Voices With Purpose: Meet my new friend and fellow dream diva, Joan Cartwright

I just surfed into this blog by Melinda Armstrong to read about ME! Wow, what a wonderful way to start the week! Thanks, so much, Melinda Armstrong for this beautiful commentary.

Women Reinvented

“All the Joy that you can find is waiting in the magic of a dream…..”

~Joan Cartwright, DREAMIN’

This is the line I heard as I sat down to scribble this blog entry.

“Make sure everything you do means peace and joy for you…”

And she sings…

“Don’t stop hoping that happiness will find you….”

And in that moment, I knew…

God, I was meant to meet this woman.  If for no other reason than this moment when her CD (which she kindly gifted to me today when I purchased her beautiful book about her life’s journey) was playing in the background of my taps on the computer keyboard.

I am happy to say that my attitude when I attend networking events is that each person I encounter has a gift for me.  I know that I must study their faces and look into their eyes for the gift.  It…

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Patricia Adkins-Chiti RIP

Over 10 years ago, it was my fortune to connect with the founder of Fondazione Adkins-Chiti: Donne in Musica, Patricia Adkins-Chiti, who became and remained my mentor throughout the development of Women in Jazz South Florida, Inc., a non-profit organization founded in the USA to promote and support women musicians, globally. Beyond her encouragement and motivation to do the work for our organization, Patricia mentored me through my doctoral process and provided me with material to include in my dissertation – Women in Jazz: Music Publishing and Marketing. Also, in 2013, I was invited to be among 40 women composers at the WIMUST Conference in Fiuggi, Italy, where I met Patricia in person and enjoyed spending time with her.

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Carol, Patricia, and Joan at WIMUST Conference in Fiuggi, Italy, in July 2013

Today, I was tagged by Irene Robbins in this post from Silvia Costa:

Patricia Adkins Chiti: A life for women in music [June 13, 2018]

On June 12th, Patricia Adkins-Chiti left us. A great pain, a huge void. An extraordinary woman, a musicologist who dedicated her life to the exploitation of women musicians in the world with the women’s foundation in music/women in music which marked the 40th year. For me, for 35 years, especially a special, generous, sensitive and loving friend. Irreplaceable. But also a wife who adored her Giampaolo, musician, and composer, who combined her common passion for music and a great love made of understanding, tenderness, and complicity.

Mezzo Patricia was awarded by President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi of the title of Commander of the Republic for Cultural Merit. Her pioneering role in historical research on the presence of women among musical composers and as interpreters or crew had at the base a rebellion united with a deep sense of justice: denying a historiography that in fact denied it and returning identity and honor to so many women artists and authors. For this, Patricia had been on the UNESCO Music Council and, in 1978, created the international foundation of women in music, recognized by the Italian government, UNESCO, EUC, Arab Academy, and International Music Council UNESCO.

Thanks to Patricia and her foundation, many of us have been able to meet in person hundreds of musicians and contemporary interpreters from around the world. Through its publications and extraordinary research we have discovered wealth and cultural diversity, the creativity of musicians that without her would not have come into international music history. Passion and competence brought Patricia as a young mezzo, to snoop and study in the innermost archives, in all places in the world where she first went as a singer and then as musicologist. From this capillary work was born, in the 1990s, the foundation archive based in Fiuggi: Foundation Adkins Chiti: women in music. And in the municipality of Frosinone, which she so loved and where she had a beloved house, her retreat, started a very important initiative, the International Symposium of Women in Music in Fiuggi, where the historical centre of the town filled with music and meetings of extraordinary musicians.

But her very important work of research, which led her to write over three hundred essays on the history of composition and musical guidelines, was aimed at a mission that committed her whole life and that, even yesterday, with a thread of voice from her bed she reminded me of in the hospital. That is to return memory and honor to women who are often ignored in Italy and Europe by official history. And so, in the first encyclopedia she wrote with Aaron Cohen, she discovered 21 thousand women of which 1200 were Italian. Patricia’s foundation promoted contemporary music through calls for young composers.

