What sets GRAMMY Award-winner and three-time GRAMMY Award-nominee Darlene Koldenhoven apart from the rest? It could be her worldwide 1.5 billion viewing audience on PBS as the memorable soprano soloist in Yanni, “Live at the Acropolis“; her work in the war-torn jungles of Sierra Leone where she coached musicians and singers whom she took on tour in the US and Canada; or her recent donation of time and performances in India with U.N. humanitarian ambassador and GRAMMY Award-winning composer Ricky Kej, for his concert and videos, “Shanti Samsara“, to raise awareness for climate change and animal cruelty causes she holds dearly.
“Color Me Home” by GRAMMY Award-winner Darlene Koldenhoven album sampler
Koldenhoven’s new and 9th album, “Color Me Home“, includes a 24 page coloring book along with a 55 minute CD of 11 enchanting, all original, vocalese-instrumentals and songs that draw us home and is the culmination of years of deep devotion to her craft and association with some of the world’s greatest musicians and recording artists including GRAMMY Award-winners Tom Scott, Brent Fischer, Wouter Kellerman, Ricky Kej, and Charlie Bisharat; as well as GRAMMY Award-nominees David Arkenstone and Rocky Dawuni; along with Courtney Jacob, Lyn Bertles, Gayle Levant, John Sarantos, Al Jewer, Jeff Oster, Nick Vincent, Mike Miller among others. Combining music and art, “Color Me Home” was produced from a place within Koldenhoven to create beautiful music that is inspirational and healing, integrating her sonic therapy principals, which has resulted in its own sound. With “Color Me Home“, the dynamic sound of Koldenhoven’s 5-octave range comes home to rest comfortably and we hear the soul of a true artist manifesting itself in every nuance of her album. Koldenhoven produced, wrote all of the music and lyrics, vocal and instrumental arrangements, played piano, keyboards & solos, programmed, engineered and performed all the solo vocals, vocal improvisations, and all choir parts on the album, except for the distinctive background vocal work of GRAMMY Award-nominee Rocky Dawuni from Ghana on “Kalahari Calls.” Listen to snippets of Koldenhoven’s ne album, “Color Me Home” here. Koldenhoven is also offering a PRE-SALE opportunity to the first 500 buyers of “Color Me Home” by offering a free autographed pack of coloring pencils and a cotton bag handmade by herself. The first 200 buyers of the entire digital album may purchase a gift pack that includes the autographed coloring book (includes lyrics/liner notes), coloring pencils and the companion bag for $6.99 (free shipping). Offer ends April 21st. Pre-sale information available here.
Koldenhoven was born on the South side of Chicago to a family with an extensive musical lineage. She could hold her own harmony part by age 3, making her Easter Sunday debut in church singing a solo, “Low in the Grave He Lay.” Her initial emphasis of formal training was classical piano, which she began studying in earnest at age 9. Two years prior, she learned sewing from her grandmother and continues to carry on the tradition to this day, sewing and occasionally designing her clothes and concert gowns. Her father, awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, died from malaria complications contracted during his “tours of duty.” The family, suffering from the financial hardship, a single mother, and her sister being born deaf, didn’t allow her hard working mother to afford formal singing lessons for her until age 16. The product of a strict Dutch Christian Reformed/Calvinist family, she was only allowed to listen to or play religious or classical music, not allowed to improvise, and never really listened to pop music until college where she absorbed everything from the Beatles and Middle Eastern music to jazz. But the fierce work ethic and discipline she learned from home and her schooling made her an outstanding scholarly achiever, thus preparing her for the ubiquitous and enviable career she now relishes in the entertainment capital of the world, Los Angeles. Arriving in Los Angeles with only a leap-of-faith, $400, her car, 6 wool turtleneck sweaters (she’s from Chicago) and no contacts – therein lay the story of how hard work and perseverance pays off.
Koldenhoven performs internationally with her concerts and workshops. She has sung on over a thousand recordings, for and in films, television, albums, commercials and charitable causes. Highlights include singing with Robin Williams on the 2000 Academy Awards; in three American Idol specials; the 2010 Academy Awards; and her role as the tambourine-waving choir nun and real life vocal coach/musical director for Disney in both Sister Act films with Whoopi Goldberg, leading to singing for President Clinton during his last election stop in 1992. Koldenhoven’s voice has graced a plethora of albums from pop giants Barbra Streisand, Whitney Houston and Rod Stewart to jazz legend Ramsey Lewis to progressive rock icons Pink Floyd and rocker Neil Young’s CD “Living With War” to soloing with London’s Royal Philharmonic and debuting at age 19 with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. A sampling of her vocal contributions include, solo vocal improvisations on films and popular TV shows: Surrogates with Bruce Willis, 2012, Internal Affairs, and a Halloween episode of TV’s popular Grimm; a song with her ethnically diverse children’s choir (Young Vocal Artists of Los Angeles) by rapper/producer will.i.am for the soundtrack “Freedom Writers“; her soaring vocals on the popular video game Baldur’s Gate (for Sony PlayStation II) and Harry Potter: Chamber of Secrets.
With all of that and much more one would marvel that Koldenhoven has any time left for anything else, yet she has produced nine albums, “Infinite Voice” went to #1 on the radio charts and was voted by Broadcasters worldwide as Best Vocal Album, with “Heavenly Peace” debuting #2 and winning Best Holiday Album. “Tranquil Times” (instrumental only) went to #1 and won Best New Age Album from the Independent Music Awards and a nomination for Best Piano Album with Instrumentation by the Broadcasters with several tracks featured in the C.A.R.E. Channel Network and in Don Campbell’s music therapy sound systems, both played in hospitals and hospices nationwide. “Solitary Treasures” was Nominated Best Vocal Album. “Angel on Ivories” was Finalist Best Classical Art Song Vocalist – pro division. It is interesting, with all of the accolades and awards in such a storied musical career, that Koldenhoven has never seen herself personally on any of the Billboard Magazine Music Charts. That should definitely change with her new release, “Color Me Home“!
In addition to her career as a recording artist, Koldenhoven is a credentialed teacher with a Master in Voice, magna cum laude and B.A.in Music Education cum laude from Chicago Conservatory College. She is certified in audio-psycho-phonology from Integrated Listening Systems as well as an internationally renowned, credentialed sonic therapist and lecturer. Koldenhoven’s own blend in sonic therapy practice focuses on the ear, voice, and health connection. In the vein of empowerment for all as a way to express oneself and improve physical wellness through music, she has created a music education program incorporating a 94-page book with 7 instructional CDs with worldwide sales entitled, “Tune Your Voice: Singing and Your Mind’s Musical Ear” that has been endorsed by faculty and students from Juilliard, NYU, to American Idol. It is Koldenhoven’s sincere wish to make the earth a better place, to live in harmony with and within.