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My Cup Truly Runneth Over…

Where does the time go?

April 1st marked my 2nd anniversary in the Land of Enchantment (more specifically, my adopted home of Albuquerque), and to say that Imagemy musical experience here has exceeded my expectations would be a major understatement! 2 years ago, no one had even heard of me here. Today, I’m in regular rotation in supper clubs and casinos all over town, and me and my most regular partner, keyboard player Calvin Appleberry, are even featured in a TV commercial for the Isleta Resort & Casino’s Embers Steakhouse (where we perform at least twice monthly). Can you imagine?

Before I moved from Los Angeles, I brought my mom Louise here so that she could get a feel for the town (she was very worried that I’d be here alone). On our first night, we went to the Albuquerque Museum Amphitheater for their Jazz Under The Stars series. Two years later, I’m a part of that series! I’ll be performing in the New Mexico Jazz Workshop’s “Women’s Voices Singing” concert on June 7th http://www.nmjazz.org/summer-concert-series-2014.aspx. But let me back up a minute. On May 24th, I’ll be singing at the “Southwest Sound Fest” http://www.swsoundfest.com. Springing ahead, I will be featured in a concert of my own on June 26th at The Outpost Performance Space http://www.outpostspace.org (the same stage that Regina Carter, Maceo Parker and Joshua Redman are gracing this Spring). Next… I will be performing at the “New Mexico Black Expo” on August 30th http://www.oaaa.state.nm.us/index.php/events, followed immediately on the 31st as the opening act for (still unknown to me) a smooth jazz superstar for103.7 The Oasis radio station/The Oasis Live fall concert http://cooljazzforever.com (it will be announced in May). This doesn’t even include all the normal gigs that I have, and any other events I will be added to this year, after all, it’s only April…

A lot of people thought I was completely out of my mind when I left L.A. to come to the ABQ, especially since I hadn’t even visited before I knew in my heart that I was supposed to live here (I had a dream one night that woke me up, saying ‘You’re supposed to live in Albuquerque,” to which I replied, “WTF?”) Anyway, it took 3 years, but I MOVED. And next to having been a Ray Charles “Raelette” (a gift that keeps on giving!) relocating here was the best thing to ever happen to my career! People hear the name Albuquerque and never think twice. Big Mistake. This town is #7 on the list of Top 25 Big Cities for Art & Culture http://www.americanstyle.com/2012/06/top-25-big-cities-for-art/ (L.A. is only #11). Who’d-a-thunk?

My career has spanned some 43 years (a major blessing, not to mention a lot longer than most musicians working in L.A. now have even been alive). And at 54, I’ve been able to reinvent myself here – and my 2nd act is pretty darned awesome. In fact, far more than I could even have imagined when I packed my up my house and my dog Ginger, and drove that U-Haul truck from North Hollywood to Albuquerque Imagein a pure leap of faith. And I’m beginning to taste my lifelong dream coming true now. My club – BabyDoll’s House of Jazz & Blues – is my ultimate goal, and once it opens, that’s where I’ll always be found. But in the meantime, I’m making a serious name for myself gigging out and about in this lovely town. Did I mention how much I love Albuquerque? No? Well I do!!

My friends: at the end of the day, your career is what you make it. I hope that by reading my blogs, you’ll see that there are ways to achieve your dreams without having to be in the thick of cities like L.A., New York, Nashville, etc. I see that now. I’m ALWAYS one to encourage people to follow their dreams – since Lord knows I’m a world-class jumper! Go to the major cities and give it your all. I want you to succeed! But know that you are not limited by your location. You can always make it, because all success means (at least to me) is making a living doing what you love to do! And if that’s making music, well… get in where you fit in.

Let me know how you’re making it in the music industry. I’d love to hear your story!