Together with you, I have experienced the commission’s adventure, equal opportunities with the presidency of the council and President, on horseback at the end of the s, when as president I demanded that an artist be inserted, a choice I made, after I met her in the 1980s, and I understood her great value and commitment. From that friendship, there are many things including some of her most beautiful publications such as

  • The Almanac of Righteous Divas, candeille, and musicians of Italy
  • Jamila and the others: The music of women in the Mediterranean from civilization Sumerian to 1492, as a handbook for schools in Italian, English, and Arabic
  • Women of Music in Europe in Italian and English

These three books accompanied several seasons of my life, always with Patricia close,  from my experience in the Italian Parliament to the role of regional councillor to the European Parliament, where we presented it with a small concert of women. I was a member of the foundation board with dearest Gigliola Zecchi. When we were talking to Patricia about our friendship and our common commitment, we remembered two great initiatives that had seen her extraordinary creativity.

The first was in 2000, “Special Envoy” of the National Commission equal to the UNESCO Conference on cultural rights as a member of the Italian government delegation, Patricia convinced a distracted assembly, mainly male, singing in full plenary a lullaby of Schubert followed by a strong appeal “for your mothers, first teachers of music,” Patricia said, “I ask you to vote on our amendments in favour of recognition, exploitation and role of artists and musicians.” This was a success and the vote was unanimous.

The second, great project that at first seemed impossible was when she announced that she had asked for an appointment by the Secretary-General for the Jubilee of 2000 to celebrate on 12 September the feast of the Madonna with a great show of music, interreligious, entitled “Maria mater mundi”, dedicated to Maria, Myriam, and Mariam of the three great monotheistic religions.

Knowing her extraordinary ability to convince and her diplomatic skills, I never doubted that she would succeed as with the extraordinary show of dance and music in the church of Minerva in Rome with Liliana so dedicated to Mother Teresa of Calcutta, a few years earlier, Bringing the dance back to a church! I still remember the emotion and extraordinary beauty of the show at the packed hall, beyond every prediction, in which they blended singing, music and dances of women from different parts of the planet, opening with the jubilee hymn from her commissioned to candeille through with an international notice. There was also a diplomatic incident because someone in the Vatican did not want a group of Iranians to sing the sacred verses of the Quran. But Patricia preferred to give up live TV rather than the singing of Iranian musicians, supported in this by Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe. In an interview, she remembered that TV came from all over the world, including CNN.

Her commitment in recent months has been dedicated to carrying out the prestigious task entrusted to her by the United Nations High Human Rights Commission to organise in Rome as the only Italian foundation of the universal declaration of human rights devoted to women’s cultural rights. In the public notice launched by the foundation for women composers and creating music of all ages, nationalities, and musical training, she confided in me, the day before her death, with a special light in her eyes, that 196 replied from participating countries and 120 would be selected. She was very proud of this result and told me that the songs, which will be selected by an international commission, will be presented at the Argentina Theatre in November 2018 in a grand gala with UNESCO, UNHCR and the Italian government. This project had the official recognition of the Presidency of the Council of Ministers and attributed the logo of the celebration.

Patricia’s commitment must become the commitment of all of us to bring this extraordinary event to a successful conclusion and dedicate the day of November 5 to her bright testimony of passion for music and women’s rights. I would be happy if women and in particular the musicians in Italy, Europe, and worldwide, would acknowledge European International Music Day on 21 June. I will do so on 26 June in Brussels at the high-level Conference of the European Parliament for the European Year of Cultural Heritage and on 27 June at the opening of the event dedicated by the delegation of pd to the 150th anniversary of death By Joachim Rossini.
Silvia Costa

Photos of the WIMUST Conference in Fiuggi, Italy in July 2013

 

Reinvention and manifestation

This morning, the 2nd day of January 2018, Dawn Norfleet, Ph.D. wrote:

Once again, some folks are criticizing Mariah Carey’s NYE performance in below-freezing weather. (I say the following not as an MC fan specifically, but as one who thinks about the realities of a changing instrument amidst increasingly rigid and unrealistic expectations of pop audiences.) My question is: how do uber-stars cope with voices and bodies that mature? At nearly 50, it must be difficult for MC to deal with audiences’ super-high expectations that will probably get increasingly harsher and more unrealistic as she gets older. Contemporary pop songs highlight vocal calisthenics of the singer and don’t seem to have much wiggle-room for maybe not hitting those runs or those big notes that catapulted singers into uber-stardom if the planets don’t align that night. So much at stake: uber-stardom yields uber-paychecks.

