Q: When did you decide to become a singer?
A: I always knew I wanted to be an entertainer. At age 6 I had my first solo at church. I became very involved with theater; however, by age 20 I realized that singing was most important to me and put all my energy into music.
Q: Was jazz always your primary music of choice?
A: I have always been drawn toward jazz, to songs with wonderful, interesting melodies and amazing, timeless lyrics that tell stories.
Q: Growing up, what vocalists influenced you the most?
A: Growing up I listened to a lot of music by Irving Berlin
and Cole Porter
. Such wonderful writers! When it comes to vocalists, I started out as a kid listening to Frank Sinatra
and Tony Bennett
, then later started getting into Jimmy Scott
, Johnny Hartman
, and Nancy Wilson
. Sinatra and Scott are very much opposites; however, they both have such amazing ways with timing. Both have received much praise regarding phrasing. When finding my own voice, all the singers mentioned have influenced me in some way.
Q: Where were you born, and where did you grow up? Were your parents supportive of your musical career?
A: I was born in the heart of America at the foothills of the Ozarks in the old western town of Fort Smith, Arkansas, just east of the Arkansas River. My parents and grandparents have always been very supportive of me. I was raised and lived there until I was 17. Right out of high school, I moved to New York and started taking acting classes and got work as a character actor at the Metropolitan Opera House. Later, I moved to Las Vegas where I performed in supper clubs and casinos then made it to San Diego where I am now, performing with some of the most accomplished musicians in California, and in some of the most respected music venues.
Q: Did you receive any formal training to become a singer? How did you learn?
A: I did have training in church and in school. I took private vocal coaching with the Seth Riggs method, and with big ears growing up, listening to masters, looking up interviews, and hearing what they had to say about their experiences. However, a lot of what I've learned about singing a song has just come with time and my own experience, singing to audiences night after night.