Lisa Coleman (musician)

Lisa Coleman (born August 17, 1960) is an American musician. She primarily plays piano and keyboards. She was a member of Prince's backing band The Revolution from 1979 to 1986. Coleman is one half of the musical duo Wendy & Lisa, formed with Wendy Melvoin in 1986.

Lisa Coleman
Coleman in 2010
Coleman in 2010
Background information
Born (1960-08-17) August 17, 1960 (age 62)
OriginLos Angeles, California, U.S.
GenresRock, funk, pop, new wave, Minneapolis sound, R&B
Occupation(s)Musician, composer, songwriter
Instrument(s)Piano, keyboards
Years active1970s–present
LabelsColumbia, SME, Virgin, EMI, World Domination

Early lifeEdit

Coleman was born the middle of three children in Los Angeles, California. Her mother was Mexican-American visual artist Marylou Ynda-Ciletti (April 4, 1936 – November 17, 2013).[1] Coleman's father, Gary L. Coleman (born 1936),[2] is an Anglo-American session musician, who in the 1960s and 1970s was part of the collective The Wrecking Crew[3] and befriended fellow musician Mike Melvoin. Their families became close with each other and often played and recorded music together. Lisa formed a close relationship with Melvoin's daughter Wendy,[4] saying once "We've been familiar with one another since we were in diapers".[5]


At age 12, Coleman got her professional start as a keyboardist in the bubblegum pop band Waldorf Salad.[6] The band, which also featured her siblings and Jonathan Melvoin, was signed to A&M Records in 1973.[7]

In 1975, Coleman played a small role as a high school pianist in the Linda Blair made-for-TV film Sarah T. – Portrait of a Teenage Alcoholic.[8]

Coleman was 18–19 years of age right out of high school when one of her good friends, Niki Yoergler, who was working as a secretary for Prince's personal manager, Steve Fargnoli, brought her to the attention of Prince. After some convincing on both ends, Yoergler got Coleman an audition and she was hired as part of Prince's backing group in 1980 for his Dirty Mind album and tour. Before being so recruited, she had been working as a shipping clerk and teaching piano.[9] She replaced keyboardist Gayle Chapman.[10] Coleman played keyboards for Prince on his Controversy and 1999 albums and the three albums as a member of The Revolution, which were Purple Rain, Around the World in a Day and Parade, and she was also a session player for recordings by The Time and Vanity 6, two side projects of Prince.

Coleman was in a long-term relationship with her musician friend Wendy Melvoin, with whom she collaborated frequently (see Wendy & Lisa for more details).[11] In an interview, Coleman states that in 1983, one night when guitarist Dez Dickerson did not show up at soundcheck, Prince asked Melvoin to play his guitar; that same night, Prince invited Melvoin to join the band.[4][10] Coleman and Melvoin became members of the newly designated The Revolution.

Shortly after the completion of Prince and The Revolution's Parade project, Coleman and Melvoin started their musical duo, which they called the Wendy & Lisa partnership. The Wendy & Lisa musical partnership released five full-length albums for various labels, including Columbia/Sony and Virgin, as well as their own independent imprint.

Coleman and Melvoin continued to work together as film and television composers, and they provided the musical scores for television shows including Crossing Jordan and Heroes, both created and produced by Tim Kring under his Tailwind Productions banner; Nurse Jackie, which won them an Emmy for Outstanding Main Title Theme; Prime Suspect; No Tomorrow; Witches of East End; and Touch for which they received an Emmy nomination. They currently compose the music for NBC's Shades of Blue.

In 2009, Coleman played vibraphone on the Alice in Chains' song "Black Gives Way to Blue", from the album of the same name.[12][13]

In 2019, Coleman self-released her first solo instrumental album titled, Collage.[14]


With Prince

With Prince & The Revolution

Prince Camp/Associated

With Wendy & Lisa


Solo work

  • Collage (2019)

Session work

Personal lifeEdit

In April 2009, Coleman gave an interview with Out magazine, where she spoke openly about her past romantic relationship with Wendy Melvoin.[15] Coleman has been married since 2004 to Renata Kanclerz. The couple has one child.

Awards and recognitionEdit

Coleman and Melvoin were awarded with an Emmy for Outstanding Original Main Title in 2010 for their theme to Nurse Jackie.[16] Coleman (and Melvoin) also share the honor of winners of a Grammy and Oscar for being part of The Revolution, as Purple Rain won two Grammys, and the Oscar for Best Original Score.

Coleman (along with Melvoin) received the inaugural ASCAP Shirley Walker Award in 2014. The Shirley Walker Award honors those whose achievements have contributed to the diversity of film and television music.[17]


  1. ^ "Dimensions of the Americas: Art and Social Change in Latin America and the United States", Shifra M. Goldman, p. 222
  2. ^ "The Coleman Family". Retrieved January 15, 2021.
  3. ^ Hal Blaine, David Goggin, David M. Schwartz (2010). "Hal Blaine and the Wrecking Crew". p. 48
  4. ^ a b Keith Valcourt. "Wendy & Lisa: Prince's former band mates". Hustler magazine. Archived from the original on August 7, 2010. We grew up together in Los Angeles.
  5. ^ Larry McShane (November 8, 1987). "Wendy and Lisa discover life after Prince". Star-News. Retrieved August 25, 2010.
  6. ^ Gregory, Andy (2002). International who's who in popular music, 2002. pg 103. ISBN 978-1-85743-161-2.
  7. ^ Billboard- February 10, 1973, page 6. February 10, 1973.
  8. ^ "Interview: Wendy and Lisa". The Guardian. London. September 20, 2008.
  9. ^ Dennis Hunt (October 27, 1987). "Prince's Revolution frees Lisa, Wendy". Eugene Register-Guard. Retrieved August 25, 2010.[dead link]
  10. ^ a b "CNN – WorldBeat Biography – Prince". Retrieved August 25, 2010. Chapman leaves and is replaced by Lisa Coleman. ... Dickerson leaves the Revolution, and is replaced by Wendy Melvoin.
  11. ^ Eric Deggans (December 30, 2010). "Biggest regret in 2008: Not publishing this Wendy and Lisa interview". St. Petersburg Times. Archived from the original on October 12, 2009. Retrieved August 25, 2010.
  12. ^ "Alice In Chains –Black Gives Way to Blue". Discogs. Retrieved August 20, 2017.
  13. ^ "Lisa Coleman Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved August 20, 2017.
  14. ^ Grow, Kory (April 29, 2019). "Prince's Revolution Keyboardist Lisa Coleman Releases First Solo LP". Rolling Stone.
  15. ^ Barry Walters. "The Revolution Will Be Harmonized". Out magazine. Archived from the original on April 20, 2009. Retrieved April 25, 2009.
  16. ^ "'Glee,' Rock Hall of Fame Win Creative Arts Emmys". August 23, 2010. Retrieved January 15, 2021.
  17. ^ "ASCAP Shirley Walker Award". Retrieved January 15, 2021.

External linksEdit