1mariah gettyimages-630748842_master [Photo: http://heavy.com/entertainment/2017/12/mariah-carey-new-years-2016-2017-performance-video-fail]

So the best mature vocalists do the best they can with what they have, vocally and songwise. Jazz stars who started their careers as teens had to adjust their repertoire, singing styles, range, and approach to the realities of their instrument as the ravages of touring, big notes at all costs, and life wore on their voices. Sarah Vaughan adjusted, and so did Ella Fitzgerald. Digital studio magic ill-prepares pop audiences for even an extraordinary voice like Mariah’s for change and adjustment. Many were not forgiving of Whitney Houston’s voice, in her last years. I wonder what will happen to Beyonce, Christina Aguilera, and other post-90s vocalists in the future. I wish MC and the rest of them well, and that they can find ways to keep using their natural gifts in healthy ways that still move people. (((Thank God for the forgivingness of Jazz! I wouldn’t want the pressure of always competing with my 19-year old voice.))) I hope MC continues to train her audiences in dealing with real vox humana, rather than lip-synching. BTW – I think she got through her 2nd song more successfully. Kudos to her for pushing forth. ~ Dawn Norfleet, Ph.D. Musician and Educator

Lauderhill Jazz Jam - jc1On a personal note, I began my singing career at 4 years old at the RKO Lowe’s Theater on Sutphin Boulevard and Hillside Avenue in Jamaica, New York, under the tutelage of my mother, Charlotte Galloway Cartwright, and my dance teacher, the illustrious Bernice Johnson, wife of famed saxophonist Budd Johnson. The first song I sang on stage was Somebody Loves Me in English and French. What attracted me the most was the bright footlights. Those lights lit something up inside of me at that very tender age and I went on to rock stages until November 2014, a month before my 68th birthday.

I had the fortune of being in the Jazz world, surrounded by great musicians like Freddie Hubbard, Cecil McBee, Gerald Price, Shirley Scott, Sonny Stitt, Philly Joe Jones, Count Basie, Sun Ra, Trudy Pitts, Mr. C, McCoy Tyner, Bobby Durham, Oliver Jackson, Dr. Lonnie Smith (not Lonnie Liston Smith), Lou Donaldson, Bertha Hope, Kim Clarke, Dotti Anita Taylor, Nicki Mathis, George Benson, Quincy Jones, George Cables, Cindy Blackman, Artie Simmons, Bernard Samuels, Giovanni Mazzarino, Nello Toscano, Oracio Maugeri, Paolo Mappa, Angelo Unia, and so many more who touched my lives in miraculously musical ways. I traveled on five continents in 20 countries, singing my brand of jazz and blues. The joy I experienced as a vocalist and composer is documented in my memoir – In Pursuit of a Melody (2006).

With regard to uber stars like Mariah Carey, I believe it is important to constantly reinvent yourself and manifest new and exciting experiences throughout your life. The word ‘star’ has tripped up many talented artists. But turn it around – rats – and it can bring you way down. The indignation suffered by Whitney Houston had nothing to do with her singing ability and everything to do with her ability to reinvent herself.

I always taught my students to recognize the importance of being present for the audience. You can sing by yourself in the shower. But when you step on stage, it is to be there for the audience. However, uber stars tend to go one of two ways:

  1. They overstep the boundary of being human and lose sight of who they really are and what their purpose is: Marvin Gaye, Jimi Hendrix, Dinah Washington, Billie Holiday, Judy Garland, Elvis Presley, Whitney Houston, to name a few.
  2. They lose themselves in trying to save humanity: Michael Jackson, Prince, Jesus Christ (Superstar), Nina Simone, Tupac Shakur, John Lennon.

My solution to the age-old problem of ageism while being a performer was to create a new reality – I went back to school and earned a doctorate in business. However, too many musicians believe they know everything they need to know by the time they reach 60. Most have no financial plan for living until they are 90. Lionel Hampton could not walk across the stage to his vibraphone, even though, after being pushed there in a wheelchair, he played his proverbial ass off.

