DeDe does Christmas . . . and well, in fact. Specifically, Deborah “DeDe” Wedekind, is a Houston-based singer-songwriter/pianist/flutist who only relatively recently committed to a career in music. Using the stage name DeDe, Wedekind was perhaps born to the industry having come from “a long line of actors, storyteller and musicians” on her dad’s Welsh side.
In fact, she’s but one of seven kids from a creative brood and has been singing all her life. DeDe says: "I'm a classically-trained singer, pianist, and flute player, and now also a songwriter who for the most part, abandoned music for a marketing career because it made 'more sense'. But about seven years ago, the music came back for me. I started hearing my songs in my head - songs I've never heard before - and dreaming about music. . . I needed to get back into music.”
DeDe, who now holds an associate’s degree in music, adds: "I couldn't have handled this career when I was younger. I needed more life experience. Everything I've learned to this point - the marketing, writing, music - it's all come full circle to help me now.”
She had specific ideas and thus did not release her debut disc until 2011. Titled Clear Skies Ahead, it contained 14 original arrangements. It included the song “Psalm on Danny Boy” which garnered her a SingerUniverse.com award in 2012. She scored a "Top 5 Vocalist" win for "I Dreamed a Dream".
Earlier this year she released her CD Love & Fairy Tales. As a result, DeDe was named a Finalist in the UK Songwriting Competition for her tune, "The Plans I Have For You" and took home another "Top 5 Best Vocalist" for the same at SingerUniverse.com. She also received the award for Semi-Finalist in "Song of The Year’s Adult Contemporary" category for "Blame It On The Summertime."
Her latest project is the recently released 10-track work World of Christmas. On it DeDe (vocals and arrangements), she is backed by a bevy of other artists including: Tim Pierce (guitar), John pierce (bass), Denny Fongheiser (drums), Rafa Padillo (percussion), Charlie Bisherat (violin), Kevan Torveh (cello), Arden Kaywin (background vocals), Nmon Ford, Larry Wedekind and producer/keyboardist Jeff Bova (Mens Chorus) and members of The West Los Angeles Children’s Choir. They all come together to produce a memorable mix of newly-arranged Christmas cuts and original offerings.
The lead-in is “Song in the Air/Il Est Ne”. DeDe adds her own pretty, tuneful touches and lyrics to traditional material. (This is something she will continue to do as the album progresses.)
Her original, award-winning song “One Child” follows. This is her “favorite song”. She elaborates: "It's about how one tiny child can change the world, and that's my other true calling - giving children inspiration.”
The next number is the dancy “Deck the Halls”. DeDe and Bova give the Christmas classic a fun, new arrangement. DeDe does something new with the next number as well. It’s titled “Ave Maria Medley” and combines two different takes on the tune.
Her last original tune, the Elton John-influenced “Joyful Christmas”, follows as she makes clear her fondness for the holiday. The song is about giving back. "I love Christmas," DeDe says. "I get so excited about the holidays and this (music) is something I've always wanted to do."
The sixth selection is “New Auld Lang Syne”. It’s a new take on a traditional tune for a new year. One of the best songs on the CD is “Rock Those Jingle Bells” which she gives her own spin and rewrites some of the lyrics making it more refreshing and avoiding the awkward use of the word “upsot”.
The complex “Canon on the Lord’s Prayer” makes it clear to any listener that DeDe hails from a Christian background. She makes no bones about it and doesn’t worry about avoiding religious anthems to sell more product or alienating any potential audience.
DeDe believes her talents were God-given and is not afraid to say it. She adds: "I'm . . . not afraid to say the things I feel need to be said, and to take a chance with my music."
“Jolly Old St. Nicholas” is the final example of what DeDe can do as an arranger. The closing cut is the apropos “Silent Night” which includes new music by DeDe and Bova. In general, DeDe’s signature sound is a mix of adult contemporary, easy listening, Americana pop, inspirational and world music.
DeDe’s vocals have been compared to those of the likes of Adele, Amy Grant and Sarah McLaughlin. Musically, she injects (perhaps too) tried and true favorites with simple bits of other songs (“Chopsticks”), world beats and international styles. DeDe states: "I try not to limit myself to one sound or genre, and love experimenting with world music and melody."
Of her work DeDe says: "World of Christmas is by far the best and highest quality project I've ever worked on. Jeff Bova is an absolutely amazing producer; he's extremely hardworking and talented, yet was also very easy to work with and accommodating. In fact, we were on the same page on almost every decision, music style and song on this project. For example, I would say, "Hey Jeff let's give 'Deck the Halls' a sort of Latin bossa feel with a good funk beat and make it slightly retro. Then he came up with this fantastic Sergio Mendez sounding beat that was exactly what I had in mind. 'Deck the Halls' grew into one of the most unique and strong tracks on the CD, largely due to all this great synergy."
She continues: "It was really nice that we both seemed to have the exact same vision for each of the songs, and I felt that he really listened to what I wanted to do. Then he would add his opinion from his years and years of expertise, and we sort of made each song even better then we both ever dreamed it could be, because we were bouncing ideas off each other and really working well together."
DeDe adds: "(B)eing such a great producer and keyboardist, he also had a wonderful cast of well-known musicians and other pros to call on. He would ask me if so and so was okay for guitar, etc.? And so I would go read up on that person and tell him that yes, (pinch me), they were fantastic! So to get industry legends like Tim Pierce on guitar, John Pierce on bass, and Denny Fongheiser on percussion, among other top talents, was like ear candy for the soul for me!"
The spirit of giving can not only be found in her music but in her real life as well. She contributes to multiple charities with proceeds from her music and says: "I want to share what I have been given. I believe that can happen for everybody. All the truly good things in life, it seems I’ve had to wait for - and I'm glad I did."
My name is Phoenix and . . . that’s the bottom line.