Thursday, January 24, 2013

Saturday Jan 26 @ Yoshi's SF

Hello friends! My friend Frédéric Yonnet will be performing at Yoshi's in San Francisco with special guest artist Talib Kweli this Saturday night, January 26 at 8pm and 10pm.  Also expected to make a guest appearance are vocalist Patti (of famed Tuck and Patti), Martin Luther, Mara Hruby and me!  Frédéric has been a guest artist with Stevie several times, and is a brilliant musician.  Don't miss this show!!!  Buy your tickets ASAP!


Monday, January 21, 2013

Inauguration event #2: Inaugural Ball

We, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths – that all of us are created equal – is the star that guides us still; just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall; just as it guided all those men and women, sung and unsung, who left footprints along this great Mall, to hear a preacher say that we cannot walk alone; to hear a King proclaim that our individual freedom is inextricably bound to the freedom of every soul on Earth –
President Obama's 2nd Inaugural Speech

On the morning of January 21, I stayed in bed to watch the pomp and circumstance of the 57th Inauguration. I had wanted to go stand with the crowd, then visit the King Memorial, but after learning of the challenge of transportation, and that public transit might be suspended for a portion of the day, I decided it was too risky to venture into the city, given that I was to perform later in the day. There would be plenty of other chances for being a tourist in the nation's capital.

Watching the Inauguration from my hotel room, I especially enjoyed the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir! What great singing and such a lovely arrangement.  The soloist, Alicia Olatuja, was exceptional!  I also enjoyed Beyonce's rendition of the Star Spangled Banner - though the controversy over whether or not she lip-synced is disappointing.  Either way, she's a fantastic singer.

At 5pm, the band met in the lobby, then boarded the shuttles to the Washington Convention Center. Once we arrived, we had to navigate several security stations, walk in circles as we tried to figure out where to go inside the venue (thank GOD I wore comfortable shoes), and then finally met up in our designated dressing room.

Me, waiting outside of our dressing room

Shortly after finishing my make up, we were rushed to the backstage area ('hurry up and wait' was again in effect), where we watched others performers come and go for about an hour. I was able to meet members the band Fun (and yes, I was singing along LOUDLY to their song "We Are Young"), members of the band Maná, John Legend and members of the band Soundgarden. Finally, it was Stevie's turn to perform. The crowd loved it, but sadly, I learned later, CNN decided to only show portions of his performance. Who can predict a director's editing decisions? Oh well.

Andrew Dost (Fun), Nate WattsNate RuessJack Antonoff (Fun), Me
Me, Emily Moore (Fun)

Roland Gajate, Héctor Quintana, Me

Me, John Legend

Me, Jamie Foxx
I had a great time, and relished every moment of standing on that stage next to the platform where the President and Mrs. Obama danced. As I walked off stage, Jamie Foxx was preparing to go onstage, and graciously extended a hand to help me off stage. It's nice to encounter a superstar who is also a gentleman!

While I was unable to meet the President or Mrs. Obama, I am thrilled to have had the honor to perform for them. Next goal? To perform at the White House of course! 2013 - my year of Jubilee!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Inauguration event #1: Candlelight Celebration

We arrived at the venue after a circuitous 50 minute drive thru unrelenting traffic, passed through several security stations and finally ended up in a corridor heading to our holding area. I had decided to wait until I got to the venue to do my make up, and after the unexpectedly long drive, I didn't have much time. Just as I finished applying my foundation, I heard the announcement for Vice President Biden and his wife Jill, grabbed my camera and dashes over to the best vantage point possible.

After making a short speech, the Vice President introduced President Obama and Michelle. I was so excited! I listened to both of them speak for a few minutes, but still had to go finish my make up. I had just enough time to finish before being called to the stage area. My stage position is stage right (to the left, if you're in the audience), and I walked in that direction, only to be stopped by secret service. "M'am, you need to go the other way" was the terse instruction. Complying with the agent's request, I started to turn and head back to the other side of the stage, and happened to look up to see the President standing right there, about 30 feet away from me! He had such a lovely spirit of calm and kindness, I immediately felt even more admiration for him. I had to go on stage, so I didn't have time (or nerve) to wave, speak or take a photo, but I hope to get another chance. Possibly tomorrow...

