BJ and the bare facts 

Inside the world of “outsider” musician BJ Snowden 


It’s nice to be noticed, even if the compliment feels a bit backhanded. Boston’s BJ Snowden, singer, songwriter and keyboardist, was certainly grateful for the acknowledgement in Songs in the Key of Z, Irwin Chusid’s noted text on “outsider” musicians. She felt, however, that she was in inappropriate company—many of Chusid’s choices, mentally ill or awkward outcasts, were there for novelty if not outright comedy value.

When, over the phone with Snowden from her home in suburban Boston, I apply the term “unlistenable” to some of her colleagues on the Key of Z companion CDs, she laughs heartily. “The way I look at it is, at least I’m getting exposure all over the world because of his book, which I’m happy about, but I agree with you on the other aspect.”

Snowden’s no musical naïf, no crackpot neither. She holds a degree from Berklee College of Music and has taught music to school kids for years. “I started writing music when I was three years old. I actually started composing before I played anybody else’s music. I started the recording aspect of it in ’89. Of course, I tried to get a record deal, but then I got responses back from them saying, well, your music sounds different. We would prefer you to have three or four songs that sound the same. That’s what they told me.”

Classifying Snowden’s oeuvre is a task, as it’s neither pop, folk, jazz nor anything else in particular, just straight-up, from-the-heart tunecraft, no frills excepting the snappy, supplemental guitar bits care of her talented son Andres. Snowden’s lyrics are likewise plainspoken as she ponders love, family, her teaching life, America—and Canada! She sure loves Canada, as her album title In Memory of My Father & My Life in Canada’s Atlantic Provinces suggests.

“It’s so beautiful up there. I’m an American of Canadian descent—my great-grandparents are from the Antigonish area of Nova Scotia—and I’ve travelled all across Canada. I’m so proud, pleased and happy at the response and reception. People are so nice, they seem to welcome you, and they’re so courteous, especially people that have businesses.

“I’ve written many songs about my feelings toward Canada with such enthusiasm, and when I play them in America, the audience cannot keep themselves from joining in the patriotism of Canada.”

Snowden knows how to win ’em over. Her fans are legion, including the tremendously supportive Fred Schneider of the B-52s (and some guy named Ratboy). “What happened was, I started sending my CD out to different recording studios and record stores. The store Venus Records picked my music up. I guess they put it to the side, and then two or three years later, they picked it up and heard it and this guy Ratboy really liked it. The place is right in the middle of New York City, down in the Village area, so a lot of famous people go into that store. Fred Schneider was one of them, and they put the CD on and said, ‘Listen to this!’ He ended up endorsing my first CD. Then we ended up doing a Christmas CD together—I wrote the music and he produced it. I guess he made me more enthusiastic—like, he’d say, ‘Put some more feeling into it!’”

Funny he should do that. Feeling is one thing BJ Snowden’s got plenty of!


Performed at Pete's Candy Store" in Brooklyn,NY, where she wrote a song to be commissioned for the nightclub. BJ also wrote commercials for "Detroit Bikes, W.F.M.U, and wrote a couple of songs for  W.F.N.X. Boston.



Sonny's Dover         Dover,NH
Red Door                Portsmouth,NH

Strange Maine         Portland, Maine

The Buoy Gallery     Kittery,  Maine


Clark University         Worcester, Ma

The Middle East        Cambridge, Ma

All 4 clubs Upstairs,  Downstairs, Corner Restaurant, 


Coolidge Corner Theater        Boston ,MA

Club Cafe                   Boston, Ma

Start On The Street Festival     Worcester, MA
The Elevens               Northampton, MA
The Basement            Northampton, MA
Sierra Grill                   Northampton, MA

TT and The Bears       Cambridge, MA

Plough and Stars        Cambridge, MA

The Northeastern University Silent Film Festival:              Boston,MA Where she played improvisational piano for the silent film festival.

Rhode Island:

 Empire Club                Providence, RI
Simon's   677               Providence, RI

Captain Nick's  Rock and Roll Bar    Block Island, RI

 The Outer Space:          Hamden, CT

  The Radio Bean             Burlington, VT

 Strange Maine                    Portland,Maine
 The Buoy Gallery               Kittery,  Maine

New York:
  Knitting Factory:                New York, NY
  Where she performed in all 3 rooms:
  Knit Active, Sound Stage and The Old Office:
 State University of New York       Purchase,  NY    Sidewalk Cafe                     New York, NY
 The Cake Shop                   New York, NY
 The Baggott  Inn                  New York, NY
 The C Note                         New York, NY
 The Tonic                            New York, NY
 Acme Underground              New York, NY
 The Pyramid   Club               New York, NY
 Mercury Lounge                   New York, NY
  CBGB'S                                New York, NY
  The Fez                                New York, NY
  Galapagos                           Brooklyn, NY

