With her big, powerful voice, blues singer-pianist Lady Bianca makes a tremendous Telarc debut on Best Kept Secret, a collection of eleven original rhythm and blues tunes about keeping and sharing secrets. Best Kept Secret showcases Lady Bianca's versatile down-home, grits 'n' gravy style. All American songs such as "You Gonna Find Your Baby Gone," "Boogie in the Middle," and "Are You Really Satisfied," combine blues with gospel, country-western and soul.
From the roots of the gospel and rhythm and blues traditions comes Lady Bianca. She was born in the heartlands -- in Kansas City, Missouri -- but moved at age four to the Bay Area of California. She learned to play the piano around the same time. Her first important musical influence was provided by what she calls the "in-house preaching" of her father. "He was from Texas and played guitar in that down-home way. What he did for me that was unique was put gospel lyrics to pop and rhythm and blues tunes. One of my earliest and fondest memories was his putting those gospel words to a Ray Charles hit". That powerfully emotional gospel served as the basis for everything she became musically.
After high school, Lady Bianca won a scholarship to the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and began to study music theory, composition and opera. Utilizing the formal vocal training and the "home sound" she learned from her father, Lady Bianca set out to make her own personal approach to the world of rhythm and blues. Her first major performance was in the San Francisco production of singer Jon Hendricks' revue Evolution of the Blues. In that acclaimed show, she sang "Good Morning Heartache" and "God Bless The Child" and eloquently captured the spirit and essence of Billie Holiday. She went on to perform at the Conservatory Theater with such artists as Sly and the Family Stone, Frank Zappa, John Lee Hooker, Van Morrison and others.
In the late 1980s, Lady Bianca hooked up with her current partner (for business and songwriting), Stanley Lippitt. They started a local Oakland, California, label called Magic-O and recorded her first songs. She was soon performing and became a favorite at festivals and special events throughout the Bay Area and elsewhere in northern California. In 1989, 1990 and 1991, she was named Oakland's "female vocalist of the year."
The "Oakland Sound" that Lady Bianca and Stanley Lippitt created found its way to blues giant Joe Louis Walker who introduced the Lady to producer John Snyder. Thus did Oakland's "best kept secret" become Telarc's Best Kept Secret. "This album is all about secrets," says Bianca. "It's about people keeping damaging secrets from one another -- husband from wife, child from parent, friend from friend. It's also about people sharing secrets in a growing and loving way. And it's about taking blues and rhythm and blues and making them less secret to our children, the next generation of listeners." (Bianca does more than talk about this -- she sings it out loud in her work in Oakland's "Blues In The Schools" program.)
Best Kept Secret presents to the world the many colors and influences in the big, rich and powerful voice of Lady Bianca.