When we saw that Heidi Spencer and Rare Birds were part of the Bella Union showcase this week at South By Southwest in Austin, Texas, we wondered, "is Heidi now on the label, too?"
"Yup," says fellow Brew City gal Stephanie Dosen, who has been with Bella Union for a couple years now and has collaborated with the likes of Massive Attack since her deal was inked.
"Heidi Spencer is one of the most amazing voices out there," says label boss -- and former Cocteau Twins bassist -- Simon Raymonde. "I am so delighted to be able to finally bring Heidi's music to a wider audience."
"We are all very excited about this," says Dosen, "I introduced them in Austin at South By Southwest and (Simon) loved her voice as much as I did. "
Raymonde says it's taken time for him to get to this point with Spencer -- the daughter of late folk singer Jim Spencer -- but Bella Union is ready to move forward with her.
"I have Stephanie Dosen to thank for introducing me to Heidi's music," he says. "As my label is tiny, it's taken me a while to find the room and space to release Heidi's music, but this year will be the year.
"My new relationship with Yep Roc / Redeye in the USA, who now act as home to Bella Union for my bands like Midlake, Lawrence Arabia, The Acorn, etc., means Heidi's album will be out on Bella Union later this year in the USA."
Other American acts on the label include The Low Anthem, Fleet Foxes, Beach House and Andrew Bird.
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.
He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.
With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.
He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.
In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.
He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.