About us... Spalding Rockwell Bio
Updated: Mar 20
Spalding Rockwell is Mary Louise "ML" Platt Perlman and Nicole "Nikki" Lombardi. They are best
known for their collaboration with Armand Van Helden on the hit song "Hear My Name". The song features vocals by Spalding Rockwell recorded in their New York City recording studio, making them among the first women musicians to write/perform/produce/sound engineer their own chart-topping hit song. Additionally, they are known for their performance on the "Hear My Name" MTV Europe hit video.
"Hear My Name" is the first single on Armand Van Helden's mix album, New York: A Mix Odyssey, and his fifth album, Nympho. The single was a worldwide Dance and Club hit. “Hear My Name” also achieved top positions on the singles charts reaching number 7 on the Billboard Dance Chart, top 30 on World and Internet Charts, number 34 on the UK Singles Chart, and number 32 on the Australian Singles Chart. "Hear My Name" was also recorded in French by ML and Nicole and renamed "Je T'Appelle". The song reached top 40 status on the France Pop Charts.
Mary Louise "ML" Platt Perlman grew up in New York City and attended The Brearley School. Later, ML attended Johns Hopkins University. ML's father was a passionate and accomplished pianist (but an attorney by vocation) and would play hours of Chopin and Rachmaninoff each evening. However, ML's veracious appetite for electronic percussion began when she was 10 years old and heard "I'm Bad" by LL Cool J. Other early musical influences were Sinead O'Conner, Stacy Q, Black Sheep, Cypress Hill, Big Pun, Dead Pres, RATM, Keith Murray, Dr Dre, and Wu-Tang Clan, and pretty much any dance/techno music. ML came of age during the mid/late 90's club scene of NYC hearing hip-hop and techno/house DJ's at small clubs, Tunnel, Limelight, and Club USA.
Nicole Lombardi grew up in Washington, DC, and moved to New York City at 13 to attend the School of American Ballet in New York City while attending the Professional Children's School for high school. Later, Nicole attended Tisch School of the Arts for her undergraduate studies and The George Washington University for graduate school. Nicole's early influences were found in many diverse arts communities including the various music and dance communities in Washington DC and New York City. As a teen, she frequently attended live performances at local venues such as the 9:30 Club and Tracks. Nicole and ML met in high school.
The Early Years (1999-2002)
In their early twenties, the duo wrote a series of songs with local NYC producers; the songs were heavily influenced by a "rap" or rhythmic "spoken work" style. The initial demo attracted attention quickly and Spalding Rockwell signed a management contract with Handprint Entertainment/Benny Medina, manager to Jennifer Lopez and Sean Combs. Handprint encouraged Spalding Rockwell to develop a live show with full rock band instrumentation. The resulting lineup converted the existing electronic demo into a live instrument arrangement alongside a new songs in the classic punk style. This punk-hybrid collective 5-piece band played its first show at CBGB's in New York City on Halloween in 1999. The lineup recorded its material at Emandee Recording Studio in Willliamsburg, Brooklyn. After recording, ML and Nicole decided to focus on digital production instead of live instruments. However, in 2003 the group was approached by Aum Fidelity to release the punk-hybrid record, and did so; they named the album Skin under a different band-name: Daughter. At the time, ML and Nicole were gaining traction on their electronic style and decided to keep the name Spalding Rockwell separate from the Aum Fidelity release.
Aum Fidelity re-released the Daughter/Skin album in 2017 characterizing the album as
"Liquid precision punk rock, and songs as armor/armament for this time, in which the shredding of the space-time continuum for humans continues to rapidly advance toward full broke point. Even more clear now than it was back then!"
Electronic Music Production (2003 - Present)
Spalding Rockwell traveled to Los Angeles to record new tracks with Randy Wine at Randy Wine Studios. Randy is a brilliant producer and engineer that seemed to understand immediately the sound and direction that Spalding Rockwell intended. One song in particular, "White Cotton Panties" would make its way all the way to Larry Tee's and Conrad Ventur's "Electroclash" scene in Brooklyn.
In the early 2000's, the technology and processing power of personal computers made it possible for artists like Spalding Rockwell to self-produce and self-record music. Upon returning from Los Angeles, ML downloaded free native 8-track DAW offered by Pro Tools (which is still available today for aspiring artists on Avid.com) ML and Nicole were writing new songs weekly and did not want to wait to be in a studio to record their ideas.
In 2003, Spalding Rockwell was producing a full length LP while regularly performing their dance club hit "White Cotton Panties”on Larry Tee's electroclash circuit at Luxx/Berliniamsberg alongside other groups ARE Weapons, Avenue D, W.I.T., Scissor Sisters, Felix Da Housecat, and many others. In 2003, the A.R.E. Weapons asked Spalding Rockwell to join them on their summer US Tour. In 2004, "White Cotton Panties” was featured on the electroclash album Badd Inc. Luxury, Excess, Extravagance on Mogul Electro Records.
In 2003, Spalding Rockwell was interviewed by a reporter from Japan who was writing about the electroclash scene and she happened to know Armand van Helden. When Armand mentioned that he was looking for a female vocalist for his new album (New York: A Mix Odyssey), the reporter suggested Spalding Rockwell. ML and Nicole met Armand at his NYC Studio on a Friday and took three tracks to produce over the weekend. Spalding Rockwell delivered a Pro Tools file of Hear My Name vocals back to Armand on Monday. About 6 months later in early 2004, Spalding Rockwell learned that Hear My Name was selected as the single for Armand's new album.
Defend Music released Spalding Rockwell's full-length LP Kate in 2004. The album was written, performed, produced, engineered by ML and Nicole in their New York City recording studio. Later the same year, Defend Music released Spalding Rockwell's Kate: The Remixes album in 2005.
The collaboration with Armand Van Helden ("Hear My Name") was released as the single for van Helden's album "New York: A Mix Odyssey" in 2004 (Sony Southern Fried Records), ML and Nicole were invited to open Winter Music Conference / Ultra Music Festival in Miami, FL live on Pete Tong's BBC Radio 1 livestream. Later in 2005, Spalding Rockwell collaborated again with van Helden for the song "Jenny" (released on Ultra Records).
In 2006, Nicole Lombardi collaborated with PoxyMusic on the hit song "She Bites" on Ministry of Sound, achieving an Australian Recording Industry Association nomination for "She Bites". In addition, Nicole Lombardi produced/sound engineered, and wrote/performed on actress Jena Malone's first record with their band "Of Wild Animals." Russell Simins from Jon Spencer Blues Explosion provided the musical accompaniment. Nicole has also been featured in numerous ad campaigns, international magazines, and films, including Italian Vogue and Abel Ferrara’s Film New Rose Hotel.
ML continued to work as an accomplished songwriter, composer, engineer, and producer; in 2006 and 2008, scored the HBO documentary Thinking XXX and wrote the title track for the HBO documentary About Face for acclaimed film director/photographer Timothy Greenfield-Sanders. In 2008, ML was approached by Tiesto to write songs for Britney Spears... Even though the 3 songs weren't used, ML is still hoping Britney uses the songs someday. In 2016, ML collaborated with Armand Van Helden on the song "Spidey Sensei" for his album Extra Demensional.
Spalding Rockwell plans to release new music in 2023 and is always open to collaborations with other artists and producers.