Beth Hart has been fascinated with music ever since she was a small child. As a 4-year-old, she started to play piano. At first, she concentrated on classical works by Bach and Beethoven, but as she grew older, she also began to play more mainstream pieces by artists such as Etta Jones, Otis Redding and even Led Zeppelin.
When she was 5 years old, her father was convicted of drug dealing and sentenced to prison. After his release, Beth's parents divorced after 15 years of marriage. At the age of 11 years old, Beth herself started to use alcohol and drugs and when she was 15 years old, her boyfriend introduced her to heroin.
Beth attended the Los Angeles High School for the Performing Arts as a voice and cello major. During this time, she performed at so-called 'open stages' several times a week. She also entered various talent competitions where she left some very big impressions. The best-known talent competition she entered was 'Star Search' in 1993. She won 13 episodes in a row, singing the music of Janis Joplin, Melissa Etheridge and Aretha Franklin, as well as songs she had written herself, including 'Show Me the Way' and 'I Am the One'. Eventually she won the final Star Search competition.
As a result of the late nights out performing, she missed a lot of school and was finally expelled. She began to study for her Real Estate license, but found that this wasn't for her. She decided to give this up and follow her heart: music.
In LA, she met Tal Herzberg, a bass player from Israel. The two of them seemed to click both musically and personally. Together with an extra guitar player, Jimmy Khoury, they started performing.
While seated one night on a blanket surrounded by candles, Beth was 'discovered' on 3rd Street Promenade in Santa Monica, CA.
David Wolff, who had made Cyndi Lauper famous, heard Beth singing and was immediately taken with her talent. He wanted right then and there to be her manager. Due to some earlier bad experiences, Beth was a bit hesitant, but eventually she agreed. Sergio Gonzales joined the band as a drummer and soon Beth was signed by Atlantic Records.
In 1996, 'Immortal' was released in America and Germany and the band embarked on a 9-month tour. After completion of the tour, Beth wanted to start writing new material, but the road had taken a toll on her and the band and upon their return to LA, they took a much needed break. Beth went to Birmingham for some rest and recuperation. "It was our first time on the road, the band was fighting and I was way too neurotic about stuff. When it was over I was like, 'I don't want to go home.' Birmingham was a good place to separate from the real world."
The album 'Screaming for My Supper' appeared in 1999 and again Beth worked on this album in collaboration with Herzberg. It was a tough rock album with radio-friendly songs made in the best American pop/rock tradition. The biographical piano song 'L.A. Song (Out of This Town)' became a hit in both the US and Holland.
Around this same period, she employed roadie Scott Guetzkow. "I realized that the good life I was dreaming of was not going to be in Alabama or South Africa or wherever. It's got to come from the inside. And that's when I decided to go back to L.A. and figure out my stuff. I started to take a little bit better care of myself and focus on the fact that I'm lucky to get to do this."
At this time also, Richard Donner asked her to do a biographical movie about the life of Janis Joplin. Beth didn't consider herself to be the type of woman to do movies, but when she was asked to audition for a theatrical version of the life of Janis Joplin entitled 'Love Janis.' Beth did not hesitate for a moment.
Unfortunately, the stress that came with her involvement in the show took a heavy toll on Beth and she buried herself in alcohol and drugs. Her record label recommended that she see a doctor who prescribed the drug Klonopin for her. The drug suddenly enabled Beth to sing without getting tired and it helped keep her from drinking.and eating. She continued to lose weight until she weighed only 108 pounds. When she appeared on the 'Tonight Show' with Jay Leno, her record company was shocked at her emaciated appearance and promptly ended her contract. Beth began writing false medical prescriptions for herself and ended up in jail.
For her, this was the final straw and she started treatment and rehab. "It got to where I lost the music," said Beth, "I went from 98 to 180 pounds and I couldn't kick. I didn't want to live anymore, but I was too afraid to die. I started cutting myself." With the help of her manager and Scott Guetzkow, she eventually started attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. She got professional help and she married Scott. "There are days I'm scared as hell. But for the most part, it's better. In fact, some days I'm so f*cking happy, I can't stop laughing."
On her third studio album, 'Leave the Light On' from 2004, Beth wrote away all the misery of the past. "With this album," Beth says, "I wrestled with the sharp edges of my life and looked at it with a magnifying glass. I didn't allow myself to hold back. I didn't want to do the typical thing. I wasn't afraid of the feelings that I showed because they were real. I know the difficult circumstances of which I sing and I have been through it all." On this album, she introduced her new band including Jon Nichols (guitar) and Tom Lily ( bass guitar). Beth had some difficulties finding a fulltime drummer. Her good friend Berney Pershey occasionally played with Beth, but he was also very busy. John Nyman played for a while with the band also, but he didn't stay for long. The album was released in several countries, including Holland, the US, Australia, Denmark and Germany. The single 'Learning to Live' became a number 1 hit in Denmark and even hit gold.
One of the most impressive performances Beth has given took place on May 7th, 2004 to a sold out crowd at the Paradiso in Amsterdam. This show was recorded live and released on CD and DVD. 'Live at the Paradiso' (2005) shows what an outstanding performer Beth Hart really is. While the energy and force that characterize Beth are always evident on her records, there is a unique, dynamic power when she and her wonderful band play live. For this reason, her live album is a true favorite with many fans.
During the next few years, Beth and her band were busy touring, mostly throughout Denmark and The Netherlands. In these countries, her shows were sold out without exception. Whether it was a huge rock event with the complete band or an intimate acoustic show with guitarist Jon Nichols, each show was a huge success. It was also during this time that fans in Norway were becoming mesmerized more and more with this amazing singer.
While touring, Beth continued to write new songs and during almost every show, fans were treated to a new musical creation. Beth wrote enough new material for a new CD, but nevertheless, fans had to wait a while.
In 2007, the album '37 Days' was released. All tracks were recorded live by Beth and her band with new drummer Todd Wolf. Beth chose to do the album this way after receiving numerous requests from fans and critics for a CD that could convey the same emotion as a live show. It was a very pure record, full of feeling that expressed Beth's search for love and happiness.
Beth and her band continued doing live shows. In Scandinavia and Holland, their live reputation is already well-renowned, but now it is Germany, Switzerland, Austria and the United Kingdom that will be introduced to the phenomenon that is Beth Hart live. The first careful steps have been taken with a couple of small, but successful, shows in these countries.
Beth's new album 'My California' will be released in the fall of 2010.