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Pop / Rock 09/02/2011

Lorenza Ponce Opening For Bon Jovi In PA And CT!

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Lorenza Ponce Opening For Bon Jovi In PA And CT!
New York, NY (Top40 Charts/ Lorenza Ponce Official Website) As singer/violinist Lorenza Ponce continues to earn rave coverage for her sultry rock/Americana collection, 'Soul Shifter,' she looks forward to the imminent kick-off off her opening dates for Bon Jovi, as well as to a newly-confirmed series of headlining shows. Also in the works - Ponce's CD will be covered in the next issue of M Music and Musicians Magazine, the national glossy. An engaging interview by Chris Junior runs this month via (see below).

Recent press materials provide an overview of Ponce's longstanding relationship with Bon Jovi:

As Bon Jovi gears up for another stellar year of performing, the band with the #1 tour of 2010 has announced that their longtime collaborator, singer/violinist Lorenza Ponce, will appear as the group's very special guest at the 2011 tour kick off on February 9th at Bryce Jordan Center in State College, PA. As part of the extended Bon Jovi family since 2001, Ponce was featured prominently on the band's 2007-08 Lost Highway Tour. Now, the multi-talented musician has been invited to perform opening sets with her own band at Bon Jovi's concerts in State College, as well as Uncasville, CT on March 4th.

Ponce first performed with Bon Jovi after September 11, 2001, when she was called upon to support the band members at 9/11 events including the Tribute to Heroes Telethon and the historic Concert for New York. Ponce subsequently became a permanent member of Jon Bon Jovi's solo acoustic group, and was then asked to join Bon Jovi's Lost Highway Tour as well as their MTV Unplugged performance. In addition to her work with Bon Jovi, Ponce has toured the world and played alongside such notable acts as The Dixie Chicks, Sheryl Crow, Ray LaMontagne and Dolly Parton. -
Lorenza Ponce rocks on her latest solo album
By Chris Junior - 2/2011

As a session and touring musician, violinist Lorenza Ponce has recorded and/or toured with the likes of Sheryl Crow and Bon Jovi. Up until now, though, Ponce really hasn't rocked out in her solo career.

Soul Shifter, Ponce's latest album, is a departure from the New Age-y sound featured on her previous efforts. Her transition to rock doesn't mean she's shelved the violin: Ponce has merely made some stylistic adjustments, and the same can be said about her singing.

Ponce recently checked in to talk about the fine-tuning she's done, her career-changing moment that involved Crow, the historic equipment she used on Soul Shifter and other topics. Violins are common in classical and country music, but not so much in rock. On Soul Shifter, did you alter your playing or your attack to make the violin seem more rock 'n' roll, or was your violin's use all a matter of its placement in a given song? Lorenza Ponce: "I think I definitely approached the violin to fit into rock 'n' roll - in other words, to sound less classical and to sound less country, less 'fiddle-y.' An instrument is an instrument. Would I ever plug my violin into a distortion pedal? No, somebody kill me, you know what I mean?
"Because the violin has no frets, it is very conducive to sliding. Some of the greatest guitar solos are done on slide guitar, so I have studied that aspect of playing. I've incorporated that into my soloing - I sound like Nigel from Spinal Tap (laughs) - because a violin does that so nicely. It actually sounds really cool if you throw a delay on it; then it has a lot more expression and it definitely sets it apart from the classical violin or a fiddler."

What were some of the bigger challenges as you were making the transition in your solo career to a more roots-rock sound? Ponce: "Well, first of all, the singing had to change. I used to have that ethereal, operatic quality to it - very trained-sounding. I had to forget about that and try to tell stories as opposed to being a 'singer.' It's a completely different way of singing. I really had to work on it and study it and listen to people who were cool and find my voice in this genre. I'm much happier here, where I am. Let's say you're not feeling so great [on a given] day, or you're tired. Rock 'n' roll allows you to push through that; other art forms don't necessarily allow you to just be whoever you are that day. ... You can get your point across if you're not in good voice in rock 'n' roll."

