I am so grateful for my life!!! The most extraordinary experience in my musical career to date was the opportunity to sing background vocals for The Monterey Jazz Festival’s Tribute to Quincy Jones: “The A&M Years” with Quincy Jones as Honored Guest. Christian McBride, Musical Director, John Clayton, Conductor. Hubert Laws, Dave Grusin, James Carter, Paul Jackson, Jr., Sean Jones, Lewis Nash, Valerie Simpson AND MORE. If you don’t recognize any of these names, look them up. Everybody on the stage is a master musician. And on top of all that, I got to sing with the Oh So Groovy (and one of my favorite people on the planet) Lynne Fiddmont (www.lynnefiddmont.com) and my dear sisterfriend Tammi Brown (www.tammibrown.com).

Why was it so extraordinary? On my “bucket list” of who I wanted to meet, there have only been two people: Maya Angelou and Quincy Jones. For me, these two African-American icons have represented the epitome of music, spirituality and social activism in their own authentic ways; Maya as a voice of authenticity, creativity, versatility and strength in overcoming, and Quincy as a voice of authenticity, musical brilliance, collaboration and connection. I had the honor of meeting Maya Angelou before she passed. Now I have had the opportunity to not just meet, but actually sing for and have a conversation with Quincy Jones. And I sincerely hope to have many more.

Also, the experience of singing with amazing musicians, watching us all in our authentic mastery was so inspiring. And the energy of joy was electric! The lessons that I learned from that night will remain with me forever. Right before the van picked us up for the show, I wrote on a piece of paper that I stuck in my purse the following words:

Breathe
Be present
Know my part
Blend
Listen
STAY PRESENT!
YOU GOT THIS

And whatever it is that you are endeavoring to do, I say the same to you!

The SHINE! Project is the title of my long-awaited recording, featuring the songs: “Forgive Again”, “Choose to Fly”, “Love & Justice” and more. The songs reflect my life journey of learning the importance of forgiveness and authenticity, and recognizing the relationship between love and justice.

The SHINE! Project was also the title of a fundraising campaign on the innovative new crowd-funding site backher.com, which is dedicated to supporting women & girl-led projects. Thanks to amazing donors, $10,000 was raised for the recording process. I am deeply grateful for, and honored by, this support and belief in the project! To date, we have had two incredibly successful and magical days at InDigital Studio, laying down tracks for the album, and are now finalizing rhythm tracks for all twelve songs. Then I will record the vocal tracks. As you can imagine, creating a completely self-produced album is challenging, time-consuming and expensive work. The $10,000 is an incredible start and, truthfully, additional funding is needed to see the project to completion.

Many people have asked if they can still donate, and the good news is, if you want to donate, it is not too late! To support The SHINE Project! please click on the green button above to go to the secure PayPal site to make your donation. For a donation of $20 or more, you will receive a download of the project upon its completion. I will notify you of the recording progress and how you may obtain your copy via the email address that you provide in the PayPal transaction. I promise not to use your email address for any other means without your permission.

I realize that by contributing to this campaign, you are entrusting me and the other members of my team to do great work. I don’t take that gesture lightly. I strive for excellence, efficiency and above all LOVE. This is my mission – thank you for joining me in it.