Saturday, August 30, 2008

Narada's CD Release Show

Tonight I attended the CD release party for Narada Michael Walden’s new CD. The band sounded GREAT! Narada was on drums, Frank Martin on keys, Cedricke Dennis on guitar, Troy Lampkins on bass, another keyboard player, a horn section and Nikita Germaine and Sakai on vocals. It was a fun night of cover tunes that Narada had written and produced for other artists and new material. Shanice Wilson made a guest appearance on a few tunes, and newcomer Brian Lloyd sang a self-penned song, that stole the night! What fun! : >

Me and Sakai

Me and Brian Lloyd

Amy, Shanice WIlson and me

Thursday, August 28, 2008


This afternoon, I flew back home in order to prepare for the tour. Tonight I witnessed history in the making. It was a tough day (my sister received some bad personal news, my father was in a car collision severe enough to trigger the air bags, and I had a horrible headache all day), but it ended on the high notes of learning my dad will be ok, and on Obama's awesome speech.

I had intended to attend two fabulous parties this evening, but decided instead to take it easy and watch Barack Obama accept the nomination of the Democratic Party. Several members of my family gathered at my uncle’s home to watch. Obama’s speech was the most inspiring speech of my political life. I’ve seen presidents speak many times. I recall having watched Ronald Regan, Bill Clinton, both Bush presidents, and never have I been as moved or motivated to be an advocate for a candidate as I am for Barack Obama.

Obama for President of the United States of America!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Recording in LA: Part 2

Monday, August 25, 2008
Today we went back into the studio at 6:30pm. I spent the day in my room doing tracks for production clients, and connected my new USB microphone to my laptop successfully! I didn’t practice today, but that’s ok. I’m trying to reestablish the habit of journaling again, which is good and leads directly to my creating this blog! : > Before we started at the studio, we all sat and watched Michelle Obama’s speech at the Democratic Convention in Denver, CO. She was BRILLIANT! I loved the speech and can’t wait to see her become first lady! ; >

Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Today we started recording a song that we’d learned during sound checks in the last tour, which I think will be a massive pop hit, picked up by commercials and movies en masse. Stevie was in a good mood, despite a slight cold, and we all had fun, despite the long hours.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Recording in LA: Part 1

The past two weeks have been a whirlwind! On Monday, August 4, 2008, I received a 1pm phone call informing me that I had a 5pm flight to LA to record with Stevie! That gave me approximately 2 hours to get myself together and head to the airport. I was fully unprepared, tired, and unpracticed, but I of course packed a small bag and headed to LA.

The first night was a tough night. The perfectionist in me wanted to play everything perfectly, and to impress Stevie. I did fine, but I was deep in judgment of myself.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

I got a call late in the day that we wouldn’t be going into the studio. Since I was waiting for a call, I stayed in my hotel room all day, playing on the Internet and resting, as I didn't have my travel keyboard to practice with. By the evening, I was stir crazy, so I called Dejah Gomez

(one of Stevie's background singers) and we met

Rickey Minor at Herman Jackson’s gig at La Ve Lee in Hollywood. It was fun! The band consisted of Herman on keys, Teddy Campbell on drums, Brandon Randolph (Stanley’s brother) on bass, Kevin Ricard on percussion, and a few horn players, whose names I missed. Great show!

Rickey is super cool! I want to be just like him when I grow up! He's one of the most gracious, generous people I've met since entering the world of superstars. Look for his new book, "There's No Traffic on the Extra Mile", which is to be released later in the year, but is available for pre-order on Amazon. He's got a great story!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008
We returned to the studio, and I felt my confidence return, thankfully! After the session, I went to a birthday party. One partygoer, a fantastic dancer named Roger, gave an incredible demonstration of pop locking. I was so impressed, that I asked him about dance lessons. I’d never tried to pop lock before and asked if he would be able to teach someone like me. He not only claimed he could, but he demonstrated right then and there! I joined him on the floor and learned a brief pop locking routine! It was tremendous fun! I didn’t get to bed until 5:30am that morning!

Thursday, August 7, 2008
I woke up at noon, still feeling groggy. After learning that we had the day off, I decided to and managed to practice piano for 5 hours! The only reason I stopped was because I’d made arrangements to meet a friend for dinner.

I drove to Pasadena to “Red, White and Bluezz”, where I met my friend. It turns out that it is the spot where Byron Miller had invited me to come sit in before. The band was GREAT! Byron on bass, Kenneth Crouch on keys, Teddy Campbell on drums. I had planned to sit in, but was waaaay too tired. I will definitely sit in the next time I’m there!

Friday, August 8, 2008
Back in the studio! We worked on another incredible song. This project is going to be rather incredible. The songs are consistently strong, and I honestly think it will be successful for Stevie.

Saturday, August 9, 2008
We worked in the studio again. On Sunday, I flew home, had dinner with the family in the central valley, met my dog’s 3 new puppies and fell in love with them. If I had a farm, I’d keep them all, but alas I don’t : <

Monday, August 11, 2008
We were back in the studio and recorded one of my favorite of the new songs. I fell in love with the song immediately and had a great time recording it. During the dinner break, I ate some food that didn’t agree with me and I ended up being sick all night. : <

Friday, August 15, 2008
We recorded another great song, a song with distinct dance influences. We worked late…until 5am. As the time passed I became more and more exhausted. By the end of the night, I was so exhausted that I felt nauseated (possibly still repercussions from having suffered diarrhea earlier in the week). But the session went well in any case.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

2008 Fundraiser for Habitat for Humanity

Once again, I accompanied Romar DeClaro and a group of singers for the annual fundraiser for Habitat for Humanity that Romar organizes. It was a great success! The singers all did a great job, and amazing, Tommie Bradford, was his usual flawless self on the drums! The performers included singers Romar DeClaro, Lorraine De Arco, Laura Delahaye and Jason Pettit, as well as Rhodel DeClaro on guitar. Many thanks to Benny McKay for being the consummate host!