As someone with broad musical interests and a sense of history, did it matter much to you that the equalizer from Motown's Hitsville USA studio and the Fender Rhodes from Foreigner's early hits ended up playing a role in Soul Shifter? Ponce: "Absolutely, of course. I love that stuff. ... You know what it is? I feel the mojo. So if that was Foghat's cowbell, of course it's going on the record - it needs a solo! ... That's history, and I think that if you don't feel that way - first of all, you haven't done enough listening, you don't know enough. And second of all, you don't have enough respect. Music is a gift, and that's like a gift from a muse that comes in. ... If you can get near any of that mojo, you've gotta grab it."

Talk about the recording session you did with Sheryl Crow during which you gave her one of your records. Ponce: "It was the pivotal moment of my career, really. And the funny thing is, I have not recommended [what I did] to other people, but for some reason for me at that moment, something said [to me] 'Do it.' I've always been one of those people who follows their intuition.
"What happened was she was recording The Globe Sessions, and I was in a string orchestra for a two-day date, and I was one of the violinists. ... My first record [1997's Imago] had just come out, and I had a copy in my purse. It was when that whole chant thing was big, and it was a New Age thing.
"We were just talking, and I brought up to her that I had played on the Tomorrow Never Dies [theme song]. That had been a very small session; she had written the theme for that, and we had done that session two or three years earlier. ... so we had something in common and a rapport there.
"Everybody walked away, and then all of a sudden, it was just she and I standing there. And I just said, 'You know, Sheryl, I never really do this, but can I give you a copy of my new record?' And most of the time, you [feel like you want to] shoot yourself for doing that because it's so opportunistic, and artists really are never going to listen to it: They would look at it, be polite and then they'd throw it away. But with her, I just had this feeling. And she just said, 'Absolutely! I would love to hear it!' Of course, knowing her now, I know that she would listen to it. She's a very curious person; she reads a lot and listens to a lot of things.
"It just so happens that it was luck ... she wanted some strings to go out with her on tour. So I gave her the [CD] and my phone number, and six months later, she called me to get another string player to do her Storytellers show. And then I went on the road with her.
"If everyone hadn't walked away and left the two of us standing there, I never would have done it. And that's what I mean by it was sort of meant to be. There have been many times in later years with other people where I had a record of mine in my purse and I didn't give it out."

So, when you're opening up for Bon Jovi, which you'll be doing this year, are you all sexed-up in those leather pants Crow bought for you years ago that are mentioned on your Web site? Ponce: (Laughs) "Well, with a band like Bon Jovi, I definitely had to be sexy [when I played with the group as a backing musician]. You have to be a really good musician, but it was also a lot about look. They would definitely put me in some cute little outfits. That's part of it; that's show business.
"Now someone like Sheryl Crow or The Dixie Chicks wouldn't do that. They're girls. Of course, Sheryl put me in leather, but it was a little different.
"I probably will wear something a little flashy [when I open for Bon Jovi], but it will not be short - it will be pants, probably. The thing is this: I'm a really good violin player, and I have a really, really good band. I don't want anybody to look at me and go (sounding disgusted) 'Oh.' I'm going to go out there and wear something that will read in a stadium, but I don't want people to walk away saying, 'I can't believe what she was wearing. Good lord, everything was hanging out.' "

Right - if you did that, people would end up remembering your look more than your sound. Ponce: "Yeah. The great thing about the violin is it's flashy enough. It's right up under your chin, you're on the big screen, it's your face on the big screen and there's that violin right under it. So I don't really need many accessories. I just have to be comfortable, not wear shoes that are too high and go out there and kick some ass."
- Introduction and interview by Chris M. Junior

Lorenza Ponce on tour (schedule subject to change):
* Feb. 5: The Stanhope House - Stanhope, N.J.
* Feb. 9: Bryce Jordan Center (Penn State) - University Park, Pa. (opening for Bon Jovi)
* Feb. 22: The Living Room - New York
* March 4: Mohegan Sun Arena - Uncasville, Conn. (opening for Bon Jovi)
* March 11: Bearsville Theater - Woodstock, N.Y.

