When Debbie was six, she began writing poetry very much along the lines of rap music today: rhythmic, rhyming, and all about life as she saw it. She took piano lessons during her childhood, and by the time rock & roll came along, with Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, Fats Domino, Debbie put her ears to work, and managed to emulate their piano styles in a passable fashion. She and a girlfriend, Patti McDonald, began getting together and harmonizing the songs of the day, with Debbie plonking out the piano accompaniment, and this led to Debbie writing her first songs. The songs were of love, lust and longing, and when Debbie and Patti were invited to join “The Starfires” they added Debbie’s tunes to their roster when they entertained at sockhops and dances.
Once in University, Debbie’s focus was mainly on academics, and the urge to write did not hit her again until after she married and became a mother. Her first stereo reel-to-reel tape recorder, ordered from the Simpson’s catalogue, enabled her to record and overdub vocal harmonies on two channels, and she was in “demo heaven!”. Once Debbie had secured a reputation in the Toronto studio scene, she wrote songs that were recorded by Ben McPeek, Elaine Overholt, Harry Marks and Wayne St. John. Debbie’s first solo album, entitled “Let Me In” was recorded for Canadian Talent Library, and contained many of her original songs arranged and produced by Tom Szczesniak and legend Doug Riley.
As time marched on, Debbie added multitrack equipment to her home so she could add instrumental tracks as well as vocal overdubs. She wrote songs for her own bands, for her jazz vocal ensemble Sing-Co-op-8, for The Ronnie Prophet show and hundreds of other songs, most of which are still sitting in a drawer waiting to be discovered.
She recorded 10 of her country tunes, which were eventually compiled into a CD entitled “Nothin’ in the World (That This Old Girl Can’t Do).” A trip with the CD to Nashville brought many compliments about her songs, but it was stressed to Debbie that in order to “get cuts” with country artists, one had to move to Nashville and co-write like mad. Debbie wasn’t ready for that kind of change in her life, and remained in Toronto.
Meanwhile, Debbie released other songs on compilation CDs, both under her name, and under the pseudonym “A.C.Kurrett”. These songs were more in the pop and R&B vein, and the pseudonym was to prevent confusion with Debbie’s growing reputation as a country artist.
When Debbie’s jazz vocal group Hampton Avenue began to record, Debbie crafted most of the material on their debut CD “All I Want For Christmas” (many of the songs on that CD had originally been entered into the annual Amadeus Choir Christmas Carol contest, two of her songs “Dancing” and “In a Manger” received Honourable mention awards). Her writing for Hampton Avenue proliferated, and two more CD’s were released, most of the material being Debbie’s songs. The vocal arrangements for her songs are available for sale, at http://www.hamptonavenue.com/ and at our Shopping Cart Page. These arrangements are being performed by choirs from the U.S. to Australia and Europe.
Debbie’s notoriety as a writer has led producers to her door looking for material for use in movies, jingles and television background music. One of her compositions, written for Brad MacDonald Music, won a prestigious award in Winnipeg.
Because of Debbie’s association with choirs such as the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir, The Amadeus Choir of Greater Toronto, and the St. Paul’s Singers she has written and arranged classical-flavoured vocal compositions which have been sung by the St. Paul’s Singers at St. Paul’s Church on Bloor St. in Toronto. Her Mass in F was a regular offering to the congregation at that church when Eric Robertson led the choir.
Her third solo album, a jazz compilation, called “Steppin’ Out” released in 2004, is entirely made up of Debbie’s original compositions and arrangements.
Debbie Fleming continues to write songs for others to perform, as well as for her own shows. She dreams that some great artist bound for stardom will eventually want to take her music with them to a higher place, and to wider audiences. For some of her more recent songs, recorded in her home studio – please click on Reverb Nation.