“I grew up listening to folk & rock music, but people expected and harangued me to sing R&B and soul music (because, duh, I’m black. I guess they felt like it was false advertising.) which my jazz snob father refused to let me listen to at home, So I literally taught myself how to sing like a black girl. Way better tips.
I’d seen Bobbye Hall play congas, which changed my musical trajectory from singer/songwriter, to vocalist/percussionist, which was much more hirable position. I got to see the world in many bands over the next 40 or so years and eat regularly.
My first tour was with Narada Michael Walden opening for the Brother’s Johnson and Rufus with Chaka Kahn. Chaka, a drummer herself, began to insist that I sit in with Rufus as a kind of stealth move so she could play timbales when she wanted to. From there I toured with George Benson for the next 10 years, in addition to stints with Dr. John, Wayne Shorter, Kenny Loggins. I recorded when off the road with Herbie Hancock, Aretha Franklin, Todd Rundgren. I ended up in the Tonight Show Band with Jay Leno from 1992 to 2010. The last 8 years I’ve toured and recorded with Mavis Staples, was featured in the HBO documentary Mavis! and on two of her records.
I am a progressive political evangelist and when I’m not arguing with people on Facebook, my political views wend themselves into my song lyrics, whether with my Alt Rock/Funk band Skip The Needle or my solo acoustic performances where they reside alongside accounts of my disastrous dating life.