Debra Fotheringham, the ninth of eleven children, grew up in American Fork, Utah in the shadow of the mighty Wasatch mountains. As a child Debra was quiet and contemplative, preferring time spent in the world of her imagination to time spent in real life. As a result, Debra turned to writing as a way to shed light on her world and express her inner creativity. Beginning in the first grade, Debra was invited to various Writers Conferences every year based solely on her talent for fiction writing. From birth, music was an integral part of Debra's life. Her father had been professional jazz saxophonist earlier in his life, and Debra had grown up immersed in the constant sounds of his large jazz music library. She tried her hand at several instruments, beginning with the violin, then the trumpet, before she finally found her niche. At the age of fourteen, Debra simultaneously discovered the versatility of the guitar as well as the diversity and rhythm of world percussion. Debra took to the guitar immediately. While studying percussion in school, Debra used the guitar to escape from the rigidity of formal instruction. Caught between her two loves, writing and music, Debra discovered she could combine them both to create something fascinating and wholly new to her...and Debra began writing songs. And then she began to sing.
"One little known fact about me," Debra confides, "is that I refused to sing up until I began writing songs. I wouldn't even sing hymns in church. I was convinced that if I tried to sing I would have the most hideous voice in the world and I'd just embarrass myself...but I'd always secretly wanted to be a jazz singer."
At the age of fifteen, she began performing a mix of cover songs and her own material in local coffee shops and bookstores. The response was enthusiastic and it encouraged Debra to continue developing her sound and perform her own material as much as possible. In 2002 at the age of eighteen, Debra recorded her first solo project in a friend's basement studio. She recorded eight tracks in two hours for sixty bucks. She burned the disc (aptly titled Solo, Acoustic) by hand and began selling them at shows. She sold over a thousand copies of the disc in just a couple years of playing local shows as she began to move onto bigger venues, larger audiences, and opening slots for the likes of Ryan Shupe and Rubberband, Maren Ord, Peter Breinholt, and hit 70's act Orleans. At one bookstore gig, Debra was approached by filmmaker Kurt Hale and asked to be a part of the soundtrack for his upcoming motion picture, The R.M. Her arrangement of and performance of the hymn "I Need Thee Every Hour" was featured on the soundtrack and in the film. Debra's effortlessly melodic vocals also caught the ear of producer Finn Bjarnson of the internationally renowned DJ Kaskade of Om Records. Kaskade used Debra as his vocalist for the song Samba Love, which was featured on his album titled Here and Now. Debra has also been featured as a vocalist and arranger on Deseret Book's Lullaby Album series. As Debra's sound developed further, she began to attract more national attention. A producer in Nashville, Rick Clark (Death Cab for Cutie, Los Super Seven), heard Debra and was immediately struck by her fresh and intimate songwriting, clear, unique vocals and uncommon skill on the guitar. He took her under his wing and acted as a mentor to help refine her songwriting. She and Rick began to record a demo in Doobie Brothers Michael McDonald's Nashville studio. Unfortunately, the sessions were never finished due to scheduling conflicts.
Debra began touring across the west coast in the interim and talking to other producers, trying to find the right fit. In 2006 she met Nashville producer/engineer/drummer/keyboardist Giles Reaves (Patty Griffin, Chantal Kreviazuk) in Utah at a local songwriters get-together. Giles liked what he heard and offered to produce Debra's album. In February of 2007 they began the sessions at the Annex Recording studio in Salt Lake City, Utah. The album is essentially a three man show with Ryan Tilby on the bass, Giles Reaves on the drums and keyboards, and Debra providing vocals, guitars and percussion. The album was released in April of 2007 to a sold out audience at her release concert in Provo, Utah. It received an overwhelming response by critics and fans. Debra began extensive touring that summer, beginning with the state of Utah, and nationally in Seattle, Tacoma, Portland, Albuquerque, Boise, Long Island, New York City, and even an overseas tour in Europe. In New York, Debra performed at the Acoustic Long Island podcast, the largest acoustic podcast in the world. Her performance was broadcast to over 10,000 enthusiastic subscribers all over the globe. Debra is currently writing new material for her next album, performing at every possible opportunity, and working as a freelance studio vocalist and percussionist.