Ontario-based musician Alyssa Wright combines the soul of jazz with the technical facility of her classical training, transcending the artificial confines of genre and constantly pushing boundaries both real and imagined. With a musical background that includes traditional, pop, gypsy, barbershop, Broadway musicals, ukulele choirs, klezmer, campfire sing-alongs, tango and good old rock 'n' roll, she weaves these diverse elements together with lyrics of outstanding imagery to create a style that is all-encompassing, yet uniquely her own.
Whether accompanying herself on cello, guitar, piano, drum, or even accordion, Alyssa's versatility is always in service of the words and music. Her rich, arresting contralto can be fiercely powerful one moment, sweet and soothing the next - audiences have compared her voice to everyone from a young Buffy Ste. Marie to Janis Joplin to Karen Carpenter. From the darkness of murder, prostitution and child abuse to the sunnier topics of love and childbirth to playful commentaries on male hygiene and heatwaves, her lyrics are filled with "elements of brilliance" [Jennifer Ives, Orillia Folk Society]: rich imagery, wicked humour, clever wordplay, and sly, sexy double entendres. Praised as a "highly lyrical" spellbinding- performer [John Burge, composer], her "passionate style" [David Newland, singer-songwriter] is always dynamic, emotional, and sincere.
Alyssa's vast musical knowledge and playing experience - not to mention her trademark tone and innate musicality Ã¢â‚¬â€œ have made her one of Ontario's most popular session and studio cellists. With such groups as alt-rock band Adam's Rib, folk group the Tim Harrison Trio, and chamber jazz duo Naffin & Wright, this "cellist extraordinaire" [Tim Harrison] has performed in a variety of venues from Cape Breton to Vancouver Island, including Massey Hall, the Banff Centre for the Arts, Molson Amphitheatre, Second City Theatre and Harbourfront Centre; the Stan Rogers, Elora and DuMaurier Downtown Jazz Festivals; warmed up audiences to such acts as Sting, Great Big Sea and Stevie Nicks; and appeared on the CBC, Global, City-TV and CTV.
In 2005, after a 15-year hiatus from songwriting, Alyssa returned to centre stage. Since then, she has been well received at the Live from the Rock Festival, Eaglewood Festival, BarrieFolk, the Orillia Folk Society, Newmarket Folk Society, Museum on the Boyne, on stages, at events and in house concerts throughout Ontario. Her debut solo CD, Dark Waters, was released in March, 2007 at Hugh's Room (Toronto).
Alyssa's consummate musicianship and style come from years of study and formal education, combined with the essential listening and improvisatory skills refined over years of performance and accompaniment. Neither her instrument, voice, playing nor songwriting know any artificial boundaries - classical, rock, pop, folk and jazz all become but timbres and accents in the rich tapestry of her music.