Until next time,

Much love ~ Tracey

And here are just some of the ways you can connect with me: www.babydollentertainment.com, www.reverbnation.com/traceywhitney, www.facebook.com/Tracey.Whitney.Music, www.youtube.com/TraceyWhitneyMusic And for more on my family’s musical history, check out The Whitney Family Band website: http://www.thewhitneyfamilyband.com/

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I Am Singing… Songs I Love – CD cover

 
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Posted by on April 25, 2014 in Entertainment, Music

 

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The Grass Isn’t Always Greener In La-La Land…

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Tracey Whitney with The AristoKatz Band (Marshall Katz – drums, Calvin Appleberry – piano, Richard “Kcool” Hall – bass, and Eric Dalton – guitar) performing for the “Sunport Serenades” jazz series 1-10-14

Funny thing happened to me Friday. As you all know, I’m madly in love my new home city of Albuquerque, NM. A little known fact about The ABQ (as it is affectionately called here): it ranks #6 in the top 25 big cities for culture. Crazy, I know. People still think of Albuquerque as the Wild Wild West, but I haven’t seen a “real” cowboy since I moved here 21 months ago. What I have seen is live music. Jazz. Everywhere. Which brings me back to Friday. The City sponsors all sorts of wonderful musical events, and their “Sunport Serenades” jazz series are concerts presented at the Albuquerque International Sunport (so uniquely ABQ. After all, why call it an airport when you can call it a Sunport? <3) Anyway, I’m singing with a 4-piece band (The AristoKatz) in the area that greets incoming travelers, and during our break a visitor says to me, “What are you doing here?! With a voice like that, you belong in L.A.!” Which is hysterical, because I left L.A. to come HERE.

I want to share something that happened to me a while back when I was living in North Hollywood. I was walking to a 7-11 store near my house one day, and I passed a young man with a dog. They both looked like they hadn’t had a decent meal (or bathed) in weeks. One my way back, he stops me and asks something profound: “Ma’am, can you please just drive me out of this town?!” Wow. He didn’t ask for money or food. He just desperately wanted to Get Out of L.A. Like countless others before him, he’d obviously been chewed up and spit out by the bright lights of our big city, and my heart broke for him. Well, L.A. is too darned big to just “drive someone out of,” so I wasn’t able to do what he wanted/needed, but I did give him some cash, fed him and his dog (my dog Miss Ginger contributed a grocery-size bag of Kibbles ‘n Bits, which I suspected would later end up feeding them both). Little consolation for a small town boy/musician, no doubt urged by friends to move because he really was talented. I can hear it now: “Man, you need to be in L.A., you’ll be a star there!” We’ve all heard the tragic stories of local “stars” or beauty queens who moved to the City of Angels seeking fame and fortune, only to be eaten alive. It happens. Every day. In L.A.

Here’s the deal: what makes Y.O.U. special in your hometown is (unfortunately) “the norm” in Los Angeles. It’s a fact: California has the most beautiful girls and the best musicians in the world. Why? It’s no mystery – they’ve ALL moved there from somewhere else. Not that I’m trying to discourage anyone from pursuing a dream. People who know me, know that I’m a world-class jumper! A few major examples: (1) I was called on a Wednesday to audition for Ray Charles to become a Raelette. Thursday was my first rehearsal with the band, on Sunday we were in concert at the Playboy Jazz Festival, and by Monday we were in Denver. I was gone. Just. Like That. (2) I had a dream job at Playboy Entertainment for 5 years following my tour with Brotha’ Ray. Then I woke up one morning realizing that I had been so lulled by the awesomeness of my job, that I was not really singing anymore. So I quit…although I had no idea what I was going to do. Luckily, the Angels showed great favor, and less than a month later I was off to Japan! And I remained there for 5 glorious years singing in nightclubs and doing concerts and session work with several Japanese superstars. My last big jump (3) was here, to the Land of Enchantment. I packed up my house and my dog, left everyone I knew and loved, and stepped “back.” At least that’s what everyone around me thought. Why would I leave my hometown of Los Angeles and move to New Mexico, where I knew no one, and had no support system (with the exception of a distant cousin)? What’s in Albuquerque, anyway? Turns out everything. Music, music, and finally, more music. Everywhere. I’m gigging regularly, my cousin Delano is awesome (and distant no more), and I’ve made some truly amazing new friends (love my roommate Allison!), so my ABQ support system is firmly in place. And did I mention how much I LOVE this city?

