She’s funny, she’s passionate and she’s genuine. Tracy Newman grew up in Los Angeles, California. She started playing the guitar in her early teens, usually sitting on the diving board of her family’s pool, strumming for hours each day. Back then, she was mostly influenced by the Kingston Trio because she could actually play some of their songs, especially Tom Dooley which had (and still has) only two chords.
After high school, Tracy wanted to be a folk singer, but her parents insisted she go to college. She went to the University of Arizona in Tucson where she quickly dug up the “folk” community. Soon she stopped attending classes and was playing on street corners for money.
Understandably, this freaked out her mother, who flew to Tucson and dragged Tracy back to LA for “help.” The therapist, an elderly man in a suit and tie, kept nodding off during Tracy’s sessions. “I guess he couldn’t relate to an upper middle class teenage girl who just wanted to be a folk singer,” Tracy surmises. It’s taken Tracy awhile to get back to her dream.
In the early 1970s, she joined an improvisation class taught by Gary Austin which soon became The Groundlings improv troupe. Tracy is a founding member. Beside being in the show, she began teaching and directing the group. Her younger sister, Laraine Newman was the first Groundling to be discovered by Lorne Michaels for the NBC 90-minute weekly ensemble comedy program, Saturday Night Live. Other alumni of The Groundlings include the late Phil Hartman, Jon Lovitz, Julia Sweeney, Will Ferrell, Will Forte, Kristen Wiig and Chris Kattan.
Tracy went on to create an extensive list of A-list television sitcom writing and producing credits, as she joined the writing staffs of various sitcoms including Cheers, The Nanny, and The Drew Carey Show. She was awarded Emmy and Peabody Awards in 1997 for co-writing the groundbreaking and now legendary “coming out” episode of Ellen, starring Ellen DeGeneres. She co-created the Disney/ABC comedy series, According to Jim, starring Jim Belushi, Courtney Thorne-Smith and Kimberly Williams Paisley.
And now, Tracy is rapidly gaining recognition and acclaim as a singer/songwriter. Her debut CD, A Place in the Sun, is a celebration of stories set to engaging acoustic folk music. The project reflects the culmination of her career shift from writing situation comedies to pursuing music full-time. Tracy’s remarkable ability to craft a great song extends well beyond her wonderful sense of humor. Her compassion is evident in her profound understanding of human nature. And the world of awards found Tracy once again when her song, Waffle Boy, was a big winner in the 8th Annual Great American Song Contest. One of her most heartbreaking but uplifting songs, Mama, I Know You ain’t Santa, (co-written with Lynne Stewart) won second place in the prestigious Unisong Contest in the Seasonal/Specialty category. Her songs cover topics including sisterhood, life after fame and motherhood, which sparked the inspired It’s All Coming Back to me Now about the experience of driving her teenage daughter’s carpool.
An incredibly engaging performer, Tracy is currently doing shows in southern California with her band, Tracy Newman & the Reinforcements. She’s working on her second and third CDs which will be finished by the end of 2011.
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