As the child of a singer/songwriter, music has had a deeply unique and lasting effect on my life in general so it’s no surprise that there’s a soundtrack to my life in the songs that I have composed, performed and recorded myself. Each one is unique to me and this time you spend here is basically a shared introspective into my life, through my music and I hope you enjoy it.
One of the greatest memories of my life, growing up in the 70’ and 80’s, was certainly music based. Mom was a rising rock icon so, when I wasn’t singing into a hairbrush pretending to be her, I was “Spinning the Platters” and singing to those!
Mom was a nomad by nature. The music industry suited her, but the strain on her marriage was too much and my dad strayed… often. Back in the 70’s, being a female in the rock and roll industry wasn’t easy and mom gave it her all. My grandmother provided most of the stability in our lives as children and though we never had much, we were happy and well loved. My grandmother never left the house if she didn’t have to and didn’t aspire to reach greatness of any sort, but she was a musical dynamo on the piano and graced many family nights tickling the ivories.
I used to see my mother and her sisters standing at the piano when I was young and just stood amazed by the talent in our family. The harmonies were so natural and my grandmother, who was partially deaf and played piano by ear, somehow managed to do as well as they did.
As the years wore on, my bout with throat cancer stole my ability to sing, but I never let it keep me down. You can read about my battle with throat cancer by clicking the link below.
When the news came that my grandma had passed, a part of me left this world with her. I always thought of her, being in that house my grandfather built for her with someone’s child on her lap, rocking them to sleep in her rocker and humming as she did it. The funeral was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever had to deal with, but with my mother’s help, I got through it.
As I arrived home, I wrote my first song… for her. It was called “Rooms of the Soul”. At the time, it was just a way to let my grief escape, and I never realized that one day, it would have a place on my first album. I hope hearing “Rooms of the Soul” will give you the same level of healing it gave me. Yu can hear any of the music in this article, by clicking the link below.
Married at 23, I found myself in a strange sort of "lord & vassal", kind of relationship. He wanted to rule and I had issues with that, so it didn't work out. It was a difficult ten years of marriage and a volatile separation, but once I survived it, there was no one who could hurt me, keep me from being myself, or put me down any more. And there was my freedom.
The song I wrote when I made my decision to be free is called "Daybreak". I hadn't started my musical career yet, but this song held me together while I processed the misery of my divorce.
My mother helped me get away from that abusive marriage and when she heard this song for the first time, she loved it so much that she and my stepdad came to the studio to help me record it. It's a look at the life of a songbird in a gilded cage, breaking free forever. I hope you like it.
Soon after, I was on my own with my two little boys. I foundered, trying to work one desk job after another. I scrambled to auditions, painted houses on weekends and basically napped for a living because there just wasn't time to sleep, raise two kids, hold down a job and sing. So I regrouped.
I decided what I wanted to accomplish, and put a plan together. I lived with my mom and dad for a year. During that time, I paid my personal bills, and invested everything else into my music business, the business of me. Every penny I made from painting houses or from music went into a bank account and I didn't touch it. At the end of the year, I got a loan and started putting money into the things I would need to run my singing career like a business.
Things took off. I booked a small coffee shop tour and before I knew what happened, people were calling to book gigs. I had a stage name, Sonata Jones. People spoke to me directly thinking I was an agent, and really they didn't need to know otherwise.
On my way to film a television show in Atlanta one hot July afternoon, I found myself stuck in a traffic jam, and it turned into a song. I caught myself thinking about how I loved Atlanta, specifically because of the traffic because it was nearly bumper-to-bumper at 90 miles-an-hour most of the time but, it was beginning to look like it would be my nemesis and I'd lose out on the audition.
I grabbed a pen from the glove box, scribbled a few bars of the song onto an envelope with the title, Traffic Jammin', and soon was on my way. As fortune would have it, the music executives were stuck in the same traffic jam and I beat them to the audition. They were so impressed by my willingness to wait for them that they gave me extra time, and they booked me for a gig to sing in front of over 10,000 people. Hands-down the best gig of my life! And I got this song out of it to boot! I hope you like it!