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Testing, 1-2. Is this thing on?

Here’s the deal, part deux: Even given my extensive career, my talents and background are still considered fairly typical in Los Angeles. There are GREAT vocalists around every other corner. Singers who’ve toured and done session work with superstars, or traveled the world singing. Just like me. But I’m very unique here. In Albuquerque, my “standard issue” L.A. career makes me a big fish! So, as I smiled and thanked the woman (who insisted I move back to L.A.) I thought to myself, “No thanks, the grass is greener on this side of the fence…”

Let me know how you’re making it in the music industry. I’d love to hear your story!

Until next time,

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“I Am Singing… Songs I Love” CD cover

Much love ~ Tracey

And here are just some of the ways you can connect with me:

www.babydollentertainment.comwww.reverbnation.com/traceywhitneywww.facebook.com/Tracey.Whitney.Musicwww.youtube.com/TraceyWhitneyMusic And for more on my family’s musical history, check out The Whitney Family Band website: http://www.thewhitneyfamilyband.com/

 
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Posted by on January 12, 2014 in Entertainment, Music

 

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My Summer Of Superstars…

Location, location, location. Who knew that my relocating to New Mexico would have such perks? I sure didn’t. If you’d told me even 3 months ago that I would be a published writer AND music critic (really?) for Smooth Jazz magazine, I would have called you crazy. But here I am today: Tracey Whitney, journalist.

This summer I had the distinct honor and pleasure of meeting, interviewing and reviewing the concerts of some of the greats of jazz/smooth jazz: the Earl Klugh Trio with special guest Eric Marienthal http://www.smoothjazzmag.com/information.php?information_id=418

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The Yellowjackets http://www.smoothjazzmag.com/information.php?information_id=421

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And the Terence Blanchard Quintet, with opening act the Lionel Loueke Trio http://www.smoothjazzmag.com/information.php?information_id=428.

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And its just August…

The thing is, if I were still living in L.A., I would not have even been considered for this opportunity. In fact, writers there are so entrenched that there’d have to be some bloodletting to get in (LOL). But living in the Albuquerque/Santa Fe region of NM – which just so happens to be a hotbed of jazz, and therefore, a stop on major artist’s tour schedules – uniquely positioned me. I’m the only one here! Add to that my 9-year background of actually working for a major magazine publisher (plus this here little blog of mine), and I had the foundation to even consider taking on — and ultimately succeeding, at the challenge.

Although I may have never considered an actual career as a “music journalist” before Smooth Jazz offered me this job, one of my dreams has always been to teach kids jazz and blues appreciation and performance, and this week I completed my Higher Certificate in Contemporary Vocal Teaching, Children & Adolescents through The Vocal Academy (www.VIDLA.org). YAY.

I’m a SINGER first and foremost, but I’m always expanding my universe. If you have other talents within the industry that aren’t necessarily “performance” related, please, please, please take advantage of them! Think of other experiences that you’ve had that can possibly be applied, and begin thinking of ways that you can build your own little multi-tiered music empire. Spread your wings into the cosmos. You’d be amazed how high you can fly…

Let me know how you’re making it in the music industry. I’d love to hear your story!

