Tanya Donelly was born in Newport, Rhode Island on July 16, 1966. When she was 11, her father married her best friend's mother. By the age of 14, Tanya and her now stepsister, Kristin Hersh, started a band named the Muses. They later changed their name to Throwing Muses, and moved from Rhode Island to Boston. Soon after, they became the first American band signed to the British 4AD record label.
Tanya played guitar, wrote songs, and sung on the early Muses albums. However she felt overshadowed by Kristin, and looked elsewhere to try and grow. In 1989 she joined with the Pixies' basist Kim Deal to form The Breeders. The band was intended as a side project to both Deal and Donelly, but grew into something more significant. Their first album (Pod) was a critical success, but Tanya again found herself in someone else's band.
In 1992 Tanya announced that she was leaving both the Muses and the Breeders to form her own band - Belly. Belly's first album, Star, went gold in early 1994 and earned them Grammy nominations for both "Best New Artist" and "Best Alternative Album." Their follow-up album in 1995, King, was not as successful, and in mid 1996 (following a run in by Tanya with a raccoon) the band broke up, and Tanya embarked on a solo career.
As a solo artist, Tanya Donelly has released two full-length albums: Lovesongs for Underdogs in 1997, and Beautysleep in 2002. Both albums received little attention in the United States. She is currently married to former Julianna Hatfield bass player Dean Fisher, and has a daughter named Grace Bee (born in 1999)
Tanya Donelly has a sweet and distinctive voice that caught my attention the first time I heard it as backup in a Throwing Muses song. It provided a wonderful complement to Kristin Hersh's harder tone. Her work with Belly is my favorite, particullarly Star. The 2002 "best of" album, Sweet Ride, is probably the best example of her range as a singer and a songwriter.
With Throwing Muses
With The Breeders
As a solo artist: