Born and raised in the woods, by a pack of wolves, Erin never quite “fit in”. She always wondered “who am I, really?” After years on the road making a living as a “carni”, she began questioning, “Is there life beyond?”
It was from her father’s side of the family that she inherited “the gift” and he would come home from work and play his guitar and sing.
Soon, Erin joined in and sang harmonies with him to songs like, “Green Green Grass of Home” and “Country Roads”. At 10 years old, Erin’s parents bought her a Baldwin spinet piano. She fell in love with it and began composing AND writing lyrics at that time.
Unfortunately, she never saved or recorded any of that material. She did take lessons until she was 16 when she became interested in anything but practicing! Oh well. Her family settled briefly in Des Moines, Iowa long enough for her to go to high school there and college. Her senior year in high school, she was awarded “Musician of the Year”. She’s still not sure why. Erin began college with the intent of earning a Music degree. But when they didn’t offer, Rock & Roll 101, or how to have a career like Pat Benatar, she changed her major to Broadcasting with a minor in Music.
During college, Erin worked for the local ABC affiliate in Des Moines, and had a short gig working as a field reporter for the 5 o’clock news and then anchorperson for the early morning news. She then relocated to Sioux Falls, SD where she worked for another ABC affiliate in the Creative Services Dept.
She wrote and produced TV commercials for local advertisers. It was there that she began dabbling in singing commercially for a local ad agency.
1987, at the age of 25, she followed her heart and moved to New York for a man and a dream. Well, the man didn’t work out, but the dream began to cultivate.
In 1988, she met a man on the train commuting into Manhattan, Charlie Allenson, who was an ad agency writer and songwriter. They worked together, playing out in coffee houses and such for two years. He played guitar and she sang his music. Charlie was inspirational to Erin as he brought her back to her roots with his music and inspired her to continue to pursue singing publicly. He was also instrumental in getting her much of her initial jingle work as well.
At the same time, she met Mark Calcagni, in the produce dept. at a grocery store, who eventually introduced her to Vito Albano, of “Alive n’ Kickin". Vito then introduced her to Bruce Sudano, (www.brucesudano.com) songwriter, original member of “Brooklyn Dreams”, who Vito grew up with in Brooklyn.
The two of them decided to work with Erin, write for her and produce her and form their own independent record label called Purple Heart Records. Erin remembers driving down to Brooklyn in the middle of the night, from Westchester County, NY to record in a studio off of Flatbush Avenue. Then she’d get a couple hours sleep, hop on a train, and head into the city for her day job, working for VOGUE Magazine.
Over the course of almost four years, Vito, Bruce and Erin recorded more than 20 songs, with four official releases, the first two being club hits, “Eat Your Heart Out” and “Never Enough”, the third release being “Waiting For You” which was backed by RCA Records and was a dedication to the troops of Desert Storm. The last song, “Cold Shower” was the radio hit, what Bruce, his brother Barry and all involved had worked for. The song, with the help of BMG distribution, charted Billboard’s Hot 100 at #90 and sold more than 60,000 copies.
Erin traveled mainly up and down the east coast with one stint in Las Vegas, accompanied by her fiancé/road manager, Michael Marino, a New York native, doing “track dates” to promote her singles. She also appeared on such TV shows as "The Joe Franklin Show" in NY and "Dance Party USA" in Philly. After the success of “Cold Shower”, Bruce partnered with a label out of Boston called, Critique Records, and they began a new path of focus musically and artistwise, and the contract Erin had with Purple Heart was not renewed. Right around the same time, she and Michael married, June 12th, 1992.
After her record deal ended in 1992, Erin got a call from a local bandleader who was looking for a singer for weddings/corporate parties. At the age of 30, this would be the first time Erin would sing with a “live” band. She soon discovered, this was a
singer’s ultimate high! Although this was intended to be a temporary gig, until her next record deal (ha!) she remained with the Al Craven Band for seven years.
One evening in 1994, she got up to sing at an open-mic night at Le Bar Bat on West 57th in NYC. She was approached by a songwriter named Billy Seidman, who was looking for an artist to produce. They worked diligently for over a year, writing together and finding her sound.
Billy thought Erin’s voice really lent itself to country music so he put a band together, comprising of various musicians from Manhattan, and they rehearsed a set of original music and began playing out at places like The Bitter End and Denim & Diamonds. Billy’s drive was boundless and soon he planned a trip for the two of them to Nashville.
