In support of her first solo release, singer/songwriter Wendy Webb is preparing to make her inaugural performance at the Herb Strauss Schoolhouse Theater this Sunday, April 10 at 8 p.m. an evening to remember.
"I don’t often perform, although I really enjoy it, so want to do more," said Webb. "Sharing music with a live audience energizes me as much as I hope it energizes them. But my true love is creating original music, and writing what I hope are articulate, mature lyrics in the privacy of my own studio. I'm lucky in that I knew my calling early on.
Born and raised in Davenport, Iowa, Webb signed a contract with Columbia Records shortly after leaving high school, and moved her to Los Angeles.
"But it wasn't as easy back then for a women to pursue a career independently," Webb explained. "That's all I'll say about it, but most women will understand what I mean. I left the business for many years, although I've never stopped writing."
In 2000, the Lilith Fair Songwriting Contest presented Webb with an award for her song, "Camden Town." The same year, she was a finalist in the John Lennon Songwriting Contest.
But it wasn't until Wendy moved to Florida in 2004 that she began to perform again, although rarely. When she did go on stage, though, it was at the invitation of some of the most iconic venues in the music industry. Webb performed at the famous Harry's Bar in Paris, France and she received standing ovations at both of her performances at The Bitter End, located in the Greenwich Village section of New York City.
Webb, the wife of New York Times best-selling author Randy Wayne White, recently released her first solo album, "Moon On Havana," inspired by a visit to Cuba, which she called "a place all about love and the longing for freedom."
"The songs on 'Moon On Havana' are about my life and my experiences within that context," said Webb. “All 10 songs were recorded in a three-day session, mostly first takes, in a seaside cabin on a Florida Indian mound built by contemporaries of the Maya. It’s an ancient place; a pre-Colombian complex of burial mounds, canals and a ceremonial plaza where, for more than 2,000 years, people sang songs and told stories. At night alone, sitting at the piano, I felt a powerful connection to the people who built the mounds and who — according to archaeologists — fled to Havana in the late 1700s, only to vanish into extinction."
However, local music enthusiasts know that the differences between Cuba and the islands, both musically and culturally, are huge.
"Sanibel and Captiva are magic not only because of the sea and the incredible wildlife, but because the people these islands attract are fascinating, so accomplished," she said. "And it's such a powerful place to write music. One morning, after walking the beach, I went home and the lyrics to my song 'Florida' just came to me. The music soon followed. There's something about music and the sea that just go together."
Webb also talked about making her debut on the stage of the island's most famous entertainment venue.
"The people at BIG Arts are not only consummate pros, they are genuinely devoted to the arts. They have been so thoughtful and encouraging to me and my work," she explained. "The first time I went into the Strauss Theater, I fell in love with the vibe. The theater is so intimate. It's an honor to be invited to perform there."
Tickets to see Wendy Webb perform live at the Herb Strauss Schoolhouse Theater, located at 2200 Periwinkle Way, are $30 for adults and $10 for students. Call 472-6862 to purchase seats; fewer than 25 tickets remain. A pre-concert reception will begin at 7 p.m., with beverages and appetizers provided by Doc Ford’s Rum Bar & Grille.
Webb also noted that she enjoys hearing about the reactions from people after they have listened to her music
“When someone tells me my music has helped them in some way, or has comforted them, I am thrilled," said Wendy. "Recently, artist Darryl Pottorf told me he plays my music every night before he goes to work in his studio. To somehow connect, through music, on a cerebral, emotional level with a man as talented as Darryl did a lot to hush the self doubt I sometimes feel — that maybe we all sometimes feel.
“Finally, for the first time in my life, I'm actually doing what I was born to do," she added. "Isn't life on Sanibel great?"
For more information, visit www.wendywebbmusic.com.
Wendy Webb will make her debut performance at Sanibel's Herb Strauss Schoolhouse Theater this Sunday, April 10. A pre-concert starts at 7 p.m., with her performance beginning at 8 p.m.
Fact BoxTo Go
Wendy Webb in concert
Sunday, April 10
Herb Strauss Schoolhouse Theater
2200 Periwinkle Way