Debra's piano-playing and Pop/Soul songwriting standout, but her captivating voice is the focus. From romantic & sweet to bitter & lonely, all songs leave you feeling ultimately hopeful.
DEBRA ARLYN, Portland Music Awards “Best Female Artist of the Year”, continues to gain industry success as 'Portland's finest young pop singers..." says the Willamette Week. While the soulfulness of Debra’s incredible voice is unparalleled, her song writing and performance on her new CD,‘Tomorrow Another Day’ has drawn comparisons to Alicia Keys, Colbie Callet and Carole King.
Debra's songwriting talent has won her ‘Honorable Mention’ in both the John-Lennon Songwriting Contest and Billboard’s World Songwriting Contest , Top prize in the ‘06 ‘Singer/Songwriter Award’ from ‘we are listening.org’, Runner-up at the ‘Winery Music Awards’ sponsored by Best Buy & ifanz.com, and being listed on the annual ‘Top Hot Unsigned Artists’ from LA’s Music Connection Magazine, Debra’s music continues to be recognized on a national level. Her music has been in the films ‘ClearCut’, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and aired on the Sundance Channel, and ‘Valley of Angels’ which won ‘Best Feature Film’ at the NY International Film Festival. Legendary producer Marta Kauffman of ‘Friends’ fame, handpicked Debra’s song “Why Can’t We Start Over?” to be featured on the CW TV show ‘Related’.
Past touring has brought Debra to open for Tower of Power, Chris Isaak, Curtis Salgado & Epic artist Lenka. Also, The Hotel Café in LA, NEMO showcase in Boston, NACA College showcase in Reno, Humphrey’s By the Bay in San Diego, and many prestigious NW Music Festivals. Debra is a regular at West Coast college campuses and has been featured in Campus Activities Magazine. Not only is Debra’s music currently being played on over 50 college radio stations, Debra has cultivated relationships with Oregon’s top Hot AC & AAA Radio stations, including 105.1 KRSK The Buzz, 104.7 KDUK and KINK 102fm. And with recent reviews in “Music Connection Magazine”, “Music Spectator Magazine”, and “All-Access Magazine”, Debra’s music is far out-reaching her homegrown grasp. Though only 23, Debra has come a long way since winning Clear-channels ‘Oregon Idol’ contest and competing for the ‘American Idol’ TV show. While pioneering her own musical path with indie label Homeslice Music, it is clear Debra has something significant to offer the music world as a musician, songwriter, and performer.
Northwest CD: 'Tomorrow Another Day'
Friday, May 23, 2008
By DON CAMPBELL
Special to The Oregonian
With singer-songwriter Debra Arlyn, it's easy to get lost in the slick production, the immediately apparent radio-tailored vibe and the laserlike marketing focus her "package" targets.
But that would be to miss the point. Arlyn, a twentysomething Corvallis native, is releasing her third effort, "Tomorrow Another Day," on her homegrown Homeslice Music Records label. And we'll be surprised if she doesn't hit pay dirt within the next year.
The 12 songs on her sophomore effort are a mash-up of lite jazz, R&B and old-school soul. She composes and performs on piano, but it's her strong, confident voice and way with a melody that sets her apart.
The CD was crisply produced by Rob Stroup at his 8 Ball Studio. He's quickly becoming Portland's hottest record producer. He took her AAA vision and rendered a tight pop record that will not fail to gain major label notice.
Arlyn has done her homework. Rather than slug it out in any sort of club scene, she's set her sights on writing songs that resonate with fellow twentysomethings, so much so that she's already landed several cuts on pop television and indie film. She's also racked up several major songwriting-contest wins, music awards and national-magazine exposure.
And justly. Her songs are well-crafted, the production of each impeccable. If they sound formulaic, it's because she knows her business. There's nothing terribly deep here lyrically, the usual aching-heart laments, but she's good enough that either she will find a mass audience in the modern R&B realm, or her songs will get covered by major stars. Or, likely, both.
Review: Another day, another great CD
By THERESA HOGUE
Arlyn starts 2008 with new album and top female vocal honors
The year 2008 started out with a bang for local singer/songwriter Debra Arlyn when she won Best Female Artist of the Year at the First Annual Portland Music Awards in January. Arlyn, who was up against female performers including Jasmine Ash and Linda Hornbuckle, said she was shocked to win the award, which the public voted on through Music Spectator Magazine.
For Arlyn, the award was just the icing on a brand new year, which has brought with it a new album which came out Tuesday, “Tomorrow Another Day,” and a new Web site, www.debraarlyn.com. With her music appearing in two independent films, and the song “Why Can’t We Start Over?” featured on the television show “Related,” it appears that Arlyn is on the brink of major celebrity. But then again, those of us who have known and loved Arlyn and her music since she was a Philomath high schooler have been feeling that way for a long, long time.
