Today, February 28, 2006, is the release date of Supernova, my second CD. It is also the date of the 150th Mardi Gras Festival held in New Orleans. While I’m on my CD release kick, I’d also like to salute the city of New Orleans. The Big Easy, as the city is also known, is a Southern town filled with mystery, sex, and music, and one of my favorite places in the world. Hurricane Katrina devastated the city last August, yet this resilient town in going ahead with their Mardi Gras festivities.
Some outsiders do not understand why New Orleans would choose to have Mardi Gras this year instead of using the money to rebuild. In my opinion, the city of New Orleans will continue the tradition this year for the same reason the town celebrates death with jazz funerals: New Orleans is a town of spirited folks that will rise again to let the good times roll.
My first trip to New Orleans was a spring break visit in 1994. While studying Jazz History at the University of Miami School of Music, I learned about the birthplace of jazz, and heard the call to see this musical city for myself. At the time, I was just starting to feel comfortable calling myself a musician, but I was still quite green. For the first time in my life, I booked a gig in a town that I had never visited before, using musicians that I had never met before. Before that, my touring experience had been quite limited, and definitely quite sheltered. I had hoped that being a musician in New Orleans would give me the kick I needed.
And of course, playing music in New Orleans was the perfect kick. Before leaving Miami, I contacted music students at the local universities, and put together a band. On arrival in town, I stayed at the India House backpackers’ hostel, and assembled an audience consisting of other travelers from all over the globe. It was awesome.
With new buds of confidence forming, I returned to New Orleans that summer for a coffeehouse tour. For three months, I played music and cut my teeth as a musician in the birthplace of jazz. I saw Tori Amos perform in concert, and also met the man I later married (we even returned a few years later to tie the knot at The New Orleans Wedding Chapel). And coincidentally, on the return from this life-changing trip, I wrote my first Soulflower newsletter in the fall of 1994 to share the details of my musical journey.
As I release SUPERNOVA, my second full-length recording, today, Mardi Gras 2006, I feel gratitude for this town that took me in and sharpened my skills. If I had not taken that journey of self-discovery, this CD might not have happened. Thankfully, it did, and I’m glad to still be in the game, playing my music.
Hurricane Katrina may have devastated the land of New Orleans, but never its spirit. Happy Mardi Gras 2006. Let the good times roll.
My Learning Annex seminar: “How to Make it in the Music Business” was awesome. This was my best lecture yet. If Supernova wasn’t ready yet, I would so be taking this lecture on tour. The musicians in my lecture were attentive and appreciative. I had a great time!