I did not want to drop dead on a stage. After 63 years of performance, with a couple of years off for good measure, I decided I’d sung Misty, Take the A Train, and Tenderly quite enough! Lucky for me, my daughter, Mimi Johnson, followed in my footsteps, giving me plenty of opportunities to live vicariously through her. Mimi took it one step further and formed an online TV station – www.mjtvnetwork.info – (MJ = Mimi Joan).

diva jc last manMimi made me an actor in two of her sitcoms, presented me on her talk show The Arts Reporter, featured my books on MJTV HOME SHOPPING BROADCAST, and my recipes on Genius Cooking!  This was reinvention at its best because I was doing it, my daughter was.

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Eleven years ago, I manifested Women in Jazz South Florida, Inc., a non-profit organization with the mission of promoting and advocating for women musicians, globally! Today, we have 326 members with 172 women musicians! We have six CDs of women’s music and we are embarking on several performance projects in 2018 with our musicians. Visit our website and join us at www.wijsf.org

The point is that Mariah Carey and all the other uber stars have an opportunity to reinvent themselves and manifest something great that can carry them through their later years. Their path may not be like mine. But they can use their artistic ingenuity to develop something special that can help others, while they are helping themselves to cope with the aging process. At 70, all I can think about is the fun I’m going to have getting to 80.

Life is a canvas. Be an artist and paint your life! ~ Dr. Diva JC

 

 

Now this!

Now, this!

By Dr. Joan Cartwright

Jazz journalist Lara Pellegrinelli’s recent article Women in Jazz: Blues and The Objectifying Truth (2017), commiserated on the marginalization of women musicians in the Jazz/Blues genre, stating that the cultural assumption is that women are merely the passive vessels for male sounds (Pellegrinelli, 2017).

In response to Pellegrinelli, Terri Lynn Carrington said: When I started teaching and hearing the stories of the young women at the college, . . . I realized just because my experience was not the same as theirs, I am a part of this community and have to work toward or fight for change in any possible way that I can.  I feel great ownership in this art form and know that I belong here, and want my female students to feel the same way.

In a Huffington Post article, Carrington wrote, “On issues of racism and sexism, there can be impatience from progressives, expecting that after all this time everyone should just know better and stand on the correct side of consciousness” (Carrington, 2017).  She continued with, “feminizing or masculinizing music can be counter-productive. The studying, composing, and performing of music should be gender neutral, and I think the greatest musicians are musically ‘gender fluid’.”

I do not agree with Carrington’s statement because I have found few Jazz musicians, and certainly even fewer Classical musicians, who are willing to push forward music composed by women musicians.  My fortune was that Freddie Hubbard recorded my composition Sweet Return in 1983 on Atlantic Records.  Even though his half-German wife, the publisher, did everything in her power to stop the progress of this album because she felt there was something romantic between Freddie and me, which there was not, that composition made it into the Freddie Hubbard Song Book, much to my surprise.  Since then, I have had no other opportunities to get my music performed or recorded by any gender fluid musician, even though I have gifted several male musicians, band leaders, and arrangers with my song book.

In Black Nationalism and the Revolution in Music (1970), Frank Kofsky expounded on the words of Professor Archie Shepp, an articulate spokesperson for African-Americans. Shepp said, “the United States is culturally backward because white Americans have been unwilling to give credit to African-Americans as innovators of jazz, which he refers to as American realty – total reality.”  Shepp contends that whites “think they have a right to jazz instead of being grateful for jazz as a gift that the Negro has given.”  He said even white Americans in the jazz world “deny that jazz is first and foremost a black art created and nurtured by black people in this country out of the wealth of their historical experience” (Cartwright, 2009, p. 56).

For three centuries or more, white men have used the physical and cultural production of Africans in America to enrich themselves and their families while white women reaped the benefits in silence. White men raped African women, continually, producing a whole new group of people who were sold regardless of their relationship to their white fathers. The transition from cotton, tobacco, and sugar cane to jazz and blues as a money-making venture was as smooth as Smooth Jazz! Festivals and clubs around the world raked in millions of dollars while disowning the very people that the music came from. White musicians and educators dot the halls of conservatories and universities where jazz is taught by rote just like the classical music that issued from European concert halls.

