Remember or forget the name: Debra Arlyn. Remember or forget that she had a series of performances at Chinook Winds Casino on Thursday nights during that weirdly rainy winter of 2006, but you missed those gigs due to must-see TV. Remember you could have seen this telegenically apt talent relatively cheaply, comfortably. Remember or forget that, perhaps after reading this, you thought, “Oh yeah, I’ve heard it all before.”
Remember or forget you were told about the way that, after a full day of promoting her first album in Lincoln City, a DIY product with nontheless a lot of pretty good spit and polish, called “Thinking Out Loud,” she came to perform out late that night like a trooper, and wowed the few who were there to hear and see it. Remember or forget that you were told she was the winner of the Oregon Idol in 2003, a precursor to an appearance on “American Idol,” but she never got a chance to play “Simon says.” That Randy Jackson, one of the famed trio of “Idol” talent judges, had later privately advised her and her father, producer/manager Tony Arlyn, they were already beyond what the show already produces: singing manikens.
Forget that music biz magazines such as Music Connection have been with her on their “Top 100 Unsigned Artists” list, but remember you heard this: There is something about the way she sings, something in her melismatic style of pop and R&B, something about the purity of her emotion when giving herself away on stage, something about the way she gets lost in a song ... yes, there’s something to lead a lot of smart music business people to believe this 20-year-old diva-in-training just might have “it.”
Last week her father said Jim Martone, an music industry player who helped to uncover such talents as No Doubt and Bush, is working on her behalf to get her signed to a major-label deal at such places as Capitol Records or Epic. Indeed, they are going about the whole “discovery” process in a professional, step-by-step manner.
“We have got a management team of industry people together who believe it’s only a matter of time,” said the father of the Corvallis-born native, who had his own 20-year career in the music business, performing in show bands on the East Coast. “This is a craft and there’s a process of growth to this.”
The father-daughter part of the “team” said they’ve already been through a kind of labyrinth of learning lessons. “We got beat up early,” her father said. According to Debra: “Musically, I have to find my own direction. A lot of people were influencing me when I was younger.”
Younger? Yes, that means much has already been learned during childhood, when she was singing shortly after being born. Now, at 20 years old, she’s a polished performer with notches showcasing her talent in Nashville and Los Angeles. With 10 gigs a month, she’s already a working musician in Corvallis, Portland, and on Thursday nights at 8 p.m., in the Rogue River Restaurant & Bar through February.