Harry Partch, Gustavo Romero, Diamanda Galas, Pacific Strings, inside the opera, best organs, best pianos, the composer, the concertmaster, the piano tuner, the tenor, the symphony player’s wife
Various Authors 6:22 p.m., Sept. 24
Sound description: Breathy alternative indie rock. Lo Presti describes her music as "Paula Cole meeting Alanis Morisette at Ani Difranco's house."
RIYL: Paula Cole, Tori Amos, Alanis Morrisette, Ani Difranco
Inception: San Diego, 2000
Influences: Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Gina Angelique, Ani Difranco, Linda Perry, Alicie Paul, Ednaswap, Kevin Gilbert, Sarah Jones, Rachelle Ferrell, Rage Against the Machine, Muse
Winner of the 2004 Outmusic Award for Outstanding New Recording and personally endorsed by Ani Difranco, singer/songwriter Danielle LoPresti has written and recorded music for VH1, the Lifetime Network, Clear Channel, and the 1996 movie The Nutty Professor. In 2000, she went guerilla-style and founded her own indie label, Say It Records.
She says her earliest memory is “Dancing with my mom to Stevie Wonder and Barry White in the living room of our little house in Clairemont.” She mentions other associations with notable celebs. “I’ve sung for Steven Spielberg, Hilary Swank, Clint Eastwood, David Foster...then there’s studying music theory with my (then) friend Eric Bishop, now Jamie Foxx, in college, and his very many brushes that made any real studying challenging.”
In late 2008, LoPresti appeared in the film Noah’s Arc: Jumping The Broom (based on a defunct TV series), playing the part of “Brandon’s Mom.” The first three albums by Danielle Lo Presti & the Masses were Dear Mr. Penis Head, 22 Mountains, and Outloud.
In July 2010, Danielle LoPresti & the Masses released their fourth album, a new 22-track CD called Run With It. “This is an album's worth of stories,” says Lo Presti. “This CD is more of an entity than any of those before it. Run With It is referring, on the surface, to a river...running with it, as opposed to against, or as opposed to simply sitting on the river's banks and letting it go by. The symbolism of the river expands and deepens as the album unfolds, twists, rages, and shows its ugly underbelly, as well as its beauty. All of it, of course, leading us to our own questions, and hopefully some answers as well. It’s most definitely meant to offer varying degrees of interpretation depending on who’s listening.”
It’s her first release distributed by big-time Universal, thanks to a recent deal signed with Trevino Music Group. “So our new album is now technically, legally, a major label release,” says LoPresti. “Are we still indie in heart and soul? Absolutely. This contract is not a recording deal, meaning we still have full artistic control over our material.”
Her favorite gig took place here in her hometown. “San Diego Indie Music Fest ’04, opening for David Byrne, was great -- people were receptive, lined up to buy CDs, but they wouldn’t let us use the whole band because Byrne used all of Humphrey’s inputs but four, not just for his band but for the nearly naked marching band from San Francisco he had join him onstage for ‘Burning Down the House.’”
LoPresti is also the organizer of the San Diego Indie Music Fest, launched in 2004 at the Abbey in Hillcrest, and drawing about 600 people. Indie Fest skipped 2006, but in 2007 the event expanded, moving to the streets and venues of North Park. For the March 2011 Indie Fest, the event moved from North Park to the NTC Promenade at Liberty Station.
“We’ve outgrown our main-stage space in North Park,” said LoPresti of the parking lot at 29th and North Park Way, behind the North Park Theatre. “We had to turn over 1000 people away once we reached capacity at the main stage, and that was a huge bummer for us.”
In late 2010, LoPresti’s engagement to local musico Alicia Champion was announced on Facebook.
A video for her single “Maybe I Was Wrong” was directed by Mental Eclectic’s Craig Wilson (Sammus Theory, Pure), and shot by three-time Emmy Award-winning cinematographer Mario Ortiz.
In 2011, she was nominated Female Singer/Songwriter of The Year for the 21st Los Angeles Music Awards. Starting June 13, her video “Objectify” hit rotation on theBITE network, which airs in major fast food chains across the country.
After taking a six month hiatus to care for her and Alicia Champion’s newborn son, LoPresti returned to the stage on March 16, 2012, at Anthology. Around the same time, she began working on a solo full-length of electronic chill music (deep house, industrial electronica, etc.) called House of D. “This music is along the lines of Zero 7, Massive Attack, and Portishead,” she says. One track “Red Revisited (Durga Remix)” is streaming on her Jango internet station.
LoPresti was diagnosed with Stage III Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma cancer in early 2013, according to a statement circulated by her management. “It was a sudden and suffocating shock to us all when a prolonged cough turned out to be one of the worst nightmares we've ever experienced. As gruesome as this news is, Danielle is every bit the fighter we've always known her to be, who has already won two rounds in the chemo ring against the beast. There is still a handful more rounds to go, but there is no doubt she will rise a champion in this battle, armed with a powerful new story to tell.”
The Lymphoma metastasized to seven places across her body. “Due to the challenging nature of this struggle, the band is taking a break indefinitely until Danielle is restored back to full health.” Plans for her IndieGoGo-funded full-length House of D were postponed.
In July 2013, she announced she was in remission and would return to the stage for IndieFest (August 16 - 18), opening for headliner Cake on August 17. Her summer 2014 video “Maybe I Was Wrong” was filmed over several years, before and after her late-stage cancer battle, shot by three-time Emmy-winning cinematographer Mario Ortiz and directed in two parts by Craig Wilson and Asher Brown.
Christmas 2015 saw a new video, "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Clause," taken from her Winter's Light EP and co-starring her real-life spouse and child in a progressive interpretation of Tommie Connor's 1952 Christmas classic.
Her House of D album was finally released in June 2016, whereupon she and Champion relocated to the Bay Area.