"Thank You for suggesting Lianna for our coffeehouse. She was a perfect fit!!!! She has an amazing voice and a great personality that just came through her music and the way she interacted with the audience. I would love to have her come back in in the fall."
— Lisa A. McAlla, Assistant Director of Johnson Center and University Life Programs, George Mason University
A native of North Carolina, whose gentle green hills and hospitable, hip cities helped shape her musical sensibilities, Lianna hocked some jewelry to buy her first guitar at age 22. She'd witnessed firsthand music's Pied-Piper effect when college friends would strum guitars, enticing dorm neighbors to wander down the hall to see who was jammin' — and maybe even join in.
Through open-mic nights during her senior year at Western Carolina U., and gigs in law school that helped break the monotony of never-ending studies, Lianna's musical style took root. Her early songs looked frankly at life's challenges: relationships that stifle, dishonesty that stings, transitions that stymie. Yet the tunes were tempered with optimism and set to catchy melodies. Life's tough sometimes, sure, but with perseverance and a positive outlook, you'll get by, she assured listeners.
In 1998, Lianna polished a dozen songs for her debut CD, Walk in My Shoes; her producer had also worked with Hootie and the Blowfish, and Walk sold well based on solid word-of-mouth. Yet once the record was out, music retreated to the sidelines of Lianna's life. Disenchanted with practicing law, she worked a few different jobs and tried to figure out what to do next.
A chance encounter with a friend from eighth grade indirectly propelled Lianna into the next phase. Jonathan Wright, whom she'd met in a church youth group in North Carolina in the 80s, was flipping through CDs at a Borders in 1999; finding Walk in My Shoes, he thought the woman on the cover resembled his old friend, so he dropped her an email to say hello. Lianna was delighted to receive Jonathan's message, and the two caught up online and later in person on all that had transpired in their lives over the years. As it happened, Jonathan was about to relocate to Washington, DC. He fell in love with the city and encouraged Lianna to consider taking a look at its thriving live music scene. In 2002, Lianna packed up the car, kissed her then-boyfriend, now-husband goodbye and drove north to the nation's capital in a bid to bring music front and center in her life.
Two years later, Lianna is not just the solo artist's name but that of the four-person band that's just released From Here. She's kept up a steady performance schedule at venues all over DC, Maryland, and Virginia. She's jammed at the foot of the Jefferson Memorial at Washington's Cherry Blossom Festival, which draws millions of visitors from around the world every year, and in local hotspots like Jammin' Java in Vienna, VA, IOTA in Arlington, VA, the Frederick Coffee Co. in Frederick, MD, and Nissan Pavilion, Bristow, VA.
While she primarily performs now with bandmates Arch Alcantara, Seth Brown and Dave Mehring (see band bio), Lianna can also be found gigging solo out and about metropolitan DC. While she loves playing with the guys, whose musical talents add depth and dimension to Lianna's compositions, the girl from North Carolina has never forgotten the thrill of connecting with an audience using just her voice and her guitar. "Maybe someone in the audience will say, 'that was just the song I needed to hear tonight,'" she muses. For Lianna, there's no finer reward than making that human connection through music.
Lianna began to perform on the college circuit in the spring of 2005. Universities interested in booking Lianna for solo performances can contact Lianna for booking information.
See a complete listing of upcoming solo and band gigs on the Shows page.
Universities interested in booking Lianna for solo performances can contact Lianna for booking information.
For band booking information, please go to our Contact page.
Bluebird Cafe Songwriter Series, Hillsborough Rd, Nashville, TN
solo, all ages, free.
See Shows for full schedule details
Buy the CD
Lianna's latest CD, From Here, is now available at shows and in the Shop section. Buy it now!