When you talk about Duffy’s career it’s hard to know where to begin. To say she is multi-faceted is a serious understatement. She has her feet firmly planted in four different mediums and to each of these she brings fierce commitment and tireless dedication.
Her earliest recollection of performing was at age four. She would often put on records and entertain her family. She recalls having a large picture window in her home that she would perform from, making up her own songs. When Duffy entered school she started singing in the third grade. She continued to participate in school productions until she graduated.
At the age of 16 she began to sit in with local bands. Developing a unique and powerful style that she can emphatically call her own. Her first experience was with a band called: Roadside Attraction. She would sing with them for three years before joining with three other bands: Coda, Toulouse and Lautrec. Since that time she has opened for major headliners: Lou Rawls, Etta James, John Lee Hooker, Chicago and Roy Orbison to name a few.
Being the innovative creative force she is, Duffy realized she had a flair for costume design. She would lend her talents to The American Academy Of Dramatic Arts in Pasadena California for four years. Followed by Skid Row and Brass Ring theatre companies. Although she is no longer connected to any company in that capacity, it has not stopped from expressing her creativity in this avenue. As in the beginning of her career she still designs her own costumes.
1979 brought Duffy to Seattle Washington where she joined the band Skeezix. But it was not until joining Cool Ray and The Shades in 1983 that she considered to be her first “big break”. This ultimately led to the creation of the Rhythm Dogs and her first two albums: On A Journey and Dogs Run Cheap.
If accolades are any indication of talent Duffy has a truckload. In 1989 and 1990 she was awarded best female vocalist by The Northwest Area Music Association Awards and entertainer of the year in 1991. The Washington Blues Society recognized her as best female vocalist in 1992 then entertainer of the year in 1993. The Cascade Blues Association Muddy Award for best regional blues act in 1994. Followed by The Washington Blues Society entertainer of the year in 1995 and best female vocalist in 1999.
To add to this impressive list of achievements Duffy has extensive theatre experience as well. She played Janis Joplin in the production Janis, Frankn’ Furter in The Rocky Horror Picture Show and Annie in Last Summer At Blue Fish Cove. She just completed the blues Chantuse role in Teatro Zin Zani in Seattle and San Francisco. She will be returning to San Francisco to play that role again on July 5th.
Festivals are another venue where Duffy can be found. This type of atmosphere is conducive to her high energy and her penchant to interact with the audience. She has appeared at the Bumbershoot, Taste of Edmonds and The Waterfront Blues Festival in Portland. She is slated for The Waterfront on July 4th
Article written by: Leslie
Leslie Sallee is a former audio engineer and is currently trying to figure out what to do with the rest of her life.
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