EACH WEEK, OUR ARTIST FEATURE HIGHLIGHTS A DIFFERENT ARTIST WITHIN OUR COMMUNITY.
This week we sat down with local rock & soul band, Vandella, to learn more about how their band came to be, what inspires them, and what they're up to.
Meet Vandella - a power duo composed of vocalist Tracey Holland and guitarist Chris Tye. The two have spent years gathering the sounds of California from the time they met at The Musicians Institute in Los Angeles. The unique chemistry the pair brings to the stage is a huge part of Vandella’s identity. As Tracey put it, “We’ve been operating as a unit for eight years and Vandella wouldn’t be Vandella without us”.
After meeting in Los Angeles, the pair moved throughout the West Coast, looking for just the right city to call home. For Tracey, “There was no musical niche for me in San Diego but I thrive with a challenge like that. San Diego shaped me as an artist because I didn’t love living there. It made me feel really creative because I felt like the “other”. Chris felt that, “everything before we moved to San Francisco was unfocused for me. When I came here I really learned how to get a band together and compose and that's when I felt shaped as an artist. There's so much talent here, all the musicians in the Bay Area are playing music because they truly love it. That adds so much inspiration to our lives.”
Since finding their home in San Francisco, Vandella has become an established Bay Area group that is set apart because, “We are genuine, and the music business is filled with a lot of artists that put on personas when they perform. We care about writing really good music rather than following trends, we are steadfast in who we are”. Their vintage tinged rock and soul is influenced by artists like Stevie Nicks, Janis Joplin and The Rolling Stones and inspired by the great outdoors, films, visual arts, astrology, and traveling.
Both Tracey and Chris are music educators in addition to working with a variety of bands. Tracey owns and runs her own voice studio, Caveness Voice, where she, “focuses on vocal technique taking voices apart and putting them back together stronger and empowering women through the voice”. She’s been teaching children and adults there for eight years, healing voices as well as aiding in the songwriting process and artist development of her students. Chris is a bit newer to the teaching scene, and started teaching seriously about a year ago. So far he, “loves exposing kids to music and watching them understand the bigger picture and how much music is out there for them to learn. With adults I love teaching theory. There's so much mystery to how music works and when you can show someone what's behind those curtains it's exciting”. When they aren't on tour or working on new tunes for Vandella, Tracey lends her vocals to the band Rubber Tramp and has a solo project, The Old Grey Whistle Test and Chris plays with a band called Surf Bored.
Fast Fact: The last song Vandella listened to was Yellow Eyes by Rayland Baxter