Now, this – white women are complaining that they are marginalized in the world of Jazz. What a surprise. These same white women and their foremothers never found it odd that the music that spoke of freedom for Africans enslaved in America has become the popular music of today, without the input of African musicians.  A survey of jazz educators will result in a very low number of African professors at universities with Jazz Departments.  Professor Archie Shepp at Amherst, Dr. Larry Ridley at Rutgers, Dr. Karlton Hester at UCLA San Diego, Dr. Linda Williams at Southern University, and the handful of African-descent professors at Berklee – Terri Lynn Carrington, Patrice Rushen, and the late Geri Allen do not comprise a long list of instructors that teach the music that actually came out of their communities.

Do white people have a right to perform and teach Jazz and Blues music? This question is moot since white people believe they have a right to appropriate EVERYTHING FROM EVERYBODY and that no one should ever say anything about it in the negative.  Well, my book A History of African-American Jazz and Blues (Cartwright, 2009) discusses how The Music was appropriated, packaged, commercialized, and serendipitously stolen from its originators.  Besides the theft of the publishing royalties of great composers like Duke Ellington by publishers like Irving Mills, who managed Duke’s band for 13 years because African musicians could not belong to ASCAP or manage themselves outside of TOBA, Jazz and Blues musicians of African-descent were exploited in every way possible.

Of course, like cotton, tobacco, and sugar cane crops, Jazz and Blues were new crops that white men felt entitled to exploit to their personal benefit.  Musicians of African descent had no choice because they were barred from owning anything that they produced in the United States. Most prolific musicians died pennilessly and their families rarely benefitted from their cultural production. The following excerpt attests to that fact.

The financial pressures were exacerbated by another familiar pressure which had afflicted jazz musicians right from the start of the music – their reliance on the largely white businessmen who ran the clubs, record companies, management and booking agencies, and, most significantly, music publishing. The shaving of bands’ fees by clubowners and agents, and the practice of managers and agents adding their names to the publishing rights of tunes – and thereby claiming a share of their often lucrative proceeds – had begun early in jazz (Duke Ellington’s manager, Irving Mills, is a famous example, and while Ellington himself was never slow to claim a co-credit on works instigated by his sidemen, at least he had a musical hand in them) and, according to Dizzy, had grown no better by the time of the bebop era.

People with enough bucks and foresight to invest in bebop made some money. I mean more than just a little bit. All the big money went to the guys who owned the music, not to the guys who played it. The businessmen made much more than the musicians, because without the money to invest in producing their own music, and sometimes managing poorly what they earned, the modern jazz musicians fell victim to the forces of the market. Somehow, the jazz businessman always became the owner and got back more than his fair share, usually at the player’s expense. More was stolen from us during the bebop era than in the entire history of jazz . . . (Mathieson, 1999).

So, for white women to declare that they are barred, unfairly, from making a living in the Jazz scene is ludicrous.  White men have maintained control over the cultural production of Africans and they have no intention of relinquishing that control.  The rub is that African men will embrace white women musicians far more readily than they will women of African descent with a few exceptions like Dexter Gordon and Melba Liston.  However, Regina Carter and Teri Lynn Carrington managed to eke out a place in The Music for themselves and their art.

But most women of African descent who appeared on the Jazz scene, until recently, were shoved in a corner, rarely to be heard from.  Some of the most profound of those women were Vi Redd, Jeannie Cheatham, Dorothy Donegan, and Trudy Pitts.  Other talented musicians, like Shirley Scott and Hazel Scott, found favor because they had notable husbands – Shirley and Stanley Turrentine and Hazel and Adam Clayton Powell, Jr.  Today, Mimi Jones, Shirazette Tinnin, Lakecia Benjamin, Camille Thurman, Jazmin Ghent, Gail Jhonson, Karen Briggs, and Esperanza Spaulding are making some headway.

Meanwhile, white women are courted by musicians of African descent with valor and pleasure.  For instance, Christian McBride partnered with Diana Krall and Prince endorsed Candy Dulfer (and the two white women in his band).  Perhaps, white women can pay to gain credibility by recording and performing with African-American musicians, while women of African descent cannot make that monetary layout.

