Vanessa Verlee's music is story music - her story, your story, our story. Her writing is honest and raw, like her voice.
Her influences include Patty Griffin, Janis Joplin, Ben Harper and John Prine, although reviewers have often had difficulty in drawing comparisons with Vanessa's style. Raised the daughter of a United Methodist minister in Indiana, Vanessa has been singing in front of people since she learned the words to "Jesus Loves Me."
She studied journalism in school and people in life, and was never without a pen in her hand. At the age of twenty when she first picked up a guitar, her passions - singing, writing, and performing all met. Since then, Vanessa has been prolific in songwriting and active in performing.
In 1997, she began her performing career opening up for Mike Roe, lead singer of the 77's, in Fort Wayne, Indiana. After playing in Fort Wayne for about a year she moved back to the Northshore of Boston to finish college, where she lived and performed until 1999.
While in Massachusetts, Vanessa recorded and produced her first c.d. "Until It So Desires," released through Metanoia Records, with 13 original songs. Once the tassel was turned, Vanessa moved to San Francisco where she quickly became active in the music scene, running three different open mics in the city and playing about one gig a week. In the spring of 2001 she recorded her second full length album "Wherever My Feet Are Planted," released through Flutterby Productions, including 14 original songs.
The album was co-produced with Scott Urqhart of 2Kproductions and includes local artists John Merrill of MoodFood and Bitches Brew on percussion, Jason Muscat on Bass, and Jolie Holland on fiddle and background vocals. When the album was finished, Vanessa hit the road for two months, playing gigs all over the United States. At the end of the summer Vanessa had driven 11,000 miles and played a total of 25 gigs, in 20 different cities.
Shortly after that Vanessa was trained in teaching hatha yoga, and has been teaching yoga in San Francisco for the last three years. But even with the early morning class schedule, Vanessa's performance schedule kept up, often performing with her partner Jeremy Rourke, as a duo known as "Francis and Larise."
Jeremy was a major contributor to Vanessa's most recent album, "I Don't Know If You Know," recorded and co-produced by John Merrill of Dirty Biscuit Studios in San Francisco.
Recently back from nearly two months of traveling and studying in Thailand and India, Vanessa is performing locally and planning a tour of the pacific northwest in July, 2006.