Until next time,

Much love… Tracey Whitney

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Posted by on August 9, 2013 in Music

 

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Create Your Own Opportunities, and opportunities will find you…

The good news is that I absolutely LOVE my new hometown! Albuquerque, New Mexico, a city of just under 1million people, ranks #6 out of the top 25 big cities in the U.S. for culture. Who knew? And during the summer months, live music bursts at the seams here like an overfed Prairie Dog! At the Albuquerque Museum of Art, there’s Salsa Under the Stars on Friday nights, and the New Mexico Jazz Workshop hosts Jazz & Blues Under the Stars on Saturdays.   In Old Town Square, you can find free concerts most days of virtually every musical genre (except Rap). I especially love the Native American concerts (never got that in L.A.). The Outpost Performance Space reins on Thursday nights with jazz, spoken word and other artistic performances. In addition, the Outpost collaborates with the cities of Albuquerque and Santa Fe to coordinate the TWO-WEEK LONG New Mexico Jazz Festival, a truly glorious spectacle of concerts and activities bouncing back and forth between the two metropolises! Not to be outdone, the ABQ Zoo and Biopark have their own weekly festivities, the city sponsors street fairs galore, and the number of clubs and restaurants in Old Town, Downtown and Nob Hill offering live jazz far exceed anything happening in L.A.

Image  Image  All good so far, right? Right… Now the bad news: unbeknownst to this performer, in order to get in on all this crazy good summer concert action, I should have submitted myself for consideration last winter, as these Burquenos (there’s a new word for you – look it up) don’t play about 3 things: (1) Green Chile (even I’m addicted now), (2) their music, and (3) their concert schedules, which are basically finalized by the beginning of the year. WTH?! So this unfortunate former Angelino (hey, I know what Christmas in New Mexico means now [once again, look it up], so I’m officially a New Mexican) is SOL. You live and learn…

So what’s a girl to do? Get in where I fit in! I’ve signed up to volunteer for the New Mexico Jazz Workshop, the Outpost Performance Space and my local AFM/American Federation of Musicians (of which I am a proud member). No one loses here: I’ll be able to get all kinds of face time with decision makers, while helping out at different functions (umm, concerts), positioning me to make invaluable connections with even more movers and shakers. Check and checkmate… The thing is, sometimes to get a lot you have to give a little. It’s NEVER a waste of your time to help others, and if in the process you help yourself, well, that‘s a little something I like to call “gravy.”

Image  And then there’s this: I was given a golden opportunity this week that I would have had to kill for in Los Angeles. One of my Facebook friends is the Editor in Chief of Smooth Jazz magazine. At the end of some lively “chatting” about all the jazz happening here in the Land of Enchantment (like everyone else, he had nooo idea), he asked if I’d like to contribute to the magazine, and do concert reviews of the major jazz artists coming to Albuquerque & Santa Fe. Uh, Yeah! Now understand something; before moving to Albuquerque, I worked for 9 years as the executive assistant to the VP/Editor in Chief of 2 national women’s magazines at Weider Publications (home to Shape, Muscle & Fitness, Flex, Arnold Swatzneggar, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson…you get the idea, and yes, I’ve met them both.) But aside from songwriting and my blog, it never occurred to me that I would someday actually “write” for a magazine. My first assignment? A concert review AND interview with jazz guitarist extraordinaire, Earl Klugh! I’ve been a fan of his FOREVER — and I still have the vinyl to prove it! But if you’d told me a week ago that I’d be writing for Smooth Jazz magazine, I would have called you crazy! Well, here I am, still looking for the smelling salts…

By creating my own opportunities, I’ve allowed opportunities to find me as well. Kind of Karmic, huh?       

Let me know how you’re making it in the music industry. I’d love to hear your story!

Until next time,

Much love… Tracey

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And here are just some of the ways you can connect with me:

www.babydollentertainment.com

www.reverbnation.com/traceywhitney

www.facebook.com/Tracey.Whitney.Music

www.youtube.com/TraceyWhitneyMusic

 

 
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Posted by on June 18, 2013 in Music

 

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Self-Promotion Can Be Exhilarating…And Exhausting.

