Thursday, April 24, 2014

A world away from Los Angeles, but ‘it is well with my soul’

From page A11 | December 13, 2011 | 1 Comment

Vatrena King. Courtesy photo

Hear more

What: Gratitude Concert featuring Vatrena King, with guest Laura Sandage

When: 7 p.m. Sunday

Where: Odd Fellows Hall, 415 Second St., downtown Davis

Tickets: $20 general, $10 children, available at Armadillo Music, 205 F St.; Davis Waldorf School, 3100 Sycamore Lane; or at the door

One might not expect homespun lessons on gratitude and acceptance to come from a singer who has received career advice from U-2, toured with Melissa Manchester, worked for the brother-in-law of Arnold Schwarzenegger, recorded with Barry Manilow, and had a long-term, recurring role on a hit TV show.

But then, Vatrena King’s life in a Winters farmhouse with her two sons is far removed by geography and culture from her former existence as a “first call” (in demand) Los Angeles studio singer.

“Last night, before the gig,” King said, talking about a small benefit concert she performed at a private home in Winters, “I was dressed for the show, and I realized ‘I need to put away the chickens!’ ”

King laughed, shaking her head. “It’s at these times, when I’m all glammed up for a concert, and I realize that I haven’t put away the chickens or fed the goats, that I think, ‘If my L.A. friends could see me now …’ ”

I first heard King sing at a fundraiser for Davis Waldorf School. At the time, I knew her slightly as another mother, one who worked in the school office. I didn’t think anything of it as she took the microphone to emcee the evening. And, then, this trim, tidy, contained woman burst into song.

“Holy cow! This is our bookkeeper?” I thought. Hitting high notes flawlessly but carrying the dark, rich depths of a jazz or gospel singer, this wasn’t a school auction voice.

King’s music, and her approach to it, carries the varied chapters of her life, each adding a layer to a voice that has matured beyond that of the twentysomething aspiring recording engineer who sang in a girl-pop band in her spare time.

“Larry (Mullen) and Adam (Clayton, both of the band U-2) came to see one of our shows. Bono and the Edge had to work.” King chuckles.

“That sounds so weird, doesn’t it? But they were so supportive.”

At the time, King, who holds a degree in music production and engineering from Berklee College of Music in Boston, was “the first girl hired in the studio” in a production position. She struck up a connection with the members of U-2, who advised her to go solo.

Solo turned out to be a good move for King, whose production career ranged from A&M recording studios to Special Olympics work for Bobby Shriver to a position with Oprah Winfrey’s Harpo Productions.

However, though King had majored in production and engineering as a practical channel for her musical interests, “sometimes it turns out that the sensible path is not the path for you.” King eventually found herself “on the other side of the glass” as a recording session singer.

Perhaps her highest-profile role was a recurring part as one of Vonda Shepard’s back-up singers in the bar scenes of the TV show “Ally McBeal.” King describes the period immediately after the show ended as the perfect jumping-off point for a high-powered career.

However, King, whose oldest son was born during the “Ally McBeal” years, found that with two children, “I wasn’t pursuing the jobs the way I should, and I wasn’t raising the kids the way I wanted.”

It was time for a change.

King and her family relocated to Winters, a shift about which she says she has “no regrets.” As her sons have grown, King has resumed her professional musical career, but with a slight twist.

“On this new CD (‘Dancing in the Light of the Season,’ 2011), five songs were recorded in the neighbor’s barn,” she says.

While she describes Los Angeles as a place with “such a pool of talent, you never had any nervousness about finding someone for a gig,” in Winters, she records with a fiddler, bassist and accordion player, and couldn’t be happier.

King and guest Laura Sandage will perform a “Gratitude Concert” in Davis on Sunday. The Winters event was a prelude, benefiting both Heifer International and Covenant House.

“Here,” she says of her performances, “there is almost always some charitable element. L.A. wasn’t like that.”

Though in Los Angeles she had “almost lost joy” in her singing, that is far from the case these days.

“I Googled a song I sang the other night,” she said. “It’s an old one called ‘It Is Well With My Soul.’ The guy who wrote it had lost most of his family. It’s about accepting what comes.”

King smiles. “It is well with my soul.”

Christy Corp-Minamiji


Discussion | 1 comment

The Davis Enterprise does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • The “Happy List”, a.k.a. “Short Story Long”- The Gaia Health BlogJanuary 06, 2013 - 1:03 pm

    [...] all the time in this blog, the term is the title of a song named "Short Story Long" by Vatrena King, from the indie movie starring Boris Kodjoe,  "All About [...]

    Reply | Report abusive comment


Will city move forward on public power review?

By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1

4-H members get ready for Spring Show

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Obama to Russia: More sanctions are ‘teed up’

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

2 pursuits, 2 arrests keep Woodland officers busy

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

Youth sports in focus on radio program

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Rummage sale will benefit preschool

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Concert benefits South Korea exchange

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Conference puts focus on Arab studies

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Volkssporting Club plans North Davis walks

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

Hotel/conference center info meeting set

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

Davis honors ‘green’ citizens

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

Water rate assistance bill advances

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

Program explores STEM careers for girls

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

Embroiderers plan a hands-on project

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

Central Park Gardens to host Volunteer Orientation Day

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5 | Gallery

MOMS Club plans open house

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

Cycle de Mayo benefits Center for Families

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A8

Author to read ‘The Cat Who Chose to Dream’

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A12



Things are turning sour

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B5

Ortiz is the right choice for Yolo

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

Tom Meyer cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A6

The high cost of employment

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

High-five to Union Bank

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

Broken sprinklers waste water

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

Three more administrators?

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

Neustadt has experience for the job

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

Here’s a plan to save big on employee costs

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6, 2 Comments

Davis is fair, thoughtful

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6



DHS/Franklin II is a close loss for Devil softballers

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

DHS tracksters sweep another DVC meet

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Another DVC blowout for DHS girls soccer

By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Young reinvents his game to help Aggies improve on the diamond

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

DHS boys shuffle the deck to beat Cards

By Thomas Oide | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Baseball roundup: Giants slam Rockies in the 11th

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

UCD roundup: Aggies lose a softball game at Pacific

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3

Jahn jumps to Sacramento Republic FC

By Evan Ream | From Page: B8





Emerson, Da Vinci to present ‘Once Upon a Mattress’

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

Winters Plein Air Festival begins Friday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

Bach Soloists wrap up season on April 28

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A11

Congressional art competition open to high school students

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11







Comics: Thursday, April 24, 2014

By Creator | From Page: B6