New Year, New…..Everything!

Heeeeyy!!! Happy New Year ya’ll!!! I’m very excited about this year. Why? You may ask. Well, I’m doing some stuff I haven’t done before and I’m anxious to see how it plays out. On both the Southern Soul and Beach side, I’ve got stuff planned. Let’s jump right in shall we?

First, let’s talk about the beach side. I’ve FINALLY managed to create a promo video for the band. It was quite difficult to get everyone to agree on a date to film. And when everyone finally agreed to a date, the guy who was supposed to film it was out of town. My trumpet player also decided to quit me. That was a huge bummer. It came as a complete surprise and hurt my feelings a bit. I couldn’t let any of that stop me though.

If you know me, you know I will find a way to get something that I want. I decided to film it myself. I went down to Trade It and bought myself a camera and a tripod. I had been studying other bands videos so I kinda knew what I wanted to see and hear.  I set that bad boy up and filmed it! I bought some decent video editing software and used it to edit the video. Although the video quality could have been better, it sounds amazing because my guys are AWESOME and the editing is pretty good. Here it is.

I felt the need to film it because (and here comes the new ideas part) I wanted to submit the video to East Coast Entertainment. I want to work consistently this year and they are the agency that can do that for me. I got the name of one of the agents from Lamar Brace, leader of Diverse Groove Band and upcoming southern soul artist. His band is booked through East Coast. He’s on J. Red’s Soul Mop label and J. Red and I have that song together…If you missed it, here ya go!

I called the guy up and told him that I was referred by Lamar. He seemed happy about that. I told him about the video and that I had submitted an application on line. He said he would intercept that and get back to me. He gave me his email address to send the video to him and I did. A week went by and I hadn’t heard anything so I emailed him again. He told me that he forwarded it to his colleague in Raleigh because they are much closer to me. He also wanted details about my next gig so he could send that to the guy as well.

He wouldn’t give me a contact name. He just told me the guy in Raleigh would contact me. I haven’t heard anything yet. BUT I have a sneaking suspicion that an agent will be at my next gig…. I really hope so. I don’t have another gig for a good while. Made some bad business decisions last year that lead to it but that’s water under the bridge or over the dam or whatever. I don’t live back there. I live here, in the present. Oh, here is the flyer for the show.

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If this doesn’t work out, there is a plan B. Although the loss of my horn player hurt me personally, it may have been advantageous from a business perspective. How? Well, last year I thought about maybe taking the band to play on a cruise ship. The booking agency didn’t want us because in my previous videos we had one too many members. There were seven of us and the max they wanted was six. Well, in the video I just finished there are six. I’m doing another application for that too. I would really LOVE for my backyard to be somewhere tropical for about 4 months out of the year. I’ve mentioned it to the guys and it seems like they would be willing to go! Either way, we’re working this year!!!

Now, for the Southern Soul side…I’ve decided to flood the market with my music. I plan to release quite a bit of music this year. I already have quite a few of them already written. I’m excited about these too! They are good if I do say so myself. I’m hoping that they do so well that the demand for me also grows on this side. I wanna tell you more about my first release. BUT it’s gotta be a surprise. I’ll release it in February and I think it’s gonna do well. I had plans to do another album and I will. But I think I’m just gonna release a boat load of singles until I have enough to put them on an album. That releases me from the pressure of a deadline to have it done.

Crazy thing is I never know what my music is doing. I just got a message from a guy on YouTube the other day about my song “Can’t Stop Me”. He said it plays every Saturday in Columbia South Carolina on 103.1 FM! I have always liked this song but it didn’t seem to go over as well with the public as some of the other tunes on the album. This is one of the songs that I’m gonna do over and release it again but it’s nice that they like it down there!

I do have plans to release some Beach Music tunes as well. I just don’t have a huge network of beach music DJs like I do with Southern Soul. I have to work on that. I REALLY love both sides of it. It’s like two sides of the same coin. I wouldn’t trade one for the other. The beach side brings a bit of nostalgia for me. It’s how I grew up in music. Going out and playing in a band on weekends for an entire evening and watching the people dance and have a good time. That’s home for me.

Southern Soul is also near and dear to me because it brings back memories of my grandfather’s juke joint. That was the only place where you could hear these songs. Somehow they were only on that juke box! The songs didn’t play on the radio but somehow they were popular anyway.

Oh and speaking of nostalgia…. I can hardly believe this myself but the manager and sax player from the band I was in as a kid, Electric Image, will be playing on my next gig! That’s right. James Parker himself will be on stage with me in MY band. It’s funny how things come around. He was soooo hard on me back then. But I see the value in it now and I’m exceedingly grateful to him for it. I wouldn’t be here now if not for him. I’m excited to be on stage with him again.