As far as sexual harassment is concerned, what is it that white women do not understand about the sexual energy of white men who raped African women during slavery, while their white wives languished in plantation mansions?  Today, white men are being called out in great numbers for sexually harassing women in the workplace.  This is their modus operandi.  Is that to say that African men do not rape and sexually harass?  Heaven’s no.  It is the nature of man to hunt women like prey.

My career as a Jazz/Blues vocalist and composer spanned 50 years.  I remember several instances when I was targeted by male musicians.  However, I was able to extricate myself from the situation or rationalize why that happened.  One white man told me to take my clothing off.  When I refused, he told me I would never be anything but a secretary.  I asked him to call me a cab and went on to have a charmed career, performing in 20 countries on five continents, without ever taking my clothes off for one single opportunity to perform or record.

Maybe I am a very strong woman with principles that do not allow me to cave into the taunting of males.  One of my band members suggested that I engage in fellatio with him in a closet at a New Years’ Eve gig that I hired him for.  I did not speak to him for two years after that and I never hired him again.  Women have recourse.  Sniveling about sexual harassment without speaking out about it means nothing.  It’s a man’s world only because women allow it to be that.

Women fail to create camaraderie amongst themselves.  For 10 years, I have been the director of a non-profit organization that promotes and advocates for women musicians.  It is like pulling teeth to get women to support this organization.  They think that supporting Women in Jazz South Florida, Inc. detracts from who they are.  Women are not joiners or supporters unless they think they will get something from an organization.  They expect me to be their agent, to get them gigs, to promote them even though they refuse to pay $50 dues per year.  That’s insane.

I spent the last six years writing my dissertation Women in Jazz: Music Publishing and Marketing. My research showed that women lack sufficient business skills to succeed in the monstrously competitive world of Jazz.  Most women musicians resign themselves to teaching rather than concentrating on branding, networking, teamwork, negotiation, and accounting.  Few are adept at writing grant proposals to win financial awards to produce and perform original music.

Then, there are those that know my organization exists but minimalize it because I am not a white woman.  Well, Blues and Jazz came from the experience of African women and men in America, and just because white musicians think they own it, they never will.  They may play all the riffs and copy all the solos of Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughn, Carmen McRae, Betty Carter, Marylou Williams, Hazel Scott, Melba Liston, and other prolific Jazzwomen but they will never understand the burden that led to the expression of the Blues and, subsequently, Jazz.

White people harm each other – yes – but the harm they did to Africans in America was counteracted by the Blues and Jazz and they can never understand the full meaning of that because they are unwilling to give credit to African-Americans as innovators of jazz, which [Shepp referred] to as ‘American realty – total reality.’  As Shepp contended, whites ‘think they have a right to jazz’ instead of being grateful for jazz as a ‘gift that the Negro has given.’  He said even white Americans in the jazz world ‘deny that jazz is first and foremost a black art created and nurtured by black people in this country out of the wealth of their historical experience’ (Mathieson, 1999).

References

Carrington, T.L. (2017).  Sexism in jazz: Being agents of change. Retrieved from https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/sexism-in-jazz-agents-of-change_us_58ebfab1e4b0ca64d9187879

Cartwright, J.  (2009).  A history of African-American jazz and blues. FYI Communications, Inc. (www.lulu.com/spotlight/divajc)

Cartwright, J. (2017). Women in Jazz: Music Publishing and Marketing. FYI Communications, Inc. (www.lulu.com/spotlight/divajc)

Mathieson, K. (1999). Giant steps: Bebop and the creators of modern jazz, 1945-65. Retrieved from https://books.google.com/books

Pelligrinelli, L. (2017).  Women in jazz: Blues and the objectifying truth. Retrieved from https://nationalsawdust.org/thelog/2017/12/12/women-in-jazz-blues-and-the-objectifying-truth/#comment-5707

Dr. Joan Cartwright is a Jazz/Blues vocalist, composer, and author of books on Jazz and Blues and Women in Jazz and Blues. She is the founder of Women in Jazz South Florida, Inc., a non-profit organization that promotes and advocates for women musicians, globally! www.wijsf.org

 

Honey Jam Barbados

In my pursuit of melodies, I bumped into these lovely women in Barbados who are bent on keeping the tradition of Ella Fitzgerald’s scat singing alive and well. Women in Jazz South Florida, Inc.’s founder and director Joan Cartwright saluted Ebonnie Rowe, founder of Honey Jam Barbados at the Hilton Hotel in St. Michael, Barbados on January 26, 2017.

