'I know it's been awhile, but I have been working on a new project writing songs for an independent comedy. Can't say much now. There are more than 50 comedians on the project and I make a cameo appearance singing one of my original songs. I will keep you posted.'
The year is just flying by....already it is Valentine's Day and January has come and gone. So much has happened since my show at the Suncoast with the holidays being a bustle of friends and family joining us to celebrate. Then the New Year and we welcomed in 2008 looking forward to all the promises of excitement, new projects, a more concerted effort towards being more conscious of what foods we put into our bodies and exercising our muscles so that we stay in shape! Whew!
Busy? I'll say, but in a good way. I cleaned out a lot of closets and I don't just mean literally. There are many things that needed to go so that I can make way for the new. And that is what I did. It was just cold enough outside to keep me in and off my bicycle, unfortunately, so I really had to try and stay motivated to get on the treadmill or go to dance classes. Then I was hit by that very unusual 'flu' that went around the country. Even though it was not totally debilitating, it slowed my energy down enough to keep me inside working on those 'closets'. So, what may have not been the best thing turned into a constructive project.
There were two trade shows I worked, both for bookings, one in Las Vegas in November and the other in San Diego in January. They were very productive. I met many wonderful artists and promoters from around the country and look forward to seeing the results of them.
Then we headed to Nashville so that I could get back with a few songwriters and finish up the songs we started at the end of the year. The weather is colder than in Las Vegas, but it did warm up for us. After spending a week there we drove up to Indianapolis to visit my husband's family. We are back in Nashville now only for the next few days before we head down to Florida for warmer weather and write with more songwriters.
One of my plans for this year is to delve more deeply into my writing, exploring my varied interests in musical styles including pop, jazz, country, rhythm & blues, broadway and swing to see if I can develop my own style which includes a mix of high energy, up-tempo songs and power ballads.
Above all, on this Valentine's Day, and throughout the year, I wish everyone a year filled with treasures, life lived with exuberance and happiness shared with others and quality time with family and friends.
Best Wishes for 2008
Miles Bell took me under his wing when I came to Nashville. We met backstage at the Grand Ole Opry. He asked me to send him one of my tapes as he took a puff on his cigarette, grinned and said, "I don't know if I can help, but if you send me your tape, I can promise you this. I'll be honest with you."
Two weeks later, he called me and said to me in his unique way, "Well, little lady, I think, if I can put you with the right people, I might, and I repeat, I might be able to get you where you need to go". I had come to Nashville to focus on my songwriting, but he knew my background performing onstage in Las Vegas, so he wanted to find a producer who would showcase me.
We were having lunch one day at the Tin Roof before one of our meetings when he placed the salt shaker in the middle of the table and said, "What do you see? A salt shaker? On the outside this may look like a regular salt shaker, but it's what's on the inside that's counts." He laughed and said, "You are like this salt shaker. If we can figure out what's on the inside and package it, we can put it out there for the world to see. Then we just sit back and wait." Wait for what? I asked. He said, "We don't know what the world is going to see until we start getting calls."
Then he introduced me to Dan Posthuma, who became my producer for 'This Time Around'. Dan suggested showcasing my voice by singing a tribute to the great classics and the legends who made them famous. We recorded in Nashville at Blackbird, Darkhorse and the Sound Kitchen with the Nashville Strings and Brass and in Las Vegas with Bobby Darin's conductor, Bob Rozario and my father, saxophonist, Dick Kastel.
During the recording sessions, Miles would bring his friends and colleagues by the studio. He was so like a proud father. This was his baby. He loved this project. His favorite song was 'Over the Rainbow' and 'My Funny Valentine'.
Miles had the funniest sayings, but I always understood him, eventually. He had strong opinions and he was brutally honest because, as he said, "If I don't tell you, who will?"
I loved his honesty and he made me feel special. That was his way. I can picture him doing the same thing with his huge roster of clients back in the 80's and 90's, when he was booking groups 24/7. I believe he could see into the heart of an artist and dig out the potential hidden inside.
He has been an inspiration to me and I felt blessed to get the benefit of his advice; but he was more than a manager to me, he was a mentor and a good friend, and I feel his spirit will live on in those whose lives he touched, like mine. He will be missed.