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      Suzanne Choffel and Sarah Sharp in Houston

      • Suzanne Choffel and Sarah Sharp Photo #1
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      January 20, 2008

      Sunday   6:00 PM

      2425 Norfolk Street
      Houston, Texas 77098

      • No Performers Listed
      Suzanne Choffel and Sarah Sharp

      Born and raised in Austin, TX, USA, Earth, Suzanna Choffel (pictured) grew up in a music-loving family where putting on records and dancing around the house singing at the top of your lungs was not considered anything out of the ordinary.

      In fact, Suzanna's many musical influences can be found in her parent's varied record collection-Joni Mitchell, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Emmylou Harris, The Beatles, Neil Young, Fleetwood Mac, and lots of Motown R&B and pop.

      Suzanna studied piano for a brief two years as a child, but it was enough to get her writing her own songs on her Casio keyboard, an event she would spend much of her free time doing. She would record her small, “pop” styled compositions on her jambox and found it brought her great satisfaction.

      Throughout the next several years, Suzanna would participate in choir and band (saxophone-1 year), singing at talent shows and competing in UIL competitions, winning many awards and singing with recognized choirs such as the “Grammy in the Schools” Jazz Choir.

      When she was 13, she was invited to join the teenage band Red-Headed Step Child and sang her first few club shows at the Saxon Pub and Broken Spoke. She knew she loved singing and performing, but for some reason, singing other people's music did not appeal to her as much as singing her own melodies and songs.

      At the age of 17, her mother bought her a guitar and she spent hours every day learning new chords and putting songs together. She moved to San Marcos at 18 to attend Southwest Texas State University and landed a gig with local band Humblebums, whom she performed regularly with at venues such as Triple Crown, Café on the Square, Antones, and Waterloo Ice House.

      She gained much experience from singing with the band, however still did not feel a deep connection, as she was not the musical or lyrical composer.

      The Humblebums disbanded a year after she joined and soon thereafter she was asked to sing in Liquid Stereo Project, a seven-piece hip-hop/jazz fusion band lead by friend and bassist Rene Rodriguez.

      Suzanna was solely responsible for the lyric-writing and drew on her R&B influences to write soulful melodies and hooks. This, to her, was the first time she really felt like she was doing something she loved. She began to experiment more with different rhythmic phrasing, rapping and wailing as she wished.

      In 2000, due to boredom amongst other things, Suzanna decided to move to Santa Fe, NM to attend the College of Santa Fe where she had discovered the nurturing Contemporary Music Program that she felt had more to offer her than the typical, high-school band instructor-based music programs she found elsewhere.

      In Santa Fe, Suzanna was exposed to music she had never heard before-various sounds and instruments in her Electro-acoustic music classes and different world music ensembles.

      She began to look at (or rather, hear) music from a different perspective, sharpening her listening skills in her recording classes. She began to study voice more intensively and was very inspired by her teachers and mentors such as Joan LaBarbara (voice), Sharon Shaheen (piano), and David Dunn (sound artist).

      At this point Suzanna began to really focus on her own songwriting and began playing solo with guitar. She also sang with other bands and performed fairly regular shows in the few venues Santa Fe offered.

      She also began to take part in many of the student films being produced on campus, due to the notorious Moving Image Arts department there. She acted in a few movies, and even made her first music video for her song “Pressure” whom she wrote with the current band she was playing with, Mud Luscious & the Blood.

      She graduated in May of 2003 with a BA in Music Technology and moved back home to Austin to pursue music as a career. Since moving back she has formed her own band under her name and they perform as a trio (guitar/vocals, drums, bass) at different venues throughout town.

      Her music has grown into a mesh of folk and urban sounds. Her raw, soulful voice creates jazz-infused melodies that float above warm guitar strums and plucks. Lyrically, she covers the wide scope of life's many joys and pitfalls-everything from the complexity of relationships to the unfortunate politics of our world to the immense joy there is to be found in simply singing a song.

      Comparisons made to her music include the likes of Erykah Badu, Ani Difranco, Patty Griffin and Sting. She hopes to start traveling with her music soon, recently acquiring a booking agent to book her throughout Texas. Suzanna is currently working on her first full-length record, soon to be released, entitled Shudders and Rings.

      Not since the era of Edie Brickell has Texas produced such an intelligent, playful pop songstress. Sarah Sharp is the latest singer songwriter to claim new territory in the indie music revolution with simple, witty pop songs infused with slight touches of jazz.

      Upon graduation from Berklee College of Music in Boston, Sarah Sharp wasted no time in heading across the pond to chase her dreams. On the streets and in the clubs of London, she cut her teeth as a performer and honed her craft at songwriting. Once back in the states, she chose the Austin music scene to start her career and jumped in full force.

      Sharp cooked up a weekly jazz gig, garnering much praise from the local music press, which also led to her being voted a Top Jazz Musician in Austin. Concurrently, the release of her 2002 EP Out of Nowhere had acquired a radio following on coveted local Austin radio such as KUT and KGSR.

      In December 2003, Sarah teamed up with renowned engineer/producer Dan Workman, whose credits include the biggest names in modern music from Beyonce to ZZ Top. With the addition of composer/arranger, Kevin Ryan, the production team set out to create a tour de force of modern pop, Sarah Sharp's debut album – Fourth Person.

      Sharp's voice is beautifully descript and distinctly charismatic, complimented by music for the thinking person. Her unique talents offer "a cure for those who cringe at the phrase singer songwriter," while brandishing a style that's generous with its hooks and blessedly devoid of the brooding insight of typical ‘smart pop.'

      Throughout 2004, Sharp tested the waters with performances across the country and reviews of Fourth Person have been excellent. Amplifier Magazine calls it "a richly orchestrated and dynamically produced album of enormous depth and substance," while the Austin Chronicle says of Sharp, "maintaining a one-woman Lilith Fair must be exhausting."

      Rated by the Austin Chronicle Critics' Picks as “one of the Top Texas Albums of 2004,” Fourth Person was picked up by Redeye Distribution and released internationally on March 8th 2005. Several performances during the 2005 SxSW Music Conference in Austin turned out to be a seminal turning point in this artist's career. After garnering two Austin Music Awards for Best Pop and Best Jazz artist, Sarah Sharp scored a star position as Music Supervisor on indie film Drop Dead Sexy, starring Jason Lee and Crispin Glover, which premiered on March 12th at SxSW Film Festival. Sharp has also seen the debut of her music on the silver screen with the inclusion of album track “Blame It On The Night” in the film's soundtrack.

      In the word of noted UK journalist, Oliver Gray, “This is an artist whose day has come.” Don't miss out!

      Smart. Sensitive. Soulful. Sarah.

      Categories: Performing Arts

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