“I thought it sounded silly to say I wanted to be a singer,” says Aimée Lee. “But, I always knew that I would sing.” And that still rings true to this day, as Aimée and her husband, Boyd Lee, play show after show around the Twin Cities.
Right at the start of third grade, Boyd knew he wanted to play music, and he’s been living that dream as a professional singer/songwriter since the early 1990s with a guitar as his only accompaniment (and occasionally the banjo). But Aimée started when she was much younger and had her first radio commercial by the fourth grade. She started in her first band when she was 18 and has been in countless bands since.
However, when the couple met 15 years ago, at the house that’s now their Edina home, they didn’t know it was the start of a great relationship and a spectacular music career. It wasn’t until two years later that the two made a connection at a weekend-long recording session.
“She was just hanging out and I’m playing this track … But she’s looking at me,” Boyd says. “I kept making mistakes on the track and had to redo it, the engineer kept saying ‘Get it together.’”
Five days later, Aimée and Boyd went on their first date. And the rest, they say, is history. Now, they perform in multiple groups together—Aimée Lee and the Snazzy Band, Two Girls and a Boyd, and their duet, Boyd and Aimée, to name a few.
But gigs didn’t always come so easily. In 2011, one year before the couple wed, Aimée went through a vocal strain and took a vow of silence for six weeks. After the silent bout, the two decided to try an acoustic sound—and happened to find their niche.
“It’s the mainstay for all of our projects now,” Boyd says. “And our following is much more personal. We get to know the people who come to our shows [who] have an affinity for the music we love.”
And the community sure has shown an affinity, even when Boyd was unsure about their idea for a Carpenters-themed show. But they both describe themselves as “closeted Carpenters fans,” and decided to give the show a go.
“I thought no one would call us, that people would think we’re out of our minds,” Boyd says. “But it’s been the complete opposite. [The artists] were jazzed about it, and we always get a great response.”
Boyd is also quick to add that the show has brought out other closeted Carpenter fans, and the crowd isn’t what they expected. Typically, the musical show brings 30-somethings out, who bring their parents, who bring their friends. “The young kids love it,” Boyd says.
Rainy Days & Mondays–Music of the Carpenters is performed during a three-show weekend twice a year at the Chanhassen Dinner Theatres, once during Mother’s Day and again the weekend before Thanksgiving. “We thought it would trickle out, but it keeps getting stronger,” Aimée says.
Due to demand, they’ve brought the show across other venues in Minnesota.
They also perform other theatric-musical acts, including one of their most popular, Christmas on the Prairie, among other seasonal shows. “We have lots of projects. We’re very busy,” Boyd says. But their projects aren’t always together.
Though the two play together habitually, more often than not they’re playing with other Twin Cities artists—including Mary Jane Alm, the other half of Two Girls and a Boyd, who has worked with Boyd for over 20 years. But they also share drummers, players and all sorts of musical talent with other artists across Minnesota.
Aimée says, “We’re very fortunate and blessed to live here ... [the Twin Cities] is a great place to be a musician.”
Rainy Days & Mondays–Music of the Carpenters
$40–$55; November 21–23, 8 p.m.
Christmas on the Prairie
$40–$55; December 17–18, times vary.
Chanhassen Dinner Theatres
501 W. 78th St.