Internationally touring, Atlanta based singer/songwriter Doria Roberts was born and raised in inner city Trenton, NJ but schooled in the neighboring yet decidedly more affluent Princeton, NJ. Her first introduction to music was her sisters vinyl record collection including the Brothers Johnson, Marvin Gaye, the Sugar Hill Gang and Ricki Lee Jones. A dancer from the age of 3, she was exposed to classical offerings during ballet class, ragtime during tap training and pop music in her modern jazz dance lessons. By age 10, she was starring in musicals in local childrens theater and choral productions once performing a lead role in Gilbert & Sullivans classic HMS Pinafore. At age 17, she produced her first event directing, staging, acting in, and even promoting the topically controversial play Laundry and Bourbon as part of her senior project.
By the time she was off to college, she had incorporated the likes of Public Enemy, De La Soul, and the uber literate hip hop of KRS One into her listening repertoire. While toiling away as a scholarship student at the University of Pennsylvania, majoring in East Asian Studies (with side bars in linguistics, business and art history) and aspiring to be an executive art dealer in Tokyo, she discovered the power folk of the Indigo Girls, Bob Dylans and Joni Mitchells storytelling, the tortured brilliance of John Coltrane and Jimi Hendrix, along with the quirky punk, tongue in cheek rebellion of Public Image Limited and black rock ska outfit Fishbone. And, like many women of her generation, she stumbled upon the rising star and fierce, feminist zeitgeist Ani DiFranco during an unplanned trip to a New York City dive.
However, Roberts was still only an observer and lover of music throughout college and didnt become a musician herself until senior year when a series of life changing events redirected her priorities. She picked up a roommates beer stained guitar for comfort and the lessons of the Tao Te Ching won over the Dow Jones. Eevntually, she embarked on her deeply personal though socially concious and committed musical path.
In 1999 (i.e. 6 years and 100 coffeehouses later), she won a slot to appear at Lilith Fair and was poised to sign a major label deal along with Atlanta based peers John Mayer and India Arie. However, a dubious piece of legislation changing copyright law in favor of the labels prompted the activist in Roberts to step away from potentially lucrative offers and release her own record. Though originally intending to simply wait out the storm, Roberts eventually found herself at the helm of her own label instead.
Since then she has released and self produced five independent and nationally distributed records on her imprint Hurricane Doria Records, has appeared at the internationally recognized Montreux Jazz Festival and has headlined Gay Pride events in Atlanta, Los Angeles, Stockholm, Melbourne and Sydney, Australia. She has also opened for or shared the stage with legendary folk singer Odetta, Janis Ian, the Indigo Girls, John Mayer, blues legends the Holmes Brothers, Chris Smither avant-garde R&B priestess Meshell Ndegeocello, world music darling Angelique Kidjo, the late poet laureate Gwendolyn Brooks, Pulitzer Prize winning author Alice Walker and many others.
In 2004, she was awarded both the Anderson Leadership Prize from the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force and the Orfeo Musica Humanitarian Award from the Tupilak Arts Consortium-Nordic in Stockholm, Sweden. Both awards were given in recognition of her willingness to fuse her music with her activist work and for creating major performance opportunities and outlets for other independent artists and youth at risk. She was also nominated for the 2005 Collin Higgins Courage Award.
Currently, she is the sole producer of the 11 year old Queerstock Festival & Tour, the Black Eyed Susans Tribute Series and various other fundraising and awareness events.
Roberts has finally finished recording her sixth release and the CD entitles “Woman Dangerous” is out. It was recorded at the venerable Treesound Studios (Elton John, Outkast, Indigo Girls, Collective Soul, Usher) in Atlanta, GA and co-produced by Zack Odom. On this major indie effort, Roberts once again effortlessly and seamlessly melds her diverse musical heritage into a solid set of provocative musings on life and love and everything that happens in between.
Edited by thebeercure on 22 Feb 2008, 17:09
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