New Jersey:

   The Brighton Bar                    Long Branch, NJ


    Fennario                               West Chester, PA
    World Cafe                           Philadelphia, PA
    Khyber-Pas                          Philadelphia, PA


The American Visionary Art Museum:      Baltimore, MD
The New Deal Coffeehouse                   Greenbelt, MD

Washington, D.C

The Velvet Lounge                     Washington, D.C


Montreal Pop Music Festival, Montreal, QUE     Barrymore Club                Ottawa, ONT

Ba-Ba's Lounge    Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island  

Khyber-Pas                      Halifax, NS  
Gus Pub                           Halifax, NS
Sappyfest Festival           Sackville ,New Brunswick       Sled Island Music Festival   Calgary,Alberta

Completed a successful tour in Europe where her presence was well received in France, Belgium and Holland.

Singer Songwriter/Composer/Keyboard-Wizard/Renaissance Woman/Music Educator

 Graduate of Berklee College of Music

 Certified Music Teacher K-9, Commonwealth of Massachusetts no:   324735

Experience includes full time Music Teacher in the Boston Public Schools for the 1995-1998 school years,

Music Choral Director in Templeton Public Schools 1994-95 school year, earlier substitute teaching positions and 

Music Director at The Middlesex School of Summer Arts in 1994.


    Bachelor of Music in Applied Music:

     Completed 18 credits of Music Education courses.

      Completed 15 graduate credits

     Music Teacher  K-8

BOSTON PUBLIC SCHOOLS             Boston,  MA
       Music  Teacher K-5

        Music Teacher   K-6  

        Music Director

        Substitute Teacher  K-12

       Substitute Teacher K-12

      Substitute Teacher

        Music Teacher, K-8


 B.J Snowden, Composer, Arranger, Recording Artist, Publisher and Keyboard Sorceress!

B.J. Snowden is a uniquely talented singer, songwriter and performer who, with 2 independently released albums and several songs available to her credit she has managed to attract great attention and acquire a cult following all over the world.

Ms. Snowden's talent was apparent early on when she began playing the piano and composing songs at the tender age of three.  As her interest and talent at the piano blossomed, she decided to study music more intensively at the prestigious Berklee College of Music.  Snowden graduated from Berklee with a degree in Applied Music (Performance), and has earned a living as a school teacher teaching music in school systems from Boston to Philadelphia as well as teaching private piano lessons.  As nightfall beckons however, she dons a sequined outfit, ascends the stage, and singlehandedly performs all of the original music that she has composed.
In a strange but true tale that has taken the status of underground music legend, the staff of a now-defunct East Village record store "discovered" B.J. when they decided to play one of her demo tapes (an item that had been lying around the store for years and was destined for a "bargain bag" of hard-to-move cassettes).  The usually jaded staff was mesmerized by what they heard.  They convinced the store's owner that this was something so wonderful that the whole world should hear it.  Fred Schneider of the B-52's, a frequent shopper at the store, heard B.J.'s music as well, and wholeheartedly endorsed the idea of a proper release.  The album BJ Snowden:  "Life in the USA and Canada". debuted in the fall of 1996, garnering mentions in The New York Press, Magnet and other noteworthy publications.  B.J.'s music was frequently featured on Irwin Chusid's WFMU show, and she quickly became a listener's favorite.  Not long after she was a featured guest on MTV's Oddville, and appeared on Comedy Central's The Daily Show. She did a live performance on Jimmy Kimmel Live and was featured on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. Her song "In Canada" was recently featured in The motion picture "The Misadventures of the Dunderheads" also titled "MONTANA AMAZON" with an all star cast. She w
as featured in two documentary films, one which was filmed by 2 British filmmakers and shown all over the UK by the BBC. The other film featured featured her performing at a school where she taught, her vacationing in Canada with her mother and of course her live performances.
She was featured on National Public Radio Studio 360(NPR), where Fred Schneider of the B-52's was discussing her music.  

As a live performer, BJ has appeared at some of New York's hippest music spots, The Knitting Factory, Brownie's, The Cooler, and CBGB's . See resume sections below.

