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Singer/songwriter/keyboardist Kim Fox updates the female singer/songwriter archetype of the early '70s (think Carole King and, especially, Laura Nyro) in much the same way as the indie-piano trio Suddenly, Tammy! -- whom she credits with inspiring her move from opera and classical music into pop -- and her former Bloomington, IN, neighbor, Lisa Germano. Her 1997 album Moon Hut also adds a hint of XTC and Aimee Mann, making Fox a natural for those who crave a certain level of intelligence with their pop hooks. Kim Fox was born in Manhattan in 1968, the daughter of Norman Fox, a '50s doo wop singer whose band, Norman Fox and the Rob Roys, was one of the few integrated bands of the '50s. Fox took piano lessons as a teenager, inspired by a Laura Nyro record lent to her by one of her junior-high teachers, and wrote and self-recorded several songs while in high school. This primitive demo helped Fox get into the prestigious music composition and theory program at Vassar College, where she turned her attention to voice training with dreams of becoming an opera singer. Upon graduation, Fox took a low-level music industry job and began performing a one-woman cabaret act around New York, but after seeing Suddenly, Tammy!, a Pennsylvania trio led by the Laura Nyro-like singer-pianist Beth Sorrentino, play live, Fox returned to her teenage love of pop music. A publishing and development deal with BMG led to Fox meeting producer Paul Mahern, who recorded her early demos. Fox was so taken both with Mahern's production style and his hometown of Bloomington, IN, that she moved there in 1995, waitressing to earn a living while she and Mahern refined her demos and worked on new material on the regional coffeehouse circuit. The then-new label Dreamworks Records signed Fox in 1996 and released her debut album, Moon Hut, in July 1997. Though the album received extremely positive reviews (and Fox appeared on several dates on the inaugural Lilith Fair tour), it was a commercial stiff, and Fox spent a fair amount of time extricating herself from her Dreamworks contract. Moving to Los Angeles in the late '90s, Fox signed with the local indie Franklin Castle Records and released her second album in the spring of 2002. ~ Stewart Mason