Angel Travis

Angel Travis Biography

Rising star Angel Travis has an uncanny ability to convey – to practically channel – intense feelings through her words and music in a way that is both fully organic and potently transformed by artistic vision. Cloaked in velvet and colored by unflinching emotion, the Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter’s delivery is as soulful as it is commanding.

Travis’ debut album The Woman In Me – produced by music veterans Michael Vail Blum and Herman Jackson – spotlights her passionate and intelligent interpretations of a collection of original songs that thematically address the evolution and hard-won sense of freedom she’s experienced since moving to L.A. six years ago. Angel finds the essence, the heart, of the songs, elevating their message from the purely personal into poetic expressions of universal human experiences. Actor/musician Jeff Goldblum, an admirer of Travis’ work, said, “I listened to this music, closed my eyes, and my heart felt like a candied apple dipped in rum.”

On The Woman In Me’s lead track, “Think Of You,” Angel’s soaring vocals are front and center alongside an aching vulnerability that’s redeemed through the strength we feel in her spirit. Throughout the album, she combines elements of pop, soul, rock, blues and jazz into her rich sound. Angel’s voice glows with inspiration and flows with grace as she fulfills her dream of, “being a beacon of openness and beauty” through her art.

Part Cherokee and part Irish, Angel grew up about two hours outside Seattle on the shores of the Columbia River in Wenatchee, Washington State’s famed “Apple Capital.” As a child, her passion was riding her Appaloosa pony Tepa – Cherokee for “warm love” – through the verdant Wenatchee Valley. Then, at about age 12, Angel remembers, “I fell in love with the upright bass, cello and boys.” Her early love for music was sparked by her stepfather and his large collection of over 10,000 vinyl records. “They were mostly soul, jazz, rhythm & blues, blues and roots – Ella, Billie, Delaney & Bonnie – when I was little I’d dance around to them, I thought I was a jazz or blues singer.” That side of Angel’s inspiration was further encouraged through vocal lessons from a teacher affiliated with Seattle’s acclaimed Cornish College of the Arts, and from seeing performances with her mother and stepfather at the Jolly Roger, one of the city’s top music clubs in the ’80s and ’90s. One artist, Chicago-based blues singer Valerie Wellington, especially touched her. Angel had the opportunity to be onstage with her briefly, remembering, “I was a scrawny little girl, up there with her big, awesome blues band – it made my life at that point. Afterwards, she said to me, ‘You know what honey, you really do have talent. Don’t give up, you have a voice.’ That’s when I knew for sure what I wanted to do.” The supremely talented Wellington died of a brain aneurysm in 1993 at age 33; her spirit and encouragement will live on in a blues album that Angel still has inside of her. “I haven’t even tapped into that yet,” she says, “but it’s coming.”

In high school, Angel dove into musical theater, and grew dreams of making it to Broadway, something that’s still a goal. She attended Washington State University’s Pullman campus as a vocal performance major, and for two consecutive years (’93 & ’94), won the Best Collegiate Jazz Vocalist honor at the prestigious Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival. After graduating, she went on the road with the theatrical rock outfit Circle Of Knots, her “college dream band” whose eclectic, electrified sound she has likened to – in a testament to her versatility – “Sonny & Cher meets Phish.”

The band ran its course, and Angel moved to Los Angeles on her own to pursue her muse and get deeper into songwriting. Initially, life in L.A. was challenged by what she calls, “not the right circle of people,” an alienating introduction to the city that was very different from how she’d dreamed it might be. Stress took its toll on Angel’s vocal chords, which were repaired through working with the renowned Per Bristow, who she calls “an amazing Buddha of a vocal coach.” Her spirit was healed through her own formidable perseverance and the support of Rusty Tinder, an old friend who moved to L.A. to help guide her through personal and professional transformations (and who is The Woman In Me’s executive producer). “He held me up,” says Angel, “he said ‘this woman is talented, she’s worth something, she’s my best friend and you will respect her or else.’”

It helped take Angel’s writing and performing to the next level. A self-released debut album Ready To Fly drew acclaim as did her sets at clubs all over L.A. – including one when she was “singing the blues” at the Bel Age’s popular lounge. Producer Michael Vail Blum heard Travis’ performance, asked her if she also had original material, and the songs that comprise The Woman In Me were woven together – some already existed, others were newly created. Blum’s idea was for a concept album that cycled through Angel’s years living in Los Angeles, when the young artist had learned that, “you can be face down on the couch in a wild depression in a city where you don’t know anyone, and you can still get up, pull up your boots, and make things happen.”

“What came out of it artistically,” she says, were songs that were about a woman learning to own her power, and feel worthy of being loved and respected.” It also caused her to reach back farther emotionally, and reckon with issues from her tumultuous upbringing. “I realized that what I had been doing all along was part of a constant cry to find grace. I saw that I could either fall into old patterns or make a choice to be an independent person outside my family and shine. I made that choice, and I’m continuing to.”

The Woman In Me is an authentic and extraordinary window into a raw, moving and life-changing personal journey. It also emerges as a sophisticated portrait of an artist who, although at the early ascent of her career, is fully in command of her powers. “I know now,” says Angel, “that you can’t make somebody awaken, they have to do it on their own. I want to be open about that and share what I’ve lived through with others. I’m an artist, that’s how I choose to do that. This is my way of standing on the corner with a peace sign.”

Going forward, Angel is continuing to write, and finds her new songs coming out, “more bluesy, I’m very excited. One day, I’ll merge my worlds of Sarah McLachlan and Etta James completely.”

The Woman In Me is an authentic and extraordinary window into a raw, moving and life-changing personal journey. It also emerges as a sophisticated portrait of an artist who, although at the early ascent of her career, is fully in command of her powers. “I know now,” says Angel, “that you can’t make somebody awaken, they have to do it on their own. I want to be open about that and share what I’ve lived through with others. I’m an artist, that’s how I choose to do that. This is my way of standing on the corner with a peace sign.”

Going forward, Angel is continuing to write, and finds her new songs coming out, “more bluesy, I’m very excited. One day, I’ll merge my worlds of Sarah McLachlan and Etta James completely.”


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