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I grew up in a 10-member family singing group, The Whitney Family. Back then, singers had one job: the performance. From the time I was 11 years old, we had daily rehearsals mixed with 4 night a week gigs, and summers touring. Our job was to learn the songs, remember the harmonies, and practice the chorography. It was someone else’s job to promote us. Record labels had entire departments dedicated to that one aspect of a singer’s career. Oh, how I miss those days…

As an indie artist, I’m constantly jockeying for position on Reverb Nation (I’m currently the #1 Jazz/Smooth Jazz artist for New Mexico having beaten back my competition in a Rockem Sockem Robots slugfest last week), adding Facebook and Radio Airplay.com fans, and the ever-elusive radio adds. Days spent creating new music videos for my YouTube channel, and any number of other online promotional tools I need to use. My head just spins at the thought of how much time this takes. I just want to sing, dammit! I love being on stage. I love an audience. I long for the day I manage to land a promotion and distribution deal with a major. Yes, just a P&D. I don’t want a “record deal” where someone else decides how I’m going to sound. I already have a pretty good idea myself on that score. I want to hand over a finished product to Mr. Moneybags, and say “you do the rest.” Let me concentrate on the songs, the harmonies, and the choreography (remember that?)  Seriously, it’s 6:30am, and I’m up writing this blog… 

Don’t get me wrong. I love the fact that any one of us can go into a little studio (your bedroom, your bathroom) and produce our own music. When I was coming up, that wasn’t even on the radar – and CDBaby.com? Man, were they a game-changer or what?! It cost BIG, BIG money to record back then – full bands, strings, engineers, producers, songwriters, arrangers, hand-clappers, foot-stompers (those were real jobs), blah, blah, blah… Now, even I can do it – and 2 critically acclaimed CD’s later I have the proof!

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But with that “freedom” comes a lot of drudgework… and the reward? It would be nice to do more than just break even.  Oh well, maybe one glorious day! Till then, I’ll continue to build my little empire – while sitting in my bathrobe, drinking coffee – as my dog Ginger snores at my feet – from the office of my 2-bedroom apartment – not owing a label any of their advances back. Wow, now that I think about it, I’ve managed to accomplish a lot! I’m actually ahead of the game, and it’s only 7:30. Maybe I’ll go back to bed… 

Let me know how you’re making it in the music industry!

Until next time,

Much love… Tracey

And here are just some of the ways you can connect with me:

http://www.babydollentertainment.com

http://www.reverbnation.com/traceywhitney

https://www.facebook.com/Tracey.Whitney.Music

https://www.youtube.com/user/TraceyWhitneyMusic

http://www.cdbaby.com/Artist/TraceyWhitney

 

 
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Posted by on April 30, 2013 in Music

 

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Before you pull your hair out…

There are three ways to approach the music/recording business:

(1) Do Nothing. Imagine that your music is so good, all you need to do is record an album (yes it’s still called an album – a “CD” is just the delivery system), sit back and wait. They’ll come to you. Probably not…

(2) Sign With A Major Label. Record labels today want you, the artist, to do all the legwork before they even take a look at you. And if they do sign you, according to this article, “RIAA Accounting: How To Sell 1 Million Albums And Still Owe $500,000” you may be worse off after signing: http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20110707/03264014993/riaa-accounting-how-to-sell-1-million-albums-still-owe-500000.shtml. Unfortunately, I know from experience how this happens. I’ll pose it as a fable: There was a woman who worked for a major entertainment company. The company signed a band that had a monster, and I mean MONSTER hit one summer. Unfortunately, the band (like most uninformed artists) did not have a clause in their contact that allowed for an independent audit of the company’s books, so they were never allowed to see the actual numbers (yes, you have that right). The band called the woman/company every year, wanting to know where their royalties were. The woman – with a broken heart, but on behalf of the company – had to tell the band every year “the record never made enough to cover advances.” It was the only hit the band ever had, and although the record made MILLIONS, the band didn’t see a dime. Enough to make you blow your brains out, huh?

(3) Go Indie. I admit; this approach can be costly. I can’t/won’t tell you how much I’ve spent on my new project, “I Am Singing… Songs I Love.” My mom would have a heart attack if she knew! I’ve not only paid for the entire recording/mastering/manufacturing, etc., I am now paying for various promotions. We’ll see what happens. However, at the end of the day, I’d rather go broke – or succeed on my own (it could happen!), and know that I gave it my all, then make a record label rich while they rip me off.

