In the midst of all the great triumphs and accomplishments I've been fortunate enough to obtain I've unfortunately had to endure heartbreaking setbacks. I lost my mom to lung cancer 2 days before my birthday last Spring and I lost my oldest to nephew to murder last month at the age of 17.
All the while I still managed to make public appearances and keep most of my engagements. People often ask me "How did you do it? How do you manage the strength to carry on?" My answer is simply the Lord. There's no other way I could go on with out His help. Doing what I love for a living has helped me to find some sense of peace while dealing with tragic loss.
I've known for quite sometime that what I do is so much bigger than me. It's not just a career, it's a calling. I surely don't always understand what God's purpose is for what He's done, I just have to trust Him and walk by faith. It's hard especially when dealing with losing loved ones so closely.
In the meantime I will lean not to my own understanding, but I will acknowledge Him in all my ways and He shall direct my path...Amen
January 12, 2013 was probably one the biggest nights of my career and life. It would be my return to the world-renown Nighttown in my hometown of Cleveland OH after 3 years. I would be making an appearance with the largest ensemble I've had thus far as an artist, a 9-piece band; rhythm section, background vocalists and a horn section. Having the concert so close to the holidays was an extreme challenge on top of the fact I was in the studio doing the final mixes for the album to prepare it for release earlier in the week.
We worked over a week and a half period to put the show together which was no easy task. I've never been so stressed in my whole career. It was by God's grace that I didn't lose it! :-) Having a good team of like-minded people working with you is key to your success and execution of your plan. I've been blessed to have that. My musical director & bassist Hosea Harris, Jr. worked out the transitions, my chief background vocalist Will Sowell assisted me with the vocalists and my newest addition, leader of the Love & Faith Horns Frank Walton arranged the horns for the show.
The show sold out 3 days before, copies the new album arrived a day before and we were set to go. Showtime! The venue was packed over an hour before the show began. This was the highest anticipated concert of the year so far. The audience was amazing and I gave my all to them with every note I sang. The band blew them away. It was by far the best show I've ever done. I challenge myself to top myself with each performance...so far, so good. It was truly "Something to Remember" and the talk of the town in a beautiful way. Praise GOD! Now it's time to prepare to go on the road this Summer / Fall to promote this "Wonderful" album.
Hope to see you soon,
October 12, 2012 was one of the most exciting days of my life. I was back in New York City to play a return engagement that night at the Sugar Bar in Manhattan which would also serve as the pre-release of my new album "A Wonderful Love". Well, what also made that day so special was that was the day my debut single "Something to Remember" officially hit the airwaves in my hometown of Cleveland OH. I was on Cloud 9 when I got a text saying it was playing on the radio!!
That wasn't the first time my music had ever played on the radio, but the fact it was the first time for anything off the new album was just as special. The station 107.3 FM WAVE and it's programming director Mark Ribbins has kept the song in constant rotation since that time and the response has been incredible. From there the song crossed seas over into the UK where it landed on the UK Soul Chart's Top 30 at #26 and eventually landed at #11 in just a few weeks!! It didn't stop there. Before long it was receiving airplay in Germany, Japan, S. Africa & Switzerland!!
In the midst of all of that, I was planning to do a music video for the single but didn't have a videographer to film it. I was approached by a friend who offered but was unable due to scheduling and he referred another friend, Richard Hampton who had previous music video experience with the quality I was looking for. He understood my vision right away and took to preparing himself just as fast. I was so excited and nervous about it being my first music video and directorial debut onscreen. Rich, being aware of the quality and caliber I was looking for enlisted the assistance of a good friend & mentor of his Curtis Shaw who was flying in from Japan to work on the shoot. So now I had to make it happen. No more procrastinating.
I immediately got on the phone to make some calls to assemble actors and extras with only 48 hours to bring it all together. Thank God for good relationships with great friends! Special thank you to Mariama Whyte, Terri Dillard, Sabrina McPherson, Dawn Kelly & the owners of Opus restaurant.
Within 2 days we were on location for the first night of shooting. We filmed 2 days back to back in 2 different locations. I loved directing the scenes and the actors. Rich & Curt knew how to give me what I was looking for. The main filming was done, right?...not quite. We realized that after reviewing the footage we didn't have enough to complete the video. The greater challenge was that Cassandra lived out of town and was having difficulties getting back to Cleveland to shoot the remaining scenes. Things weren't looking to good.
Rich had the hindsight to suggest we hit the road film the remainder of the video in Cassandra's city of residence, Columbus. I called Cass to inform her of the plan and to see if she knew of some locations for us to shoot per my ideas. She did and we completed the filming there a week later. I decided that prior to us hitting the road that we shouldn't focus on trying to film in conjunction with the previous footage. I wanted the feeling of love and togetherness to of course be the focalpoint, but approach it as a whole new shoot.
That was the best turn of events that could have happened with that. We had the same vision and it formed a great partnership for future productions. We premiered the video Tuesday March 12 @ 1pm amidst high anticipation and the reviews have been incredible!!
I'm seeing so many of dreams realized at this place in my life... I know God is with me.
In an effort to keep pushing the envelope when it comes to promotion I am making my first mobile app available.