I am feeling introspective today, and it was definitely the perfect day for Happy Rhodes. Happy Rhodes is an American singer, songwriter, and musician, whom self-trained her voice to reach the mezzo-soprano range singing along with Kate Bush’s album “The Kick Inside” and Wendy Carlos’ album “Switched-On Bach.” She has been active since 1984 and has released 11 albums since 1986.
Rhodes received her first musical instrument, an acoustic guitar, as a gift from her mother, at age 11. At 14 she was performing original songs in school shows. She left school early at age 16, choosing to obtain a GED. From age 16 to 18, Rhodes began performing in “Open Mic Nights” at Caffè Lena in Saratoga, New York. During this period, Rhodes met Pat Tessitore, the owner of a recording studio, Cathedral Sound Studios in Rensselaer, and became a studio intern to learn recording techniques. Tessitore was impressed with Rhodes’ voice and songwriting, and volunteered to record all of the songs she had written to that point.
Tessitore introduced Rhodes to Kevin Bartlett, a musician who had his own record label, Aural Gratification, and he urged her to gather up all the songs that she had recorded, to be released on cassette. She had enough songs to release three cassettes at the same time in 1986, Rhodes Vol. I, Rhodes Vol. II, and Rearmament. In 1987, she released the cassette of Ecto. Her first CD release was Warpaint, in 1991. The first four albums were only available on hand-dubbed cassettes until they were re-released on CD in 1992. For the CD releases, Rhodes Vol. I was renamed Rhodes I, and Rhodes Vol. II was renamed Rhodes II. Each of the CD re-releases contained bonus tracks not on the original cassettes. Aural Gratification released nine Happy Rhodes albums between 1986 and 1995, including Equipoise and RhodeSongs in 1993, Building The Colossus in 1994 and The Keep in 1995. Rhodes left Aural Gratification in 1998.
Rhodes’ 10th album, Many Worlds Are Born Tonight, was released in August 1998 by Samson Music, a label founded by Norm Waitt Jr., brother of Ted Waitt, co-founder of the Gateway Computer company. Rhodes was dropped from Samson when the label decided to concentrate on other genres of music and Samson transferred rights to the material back to Rhodes, as well as unsold product.
In 2001 Rhodes recorded an 11th album, called Find Me, which was released October 19, 2007.
I discovered Happy while working at my first job at a record store. My boss gave me a promo of her 10th album Many Worlds Are Born Tonight. For a audiophile, it was like hidden treasure. Where was she all this time and why was she kept from me.
Happy cites Wendy Carlos, Kate Bush, Queen, Yes, David Bowie, Bach and Peter Gabriel as primary influences.