My Return to the Stage – August 21, 2021

Iโ€™m having a myriad of feelings going through me right now: Exhilaration, excitement, nervousness, anxiety, panic, thrills, chills (the good kind, not the worrisome ones) and so much more. Tonight is a special night for many reasons. The San Francisco Opera is opening its 99th season with Pucciniโ€™s Tosca, an opera that has a long history with the War Memorial Opera House. I am returning to the production originally directed by Shawna Lucey in 2018, and I am reprising my role as La Marchesa Attavanti. This is also an unique production because both Ailyn Pรฉrez and Alfred Walker are making their role debuts as Floria Tosca and Baron Scarpia, respectively.
Aside from these debuts and reprises, it is a tremendously important moment for me personally because it will mark the first time I have been on a stage, in front of a live audience, since January 2020. For most performers, and most of the world, coming back to live theatre has been a blessing and a curse, an opportunity and a threat, a welcome return and a challenge to endure. For the last year and a half, many performers (myself included) have been quiet, contained, unable to do what we love and crave, yet eager to get out, get back, learn more, be more, and do more.
I know that tonight at the War Memorial Opera House, โ€œThere will be more stars than there are in all of the heavensโ€ (to loosely reference Louis B. Mayer). It will not simply be from the role debuts, or the chorus, or the children, or the backstage crew, or the audience, but collectively from all of us combined. We all will be making history in the most glorious way, in the way of the comeback, the fighter, the return to making greatness happen, witnessing it, and giving and receiving simultaneously.
I am thrilled to be a part of this production, and excited to be back onstage. Itโ€™s one of my homes, and where I live from time to time. I have to give a huge thanks to the admin and the backstage crew at the San Francisco Opera House for being diligent and working tirelessly to keep us all as safe and secure as possible in order to have this production succeed. Many thanks to them all. Toi, Toi, Toi to the cast and crew for a wonderful opening night!
Tosca is running for five performances, starting tonight! Hope to see you there. Itโ€™s good to be home.

Ola Belle Reed – โ€œIโ€™ve Enduredโ€

One of my favorite banjo picking gals is songwriter Ola Belle Reed. She was born on this day, August 18, 1916 in Grassy Creek, North Carolina. She came from a musical family, learning clawhammer-style banjo from relatives, and began writing songs and performing as a teenager. Her songs are personal and reflective of her Appalachian life and upbringing.
In honor of her birthday, I performed a rendition of her song โ€œIโ€™ve enduredโ€ which is one of my favorite songs from her catalogue. Enjoy!!

Happy Birthday, Fats Waller!! ๐ŸŽถ๐ŸŽถ๐ŸŽต๐ŸŽต

Happy birthday to the incredible Mr. Thomas โ€œFatsโ€ Waller! In February of 2020 I was able to travel to Nashville and record a Fats Waller album with some of the best guys in the business! I had a stellar time, and loved the recording process!! Then in March, everyone closed up shop and I had to shelve the album. Even though I had hoped to finish recording vocals & instrumentals and have the album mastered, finished, and released by May 21st, his birthday, it was just not in the cards for me.
Since things are beginning to open back up, Iโ€™m hopeful that by the end of this year Iโ€™ll be able to go back into the studio, finish the album, and release it! Iโ€™ve got my Fingers crossed! Do yourself a favor and go listen to some Waller tunes today. He is wonderfully upbeat and such an absolute pleasure and joy to listen to! Happy birthday, Mr. Waller!! ๐ŸŽน๐ŸŽน xoxo

Happy Birthday, Peggy Seeger!! ๐ŸŽ‚๐ŸŽ‚

Happy 85th Birthday to the incredible Peggy Seeger, a talented songwriter, musician, and activist whom I had the pleasure of meeting 6 years ago in NYC at one of her shows. It’s rare that Ms. Seeger comes to the US, so when I heard that she was going to be doing a show in NYC, I knew what I had to do.
I had the pleasure of speaking to Ms. Seeger after the show, and she was wonderful!! Her long musical career, her songwriting talents, and her music influenced me tremendously, and I was happy to listen to her share about her folk roots and musical journeys. I feel so lucky and blessed to have met her, and to top it all off, she signed my banjo that night, THE banjo that I still use and play today. It has given me incredible energy and raw power that I feel all music should have. Thank you, Peggy, for all that you’ve done, all that you continue to do, and for all the music you’ve shared. Happy Birthday!!

Bandcamp Proceeds

Hi Everyone! Since Bandcamp waived its fees today & all sales are going directly to artists, I’m contributing 100% of my proceeds from today’s sales of my debut album “Siren’s Song” to #SoOakland‘s campaign to rebuild Black-Owned businesses in Oakland. You can purchase my album here:

Thanks for the support! And if you want to donate directly to the fund, here is the link:

June 2020

Although normally on the 4th of every month I write a post celebrating the anniversary of the release of my debut album, I didn’t have the gumption to do it today. Lately I have been more interested in promoting other causes, and simply didn’t feel it appropriate to promote my album right now. I’ve decided instead to showcase what we can be promoting right now, and how to be a part of the solution. Thank you all for your support, but other causes need our collective attention right now. #BlackLivesMatter
Please consider contributing some money to any of these organizations. Thank you!

Happy Birthday, Pete Seeger!!

Happy Birthday to Pete Seeger, an incredible artist and human being who influenced both my life and my banjo playing. In honor of his 101st birthday, I celebrated by performing one of of my favorite songs of his, called “If I Had a Hammer.” Hope you all enjoy!! Happy Birthday, Pete!!

