Tell us about your new project “It’s Time to Love”?
My latest music project “It’s Time to Love” is a beautiful collection of melodies that speak of all forms of love – from love of someone special, to love for other people in the world, to love of the Lord. While we started recording last year, it wasn’t until we wrote the title song that I knew the full concept of the CD, and knew that the message was perfectly in tune with these times in which we live.
Do you feel that Jazz has any relevance and appreciation with the millennial generation? If so, why?
Jazz will always have relevance to other generations because it is the indigenous music born of the African-American experience, and to know and appreciate our history is to know and appreciate jazz music. When it comes to the millennial generation, many are already listening and appreciating the freedom of expression that jazz music generally brings. That freedom encompasses everything from melodies, to diverse rhythms, to intensity, to sensuality, to messaging. It’s all there.
What do you hope people who listen to this project get from it?
I hope people will find melodies and words that speak to where we are in life, and that will offer both inspiration and comfort for the present day. Love isn’t the only answer to what ails us, but more of it would certainly help us all. “It’s Time to Love” will give the listening ear a “happy place.”
Tell us about your experience performing for two presidents?
Both of my experiences revolved around singing the National Anthem – for which I have been called to perform for every professional sports team in Atlanta, as well as numerous conventions and meetings. I think someone heard me at an Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau Annual Meeting one year – and referred me to others – so that my name arrived in front of a planning committee for a visit to Atlanta by then President George H.W. Bush. After I sang, he looked at me and gave me a thumbs up sign, and then did it again when we got to the podium, and said my name from the stage.
The second occasion was for a visit to Atlanta by then President Bill Clinton, who has since seen me perform on two other occasions. He was coming through Atlanta as he was campaigning, and I got a call 2 days before that I had been asked to sing. I got a chance to meet him afterwards – and he said that my singing moved him!
Given today’s racial climate, do you feel your message from your album will provide some type of healing?
Absolutely. The title song says it all – It’s Time to Love! With its world beat, that message is one we hope will resonate around the world. And the CD closes with one of the happiest songs I know – “Love from the Sun,” which was recorded by the Dangerfeel Newbies with my vocals.