Singer, songwriter, pianist, guitarist
Born: July 29, 1953, in Long Branch, New Jersey
Lives in: Colts Neck, New Jersey
New Jersey Hall of Fame, Class of 2023: Performing Arts
Patti Scialfa is an American singer-songwriter. Scialfa has been a member of The E Street Band since 1984 and has been married to Bruce Springsteen since 1991. Together they have raised three children, Evan James, Jessica Rae and Sam Ryan. Sam is now married to Alex Reph and has graced them with a darling granddaughter, Lily Harper.
Born in Monmouth County, New Jersey, Patti began writing her own songs from an early age. She studied jazz, composition, music theory and voice at the Frost School of Music – Jazz Conservatory in Miami, as the program’s only female musician at the time. She finished her degree at New York University’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study.
In New York City she assembled a band to play her own original music. They played at venues such as Folk City, Trax, Tramps, Kenny’s Castaways, and The Bitter End.
With Soozie Tyrell and Lisa Lowell (who are now working with the E Street Band), they formed a trio called Trickster, named for the Jungian archetype, Trickster, which represents part of the collective unconscious. The trio was formed to experience the romance of busking. They played on street corners such as Christopher & Bedford, where Edna St Vincent Millay once lived.
At this time, Scialfa had worked and sung with such artists as Don Cherry and multi-platinum Grammy and Emmy-winning producer Narda Michael Walden, as well as David Sancious’ band Tone, David Johansen of The New York Dolls, and Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes.
In June 1984, Bruce Springsteen asked Patti to join the E Street Band for The Born In The USA Tour. In 1988, she appeared on Keith Richards’ debut solo album Talk Is Cheap working with Don Covay, Bobby Womack, Ivan Neville and Steve Jordan. For the Rolling Stones, she performed vocals on their album, Dirty Work.
In 1993, she released her first solo album, Rumble Doll, co-produced by Scialfa and Mike Campbell of The Heartbreakers. The album included the song “Valerie” which was later covered by Linda Ronstadt and Emmylou Harris on their Western Wall – The Tucson Sessions album released in 1999. The song “Spanish Dancer,” also from her first record, was covered by Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell on their Old Yellow Moon album, released in 2013. Scialfa’s songs have also been featured in a number of television series and movies, such as “This is Us”, “Ugly Betty,” “Joan of Arcadia” and “Judging Amy.” Additionally she has several songs featured in Bobby Roth’s films, “Manhood,” and “Pearl” and Ed Burns’ film, “No Looking Back.”
Patti’s second album, 23rd Street Lullaby followed in 2004 which she co-produced with Steve Jordan. She followed with a six-week tour in theaters and clubs around the country. In 2007, Patti co-produced her third album, Play It As It Lays with Steve Jordan and Ron Aniello.
“Springsteen On Broadway” opened at the Walter Kerr Theatre in New York City in October 2017 and continued for a 20-month residency. Patti’s nightly duets with Springsteen on “Tougher Than The Rest” and “Brilliant Disguise” were often referred to as one of the highlights of the evening’s performance.
Patti continues to contribute to a variety of projects. She wrote “Children’s Song” for the charity album Every Mother Counts and performed “Linda Paloma” with Springsteen on Looking Into You: A Tribute To Jackson Browne. Patti also has lent her vocals to Emmylou Harris’s Red Dirt Girl and two Dion albums: Blues With Friends and Stomping Ground. Additionally, Patti sang on two songs from Lucinda Williams’ new album Stories From a Rock n Roll Heart, including the first single, “New York Comeback.” Most recently, Scialfa sang harmonies on the original song “Addicted To Romance” for Rebecca Miller’s film “She Came To Me.”
Patti’s interest in social issues led her to executive produce the documentary, “Shelter Me: Soul Awakened” about reducing recidivism in prisons, and won her an Emmy in 2021. The program features the Paws for Life program where incarcerated men train overlooked shelter dogs to become service animals and led to the commutations of more than 20 life sentences.
Patti was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with The E Street Band in 2014 and has just finished her fourth album, which will be released in 2024.