Vicki Randle - vocalist, percussionist, multi-instrumentalist and songwriter is one of the most visible and hard working musicians in America. For 14 years Vicki Randle has been the lead singer and percussionist of the acclaimed Tonight Show Band led by Kevin Eubanks, playing the diverse and eclectic mix of styles that makes the band so unique. For most of her musical life (that started when she was 16) she has been a staple in the studio and on the road. It's a good bet you own a CD that she is credited on, have seen a video or concert she was featured in, watched a film, tv show or commercial that features her voice.
"The first time I ever remember hearing music - Leonard Bernstein, his Young People's Concert series - I began to cry. Although I couldn't figure out why, I soon worked out that it felt like the deepest love I could imagine. Instantly, music became an irresistible force I was compelled to follow. I cannot imagine my life without the energy, power and grace and comfort of it."
Beginning first as a singer and acoustic guitarist, inspired by Joni Mitchell and James Taylor, Bonnie Raitt and Cris Williamson she divided her early career between political causes such as anti-war, gay and women's rights rallies of the 70's and 80's and showcase clubs around Southern California, notably the Ice House and the Bla Bla Cafe.
"I was never able to separate the two very successfully. I was offered record deals by companies like Motown when I was in my early 20's, but it was clear that they wanted only my voice, not my musicianship, songs, ideas, opinions, essentially - me. Because I was a black woman singer, there was a single mold most A&R people had to put me in. They tried to talk me into dieting down to a stick figure and wearing gowns and singing about being lovesick over some guy who treated me bad. Up until then I had been dividing my musical life between folk clubs and rock bands. It was pretty clear that wasn't going to be a good fit."
Becoming a sideperson paid the bills and provided the ever evolving musical challenges that she craved. That soon transformed into years of recording sessions, gigs and world touring. She has toured and/or recorded with Wayne Shorter, Kenny Loggins, Lionel Richie, George Benson; Aretha Franklin, Celine Dion, Dr. John, Linda Tillery, Herbie Hancock, Laura Nyro and Mickey Hart and many, many more, playing percussion, guitar, keys, bass, even harmonica as well as providing both background, lead and duet vocal duties in an extraordinary array of musical styles and for an astonishing number of artists. She has worked on numerous recordings, TV and Film soundtracks (composing as well as performing), done shows with the Boston Pops, John Williams conducting, for the Prince of Wales, the King and Queen of Spain and the 1997 Presidential Inauguration, on nearly every continent.
"I used to feel conflicted about my profession, wondering if I really was bringing something worthwhile to the world. After all I’m not a missionary or a brain surgeon, just someone who sings and plays music. Then I was reminded that only music can touch people this specific way, help them to connect, to really open their hearts. Now I feel grateful that I have the opportunity to bring even a little joy into anyone’s life."
A San Francisco native, Vicki now divides her time between Venice Beach and Oakland, rides a custom 1994 Harley-Davidson FXR, watches lots of hockey, runs and bikes with her two Siberian huskies and Reads Actual Books. Having done just about everything one can accomplish in the music industry, Vicki is finally sitting down to record her own songs. Her first solo project “Sleep City,” produced by the legendary Bonnie Hayes, will be released summer 2006.