For those new to me and my wacky journey, I’ll turn back the clock a moment to share some of my personal backstory. My dad gave me a toy piano when I was about five. I took an immediate interest in it. I was grateful for the opportunity to create something that sounded pleasant. My dad, watched my interest grow and followed up with a bigger toy piano a year later, and within a few years, I graduated to a full upright piano with private lessons weekly, to continue developing my musical training.
I continued the lessons for few years, as long as my parents could afford it, but grew tired of playing just the classics like Beethoven’s Fur Elise (my dad’s personal favorite) and Moonlight Sonata (mine). So by the time I was in high school, the piano lessons stopped. Instead, I got interested and purchased song books from pop star pianists Billy Joel and Elton John. Piano was fun again and even cool! We still had the upright, so now I was inspired to continue playing for fun, especially when friends gathered. We’d converge around the piano singing these new tunes I learned that were popular with my pals. This was so much more fun than the nerve wrecking recitals I gave when I was taking lessons to show off my hard work and skills as a young pianist. Singing pop tunes like “Your Song” around the piano with friends was so much more rewarding.
By the time I was in middle school, I was encouraged to take up another instrument and made a musical friendship with the clarinet. I practiced every night and eventually was honored with joining our middle school’s marching band as a clarinetist, making my way to the top … the coveted first place, first chair position (a huge accomplishment and a big honor for this middle school kid).
What a blast it was performing with the band at all the football games, participating in the half time shows, marching in local parades for various holidays, teaming with the jazz band and orchestra for the school’s holiday shows. I cherish those years I was in the marching band and all the wonderful experiences that went with it.
My mother and sister were the pro singers in our family. They had voices like angels. I liked to sing, but was no where near the level of my mom and sister. I was just happy to sing in choirs for school and at our church. I found a safe place singing harmonies and blending in rather than as a stand out soloist. Once a teacher, or choir director learned of my piano playing skills, I got recruited as an accompanist for various occasions.
Choir and the marching band taught me so much. I learned how to be a team player, the importance of practice and the discipline of performing together as a unit, with the occasional spot as a soloist, who didn’t have to carry the entire show. I am so grateful for those experiences. By my junior year in high school, I discovered and focused on my true passion … the art of “acting” where I worked hard to prove myself and was rewarded with many opportunities to shine.
I am so blessed to have had parents that supported and helped me nurture my artistic side. They must have seen the performance “ham” in me. I was enrolled in gymnastics, ballet (performing in local ballets) tap dancing (performed in local shows), piano lessons and even signed up at the YMCA to further my gymnast skills – floor exercise, balance beam, uneven bars. Within a few months I was performing aerial cartwheels, handsprings, backflips. I was a rubber band! I didn’t know I had it in me! I was shocked the first time I performed a no handed cartwheel! You never know what you can do until you try! I realized performing came naturally to me, and the stage has always been my first home. The more skills, the merrier!
At this time in my life, with all this artistic experience, I’m at a place now, that when I’m wigged out, I can take those intense emotions and choose to work them out through the music of my beautiful keyboard, a Korg Triton Music Workstation. This keyboard is a God send tool that allows me to channel the muses in conjunction with the talented imaginary musicians (of the preset programs). My Korg Triton coaxes the cosmic music of my imagination to come to life and come out to play.
Getting lost in all the emotions (uplifting and sad) I can go to my keyboard, release my hands, let my fingers begin their magical dance and slowly a song like Ladyheart begins to take shape. This particular song was inspired by the rhythm of lyrics written by my friend, Ivonne. But when I actually started working with the lyrics, they weren’t gelling with the music I composed. I think it’s because the words weren’t mine, they were coming from someone else’s voice.
Frustrated I needed a time out. I decided to take a break and return later with a fresh perspective. I unwinded a bit in front of the tv to catch up on a show I recorded, about the making of Dances with Wolves. At the same time, Braveheart was on another channel. I have such a deep connection to Braveheart, especially because my daughter is a descendent of the Wallace clan. However, since the bad press on Mel Gibson, I couldn’t watch it. It brought up similar pain from my own soured relationship issues.
When I returned to the keyboard to work on the music again, images of the Dances with Wolves documentary flashed by. These two epic films were now fresh in my mind. I wanted to create a musical piece that had an epic feel. Pulling from all my experiences in the creative process, I wanted to create music that the ballet dancer in me could move to, that the choir singer in me would enjoy performing, that also had energy and an upbeat rhythm I could work out to. I didn’t want to impress anyone, only to amuse myself. I wanted to create for the sake of having fun, not because I had to prove anything.
I am a huge fan of soundtracks. I love practically everything John Williams has created. (Why he didn’t score every Harry Potter film is an enigma to me). So I tuned in and began thinking of epic movies that touched me. Braveheart and Lady Hawk flashed in my mind … hmmm … that was it … Ladyheart … once I had a name, the lyrics just poured out to sync with the music I outlined and whala … Ladyheart was born.
Looking for ways to heal through the power of love, I found my way out of the darkness and fear, joined forces with the muses, and began to blend music with the images dancing in my imagination. From that brew, out of the ethers Ladyheart emerges as a joyous celebration to honor the sisterhood of women. This is a tribute to all the sisters that have touched my own Ladyheart and given me so much. Thank you ladies … this is for us, our own personal connection through the Eros Touch.