In his BLOGCRITICS review, which also ran via NO DEPRESSION, respected writer Jack Goodstein praised, "Ponce's first foray into rock is riddled with successes and filled with promise for the future." Saturation tour press ran in support of Ponce's recent headlining dates - THE ALBANY TIMES UNION raved, "Let's just make this perfectly clear: Lorenza Ponce is a big deal." 'Soul Shifter' is "glorious." Remarking on Ponce's unique background as a self-professed 'rock-girl side person' for such superstars as Sheryl Crow and as violinist for Bon Jovi and others, THE TIMES HERALD-RECORD noted, "Not every girl can say that rocker Sheryl Crow bought her first pair of leather pants!"

2/1/2011 By Keith Frederick
Lorenza Ponce, solo artist, opens for Bon Jovi Feb. 9 at Jordan Center

Violinist and singer Lorenza Ponce has worked for years to make the switch from new age artist to rock musician.
She has performed and toured with acts like Neil Young, the Dixie Chicks and Hall & Oates, in addition to having long working relationships with Sheryl Crow and Bon Jovi.
So when Jon Bon Jovi asked her to open a pair of shows for his band to kick off their latest tour - the first being the tour's opening show at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 9 at the Bryce Jordan Center - Ponce took it in stride.
"Jon is a supporter of my art," she said in a recent phone interview from her home in New York City. "He knew that I had this record I was putting out. So he called and asked me if I'd like to open some shows for them and, of course, I said 'yes.'"
Then she added with a laugh: "After I got done screaming and jumping up and down, I said 'yes.'"
Ponce established herself as a desired session musician and a solid new age artist, touring with John Tesh and Japanese pianist Kitaro, long before she ever thought about becoming a rocker. But a meeting with Crow while playing on the theme song for the James Bond film "Tomorrow Never Dies" led her to a crossroad.
"I was hanging on a break, talking about the Bond session with Sheryl, and a little voice said, 'ask her if you can give her a record,'" she says on her website. "That moment changed my life."
Crow's encouragement led Ponce to doing string arrangements for mainstream artists and the Grammy-winning singer also pushed her to keep pursuing a solo career.
Plus, she says on her website, Crow "bought me my first really good pair of leather pants."
Being surrounded by rock artists led to her debut rock album, "Soul Shifter," which was released in November.
"I met Sheryl Crow, then the Dixie Chicks and Ben Folds and Bon Jovi - then I did [Bon Jovi's] Lost Highway tour," Ponce said. "So I was just immersed in rock 'n' roll. And I had always been into rock 'n' roll, as a kid. I'd be going to violin lessons and I'd be listening to Van Halen.
"[The rock music] just came out. I really think that's important as an artist, to be true to what you're feeling at that time."
Not that the switch wasn't difficult.
"There was a change in the entire process," she said. "To record the record, I had to get a producer. I always knew how to do things with my new age music, but I wouldn't presume how to produce a rock record.
"I had to give away basically all the control, which was kind of scary and kind of freeing at the same time."
Ponce had some influential support, as well.
It's been 14 years since recording the Bond theme with Crow, and she has been performing with Bon Jovi off and on for nearly 10 years - her first association with the group was in 2001. After the 9/11 tragedy, Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora asked her to perform with them on the Tribute to Heroes telethon. She has toured with Bon Jovi once since then and is a part of Jon Bon Jovi's solo acoustic group.
With Crow, a nine-time Grammy winner, and Bon Jovi, one of the top-selling acts ever, in her corner, Ponce has had a nice template on which to start her rock career. So does she a lot of influence from those acts on "Soul Shifter"?
"I think not so much in the writing, although I couldn't learn from better writers, could I?" she said with a laugh. "I think that you can't help but be influenced by great songs. I didn't consciously do it. I didn't go out and try to do that. But once you've performed these songs that much, you can't help being influenced."
And since that association led to the solo opening spot on this tour, she couldn't be happier.
"It feels fantastic," Ponce said. "I'm very excited about it - they're an incredible band and it feels like such an honor. It's a big responsibility, opening for them.... but I find it a challenge and I like challenges."
It's a challenge that will come in front of quite a group.
According to Bernie Punt, marketing manager at the Bryce Jordan Center, the show is expected to be a sellout by concert time.
"There's very few artists who can sell the entire arena," Punt said. "The last one to do it was Bruce Springsteen. But less than a thousand seats remain - we're selling tickets every day."

