Things You Do to Me
My mother once told me, 'No matter what you do on the outside, you're a singer on the inside.' My life always has been filled with music. I remember sitting in front of my parent's stereo listening to albums by Nancy Wilson, Dionne Warwick, Frank Sinatra and O.C. Smith, Little Anthony and James Brown, Jimmy Smith, and Dad's favorite, Charlie Parker. My parents also were very much into music. My mother's voice resonated throughout the house singing standards and classics such as 'Over the Rainbow'. Like Mom, I also love to sing jazz and standards. Though, often I'll add some R&B and Top 40. I began training my voice when I was very young. I would practice my favorite songs for hours. The more challenging the song, the greater was my desire to master it. Now, many of those songs, such as 'My Funny Valentine' are staples in my performances, along with some wonderful original compositions. The gigs are coming in fast and furious for 2005. I wrapped up 2004 at Club 908 in Conyers, Georgia after the owners heard my CD and invited me to perform New Years Eve. I returned to Club 908 in mid-January for an encore performance. That was followed up with shows at Speak Easy Jazz in Winston, Salem, North Carolina, Isaac Hayes Restaurant and Nightclub in Memphis, Tennessee, East Veranda in Lithonia, Georgia, The Jazz Forum in Decatur, Georgia, and month-long Thursday night gig at Michon's, gigs at Seasons de Provence in Acworth and at Bluelights in Stockbridge, historic Paschal's Restaurant, Lizzie's, Stonecrest Mall Concert Series, Borders Books and Music, and private events. I've also done several performances for metro-Atlanta chapters of the 100 Black Men, including an annual cabaret headlined by R&B singer Jeffery Osborne. And, I'm at the top of the list of performers booked by Morehouse School of Medicine for various engagements, including an event held at the home of Dr. David Satcher, former U.S. Surgeon General and Interim President of the Morehouse School of Medicine. I've come a long way since those days at the University of Akron, where I received my master's degree, and from those days at Youngstown State University, where I received a bachelor's degree in speech-telecommunications, but took voice classes and performed at fraternity dances and Black History Month events. I remember traveling by bus to Cincinnati to do my first studio sessions with Joel 'Razor Sharp' Johnson, a keyboard player for funk-master Bootsy Collins and now with George Clinton and Parliament-Funkadelic. I also have worked with Michael 'Kid Funkadelic' Hampton, lead guitarist for George Clinton and Parliament-Funkadelic. I've done sessions with Clarence 'Doctor Bob' Ross, the current saxophone player and back-up singer for the Isley Brothers and music programmer for Chaka Khan, En Vogue, New Edition and many others. I also have performed with Jerry 'Louie' Poindexter, veteran keyboard player for the 'Godfather of Soul', James Brown. In 1999 I performed 'Get Here' at New York's famed Apollo Theater. I later was asked by 'The Sandman' to sit in with his nine-piece band. At an event in 2003 I sang a duet with recording artist Cherelle. She recorded the 80's hit 'Saturday Love' with Alexander O'Neal. That same year I also began sitting in occasionally at 'jam sessions' with the Atlanta Federation of Musicians union. I've also sat or have been invited to sit in with several of Atlanta's premier jazz bands, including the Mose Davis Trio, Northside, The Henley Varner Band and others. Pianist Walter Bland, the only musician listed on the soundtrack of the HBO series Oz, routinely accompanies me. Walter also has written scores for PBS shows and NPR programs. Some of the other accomplished musicians who regularly work with me include award winning pianist Nick Saindon, keyboard player Keith 'Keecho' Rawls, who also palyed for years with Peabo Bryson, electric bass players Michael Bell and John Roberts, upright bass player Seth Gamba, drummers Phil Lowman and Terrell Sass and Ben Irvin, and keyboard players Antoine Hollins and Danny Jackson, who has produced for India.Arie, saxophonist Dwayne Martin and Kenny Faison, famed guitarists Vic Smiley and Derwin Daniels, and the list goes on. Since 2002 I've been doing sessions and performances with jazz musician Derwin Daniels. Daniels accompanies me on guitar and saxophone at most of my shows. He has recorded several CDs, including a Christmas CD in 2002 entitled 'Holiday House', on which I sang 'Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas'. The song received airplay in various regions of the country, including the Midwest and Southwest. We followed up with a Christmas concert in Conyers, Georgia. In October 2003 I released my first CD, 'The Things You Do To Me'. It is a four-song disc containing two original songs and two standards. The release coincided with performances at several Border's Books stores in the greater metropolitan Atlanta area. The disc also is receiving airplay on Atlanta radio stations WRFG 89.3 and WCLK 91.9 and stations in Ohio and Texas. I also was invited to be a featured guest on the WRFG program, 'Jazz to Sooth Your Soul with Samuel Thompson.' Derwin is the executive producer of my CD and is currently working with me on another project. I have an extensive catalogue of original compositions and will soon return to the studio to finish recording my first full-length CD. I'm a singer on the inside... and the outside.