Vonda Shepard

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Vonda Shepard
Vondashepard czarnob.jpg
Background information
Born (1963-07-07) July 7, 1963 (age 58)
New York City, U.S.
OriginCalifornia, U.S.
GenresAlternative rock, acoustic rock
Occupation(s)Singer, pianist, songwriter, actress
InstrumentsVocals, piano, guitar, bass
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, and actress.[1] She appeared as a regular in the television show Ally McBeal, as a resident performer in the bar where the show's characters drank, danced and conversed after work. In 1998 she had a hit with the show's theme tune and soundtrack, "Searchin' My Soul".[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.[2][3][4] She plays piano, bass, and guitar.

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. She played piano from an early age. Her father was Richmond Shepard, a mime and improvisational actor. She has three sisters.[5]

Vonda has released 15 albums, including eight solo albums, three live albums and four albums for Ally McBeal.  

Throughout her career she has played keyboards and has sung with Jackson Browne, Al Jarreau, and Rickie Lee Jones.[1]  

Vonda has sold over 12 million albums and has won two Golden Globes, two Emmy awards and two Screen Actors Guild awards and the Billboard award for selling the most television soundtrack albums in history.[citation needed]  

While on Ally McBeal, Vonda was the “behind the scenes” music producer, producing over 500 songs for the artists Sting, Robert Downey Jr., Gladys Knight, Chubby Checker, Al Green, Randy Newman and many more.  

Vonda continues to tour the world, playing her original material and songs from her days on Ally McBeal.  Her latest album is titled Rookie, and she is currently writing her next album.  

After performing as a backing singer for many years, she eventually got her own recording contract. Vonda's first chart appearance was in 1987, when she recorded a duet with Dan Hill entitled "Can't We Try." Before this, she had tried out for the part of Michael J. Fox's sister in Light of Day, but she lost the part to Joan Jett. She was also poised to sing on Peter Cetera's duet "The Next Time I Fall," but he picked Amy Grant instead. She released her first self-titled album in 1989, but with little fanfare. The album did yield one chart single, "Don't Cry Ilene," a middle-tempo piano-driven jazz-R&B flavored song dealing with the break-up of a relationship between a black woman and a white man, arising from adult peer pressure. The track is sung from the perspective of the woman's white female friend, who harbors a desire to have the man for herself, but keeps her distance out of respect for her friend. The song peaked at Number 17 on the Billboard Hot Adult Contemporary chart and stayed on the charts for 12 weeks.[6]

After her third album, Vonda was signed up to appear on Ally McBeal after the show's creator, former attorney David E. Kelley, spotted her performing in a nightclub.[1] While on the show she recorded two full soundtrack albums and was featured on two other Ally McBeal compilations.[1] The songs that Shepard recorded for the Ally McBeal soundtrack albums were mainly covers of old songs with lyrics that paralleled what was happening in the title character's life on-screen.[1] However, "Searchin' My Soul," which became the album's biggest hit single after Kelley chose it for the show's titles theme, was an original selection jointly written and composed by Vonda and Paul Howard Gordon.[1] Since her appearances in the show, Vonda has released two more studio albums and a live album.

She married music producer Mitchell Froom in 2004; they had their first child in 2006. She is also the stepmother to Froom's daughter, Ruby, from his marriage to Suzanne Vega.

She provided vocals for "I Need You," whose music had been composed by James Newton Howard, for the 2010 film Love & Other Drugs, which starred Jake Gyllenhaal and Anne Hathaway.[citation needed]


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


Studio albums[edit]

Year Title Release date Label
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
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

Soundtrack albums[edit]

Year Title Release date Label
1998 Songs from Ally McBeal May 5, 1998 550
1999 Heart and Soul: New Songs from Ally McBeal November 9, 1999 550
2000 Ally McBeal: A Very Ally Christmas November 7, 2000 550
2001 Ally McBeal: For Once in My Life April 23, 2001 550
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 2 14 41[8] 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 22 6 1 10 82[9] 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 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 e f g h Colin Larkin, ed. (2000). The Virgin Encyclopedia of Nineties Music (First ed.). Virgin Books. p. 352. ISBN 0-7535-0427-8.
  2. ^ Atkinson, Terry. (December 3, 2000.) "TV Shows Breed Christmas Albums", The Post-Tribune (Gary, Indiana) (Entertainment News Service), p. D-5.
  3. ^ 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.
  4. ^ 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.
  5. ^ "Vonda Shepard". IMDb.com. Retrieved 2019-12-19.
  6. ^ "Adult Contemporary Music Chart". Billboard.com. Retrieved 2019-12-19.
  7. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 271. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  8. ^ "Every AMR Top 100 Single in 1987". Top100singles.net. Retrieved 2018-10-28.
  9. ^ "Every ARIA Top 100 Single in 1998". Top100singles.net. Retrieved 2018-10-28.

External links[edit]