Well, that’s about it folks. Again, thank you for reading my rants and if you have friends that you think might enjoy them, tell ‘em to subscribe. This year, I’m also going to post more…  It’s kind of like a journal for me. I think I need to do it. It helps to clear my mind. Lord knows I need that! As always, keep listening.

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The Blur…..

Hey y’all!!! I have been totally slack again in keeping you updated but I said I was going to stop apologizing for that….Let’s jump right in. So, I went up to the D.C., Maryland and Virginia area to do a show. But before the show, I had to go to WPFW 89.3 FM to do an interview with the one and only Dr. Nick! The traffic is TERRIBLE when you get close to Alexandria VA. Being new to the area I didn’t prepare for that slow down. AND I put the wrong address for the radio station in my GPS and ended up on the other side of DC before I realized I was in the wrong place. Needless to say, I was running late. I was supposed to get to the station around 2:00 pm but I ended up getting there at about 2:45.  So, I was completely flustered when I first got there but I quickly calmed down once I saw the smile on Dr. Nick’s face. It was so nice to see him again. He is always a lot of fun! I also met Lady C who is quite nice as well.

The interview went well, we talked about my music, particularly my song “That Actright”. The song was written by Mike Darden, a producer out of Mississippi and got me nominated in 3 categories for the 10th Annual Southern Soul Music Awards…Best Club Song, Best Debut and Best Female Vocalist! I didn’t win but WHO CARES??? To be nominated alongside the greats in the industry was reward enough!  We also talked about my new manager, DJ Heavy, and how I got started, where I’m from, etc…. and just like THAT my live radio interview cherry was popped and I’m glad Dr. Nick was the one to do it! LOL Here are some pics from my visit!

So, after the interview, it was back to the traffic to get to the hotel. I swear, I must just be country as hell! I just cannot seem to get used to a lot of traffic! It stresses me the hell out. I’ll have to work on that since I KNOW I’m about to start traveling a lot more. Anyway, I get to the room and as I start to get ready for the show that evening, I hear a knock on the door…I say “Who is it?” and all I hear is children laughing. So, I said to myself that maybe they had the wrong room.  Then about 10 minutes later, it happened again….They were PRANKING ME… Now, I’m already stressed so I was plotting to strangle the little rascals BUT since I didn’t want to catch a case in Maryland, I thought it would be better to just change rooms.

Fast forward to the show….

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I get to Lamont’s and it was pretty much like I thought it would be. I had heard a lot about it from other people so I had a good picture of it in my mind. It really is a down home country kind of place. It’s a big juke joint. That is NOT a complaint but a compliment! I felt right at home.  So, when Dr. Nick introduced me, the audience received me very warmly because it seemed that they all heard the interview from earlier that day! I was up first and I did a pretty good show. I say pretty good because I was not very happy with it but the crowd seemed to enjoy it. I’m still not very good at doing shows with a music track. This is yet another thing that I have to work on. But I did well enough that I was told I will be invited back. Next time, hopefully I can bring the band.

I also made another great contact. I was introduced to Pamela Boone who writes the Southern Soul Paradise Blog. She interviewed me after my set and I thoroughly enjoyed our conversation. I can’t wait to see what she writes about me on her blog! So, that was two interviews in one day! I’m still just overwhelmed that I’m doing interviews…LIKE A REAL CELEBRITY!!!

Shay Denise was up next and she killed it! I had seen her perform before but this time was different! This time she was out there on her own and she did a great show. J. Red was great and so was the Rise Band!

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Anyway, I ended up staying pretty late. After I ate a few chicken wings (Yes, they fry chicken there like any respectable juke joint!) I went back to the room to sleep.

The next morning I checked out a little late. The front desk called me and asked when I was checking out! That’s how much fun I had…So, I hit the road around 12:00 headed back to NC to my manager’s birthday party!

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No rest for the weary…After being on the road for a little over 4 hours, I was tired when I got there. After about 30 minutes, tired was GONE! I was in party mode again. AJ the DJ was playing really great music, I was taking shots of Fireball and before I knew it, I was on the dance floor! There was live entertainment by Tony Chambers, a really good saxophone player and singer. He did a couple of instrumentals on the sax and sang a couple songs. That was fun to watch. And I DID NOT come there to perform, I promise! But as the Fireball started talking to me, it said “You know you have your tracks with you. Sing something for Heavy! So, this happened.

