There was this really cool joint in the valley of Los Angeles, CA.
At this time, we were still MySpace artists. Facebook Live wasn’t a thing. YouTube Live streaming – not a thing. People weren’t streaming.
But this joint had an idea no other club had.
Why not have a venue where artist can do a real show with a paying audience, but use a three camera crew to professionally broadcast it over the internet? People could watch from their desktop and email their messages or requests to the hippest club in the country. They are still operating by the way.
On June 13, 2008, I did my last Los Angeles gig before heading to Chicago to continue developing a new musical called Million Dollar Quartet. I mention it briefly during the show, but this night was all about sharing for the first time the songs from a new album I had yet to release. The key tracks on Where I Belong were recorded in Los Angeles before my move to Chicago. However, that winter in Chicago, I added Not Afraid, I Surrender All, and Prayer For The Surrender – the “third step prayer” put to music. This is when I met Rob at Uptown Recordings where I would later record Broadway At The Keys and Liberated. My first experience with Rob was recording the song Not Afraid with the True Praise Choir from Chicago.
Those song additions were motivated by my pull towards sobriety, even though I had not accomplished an official sobriety date until twenty two days after the album released on May 27th, 2009. Upon writing this, I am still 100% clean and sober. 12 years now. The one thing that I’m most proud of.
On this night, I was performing the songs from Where I Belong for the second time actually. The first time was at Molly Malones in Los Angeles with a full horn section, an extra backup singer, an extra guitar player and a three camera crew shooting it for some documentary film. To this day I never saw the footage, nor the documentary. LOL.
Debby Holiday does a set on this night. To respect her, I didn’t include her set in this video. However, I did keep an energetic performance of our duet Yes We Can, inspired by Barack Obama’s first presidential campaign.
As an artist, this performance is a compass. As is Where I Belong. I named the album correctly. Musically, I tried to return to this composition of instrumentation with my EP Bad Habit. While I did upscale the sound quality from WIB, it still didn’t find that fusion of Americana and Soul I’m looking for. I still seek to perfect this idea and make the perfect record that answers my genre questions. But then again, that likely sounds ridiculous to you and exposes me as the perfectionist I am.
The most important thing really is the collection of memories with YOU, the fans, around this album. You all connected to these songs in a special way and I’ve been blessed to hear many stories how one simple song from this album provided hope, strength, and laughter at a time when it was much needed.
The power of music. What a blessing.
Hope you enjoy!