WOW in Maui

Every day has been a one-of-a-kind special day and YES! I have found local musicians and dancers that have been wonderful people and talents…this is the newest…

I can’t download pics ( I forgot my computer wire…ugh!) but I HAD to tell you all about this gentlemen I met yesterday. His name is Makana and I was absolutly SMITTEN by his heart for music. Check him out at




Hawaii here I come

Much musical magic has manifested over the past couple of months. From the start of this music blog (for those of you who are new, please read the ABOUT page to catch up on the current projects) to me flying to Maui, as I type out this sentence. And like this opening paragraph, life is full of many m-filled moments.

Mmmm Mmmmm good…

“You’ve got to learn to take the good with the bad…

the bad makes the good that much better”

Someone told me that once (or twice) and I have taken it to heart.

As most of you know my past will thankfully stay in the past (we say hallelujah!) and I choose to see life for the possibilities that it holds. So, here we are folks! Here is a fantastic update in ila selene music land, while I fly a bazillion miles in the air!

  • Blog started in January 2012 to reach a personal goal of learning 5 instruments & recording 5 styles of music posted…all to be chosen as the year chosen thus far (but always allow for wiggle room): Country & Jazz!
  • COUNTRY: Read the updates; click here!
  • JAZZ: Read the updates; click here!
  • Local church musicians/choirs are talking about ideas. (What’s happened)
  • Musical instruments chosen so far: ukulele & harmonica
  • Read uke update; click here!
  • Read harmonica update; click here!
  • Networking here in Southern Oregon and Worldwide. Friends in Africa, & Australia now and all around the USA, who are 100% on-board!
  • Many local photographers will donate to this project!
  • Video fear over! (I never wrote about it, but I had big issues to overcome.)
  • I’ve lost 10 lbs! (Being healthy = better music; read this!)
  • A local Jazz festival has brought me on as their Public Relations Director!
  • Read about the Jazz Festival; Click here!
  • A new band has chosen me to be their new front-lady. Meet The Mixers
  • The Bathtub Gin Serenaders that I sing with are planning to record soon!

Working on getting kids involved…super pumped about that.

Now I need you! I need so many more people involved! There is no other reason but for the love of bringing others together & making music together. I really can’t tell you where this will “go” but for those out there that it makes since to spend some time working with someone you may never meet in person, I implore you to step out! I’m offering my talents. I’m offering my time. I’m offering my passions. Weather it’s your desire to write songs or help videotape musicians who are in separate countries for music videos, I WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU! The next steps are easy…NETWORK! NETWORK! NETWORK! So…

Who are you? What creativeness would you like to try? Can you pass my blog information on to your buddies/friends/family/doggies?? Are you a professional and want to work on something outside of your comfort zone just for the LOVE (or hell) of it?! Ask yourself, when was the last time you did something bigger than yourself? Besides…I’m a nice person, so … yaye!!! You can do it!

Just think about it, blog about it, link my stuff to what you are talking about and begin! This is a way to ride that musical wave with me and let’s just see what happens! The world is our oyster.

e-mail me here!

p.s. I am closer to Maui now; still flying! Wish me luck on meeting some new friends!

Strike a chord…I’m a wreck!

**I am not the type of person to cry at the drop of a hat…but something struck a chord in me today…

As you all know the arts can be a very emotional journey and hopefully if we are open to it, very healing. I can’t stop the tears right now as I am mixed with sadness and beauty all at once…completely overwhelmed.

During the recent karaoke contest I helped judge, there was a singer with such a sweet disposition and unique voice with such intense emotional passion almost bottled up inside of him, I found myself entranced with his simplistic, quite  beauty. I was so taken by his voice and overall demeanor, that I asked an audience member to grab his phone number for me as I wanted to speak with him later. He didn’t place in the final round of karaoke singers, but my ears could not erase the mystifying sounds that came from him. He was a humble man, didn’t have the grace to move across the stage like others in the competition, but still….there was something grand inside of him I saw.

