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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Heather Mullen - Heather Mullen (1991)

So, once again I present an artist who I cannot find a thing about on the internet. All I know is that she released one self-titled album on EastWest Records, which was produced by two men, one who earlier produced acts like The Flirts and Divine, and one who later was a guitarist on songs by the likes of J. Lo and Celine Dion. Heather's album is nothing like those artists, however. The other day I was on a long car ride and popped this CD in, and once again I was stunned by it's simple beauty. Heather has a very clear, strong voice, reminiscent of Joni Mitchell, and her lyrics are very uplifting. It's a very pleasant pop-folk album. Basically, if you like the work of Des'ree, you should love this, as it sounds to me like it could be a lost Des'ree album (but with better lyrics!). I would love to know what happened to Heather, and why she never released another album. I realize that this album was not successful and the label likely dropped her, but surely she recorded an indie album or two? Anyone? Hello?

UPDATE:  Someone named Cherry Pepper posted the following articles about Heather from back in the day on Youtube, which fill in a lot of her story:

"Out of the angst of a troubled childhood and the many painful years that followed, song stress Heather Mullen has crafted a debut album that's both poetically beautiful and a testament to her survival. Simply titled Heather Mullen, this lush album delivers soul-searching lyrics amidst a gentle back drop of acoustic instruments. At 31 years old, Mullen realizes that neither she nor her music falls into an easily definable category. But her blend of pop-, jazz- and folk-influenced music draws from a well of deeply personal themes. One of the most compelling cuts, "She's a Soldier," masterfully recalls how she healed her relationship with her white mother.

Much of the anguish of Mullen's childhood was caused by the fact that she is biracial. Born in impoverished conditions on the Lower East Side of New York and raised in Philadelphia, Mullen never knew her Black father, who left when she was a year old. Her African-American heritage was something she had to discover on her own. "When no one teaches you your roots, it takes a lot more work to figure out your identity, your place in the world," she says.

Mullen says she was "completely lost from within" when she left her mother's house at 17. She discovered her passion for singing while waiting tables at local lounges. Forming a duo with a girlfriend who played guitar, Mullen began 11 years of traveling, waitressing and singing. Last year Mullen arranged a showcase for herself at a Manhattan club, paid for out of her own pocket. A record-company president saw Mullen's performance and promptly signed her to the label. Mullen doesn't focus on potential commercial success: "I just want to continue my journey--to accept myself for exactly who I am."

Essence Jul 92"

"She's one of those rare singers whose voice bends with the rest of the instruments, taking on a sound of its own and making us wonder: Where have you been hiding all those years, Heather Mullen?

Although her self-titled release is Mullen's first achievement that features her as a solo and background vocalist/composer, the 31-year-old musician from back East--she grew up in New York and Philadelphia--has paid her dues.

After waitressing, trying to do jingles, singing for obscure, small-scale coffeehouse lineups and a top-40s band, Mullen was finally discovered about a year ago when she played a showcase gig in front of family, friends and music industry executives.

Consequently, Mullen recorded her debut release last summer in New York where she worked with a handful of musicians thoughtful enough to let Mullen be the foremost musician.

Musician?  Well, she doesn't exactly play any instruments--her voice becomes one with the sound of her accompanists, of whom she said: "It's so rare that musicians pay much attention to the lyrics. And these guys would make a point of understanding the words and what I was saying, because it was going to affect what they played."

Her ability as a songwriter puts Mullen on one level with other great female artists who make similar music, such as Carole King, Joni Mitchell and Sally Oldfield, the not-so-well-known sister of British guitar genius Mike Oldfield, whose voice sounds as pure as water from a deserted island's cascade.

What's there to sing about with a voice as colorful and interesting as Mullen's? Hmmm, how about liking yourself, "Be Who You Are", joys of friendship, "Free Ride Home" and "You'll Never Be Alone", and getting rid of fears, "How Do You Know" and "When Dreams Come True?"

Dagi Binggeli, Deseret News, Apr 9 92, 6C"

Download Heather Mullen

Night By Night
Be Who You Are
Movin' On
How Do You Know (When Dreams Come True)
Drinking The Rainwater
You'll Never Be Alone
Runnin' To Your Love
Tidal Wave
Free Ride Home
Slipping Thru The Cracks
She's A Soldier
I Have Always Known You


  1. Hi, Nasty G:
    I really love Heather Mullen. Her album is sooooo beautiful. She reminds me a little bit to Tasmin Archer.
    Maybe is because her voices are very clean and silky. I love Tasmin too.
    I hope the record label can re-release the Heather Mullen's CD someday (soon!).
    Great job, Mr. G. Your blog is my favorite blog EVER!
    Well, sorry for my precarious english :S
    Take care.
    Greetings from Chile,

  2. Thank you! Glad you like Heather and the blog. You're right, she is like Tasmin Archer! Perhaps we'll see Tasmin on here some day as well!

    Kepp checkin' back!



  3. Hey, just saw this post while Googling Heather Mullen myself. I have a little absolutely useless info to share. I used to work with Heather waiting tables at the Warsaw Cafe in Philadelphia, when she was first trying to get her singing career underway in the early to mid 1980s. She would perform occasionally at the Tin Angel there. She was very beautiful, and a very nice person. I loved her one album, and always wondered what happened to her. A shame that her career didn't seem to catch on.

    1. Kathy kitchko mccraeFebruary 15, 2016 at 1:41 PM

      I love heather. I worked with her at city lights.was just go ogling or trying to find her on fb. I forget her married name. Lmk if she is on fb thx

  4. Her song "moving on" has the same sound as 10,000 maniacs or Basia.

  5. My favorite Heather Mullen tune is Forgiveness. Thanks for posting this, as I have been looking for her since 1992. It would be great to hear that she's doing shows for her small group of fans. I wish she'd do another recording too.

  6. I too love Heather's music. I bought it at a used CD shop on D.C. I found a page about a Heather Mullen in Brooklyn that is probably our long lost Heather. She is a lactation consultant.

    1. Oh wow. I wonder if she has any idea of how validating her music was to me as a single mother in recovery. Would love to thank her somehow.