Don’t get me wrong; I’d love to sign with a major label. They are the only ones with the money to really get you out there! But it’s something you do with your eyes wide open, and a good attorney (not your cousin who chases ambulances), an ENTERTAINMENT ATTORNEY, at your side. And not an attorney the record label recommends. Believe me, they’re looking out for the interest of the label, not yours. Get your own lawyer!

I’ve been on both sides – the artist and the label, so I have a little more insight than most of you. Chose the best way for you. Just be aware.

How are you making it in the music industry? I’d like to hear your thoughts.

Until next time,

Much love… Tracey I Can’t Help It

http://www.babydollentertainment.com

 
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Posted by on January 22, 2013 in Music, Uncategorized

 

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It’s All In The Stars…

Almost 4 years ago, I decided to move to New Mexico. It took me 3 years and 9 months. Why so long, you ask? The economy. I had a good job, and didn’t want to risk moving here without something waiting for me. So, like I said in my last post, “Never Lose Sight Of The Dream,” I made my plans, and got all my ducks in a row so that WHEN (not if) the opportunity presented itself, I would be ready! Funny thing is, I was only able to move because I was laid off from my job of 10 years. Now, to most people that would be cause for great alarm – for me? No such thing! I felt like I was on a cloud when I left my boss’ office. I could barely contain myself. (Stop lying, Tracey. You DID NOT contain yourself at all.) I practically screamed loud enough for the entire office to hear!

Turns out, 2012 was a 1 Year for me in numerology. A 1 Year is the first year in a 10-year cycle. I knew that I was supposed to lay the groundwork for my next phase, and I knew that it involved living in Albuquerque, but how was I going to get here? Well, when my boss offered me the options of (1) a title demotion (due to budget cuts, they were “downgrading” my position – but adding more work for my replacement) with (2) an almost $20,000 cut in pay to go along with that demotion… OR… (3) a full 4 months severance plus cash payout package… I was like, “Umm, option 2, Bob.” Her name isn’t Bob, but I just couldn’t resist…

Now, I could say that it was a coincidence, but I think not. The Universe already had plans for me, and the timing – although it seemed to me to take forever – was, in fact, right on time. It coincided with the release of my CD, “I Am Singing… Songs I Love.” The 12-hour days I now had available in 2012 (thanks to my former employer) gave me the precious time to lay the groundwork for a smooth jazz radio promotion this coming March. “I Am Singing…” has gotten great reviews, indie radio play worldwide, on-air interviews, a couple thousand fans, and as of today, I moved up to #3 on the Reverb Nation Jazz Charts for Albuquerque (population right at 1 Million). An indie musician like me could NEVER have done that in L.A. A well played hand if I do say so myself.

It’s now 2013 and I’m in a numerology 2 Year. The forecast: “The 2 year cycle is an inspiring twnumerology-01elve month journey in which you will  find exciting connections between your past, your present, and your future. Eventually, you will be able to use this information to set an ambitious goal in motion.” Seriously? How much do I love that!

Forecast for Scorpio for 2013:“This year your professional life will be much more rewarding than the previous periods. More connections and better rewards shall come your way. Joint ventures shall work out well for you this year. This is a much motivational period for you. Some artistic pursuits of yours shall bring forth fruits.” Right?!!

Looks like I’m right on schedule.

The thing is, I’m a great believer in both (1) unseen forces having a hand in our life’s journey, but (2) that force expecting us to do our part as well. We all want things when we want them. But it won’t happen until the time is right!

Yep, it’s all in the stars…

Let me know how you’re making it in the music business! I’d love to hear your story.

Until next time, much love…

Tracey Whitney

 

http://babydollentertainment.com

 
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Posted by on January 12, 2013 in Music

 

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