Lisa Coleman (musician)

Lisa Coleman
Born (1960-08-17) August 17, 1960
Origin Los Angeles, California, United States
Genres Rock, funk, pop, new wave, Minneapolis sound, R&B
Occupation(s) Musician, arranger, composer, songwriter, record producer
Instruments Piano, keyboards, synthesizer, guitar, violin, vocals
Years active 1973–present
Labels Columbia, SME Records, Virgin, EMI, World Domination
Associated acts The Revolution, Wendy & Lisa

Lisa Coleman (born August 17, 1960) is an American musician and composer. Coleman plays piano and keyboards. She was a member of Prince's backing band The Revolution from 1980 to 1986. She is one half of the musical duo Wendy & Lisa, formed with Wendy Melvoin in 1986.

Early life

Coleman was born the middle of three children in Los Angeles, California. Her mother was Mexican-American visual artist Marylou Ynda-Ciletti (April 4, 1936 — November 17, 2013).[1] Coleman's father, Gary L. Coleman (born 1936),[2] is a German-American session musician in the 1960s and 1970s as part of the collective The Wrecking Crew[3] and formed a friendship with fellow musician Mike Melvoin. Their families became close with each other and often played and recorded music together. Lisa Coleman formed a close relationship with Melvoin's daughter Wendy Melvoin,[4] saying once "we've been familiar with one another since we were in diapers".[5]

Musical career

At age 12, Coleman got her professional start as a keyboardist in the bubblegum pop band Waldorf Salad.[6] The band, which also featured her siblings and Jonathan Melvoin, was signed to A&M records in 1973.[7]

In 1975, Coleman played a small role as a high school pianist in the Linda Blair made-for-TV film Sarah T. – Portrait of a Teenage Alcoholic.[8]

Coleman was 19 years of age when one of her good friends, Niki Yoergler, who was working as a secretary for Prince's personal manager, Steve Fargnoli, brought her to the attention of Prince. After some convincing on both ends, Yoergler got Coleman an audition and she was hired as part of Prince's backing group in 1980 for his Dirty Mind album and tour. Before being so recruited, she had been working as a shipping clerk and teaching piano.[9] She replaced keyboardist Gayle Chapman.[10] Coleman played keyboards for Prince on his Controversy and 1999 albums, and was a session player for recordings by The Time and Vanity 6.

Coleman was in a long-term relationship with her musician friend Wendy Melvoin, with whom she collaborated frequently; see Wendy & Lisa for more details.[11] In an interview Coleman states she was approached by Prince while on the road with Melvoin to play the guitars at sound check; Prince asked Melvoin to join his band that night.[4] Melvoin replaced guitarist Dez Dickerson in 1983.[12] Coleman and Melvoin became members of the newly designated The Revolution.

Shortly after the completion of Prince and The Revolution's Parade project, Coleman and Melvoin started their own musical duo, which they called the Wendy & Lisa partnership. The Wendy & Lisa musical partnership released 5 full-length albums for various labels, including Columbia/Sony and Virgin, as well as their own independent imprint.

Coleman and Melvoin continued to work together as film and television composers, and they provided the musical scores for television shows including Crossing Jordan and Heroes, both created and produced by Tim Kring under his Tailwind Productions banner, Nurse Jackie, which won them an Emmy for Outstanding Main Title Theme, Prime Suspect, and others. They also provide the music for Touch.

Personal life

In April 2009, Coleman gave an interview with Out magazine declaring that she was a lesbian and had a past romantic relationship with Wendy Melvoin.[13]

Awards and recognition

Coleman and Melvoin were awarded with an Emmy for Outstanding Original Main Title in 2010 for their theme to Nurse Jackie.[14] Coleman (and Melvoin) also technically share the honor of winners of a Grammy and Oscar for being part of The Revolution, as Purple Rain won two Grammys, and the Oscar for Best Original Score.


  1. "Dimensions of the Americas: Art and Social Change in Latin America and the United States", Shifra M. Goldman, p. 222
  3. Hal Blaine, David Goggin, David M. Schwartz (2010). "Hal Blaine and the Wrecking Crew". p. 48
  4. 1 2 Keith Valcourt. "Wendy & Lisa: Prince's former band mates". Hustler magazine. Archived from the original on 2010-08-07. We grew up together in Los Angeles.
  5. Larry McShane (1987-11-08). "Wendy and Lisa discover life after Prince". Star-News. Retrieved 2010-08-25.
  6. International who's who in popular music, 2002. pg 103.
  7. Billboard- February 10, 1973, page 6.
  8. "Interview: Wendy and Lisa". The Guardian. London. 2008-09-20.
  9. Dennis Hunt (1987-10-27). "Prince's Revolution frees Lisa, Wendy". Eugene Register-Guard. Retrieved 2010-08-25.
  10. "CNN - WorldBeat Biography - Prince". Retrieved 2010-08-25. Chapman leaves and is replaced by Lisa Coleman
  11. Eric Deggans (December 30, 2010). "Biggest regret in 2008: Not publishing this Wendy and Lisa interview". St. Petersburg Times. Archived from the original on October 12, 2009. Retrieved August 25, 2010.
  12. "CNN - WorldBeat Biography - Prince". Retrieved 2010-08-25. Dickerson leaves the Revolution, and is replaced by Wendy Melvoin
  13. Barry Walters. "The Revolution Will Be Harmonized". Out magazine. Archived from the original on April 20, 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-25.
  14. Billboard

External links

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