He set up meetings with record label executives, heads of artist management companies, publicists, photographers, anyone in Nashville that might take interest in their material and in Erin as an artist.
Rather than bring along a NY produced demo, he set up recording time at Emerald Studios in Nashville and used their top-notch studio players.
SONGS FROM ERIN'S EMERALD STUDIO SESSIONS
It was one of the finest moments in Erin’s singing career recording with these amazingly talented musicians! All three songs on this page aboveare from those sessions. These are scratch demos, scratch vocals, NOT final mixes.
“Wreckin’ Machine” is just a fun, energy tune and remains one of Erin’s favorites! She never could understand why it got no response in Nashville. But then, since when does anything make sense in the music biz? “Hometown” was inspired by Erin’s nomadic upbringing. “Slow Leak” written solely by Billy, is a catchy, silly, country shuffle, about love, what else?!
Unfortunately, they went back to NY from Nashville without a record deal, but with a memory of an experience that will last a lifetime.
Due to contractual differences, Billy and Erin parted ways in 1996.
In 1996, after four years of marriage, Erin gave birth to her first child, Madison Dee. She was still singing with Al Craven and doing studio session work. During pregnancy, Erin began to contemplate her relationship with HER Mom and wrote a song called, “My Mama’s Hands” which was inspired by this period in her life. She collaborated with a woman from Larchmont, NY, Sandy Wilbur, who has an impressive resume of her own as a songwriter. Sandy co-wrote and produced this demo for Erin.
In 1998, Erin gave birth to her second child, Benjamin Michael. Still singing on the weekends, she devoted the rest of her time to being a full-time Mom. Never one to turn down a gig, her husband would bring their newborn to the job during the band’s dinner break and Erin would run outside, hop in the car, nurse the baby, and then go back to work and finish the gig.
Around 1998, Al Craven added another female vocalist to the group. It wasn’t long before she and Erin discovered what a beautiful blend their voices had. Ten years Erin’s junior, Christine Tambakis had a drive and a freshness with a LOT of new ideas.
In 2000, Christine and Erin felt it was time to branch off and start their own band. After being in the business for almost eight years, Erin was ready co-run her own operation. So, they put a seven-piece ensemble together and called it, “SistaGroove”. Just naming the band, was one of their most exciting moments!!! Ha! They actually came up with “Groove Sistas” first and then simply turned it around. Brilliant!
Right after the band started booking gigs, Erin’s husband started his own business and her family relocated to south central Pennsylvania.
Upon moving to York, PA, it was Erin’s intention to take a breather from weekend work as a singer an be more of a wife/suburban Mom. Silly idea, as it was soon apparent that although you could take the singer away from the gigs, you can’t take the need out of the singer.
While Erin continued to commute back and forth to NY for her bread and butter, working with Christine and SistaGroove and freelancing in other bands, she started to explore work in the D.C. area, closer to home, and although she did find some freelance work, it wasn’t enough to support her “need”.
At the same time, Erin’s 10-year marriage was coming to an end and this was probably a huge factor in her motivation to make her mark as a singer in the Harrisburg/York area. Music being the one consistent in her life, she relied heavily on that being the focus during this emotionally turbulent time.
She decided to take her experience as a singer and bandleader, with SistaGroove, and see if she could build that business for herself locally.
Her first band was formed with drummer, Dwayne Dickey, called “Word of Mouth”. That band broke up after only about nine months and Erin then met Butch Barber, drummer and co-founder of “Cruise Control”.
The two worked together to form a five-piece variety/dance band and began performing publicly in early 2002. Today, it continues to be on the rise as a successful area cover band.
Erin is in the process of writing a small catalog of original songs, for which she has demos of, but you’d be hard pressed at this point, to get her to go public with them! She is hoping to find someone to help her take them to the next level production-wise and would like to eventually make a CD available for purchase on this website. But on a singer’s budget, these things take time! She has also had the wonderful opportunity to work with this area’s top musicians on their original studio projects as well.
Erin would like to go back into television in the near future working in that area to supplement her music. On-camera or behind-the-scenes, she enjoys every aspect of working at a TV station. She sees television people coming from at least the same “breed” of tree that musicians do.
Having spent so much time in NY with so many talented musicians, Erin is truly impressed by the number of original artists and original bands in this area and the large number of local venues that support “live” music! She is inspired by the drive, determination and talent of so many local artists. It is her hope to also be an inspiration to others, some how be a positive influence on a local level and to have a voice of her own in south central PA.