About Leslie Mendelson
Modeling her music after such '70s icons as Carole King and Joni Mitchell, singer/songwriter Leslie Mendelson began making waves in 2005, when the homespun debut album Take It as You Will. She continued to follow in the fashion of classic songwriters with her third full-length, 2017's Love and Murder, which included covers of Bob Dylan and Roy Orbison.
A Long Island native, Mendelson was influenced by her father, who was a music teacher, and became passionate about music at a young age. She recorded some of her original songs for the first time as singer for the funk group Mother Freedom, who released the six-track This Is Mother Freedom in 2002.
That year, Mendelson moved to New York City to focus on writing and took part in the New York Songwriters Circle. She eventually expanded her fan base beyond the New York area with her first solo album, 2005's self-released Take It as You Will. One newfound fan was Joel Dorn, an influential jazz producer and record label exec who helped Mendelson ink a contract with Rykodisc Records. The young singer then worked alongside songwriter Steve McEwan and the Spin Doctors' Aaron Comess to shape the sound of her sophomore album, 2009's Swan Feathers. It was co-produced by Dorn. A Grammy nomination (Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical) was followed by a series of personal and professional setbacks for Mendelson, including the unexpected death of Dorn, a parting of the ways with her label and management, and a record that never saw release.
She eventually reteamed with McEwan, and in the meantime performed on a handful of albums by other artists, including James Maddock and Willie Nile. Released in 2017 by Royal Potato Family, her third LP, Love and Murder, offered seven original tunes along with covers of Bob Dylan, Jimmy C. Newman, and Roy Orbison's "Blue Bayou," the latter a duet with Bob Weir. Another duet, this one with Jackson Browne for the documentary film 5B, "A Human Touch" saw release in 2018. She worked again McEwan on the full-length If You Can't Say Anything Nice. Released by Royal Potato in 2020, it was co-produced by bassist/engineer Lorenzo Wolff. ~ Marcy Donelson & Andrew Leahey
HOMETOWNLong Island, NY
BORNDecember 30, 1977