When you’re a child and you’re instantly filled with curiosity at everything you see in the world, you’re not thinking about sharing hotel rooms with a man, backstage greenrooms that stink of stale beer decorated with old crusty boxers left in the shower stall, and buses that shake through the night, night after night, while you lay terrified of being smashed by the two bunks above you if the bus were to plummet into a ditch. You think “wow, this black and white thing makes a sound and I want to make all the beautiful sounds in the world”, at least that’s what I thought when I first encountered my tiny toy piano on Christmas Day sometime in the 80s. Growing up in the suburbs of Pennsylvania with a musically inclined mother, who also was a distinguished organist and came complete with a degree in organ performance and music education, set the perfect stage for me to become a musician despite the reticence it brought her later on when I decided to actually make a career of it. I loved music, I loved Opera, Beethoven, Madonna, and Stevie Wonder. I have a distance memory of swinging on my best friends set and singing my favorite song at the time, ‘I Just Called To Say I Love You” (it’s still one of my favorite songs) never would I have thought that I was to share his stage several times and find a dear friendship with one of his top background vocalists and friends. Fast forward decades and thousands of stages later, I have created quite an interesting “career” for myself as a keyboardist and singer and hopefully someday soon published songwriter and artist.
I lay awake here in my hotel room in Salt Lake City, Utah at 5:33AM (which is a nonexistent hour for a musician, usually) because I am dealing with a severe case of jet lag. Having returned from Frankfurt, Germany on this previous Thursday, I am still dealing with the repercussions of the world’s time zones and wondering if I will ever sleep through the night again? I fell asleep at 8:15PM last night, but the nights before I managed to stay awake until 1AM only to find myself bright eyed and bushy tailed by 5:30AM. Perhaps it’s my golden hour or my lucky hour or the hour that brought me to start this blog. I have been meaning to author a memoir or a guide book for musicians for several years now, but never had the discipline nor the time to do so…and I am also slightly shy of the judgement it may bring me considering I am an imperfect human being who strives to be the BEST everyday, but doesn’t always make the cut:(
My journey on the road began sometime in early August 2010 when the singer of the Indie-Americana band I was a member of walked into rehearsal along with a cloud of American Spirit Yellow smoke and quit the band…and decided to take his brother-in-law, who also happened to be our bassist, with him. Talk about shaking things up. A little over a year before I had grown tired of being denied in the LA scene as a singer-songwriter. Despite trying to play my original jazz and folk influenced songs to a basically nonexistent audience, I found a band, thinking perhaps my talents would be better recognized and the effort would be one of “togetherness”. Being a solo artist has it’s perks, but ultimately for me I grew lonely and tired of trying to always promote MYSELF by MYSELF and increasingly wondered if i was a selfish ego maniac trying to have a crumb of the pie of success in Hollywood. So, I joined Silent Star (that Indie band I was talking about) and found a musical family outside of church or my college jam friends. We played local gigs and charmed the hipster crowds of Silverlake, and even managed to find an investor who loved the sound of our music and gave us monthly stipends for over a year. So, you can imagine to my dismay how shocked I was to be flung back out into the icy world of the music industry with no camaraderie to keep me warm at night. I remember sitting at lunch with a friend at King’s cafe on Santa Monica Boulevard and spilling out ideas for what could come next, one of which included teaching…which has always taken a back seat to my artistry. One week later, a friend recommended to one of the biggest music booking agents in Los Angeles that I audition for Cee Lo Green’s band, since he was looking for a female keyboard player. I auditioned and made it. Two years of struggle finally got me a break with a pop star.
This blog isn’t to tell my history as a musician but to document my experience as I travel through my world as a musician and female musician, who often faces challenges when dealing with being the only female in a band…and if a bit of my history creeps in from time to time, well I’m not against that.