RSS

Tag Archives: Ray Charles

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/

Image

I Am Singing… Songs I Love – CD cover

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on April 25, 2014 in Entertainment, Music

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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

Image

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?

Singing_Fish___Pez_Cantante_by_empastillarte

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,

Cover bright

“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/

 
2 Comments

Posted by on January 12, 2014 in Entertainment, Music

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Do you have a signature sound? No? Better get one…

One of the biggest compliments I’ve ever gotten is when another singer asks me to produce them. It means a lot when people love what you do. The only problem is that when they say, “produce me,” it really means that they want what I consider to be my “signature sound.” A sound developed from my early childhood years spent listening to my mom Louise, Aunt Mary and Uncle Jimmy (at the time known as Whitney, Whitney & Whitney) harmonizing while rehearing for a gig or recording date, followed by 15 years singing in my 9 member family group, The Whitney Family. Topped off by a 1991 tour with Ray Charles as a Raelette (and singing the most difficult part, the 4th harmony). All of these influences converged in my little head, and now I sound like “Me,” an amalgamation of all that incredible harmonic foundation. It’s mine, and no, you can’t have it…

Remember back in the day when Babyface was THE go-to producer? Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE Babyface. The only problem to me was that when you heard an artist he produced, you immediately knew it was his production. Why? Because they all sounded like him. And he sang on all their tracks. Cool I guess if that’s what you want. But why sound like him, when you can sound like you?

In these cookie-cutter singer times, I look for the originals. I’m old school. I remember when the WHOLE IDEA was to have your own sound. Remember when there was just ONE Stevie Wonder? Now so many male singers try to emulate him – all sad seconds – who, if they’d just sound like themselves, may actually be “special,” and not just a Stevie wanna-be.

The Raelettes - Paula Moye and Tracey Whitney

Raelette’s Paula Moye and Tracey Whitney Ray Charles 1991 tour.

When I toured with Ray Charles, I roomed with another Raelette, Paula Moye. Paula had a very distinctive way of doing her eye makeup. So unique in fact, that her boyfriend at the time didn’t want her sharing her secrets. “Don’t let them see you do it,” he told her. To him, that made her special. And she was absolutely lovely! But Paula’s secrets were safe with me: I had no intention of looking like anybody but Tracey…

It’s GREAT to love other artists! Necessary even. Others influence us ALL. The trick is to not be lazy, and get sucked into sounding like them. It takes effort to develop your own signature style. But it’s worth it. Otherwise, people will always say things like, “wow, you ALMOST sound just like Stevie.” And who wants to “almost” sound like Stevie?

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

http://babydollentertainment.com

 
3 Comments

Posted by on September 24, 2012 in Music

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,