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Arlyn puts her heart into her music.

Byline: Serena Markstrom The Register-Guard

Not to jinx the 2003 Clear Channel Oregon Idol, but it looks as if Debra Arlyn is on the verge of signing a major record deal.

That's part of why Luna owner Adam Bernstein booked her for three shows - Saturday, Tuesday and Feb. 17 - and dubbed the whole thing "Romance Week."

"Debra is a very exciting artist," Bernstein says. "It's an opportunity for us to see someone who is going to be national on a small, local, intimate stage."

The Oregon Idol, who will turn 21 later this month, earned the right to skip regional tryouts and go straight to Hollywood to audition for "American Idol." She didn't make it onto the show, but she is moving in the right direction toward a career in music.

The other reason Bernstein has for hosting three Valentine's Day shows is more practical: The day of love falls on a Tuesday, and that's not always an easy night for people to get out.

Despite the midweek booking, tickets for that show are selling, and there's a possibility of a second, later show being added that night.

"She had a musical coming out party last year and filled the place," Bernstein says of Arlyn, who's based in Corvallis and grew up being called Debi. "I was amazed by the timbre and quality of her voice coming from someone of her youth. It's big and small at the same time. She's got a big voice, but it's got such a depth of warmth that it's velvety.

`It's like warm chocolate. It's so smooth and velvety."

Arlyn describes her style as a mix of pop and R&B.

"I really feel like I just came into my own as far as stage presence," says Arlyn, working on a plate of cheese fries at a Eugene restaurant. "I used to have horrible stage fright. I'd just get so scared and not say anything and just shake.

`Now, I feel totally at home up there.'

Soon after her "American Idol" audition, she recorded a demo at Dark Horse studio, near Nashville - the same place another homegrown talent, Mat Kearney, recorded his demo.

Last year she recorded seven songs at Justin King's Eugene area studio, Blackberry Hill. King, who recently signed with Epic Records, produced those seven, which were added to the five recorded at Dark Horse to complete Arlyn's latest release, "Thinking Out Loud."

It's all about the right label

Arlyn and her management team have since shopped "Thinking Out Loud" to major record labels and started Homeslice Music, an independent label. Homeslice also hired a crew to shoot a music video of her song, "I Love You."

The effort has paid off, though not yet with a record deal. She performed for the president of Capitol Records, was listed on Music Connection magazine's "Hot 100' unsigned artists, and the television show "Related" featured her songs on two episodes.

`The goal is for me to find a label that digs what I do,' Arlyn says. "It takes a long time. Fortunately, I have people working with me. I'm very lucky in that way. ...

`When you have people supporting you, that definitely makes it a million times easier.'

Arlyn says she now supports herself with music alone. The 5-foot-9 singer played basketball for a year at a community college before deciding for sure to become an entertainer.

The `American Idol' experience, she says, opened doors for her, but she believes it's better for her as an artist that the show didn't pan out. A self-taught piano player, she also writes her own songs - something she hopes will protect her from being labeled a pop diva like Jessica Simpson or Britney Spears.

So far, music writers have compared her to Alicia Keys, Christina Aguilera and Joss Stone. Sure, she's got the blond hair, the flat belly and love-themed songs, but she wants to be taken seriously as a writer and musician, not just be a "mannequin up there."

"Thinking Out Loud" is heavy on love songs. Arlyn jokes she could name a boy for each track.

"I have this obsession with relationships and romance," Arlyn says. "I'm a young girl and that's kind of what I think about a lot, so it comes across in my songs.

"I really don't like when people say, 'Oh you're so young it's not real.' It is real. And sure, you may not have the maturity to like act upon it and make it last forever, but (the emotions) are still real.

`I'm a really emotional person and I'm constantly seeking relationships with people. I love being real, just saying how I feel and just putting it out there. ...

`Too practical is not OK with me. You've got to be passionate.'


Debra Arlyn

What: Three shows celebrating love and romance

When: 7 p.m. Saturday, Tuesday and Feb. 17

Where: Luna, 30 E. Broadway

Tickets: Valentine's Day $10; others $7


Debra Arlyn loves to sing 'em and she loves to listen to 'em. Here are her favorite romantic songs, in no particular order:

Stevie Wonder: `My Cherie Amour'

Barbara Streisand: `Cry Me a River'

Carole King: `Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow'

John Mayer: `Your Body Is a Wonderland'

Jason Mraz: `You and I Both'


Debra Arlyn says she might be young - she will turn 21 later this month - but the emotions she sings about are real.
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Title Annotation:Entertainment; She has look of a young star, but she doesn't want that to limit her
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Feb 10, 2006
Previous Article:All the most positive, from P to P.
Next Article:BRIEFLY.

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