The Bombshells Showstopping NYC Debut

By Rhiannon Levengood
Photo by Steve Friedman

With long finger curls, charming smiles, and harmonious voices sure to sprout goosebumps on even the hardest men, the Beverly Bombshells are taking the internet by storm with their vintage renditions of today’s pop hits. The sophisticated lady trio, complete with a jazzy accompaniment band, are based in Los Angeles, where they all found a forever home while pursuing their musical careers.

The Bombshells, comprised of Heather Lundstedt O’Neill, Leah Sprecher, and Tiffany Dissette, have recently brought their craft to the streets of Manhattan for their debut East Coast show on August 7, 2017. In the middle of the packed Birdland Jazz Club, the Beverly Bombshells serenaded a sold out crowd with their humorous stories of heartbreak, unrequited love, and blossoming relationships. They captured the hearts of the attendees, made them laugh, and did it with a finesse that left their audience begging for more. It was truly a show you had to experience in person

Luckily, we had the chance to speak with the Bombshells following their NYC performance, so check out our conversation below! Don’t forget to subscribe to them on YouTube!

Please introduce yourselves, include where you’re from originally, and whether you prefer waffles or pancakes:

H: Heather Lundstedt O’Neill; Libertyville, IL; WAFFLES WITH WHIPPED CREAM AND STRAWBERRIES

L: Leah Sprecher; I was born in Long Beach, CA and grew up in Big Bear, CA.  I prefer pancakes (with chocolate chips).

T: Tiffany Dissette; born in Georgia and raised in Indiana.  Chocolate chip pancakes with peanut butter on top.  (Yes, I still put syrup on them because apparently I don’t care about my sugar intake)

How did you all find yourselves in the original group, the Beverly Belles?

H: I was brought into the group through a friend who knew Tiffany.  He knew they needed a soprano and gave them my name.

L: I met the owner of the Belles, Julia Tobey, a few years ago when she worked for my company, Transcendence Theatre Company. Later, in 2015, I was looking to pick up extra work during the holidays so I contacted her.  It just so happened that they were in need of a soprano!

T:  I was hired as the Soprano 2 of the inaugural trio of the Beverly Belles back in 2014, and helped build it into the company it is today.  

What inspired you to create the Beverly Bombshells?

H: I had always had the concept in the back of my head, but didn’t know how to find the right girls to do it with.

L: I have always loved the music of the 30’s and 40’s and had often thought about taking contemporary music and arranging it in a vintage style.  When I started working with Tiffany and Heather, the ease with which we worked together seemed like a perfect opportunity to create something new.

T: I absolutely love singing the music from the 1930s/40s.  When Heather, Leah and I met through the Belles, we just clicked.  It was such a great chemistry between the three of us and we really liked each other on a personal level too.  We became friends and then started talking about the concept of re-arranging top 40 songs into this style.   The rest is history.

Have you ever dabbled in creating your own original content, whether as a group or individually? Would it be something you would want to work toward eventually?

H: As a group it’s something we definitely want to do. I am no songwriter individually, though.

L: I have been creating my own original content for years, whether it be sketch comedy, music videos, or even my own one woman show.  But I have always preferred collaborating with a group.  Frankly, it’s more fun!

T:  I’ve tried my hand at songwriting, but honestly, I never found joy in it.  I prefer being given material and then interpreting it as my own and bringing it to life.  We’ll have some original content for the Bombshells soon 🙂

Can any of you play any instruments? How long have you been playing, if you do? Would you ever want to incorporate that into your shows?

H: I play the piano (lessons for 13 years) and flute (lessons for 8 years). I’m open to incorporating it, for sure… although my chops are pretty rusty at this point.

L: I studied piano for about 12 years when I was younger. I also dabble a little bit in guitar and ukulele.  It would be a blast to incorporate some sort of instrument playing into the shows!

