During my cabaret years, I explored the music of a lot of different artist as well as testing the waters with my original materials. I was influenced by Johnny Mathis, Diana Ross, Natalie Cole, Dionne Warwick, Aretha Franklin, Lou Rawls and Nancy Wilson.
The theatrical part of me came out when I experienced a Labelle concert when they did their "Nightbirds" album.
During my cabaret period, I sang pop music, I sang jazz, I sang blues and I sang Broadway. I look back on that time period as training; being in school because I didn't grow up thinking I had to fit a particular style of music. I would stay up late at night when the family was asleep watching MGM musicals. I would listen to Lena Horne, Ethel Waters , watch Satchmo and cried a lot listening to those black singers understanding what they went through so we could be what we want to become. I don't understand estimate what they have contribute, the sacrifices they made so many of us could have an authentic voice and the struggle is not over.
I would listen to the music my mother love: Al Green, Little Richard, Ike and Tina Turner, B. B. King and loved the Philadelphia sound, Stax Records and Motown.
Got to see Etta James in person and that was a life changing moment. Got to see Labelle and was never the same musically (yeah). Got to see Nancy Wilson and wanted to bring class to my music. Got to see David Bowie and wanted to be edgy. Got to see Natalie Cole and want to be raw and emotional. Got to see Stephanie Mills and wanted to be home with the music. Got to see Noel Pointer and wanted to transcend with the music. Got to see and meet Sarah Vaughn and wanted to be real. Got to meet Roberta Flack and wanted to carry myself with dignity. Got to see Diana Ross several times and watching her on stage; listening to her music made me want to aspire to always be better than what I believe.
As a song writer I always think of the singers who came before me and their voice is in my mind many times when I am writing songs.
My cabaret years are about loving the music, singing the music of my favorite singers but exploring and finding my musical voice. These songs are just a sample; there is so much more that I am now offering. Enjoy.
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