Donald's Encyclopedia of Popular Music
(b 15 Sep. '47, Santa Maria CA) Cabaret singer with a relaxed and delicate voice, always clearly enunciating: one of today's finest interpreters of 'the Great American popular song', which benefits from thoughtful interpretation rather than being oversold … la Las Vegas. (The name is pronounced Wesla.) She knew she would be a singer from age one or two; early infl. incl. Nat King Cole, Frankie Laine, Ray Charles, Peggy Lee, Rosemary Clooney. She began formal training with piano lessons at age seven, classical voice study at 14; turned pro '70 with the San Francisco Opera Chorus, leaving '75 to work as a singing cocktail waitress (a short- lived disaster: no trouble with the singing part, but she couldn't keep the drink orders straight). She has been in a wheelchair since being shot by a teenaged hoodlum c'77. She met pianist Mike Greensill '81 when he asked to sit in during a gig; they married '86 and formed their own label, Myoho Records, the first release Just For A Thrill '87 featuring Al Cohn, followed by Until The Real Thing Comes Along and Nobody Else But Me '87--8. Lucky To Be Me '89 came out on Landmark (she was the new label's first vocalist); engagements at the Plush Room resulted in Live In San Francisco '91. Beautiful Love and Seeker Of Wisdom And Truth '92--3 were on Cabaret, followed by a return to Landmark for Nice Work '94; Teach Me Tonight '97 appeared on High Note. In the autumn of '93 through '95 she did three-month engagements at the Algonquin Hotel NYC. On the age-old question of who is a jazz singer, she said in an interview, 'I am not a jazz singer because I do not play with the melody or rhythms much ... I'm sure I'll never be a true jazz singer, but I attempt to move toward it daily ... And I have yet to meet even one singer who considers him/herself to be a jazz singer.'