T: I play a little bit of piano (not as well as HLO and LS), and I have a ukulele, but it’s covered in dust.  #oops

How did you find music as an outlet for your creative muse?

H: I’ve always been singing and making music in some way. There’s a video of me as a 2 year old serenading my birthday party for like 20 minutes straight.  

L: Music was always what I gravitated towards when I was a kid.  I’ve been making up songs (mostly silly ones) since as long as I can remember.

T: I came out of the womb singing.  My mother is a singer and music has always been a part of my life.  I was in dance classes before I could even walk.  Music has been ingrained in me for as long as I can remember, and as a result, it’s been one of my only constants through my life.  It brings me so much happiness.

When was the moment you realized you wanted to pursue a music career? Can you describe the moment?

H: I spent a year after high school deciding whether or not I wanted to pursue performing in some capacity.  There were about 6 months or so where I wasn’t so sure… but I had a profound musical experience that made it clear that I at least needed to TRY.

L: I did musical theatre in middle school and high school, so majoring in it in college was the next logical step.  I was highly encouraged by my professors to pursue a career in it, so I heeded their advice and moved to NYC immediately following my graduation.

T:  There was a point in high school where it was between being a surgeon or a performer.  Then I dissected a pig in Honors Biology Freshman Year, and I promptly chose the performing route.  I then got my BFA in Musical Theatre and I’m very grateful to say that I’ve mostly made my living as a performer in some capacity after college.

What has been the most challenging aspect of your career so far?

H: Self motivation.  This career forces you to be vulnerable, brave and confident while simultaneously you are being told you’re ugly, fat and untalented.  It’s easy to just want to abandon ship but in order to succeed you have to persevere through all that nonsense and learn how to find your own voice.

L: The most challenging aspect of my career so far is the amount of creative endeavors I have embarked on that have either failed, or outrun their course.

T: I would say the lack of financial stability.  We’ve chosen a career that is mostly contract to contract, never really knowing when your next paycheck will be.  I will say that has been difficult at times, but I would never be happy having a 9 to 5 desk job just for the financial stability.  It keeps me on my toes and I’m still trucking along.

What has been the most rewarding aspect?

H: Telling stories and sharing different world views through song is my favorite thing in the world. I believe that music is powerfully healing and has the capability to change people’s hearts and minds. To be a part of that tradition is abundantly fulfilling.

L: The most rewarding aspect is all the incredible friends I’ve made along the way.

T:  Getting to do what I love the most!  I really am the happiest when I’m performing, especially when I’m performing with my Bombshells.  I’m just so very grateful.

Do you have tips for aspiring artists?

H: Everyone who is successful still practices. Everyone.  If I have a line that is giving me trouble I will literally sing it a million times til it’s in my body. They also all continue to see teachers for the remainder of their careers.  Learn how to listen. Learn the difference between arrogant and confident.

L: My tip for aspiring artists is to not wait until someone gives you permission to create your art.  Just do it, and do it a lot.

T:  Follow your gut.  If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.  Listen to your intuition and trust yourself.  It will be hard at times, but you have to do what’s right for YOU.  Make bold choices, and opportunities will open for you.  

What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?

H: This isn’t a sprint. It’s a marathon.

L: Best advice I’ve ever been given is to “do you”.

T: Choose happiness.  

Do you have any plans of releasing a studio album?

H: We’re working on it! Hopefully it will be available sooner rather than later 😉

L: YES DUH.

T: Of course!!!  We’re so excited to share this music with the world!

Where do you see the Bombshells in the next 5 years?

H: Touring all over the world with our fabulous big band and all of our dogs (there will be multiple of course).

L: In 5 years I see the Bombshells selling out concerts worldwide.

T:  Traveling and performing with some of the biggest names in music. It’s gonna be so great. 🙂

H: It challenges the ear and reminds people of an era gone by.

L: My grandma introduced me to it.

T:  It’s unique and challenging.    

H: It’s always a challenge, but we try to pick songs that fit well with the era’s sentiments and melodies.

