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Big hearts, big talent and boundless energy are the life's blood of Lantana. Ever-changing, ever-evolving and endlessly entertaining, Biz Haddock and Dalene Richelle are the newest incarnation of LANTANA, the talented Dallas-based Country duo that was originally formed as a trio in 2003. "We have been through some major changes," admits Biz Haddock, LANTANA's founding member, "but with change comes growth, and I'm proud to say that LANTANA is better now than it's ever been. We're going strong." Strong, progressive, vibrant: these are all words that could describe the music of LANTANA. "It's music for everyone," Biz notes. "Life has given us no shortage of inspirational material to write this album,"Dalene says with a soft smile. "We have lived these songs." Both Haddock and Richelle are also uniquely talented vocalists, with influences ranging from Rock/Pop (Led Zeppelin, Jewel, Madonna) to Country (Dolly Parton, Conway Twitty, Trisha Yearwood). With diverse musical backgrounds, the two might not seem like a natural "fit" based on musical tastes, but they make absolute magic when they join together in song. "We both have the same motivation in music, and it stems from a very spiritual place. It's a soul connection that comes through," Dalene explains.
Free of the intricate three-part harmonies the group was previously known for, their new music is absolutely effortless in its intensity and vibrancy. A new CD will be ready by January 2014, and Biz and Dalene are thrilled with the project's progress to date.
"We've always enjoyed making good and relevant music," observes Biz. "Today our sound is more clearly defined by our two distinct timbres and harmonic interplay." For Dalene, the sound is simply more open: "There is more room to breathe," she notes. No stranger to Country audiences, LANTANA has entertained fans at some of the largest and most prestigious venues in the U.S., including Houston Astrodome, Louisiana Superdome, Texas Stadium, Texas State Fair (2006, 2009-2012) and CMA Music Festival events (2009). Lantana's music crossed the border for the first time last summer during their micro tour in Canada. They will return to Nashville for performances during 2013 CMA Music Festival week and will connect with some of their most loyal fans.
Their 2006 debut CD release, UNBRIDLED (BGM Records), produced by Bill Green, was named one of the Top 10 CDs of the Year by the Dallas Morning News, and earned them two Top 10 hits on the Texas Music Chart, a feat superseded by only one other female group prior to LANTANA - The Dixie Chicks. "We have grown so much over the years," confesses Biz. "We've been busy not only performing, but managing the business, balancing family and personal lives." For Haddock, there is nothing as medicinal as the give-and-take between performer and audience. "If it's not there, what's the point," she asks rhetorically. "We're there to entertain and engage - and we love giving of ourselves and watching that happen."
A native of Dallas, Texas, Haddock formed LANTANA as an outlet for her musical aspirations – and to help overcome an innate shyness. Biz is a self-professed white trash wallflower prom queen wannabe who struck out at 18 and eventually had a very successful career in the telecom industry. Her sense of self-esteem blossomed, and when she was asked to sing at a friend’s wedding she gathered her courage, performed beautifully, and the die was cast. "I knew I wanted to sing with all my heart, but I never wanted to be a solo artist," Haddock states. The search was on - and Biz finally found the right partner in Dalene Richelle in 2006.
Richelle, a native Canadian, left a career as an Art and Music teacher to pursue her musical aspirations. "I loved teaching but I wanted to have an adventure in music" she confesses. A talented pianist, Richelle started playing the piano at age four and added slap bass and mandolin over the years. She is also a painter whose acrylic creations are sought-after works of art. Her background includes a stint as the official Anthem singer and cheerleader for the Canadian Pro Football team, The Calgary Stampeders. As a yogi and vegetarian, Dalene also brings a paradoxical element to the Texas group. "There is nothing like experiencing another culture to really discover who you are," Dalene remarks. "LANTANA has given me the opportunity to have some incredible experiences connecting with people through music," comments Dalene. "That is a dream fulfilled." The duo's popularity has also given Dalene and Biz the chance to give back to their communities and share their success with organizations in need. One such effort benefiting from the duo's participation is BEHIND THE SMILE, a group devoted to spreading awareness of Autism Spectrum Disorder. Biz and Dalene have written a song for the organization, aptly titled, "Behind The Smile." The track will appear on the duo's upcoming CD."I feel a sensory responsibility to other women my age. We have been given the task to celebrate this chapter of our lives," Biz says. "It's every bit as exciting as the years that brought us here."
"We had to go through what we went through to get here right now. That's life," Dalene adds. "We feel like everything is in perfect alignment now and that we can do what we've always wanted to do: share the music we love with people."