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Totally impromptu!!! But the folks enjoyed it. And I actually think I did better there than at Lamont’s! At least it felt like it. It was probably the Fireball in my blood….Yeah it was! EVERYTHING about this party was great, the food, the music, the people, the atmosphere…I always have a great time when I go to the Hawg Pen anyway. AND I will be performing there on April 16th with the band!

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So after ALL of this, yesterday, I had to get up and do a photo shoot with the band. I did NOT want to get out of the bed but it was already planned. Something went wrong with the photographer that we were supposed to use so I had to find someone to do the pictures THAT day since we were all together. So, I went to my computer and googled local photographers. I found this guy Photography by Allen. He agreed to bring us in at @ 2:00 and I had just called him @12:30! I had no ideal what I was walking into. I had never worked with him, never met him, NOTHING. But for some reason, when I do things on a whim they usually work out. This was no different. He has the photography studio in his home so the boys and I went there and he was so very friendly. His wife was very friendly as well. We were in and out within an hour with some really great pics. The price was reasonable too. Needless to say, I was very pleased with the results. Check us out.

After that was over, I went home and crashed! I stayed in bed for the rest of the day. That was some well deserved rest. I was so tired, I actually couldn’t see well. Hence the title of this post…THE BLUR! This is why I’m JUST getting to this today. I just didn’t have the energy to write it yesterday! I hope you enjoyed reading this and again THANKS for your support. Keep listening.

About Last Saturday!!!

Hey folks, so, this past Saturday January 14th was full of stuff so let’s just dive right in. My day started off around 1 pm when I woke up. I had rehearsal with my band at 2 so I needed to prepare. (Yes, I got out of the bed at 1:00 pm. Don’t judge. I’m a musician!) This was a particularly exciting rehearsal because I was going to meet my new bass player for the first time. Remember the last post where I was belly aching about losing my old standby, Andrew? Anyway, the new guy’s name is Osbert Osborne. I was told he was good so I was anxious.

Now, get this…It turns out that 20 something years ago, Andrew, my former bass player had gone to see Lee Fields in concert. Andrew had just started playing the bass and wasn’t that seasoned yet. So, he saw the bass player that Lee Fields was using and was completely mesmerized by that guy’s talent. Guess who that guy was…OSBERT OSBORNE!!!  And now he’s with me…I can’t make this stuff up folks. These little “coincidences” are constant confirmation that I am on the right path. Side note *I don’t believe in coincidence. I just used the word for lack of a better one. EVERYTHING happens for a reason.*

Anyway, it turns out that Osbert also played with the group SLAVE for a while. So, yet again, change has proven to be a positive thing! So, we rehearsed and everything went well. We will be getting together again this coming Saturday. I think I will video some of it and share it with you.

As soon as I finished rehearsal, I had to hurry and get dressed to make it to this…

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Now, I wasn’t on this show but so many of my friends were that I had to see them. The only one I hadn’t met was Wilson Meadows and I STILL didn’t get to meet him unfortunately. By the time he came out of his dressing room to go on stage, my stomach had already led me to the fish plates they were selling outside. I hadn’t eaten all day and that plate gave me a new lease on life but I digress!!!  #StillMyLove

I actually got to sit and talk awhile with my Southern Soul Godmother (her unofficial title in my head) Nellie “Tiger” Travis. #IfIBackItUp It was REALLY great to see her again. We talked about everything from losing weight to cheap jewelry and it was magical.  Just in case you didn’t know, this lovely lady will be appearing on the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon in two more days! He featured her song “Slap Your Weave Off” a few weeks back and now she’s going there to perform it LIVE! That will be Wednesday January 18th @ 11:35 pm on NBC. Make sure you tune in. We need the highest possible ratings for this one. Yes, this is a major move for Nellie but it could also reach back and pull some of the rest of us up as well. If featuring a Southern Soul artist produces high ratings for the show, guess what? THEY WILL KEEP DOING IT!  Our music may finally begin to get the national recognition it deserves and Nellie is blazing that trail. I am honored that she is my friend and I know she will only continue to do great things. Anyway, here we are. (You knew I had a pic!)

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This time, I also got a pic with Roy C. As much as I see him, for some reason I just never took a picture with him. So, here it is…As usual, he put up a great performance. The people still love this living legend and he hasn’t skipped a beat. He still sounds great and is still very entertaining to watch. By the way, I didn’t let him hug me this time 😉

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Now, this is  GOOD so pay close attention. You ready? OK, at the last minute a new act was added to the show…Big Pokey Bear. Yes, Mr. Sidepiece himself. The thing is Maurice Wynn does quite a few cover tunes and “Sidepiece” is one of them. So, no one told Maurice that Pokey was going to be there. AND…that’s right, you guessed it, Maurice decided to do the song. When he started, Pokey was sitting backstage watching Maurice and I had just met Pokey so I was giving him a little background on Maurice…THEN Maurice broke out into “Sidepiece”!! Pokey lifted his head up, immediately jumped out of his seat and headed for the stage! Guess what he did????   HE GOT ON STAGE AND STARTED DANCING TO HIS OWN SONG WHILE MAURICE WAS SINGING IT!!!!

