring music, having inspiring conversations, eating inspiring food, being inspired by the people I surround myself with. You catch my drift. It is important to know what kind of person you want to be, and be it, because life is shorter than you think.
HMM: What is the one dream for yourself you most look forward to having come true?
WS: To be a multi-Grammy winning artist who writes and performs timeless hits in the largest venues in the world, while incorporating charitable giving into the Wendy Starland brand.
“Maintaining great relationships is crucial to me, so I prioritize it. I am lucky enough to be surrounded by some of the most brilliant, loving, fun and insightful people on earth. They are equally busy accomplishing great feats every day. We make time for each other because love comes first.?”
HMM: What advice do you have for the young ladies (teens to young adult age) who are growing up in today’s world with so much influence in music that is not always supportive of their best interests?
WS: I would tell them that although following the latest trend is natural, it may be interesting to find out who were the main influences of their current idols. Many of them were inspired by someone very unique who came before them. They are living in an age where the internet is king and every resource is available. Use these resources to discover something new. Get inspired.
A BACKSTAGE MOMENT with WENDY
I am very excited to start working on a new record with multi-platinum music producer, Herb Middleton. Herb has worked with everybody from Mary J. Blige to Usher, Will Smith to Al Green, and the list goes on and on. He is astounding. I met Herb through artist Juliette Farrell’s manager, Debra Hughes, who offered me the opportunity to cowrite and record a duet with Juliette called Beautiful Pictures. It’s a tribute to the legendary voices who have passed away. We really felt that the song had a classic feel and decided we wanted to make a whole album in that vein. I know we will come up with music that is very authentic and personal.