Making music is breathing to me. I began playing piano at two and a half in my parent’s home and I don’t remember a time that I didn’t play. I started studying formally at the age of five but really didn’t learn to read music until seven .I had always been able to play what I heard. Now I could read as well and the sky became the limit. My voice emerged because I had stories within me that begged to be told. The instrument wasn’t enough. I needed words and harmonies. They came easily but were kept inside . I sang publicly in high school for the first time and loved the connection I felt.
I attended Fisk University in Nashville and became a Jubilee Singer while getting a bachelors degree in Biology. I was in the lab all week and on the road most weekends singing spirituals and making money for the university. I went to Howard for pharmacy school to pacify my mother’s need for something to fall back on. But wound up switching to music after a miserable semester. After the switch, I got my first real gig and never looked back.I studied classical piano with Raymond Jackson and Charles Timbrell and jazz piano with Geri Allen and vocal jazz with Grady Tate. I got another bachelors in composition and a masters in jazz studies. I started my first band, HUE with founding members Deirdre Pascall and Latanya Peoples. Three women instrumentalists playing originals and vocalizing.
Upon leaving Howard, I went to New Jersey to apprentice with Geri Allen . I spent the next two years on the road with her and the likes of Bettty Carter, Dave Holland , Jack Dejohnette, Dwayne Dolphin and met many other jazz luminaries. I went back and forth to DC for gigs with Hue and then moved back to pursue the band which promptly started to fall apart. Shana Tucker then joined and there were two of us. We planned a move to New York to continue our journey. If you can make it there, you’ll make it anywhere. And we did. We were commissioned to write a ballet at the Washington Ballet where I had been employed as a staff pianist, And we did many gigs. The band broke up, as bands do and I found myself as a sideman in the indie community, the Black Rock Coalition and classically. After several years as a solo act, I fell in love3 in the process of making a record. As I was pushed out of love I found a new love. I bought a guitar at the urging of my bestie. I took my little Martin everywhere and was performing on stage after two weeks. Something took hold ands I began writing songs that were intimate and tell all. I had always written more general songs but suddenly , I was a singer songwriter with no huge instrument to hide behind.
Around 2009, my father passed . I was in sort of a tailspin. Learning the guitar and finding my way. I met V Jeffrey Smith at a gig and invited him to sit in with me at a gig I had taken for the sole purpose of learning how two play guitar. He came and sat in. I invited David Pilgrim the following week after hearing him play his compositions. We became the founding members of the Soulfolk experience. We are a coalition of multi instrumentalists, writers and vocalists. It has been one of the largest blessings in my life and we continue to make music when we can.
I moved back to California to take care of my mother who suddenly took ill and passed quickly. My brother too became ill and passed. He left me the greatest gift… his three children .During the pandemic, I began Reunion of souls, five nights a week , me at the piano in my living room , singing songs for folks around the world. Friends had been asking me to Facebook live to make them feel better. Words turned into a song and one song blossomed into an hour , Monday through Friday of requests, TV nights, and favorites. I have been going for a year and will continue as long as I can.
Reunion of Souls
Weeknites 8p EST
Reunion of Souls
Weeknites 8p EST