Glendale News-Press
Soulful singer offers message of hope

Kimberlee tries soothing listeners' rough times with positives themes in her songs.

By Joyce Rudolf, Weekend

BURBANK — The singer/songwriter known just as Kimberlee draws her inspiration from watching the world around her. Sometimes the events she's witnessing are happy. Other times they are not. And, if that's the case, she tries to instill an ingredient into her music everyone can relate to — hope.

Her song "Recover," on her new CD "What Am I Gonna Do?", is about healing from abuse and other things that cause people emotional pain.

"I believe if you don't heal from things that harm you, you are impaired and not able to freely live," said the Burbank resident. "So I write life- changing songs, so you can change for the better and live a fuller life, and not feel blocked, hindered or enslaved by fear or trauma."

Her own life is something out of a dream. Married a lucky seven years to her manager, Matthew Leber, the two work side by side on three businesses ventures in addition to promoting Kimberlee's career.

They have their own record label, Real Star Records, on which her new CD has been released. And, they run a publishing company and an entertainment promotion company that promotes Kimberlee and other music artists.

Matthew is her biggest fan, she said, as he has been proactive in getting Kimberlee seen and heard on morning news shows on major TV networks, like CBS and Fox, and keeping her on a rigorous touring schedule.

She is performing in-store concerts at Borders Books and Music stores throughout Southern and Northern California and neighboring states and stops at 8 tonight at the Glendale store.

Borders has been very supportive, she said, giving her new CD overhead play in stores, displaying her posters and purchasing CDs.

The last four years, she has toured Arizona, Nevada, Oregon, Washington State, Idaho, Louisiana and Tennessee, appearing at Borders stores as well as performing at colleges, fairs and festivals.

It was on tour promoting her first CD, "Learning How to Love," which was released in 2000, that she caught the attention of multi-platinum producer Paul Laurence, who is also a songwriter and programmer for other artists.

"He liked my voice and style," she said. "I play acoustic guitar but with a lot of R&B soul."

Hers is a soulful rock sound with a mix of folk, blues and country, she said. Others have compared her voice and style of music to a Sheryl Crow meets Mary J. Blige, she said.

"Paul noted he could relate because of his R&B background," she added.

Laurence, who produced "What Am I Gonna Do?", has also worked with Stephanie Mills, Johnny Gill and Smokey Robinson. Kimberlee wrote all the music for the CD and is co-producer. While bringing his experience to the project, Laurence was open to Kimberlee's input, which helped to preserve her creativity, she said.

At 12, Kimberlee started writing songs and at 15, she began studying music with world-renowned vocal coach Judy Davis, who has worked with Frank Sinatra, Janis Joplin and Barbra Streisand.

Kimberlee's lyrics have touched those who have heard her music, she said.

"Writing from things I experience, people have come up to me and thanked me for writing about something in a song, whether it's about abuse or someone passing away," she said. "It provides a voice for someone else who doesn't have a creative outlet. They are able to be set free or able to commiserate and not feel alone in their experience."

But she doesn't leave a song in a dark place, she added, she likes to inject hope.

"I do believe there is a way out of the darkness, and people need to know that," she said.

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