L: I don’t feel it is.  I feel it’s a sound people don’t realize they crave until they hear it.

T: We’re never going to please everybody, but what we’re doing reaches such a large demographic and that’s pretty awesome.  Most people seem to really enjoy what we’re putting out there!  

H: Confident! Cause we only had 24 hours to learn, memorize and film it! Tiffany: Loyal, Funny, Intelligent. Leah: Hilarious, Thoughtful, Intelligent

L: Confident- cause we had to learn it and perform it in 24 hours and it was really hard and we actually did it!!! Heather: supportive, driven, confident. Tiffany: meticulous, bright-eyed, dorky

T: Probably A Thousand Miles, because it is the most difficult arrangement that David has given us to date.  It had me tripped up for sure!  Heather: passionate, persistent, generous | Leah: witty, kind-hearted, creative

H: Smile – The Nat King Cole version

L: Los Angeles, cuz we all met in Los Angeles and I just think it’s a beautiful song.

T: You Are My Sunshine – my mom used to sing that to me all the time when I was a little girl

H: The joy we all get when we perform together is the best.

L: We like each other a lot in life and that translates to the stage. We just have a lot of fun together.

T:  I love that I can be 100% myself onstage and offstage with these girls.  They make me feel safe and I trust them implicitly.  I’ve never had that kind of experience; we work together, but they’re also two of my best friends.  

H: It’s a tie between The Edison in LA and BIRDLAND!

L: Birdland. Making a NY debut in such a renowned venue with an incredible audience was one for the books.

T:  Birdland.  I had a moment when I was onstage, and I looked out into the audience and I was just overcome with gratitude and happiness.  I distinctly remember thinking that I was in the right place at the right time.  That’s very rare, but I’m feeling it more and more with the Bombshells.  

H: I felt overwhelmed with the turn out in NYC. I couldn’t believe it! And hopefully we will do an MT song soon!

L: Proud. And we’ll do musical theatre when David feels inspired to arrange one.

T: So grateful. And hopefully soon!  Maybe eventually, we’ll have a whole show dedicated to MT!  The sky’s the limit!

H: Hopefully! We definitely want to go on tour, it’s all about timing and finding the right cities and venues!

L: We have huge plans to travel more and potentially perform in large venues. But we will also always perform in intimate settings as well.

T:  Yes!  If it’s the right fit, we’d love to keep expanding and traveling to new places.  

H: London!

L: I’d love to do a European tour.

T:  Yea, probably Europe.  

H: Oh mannnnnnnn. shop, eat, drink, lay out, go to amusement parks… we spend a lot of time together

L: We go to theme parks together and have a grand old time.

T: DISNEYLAND.  But also, just watching the Bachelorette.  Honestly, we have fun doing absolutely nothing.  We’re just a bunch of dummies.  

H: LEAH HAHAHA, but we all have brain farts.

L: I’m most likely to forget lyrics.

T:  Leah.  😉  But there are some times that I get so caught up in the song that I just forget to sing.  My most embarrassing moment on stage was in college.  I was running forward barefoot for curtain call, and I tripped and broke my foot!  I had to do the rest of the run on crutches.  I still have a bone chip just chilling in the ball of my foot.  

H: Not yet! We love meeting everyone from twitter and the internet!

L: Our fans have been nothing but incredible.

T:  Our fans are amazing and so generous.  They make the best cookies!  🙂

Check out the links below to stay up to date with the Bombshells.

Website

YouTube

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

First 100 of AC Moyer’s ‘Size Zero’

By Rhiannon Levengood

Admittedly, I’m a very slow reader. I’ve never been sure if I’m just physically slow at reading or if it’s somewhat intentional. I pay attention to details. My mind paints a scene as the words provide each stroke. An extremely detailed novel gives itself a film and takes me awhile to digest.

Which is why I’m only 100 pages into
Size Zero by AC Moyer.