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Joan Cartwright of Women in Jazz South Florida, Inc. meets Ebonnie Rowe of Honey Jam in Barbados at the Tribute to ELLA!

Featuring Kellie Cadogan, Betty Payne, and more!

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Kellie Cadogan

Betty Payne

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Kellie Cadogan

Thanks to Lorraine Gibbs for taking me to this wonderful event!

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Music – Work or Play

jcbahamas7aMusic: Work or Play?
By Professor Joan Cartwright
[March 25, 2016] Most musicians begin their careers at four or five years old and continue until they die. Does the term play effect people’s thinking about what musicians really do? Does the action of playing music mean that musicians do not work?

In my 40-year career as a vocalist and songwriter, I have run into stone walls getting to the next level. I started singing at a theater in Jamaica, New York, at the age of four. By eight, I was a headliner in the annual Bernice Johnson Dance Recital. Mother doted on my Shirley Temple curls and my outfits of shiny tinsel and crinoline-lined, lacy dresses, not to mention the ballet, tap, and interpretive costumes my parents paid for.

I studied piano with a woman whose name is long forgotten. But her stern face never encouraged me to learn. I was 27 when I met Gerald Price, the musician whose demeanor catalyzed my growth as a vocalist, pianist, and composer. My harp teacher, Caliope Proios, with whom I studied for two years, listened to my life stories as she showed me the difficulties of changing pedals and string fingering.

In the seventies, my formal education involved music, but I dueled my B.A. with Communications, a new department, separate from English. Television production fell under this banner, with radio, journalism, marketing and advertising, while The Medium is the Message (1964) by Marshall McLuhan led me to do everything to get the message out that I am a musician and I have something to say.

For the first 10 years of my career, I was paid to do what I love – sing. But I was told that singing for free at benefits was good ‘for exposure’ by a singer friend. However, I decided that we would get more exposure standing on a corner, taking our tops off than performing at benefits. Finally, I told people, “I can do it, but I cannot ask musicians to work for free.”

After all, I worked (or played) with grown men and women who had children to feed and bills to pay. Every doctor and lawyer has pro bono cases in their filing cabinet that comprise less than 10% of their case load. But a musician, who plays for a living, is invited to perform at benefits at the ratio of three benefits to one gig. This had to stop and I was the only one who could stop it.

In 1990, I traveled overseas to sing in Switzerland, where I was treated with dignity. Europeans do not see musicians as people who play. Music is work. So, I was paid well and given lots of respect. When I returned to the States, in 1996, people treated me better than before I took the step across the big pond. I determined that musicians must leave the comfort of their homeland in order to be appreciated at home.

Ten years later, I had completed a five-month tour of Asia, and people in Atlanta, who never thought of me as a professional before, seemed to take me more seriously. In China, I worked at two clubs, where I did not make as much money as I did in 1990. Musicians’ pay always reduces, while the cost of living rises. That is ridiculous. People think musicians do not pay bills. After all, they spend their lives playing instead of working like other people.

The truth is that musicians do the job that doctors and lawyers cannot do. In one hour, musicians heal hundreds, even thousands of people. The right song keeps a couple from divorcing or pushes them to see that they are not right for each other, saving thousands of dollars of legal deliberation.

Music permeates the planet, bringing joy to all who hear it. People enjoy a concert more than they do a hospital stay or sitting in law office. Yet, they will pay doctors and lawyers extortionate fees and squint, when they get a high quote for a band of four or five adults to perform at a wedding or office party, where they will be enjoying themselves because of the music!