The show was great! One amazing Stevie tune after the next, and I danced so hard, my wireless headset pack flew off of my dress! Thankfully, our stage manager was nearby and could quickly reconnect me! What a beautiful day...and what an HONOR! Grateful...

 President Obama and Mrs. Obama, Vice-President Biden and Mrs. Biden

The crowd

The ticket, held by one of the attendees.

Sound checks

12:30pm We just finished the first of 2 sound checks. I'm so thrilled! This is going to be a great day! The weather in DC is mild, the sun in shining, and I'm smiling!

3:45pm Just finished the second sound check.

Tonight we play for a private event - which will probably not be aired on TV. Tomorrow night is the inaugural ball, which will air on television. I'll let you know as soon as I know when you'll be able to watch.

Roland Garcia, Nate Watts, me, Morris O'Connor, Stanley Randolph

Friday, January 18, 2013

Martin Luther King Day and the 57th Inauguration

Hello friends,

On this Martin Luther King Day and Inaugural weekend, I hope that you hold in mind one of Dr. King's quotes:

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that...

I hold a vision of peace and prosperity for our country - and our world.  Regardless of party, race, gender, class, etc., we are one people.  Let's honor and celebrate THAT!

It's official! I can announce that I'm in DC for the Inauguration!! I'll be performing twice with Stevie Wonder for the President and will be putting all the details on my website ( about when you can watch me performing on TV. I'm super excited and honored to be participating in this historic event! thanks...❤

Have a great holiday weekend!

Monday, January 14, 2013

The quickie blog

I'm giving myself 60 seconds to write this.  My fingers fly across the keys as I find yet another way to keep myself inspired to tackle far too much!  I need an assistant, but am not quite at the point where I can hire someone to be onsite to do what I need done.  I need to be practicing 5 hours per day.  No excuses!  I need to be composing, writing lyrics, arranging, producing, etc., at least 2 hours per day.  Of course, I also have a bunch of students...and there's the buzzer.  Wow!  It's amazing how quickly a minute can pass.

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Happy New Year!! New website and another Yoshi's show!

It's a New Season...It's a New Day!
A fresh anointing is flowing my way!

– "New Season" by Israel Houghton

2013!  Happy New Year!  Another year has come and gone and it's the season for resolutions, new habits, declarations and new beginnings.  I'm claiming my victory today and encourage you to do the same!  We are each our biggest obstacles, and I'm ready to get out of my own way!

My resolutions?  To keep my positive perspective on life and the inevitable challenges, to complete my CD, to perform my own music around the world, to become a greater musician, person, friend, teacher, yogi, dancer, chef and human being.  Always reaching higher...

Speaking of new things, I have a new website!  Check it out and enjoy some photos and samples of my new music.  Please forward this message to anyone you think might enjoy my music and my philosophical musings.

I will be appearing at Yoshi's in Oakland again this coming Monday!  I'll be appearing with a group of fantastic Bay Area based artists for the New Year Jazz Legends concert.  I hope to see you there!

Monday, January 7, 2013
New Year Jazz Legends
510 Embarcadero West Oakland, CA 94607
(510) 238-9200 $15

Directed by Daniel Lucca Parenti, this heavy hitting group of Bay Area Jazz Legends are sure to bring in the New Year the right way!!! Featuring the unparalleled talents of artists such as Victoria Theodore on Keys, Tommie Bradford on Drums, Lorn Leber on Guitar, Rich Armstrong on Horns and Percussion and Indra Jones on Vocals, The New Year Legends are truly a sight to be seen, and heard. If you like Modern Jazz all mixed up with Blues, Rock, R&B, and even a little Gospel, then please come and join the Bay Area New Year Legends for an amazing night of Celebration and Music!!!!!