I was born in San Antonio, raised in Los Angeles and I now reside in Atlanta. My maternal Grandfather was a singer as was my own Father so music has always been a big part of my life. When I was a little girl my parents would have me sing for their friends who would pay me a dime or sometimes even a quarter. I absolutely loved to sing and having others to sing for thrilled me to no end.
In our home on any given day music could be heard. If it wasn't the radio, or the record player, one of My Father's singing groups would be rehearsing in the living room. The voices and music of Curtis Mayfield and the Impressions, Diana Ross and the Supremes, Dionne Warwick, The Temptations, Smokey Robinson, Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, Donny Hathaway and the likes were my earliest musical influences.
When I was 5 years old I made the declaration to my Mother that I wanted to be just like Diana Ross. I now know how blessed I am to have parents that supported and encouraged my musical interest from the very beginning. I also realize the significance of knowing at such a young age what I wanted. Of course I have had many other jobs since then but I have never veered too far off my musical path.
In the early eighties I was working as a loan processor, I was also recently divorced with a young child. One fateful day I received an offer to go on the road with a major recording artist for 3 months. I was excited but I was reluctant to quit my job for something that would only last 3 months. This was a defining moment in my life. No longer could I continue to treat music as a hobby only doing it part time.
I made the decision to step out on faith and use my God given talent to make a living for my Son and I. It hasn't always been easy but I am very grateful that to this day I have not had to look back. I have been earning a living with music only for over twenty years now. I encourage anyone reading these words to go after your dreams with all your heart and never ever ever give up!
After that first tour I continued to audition around Los Angeles and do studio sessions. My resume soon included tours with Howard Hewet, Paula Abdul, Al Jarreau, Janet Jackson and others as a back-up vocalist. At the same time I was involved with various bands of my own many times with other family members.. We did shows around town, recorded demos and set our sights on the ever elusive major record deal.
In 1992 while working outdoors, my Father was shot and killed by a stray bullet. I was devastated, we all were. About two weeks later I dreamed that I was out with friends and needed to stop home to check my answering machine. On it was a message to me from my Father, letting me know that he was okay and reminding me that I had work to do. Another defining moment for me I shook off the depression and wrapped myself in a cloak of my Father's love and belief in me and continued my journey. 3 months later I auditioned for the hip hop group Arrested Development and after working with them a year while still living in L.A. they asked me to relocate to their base, Atlanta. That was a wonderful time in my career. I loved the positive messages in their music and they way they related to our African heritage. I loved the fact that the group consisted of young men, women and an elder working side by side to bring a spiritual message to the days youth. I loved working barefoot too :) and I knew my Daddy would be proud.
3 years later the group disbanded I found myself away from my family with a mortgage, a 10 year old son and no job. I made some calls and got 3 leads: The first was another popular hip hop group looking to replace their singer temporarily for an Australian tour leaving in 2 weeks. The second was to go on the road with Yanni to sing one song per show. The third was to go on the road with a jazz singer named Jimmy Buffett. I knew the hip hop gig was only temporary so that was out. The Yanni gig was paying really well but I knew I would have been bored out of my mind doing just one song a night. I'd had some jazz experience with Al Jarreau so I turned down two and went for the jazz gig. Imagine my surprise when I received the collection of Jimmy Buffett CDs and discovered it was not what I thought! Talk about a culture shock I was actually scared. Crying, I called my Mother and said " I don't know if I can do this, I am an R & B singer with dredlocks and two rings in my nose who likes to perform barefoot! I won't fit in! She calmly reminded me that I needed a job and that if it wasn't meant to be I would find out soon enough. I worked through my fear and commenced to learning my parts. As I got more familiar with Jimmy's music I heard Caribbean influences, some Pop, folk, country, Rock and even a couple jazzy ballads. I paid attention to his lyrics and found myself thoroughly entertained and impressed by his story telling. I got a call from Jimmy's Saxaphonist, Amy Lee also an Atlanta resident. She'd called to welcome me to the Coral Reefer Band of which she had been a member for some time. Amy was so nice and reassuring I knew it would be okay. 13 years later and counting I now consider The Coral Reefer Band to be my family and I am proud to be a member. I have the utmost respect and love for each and every one of the CRB as multi talented artists and as really good people.
It's been a great journey so far and getting better every day. I just finished recording a new CD on Mailboat Records, honoring Jimmy Buffett, the music and the man. "Nod to the Storyteller" is scheduled for an October 14 release. My Mom, my brothers, aunts, uncles, cousins, co-workers and friends will celebrate the release at Margaritaville in Las Vegas on October 24, 2008. It's gonna be a fun affair that you don't want to miss. If you can make it please come celebrate with us.