-Tour Feature 2/4/11 By Steve McElwee
Violinist Lorenza Ponce enjoys learning from musicians
Before Bon Jovi takes the stage Feb. 9 at the Bryce Jordan Center, singer/violinist Lorenza Ponce will warm up the crowd with the unique renditions of blues-influenced rock she has honed with experience working with Sheryl Crow, the Dixie Chicks and, of course, the pride of New Jersey, Jon Bon Jovi.
"I'm going to go out there and I am just going to kick it," Ponce said. "We've got 30 minutes to make a great impression, and I'm going to rip on the violin and we're going to play as many of my songs as we can and do a couple of renditions of some older songs and have a great time. It's going to be really fun."
Raised on a Maryland farm, Ponce's latest record, "Soul Shifter," is a departure from the new-age, world-beat style of music she initially broke out with with, thanks to working with artists such as Kitaro and John Tesh.
"Soul Shifter" is a change of pace and genre for Ponce and highlights the bluegrass and rock influences she later picked up while working alongside Crow and touring with Bon Jovi.
"I just started writing a lot of rock 'n' roll as opposed to what I used to write, which was more instrumental or more spiritual type music," Ponce said. "That's why I ended up writing 'Soul Shifter.' Because of rocking out with these people all the time, that's where I was, that's what I was doing. I think a new record will be a continuation of that because the response has been fantastic."
Although Ponce's sound isn't something usually heard on top-40 radio, she is one of today's more innovative musicians. It's no wonder some of the biggest names in rock music have recruited her to play with them.
"I'm a blues violin player, which is very unusual," Ponce said. "I think when people think violin, they think fiddle, they think country. I'm playing some very interesting rock, blues solos and I'm not talking about adding a bunch of effects and stuff like that to it. That isn't what it's about, it's about having the instrument speak in its own voice, but in the blues style."
When Ponce settles in to have a joint session with another musician, she is an attentive pupil with a constant craving to further the perfection of her craft.
There is also something special about sitting down with an established artist working and learning along with them.
"Playing with other people is wonderful because it's something, to learn a lot from seasoned musicians that have toured so much and written so many amazing songs," Ponce said.
"You also learn from their live performances, you learn from their performance technique, you see how they warm up for shows and you just see their routine. I'm like a sponge. I see all this stuff and I go, 'Oh, that answers that question, that's how it's done.' I just find everything as a learning experience, I'm in school 24/7."

Check out Lorenza in the studio via Penn State's The Lion:

Featuring her ethereal vocals and blues violin, Ponce's album charts a path out of the shadows and into the spotlight for a talented artist with a storied career as a performer and as a string arranger - her credits include such notable tracks as Dixie Chicks 'Landslide', Sheryl Crow's 'Mother Nature's Son' and 'It's Only Love', Bon Jovi's MTV Unplugged 'Living on a Prayer' and more. Her extraordinary list of projects can be seen via ALL MUSIC:

Click the links below to read other recent coverage:


By David Malachowski 11/4/10

'Soul Shifter' shows Lorenza Ponce is a force all on her own

NIPPERTOWN - Tour Preview
Five Firsts: Lorenza Ponce
NAME: Lorenza Ponce BAND AFFILIATION: David Malachowski & the Woodstock Allstars INSTRUMENT: Violin, vocals
1. THE FIRST ALBUM I EVER BOUGHT WAS ... Aerosmith's "Draw The Line"
2. THE FIRST CONCERT I EVER SAW WAS ... Classical - The Baltimore Symphony Rock - Aerosmith
4. THE FIRST SONG I EVER PERFORMED IN PUBLIC WAS ... Movement one from Vivaldi's Concerto No. 1
5. THE FIRST BAND I WAS EVER IN WAS ... Raining Violet

Township Journal preview -

Local Noise: Lorenza Ponce
By Hal B. Selzer , May 26, 2010

The title track is a tribute to one of Lorenza's icons, Frank Sinatra. She comments: "A 'Soul Shifter' is someone who will turn your blue mood into joy and laughter, without you even thinking about it. They are so cool, or funny, or genuine, that you can't help being drawn into their world. Frank Sinatra was one of these people. Obviously I never met him, but his music, charm, and talent were so significant that to listen to him sing, read his interviews, or watch him performing, is uplifting. He was a Soul Shifter. I also consider Dolly Parton and Keith Richards to be in this group as well."