And with “Tomorrow Another Day,” all of us waiting breathlessly for Arlyn’s stardom might just finally be requited. I was hugely enamored with her previous release “Complicated Mess,” which still finds its way into the CD player rotation at my house. But I was not at all surprised to find that, yet again, Arlyn has managed to up her game and provide an even more sophisticated and refreshing musical product.
Although American 20-somethings are often accused of being part of a cult of instant gratification, where stardom appears as easy as getting onto one of millions of mindless reality television shows, Arlyn has proven that she doesn’t expect that kind of immediate celebrity. While her fans have been convinced that stardom is inevitable, Arlyn has quietly gone about both promoting her work through videos, tours and CD releases, and has surrounded herself with the best teachers and fellow performers she can find, determined to use this time to improve. And her efforts have paid off, not with a major record label contract, but with the sincere praise of music critics and a growing number of devoted fans.
But back to “Tomorrow Another Day.” With the album’s first song, “Worth the Wait,” like many of Arlyn’s previous works, she seems to be singing about many things at once, both the power of a burgeoning romance, and her ongoing faith in her own professional direction, filled with the hope of something more.
“I never knew things could be so good. After all the sadness I’d encountered, my only wish, and it seems so selfish, I wish that you had found me sooner.”
The second song, “Forever,” felt immediately familiar, and I soon realized that it was a mature adaptation of “Forever’s What I Mean,” on her debut CD, “That Girl is Me.” I was slightly critical of the original version of the song, which I felt had a bit of a glossy teen view of love. Everything I disliked about the original song has been either erased or polished to a gorgeous sheen, and the lyrics have been tweaked to reveal a more mature, earthy view of devotion, but still one filled with youthful enthusiasm (Arlyn, we must keep in mind, is 23).
“There’s no question I’d go crazy without your touch, and no doubt in my mind that to all your faults I turn a blind eye. When I say I want to be with you forever, I hope that’s not asking too much, ’cuz a love like the one that we share, there’s nothing that compares.”
There’s a little more regret in “Tomorrow Another Day,” a little more life lived. In “The Letter,” which is perhaps Arlyn at her most Alicia Keyes-esque, there’s an intense bittersweetness that her previous songs lacked, and her work is the richer for that new voice of experience.
“And it’s too late to call you this evening, and it’s too late to ask if you miss me, and it’s too late to say that I’m sorry, but I know that I’m to blame for making you wait and now it’s too late.”
In “Does It Really Matter?” Arlyn contemplates her quest for stardom, and what kind of sacrifices she might be making as she pursues a career in music.
“The older I get, the more the world offers its distractions. But the more life I live, I ask myself does it really matter?”
I think Arlyn’s fans can safely say that her work is much more than a glorious distraction, and that to us, yes, it really matters.
Article by Jason Geargart
North West Noise
"Having listened to Tomorrow Another Day at least 15 times since receiving it in the mail, I must say this studio release is Arlyn's finest achievement in not only production value but also songwriting. The usual Pop/R&B elements to Arlyn's arsenal of music are present and she even adds in some soft rock and disco elements on certain tracks. The track Through To Me has a little musical number in the latter part of the song that, for about ten seconds, makes me think I'm listening to the soundtrack to Saturday Night Fever. No, John Travolta does NOT make an appearance on this track or the record, for the record.
Some heavy hitters in the music world collaborated with Arlyn with a couple of the tracks from Tomorrow Another Day such as Mariah Carey's first producer, Ben Margulies on Does It Really Matter, hip hop/jazz producer and artist Dapo Tormiro on Worth the Wait and former Portland Prince of Producing, Steve Sundholm on New Favorite Song.
Debra Arlyn is quickly becoming a known and sought after commodity in the music world. Her seemingly tireless effort in making music connects with those who cross her path by offering a 'happiness and heartache' reality check within loving and hurting those we love. Arlyn's pain and passion through song is evident, and will challenge you to reflect, react and respond within the happiness and heart ache in your own life. All I can say is that John Travolta's music never did that for me, and I'm truly grateful for that!"
The Willamette Week
May 21, 2008
By Casey Vaughn
[R&B/POP] Corvallis native Debra Arlyn is on a career path that would seem pretty foreign to most of the musicians covered in these pages. The pop songstress—who taught herself piano and began writing songs at 14—won the Clear Channel-sponsored Oregon Idol contest in 2003, earning her a chance to compete for a spot on American Idol. Aryln didn’t make the cut, but her dreams persisted. She dropped out of college to pursue music full-time, and releases Tomorrow Another Day (her third album) this Friday.
