Wendy Waldman has always had a very diverse career in the music industry. She is a critically acclaimed recording artist, as well as a writer of multi-platinum songs for other singers in musical genres ranging from country to pop, film, jazz, children's music and R&B. She is also a teacher, working musician, and one of the first distinguished female record producers.
Wendy is a Los Angeles native. Her father, Fred Steiner, was a composer who wrote, among other things, the famous "Perry Mason" theme. He also composed the music for episodes of "Star Trek," "Gunsmoke," "Rocky and Bullwinkle," and "The Twilight Zone." Wendy's grandfather, George Steiner, wrote music for the original Laurel and Hardy and animated features such as "Betty Boop."
In the early seventies, during the height of the innovative and exciting days of folk rock in Los Angeles, Wendy formed a band, Bryndle, with fellow artists Karla Bonoff, Andrew Gold, and Kenny Edwards. After an unreleased album, the members of Bryndle went their separate ways. However, the group proved to be a powerful springboard for all four partners, who each went on to highly successful careers, as writers, artists, and record producers. (The four appeared on many other artists' records in various combinations -- audiences have heard this sound for many years without knowing it, on many classic albums including many of Linda Ronstadt's hit albums of the '70s.) Wendy ultimately became a solo recording artist, a hit songwriter, and a pioneer among women producers.
Wendy Waldman's first solo album, Love Has Got Me, came out on Warner Brothers in 1973 and was proclaimed by Rolling Stone Magazine to be the "singer-songwriter debut of the year." She was then the youngest member of the Warner Brothers "brain trust" -- a group of artists signed to the label who were known for their innovative and critically acclaimed approaches to music -- which also included Maria Muldaur, Randy Newman, Ry Cooder, Captain Beefheart, and Van Dyke Parks.
Wendy's subsequent albums on Warner Bros. Records were all highly acclaimed as she developed a strong fan following, which remains active to today. She toured extensively throughout the U.S., headlining her own shows as well as opening many larger tours. She also began to expand into other aspects of music, experimenting with collaboration, different approaches to the craft, and ultimately to production.
Wendy moved to Nashville in the early eighties, a very exciting time in the evolution of country music and it was there that she honed her collaborative skills, writing numerous hit songs in country music and participating as well in studio work, touring with country artists, television, and record production. In all, there were some 70 Wendy Waldman songs recorded during those years, among them several BMI million-air award winners, and hit singles. The song "Fishin in the Dark," written with Jim Photoglo, was recorded by the Dirt Band and has become a multi million seller as a physical product as well as digitally.
With songwriters Phil Galdston and John Lind, Waldman wrote "Save the Best for Last," which was a number one record for Vanessa Williams on the pop, A/C, and R&B charts for numerous weeks in a row, garnering a Grammy nomination as well as ASCAP song of the year. The same team had a world-wide hit with Vanessa's follow up tune, "The Sweetest Days," and Aaron Neville's hit "I Owe You One." At the same time, Waldman also received the coveted Wrangler Award from the Cowboy Hall of Fame for her song "Corn, Water and Wood," which was co-written with Carol Elliot and recorded by Michael Martin Murphey.
Waldman began producing for other artists in Nashville in the mid eighties. One of her earliest productions was the now-classic Suzy Bogguss album "Somewhere Between," which won the Academy of Country Music's New Artist Award in 1989. Another Waldman production considered a "classic" is New Grass Revival's "Friday Night in America.” This group consisted of Sam Bush, Bela Fleck, John Cowan, and Pat Flynn, all of whom have gone on to considerable acclaim. Some of the others who worked with Wendy are: John Cowan (New Grass Revival, Doobie Brothers), tracks for Karla Bonoff, Bryndle, The Refugees, mixes for Deborah Holland, The Forester Sisters, Matraca Berg, The Ozark Mountain Daredevils, Jonathan Edwards, Sweden's Elisabeth Andreasson, The Sweethearts of the Rodeo, Ronny Cox, the last album from acoustic guitar genius Artie Traum and the brilliant Polish superstar Mietek Szczesniak.
In 1995, the group Bryndle reunited and finally released three albums. These albums have come to be considered ‘classics’. Bryndle toured for several years all over the U.S. and in Japan. Waldman continued to work with Kenny Edwards until his death in 2010, followed closely by the death of Andrew Gold.
In 2007, Wendy Waldman joined with accomplished solo artists Cindy Bullens and Deborah Holland to form a trio called The Refugees. Each of these women has logged more than three decades in the industry, with nineteen solo albums and multiple Grammy Award nominations between them, featuring musical styles that blend country, rock, folk, and Americana. They have released 2 CDs, accompanied by much touring through the US. A third cd and tour is scheduled for 2017.
Waldman continues to release solo albums and compilations. My Time in the Desert, featuring her own versions of Save the Best For Last, Fishin in the Dark, and You Plant Your Fields, is her most recent studio album, Warner Brothers has released a retrospective, and Waldman herself has released several projects and cd sets of previously unreleased music— ‘Seeds and Orphans,’ in two volumes, the compilation “Back By Fall” and more in the works. There is a new studio cd set to be released in early 2017. She has also begun to score short films, featuring songs as well as composition, and her songs continue to be placed in films and television.
For the last 15 years, Waldman’s studio has been the home of the venerated KFPK folk music show, “Folk Scene,” which was started in 1972 by Howard and Roz Larman, and in the wake of their passing, the show continues at the studio, hosted now by their son, Allen Larman. She has always tried to give back to the community which has been so generous to her.
Wendy Waldman has been a teacher, panel member, board member, host, benefactor, and now is herself a student as well, studying to broaden her musical skills. She is a member of the community gospel choir, “Life Choir,” founded and directed by the legendary HB Barnum. She has branched into composition, scoring several short films and writing for music libraries.