My journey has been an interesting one. From my youth growing up with a major league baseball player for a father. To my middle age, flirting with pop music stardom and life on the road. To now, navigating life in my 60s as an Entertainer and cancer survivor. The one constant that has kept me sane and positive, has been music.
When I first started to try music as a career, getting a record deal was all that I wanted. Careful what you wish for… After my second deal ended, “Great Life”. the song that both labels signed me for, got its second license and became a Baby Booming anthem for KIA cars. The big break before that had the song appearing in a box office smash, “I Know What You Did Last Summer”.
There have been numerous other licenses of “Great Life” and several other songs found life in the marriage of sound to film & video. I feel very lucky and appreciative. And I think if no one hears the music did a tree fall in the desert?
Music has always been a part of my life and became part of my professional journey when I started working at a Recording Studio, Power Station Recording, in NYC. I lived on the third floor of the same building, under heavy construction at the time, the carpenters started from the center out. They came in early in the morning and I would be up and ready to do my chores with pleasure.
The biggest rock stars in the world were recording in studio A, and I had access to grand pianos and was around the creative process of some of the great music minds in the business. Here I was, sleeping on a plywood bunk and waking up to a world of Rolling Stones and Bruce Springsteen.
Otis ended up in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for his hits, “Don’t Be Cruel”, “All Shook Up”, and “Great Balls of Fire” to name a few. Who knew that I’d be a part of such an amazing legacy? Otis taught me how to approach songwriting, and really, how to approach life. He would draw lines and dashes on a blank piece of paper indicating where he wanted the word to fall and for how long. We became very close.
Time flew by, and I played in local bands and recorded a lot. I toured around with Otis Blackwell and the Smithereens as the back-up band with me on piano. I was introduced to the modern dance world by my love, Ana Paula and quit touring to start playing dance classes. Again, I was blessed to be around masters, like Martha Graham and Alvin Ailey.
One day, I woke up with prostate cancer. I was around 55 years old. It was a barbaric scene. Sloane Kettering offered me a trial procedure, of which I would be the first, and we did it. It worked and is saving lives, including my own. Again, who knew that I’d be a part of such an amazing legacy?
During my treatments, I listened to a lot of music. I like to joke that it didn’t help at all, at least with the day-to-day, but it sure did sustain me. Music. That’s where I worked it all out. Just like I have always done, since my mom got sick when I was a kid.
Still now, what feels like one hundred years later, here I am. Writing, recording, and playing. I know what I want to do every morning when I wake up, and that gives me purpose and helps me finish and record the song I left on my piano the night before.
I also work out with a very mean trainer who doesn’t like my music. Jr. likes gospel and takes me to church. He reminds me, “Start having a great life, start living with inspiration”.
Now, in the present, the day I fear is the day I don’t want to write and play. That would mean I am dead or financially incapacitated. There is a very organized process for my writing, showing it to my band and then recording, that lets time fly in a graced way. I am judged by my peers, driven by my demons and delivered by my angels. Music is the glue that holds it all together for me.
This recording of “Don’t Know Why” is my latest release. I like interpreting songs and find expressive freedom with someone else’s thoughts. This song was written by Jesse Harris, made a huge hit by Norah Jones, and I put the Goat to the tune.
If you’d like to listen to the new tune, have a listen here:
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