I gave him my business card. I’d hoped I would have heard from him by now, but with no e-mail showing up as of last night, I chose to give him a ring today. He was flabbergasted that I called him and listening intently as I described my blog and personal challenge I had given myself. I told him I heard something special in his voice and really wanted him to consider a duet with me and we dialogued a bit.

And then…he says,

” Well, I don’t get out much … I don’t even know why I joined the karaoke contest. I don’t know when I will be able to get to a project like this…” He paused and rambled a little then said, “We just had my wifes memorial on Saturday.”

I sat silently, stunned. I listened. I gave my condolences and flashed back to how intensely he sang the love songs during the finals…every word of love and adoration so pure and genuine. He was singing it to her.

I know nothing about this man, but my heart aches for him and at the same time my heart swells with understanding of what he chose to do. He chose to sing to his bride and use music for its true intent…to cross time, bring people together and heal. wow. He literally sang threw his confusion, sadness and loss; using music and those around him that he knew respect it, to express his love and be closer to her.

I asked if this was expected, and with a hush, he said, “no…it was quit the surprise…”

I told him about a local hotline he could call for those times he may need it and let him know they were open 24 hours a day. (I used to help homeless kids remember? I hope it helps him.) We spoke more about the musical project and he said after a while, it sounds like something he would want to try out. Then he said, “although, I’m just a small choir boy.” I told him I saw something special and hoped I’d hear from him again. After one more word of condolences, we hung up the phone. I raced to blog as my mind raced. But as soon as my fingers touched the keyboard, I lost it…completely caught off guard and overwhelmed with the purity of it all…the amazing thing I was just apart of…it was the only response I had to the power of people together and music as its conduit and tool.

The karaoke crowd had all cheered him on, completely unaware of his journey. His spirit and message will be in these C.D.’s.

Well, I didn’t make it into the semi-finals for the rising stars fund-raising competition, BUT we did raise over $700.00 for kids in need! In order for people to vote they had to drive to South Stage Cellars in Jacksonville Oregon and put in their $2.00 vote. As of Thursday night I was ahead, but I guess last-day voters gave to the cause and to their favorite performer. It was a fun experience and I know the next group of people will find just as much enjoyment as I did. All the best to them all! 🙂

The T.V. interview I was in, looks to have been cut. Such as it goes some times. I remember when I was in Glamour Magazine, the article began as a big two page story. It took months of collaberation and continual interviews, and even included a photo shoot! It was the first time I was in a 5 Star hotel…ha…let’s be real; the ONLY time. The article ended up less than a page (if you count actual words, not pictures.) It was a LOT of work for everyone and overall an immense amount of time invested into painting this true-life story. It was cut back for advertising space.

So, I don’t have any links to give you or news of heading to the semi-finals, but I will give you this…


There was a time that I would have been discouraged by these events. Now, I see them as wonderful life experiences where I was pushed to step-out and am inevitably glad that I tried! I think, “Who knows who else may have benifited in some way.” I don’t want to think back and regret. I want to pull back the magical red velvet curtain to see what it hides.


We are made to reach new discoveries and search for hidden treasures…I don’t think we can really help ourselves as human beings. It’s the reason we have maps of both the land and ocean bottom…we just keep PUSHING.

My “no” is someone elses “yes”, my failure is someone elses opportunity and my grit becomes strength for everyone.

Never, never, never give up. (Sir Winston Churchill)

I hope this encourages someone out there. HUGS

Well, I didn’t…

More karaoke! Wait…What?!?

It’s been a busy week! My business cards just came in today, so I was able to pass them out at the karaoke contest I helped judge tonight. I hope some of them contact me, because boy oh boy are there some wonderful voices out there! We shall see…It’s funny how time changes so many things in life… if we allow it to.

