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

 

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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

 

 

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:

 

Travel and Earn

Dear WIJSF Members,
As you know travel is a large part of what many musicians do. Personally, I’ve performed on 5 continents in 16 countries. With 196 countries on the planet, that leaves 180 countries for me to visit.  Places I’d like to return to are Athens, Greece, Taormina, Sicily, Bahia and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and Capetown, South Africa. Also, I plan to visit Tahiti, Santorini, Greece, Fez and Marrakesh, Morocco, and Barbados.
I am now in my 60s, not many clubs, festivals or jazz societies are reaching out to me. But my wanderlust continues.  So, I am now a Referring Travel Agent (RTA) with my own home-based business at www.fyitravel.us, where I just booked my hotel room, when I went to Birmingham for the Steel City Jazz Fest, where I met our member Gail Jhonson with Jazz in Pink on June 7-8. I made a commission on that booking, which is something I NEVER received, since 1990, when I began touring.
 
When I joined the travel biz in March, I paid $249, plus $50 a month for my website.  Starting on Monday, July 14, YOU can join my team for $99, and you will not pay for the website until October 1 and, if you bring 3 people on to your team, you will pay $0 for your website as long as they remain active.  Check out my blog – www.fyitravelclub.wordpress.com.
 
WHY have your own travel site? Go to this link www.60mba.com and see what you like best about it.
 
By the way, our immediate past Vice President Lydia Harris introduced me to Lucretia Daniel, who is our Travel Director.  Lucretia became a member of WIJSF on June 1, 2014. She supported our organization the same way I supported her organization. Now, we are planning a Women in Jazz event at Sandals all-inclusive resort in Turks & Caicos in 2015.
As all the musicians in WIJSF know, living on a musician’s income can be extremely challenging. We all must supplement our income, somehow.  So, I encourage you to go to www.60mba.com and, if you see something that interests you, respond to this email or call me at the number below and THANK YOU for supporting women musicians, globally. 
Thanks,
1fyitravel-us-bizJoan Cartwright, Executive Director
(276 members, 148 musicians, 51 men)
FYI TRAVEL, Referring Travel Agent
954-740-3398
Support women musicians!

I AM JAZZ

Of course Jazzmen are dynamic.  So are Amazing Musicwomen!

jazzmen womeninjazz

Freddie Hubbard is an icon!  He recorded my tune SWEET RETURN (1983) and put it in his Song Book making me historical (herstorical). I sat at the feet of Miles, Diz, Buhaina, Shepp, Yusef, Rahsaan, McCoy, and Ron Carter, learning all I could about the art of improvisation. I sat with Helen Morgan 3 years before she shot Lee. I AM JAZZ!

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Joan Cartwright, Freddie Hubbard, Jerry (owner of Allotria in Munich, Germany) Jeff Chambers, lady, Ronnie Matthews circa 1993

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I’ve been in conversations with Ella, Betty Carter, Irene Reid, Ruth Brown, Abbey Lincoln, and Dorothy Donegan. I was THERE at the Blue Note, Slugs in the Far East (Village) with Lee Morgan, Buhaina, Miles, Frank Foster, Charles McPherson, Bill Hardman and Joe Lee Wilson, Village Gate, at the Galleon (Bronx), and the Village Vanguard with Lou Donaldson, Dr. Lonnie Smith who recorded my first demo tape with me that got me gigs all over the European continent. Ellington’s bass player Aaron Bell first listened to my tune “Loneliblue” and said the musicians would love playing it.

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Joe Lee Wilson and Joan Cartwright, Brighton, England

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With Lou Donaldson at Jazz Inn, London, UK

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Joan Cartwright and Dorothy Donegan, Marian’s Jazz Room, Bern, Switzerland (1996)

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Abbey Lincoln and Joan Cartwright, Montreux Jazz Festival (1993)

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Joan Cartwright and Betty Carter, IAJE Conference, El Paso, TX, 1993

In Philly, Gerald Price taught me composition and piano, and in New York, Barry Harris was my teacher on piano and vocals. Budd Johnson was my babysitter from 4-8 years old. Milt Hinton (The Judge) was my cousin’s Godfather and he got me my first gig in Berne, Switzerland, at Marion’s Jazz Room, in 1990. I sat on Jay McShann’s lap and asked him to marry me. I proposed marriage to Quincy Jones just before I interview him for my Master’s Thesis, The Cultural Politics of Commercial Jazz, in 1993, which explained why I had to go to Europe (1990-1998) to make a living. In July 2013, I gave my book A History of African American Jazz and Blues to Quincy with the interview I did of him in 1993, 20 years earlier, in the exact same building – Stravinsky Hall, in Montreux, Switzerland [photo].