I am befuddled at what people will pay for and what they want to get for free. Learning music is not free. You pay for lessons. You pay with your time to practice. You continue to learn more music. You must stay in front of the pack in order to be seen, heard, and appreciated. Producing music is not free. Studio time is extremely costly. Paying musicians to perform your music is expensive, even if they are your friends. Mixing and mastering music is expensive (up to $100 per song). Duplicating CDs, producing videos, and marketing music runs into the thousands. But getting paid for a gig can be the hardest part of a musician’s job.

Finally, unlike most professionals, there is little in the way of retirement or insurance funding for musicians, who do not belong to the Musician’s Union, which few musicians either can or will afford. Musicians give joy to others throughout their lives and, unless they have a hit song or record, they have very little income to fall back on in their old age. Most die destitute, leaving little inheritance for their spouse and offspring.

It is uncanny. What brings people the most pleasure, rarely sustains those who create it. But the beat goes on and, somehow, musicians find venues where they can keep the music

playing. (918 words)

References

 

McLuhan, M. (1964). The medium is the message. Understanding media: The extensions of man. Retrieved from http://web.mit.edu/allanmc/www/mcluhan.mediummessage.pdf

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Diva Joan Cartwright is an internationally-known vocalist, composer, and author of 11 books. She holds a BA in Music/Communications from LaSalle U, in Philadelphia, PA; an MA in Communications from FAU, in Boca Raton, FL; and is a doctoral candidate for a DBA in Business Marketing online at Northcentral University, in Prescott Valley, AZ. Since 1997, Joan has been the CEO of FYI Communications, Inc. and, since 2007, her non-profit, Women in Jazz South Florida, Inc. with 304 members promotes women musicians, globally. In 2016, WIJSF released its 6th CD of the music of women composers. Joan hosts an online radio show, MUSICWOMAN, featuring women composers at www.blogtalkradio.com/musicwoman. Joan’s personal CDs are Feelin’ Good (1995) and In Pursuit of a Melody (2005). She owns MJTV Network with her daughter Mimi Johnson and she is actor in the sitcoms Last Man and The Siblings produced at www.mjtvnetwork.info. In 2014, Joan was honored in Atlanta, GA, as the first Lady Jazz Master. In 2016, she was honored as one of the Top 25 Women of Color in Business and Leadership by Legacy Magazine. She has two children (Michael Serrano and Mimi Johnson), five grandchildren, and three great grandchildren. She is retired from music performance and resides in Sunrise, Florida. Currently, Joan is a professor of Speech Communications as Southeastern College in West Palm Beach, Florida.

 

Diva JC Online:

 

Recognition

I am humbled by this post by one of our members of http://www.wijsf.org.

 Kristen Elizabeth Long shared a page on July 2, 2015 ·

In the spirit of celebrating those who embody the phrase “The Body I Was Born To Be In” I am spotlighting one person a day, until the single is officially released, who represent, to me, someone living as their most honest and true self. And killing it in the meantime!!

Today I choose Diva Joan Cartwright. If you want to put it simply, Joan is a brilliant jazz singer who has performed with many of the greats. But there’s nothing simple about her, as she is so much more thanthat. Joan is a fervent advocate for women in music. She has spearheaded such organizations as Women in Jazz South Florida, Inc., has a podcast featuring women in music, and puts out a monthly newsletter promoting the gigs/releases/events of the members of WIJSF. I first met Joan when I worked at Laffing Matterz in Fort Lauderdale. She sang at the piano and I was in awe. She then complimented me on my singing and encouraged me to keep it up. Not long after, she showed up at one of my gigs at Blue Jean Blues. I was so humbled and grateful that she chose to come see me perform. Whether she even knew it or not, those interactions gave me the boost in confidence I needed to take the plunge and start Long Lost Friend, with drummer, Walt Brewer. Several years later Joan graciously had me as a guest on her podcast to talk about The Journey: A New Indie Musical, the musical created from the music of Long Lost Friend and my other compositions, when we were mounting our first concert production with Outre Theatre Company in Boca Raton, and in those 30 minutes she promoted the show, encouraged me and my efforts in music and theatre and educated me on some other facets of the business that I’d been lacking in. Joan Cartwright’s voice is a powerful one. She knows who she is, she owns who she is, she thrives in who she is, and she empowers others through who she is. And, I, for one, am honored to know her.

Musician/Band
Jazz, Blues, Reggae, World, Classical