The music I compose and record is original. The lyrics are by me and other writers. I often joke that my musical style is “obsessively eclectic” — as I get older, I realize that perhaps I’m not joking.
I started playing the piano at the age of 6. I’ll always remember the initial group lessons at a local elementary school in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario – we didn’t learn on a real piano, we used a paper piano keyboard diagram, which is still one of the best all-around tools a music teacher can have. I think it led me to “feel” the music in my head and heart.
I took classical lessons until the age of 17, played clarinet in our high school band, taught myself to strum a guitar, and inserted a fair amount of pop music into my repertoire – the regular fare – Beatles, Joni Mitchell, Cat Stevens…. by then one of my piano teachers had a rockin’ organ as well as a piano, so I had the opportunity to experiment a bit, I loved Jobim, Thelonius Monk.
Fast-forward to my mid-twenties when I was living in Italy, in the 1980’s, playing pro volleyball. I was full of inspiration, had time to read voraciously, and was totally involved in the underground art scene in that place and time in Northern Italy. Ensconced in aesthetic and inspiring surroundings, I tried my hand at original songwriting and ended up getting gigs in a variety of clubs. I was the club pianist for a local cultural centre in Bologna – after the weekly Saturday night volleyball matches, I would be off in my FIAT 500 to perform in nightclubs in cities ranging from Milan to Piacenza, Reggio Emilia and Vicenza. My Rhodes electric piano just barely fit into in the back seat, and usually my actor friend Rosanna joined me on my wild capers. Together we did a “post-feminist” musical/comedy shtick.
Indeed I eventually returned to Toronto, since 1988 I’ve collaborated with many different singers and musicians.
Highlights: In the 1990’s I was in a band called “Moanin’ Bones”, with Susan Bryant. We regularly played places in Toronto like Sneaky Dee’s, El Mocambo, Black Swan and Stratengers. A couple of the songs we wrote made it onto the big screen – one was “Much Too Much,” selected for a made-for-TV unauthorized biography about Madonna entitled “Madonna” Unauthorized – The Early Years.” Another one was performing with Steven Brown of Tuxedo Moon fame at concerts in both Toronto and Montreal in 1993.
Many people to thank:
- Chris Hess – produces and performs on many of the songs
- Elio Gelmini – produces and directs my videos
- Terry Christenson sings on the song “Go Go Girls are Gone”
- Shawn Maguire provides a memorable guitar track – the lyrics for that song are by my brother-in-law Doug Blagg
- Irene (older sister) wrote the lyrics for several of the songs on the first collection
- My mother for ensuring I had the opportunity to take piano lessons at an early age
I’m currently working on a set of original songs based on poetry by Nello Vegezzi – an “homage to nature” of sorts, and there are plenty more original songs/lyrics waiting to be recorded.
And I still like to simply sit at the piano and sing songs like Bridge Over Troubled Waters (Simon and Garfunkel) and I Should Care (Cahn-Stordahl-Weston).