I AM Jazz!

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With Quincy Jones, Montreux Jazz Festival, Switzerland, at Claude Nobs’ Chalet, 1993

I am the Chronicler of this music. While everyone else was PLAYING, I was documenting it. I met Quincy Troupe, co-writer of Miles’ biography. I penned lyrics to A NIGHT IN TUNISIA, TUNE UP, BLUE BOSSA, and BESSIE’S BLUES and sang them all over Europe, the East Coast of the USA, and in China and Japan. I Am the female Jazz Messenger, who sang on Jazzmobile with Buhaina, Frank Foster, Frank Wes, George Coleman, and Charles McPherson. The first person to take me on the road was Philly Joe Jones, who took me to Baltimore to perform with Shirley Scott, Arthur Harper (bass), and Sonny Stitt, in 1978. I AM the only woman in the world with a Jazz and Blues Song Book that I submitted to the Guinness Book of Records.

JoanCartwrightSongBook               jc-historybook

Google me – www.joancartwright.com. But, more importantly, I am the foremost authority on Women in Jazz and Blues and I will not be quieted about the role of women as the Mothers of the Blues and the innovators of Jazz.  That’s why, in 2007, I founded www.wijsf.org to promote women musicians, globally! That’s why, since 2008, I’ve interviewed over 200 women composers at www.blogtalkradio.com/musicwoman

amazing_musicwomen_softcover   amazing_musicwomen_hardcover

That’s why I created the Jazzwomen Directory  that features 90 women musicians that most musicians, let alone people, do not know about and I put 40 of them in my book Amazing Musicwomen that I taught over 10,000 students (3-12 grade and college) in the U.S., Switzerland, Sicily, China, and Japan about.

I AM JAZZ!

Hear me SCAT!

Joan Cartwright and Dizzy Gillespie, Sunfest, West Palm Beach, FL 1985

Joan Cartwright and Dizzy Gillespie, Sunfest, West Palm Beach, FL 1985

READ my books:

In Pursuit of a Melody by Joan Cartwright  In Pursuit of a Melody

 

www.joancartwright.com

 

Singer

The Luxury of Being a Singer equates to being on the top of the food chain in most societies.  The musician sits at the table of the Chief.  In the court of Kings and Queens, singers are held in the highest esteem.  The 10 greatest benefits of being a singer are:

  1. Sleeping late
  2. Invitations
  3. World travel
  4. Applause
  5. Recognition
  6. Appreciation
  7. Good pay
  8. Good treatment
  9. Financial surprises
  10. Spiritual upliftment

Sleeping late is, by far, the best benefit of being a singer. Although I’m a morning person, most of my colleagues who perform around the world revel in sleeping until noon.  Since we work at night, usually between the hours of 7 p.m. to 2 a.m., we have the luxury of turning our phones off and sleeping well into the day, if we choose to.

Invitations are a large part of our relationship with other people, who love to introduce us as “Our Diva”.  It’s very flattering to go to a party or event and have the host or hostess bring their friends over to us, while declaring, “And THIS is our internationally-known Diva of Jazz!”  Happens to me all the time and I must admit, it’s a very good feeling to know that people think so highly of you.

World travel is not only a privilege but an eye-opener.  I’ve always believed that travel educates people to the ways of others, worldwide.  Having had the pleasure of living in Europe, South America, Mexico, China, Japan, and three African countries – Ghana, Gambia and South Africa, and around the U.S., while on tour, I know there is much more to life than going to work and coming home to watch television.  I started my travel blog, in August 2006, while living in China.  Since then, I’ve logged 29 cities and 8 countries.

Applause is the drug of musicians and singers get most of the fanfare.  Actually, many musicians hate singers simply because they get more applause.  That’s because singers bring the words to songs, connecting with the audience on a deeper level than most instrumentalists.  It’s just logical that lyrics tell a story that gives people a reason to understand the music being performed.  Even though American audiences tend to be a bit fickle about their artists and they talk during a performance, which can drive musicians nuts, you can get addicted to applause, when it comes.  European audiences are far more polite and attentive, while Asian audiences will smoke you out of the club.

A manual for up-and-coming Divas, Musicians and Composers

Recognition as an artiste is most important for the continuation of the craft of music.  Musicians thrive on recognition.  They compete for recognition and, if you’ve got your marketing techniques honed, you can outrun another singer simply by getting good press or distributing shiny fliers.  Of course, giving a good concert increases the recognition you get.  It’s all in how you do your business.  My book So, You Want To Be A Singer? spells out the steps necessary for a singer to take in order to be successful and recognized as a professional.  What I learned in 20 years of being a professional, internationally-traveled singer is contained in this book available at this link.

