I have been a songwriter all my life.


I grew up learning violin with the Suzuki method, playing medieval recorder and harpsichord with my dad, and played the clarinet in the school band, but what I really wanted all along was a guitar. I formed my first band in Wicker Park, in Chicago, in the mid 90s. That place and time was wide open and wild. Phyllis’s Musical Inn, The Rainbo, Double Door,  and The Bop Shop (where I was a cocktail waitress on Saturday nights) were all along a concrete stretch with potholes so large car bumpers would fall off and stay in them. I played my first gig ever at the Subterranean, standing on a strip of wood behind the bar that made up a stage, shaky knees, playing my homemade songs while the El, Chicago’s antique elevated train, rattled across overhead every 5 minutes. It was a rough and unpolished neighborhood, but vibrant. Women were entering the rock and americana scene with enough regularity we probably didn’t notice how unbalanced our presence was in event lineups. I produced regular Grrrls Rock evening at the Beat Kitchen, and fronted two bands, Sweet Bridget and Kite Club.

When I moved to a small village on the Seine River just south of Paris, France in 2005, I thought my rock life was behind me. I had sold all of our furniture and most of my equipment before leaving Chicago, though I brought a telecaster and an acoustic takamine, and two Fender amps to France. One day in our little stone house, I picked up my guitar and began all over again, writing songs. Because the music scene is so different in France, with influences and hierarchies new to me, I felt free to do whatever I wanted. I wrote songs with quirky characters, engaged in conversation, love, betrayal, politics. I wrote about America, about my life with a new perspective of seeing how it unfolded from a far. I have written hundreds of songs, and recorded 4 records. The songwriters who influence me share a sense of purpose, are daring, and true to their own work. Liz Phair, Leonard Cohen, Aimee Mann, Neutral Milk Hotel, Lucinda Williams and Alanis Morissette have all taught me about songwriting. In 2017 I toured the USA west coast from San Diego to Seattle, met producer JL Espada and wrote a set of new songs. In 2018 Espada recorded my collection called “Becoming.” I love working and living between France and the U.S.

I grew up on the coast of Maine in a town made up of three islands and a peninsula. Every direction ends up at the sea, and all trips required crossing at least one bridge. My childhood was far away from everything, remote, and lonely enough to develop a lifesaving imagination. I read books, made art, played a variety of instruments. I got a lot of my information about the world beyond my own from television. I remember seeing David Bowie, who I had never heard of, on Saturday Night Live, and thinking, “Thank God. There are my people.” I have lived in the UK, Italy, France, Austria, Germany and Spain, before moving to Chicago for graduate school at The School of the Art Institute. There I painted, worked in the foundry, and studied sound. I also started my first band ‘Salt Lick’ while I was a student.

I work in education as a professor and eLearning developer. I have always had a double life, professional and musical, and to keep all the balls in the air, I am very organized. Besides performing in Paris and long weekend tours around Europe, I have co-founded MUSEfest, to amplify the work of excellent women in music and film. I am raising two smart children, each one so different from the other. My kids and husband are proud of what I do, and support my musical journey, though I am sure they wish I had more time for them. I keep my eye on what is important, and I cut out things that don’t serve me. I am extremely goal oriented, but I never rest on my laurels. I am always reaching for the next new experience.  

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An evening in…

with the three of us. HJ + Karl Strand + Cyril Adda.

3 solo artists. Unexpected, twisted, sizzling, folk, pop, rock & blues.

Gambetta Club
104 rue de bagnolet 75020 Paris.
Thursday 15 November, 20h
5 euros at the door.
FB event info here: https://www.facebook.com/events/294508067324256/Image


Fundraiser for Barack Obama’s Presidential Election campaign. “Obama’s America. Les mille visages de l’Amérique.”
September 7 to November 10 2012.
« Obama’s America » : an artistic, cultural, political event












For the occasion of the U.S presidential election, Dorothy’s Gallery – American Center for the Arts, is planning a contemporary art show combined with a cultural program. The objective of this event is to support President Obama, to discuss the major issues involved in the election and to reveal the astounding cultural diversity of America.

Dorothy’s Gallery – American Center for the Arts actively promotes all forms of contemporary art. Our aim is to bring countries and artists closer together through art and culture. The exhibition “Obama’s America” is the continuation of a mutually strong commitment among the majority of Democrats living abroad. This engagement has already motivated Dorothy Polley, President of Dorothy’s Gallery – American Center for the Arts, to organize the exhibition “Obama in Paris” in 2008.
We are open to talented and engaged artists from all over the world, all artistic approaches and intellectual competences, to contribute to “Obama’s America”.
More than an art project, this event is intended to be a cultural festival, a series of events to incite debate, discussion and to contribute to the Obama campaign through art sales, fundraising, and the diffusion of up to date information.

• Democrats Abroad France
– Zachary Miller, executive committee member DAF.
– Diana Powers, chair Environmental Policy Group.
– Anna Jeretic, artist, writer and environmentalist.

• François Durpaire, historian, professor and researcher from Cergy-Pontoise university, author of « Les Etats-Unis pour les Nuls » (August 2012), President of
Mouvement pluricitoyen.

An art show from September 7 to November 10, 2012. The gallery space will be divided into two sections : one will represent Barack Obama and his life, the other will illustrate the diversity of the American people and ways of life.

We would like to receive :
– art supportive of Barack Obama, expressed freely in your personal style and inspiration : portrait, themes…
– photographs, sculptures, paintings, digital art etc illustrating life in today’s USA, including minority cultures (Cajuns, Native-Americans, African-Americans, Mexican- Americans, …).

A program of cultural evenings and week-ends. During the few weeks just before Barack Obama’s reelection – or not – ( November 6, 2012), we will consider the important issues facing the USA today : economic crisis, education, health, job creation, equal rights, environment, immigration, etc.
Our objective is to communicate both candidate’s programs, to encourage Americans to be actively involved and to vote through a series of events concerts, theater, film projections, conferences, book signings …
We welcome musicians (gospel, soul, pop, jazz, Cajun, classic etc.) film makers, writers, comedians, testifying to the cultural wealth of the USA in every field of creation. We are also inviting journalists, political scientists, writers, economists for a series of public discussions and conferences.

How to participate
Every medium and form of art can be considered. To participate please send the enclosed application by e-mail or post before 30 July 2012 including :
The attached inscription form, fully completed.
A resume in « word » format
A brief description of the work you are presenting and of your artistic approach
A visual of the work you would like to present (high def preferable)

The opening is scheduled for Friday 7 September 2012 from 17h to 21h.
The hanging is of the show is scheduled for 3 to 6 September 2012.

Dorothy Polley, Alice Fournier ou Clémence Bigel
01 43 57 08 51
dorothy’s gallery
American Center of the Arts
27, rue Keller
Paris 11e
Métro Bastille – Voltaire