Some of you may have seen a show or game I voiced or be listening to my music and wondering what my story is….
I was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the second daughter of Ronald & Catherine Mattson
My Mom is the oldest of 10 and grew up in Duluth MN, and was the beautiful, popular cheer leading captain, class secretary in the choir, who loved school, music, and most of all family. She danced on Duluth’s American Bandstand and made a record when she was 7, “I don’t want her you can have her”. Her mother, Patricia, my namesake, who’s sharp as a tack at 97, tap danced and wrote poetry as well as a couple songs in her 20’s, she worked on the B24 Bomber, and was featured on the local news in Duluth MN just this summer 2017 for that task. Pretty cool stuff. She met Grandpa there who fought in WWII in the submarines. RIP Bill Corbin. All four of my mom’s sisters can sing, 1, accomplished in theater in Denver. A couple of the five boys can sing too! They always bring the laughter everywhere they go.
My dad was the middle of three boys, also raised in Duluth MN. He was an amazing self-taught guitar player whom played in a band called The Vibrations. At one point they warmed up for the Beach Boys and he got to jam with Bob Dylan over at my dad’s buddies house before Bob Dylan got successful. People have said my dad, “could just play unbelievably without ever having had a single real lesson” & “he had a superstar pitching arm“. RIP Dad. My grandma Irene, 93 and also sharp as a tack, sang in her youth and did a record called the Woodpecker song, Grandpa Cal played the French horn, and my dad’s youngest brother Mike Mattson, still plays and sings beautifully in Duluth MN Today. His oldest brother Dennis is our resident genius. :O) !
My mom is a real music lover; she had hip music on all the time when my sister and I were growing up. She played everything from great old R&B like The Spinners, Jackson 5, Stevie Wonder, The Temptations, Parliament, and The Brothers Johnson, to Rock and Roll like The Beatles, Creedence, Bread, Carly Simon, The Doobie Brothers, her favorite band, Journey and so many more great 70’s – 2000’s artists. That was a big influence. Not to mention my own loves like Heart, Led Zeppelin, Aerosmith, Earth Wind & Fire, Prince, Bob Segar, Aretha, Van Halen, Bonnie Raitt, Allman Brothers, Neil Young, Ohio Players, Teddy Pendergrass and so many more really the list goes on and on.
Suffice it to say, the apple didn’t fall far from the family tree. I have been performing since I was 6 years old when I did my first talent show at Lennox Elementary School in St Louis Park, MN. I did a monologue of Lilly Tomlin’s, “Edith Anne” that I had seen at 5 yrs old on Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In. I loved comedy and seemed to have a nack for imitation and creating characters.
I’ll never forget, I did “Edith Anne” for the 1st and 2nd grade talent shows to standing ovations, but in the 3rd grade I decided to do something different, one of Lilly Tomlin’s other characters “Ernestine”, and …. I got stage fright. I ran out to the car to go to Duluth with Mom and Tina, I guess it suddenly dawned on me that I might look foolish. I think many artists struggle with that from time to time… worrying it won’t be good enough or, as I get older… I’ll forget the lyrics, ha! :0D !
In late grade school, I fell in love with Barbra Streisand’s work on the “Star Is Born” soundtrack. I copied every lick she sang and my sisters friends used to come listen to me sing “Watch Closely Now” and “Woman in the Moon”. Funny!
I continued singing in talent shows doing Heart and Streisand, then The Blues. In the 6th grade my mom had me audition with hundreds of kids at The Children’s Theatre Company & School in downtown Minneapolis. I got in, being one of three out of 500, woo hoo! I went to school there for 7th through 9th grade. What a great experience! I probably should have stayed in the theater but, alas I wanted to play in a rock band too.
I ended up playing in a couple bands at 15 with a group of guys 6 years or so older than I, which as you can imagine my mom loved…HA! First it was Blamo. We played at the Senior prom at my High School when I was a Junior. That morphed into the next band, Little Louie and The Units. We played around Minneapolis a bit at the Uptown Bar, Riverfest, and in Brainerd MN at a place called Section 6, a huge camping spot out in the woods. Those gigs were crazy! At one point we got on the KQRS Homegrown Album, one of the big rock stations in Minneapolis.
Thankfully, I made it through those years.
I went on to study Voice and Breath Control with the ever amazing Oksana Bryn, as well as Jazz theory at “Mac Phial Center for the Arts” in Minneapolis. I was losing my voice singing in that first band so I studied with Oksana Bryn for 3 years. She gave me invaluable tools for vocal maintenance that I’ve periodically shared with other singers/students and still use to this day. I believe Oksana Bryn’s technique is a must learn.
But I digress… at one point I met the drummer from a band called Maserati at a popular bar that all the big players in the Minneapolis music scene used to play at. He was there jamming with Jimmy Jam, Terry Lewis, Jellybean Johnson, Marc Brown, and several other major players. (They’d all come sit in on different nights). I ended up doing a couple recordings with him and a friend of his. They were hysterical. One of the songs “Body Talk” I even had a crazy little video done for. I should have saved it for the song “Do You Love Me” which we did after that.
