The Ottawa Citizen- April 6, 1987

Singer leaves image of the Metal Queen:

Lee Aaron did not decide to step down from her Metal Queen image - it just sort of happened.

Fans of the Canadian singer, whose royal robes usually ran to black leather and fishnet stockings, got their first shock with her fourth and latest album Lee Aaron.

It is perhaps her most accessible and she hopes it's the commercial breakthrough that will boost her into the Canadian, and possibly American, big leagues. While it might anger some of her metal fans, she's confident she'll gain the mainstream market.

Certainly, radio programmers have been more receptive: In the first week of its release in the last week of February, it was added to more radio playlists than any other record in Canada.

Her appearance at Barrymore's Thursday might show just how much she's changed and just how versatile she is.

But Aaron said she didn't record the album with the intention of changing her image.

"It was not a conscious thing, " said the five-foot-two, 24-year-old Toronto singer/songwriter. The reason for the change from her go-for-the-jugular belting to a more natural singing voice is that she had had more time to get a "clear focus" on her work.

Aaron said because of her Metal Queen image it was a struggle for her to be recognized by radio programmers. "Some people weren't interested in my last record because they just assumed it was hard, hard metal. "

Now her new album contains "stuff that's more refined with a little more class." She said her previous albums were recorded between road shows when she had little time to polish songs and so had to settle for less.

"I didn't do as much screaming (on the new album), "she said. "I wanted to show people Lee Aaron can sing without a growl in her voice at all because a lot of people don't know I can do that.

"The music still has an edge to it, but there's other stuff that you might be surprised to hear Lee Aaron do."

One surprise is the collaboration between Aaron and Dan Hill in composing the ballad Dream With Me. Hill, famous for his hit, Sometimes When We Touch, seems an unlikely partner for Aaron.

"He's a sweetheart" said Aaron. "My manager (Steve Propas) suggested it and my first reaction was `What?' And then I thought `Why not?'

"Because the fact is the guy is a good songwriter. We were really, really happy with the results."

Aaron went on to explain that the changes to her image and music also reflect changes in her experience.

"I'm just changing as a person compared to what I was thinking three years ago. I'm not trying to write airplay songs per se, I'm just trying to become a better songwriter. "

Belleville-native Aaron, formerly known as Karen Greening, began her music career about eight years ago in high school when she was in a band called Lee Aaron. The name, like the now-defunct Max Webster, did not relate to any of the band members' names.

However, followers of the band associated the name Lee Aaron with Greening and when the band broke up she kept it.

Single, Aaron said she is too devoted to her work to become involved in long relationships. "I'm a career person," she said.

Following her Ottawa visit Aaron will be heading off on a European tour, where she has been hailed its favorite female metal singer.

Ross Brown
The Ottawa Citizen ©