Ponce has parlayed her music career into a growing involvement in a number of charitable causes. She has long supported "Joan's Legacy: Uniting Against Lung Cancer," and helps by getting artists to sign guitars for auction at their yearly fundraiser - learn more here: Ponce performs at this year's Rocktoberfest fundraiser for A Leg To Stand On, - an extraordinary charity that provides limbs for children. Ponce also supports the non-profit Little Kids Rock,

More about Lorenza Ponce:
The multi-talented musician Lorenza Ponce has toured the world playing violin alongside such artists as Ben Folds, Jon Bon Jovi, Sheryl Crow, John Tesh (!) and Thriving Ivory. As Lorenza explains, her rock debut Soul Shifter represents "a style change from the classical training and new age music of my past, while incorporating the 'graduate degree' I have earned at the school of rock star employers and mentors." Growing up on a farm in Maryland, Lorenza had a prescient idea of her career path. "Even though I chose the violin, I always knew I would be a non-classical musician, and as soon as I found out that there was a NYC, I knew that was where I would live. So as soon as I was legal, that's where I headed." Keyboardist Joe McGinty recommended Lorenza for her first session and a chance meeting with Jon Anderson of Yes led to a collaboration on his album Deseo (Windham Hill, 1994). Anderson encouraged Lorenza to start writing her own music as well, and her solo debut as a classical crossover artist, Imago, was released in 1997 by EMI/Angel Records. Ever eager to take to the road as well as developing her solo work, Lorenza toured with new agers Kitaro and John Tesh and appears in the An Enchanted Evening and One World videos documenting those shows. Ponce's strength as a performer/instrumentalist was recognized by The St. Petersburg Times: "Ponce is a violin virtuoso, plucking her strings while singing on the ethereal 'Canta Domine.'" As a first call session player, Lorenza was part of the string quintet that accompanied Sheryl Crow on the theme for the James Bond film "Tomorrow Never Dies" (1997). Lorenza next worked with her on The Globe Sessions, where she broke a cardinal rule of her session work and gave the artist a copy of her record. "I was hanging on a break, talking about the Bond session with Sheryl, and a little voice said, 'ask her if you can give her a record.' That moment changed my life." Sheryl invited Lorenza to play on her VH 1 Storytellers special, which led to the violinist accompanying her on the subsequent world tour. Lorenza credits Sheryl Crow for her transformation from New Age sidewoman to rock chick. "Sheryl was Patsy Cline to my Loretta Lynn. She encouraged me to pick up the guitar again, and in addition to hiring me to write string arrangements for her recordings, bought me my first really good pair of leather pants. And she encouraged me to keep making solo records" Ponce subsequently recorded another solo new age album, Mystic Fiddler (Melodia, 2000) and returned to write orchestral arrangements for Sheryl Crow's C'mon, C'mon (A&M, 2002). When it was time to hire a conductor, Crow handed Lorenza the baton and insisted she take the podium. This experience was critical in Lorenza being responsible for writing string arrangements (and touring with) The Dixie Chicks, along with her more recent work with rock icons Bon Jovi. "After the tragedy of 9/11, every person wanted to help. I was thrilled when I got a call to play the Tribute to Heroes Telethon with Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora. I had never met them, but it turned out to be the start of a good musical collaboration." Lorenza also played the historic Concert For New York with Bon Jovi, as well as smaller benefits for the families of the servicemen lost from Jon's hometown. It's no wonder Lorenza has such deep regard for the band. "It was an honor to be part of their contribution to healing." Lorenza became a permanent member of Jon's solo acoustic group (which mainly plays charity and political events) and was subsequently asked to join the Bon Jovi "Lost Highway" tour, which featured her prominently. "After completing a rock tour as big as Lost Highway, I knew I was ready to make my own rock record. My writing had been shifting towards rock for several years. My new record represents that."

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