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About A. Leon
Although not well known nationally, Alice Leon is an expressive and talented singer/songwriter who has enjoyed a small regional following in the northeastern part of the United States. The Princeton, NJ, resident has led different bands along the way, but whether she was fronting the Alice Project or After Alice -- or performing as a solo artist -- Leon has favored a very melodic, tuneful, and hooky approach to pop/rock and adult alternative. Leon's work has been consistently accessible, and her direct or indirect influences have ranged from Carly Simon, Carole King, and the Beatles to Sheryl Crow, Edie Brickell & the New Bohemians, and Aimee Mann (who made a name for herself as 'Til Tuesday's lead singer in the '80s before building an impressive catalog of solo albums in the '90s and 2000s). The Mann influence, however, is melodic and harmonic rather than lyrical; while Mann has often been cited as a key figure in the "angry young woman" school of singer/songwriters, Leon is not the type of artist who lives and breathes angst and anger.
Leon (who plays guitar and keyboards) attracted some attention in the music business when she was the lead singer for the band After Alice, which appeared on Star Search in 1990. After many live performances around the Northeastern Corridor, After Alice recorded the album Sound the Alarm in 1995 -- and some of the songs from that CD were heard as background music on CBS-TV's long-running soap opera The Guiding Light (which started as a radio drama back in 1937 before debuting on television in 1952). Leon herself made a guest appearance on that soap during her After Alice days, playing a wedding singer and performing what was The Guiding Light's theme song at the time.
But despite the exposure they received on The Guiding Light, After Alice broke up in 1996 -- and for a while, Leon performed as a solo artist. One of her solo gigs (in New York City's Greenwich Village) caught the attention of a Sony Music rep, who introduced her to producer John Kalodner. After Kalodner signed her to a development deal with Sony, he arranged for her to record a demo in 1997; that demo, which Leon has called Conversations in the Bedroom, was produced by Dave "The Snake" Sabo (best known for his contributions to the Los Angeles-based heavy metal/hard rock band Skid Row) and Jackyl vocalist Jesse Dupree, but didn't sound anything at all like either Skid Row or Jackyl.
Regrettably, Leon's development deal with Sony fell through because of corporate restructuring -- something that many deserving artists have been victimized by over the years -- and instead of continuing to perform as a solo artist, Leon formed the Alice Project in 1997. The following year, Leon co-produced the Alice Project's debut album, The Big Number, which was released on Leon's own label, Clown Milk Records. Subsequent Clown Milk releases by the Alice Project included their second album, Traveling With Lady Berlin (a 2000 release), and their third album, Overnight Success (which came out in 2002). ~ Alex Henderson