   1. "B.J Snowden is the 90's Renaissance woman. Composes, plays, arranges and sings the hell out of a tune. I played "In Canada"  for my friends in Toronto and they were blown away---- This song cements good relations between our two countries. forever."
        Fred Schneider of the B-52's - Warner Brothers Reprise Recording Artist

2. "Congratulations on a great performance, we are still singing "New Brunswick"
       The staff of "The Jimmy Kimmel Live Show"  ABC network, a division of the Disney Corp: Hollywood, California 

3. "All of her songs were humble homages to positive influences in her life."
     Vinnie Scorziello-"the Noise Magazine"

 4.  "Her songs are like snapshots from someone's everyday life"
       John Elasser      "The Magnet Magazine"

 5. "She's  been compared to Jonathan Richman or a soundtrack to Mr. Roger's Neighborhood".
       DeMilo Records

 6. "A thing that is clear from listening to her songs, it is nearly impossible to get her melodies out of your head"
      Dave Perry              "The Lowell Sun"

 7. A crowd of full age 20 something fans who usually enjoy loud and aggressive rock bands enjoy her music."
      David Wildman         "The Boston Globe"

 8.  "She Achieves the lo-innocence all the indie kids so crave."
     Dave Grad                 "New York Press"

 9. "She has  become the toast of the art rock crowd"
     Chris Wright              "Boston Phoenix"

 10. "Go ahead and try, but it will be hard to find an artist whose songwriting skills are more heart felt and earnest than hers. If anyone
   knew about her, there would be world peace."
    Marc Scortino              "The Block Island Summertimes"

11.  "The school teacher from Boston with a heart of gold, Snowden sings upbeat, Casio sing along songs that could force a smile onto
    the stoniest of faces. But as good as her songs are, just being in her presence is the real appeal. She radiates so much goodness."
    Ken Switzer                "The Village Voice"

12. "She Rules her own musical universe."
   Jeb Gottlieb                  "Boston Herald"

 13. "She has a unique sound you are unlikely to find anywhere else seriously. You've never heard anything quite like her before.
      Joe De George     "Clark University"

 14. "Her singing is full of joy"     
        "New York Daily News"

 15."Her songs have a way of staying in your head"
     Alan Wigner  "Ottawa Sun"

 16. "The Casio keyboard wielding entertainer belts out blues croons like Burt Bacharack and touches on themes as diverse as her passion for
    "Stuff At Night"   " A division of the Boston Phoenix"

 16. "Listening to B.J Snowden's music is akin to experimenting with hard drugs. Frightened and strange at first, it slowly becomes comforting 
    and before the listener's know it, they are completely addicted."
  Liz   Rafferty   

  Berkley Beacon Arts and Entertainment      Suffolk University  


  "But Snowden doesn't really fit into any genre or scene, which is precisely what makes her so beguilding. Her debut album, the 1996 release"

 Life In The U.S. A and Canada" bursts with dities and about 2 nations denizens."
   Her chops are surprisingly formidable"
    The chord changes of "Ode To Lesley" recall Burt Bacharack, while the instrumental,"Happy Beat" suggests Duke Ellington composing incidental music for "Sesame Street", "La  Luna Bella" dabbles with Latin rhythms."
   She is nobody to laugh at"

 Kurt B. Reighley                              "The Seattle Stranger"      Seattle,WA

 18."Maybe it's because her big heart songs don't quite fit in any one musical  category, or maybe because she's not the type to wait around for a helping hand."

    "Montreal Mirror"                            Montreal   QUE       Canada

19. It's hard to describe her music, it's not pop, it's not jazz, folk or soul, the only thing you can say for sure is that Snowden puts her heart into it."

   Cathy    Resmer                           "Seven Days"                     Burlington,VT

20.  "Snowden is a one woman show. Strapped with a keyboard and her vocal chords, this performer brings something completely different to the table. "

  Jillian Locke                                "Lowell Sun"

21. "Snowden may be Billerica's answer to the British invasion."

  Julie Hanson                                 "Billerica Minuteman

22.  "Classifying Snowden's oeuvre is a task, as it's neither pop, folk,jazz nor anything else in particular, just straight up, from the heart, tune craft, no frills excepting the snappy, supplemental guitar bits care of her talented son, Andres."

    Ruppert Bottomberg                      "Montreal Mirror"

23. "Snowden definitely situates her music in a place that we recognize, it's clearly in the pop format, and she uses traditional instruments, but it's what she elicits from those forms".

    George  William   Myers         Professional Musician          Northhampton,MA

24.  "Snowden sings her life".              

      Ken Maluri                                     " Daily Hampshire Gazette"      Northampton,MA

25. "In the Snowden experience a very satisfied audience erupted in applause consistently after each song, and following an encore 
    performance of  "Pete's Candy Store", tribute to finish her set, the entire room was on their feet for a standing ovation."

      Diesel:  U: Music   Blog                                                 New York, New York