What would be the most important piece of advice you’d impart to a young musician just starting out in the jazz/smooth jazz arena?
I would say to anyone starting out in music period, you should do this because you love it and not be motivated by fame or fortune; you should practice a lot; know as many genres of music as you can because the more you know and can do, the more you’ll work; know your keys and how to count off a song to the band…come on people (lol)….; if you’re not a musician learn as much theory as you can, musicians always respect singers more when you can speak the “language”. “And finally,..” NEVER GIVE UP!!!!!
If you were magically allowed to spend an hour with whomever you chose in history… alive or dead… and really be able to get inside their head, who would that be?
Jesus and Sarah Vaughn!!!!
What would you define as the most life-changing event so far in your musical career?
My Tribute Concert to Phyllis Hyman that I wrote, arranged and produced, sold out four Chicago audiences, many of whom were not familiar with Julia Huff or my ability to cover Ms. Hyman’s songbook well was the most life-changing event so far in my music career. It made this project, ”Meet Julia Huff” possible. It demonstrated my commitment to my craft, excellence, professionalism, and my unwavering ability to finish what I start. It also brought forward people who were willing to back my ambitions financially. It also made it possible for Norman Connors and Jerry Peters who had worked with Phyllis Hyman at the beginning of her career, to come to my aid in helping me begin to gain worldwide attention in the music industry.
What are you most proud of at this point in your life and career?
I am most proud of the fact that I live my making, meaning I was born to sing!! I have always known this and in spite of all of the odds stacked against success in this field, I remain committed to achieving success.
How would you describe what inspires you to do what you do?
First, I am inspired by my unwavering disdain for failure!!! I believe today’s society moves so fast and we never stop to appreciate where we are, what we are doing and who we are with! We often fail to know or even remember that it is the journey of life that is so sweet and not the destination because after you get there, then the cycle of pursuit starts again so enjoy the trip. I know that I came to this earth with an amazing gift and it is my duty to use it to edify others. I believe that I was given the responsibility at birth to enhance what was given to me to make this world a better place for others. It is this pursuit that drives my overall ambition.