As far back as I can remember, music has been a major part of my life. I was born into music. It’s in my D.N.A. Music in the key of life.- Michael
My start in music…
As far back as I can remember, music has been a major part of my life. I was born into music. It’s in my D.N.A. Music in the key of life. It started at the age of two, playing on grit boxes in the country town of Barberton, Ohio. We were poor and lived in a 4 room brick shantee. My Grandfather, a Preacher and Pastor, took care of 7 on 99.00 dollars a week from his foundry job. He yet found time to pastor a church and teach me the little he knew of music. He had the stride style of piano playing which was popular in the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s in the juke joints of New York and Chicago where he played in his early life before getting involved with church. He also played guitar. The famous Ms Rosetta Thorpe was a good friend of his. He often spoke of tuning her guitar for her in the early days of her music career.
Someone donated a set of drums and bongos to the church and yes at the age of 4 I was playing both for service. When I wasn’t playing the drums or someone else was playing the drums, I moved over to bongos. Once starting grade school I became interested in Band. I then picked up the trumpet. It was also during this time I received a guitar for Christmas of which my Grandfather, the man who raised me, taught me a few things and set me off to fly. This was all at the age of 7. I eventual dropped the trumpet and stuck with the guitar. The music was too hard for me to learn and stay interested in learning. It was at this time I developed my music ear. I have played by ear ever since. I don’t read or write music. I know where the G clef is though! Lol
At age 15 I became interested in the piano. My mother played piano and Hammond Organ, my aunt also was a very popular Gospel singer who passed up a recording contract with the then Savoy Records. The leading Gospel label of those days. Many have and yet compare her to the great Gladys Knight of Gladys Knight and the Pips. She even looks just like her! I later put the guitar on the shelf to concentrate on learning the piano which I lay to this day.
Playing by ear is like a blind man feeling his way. Once he has a general working idea of where everything is, it’s just a matter of refining things. Playing by ear is the same way. I hear the song, figure out the basic structure then refine it. No, I’m not proud or happy I didn’t learn to read or write music but I stressed it when my daughter became interested in music. She learned from her school band experience to read and write music. At one time early in my career, I had her transposing and wring out the music for my songs. She has since traded music in for a family.
After moving to Akron, Ohio at the age of 13 I began to play for area churches and honed my chops with them. I even ended up writing a song for a Grammy nominated Gospel artist, Douglas Miller. The song didn’t make the dead line for the project that was nominated but he did sing it around the country and his world travels. That was the beginning of my song writing career. Time passed and I began to explore other genres of music and the rest is history.
My Single Baby Baby Baby (the remix)…
is about relationships and the struggle of one, mine. This song was born from my original song Baby Baby Baby from my first independent project, of the same name. I was asked by a friend, Ms. Lashaune Turner of Urban Indie Radio if I would put it, the original or a remix version on my current acclaimed, award winning project, A Look Into My Heart and I did. She predicted it would be a hit. She said, “ it’s just something about that song that connects with me. I don’t know what it is…” It has become one of the songs I’m known by. I had the honor of performing it in Beverly Hills, CA for her during a concert there.
Baby Baby Baby (the remix) is a song that talks about reconsideration’s, review, and considering the time and effort that has gone into a relationship to make it special and worth while. One night my mate and I were considering had we gone the last mile of our long marriage. Should we stay together or give it a try as singles. After all we were married at 19 and had made it 30 years at that time. One night after having words and saying very hurtful things to each other, I calmed down to have a real conversation with her. Part of that conversation is the lyrics of the song itself. Word for word. In this conversation we reviewed the good times and the bad times and all that we have endured in making this relationship work and was it really worth it to continue on. Had we reached our limits or was there just too much history and we needed to get past this and see what the end would be. We decided just that. To continue on and see what the end would be. We are now in 35 years of marriage.
Yes, people do quit after 30, 40 even 50 years of hard work at a relationship now a days. I have found that music has to be a part of you to really reach into one’s inner most being and change them. Touch their hearts and situations. This why I write and sing music. We had decided we had come too far to quit. Baby Baby Baby (the remix) is a real life conversation many have had or are having right now in their lives. Some chose to quit and continue on into a new lifelike my mother did. My song, It’s Over (the remix) is about and has been linked to many articles of today about abuse and the things women go through when starting over most times with kids. Another part of my life and a different conversation about situations in a relationship.
Baby Baby Baby (the remix) was produced by Mr. Wes McCraw of Creekside Audio, Norton, Ohio. He is part of the fantastic team of producers on the A Look Into My Heart Project. He brought such a touch to this song and the project that made it come alive and connect with people of all races, creeds and colors. Different sexes. Men, women, genres from all around the world. I have received different emails and contacts of thanks for this song and this project.
The music scene in the Akron/Cleveland area…
Is healthy, this area has always been a hot bed for new talent. Talent that has gone on to become major stars in the industry. Some of the players are, The Black Keys, DEVO, James Ingram, his brother Phillip Ingram of Switch fame and now sings background behind some major stars of the industry, Bill Clark formerly of The SOS Band, Robby Benson one time lead singer for with Roles Royse, There were some Grammy winner from this area this year too . There has also been stars from this area in other areas of the business too. Leon Harris, former anchor for CNN News, and one of the most famous of all Bo Shcembeckler the great coach of the Michigan Wolverines! It’s a hot bed for all kinds of talent. There are great places to enjoy up and coming talen too. Places like The empire Concert Club. A fairly new music venue who recent had a band sign a million dollar , multi project contract right there at the venue after a performance, The tangier Restaurant who welcomes the stars of today like the Whispers and many each weekend. Even Elvis Presley has performed there back in his hay day. The Blue Note Lounge where Shirley Murdock and Alexander Oniel were recent guest performers and Musica where I got my start and bands like the Black Keys still come there to play. The outdoor places are the Blossom Music Center and Loc 3 where the biggest of stars and acts perform each summer. Even Orchestras play there. Yes the climate is great for producing stars of tomorrow.
Things I like to do for fun…
are sports, drag racing, and fishing. The thing I love to do the most is cooking. It relaxes my mind and the dishes I create are pretty tasty too.
What I like about social media…
is that it’s a way to quickly get what your doing to the public. This once was only something controlled by labels and radio stations. One now can create and have total control of the direction of what they create and over their success. The more work you put in the larger you can become.
Challenges for me on social media are finding new fertile ground to explore and break into. Also learning the different aspects of the components introduced to make things easier. Learning and keeping up with it as fast as it comes can be a chore.
My most favorite artist…
is Michael McDonald. I have other that run a close second but it’s just something about Michael McDonald that just puts me in another zone. Something about the sincerity he extrudes in his voice and delivery style. His voice is very unique. It speaks to white, black and every race, gender and creed across this planet. That’s one thing I enjoy about my music. I’ve been told I and my music is unique.
I haven’t had an opportunity to meet as of yet but one day I hope to not only meet him but also share the stage with him. He is who I’d like to see in concert.
I find that music of today, not all, but much of it, has too commercial. Too much of a money making first quality second situation. This makes it shallow. Music that’s a fad. Around for the time it’s around then it’s gone as fast as it became known. Most of it is not the type of music you’ll pull off of the shelf ten, twenty years from now like the artists of my day and further back. Example is Stevie Wonders, Song In the Key Of Life Album. That album came out my Jr year in Sr. high school, 1976. They yet play song from that album on the radio and it’s yet relevant. The music still speaks to issues of today. There are also other artists with music such as this. If it were not yet affecting people they would not be playing! It’s being introduced to a whole new generation of people. This is what I want for my music. This what also makes my music unique. It deal with deeper issue of today. It gets right down to the brass tacks of what may be going on in a relationship or issue of today. I think that’s what makes music lasting. Not some of the shallow music being made today. There is a resurgence of music and artists from the past also live performances. Music that makes one look into the mirror. Music for the body. Music for the soul. Music of the heart.
My definition of success is…
peace and happiness. A sense of accomplishment. Success to me is when I look back over my life I made a meaningful contribution to this thing we call life.
I am one that does believe in Heaven and Hell. If you read before, I come from the church. My whole life has been spent in the church. I yet play organ for my home church, Tower of Prayer C.O.G.I.C. when I’m home. What I would like to hear Him say as I approach the gates of heaven is, “well done my good and faithful servant. Enter into the Joy of the Lord.”