Leona Naess

She's the daughter of Arne Naess, former husband of Supreme Diana Ross. Born and raised in England but presently based in New York, Leona Naess is an introspective singer/songwriter whose alternative pop-rock draws on influences ranging from Edie Brickell, Tori Amos and Joni Mitchell to the Cure, David Bowie and Joy Division. It's impossible to miss the similarity between Naess' voice and Brickell's; nonetheless, Brickell is only one of the many artists who has influenced Naess' work. Naess was in her teens when she started singing and writing songs, and she was 18 when she moved to New York to study music and anthropology at New York University. After doing her share of gigs at such Lower Manhattan clubs as CBGB and the Bitter End, a 23-year-old Naess signed with Outpost/MCA in 1998 and started recording her debut album, Comatised. That album was released in March 2000, and its first single, "Charm Attack," was used in Columbia/Phoenix Pictures' teen comedy film Whatever It Takes. Tours with Eagle-Eye Cherry and David Gray consumed Naess for most of the year, however she found time to compose another album. Her sophomore effort, I Tried to Rock You But You Would Only Roll was issued in June 2001 and portrayed a more upbeat Naess. The emotions were far more raw and dark on this album, but her musicianship sparked a new sophistication. Two years later, Naess joined producer Ethan Johns for a lovely self-titled effort.
Alex Henderson, Rovi