I was REALLY scared of singing karaoke, to the point that I never wanted to be around it. If I was with a group of friends or family and that magic box appeared, they would always beg me to go sing…after a long battle and sometimes losing the fight, I’d end up on the stage, completely freaked. How this is possible is beyond me. Not because I think I can sing anywhere at anytime…no quite the opposite. MANY performers still get the butterfly’s before a show, even after a century at it. karaoke was a major mind-block for me…any close performance when I had to sing,act,speak or dance where I would be able to see the audiences faces and all the emotions they were experiencing, was absolute horror to me. My girlfriends and I would go out and eventually karaoke came up as a “fun” night option. There were only so man times I would be given the grace to say no, until my close friend Carrie would get fed-up and irritated at my lack of participation. She was a karaoke air guitar and drumming queen! So I chose to face it head-on sooner than later as the inevitable was this…singers MUST sing karaoke and have FUN doing it! I enjoy watching people fight their fears with the karaoke mic…it’s a gas.

You can imagine my surprise when I was told I couldn’t compete in a karaoke contest because I was a “professional.” WHAT?! A little over a year ago, I was completely wrecked at the thought of singing with that machine…and now instead of being in the competition (and basically being kicked out of it…ha!) I was asked to come back and judge the semi-finals and the finals. Simply a bewildering thought. Time brings outstanding changes.

Below are some pics from this past weeks performances…so far the South Stage Cellars Rising Stars has raised over $700.00 for kids in need!

After a LONG week of multiple job-interviews, T.V. interviews, performances, building businesses, meetings & a plethora of karaoke singers, I’m sleeping well tonight. I know that out of all this, at least one more kid will be helped when they need the help, one more singer came closer to realizing their potential by taking one more scary risk and one more day has gone by where another day will replace it tomorrow and bring more hope for needy kids, singers and life hopes. It’s only just begun…

Jazz baby

I was asked the questions today… when did I start to sing? When did I begin to run around singing and writing music, why did I start and who taught me.

The short answer to all of that is…I just did.

I couldn’t afford a camera, so I took pictures with my mind. My first camera was a gift given to me in my mid-twenties. Before that, I had throw-aways (now and again) and I have to say, some of my favorite pictures were taken from those little boxes. But, before even the throw-aways came a long, like I said, I took pictures using my eyes as the shutter and my imagination as the camera in order to capture the moments I would’ve captured, if I actually had a camera in hand. I just did.

So, the same goes for music. My mother has always shaken her head at all of her children in wonderment…every last one of us LOVE & perform music, but it really wasn’t in our family lineage or surroundings; other than the car radio. Her kids just did. Sometimes the answers we are looking for aren’t as hidden as most other things in life. I guess, it can be an unsatisfying pill to swallow. But…the truth is what it is.

Many things have and continue to influence me both my eyes and imagination. I realized after another show tonight, that it was high-time I post about one of the bands I sing with. This isn’t just any band to me…these people are amazing friends and have no idea what huge supportive pieces they have been in my life. I set music down for about two years…I didn’t sing or play anything. Someday I’ll blog why…but, this “band” of people came along and invited me to join them in their musical quest. I’m so glad I did!

The Bathtub Gin Serenaders band was formed about three years ago, starting with the washboard player and two others who are no longer apart of the group due to life-changing events. These foundational three, searched for five others and the rest is history in the making! Or so we joke… 😉 We’ve sang in the back of a semi-truck in front of a beautiful lake, with the sun glowing all around us. Later that night we were invited to play at a wedding, where the bride and groom were wedded in treehouse! In less than 6 hours the band went from playing in the bed of a semi-truck at a music festival infront of people-filled grassy knolls, to a romantic environmentally-friendly wedding reception in the woods in essentially what was a small “town” of tree houses and walk-ways. (the organic chocolate-dipped strawberries were an added YUM!)  It was magical.

The Bathtub Gin Serenaders opened my vocals to new ways of navigation, my ears to new music I had never heard and give me major continual vocal work out. I get to bounce from a Bessie Smith meso-alto blues tune to Betty Boop style cuteness songs. We all love to continually learn and though we are SERIOUSLY diverse, we dig each others company and the gift of time we have together.