MAAAANNN…..The look on Maurice’s face when he saw Pokey was priceless! It was OK though. The audience got a big kick out of it and you can imagine how we reacted backstage! WHEW!!! Anyway, when Maurice came off the stage, he immediately apologized to Pokey and told him he didn’t know he was there. You know what Pokey said to Maurice? He said, “Man, I’m happy as hell right now. I feel like you paid homage to me. Thank you.” That was one of the coolest things I had ever seen. He told me that this business is all about connections and that he had no problem connecting me with all the good people that he knows.  He also invited me to his studio in Louisiana to work on something with him. And you know me. Have gas, will travel!  lady-in-car  Yes, he also performed “Sidepiece” and the audience still loved it! So needless to say, my first impression of Big Pokey Bear is that he is a lot of fun, humble as hell and just an all around good guy. And check out this smile!

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So, it was a very long day but all in all, it was a great one! I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed myself that day. It was one of the best days I’ve had in a long time. When I got home though, I finished up some apple moonshine DJ Heavy had given me and was out like a light!

I’m still working on the new album. I am SURE this one will be better than the first. I want to have it finished in time for this…16105882_247470255680107_6432501024425530013_n

This is a HUGE show that I will be kicking off on July 8th. I’d like to be able to see my new CD there. I know my picture is not on the flyer YET. I am the question mark. HA! I don’t care if I were a cow patty as long as I get to perform. My ego does not need to be stroked!  But, this is only the preliminary flyer. I will be on the updated version. My pic and bio will also be in the program booklets that they will be handing out for this show. I’m sooo excited about this one. I will get to meet and share a stage with even more great artists! Sometimes it’s hard to believe just how fortunate I truly am…..

Anyway, that’s all for now. Keep listening…Thank you all for reading this and if you haven’t already done so, SUBSCRIBE. That way you won’t miss any of my ramblings!

 

So, so much!!!

Hello all! I’m sorry I haven’t made a post in a while but my computer has been having all kinds of issues and….I’ve just not had much to say until now! Where do I start? How about this past weekend. So, I went up to Bealeton VA for the tribute to Hardaway Connection for their 35 years in the business. Well, first off, the drive was hell…But that’s not the point of this. One point is that I was absolutely SHOCKED that there is such a strong Southern Soul Market in that area. I mean, I was damn near in Maryland and I just kind of thought that there was not much interest in Southern Soul that far north. But I was WRONG! The place was packed. See for yourselves. img_0668

And when I tell you they came to party…THEY CAME TO PARTY!!! On this show there was Maurice Wynn, Shay Denise, J Red, Donnie Ray, Roy C and of course, Hardaway Connection. Great line up right? The only one I hadn’t met before was Donnie Ray. I swear the man is only about 5 feet tall! He packs a lot of punch in that small package though. I enjoyed his show so much I got his new CD and an autographed pic for my collection.

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Now, I have known Roy C. for a long time but I never did have anything of his that I could display. So, I decided to get a pic from him too. And of course he got on stage and showed his a$$ as usual…not literally. I just mean he talked his usual trash. The fresh bastard also groped me a little when I hugged him…Yep, same old Roy!

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I also got a selfie with my dude J Red the Nephew. It was good to see him. I hadn’t seen him since we recorded that song together back in March. What song you say? Listen here. If You Need Some

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What I failed to do though is get a pic with my dude Dr. Nick. He hosted the show and he has been faithfully playing my music on his radio show Southern Soul Rumpin’ on WPFW 89.3FM on Saturdays from 2pm to 4pm. He’s been a great champion for me and I forgot to get a pic with him. I also forgot to get one with Hardaway Connection. I guess I just got too into the show to cover much with my phone. I at least should have gotten one with my girl Toni Love, the female singer in the group. She is a great lady and put on a really great show that night. Anyway, I will try to do better…That’s all I can do.

I’m glad I made the trip though. I made some great contacts, got to meet some great people, saw some old friends and generally had a really great time.