I was trying to find myself as an artist.
Around the same time I met a super talented drummer named Stokley Williams who was putting together a band called Mint Condition with his buddies Roger Troutman Jr, Homer O’Dell, Larry Waddell & Keri Lewis. Later Rick Kinchen took Keri’s place and, Jeffrey Allen joined. Man, Stokley and I wrote some funny, funny songs! I did demos for Mark Brown/Brown Mark whom formed Maserati, played with Prince and The Revolution, and worked with Chico Debarge.
My first Producer was Dez Dickerson, whom at the time was recently out of “Prince and the Revolution” and developing his own projects. Dez Dickerson is such an amazingly kind, talented, and spirit filled guy! During that year, while we were working on those demo’s I was invited to Los Angeles to sing on a record for “The Boys Club”, a duo Gene Hunt of The Jets and Joe Pasquale. I ended up staying in Los Angeles for what is now the better part of 27 years. I wonder sometimes what might have come of the Dez Project had we gotten that completed… if my path would have been dramatically different.
Everything for a reason perhaps.
Along the way I worked a variety of jobs while I sang on demos, did Jingles and commercials, some Television, wrote, and sang on records for “American Idol”, “Nona Gaye”, “Holly Robinson” & “Lisa Wong” in the UK, for the amazing producer Derek Bramble. I placed a couple songs, worked and performed in Atlantic City & Las Vegas with Anita Mann of Solid Gold fame, and with a few bands, one in particular, LA Beat, also known as The Leonard Neil Orchestra, had a list of great studio musicians in the 6-33 piece incarnations I played in. 1 of the many gigs we did was Katherine McPhee’s wedding, a star studded event. David Foster and others like, Mandesa, Kelly Pickler, and Kara DiGuardi sat in. I also went to Puerto Rico and sang with Minneapolis based Rupert’s Orchestra, also known as Synergy, in front of The Temptations, Louise Mandrell, and Sheena Easton. There were some amazing Minneapolis musicians from Prince and the Revolution that played in Synergy along with Debbie Duncan, Gwen Matthews, and Jenny Sanford who are all just stunning voices. And more recently sang in one of my Favorite bands The Painkillers with Rob Chiarelli, Michael Becker, Perry Senn, Derek Nakamoto, and Scott Rowe, (now a killer instrumental jazz band called The West Side Band).
I kept doing session work, including many Parodies for Premiere Radio Los Angeles, Clear Channel – One of them, the theme for “The Titanic” by Celine Dion, was featured on “The Howard Stern Show”. That’s where all those parodies on my website come from.
I was always doing crazy voices and characters along the way, so it wasn’t too big a jump to working in voice over & animation. Most notably my recent role in an upcoming Dreamworks Animated Series. (Can’t wait for you all to see it when it airs). Also the Iconic Sylvanas Windrunner for World Of Warcraft and Blizzard. You can see much of my VO work by Clicking resume, Voice Over Demo’s, and Professional Bio.
I’ve had the good fortune of working for and with, an amazing array of Musicians, Producers, and Songwriters that I am eternally grateful for. I’d list them but it would be a crazy long one. Suffice it to say, It’s been a great honor. At one point I was shopped by 2 of those production teams as a solo artist. It looked like we had a deal developing with BMG Records on the first go round, but our A&R contact left the label, the production Duo parted and…. on the shelf that project went.
When I finally completed my first original record with Rob Chiarelli (Finalmix.com), I was so excited to have my original music produced at that level!
You can check out everyone’s contributions on my CD Label, it’s also on my website in the Store if you click the link above each release that says Lyric Booklet. I have to point out that, Derek Organ, one of the industries most amazing drummers, who’s toured with Janet Jackson among others, was mistakenly omitted on the original hardcopy CD musician credits, AHHHHH, so sorry Derek! That is corrected online.
Lifelong dreams do come true. To be making a living creating characters and using my voice in the studio, plus having my original music recorded and represented for licensing – now with Media Creatures, IS a dream come true!
It’s just such an honor to be part of peoples creative process, and to make my contributions with such talented writers, directors, producers, graphic artists, engineers, casting directors…there is so much talent that goes into bringing these projects to life.
My longtime Los Angeles agent has been Micaela Stepanovich-Hicks, Atlas Talent, (formerly with Solid Talent), we’ve been together for close to 15 years. Can’t imagine what the picture would look like without her. My reps in other markets too – Carol Rathe, at GoVoices and Diane Schorch at Play Agency.
Things do come together when they are supposed to, even if it is later than you expected in your journey. I’m so grateful to be working in this amazing industry.
“Never say never”, as my sweet angel guide, very best friend and muse my mom always says! Mom, without you and your endless positivity…. I’d wouldn’t be.
Dear Mama off of the record Throwdown is written for her. Daddy off the same record is written for my dad.
There’s my story in a nutshell. A big nutshell. :O) !!