Vonda Shepard was born in New York but her family relocated to California when she was a child. She played piano from an early age. Her father is Richmond Shepard, a mime and improv actor. Vonda has three sisters: Armina, Rosetta (now Brianna) and Luana.After performing as a backing singer for many years she was eventually given her own recording contract. Shepard's first chart appearance was in 1987 when she recorded a duet with Dan Hill entitled "Can't We Try". Before this she tried out for the part of Michael J. Fox's sister in Light of Day
but lost the part to Joan Jett. She was also poised to sing on Peter Cetera's duet "The Next Time I Fall" but he picked Amy Grant instead. She released her first self-titled album in 1989 with little fanfare. The album did yield one chart single, "Don't Cry Ilene", a mid-tempo, piano-driven jazz-R&B flavored song dealing with the break-up of a relationship between a black woman and a white man, arising from adult peer pressure. The track is sung from the perspective of the woman's white female friend, who harbors a desire to have the man for herself, but keeps her distance out of respect for her friend. The song peaked at Number 17 on the Billboard Hot Adult Contemporary chart and stayed on the charts for 12 weeks.After her third album, Shepard was signed up to appear on Ally McBeal
after being spotted by the show's creator David E. Kelley. While on the show she recorded two full soundtrack albums and was featured on two other Ally McBeal
compilations. The songs Shepard recorded for Ally McBeal
soundtrack albums were mainly covers of old songs with lyrics that paralleled what was happening in the title character's life onscreen. However, the album's biggest hit single, "Searchin' My Soul" was an original penned by Shepard and Paul Gordon. Since appearing in the show, Shepard has released two more studio albums and a live album.Shepard has been married to music producer Mitchell Froom since 2004; they had their first child, Jack Froom, on 15 April 2006. She is also the stepmother to Froom's daughter, Ruby, from his marriage to Suzanne Vega.Shepard recently provided vocals on the score I Need You by James Newton Howard for the 2010 film Love and Other Drugs
, starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Anne Hathaway.