Vonda Shepard

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Vonda Shepard
Vondashepard czarnob.jpg
Background information
Born (1963-07-07) July 7, 1963 (age 59)
New York City, U.S.
OriginCalifornia, U.S.
Occupation(s)Singer, pianist, songwriter, actress
Instrument(s)Vocals, piano, guitar, bass guitar
Years active1987–present
LabelsReprise/Warner Bros. Records
550 Music/Epic/SME Records
VesperAlley Records

Vonda Shepard (born July 7, 1963) is an American singer, songwriter, music director, and actress.[1] She is perhaps best known for her starring role as a fictionalized version of herself on the television series Ally McBeal (1997–2002), for which she recorded five soundtrack albums as well as the series' theme song "Searchin' My Soul", which saw international commercial success.[1][2] Shepard has otherwise released nine studio albums and three live albums. She received a Screen Actors Guild Award as a cast member of Ally McBeal in 1999 among two additional nominations, and received a Billboard award for selling the most television soundtrack albums in history.[3]

Life and career[edit]

Vonda Shepard was born in New York City in 1963.[1] Her family relocated to California when she was a child, and she played piano from an early age. Her father was Richmond Shepard, a mime and improvisational actor. She has three sisters.[4] After performing as a backup singer, Shepard received her own recording contract and made her first chart appearance in 1987 with her duet with Dan Hill, "Can't We Try." Her self-titled debut studio album followed in 1989. It saw the moderate commercial success of the single "Don't Cry Ilene", which peaked at number 17 on the Billboard Hot Adult Contemporary chart and remained there for 12 weeks.[5]

While promoting her third studio album It's Good, Eve (1996), Shepard performed at the Key Club in Hollywood, California, where she invited Michelle Pfeiffer and her husband David E. Kelley. Kelley decided during the performance that he wanted Shepard to record the soundtrack for his forthcoming television series Ally McBeal, having been looking for a singer to be the voice and inner thoughts of the character.[3] Her biggest commercial success while starring on the series was the theme song "Searchin' My Soul", an original selection that originally appeared on her second studio album The Radical Light (1992), jointly written and composed by Shepard and Paul Howard Gordon.[1] Her version of Kay Starr's Christmas classic "(Everybody's Waitin' for) The Man with the Bag", after it was featured on a season 4 episode of Ally McBeal, became a popular holiday song.[6][7][8]

Shepard went on to record four soundtrack albums and one compilation album for Ally McBeal. She has otherwise released nine solo studio albums and three live albums to date. She married music producer Mitchell Froom in 2004; they had their first child in 2006. In 2010, she provided vocals for "I Need You," whose music had been composed by James Newton Howard, for the film Love & Other Drugs.[9]


Vonda Shepard's concert at International Jazz Festival of San Javier (June 2018)


Studio albums[edit]

Year Title Release date Label Peak chart positions
1989 Vonda Shepard August 1, 1989 Reprise
1992 The Radical Light April 8, 1992 Vesper Alley
1996 It's Good, Eve January 23, 1996 Vesper Alley
1999 By 7:30 April 20, 1999 Jacket 96 39
2002 Chinatown September 24, 2002 Jacket
2008 From the Sun September 2, 2008 Bos
2011 Solo December 6, 2011 Hotelè/PanShot
2015 Rookie July 10, 2015 Hotelè
2022 Red Light, Green Light September 21, 2022 Hotelè

Soundtrack albums[edit]

Year Title Release date Label Peak chart positions
1998 Songs from Ally McBeal May 5, 1998 550 1 3
1999 Heart and Soul: New Songs from Ally McBeal November 9, 1999 550 17 9
2000 Ally McBeal: A Very Ally Christmas November 7, 2000 550
2001 Ally McBeal: For Once in My Life April 23, 2001 550 5
2009 The Best of Ally McBeal: The Songs of Vonda Shepard October 6, 2009 Legacy

Live albums[edit]

Year Title Release date Label
2004 Live: A Retrospective September 1, 2004 Navarre
2010 From the Sun Tour: Live in San Javier November 2, 2009 Galileo
2019 Vonda: Live September 6, 2019 Hôtele


Year Song Chart positions Album
1987 "Can't We Try" (Dan Hill and Vonda Shepard) 2 41 14 2 Dan Hill
1989 "Baby, Don't You Break My Heart Slow" Vonda Shepard
"I Shy Away" 37
1990 "Don't Cry Ilene" 17
1992 "Wake Up the House" The Radical Light
1998 "Searchin' My Soul" 22 82 6 22 1 10 Songs from Ally McBeal
"Hooked on a Feeling" 7
1999 "Maryland"
"Tell Him" 29
"Baby, Don't You Break My Heart Slow" (with Emily Saliers) 21 8 76 Heart and Soul: New Songs from Ally McBeal
"Read Your Mind"
2000 "Someday We'll Be Together"
2001 "Chances Are" (with Robert Downey, Jr.) Ally McBeal: For Once in My Life
2002 "Rainy Days" Chinatown


  1. ^ a b c d Colin Larkin, ed. (2000). The Virgin Encyclopedia of Nineties Music (First ed.). Virgin Books. p. 352. ISBN 0-7535-0427-8.
  2. ^ Copsey, Rob. "Official Charts Pop Gem #76: Vonda Shepard – Searchin' My Soul". Official Charts. Retrieved 26 December 2022.
  3. ^ a b "HOW VONDA SHEPARD BECAME THE MUSICAL VOICE OF 'ALLY MCBEAL'". The Smith Center. Retrieved 26 December 2022.
  4. ^ "Vonda Shepard". IMDb.com. Retrieved 2019-12-19.
  5. ^ "Adult Contemporary Music Chart". Billboard.com. Retrieved 2019-12-19.
  6. ^ Atkinson, Terry. (December 3, 2000.) "TV Shows Breed Christmas Albums", The Post-Tribune (Gary, Indiana) (Entertainment News Service), p. D-5.
  7. ^ Maestri, Cathy. (December 15, 2000.) "Overflow of holiday CDs offer good cheer: From pop to country to alternative, there is music for everyone's stockings", Press-Enterprise (Riverside, California), p. AA-13.
  8. ^ Gehman, Geoff. (December 8, 2000) "CD Signs of the Season: Few Holiday Discs Will Jingle Your Bells"], The Morning Call (Allentown, Pennsylvania), p. D-1.
  9. ^ ""I Need You" [From Love & Other Drugs]". AllMusic. Retrieved 26 December 2022.
  10. ^ a b c Peaks in Australia:
    • All except noted: "Discography Vonda Shepard". australian-charts.com. Retrieved October 8, 2022.
    • "Can't We Try": Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992: 23 years of hit singles & albums from the top 100 charts. St Ives, N.S.W, Australia: Australian Chart Book. p. 271. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
    • "Searchin' My Soul" and By 7:30: Ryan, Gavin (2011). Australia's Music Charts 1988–2010 (PDF ed.). Mt Martha, Victoria, Australia: Moonlight Publishing. p. 250.
  11. ^ a b c "Vonda Shepard | full Official Chart History". Official Charts Company. Retrieved October 8, 2022.

External links[edit]