Happy LEAP Day!! ๐Ÿ€๐Ÿ€โ˜˜๏ธโ˜˜๏ธ๐Ÿ’š๐Ÿ’š

Hello, Folks!!
It’s been a long, fun, busy month, and on this most glorious of February 29th holidays, I’ve had a chance to reflect on a few things. I remember that 4 years ago today, in the Leap Year of 2016, I took a trip to Ireland with my banjo in hand, and traveled through that beautifully green country, playing at open mics, cafes, pubs, jam sessions, anywhere I could all over the country. I had a lot of repertoire and had written a few songs, and was eager to learn, jam, participate, and step up my game. That was a transformative trip for me, and it made me realize how much I wanted to get my music career together and really make something of myself. I wanted to have something to show for all my years of studying and doing. So I took time to listen, learn, practice, & write. I stayed busy and wrote as much as I could, as often as possible. Flash forward to 2018: I got my arse in gear, went to Fantasy Studios in Berkeley, CA and recorded a solo banjo/vocal album, and released ๐Ÿงœโ€โ™€๏ธ “Siren’s Song” ๐Ÿงœโ€โ™€๏ธ on May 4th, 2019. It is now for sale in several stores in 3 states in the US (California, Washington, & Tennessee!!) and can be streamed on most major platforms. I have one music video from that album online and another video soon to be finished and available for viewing. ๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ˜Š
Today, I can proudly announce that this past month, I got out my saxophone ๐ŸŽท๐ŸŽท chose the repertoire, learned the songs, hired some of the best guys I know in Nashville, and recorded a tribute album to the legendary Fats Waller ๐ŸŽน๐ŸŽน whose joyful music and charismatic personality has been on my mind & in my heart for many years. On this album, I both sing and play saxophone, and that in itself is a feat for me. In my research for this album, I found many lesser-known gems of his, and in reading about Mr. Waller, I am astonished at how fast he was in terms of writing and recording his music. And I feel like I can relate to that: Although I am so proud of the work I’ve done thus far, as I’ve been looking back on how much I’ve accomplished, I can’t help but think how much more work I have to do!! Never in my life have I been more motivated to do work & get work done: Write, Record; Rinse, Repeat. It’s great to enjoy what you’ve done, but there’s something to be said for working hard, working well, working smart, and staying in the game. In these past four years I have become more disciplined and determined, and now, setting goals and meeting them is no longer an issue of how, it’s a matter of when. I’m ready for more adventures, to collaborate with other artists, and continue my work. Looking forward to the next four years, and the four years after that, where I can reflect on how much I’ve accomplished, how many plays I’ve written, how many albums I’ve recorded, how many shows I’ve done, etc. Let’s do the work, create some art, share the joy, & spread the love. 
Hope everyone enjoys their Leap Day as much as I have enjoyed mine today. Goodnight! ๐ŸŒœโญ๏ธ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒ™

Happy January 2020!! โ€- New Music Video ๐Ÿงœ๐Ÿงœ

Good evening, Folks!! 2020 is shaping up to be pretty spectacular so far!! I am shooting a SECOND music video from my debut album “Siren’s Song” tomorrow, and I am so excited and proud of the work done on the video thus far!!ย 
โ€๐Ÿงœย “Siren’s Song”ย ๐Ÿงœย came out 8 months ago today, and if you haven’t heard it or purchased it yet, please do so!!ย 
The video I’m filming tomorrow is for my song “When Will We Learn” which is a song I wrote with a heavy heart about coping with the aftermath of gun violence. It’s a beautiful song, and the video will reflect how this affects us all.
Hope everyone is having a wonderful new year and being productive, finding success, and happiness; and learning, loving, and living as much as possible. Happy January!!

Happy Holidays!! ๐ŸŽŠ๐ŸŽ‰๐ŸŽ๐ŸŽˆ

Well, Folks, it’s been a long road & a busy and eventful year for me. 2019 was great for many reasons!! I am thrilled to say that my debut album ๐Ÿงœโ€ “Siren’s Song” ๐Ÿงœโ€ is doing very well! My album is for sale in stores in 6 record stores in California (Boo Boo Records and Cheap Thrills in San Luis Obispo, Amoeba Music in San Francisco and Berkeley, the Musical Offerings Cafe in Berkeley, the Music Store in West Portal, SF) and 2 record stores in Seattle (Easy Street Records and Silver Platters)!! I have been slowly but surely touring and going around playing shows and promoting myself as often as possible. As an independent artist, it’s quite difficult to do everything on your own, including promotions, bookings, cold callings, as well as actual performing, and writing new material. Despite the difficulties, I have a lot planned for the next decade. I am working on a top secret album which I am recording in February (hint: ๐ŸŽท๐ŸŽท๐ŸŽน๐ŸŽน๐ŸŽง๐ŸŽง๐ŸŽผ๐ŸŽผ๐ŸŽค๐ŸŽค), and I already have a new banjo album lined up for release in 2020, which I have been steadily working on for the past few months. Everything in this game and this industry is all a matter of pacing, timing, perspective, & determination. I must say, I appreciate EVERYONE who has supported me, come out to my shows, booked me for gigs, and who has steadily been there for me as an artist, and as a person. The love I feel from my tribe and my community is amazing and unwavering, and I could not, and would not be where I am today without every single one of you. From the bottom of me heart, THANK YOU!! Wishing you all a wonderful holiday season and a happy new year! Let’s ring in the 2020’s in style!! ๐ŸŽŠ๐ŸŽŠ๐ŸŽ‰๐ŸŽ‰