In honor of the following people I have chosen jazz as the second musical production to be recorded this year:

The Bathtub Gin Serenaders, my extremely influencial high school choir instructor, college years touring with the jazz group Soundsation, Kirby Shaw who has always been super supportive, my good friends The Coats, Kim Nazerine from the New York Voices (she was so sweet ot me), The first lady of song Ella Fitzgerald and MANY others. Keep swingin it out…DO IT!

Torn apart church makes beautiful music…mmmm

When I started this musical journey, I never imagined the amount of focus and energy I would give to it, especially due to adding this accountability of blogging. I never imagined it would open up such personal insight. I knew re-opening my vocal cords and re-teaching myself the vocal techniques I had learned during my time in formal education, would be much like dusting off a fine painting, fit with Goddy frame. Crevises so deep that some of the dust would never come out, but instead of ruining the piece, it simply enhanced it. I knew it would be a long physical and emotional path. Still, I sit here and shake my head at the recent events and how it has all unfolded.

At a non-profit show to help children, I was asked to be the featured vocalist. I love children, so that was an easy committment. I walked threw the doors of the church, which had been rented for the special event, and noticed the warning tape across what looked to be the sanctuary doors. I have to admit, some funny thoughts and jokes popped into my mind instantly. Quickly after though, I wondered why the construction tape was drapped across the doors. I tabled the curiosity and moved ahead to the task ahead.

At the non-profit show, I had a wonderful time, met stunning people and enjoyed pushing myself to sing one of my original songs that is very dear to my soul.  There were too many beautiful moments to type out, but all I can say is I am so glad I stepped out and did something for others…I mean really, when does that usually go bad? Maybe if you do it too much or try to take on too much too quickly, I suppose. This was just enough of an out of my comfort dynamic mixed with security. People cried from the impact they felt from the songs and the lovely pianist was magnificent, per her usual.

Then the abandoned sanctuary came back to mind. You see, earlier the pianist and I snuck into the sanctuary because she was told there were pianos in there among the construction rubble where we could practice. Well, we are both pretty curious Sprites, so investigate we simply HAD TO! We removed the yellow barriers and cracked open the door to reveal an amazing sight. The warm toned sunlight streamed in from the tinted windows, tools and wires tossed about and in the middle of it all, sat two large items covered by blue furniture blankets. They were baby grand pianos! Our heads swung from right to left and up and down trying to visually take in the construction scene. I was instantly became very intrigued by my pianists response to the room. Our heads bobbed from side to side,  but her countenance was that of a fuller connection. She looked like she was watching memories fly in front of her eyes. I listened to her say the words, “This was my old church…this is the place I grew up in.” I said nothing as she walked over to the covered pianos and pulled back the blanket. It was a beautiful medium colored wood. Then she said, “and this was my first piano.” Even now, I am appreciative and privileged to be apart of that moment.

She pulled back the covering to reveal the keys of her old love and began to play. My entire chest cavity awoke with the grand sound that was produced! The room seemed to fill with a musical mix of colors; deep purple-blues. I listened and glazed across the room, then thought of how appropriate this was for the both of us. Where we were in our individual lives and where we’d both come from. Instantly, I want to record her playing her old piano, in the middle of the wreck of carpet, nails and wood. She is rather logical by nature, so for this moment to happen was fantastic and compelled me to capture it. At that, I stood back and joined in with song.

Later that night, I brought the conversation of the recording idea up to see how we could make it happen. I was too excited for words and with every moment became more excited when I saw others get behind the idea.

Through a series of amazing events and availability of others, we returned the next morning to record. This time, we had a professional photographer, video cameras and audio recording capturing our organic creativity. We didn’t talk about what to wear or any details of even what to play…we just wanted to be there in that short moment before the construction continued the next Monday and we would be cut-off from this place of transition. Even now I feel emotion…no matter what is restructuring is taking place around us, we can find rest in restlessness and beauty in the rebuilding.

 It’s funny how things work out and fall into place sometimes. 

As an old author friend of mine used to say, “build on your rubble.” I’d like to add….and build with your rubble wherever you can.