Debra G. was a semi-professional Opera singer in college, but soon after pick up a guitar and now she's a rockstar! Check out her new band project www.myspace.com/copaseticgrooves and www.myspace.com/debragmusic
Extensive Bio on DG:
Debra Grahn began her musical career early on in her life. At three she released her first underground recording... her mom had an "old school" tape recorder and recorded Debra's lyrical version of Aerosmith's "Sweet Emotion" and "It's so Easy to Fall in Love" by the ever famous Linda Rodstad. (Copies are floating around the black market right now!) Then she fell madly in love with Michael Jackson in the 80's and memorized all his music and fresh dance moves.
From that moment, she decided that her life was going to be dedicated to a career acting and singing in the movies. She wanted to live on the stage... yet, she was so afraid to step on one. Debra did however continue to sing in the car, and to the pop radio station as she walked down the aisle of the local grocery store in her home town, Oshkosh, WI.
Finally it was time...6th grade, Debra's choir teacher Mrs. Anderson at South Park Middle School helped her to discover confidence and her voice. She performed her first solo in class and realized that the greatest goal in life was to be the next Madonna. At the beginning of her 8th grade year, She started taking voice lessons from a professional opera singer, Lesley Del Koi.
At the end of Debra's Freshmen year at Oshkosh West High School, she began classical lessons with Ms. Andrews, a professor of voice and vocal pedagogy at the University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh. After four years of mini recitals, high school musicals, and drama performances under the direction of her biggest hero Mr. Lynch, she decided to go to college to continue studying voice with Ms. Andrews to become a classically trained opera singer. (Big change from wanting to be the next "Like a Virgin"!)
These years proved to be the most rewarding years of Debra's life. In 1998, 1999, and 2000 Debra took 2nd place out of 200 competitors in the state wide competition N.A.T.S. (The National Association of Teacher for Singers). In 1999 (Junior year) and 2000 (Senior year), she received the honor's recitalist award for outstanding performance. The summer of 2000, she was accepted to attend the Oberlin Opera and Lieder Program in Cassalmaggiore, Italy. Here Debra played the lead role in Gluck's opera "Orfeo ed Euridice" as Euridice. The performances were held in an original Italian opera house from the 1500's. In 2001, Debra participated in the M.T.N.A (Music Teachers National Association) vocal competition and was awarded state 1st place winner, regional 1st place winner and finished a National Finalist out of 6 women in the nation. During all this, Debra also performed roles in several college level opera's, such as: Sour Angelica in Sour Angelica, Laurie in The Tenderland, Betsy in Sweet Betsy from Pike, Susanna in The Marrige of Figarro, Gretel in Hansel and Gretel... and many more. This was the dream she had been waiting for...but...
The experience of Debra's last 6 months of college, would prove to be the most difficult decision yet most exciting part of her college career. She knew music was her passion but felt lost within the classical world. She decided to start playing an old guitar that she bought from a local pawn shop while in high school; remembering how passionately she wanted to be the next Jewel but never succeeded. She began at age 21, to teach herself how to play, straying from the desires to sing anything classical.
The first glimpses of this new found passion, she struggled with her classical background. The years of training inhibited the vocal technique that her songwriting style called for. She had to re-train her voice to sing from her chest and with a straight tone when needed. But with all this in mind, her ability to sing classically, with a straight tone and flip from her head to her chest register has made her a very dynamic singer today.
Five months after college graduation, Debra made a very wise move... She packed up and left for the booming Metropolis of Minneapolis, MN. She started off by going to every open mike she heard of. Within two months, she was on the front page of the Express section in the Pioneer Press. Nothing to exciting, but a picture and a caption that read "Debra Grahn moved recently to the Twin Cities from Oshkosh, Wis., and played for the first time at the Chatterbox Pub's Tuesday "open mike" night..." Her first review in Minneapolis... if you want to call it that.
During this time, Debra was working as a server (the norm for a struggling musician), but that next week at the same place, The Chatterbox Pub, she was stopped by a young gentlemen who worked for an non-profit organization called Youth Frontiers. He explained that this organization was hiring musicians who would be interested in performing in a program that teaches young people how to treat each other better in primary and secondary schools throughout the nation... In this performance you would get to perform your ORIGINAL music on the subject of Respect. Debra audition and was accepted. For the last 3 years, she has been not only working to pursue her solo acoustic career, but sharing and inspiring young people with her music through her position at Youth Frontiers, INC. www.youthfrontiers.org
Soon after being hired at Youth Frontiers, she was given the nick name, Debra G. This was a direct result of one of her co-workers who always pronounced her last name wrong... Not even a month later the name was starting to stick. First as a joke, G. Funk... Debra G. Funky Fresh ... and then as the real thing. Now everyone who knows her, knows her as Debra G. and the name Debra Grahn is a lost soul...
Debra G. has been performing loud and local for the past 3 1/2 years. On average she performs 2-3 nights per week in the Twin Cities, about one weekend a month at venues in western Wisconsin and just recently at the Heartland Cafe/Red Line Tap in Chicago, IL.
In October of 2004, she released her first professional album, self-titled: DEBRA G. This album contains a compilation of music from the last three years of her experimental songwriting. Self-produced, Debra G. wanted to keep the recording raw, with a live feel, keep it simple; make it seem as though she was sitting in the passenger seat next to you while you were driving. Each song is an expression from the diary of her soul, where someone or something inspired her to put words to music as a release of anger, happiness, fear, having a lack of patience for those who can't decipher right from wrong and the innocent sexual frustrations of being alone when you don't want to be. This album was not meant to sound commercialized, instead she wanted to inspire listeners with moments that stand out as "WOW, I wonder what this would sound like live?..."
A quote from an anonymous woman that was at one of Debra G.'s performances at a Coffee House in South Minneapolis...
"One of Debra 's strengths as a songwriter/performer is that she is not afraid to speak what others wish they could say."
In March of 2005, she finally had her CD release party at the Fine Line Music Cafe, Minneapolis, MN. Choosing to perform second in the line-up between Enchanted Ape and The Orin Project, over 230 fans supported her CD release on a Thursday night; she sold over 50 copies, despite the fact that most of the audience members had already bought the CD from Debra G. personally.
Recently, the official Debra G. website has joined the surfers community, www.debrag.com. It is still being constructed in some areas, but welcomes all visitors.
Currently, Debra G. is pushing to get air play on 89.3 the Current a local/independent radio station in St. Paul, MN and several college radio stations in the tri-state area. This summer (2005) Debra G. is starting her second album. Hopefully to be released in the fall of 05. This album will have a different feel then the last without loosing the Debra G. style. Who knows maybe she'll turn into Debra G. Funk after all.
(Below is a letter from a wonderful musician and dear friend of D's . This musician/artist is an amazing slide guitar player... his songwriting will captivate your soul and leave you screaming for more. (www.natemillemusic.com ).
"Debra G cannot be defined really, and she won't allow herself to be. She has had formal training in classical music, singing Opera, but she left it to pursue songwriting.
Instead of singing other peoples music, she took those influences and training and put it to her poems and thoughts. By doing this Debra Grahn became Debra G. The two are not separate entities at all. I've had the pleasure of knowing and playing with D and I have gotten to know her quite well. She is strong, talented, enigmatic and a whole bunch of other adjectives. She writes songs about struggle, injustice, women's rights and love. But just like D does with everything, she does not limit herself to just those subjects.
Debra G. is a voice and a whole lot more.... She has become my friend. I have much more to say but words are useless; just listen to her music".
Nathan Miller, singer/songwriter
Tuesday, March 16
Prepared by: Susan Brown