Helen Orzel, the secret love child of Wonder Woman and Ludwig Van Beethoven, was raised by a pack of lions and a piano. She studied classical performance at CSU Northridge then later in Germany and Serbia, played and toured, but alas… classical music wasn’t her destiny. Helen didn’t want to color inside the claustrophobic lines as her music education had taught her. So of course, the answer came to her in a bar. Sitting in Cafe Stritch, she heard a live performance of Herbie Hancock’s Butterfly and decided to immediately dump her long time lover Rachmaninoff.
She took classes at the Jazz School in Berkeley, went to funk jams, immersed herself in neo soul and pop. She listened to everything she could past 1914. She took her antique ears and has completely morphed into some kind of otherworldy dreamboat on the keys. It is atrocious. Having listened to voice teachers as an accompanist in her classical days, Helen started singing for fun at gigs. But her unique and commanding voice drew quick attention and she decided to take it more seriously because of the increase in pay at gigs! She hasn’t looked back, but if you listen very closely to her playing, you can hear Sergei Rachmaninoff and Thelonious Monk bickering at each other. She plays in and writes for Hey Earl, Hits Like a Girl, and Nonfiction, and is working on a new fusion project with William Bohrer and Brent Elberg.
Sonoma County/ Greater Bay Area