On my way back from Delaware, I took a couple of days off to go and visit a man I met at one of my shows. He lived in Fort Worth and I had a gig coming up there. I thought this would be a good chance to get some time with him to see what happened. As I spoke to him on the phone, I thought about how exciting my new life was. The concept of racing toward a crescendo was such a thrill back then that I tended to forget that peaks are generally followed by valleys. The song "Destiny's Kiss" was born on that trip and soon became another of mom's favorites, so that she and dad came to the studio with me. The relationship didn't quite work out, but the music was well worth the visit.
The next time I was in the local songwriter's shoot-out finals, I only had two songs ready that the local crowd hadn't heard yet. I would need three and a backup. So I revised an old one and then sat down with my old notebooks that were full of poems and stories that I had kept my whole life. After a while, I happened on one that stood out to me the most. When I was very young, I had the unique opportunity to meet with a band of gypsies. I had written a poem and a short story so I took the poem, and turned it into a song about an hour before the show. I won that night and it's an experience I will never forget.
It's too long a story to put in this piece, but I did write the whole thing out here on vocal and you can find it by clicking this link:
Suffice it to say, my experience with the gypsies, and my love for a gypsy son, left a lasting impression on me. The gypsy lady I met, played tambourine a lot like my mother did and her stories sometimes still visit me in my sleep. (Naturally I had mom lay down the tambourine work on the album.) I hope you can enjoy the song I wrote for Samara...
Many experiences in life stay with me. I don't know why I feel things so much or think of things so deeply, but it's part of who I am. When I'm performing, I am my truest self; that thing that lives day-to-day just dying a little every time I can't let it out. I gave up trying to explain it long ago and just decided to embrace it. In that moment, I was truly born, but being that creature, living that duality takes its toll.
I found myself just pouring out my soul every night, and going home to nothing. I had become a thing; an object for people to see and enjoy for a while, like something they took off a shelf to hold for a moment and then put back. Some of my music career was a two-way seduction, the crowd seduced me to sing and I seduced them to see the real me with my voice. It's no surprise that the song, "Vocal Seduction" was created from that strange union, but I overcame it.
Of course, not all my music is specific to my own experiences. I read a story when I was in high school about a group of witches who lived on the outskirts of a seaside village. The villagers were rallying to get rid of them so they got together one night to conjure the devil to help them. At the same time, the villagers got together to pray. It's kind of a long story, but if you'd like to read the poem that I wrote about it, which became the song "Witching Hour", you'll find the poem here on Vocal by clicking the following link:
And if you'd like to hear the song, you can find it by clicking below.
Just the way that Witching Hour wasn't based on my own experiences, the song Profit the Prophet wasn't either. I met an old homeless man in my younger days, named Profit. He and I had breakfast one morning and during our visit, I not only learned his story, he told me what mine would be. I never believed him until the things he told me came true. I guess he really was something of a prophet and since he inspired the song, when it first came out, I gave a portion of the proceeds of the sales to a homeless shelter that got me through my time as one of the homeless.
PROFIT THE PROPHET
I suppose that having written the soundtrack to my own life is an experience not everyone has and I'm grateful for it. I've seen a lot of our country that most people won't get to see and I had a very close relationship with my mother, which is priceless to me.
Mom was such a pillar in my life, such a guiding and nurturing source, that it took the desire for music out of my heart when she fell victim to Alzheimer's and Dementia. She was gone in the blink of an eye and my love for music went with her.
Still, my memory of her, throwing the windows open in the mornings before school with the rock and roll station on, will be with me the rest of my life; every morning up at dawn to the sound of my mother's voice saying "Rise and shine!" What I wouldn't give to have her back again, to put the music back in me. This song, "Going Back", was originally written as an exercise in regret, but now stands as a testament to my loss and a tribute to the person who put the music in me.
I shared a story about my our journey with mom's Alzheimer's and Dementia and you're welcome to read it here:
If you're interested in learning more about me or my music, you can read my stories here and listen to the music on Reverbnation at the link below. Thanks for reading!
About the Creator
I'm a mild-mannered project accountant by day, a free-spirited writer, artist, singer/songwriter the rest of the time. Let's subscribe to each other! I'm excited to be in a community of writers and I'm looking forward to making friends!
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