Aaron, Lee

Lee (b Karen) Aaron (b Greening). Singer-songwriter, b Belleville, Ont, 21 Jul 1962. Aaron participated in musical theatre from age five to 17, and was a member of her high school's concert and jazz bands. Her initial exposure to heavy metal took place during high school, after a successful audition for a local Brampton, Ont, rock band known as Lee Aaron. Assuming the band's name as her own, as a solo artist with a supporting back-up band Lee Aaron became celebrated as "Canada's Metal Queen" for her early popularity in the heavy metal genre. Aaron's first LP, The Lee Aaron Project, was released in 1982. Her initial notoriety came as a result of her flirtatiously sexual image, which Aaron's manager advised her to project. While this image was highly effective in rock videos, she was never entirely comfortable with it.

Aaron initially had her greatest success in Europe - in England and Germany in particular - where she and her band toured several times, beginning in 1983, as a concert and festival attraction. In Canada her appearances through the 1980s were generally confined to nightclubs. Her other LPs for Attic were the metal-styled Metal Queen (1984) and Call of the Wild (1985), and an anomalous pop album, Lee Aaron (1987). The hits "Metal Queen" and "Only Human" were featured on the 1984 and 1987 albums respectively. The hard-rock album Bodyrock, issued in 1989, sold more than 200,000 copies in Canada and included the popular songs (and videos) "Whatcha Do to My Body" and "Hands On." Its success moved her to the front rank of Canadian rock singers in 1990 and was followed in 1991 by a second rock album, Some Girls Do.

Tired of the overtly sexual image relentlessly used in marketing, Aaron ended her contract with Attic in the early 1990s. She went on to record her eighth album, Emotional Rain, on her own label, Hipchic Music. This album marked the last time Aaron collaborated with songwriting partner John Albani, who was previously also the guitarist in her band. After releasing one self-titled album with the band 2 Preciious in 1996, Aaron emerged on the West Coast in 1997 with a reinvented sound. Drawing upon the music of Nina Simone, Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday, Aaron began performing cool jazz and blues and released her first jazz album, Slick Chick, in 2000. In 2002 Aaron performed with Vancouver's Modern Baroque Opera Company for the premiere of the opera 120 Songs for the Marquis de Sade by Peter Hannan. Lee Aaron released her second jazz album in 2004. She has been nominated for 10 Juno awards.