Vonda Shepard (born July 7, 1963) is an American singer, songwriter, and actress. She appeared as a regular in the television show Ally McBeal, as a resident performer in the bar where the show's characters drank after work. Her version of Kay Starr’s Christmas classic "(Everybody's Waitin' for) The Man with the Bag," after it was featured on a season 4 episode of Ally McBeal, became a popular holiday song. She plays piano, bass, and guitar.
Life and career
Vonda Shepard was born in New York City. Her family relocated to California when she was a child. She played piano from an early age. Her father is Richmond Shepard, a mime and improvisational actor. Vonda has three sisters.
After performing as a backing singer for many years she was eventually given her own recording contract. Shepard's first chart appearance was in 1987, when she recorded a duet with Dan Hill entitled "Can't We Try." Before this, she had tried out for the part of Michael J. Fox's sister in Light of Day, but she lost the part to Joan Jett. She was also poised to sing on Peter Cetera's duet "The Next Time I Fall," but he picked Amy Grant instead. She released her first self-titled album in 1989, but with little fanfare. The album did yield one chart single, "Don't Cry Ilene," a middle-tempo piano-driven jazz-R&B flavored song dealing with the break-up of a relationship between a black woman and a white man, arising from adult peer pressure. The track is sung from the perspective of the woman's white female friend, who harbors a desire to have the man for herself, but keeps her distance out of respect for her friend. The song peaked at Number 17 on the Billboard Hot Adult Contemporary chart and stayed on the charts for 12 weeks.
After her third album, Shepard was signed up to appear on Ally McBeal after the show's creator, former attorney David E. Kelley, spotted her. While on the show she recorded two full soundtrack albums and was featured on two other Ally McBeal compilations. The songs that Shepard recorded for the Ally McBeal soundtrack albums were mainly covers of old songs with lyrics that paralleled what was happening in the title character's life on-screen. However, "Searchin' My Soul," which became the album's biggest hit single after Kelley chose it for the show's titles theme, was an original selection jointly written and composed by Shepard and Paul Howard Gordon. Since her appearances in the show, Shepard has released two more studio albums and a live album.
- 1989 Vonda Shepard
- 1992 The Radical Light
- 1996 It's Good, Eve
- 1998 Songs from Ally McBeal
- 1999 By 7:30
- 1999 Heart and Soul: New Songs from Ally McBeal
- 2000 Ally McBeal: A Very Ally Christmas
- 2001 For Once in my Life
- 2002 Chinatown
- 2004 Live: A Retrospective
- 2008 From the Sun
- 2010 From the Sun Tour: Live in San Javier
- 2011 Solo
- 2015 Rookie
- Ally McBeal: A Very Ally Christmas 2000 US: 550 Music/Epic/SME Records / UK: Epic Records
- Ally McBeal: For Once in My Life Soundtrack 2001 US: 550 Music/Epic/SME Records / UK: Epic Records
- The Best of Ally McBeal - The Songs of Vonda Shepard / Sony Legacy / October 6, 2009
|1987||"Can't We Try" (Dan Hill and Vonda Shepard)||2||—||—||—||—||Dan Hill|
|1989||"Baby, Don't You Break My Heart Slow"||—||—||—||—||—||Vonda Shepard|
|"I Shy Away"||—||—||—||—||—|
|1990||"Don't Cry Ilene"||11||—||—||—||—|
|1992||"Wake Up the House"||—||—||—||—||—||The Radical Light|
|1998||"Searchin' My Soul"||22||22||6||1||10||Songs from Ally McBeal|
|"Hooked on a Feeling"||—||—||—||7||—|
|"Baby, Don't You Break My Heart Slow"||21||8||—||—||—||Heart and Soul: New Songs from Ally McBeal|
|"Read Your Mind"||—||—||—||—||—|
|2000||"Someday We'll Be Together"||—||—||—||—||—|
|2001||"Chances Are"||—||—||—||—||—||Ally McBeal: For Once in My Life|