While the 23-year-old’s lyricism is still coming along (clever turns of phrase are often mired in love-song clichés), the album’s arrangements are more a refreshing throwback to Babyface-era R&B than in stride with today’s hyperactive beats. WW talked to Arlyn via phone from her Corvallis back yard.
WW: Making pop music, is there a community around you or do you feel like you’re kind of going it alone?
Debra Arlyn: It’s about 50/50 actually. Originally I had a hard time finding the best venues for me [and] artists to share bills with. But I’ve managed to make a really solid group of musician friends, like [Portland R&B band] Intervision and Keegan Smith.
What’s your first memory of singing?
I did a talent show when I was in second grade. I did “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” and my dad played piano. That was the first time I performed live, and I was scared shitless. They didn’t pick winners. I was like, “What? We’re doing this for no reason?”
Your dad is listed as executive producer on Tomorrow.
He’s been my manager and the front for the label [Homeslice Music]. He’s incredibly supportive, but when I said, “Hey, I kind of want to drop out of college to pursue music,” he wasn’t like, “Yay!”
What’s the weirdest show you’ve ever played?
It was actually just last week. I did a Borders in Olympia. Let’s just say the people at the Borders were not excited about there being music in the cafe. Everyone was like, “Oh, what?” and they’d get up and walk away. They’re all, “I want to read my magazine!”
The Register Gaurd
By Serena Markstrom
Published: May 16, 2008 12:00AM
Debra Arlyn is already a star to those who know who she is. And we’re not talking about the supportive but misguided relatives who are devastated when their starry-eyed youngsters don’t make the cut on “American Idol.”
We’re talking about the people Arlyn has won over in small batches since 2006, when she took to the road in earnest as a full-time independent artist.
The Corvallis-based singer recently was named best female artist of the year at the inaugural Portland Music Awards, sponsored in January by Music Spectator magazine. Arlyn was up against such popular veterans as Linda Hornbuckle and Ashleigh Flynn.
Arlyn, with her larger-than-you’d-expect voice, stole away with that prize. And judging by bloggers’ reports on the event, she blew away the crowd with her live performance.
Arlyn is back in Eugene on Saturday, playing at 5 p.m. on the main stage of the Willamette Valley Music Festival. Her Portland CD-release party is May 23, so local audiences have a chance to get their hands on “Tomorrow Another Day” first during this appearance with her full band, which includes trumpet and saxophone.
“Why aren’t you famous?”
Two years ago, about the time she released “Complicated Mess,” Arlyn’s focus was on securing a major label record deal. She has changed her strategy and wants fans to understand that.
Arlyn said during a recent interview that the most common questions she hears after college shows are, “Why aren’t you famous?” and, “Why are you playing my school?”
“It’s really sweet when people say that to me, (but) I wish people would change their perception,” she said. “There’s not overnight success anymore.”
She wants to tell them, “It takes a lot of work to get to your school,” but she knows they mean well.
Building her audience the slow and steady way has allowed Arlyn to mature as an artist. And it will leave her better equipped for fame if it does come her way.
Although Arlyn was the Clear Channel “Oregon Idol” winner back in 2003, she is no longer interested in exchanging control of her music for stardom.
After “Complicated Mess,” which she produced herself, she showcased for a couple of major labels, but no offers surfaced. Hearing horror stories from fellow artists who had been signed to majors, she changed her approach.
Now, she spends up to 12 hours a day working on her career, including numerous one-week tours in which she visits several colleges in one trip.
“I take a lot of pride in my show, and I generally get a good response,” Arlyn said.
Signature sound is still evolving
Newly wed in April, the 23-year-old Arlyn appears happy and well-adjusted. And while she realizes dark and angsty songs are the cool thing to put out right now, it’s not her style.
That style is something Arlyn has a hard time defining. She just knows that her latest release comes closer to nailing down a signature sound — soul, jazz and pop filtered through that gifted voice.
On her second full-length independent release, Arlyn has matured as a songwriter. She also worked her musical connections to bring in producer Rob Stroup and several co-writers.
The new CD boasts a powerful duet, “Not Enough,” with Intervision vocalist Paul Creighton.
For Arlyn, one of her favorite songs was the one that came the easiest. She wrote “Worth the Wait” during a one-hour meeting in Los Angeles with producer and musician Dapo Torimiro.
The song is about a love that came about “not a moment too late” after dealing with “shady” exes and other disappointments. It’s a jazzy R&B number with a traditional pop structure.
Arlyn said the song isn’t about anyone in particular, and that’s another strength of her new project.
“I’m more focused on the craft of the song than having it be about anyone,” she said. “Before, it would be about someone or about an emotion.”
Arlyn also got creative with production treatments. Listen to the fast-paced “Thru to Me,” which glides into a slow reggae beat...