THE LEGEND OF WANDA
I moved to New York City from Berkeley, California in 1980 to start a singing career after inheriting a rent-controlled apartment in Midtown Manhattan. It took almost ten years to establish myself but it was the impetus of being kicked out of my boyfriend’s band, the Funktionaries, that caused me to create my own band, Wanda and The Way It Is.
In 1984, I wrote and recorded my first song, Go Get Him in an eight-track recording studio on the Lower East Side. This song is about a woman who decides to be the aggressor and take things into her own hands. Instead of being a wallflower for men, she will choose the man who looks the most interesting and ask him to dance. So for all you women still in doubt who think you need a hero: If you can’t make the first move honey, don’t you think it’s awful funny, when bozos hit you up all night, and you just wait for mister right, so don’t blame me for what I see, is what you get: fat zero!
When Stanley Crouch, then a writer at the Village Voice, heard the song, Go Get Him, at an office party, he thought up the name, Wanda and The Way It Is, in reference to Wanda von Dunajew in Sacher Masoch’s, Venus In Furs. By reading this 19th Century classic in the out-of-print, rare editions section of the 42nd Street Library one afternoon, I came into the character of Wanda. I learned all about her sexy, playful, intelligent and domineering ways. I also learned that Masoch’s name is the derivation of the word, masochism.
By 1987, Wanda and The Way It Is performed all over Manhattan in clubs like the old Lone Star, Danceteria, the Cat Club, Tramps, Mikel’s, Nirvana. Wanda’s repertoire now added songs, I Fell in Love with My Doctor, Pressure Boy, Wanda Says, and We Got the Feeling. The latter song was recorded by Island Records, 4th & Broadway label that same year.
When our record got no air play, was not promoted or distributed, I became severely depressed and just wanted to hide. Then, our A&R guy died. Years later I finally got back on track. I quit drinking and starting writing stories under the psuedonym, Wanda von Dunagoy. Slowly but surely, songs in me began to emerge. Now, seven new songs will be released on my own label with the original horn players, Lily White, Pam Fleming, and Jenny Hill.
Wanda’s newest album is called Epiphany because in the course of my struggles, I have come to the realization that the present is all I have. Acceptance--learning to love myself and others makes Wanda and The Way It Is.