Hanley was born in Dorchester, Massachusetts. She grew up diagonally across the street from Donnie and Mark Wahlberg. She was a member of Letters To Cleo from 1990 to 2000 (the length of the band’s existence, with the exception of the 2008-2009 reunion tour). The band name was conceived by Hanley in reference to a pen pal named Cleo that she had when she was younger. In 1997, she began working on other projects, beginning with a role in the Boston Rock Opera’s performance of Jesus Christ Superstar as Mary Magdalene.
In 1999, Hanley made a cameo as herself in the film 10 Things I Hate About You, singing a cover version of Nick Lowe’s “Cruel to be Kind” at the movie characters’ high school prom, in addition to performing “Come On” with Letters to Cleo during an earlier scene at a club. Towards the end of Letters to Cleo’s career, she began performing with her husband and fellow Letters To Cleo member Michael Eisenstein outside of the band. Around the same time, she gave birth to their daughter, Zoe.
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Hanley was quite popular with fans of the New England Patriots, as on eight straight times she had sung the National Anthem for them at Gillette Stadium, the Patriots won. The streak came to an end as the Patriots lost on Jan 5 2010 to the Baltimore Ravens.
She sings the main theme song for My Friends Tigger & Pooh, a half-hour Disney Channel TV show that premiered on Playhouse Disney on May 12, 2007 and “We Are The Care Bears” from Care Bears: Oopsy Does It!. On Thanksgiving Day 2007, Hanley sang a song called “Caring Changes The World” in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on the Care Bears Float as self-accompanied with her same-themed electric guitar. In 2007-08, Hanley toured as a backup singer with Miley Cyrus for Hannah Montana concerts and events.
Hanley is an object of affection for Detroit rappers Insane Clown Posse, who reference her on several releases, notably Tunnel Of Love and The Amazing Jeckel Brothers. Her latest album, Weaponize, was released May 27, 2008. As of 2010 Hanley has teamed up with musician/producer Linus of Hollywood and formed a new band called Palmdale. Their first EP, Get Wasted, was released on March 23, 2010.
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