Music has been a force in Ellyn Fleming's life since she was five years old, when a desire to become a guitarist came on full force. Her parents turned down their little girl's pleas for guitar lessons when they deemed the instrument unsuitable. Instead, they steered her toward the violin. Fleming studied the instrument her parents chose for her for several years, but she never lost her desire to play the guitar. Before she hit her teen years, she had a guitar of her own and set about learning to play it by herself. When she was 14, the budding artist was good enough at her craft to land paying gigs, foreshadowing the future when her talent would gain her more widespread attention. Within two years of starting to play out, she held down a couple of steady jobs at local nightspots, where she would perform sets that consisted of original music and the day's Top 40. A time soon came, however, when she wanted to leave cover tunes behind. She devoted fewer evenings to paying gigs and instead applied her time and talent to crafting her own music. Fleming kept her hand in performing but pursued it infrequently during this period. She honed her songwriting craft for about a decade, all the while holding down "regular" jobs. But after almost ten years, she had had enough of that lifestyle. She turned to her music full-time and set out to carve a career for herself. She began in Cambridge, MA, where she sang on street corners and accompanied herself on harmonica and acoustic guitar. She soon expanded, performing acoustic shows across New England. Despite her initial successes, dissatisfaction lingered. Fleming switched to an electric guitar and backed herself with a band that consisted of another guitarist, a drummer, and a bass player. Her dissatisfaction led her to a more rock-oriented sound. She had finally found her niche and began accumulating nominations in regional contests during the mid-'90s, when the Worcester Phoenix named her Best Female Vocalist and Best Rock Act. Nominations also arrived from the Providence Phoenix. In 1995, the singer/songwriter's "Rock This Love" received a nod from Billboard magazine, and "All I Am" took a prize at the Amnesty International Unisong Contest two years later. Fleming's other honors include a prize in 1997 from the Dean Markley World Music Awards.
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