But the first 100 pages have created such a story already that I have to write about it.

When I greeted Moyer at BookCon 2017, she was as mysterious as the black novel she was selling. Her booth was decorated in mirrors, casting back a distorted image of passerby. I had no idea the symbolism it reflected from her book until I started reading it.

Size Zero is a crime novel that is centered around the world of fashion and modeling. The story follows Cecil LeClaire, an heir to his mother’s modeling empire, as he discovers the truth to his childhood girlfriend Annabelle Leigh’s disappearance many years prior to her death. The story itself has depth that I haven’t experienced from a novel in quite some time. It’s well thought out, so far leaving no loose ends fraying, but just unraveling enough to keep the pages turning.

I am only 100 pages into this captivating story, but every chapter is as riveting as the previous, pulling me in deeper with every page. The only story I can compare it to is Henning Mankell’s Wallander saga, which happens to be my favorite crime series. I feel as if I’m diving into another one of his novels, and I could not be happier.

Stay tuned for a full length review, but if you’re interested already, you can preorder AC Moyer’s novel here! Be sure to follow Moyer on social media for updates!

Size Zero Website
AC Moyer Website
Twitter
Instagram

BookCon 2017: Destroying the Phenomenon of Writer’s Block

By Rhiannon Levengood

This past weekend, Moments Magazine had the absolute pleasure of attending BookCon 2017 in New York City. BookCon is full to the brim with not only literature in its various forms, wonderful and inspiring panels, and the chance to meet the creators of life-changing stories, but even some fan-made merchandise as well. Guests and exhibitors include new authors just starting out and advertising their brand new baby, and authors who’ve established themselves as a household name. BookCon presents an opportunity to meet your favorite authors, your future favorite authors, and the people who feel the same way about the same books.

What I got out of BookCon 2017 was community (and emotional nostalgia—thanks Bill Nye!). I saw a community of writers and readers and dreamers and people clutching onto hope found between pages of a book they were reading, or a book they were just starting to construct. I found inspiration from others, advice for curing creative blocks, and books. Lots of books.

However, my shiny BookCon moment came Saturday evening as the convention came to a whirlwinding close. It came to me in the form of a panel entitled Transforming a Bestseller onto the Silver Screen: The Book to Film Experience. Guest speakers included R.J. Palacio (Wonder), Nicola Yoon (Everything, Everything), Lauren Oliver (Before I Fall), and the focus of this recount, Stephen Chbosky (The Perks of Being a Wallflower).

The panel in itself felt more like a writer’s workshop than a discussion of taking a novel and transforming it into a screenplay, and then finally portraying it on the big screen. Many fan questions focused on the process of writing a novel and the process of writing a screenplay, the difference between the two, and which was the most challenging. I’ve never been to college, but I imagined that this was what a lecture felt like.

Wisdom flowed from the mouths of the guest speakers like waterfalls: naturally, rushingly, and mind-alteringly so. I watched, mouth agape, as brilliant minds spoke directly to me in a sea of an audience eager to learn and soak up every word before they left their tongues.

Stephen Chbosky himself had some advice for writers in the form of four steps:

As the panel ended, I felt euphoric and inspired. A smile stretched across my lips that were accustomed to frowning at blank documents and unfinished thoughts. Words clouded my mind and for the first time in awhile, I wanted to get them down on paper. But first, I had to thank the man that motivated me most with his insight. And luckily for me, Stephen Chbosky stayed seated at the table, Sharpie in hand, ready to make dreams come true.

When my turn came, I shamefully explained that I didn’t have my copy of Perks with me for him to sign, but that I wanted to thank him for his wise words. I told him my struggle with writer’s block and praised him for helping me find ways to overcome it.

Stephen prefaced with, “Writer’s block doesn’t exist. Writer’s block is simply editing too quickly.”

If I had to sum up my BookCon experience in one sentence, it’d be: I came with nothing, and I left with everything.