I recently visited the home of Veronica Klaus. Stylish, talented Veronica warmly greeted me at the door, after I rang the doorbell. As I walked into her cozy and quite charming apartment in Hayes Valley, she offered me something to drink and proceeded to make an espresso. She then turned on a 1920’s player piano and played for me “You Are My Lucky Star” by
Nacio Herb Brown. From that moment on, I knew that I was in for a wonderful interview.
Veronica was born in Gillespie, Illinois, to parents Jackie and Kenny Klaus. She is the youngest of 5 siblings. At the age of nine, she desired to play the trumpet, but told me that her mother had an old, beat up rusted trombone in the basement of their home and wanted Veronica to play this instrument. She did, and played the trombone for the next year until she got braces. In fifth grade, Veronica switched to the tuba under the sly influence of her band director. At the same time, she undertook singing in the choir and proceeded to get a 1+ rating at solo and ensemble competitions singing the Carpenters. This encouraged her to follow a vocal path.
Veronica attended the University of Illinois with a degree in music education. Upon completion, moved to San Francisco in 1987. She started performing at club Uranus, at the EndUp, and at club Chaos. She would perform a song called “Organ Grinder,” and would grind up sausages and meats. It was very kitschy, to say the least! She soon realized that this style of singing and performance art was not really the direction she wished to pursue, so Veronica decided to do more serious pieces of music. She created a band, and found herself doing the first ever Hayes Valley block party. She also performed at private house events hosted by Greg Taylor, and would later became a regular at Café Du Nord.
Her influences include artists like Etta James, Jimmy Scott, Big Maybelle, Bettye LaVette, Julia Lee, Peggy Lee, and Mitty Collier. Veronica has always chosen to go toward the not-so-obvious artist and music. She says, “By performing these styles of songs, I give homage to the sometime forgotten artists that have played such a major impact on myself and our society as a whole.”
She continued, “My goal is to reach and share in that feeling one gets, like I got from the artists I listened to growing up, that feeling when you are touched and are moved into that space of complete happiness and joy. This may sometimes come from a phrase in a song, or a song itself, or even a visual stimulation. Reaching and sharing in that feeling with others is my goal.”
You can see Veronica Klaus perform on Tuesday nights at Martuni’s from 7pm-9pm through October. You can purchase her new CD “Something Cool” with the Tammy L. Hall Quartet on iTunes, CD Baby and at all of her shows. For more info, go to facebook.com/veronica.klaus andmyspace.com/veronicaklaus.
Violinist Kippy Marks entertains audiences worldwide with his inspirational compositions and lively performances that draw from classical, jazz, blues and dance. kippy marks.us