Deb Hollie

Deb's Picture Who Am I: I am honored to say that I am the happy leader of one of New York's top vocal bands, DOO·WA·ZOO! I am also very happy to say that I am totally devoted to and love my band.

Setting The Record Straight: Contrary to what seems like popular belief, DOO·WA·ZOO -- my vocal band -- is a band of musicians who use their voices and their physical bodies to make music. Popular belief seems to be that people in "bands" are musicians who play instruments and/or sing with other musicians who play instruments. If you would please humor me, I have inserted below a definition from Webster's English Dictionary for the word "band".

band, band, n. a number of persons bound together for any common purpose: a troop of conspirators, &c.: a body of musicians.-v.t. to bind (together),-v.t. and v.i. to associate, unite.

Therefore, if anyone tries to tell you otherwise, you now have a supportive argument that you (or anyone with whom you may be discussing this at the time) are in a band -- even if the band in question uses only voices (and/or any other part of the human anatomy, for that matter) to make music.

A Little History: I began singing and making up my own silly songs when I was, oh, around five to six years old. Then my dad introduced me to Mitch Miller and the Gang and, from there on, I learned every piece of music I could get my hands on. Seeing as my father was pretty much a jazz and musical theater buff and my mom liked current rock and roll and country music (thank goodness for Patsy Cline!), that gave me quite a potpourri of musical inspiration. I also danced for 11 years (Karen says I must have been VERY tired!), which I am sure was part of my influence to include movement with our musical presentation. And I can't say enough about how Joan Merwyn's choreography enhances our work.

I did the usual guitar lessons and songwriting while a teenager, moved to Boston and performed solo and with other musicians around town, worked in a traveling show band along the East Coast, and finally plopped down in New York where I studied ragtime and blues guitar and jazz improvisation for piano and voice.

I decided to form the group in 1988 after finally realizing that it was harmony of the human voice that touched me the most. At that time, I had just left a `50's rock and roll band -- with instruments -- and had been working full-time with them for a couple of years. It took me about eight months to formulate my plan and form the group, and it has been a wonderful, painful at times, evolving process ever since.

I now study vocal fitness (which I would personally call vocal calisthenics) with Gerry Janssen at the Vocal Resource Center and am continuing on my spiritual journey, a major part of which - I am happy to say - includes my work with DOO·WA·ZOO.

So that's how I came to be with DOO·WA·ZOO and that's why I stay with DOO·WA·ZOO. I hope the next time you come to one of our shows, you'll come on over and say "Hi!"

A Little Caution: If you are thinking of starting your own band, don't let anyone kid you into thinking it is easy. If you are a serious musician, it is anything but easy. But the rewards are more than worth it, especially if you surround yourself with other musicians that are top of the line, dedicated and hard working. Add to that formula working associates that are completely supportive of the group, and friends and family that love and support you even though most of your time is spent on "the cause," and you are bound to be successful. Good fortune to you!

You can E-Mail Debi at

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