Heather Maloney has been sharing songs with folks since before she can remember.
"According to my family I have always been singing and entertaining," She explained during a recent chat at a local coffee shop. "My mom says that I would be in a shopping cart singing to people as they were walking by."
These days, instead of serenading shoppers, she is entertaining audiences in theaters and clubs with her assured vocals and poetic compositions.
Maloney’s journey from shopping cart to the center stage began in earnest with some classical vocal training in college. But her decision to pursue music as vocation was kindled by an invitation by professional musician to perform with him and his colleagues in Manhattan jazz clubs.
"I befriended a musician, Hui Cox," recalled Maloney. "He is a composer and a jazz guitarist who lives and works out of Manhattan. One of his records was nominated for Grammy, and he is an example of a successful, working, talented musician who functions in the world.
"He played at these places in New York City. So my very first gigs were with some of the city’s most amazing jazz musicians. I was really thrown into the fire. ... I was among these incredible musicians have been doing this for so long and I was so new. It was very nerve-wracking. But, it gave me a taste."
Cox encouraged Maloney to give the unpredictable and fickle music biz a shot. "He basically said to me, this is a real thing and you can do this.
Of course it didn’t come together all that easily for Maloney, who will be appearing this Saturday night at Headroom Stages with her band, bassist Ken Maiuri and drummer JJ O’Connell. But her persistent touring over the last several years has really begun to pay off with a string of glowing reviews and a recent signing with prestigious label Signature Sounds, home to the likes of Patty Larkin, Chris Smither, Eilen Jewell and Winterpills.
Maloney attributes much of her recent success to Maiuri and O’Connell. "I wanted a band for so long. I feel so lucky to have found these guys. They are uber-talented."
Her third album is slated for release in early 2013 and is very much a product of the band. Maloney is excited to get her newest songs out to her burgeoning fan base. "This record is different because it formed from our live shows. The songs have already formed their personalities with the band I’ve been working with since the songs were written. ... There’s a lot more harmonies on this record and I feel like I’m in a deeper place with my writing, and it is reflected in the songs.
"I believe in the record and I believe in the songs on the record. It is something that we poured our hearts and souls into that I want to be successful because I want that to be shared."
Dave Madeloni writes a weekly music column for Ovation. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.