The Dilettantes make their mark on local music scene

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For months now, the Dilettantes have established themselves as a great local band to go see in Los Angeles. Every month, they have continued their residency at the Hotel Caf? in Hollywood, on Cahuenga Boulevard between Sunset and Hollywood Boulevards.

The Dilettantes consists of two female singer/songwriters, Kay Hanley and Michelle Lewis, who already have established careers within the music industry. The Dilettantes have also included other songwriters such as Lisa Loeb, Leah Andreone, Paula Kelley, and Kara Dio Guardi.

Hanley got her start in the music industry as the lead singer and songwriter for the Boston-based rock band Letters to Cleo. Odds are you haven’t heard of them, but if you’ve seen the teen movie from the late 1990s “Ten Things I Hate About You,” Letters to Cleo is the band that comes on during the prom scene singing the song “Cruel to Be Kind,” and during the closing credits on top of the high school building doing a cover of Cheap Trick’s “I Want You to Want Me.” When the band broke up in the late 1990s, Hanley released her solo CD “Cherry Marmalade” and her EP “The Baby Doll.”

Lewis has made her reputation as a solo singer/songwriter, but she often writes for other artists as well. Artists she has written for include Jessica Simpson, Cher, Shawn Colvin, Raven Simone and Amy Grant.

The Dilettantes’ first EP, “The Hearts ‘ Flowers EP” is a great way to get introduced to a great pop rock band. The first track, “Good Day,” is a song about waking up one morning and realizing that there’s more to life and instead of staying mad, they go past it all: “It’s a good day for jumping into turnstile/It’s a good day with the top down on the road/And it’s time for me to tell you what I know/It’s a good day for letting go.”

The ballad “New York Friend,” is about both of the singers missing their hometowns and trying to find someone that they can relate to here in Los Angeles. “It’s happy in California/so there is nothing else to think about/I’m off to the race again/I can’t remember when/I could find a New York friend/It’s bad, it’s nice, it’s cold as ice/I can’t let go/I’ve paid my price.”

The next time the Dilettantes play at the Hotel Caf? is May 31. They usually have a whole line up of great music. Get there early, because two friends who started a little band by writing and playing together have become pretty well-known, and their shows usually sell out by the time the Dilettantes go on around 10 p.m.