NATCHITOCHES – Singer Wendy Colonna will hold an album release concert at Northwestern State University Saturday, Oct. 12 at 7:30 p.m. at the Collins Pavilion near the Athletic Fieldhouse. Admission is by donation. Students are admitted free.
Colonna, an alumna of the Louisiana Scholars’ College, is touring to promote her new CD “Nectar.” The process that led to the CD started at NSU where an ecology class sparked a fascination with pollination and bees. She said “Nectar” honors “the insight and perspective this gave her to observe the magic and miracles of life on planet earth.”
Colonna’s career began to take shape while at Northwestern State. She and Hannah Vincent formed a popular duo, Wendy and Hannah, that performed around the Natchitoches area.
“I knew Hannah through some mutual friends. We just met one day with our guitars on a friend’s porch and the rest is history,” said Colonna. “We were both starting to write songs and our harmonies were amazing to begin with. We knew a lot of the old hippie songs and just built a repertoire from those and expanded into other covers. All the while we were both writing new songs and when she moved to Natchitoches, we fell into step gigging.”
A producer discovered Wendy and Hannah and recorded the duo live which quickly led to other opportunities.
“We were asked to do that live recording and then right after the gig was over, the guy who owned the studio took us into his office and offered us a record deal with a hefty advance,” said Colonna. “We were astounded. We took the deal, but later parted ways and both did separate albums. That was sort of the beginning for me.”
Colonna has lived in Austin since 2000 as her career has blossomed. She was named the “Best Singer Songwriter in Austin” by the Austin American-Statesman and was the winner of multiple songwriting contests including Indiegirl, Int’l Acoustic Music Awards, 100% Music, Mid-Atlantic Songwriting Contest, Independent Music Songwriting Contest and International Acoustic Music Award. Colonna was grand prize winner in Famecast Talent Competition. She has been a National Association for Campus Activities (NACA) National Showcasing Artist. Additionally Colonna’s music has been featured in Central Texas Time Warner Cable ads and on John Platt’s “On Your Radar” series on WFUV, NYC. The City of Austin honored her by proclaiming April 26, 2012, “Wendy Colonna Day.”
“I had always loved Austin as a teen and enjoyed visiting and where New Orleans’ energy is a bit dark, Austin is a little lighter. It felt more possible,” said Colonna. “I had already lived in Natchitoches and Europe by then and there were lots of ghosts everywhere. I guess I was ready for the surprises that came with a city that felt like it was thriving and thrilling and still musical and diverse.
“Since I’ve lived here, I’ve been integrated in the musical community. I’ve worked with some of Austin’s finest musicians and producers and have even produced several charity events benefitting the community here.”
Colonna has released five studio albums plus a live album. She can hear how she has evolved as a musician when listening to earlier albums.
“I listen to the old recordings and hear a girl who was writing beautiful poetry but was nervous about sharing it,” said Colonna. “My range has improved, my songwriting has become so much simpler. I try to write as little as possible to take someone to a place, a story, an emotion. I’m older. I have become less jaded for sure. It’s funny to hear those old songs. They are so hopeless and heavy. As much as life has taken a whack at me over the years, I end up lighter and clearly more focused on capturing the richness of the moment without all that angst that comes with being young and fearing and desiring the experiences that shape us as people.”
Colonna said the Scholars’ College played a major role in shaping her career.
“Scholars’ was one of the best things that ever happened to me, hands down,” said Colonna. “Reading a million books, discussing, learning so much about context, seeing how everything is interconnected, being ripped apart as a writer. There is nothing that has informed my abilities as a writer like Scholars’.”
And Colonna has maintained the ties she developed in Natchitoches.
“I still stay connected to as many of my professors and Scholars’ and Natchitoches peers as I can,” said Colonna. “There’s something about that town that’s a little lost to time and there’s something about getting a bunch of very human brilliant kids together and feeding them and stretching them to their limits. I don’t exactly know what it did but Natchitoches and Scholars’ are among my favorite parts of life and it’s been a rich life.”
For more information on Colonna, go to wendycolonna.com.