I’ve had the pleasure of sharing the information with children in grades K-12, bringing them information necessary for them to know before they jump out into the world of musical performance.

Appreciation is all most people want from others and singers get it every time they perform.  It’s so nice to have people walk up to you and say, “You have a beautiful voice,” or “I love the way you sing that song!”  If each person in the world got this kind of appreciation just once a month, the world would be a happier place to live in.  To be appreciated is to be seen and loved.  We all need to be seen and loved and appreciated.  But singers get more than their share of appreciation, especially if they are good at what they do.

Good pay comes with the territory.  However, recently, people have been trying to trim the fat from the pay of musicians. Budget cuts and financial downturn dictates that musicians are becoming less necessary.  Truth is music is what brought people back from the devastation of wars and financial crisis, since the beginning of time, and more recently in the 1920-1930s and in today’s volatile economic climate.  Music is the universal language and healer and the voices of powerful singers have always made people forget their troubles, if only for a few moments.  So, as Abbey Lincoln declared, “You Gotta Pay The Band!” and usually, the singer is the bandleader.  She or he is the one who got the call, the contract and the check.  Most musicians make in four hours what most people make in 8 hours.  Problem is they may not work five days a week, so their salary has to stretch a little further. In the end, it all balances out – but it’s still nice to be offered $300 to $3,000 for one gig.

Good treatment is paramount to good performance.  That’s why many contracts have riders stipulating that the musicians must have water, food and other comforts in their dressing room.  People jump to provide musicians with what they need.  The term “Diva” is applied to the female vocalist who is held in higher regard than musicians because she demands to be treated with respect and good treatment.  Of course, being spoiled can be the downside but it’s all worth it once she steps out on that stage and opens her mouth to tame the beast among men.  The envy of other women and most musicians, the Diva brings to life what only she can bring and being treated well is a perk of that ability to transform the audience.

Financial surprises ensue when a musician is on her or his job.  Tips can almost double the pay received.  I remember being in Zermatt, Switzerland, where I almost froze my buns off for four days.  The pay was minimal, only CH900 for four nights per musicians, which is very low pay in Switzerland.  We lived in the hotel that had no heat and this was at the top of the Alps.  We ate very well, but the pay was still very low.  However, one gentleman placed a CH1,000 bill in my hand, which I didn’t discover until he’d left, before I was able to thank him.  I was so thrilled that I called my father in Florida on the hotel phone to tell him. He said, “How much is that in U.S. dollars?”  I said, “About $750!”  It was CH100 more than I was getting paid for the entire four days of performance.  It definitely made up for the freezing nights and low pay.  Another time, I had a man pay$75 for my CD because it was the last one I had.  It was like an auction and the man gladly paid.  Then, after singing a very sultry, sexy blues, a man handed me his American Express Gold Card and left, soon after. I was baffled. What should I do with this?  My girlfriends said, “Go shopping!”  But I just couldn’t see myself signing on the dotted line for anything with this card.  I simply called him, got his address and mailed it back to him.  It was the thought that counted. I was truly flattered and now have this wonderful story to tell.

Spiritual upliftment is the ultimate reward for being a singer.  Not only does the ability to sing and bring music to the world life my spirits but it puts a light in the eyes of audience members.  I can recall feeling very low on the morning of a performance and feeling totally elevated the same night.  Music is the balm of ages that brings love, light and delight to millions, sometimes, all at one moment in time.  Ask Pavarotti, Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson, Ella Fitzgerald, Luther Vandross, Patti LaBelle how they feel about bringing such joy to other people.  I’m sure they feel like me.  I am delighted to have come into this life as a singer.  I love what I do.  I love who I am and there is no better position to be in. I’m convinced!

To book Joan Cartwright go to her official website.

Musical Mentors

As a child, I visited the home of Milt and Mona Hinton, my cousin Pamela’s godparents. Their daughter Charlotte was our age (14-15) and we were invited to her birthday party one year. In 1990, I met Milt and Mona in Switzerland at Marion’s Jazz Room in Der Schweitzerhoff in Berne. They remembered me from 1961! Milt must have given the green light to the owners of the club – Marion and her husband because they booked me for a week, some years later, at their new location atop a hill in Berne, where I met Dorothy Donegan, another fascinating mentor in my musical career.

My musical mentors are part of who I am. Who are yours?
Diva JC

In Switzerland, I had the immense pleasure of singing with Dorothy Donegan at Marian’s Jazz Room. THAT was an evening to remember!