Hey girlfriend! Do you know that you are my first repeat interview? I was so impressed with your Latest CD “Rollin” that I just had to sit down and talk with you. Some of the songs are: “Blues Fonk, “Sext Bones,” “Keep My Baby Outta Your Eyes” and many more! So, tell us about the new recording - it rocks!
Thank you Lea. I am glad you enjoyed my CD. That was the whole purpose - for folks to enjoy the Music. We worked very hard on Rollin'!
Is there a tour planned around the CD?
Yes, most definitely. I hope to be out on tour with this CD this fall, and next year. I have been working here in the Bay Area gearing up for the tour.
You are now signed to Rooster Records. Is Jim O'Neal still heading up things? He is a blues legend. What has the journey been like getting there and what are the benefits? The downfalls, if any?
Actually I am signed with Rooster Records. The President of this company now is Robert Johnson. However, Jim O'Neal is the A&R Man on the label now. He is a great guy!
Jim is a great guy! I never forget…the first time I went to Mississippi. Jim and his lovely new wife invited me to dinner and then took me to a juke joint in Bobo, MS. I had never met them! Jim also took me to the Rooster studios when it was in Clarkesdale. What an experience. I will never forget his kindness. Dick Waterman was kind to me like that also…
Jim is like that!
I am so glad he took me to this label. It took some time to sign with Rooster Records. It seemed like it was taking forever. But in the long run, it was truly worth the wait. Rooster Records is a FANTASTIC record company!! They seem to do everything right. They are on the cutting edge of Blues Music.
You have strong feelings, that we share, on how African American women are portrayed in the blues. Share those feelings with us and tell us how you believe we should be perceived?
I believe our music should be taken very seriously. We ain't playin' out here! African American women have a lot to say, and it should be heard. Rooster Records is giving me the freedom I need, to say what I want to say.
Do you believe we women performers should galvanize ourselves and support each other more? Have you ever been on the other end of musical jealously?
OOOh yeah… I have been through that! Women, we shouldn't get jealous of one another. We should pull together. Then we can get more done for ourselves.
What influences you musically? What and who are your inspirations?
I am influenced by the traditional, old fashion, R&B and Blues singers and pie -anna players. The real Sangers! You know, when folks say they sho! can SANG! Singers like Bessie, Etta, Papa Ray Charles, Johnny Taylor, Mavis, Sam Cooke, Mead Luxe Louis, Amos Melbourne, Wynonnie Harris and them.
OH yeah! I know what you are talking about girlfriend! And the cool thing about it is that you can go to any local Black sanctified church and find some of the best singers ever!
I know that’s right!
There are not many women out there playing boogie-woogie, what influenced you to move in that direction?
I have always been fascinated by the style of music. And I challenge myself to be able to play it. The left hand is a monster you have to tame. It involves a lot of dexterity.
Name some of the folks you have performed with lately. Have they influenced your performance?
Yes, there are people that motivate me. Some are still with me even though they have gone on. For one I am still hearing some of Frank Zappa songs especially the funky ones; Advance Romance; and John Lee Hooker’s you you you you moan; I hear Sly Stone’s innovative changes; Otis Redding’s deliveries and KoKo Taylor’s raw kick ass in your ear voice; Etta James, still steaming, tasty after all these years - Hot Mama! These are the folk that influence me.
I know that your husband Stanley is an important part of your music (as well as personal!) life. How is it working and being with someone 24-7?
When we do Music Business he is CO-producer arranger, and my Manager, and it is strictly business. We come home, he is my wonderful husband and my Love bun. We have learned that we must not combine the two. It is not a good mix. It could cause some real problems had we not learn to work it out.
You are also a Mom. What have your kids been up to?
Well, praise the Lord, My sons have grown up and are doing fine. Each of them are at both ends of the spectrum. My oldest son is a Bass playing Minister. My other son is a very talented Shakespearean Actor. Both are in college as we speak. However, the Mother role never stops. It is continuous -- I feel for ever. They still hit me up for the money. Moms, you know what I am talking about?
Girl, I feel you! My sons are 17 and 10. They are my wonderful babies. I also have a 40 year old husband I am still raising. LOL!
How do you keep yourself motivated in this business? Do you have a spiritual connection?
Being connect to God is my only motivation. I feel that He anointed me with a talent and I must continue to use it to best of my ability. I rather enjoy the ups and downs of this business, because it gives me reason to keep moving ahead.
Is being a woman musician an asset or liability?
At first it was a liability. Then as I persevered, and now found it to be an asset. I have musicians I have played with for years, they have no qualms about a women being the leader of the band. They have really encouraged me, and we play really well together. If I make a mistake they just go right with me. It is amazing!
What is your dream gig?
My dream gig is a role in a motion picture about the Blues. In Ten years, I hope to be on the same level as KoKo, Aretha, and Etta. I am ready for the hard work this will entail. If the Lord says the same, I know it will happen.I think that I would change two things: one I would have started my solo recording career much earlier than I did. I would have made it my business to learn the music business and make it my first priority. I would like to have been more patient and understanding and wait on things, I have now learned to put it all in God's hands and let the Lord direct my path.
If you could do it all over again, would you change anything?
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