Now, I know it was two months ago when I said that I was working on a new song. Well, I did finish it and it is doing quite well! It is the only song that I have ever recorded that I did not write. It was written and produced by a guy out of Mississippi named Mike Darden. When he contacted me about doing a song I was apprehensive because people send you stuff they think is great and most of the time it’s not so great. Also, I was a little uncomfortable giving up my creative control. Again, I didn’t write it so I was like…uhhhhh. BUT when I heard it, I knew I had to record it. I could actually hear myself singing it in my head. So, I figured it was meant for me. It called “That Act Right” and you can hear it here That Act Right  I have put it on CD baby so that you can buy it but it’s still under review right now but it should be available in a day or so.

Even though it is brand spanking new, it’s already making waves. This is the one that Dr. Nick is currently playing on his show. I can’t even tell you the other stations that are playing it but it must be quite a few since my Facebook music page is getting so many views per day now. The song has also made Daddy B. Nice’s top ten for October. It is at #4. When I saw that, I got emotional. Even as I am typing this I am holding back the water works! I have been reading and watching that site for a while because it is THE Southern Soul website authority and I just couldn’t believe that my name was on it. Have a look. Daddy B, Nice’s Corner and Top 10

I guess that’s about it for now! As far as I know, my next gig isn’t until December 9th. It will be the Mr. Freeze Christmas party. It will be a good one! More details to come. Until then, thank you and keep listening! Update…You can now buy That Act Right! Here is the link. That Act Right

Buy the CD! On Sale for $7.99

Follow the Tracks

Hey folks. I have come to a sad, sad realization….I’m going to have to put together a track show. I have always hated using music tracks on a live show because it takes away from my flexibility as an artist. You can’t tell a track to “break it down” or give the musicians solos. And when I started out, tracks weren’t even a thing. Nobody did that! All live music was actually LIVE. Every instrument had a person on stage playing it.  That is what I am used to and that is what I like. For me, tracks kind of cheat the audience out of the best experience possible.

BUT alas, I must do it. Here are my reasons…

  1.  Musicians are unpredictable and not very loyal.  When I started (I know I’m beginning to sound like an old person), NOTHING came before a gig. If you had a show, you went and did it unless someone died! On Xmas and Thanksgiving, we took our plates of food on the road and ate on the way to the gig. I remember one girl getting fired because she chose to go to an MC Hammer concert (whew I just dated myself) instead of doing a gig scheduled for that night. It was THAT serious. Now it seems if someone has a hangnail, they won’t be able to make it! That blows and I’m sick of it!
  2. I’m still kind of the new kid and cannot yet demand top dollar.  Although my popularity is continuously growing, many still have never heard of me. It’s difficult to get paid a decent wage when you are not yet a household name. That means, there is only a little bit of money to spread around. I like to pay my guys well and I just can’t every time. *LIGHT BULB* THAT’S PROBABLY WHY THEY ARE NOT SO LOYAL!! Anyway, if it’s just me and a track, that little bit is fine because there is no one to pay but me.
  3. I can gig more often with tracks.   If I have music tracks, I can take gigs in smaller venues and get even more exposure that way.  I can charge a very low price while I’m getting my name out there. I can probably gig somewhere every week with the tracks. This would be impossible with my band.

Now, I’m still going to do shows with the band. I will never totally give that up. BUT the gig has to pay enough so that I can pay my musicians. If not, I’m going with the tracks…*shrugs shoulders*

OK, my radio show is now up and running on Remember Then Radio. It airs every Wednesday at 6pm. My music is played for a whole hour! Thanks Barb and Steve. You guys are great!

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I contacted a few folks in the Lake Gaston area who had venues that offer live music. I have gotten absolutely ZERO response but I am undaunted. I’m gonna bug them until somebody lets me play!  One good thing though is that my DJ friend Neal Furr (Soul Dog) hooked me up with a guy named Andy Lucy who apparently has a radio station in Emporia VA, lake country. I sent Andy my music and he has promised to play it! So, maybe when people hear it there, they will be more open to letting me come there to perform.

He’s also got a couple of more DJ friends in that area that he said he’d reach out to for me. I swear I LOVE that dude. I don’t even know what I have done to deserve so much of his support but I am surely grateful! And it’s not just him! So many folks have gone out of their way for me. Let me just shout out a few…DJ Heavy, Gary King, Scott Beasley (Deckerz Bar and Grill NMB), Robin Lancaster, Gene Coker, J Red the Nephew, VA Fonz, Terry L. Batts, Chip Sistare, Vicki Chaffin, Andrew Blackwell….I know I’m forgetting some people but my brain only works so well….Just know that I appreciate you all so much!!! I am honored and humbled that you have even taken the time to say my name much less help me along this winding road.

That’s all for now. Keep listening…Why am I about to cry?  Happy tears…