Tag Archives: Anne Brown

My Tribute and Rascal

As I venture farther and farther into my Exposed musical adventure, and as I receive more and more feedback from angels on my tour, I realize more and more how much I have learned, not only from those who ventured before me, but also from what the journey itself has taught me.

I have labeled this new album a tribute to some of my favorite heroes and heroines in songwriting, such as Joni Mitchell, Leonard Cohen, Suzanne Vega, Jennifer Warnes and George and Ira Gershwin. And as I receive the most amazing feedback from audience members and people who just happens to find me on the Internet, I understand on a deeper level just how much these people have shaped my life and music for the better.

Peoples Parties

Joni Mitchell was my first teacher in the art of playing guitar and singing from the heart and soul. Her album, Court and Spark, healed my heart over and over as I practiced every note and every syllable exactly the way she did it. The reason I chose Peoples Parties for my CD is because I can relate so much to every single person she describes. It makes me laugh and reminds me to have compassion for myself and others.

Song of Bernadette, Famous Blue Raincoat and Gypsy

Jennifer Warnes, Leonard Cohen and Suzanne Vega was referred to me by my dear friend Stefanie Stroh, the very last time I spoke to her. She disappeared after almost finishing her year-long vision quest, backpacking around the globe, and vanished only a day away from home. Stefanie loved Jennifer Warnes’ renditions of Famous Blue Raincoat and Song of Bernadette and urged me to get her album. She also sent me a copy of Suzanne Vega’s Solitude Standing. These songs carried me through years of desperately seeking Stefanie, who is still missing to this day.

Just the other day, as I had just finished my performance at Life on Wilshire, a man approached me, introduced himself as Steve Postell, Jennifer Warnes’ guitar player, expressed how much he enjoyed my set and wondered if he could have one of my CDs and release party fliers to give to Jennifer. I was of course thrilled and gave him two CDs:) Don’t you just love how synchronicity works?

Summertime

Anne Brown made George and Ira Gershwin’s Summertime famous in 1936 as the first Bess in Porgy and Bess. She was my first voice teacher and remained my good friend and mentor until she passed away at ninety-six. This amazing woman, who refused to perform unless they changed the law to include “colored” people in the theatre, back in the day, helped me through the toughest years of my life. She treated me like a star when I felt like a complete failure in most arenas, as I was slowly recovering from a car accident that left me with a amnesia and brain damage. Through her guidance, I was able to sing from my heart with no holds bar, effortlessly and powerfully.

My Cat, Rascal

I feel unusually calm, as I sit here with my green tea latte at Starbucks in Culver City, finalizing the set list for tomorrow’s release concert at Kulak’s Woodshed in North Hollywood. It is perhaps the sadness of my beloved cat Rascal’s imminent departure that is laying so heavily on my chest… She has been with me for almost twelve years, and just like my childhood dog, Hippie, she has been part of all my creative adventures with a constant outpouring of adoration and unconditional love. I will sing for her tomorrow night, for her life and her love, as I share my tribute to those who have touched me so deeply with their song.

Thank you, Joni, Leonard, Suzanne, Jennifer, George, Ira, Anne and Rascal! You live on forever in my heart and in my song.

Here’s Rascal🙂

And here’s my all time favorite tune, Song Of Bernadette, as I sing it on my new CD, Exposed.

Love and Blessings, Caroline

Vocal Expression As Youth Serum

Anne Brown is my number one mentor in the art of singing. On August 9 she’ll be 96 years old. Her face is practically wrinkle free, thanks to a life of vocal expression. Although she also credits her African-American gene pool, she told me early on that no skin product or plastic surgery beats the advantage of singing. “If you want to stay young forever, do your vocal exercises every day”, she said. Then she would add, “And they are also very effective as anti-depressants”. I can testify to all of the above. It’s almost impossible to stay sad or stagnate for any length of time when you open your heart in song on a daily basis.

I visited Anne two weeks ago in Oslo, after an incredible adventure of skiing and performing in the mountains of Norway. She was just as beautiful as I remembered and I was struck, once again, by the magnitude of the brilliance of her being. “Sing to me,” she said, and closed her eyes to listen. I sat down by the grand piano and sang Little Girl and Perfect, two of my favorite songs from Red Velvet Sensations. Her eyes remained closed after I finished. And then a great big smile made its way across her face as she nodded, the exact same way she used to nod when I was just starting out and had completed my homework to her satisfaction. My heart filled up in an instant.

Here’s a picture of Anne and I from two years ago, when she was ‘only’ 94. She had come to celebrate my 40th birthday at my childhood home, and insisted on playing the piano while I sang Summertime, the song she made famous as the original Bess in Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess.

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Yeah well, so I’m a little nuts about this lady. The gift of her teaching and steady loving support has meant the world to me. Anne Brown has taught me to channel life itself, unabashedly so, through my breath, voice and being. She has taught me to open my heart and soul and really, really listen to the sound that wants to come forth. She has taught me, by the power of vocal expression, to stay forever young.

Here’s Little Girl, for your listening pleasure. Feel free to sing along:)))

Little Girl (Written by Caroline Waters. All rights reserved)

Little girl, did you know that in your eyes is Paradise

When you see the way you see, I believe

Little girl, in your eyes is Paradise

When you open your heart in song

You belong to everyone who will hear

Far or near, loud and clear

When you are simply being the one you are

Just the little girl

Little girl, did you know that in your eyes is Paradise

When you smile the way you smile

Just like the little girl you are

Love and Blessings, Caroline