FOR YOUR GRAMMY CONSIDERATION, BEST ALBUM NOTES
I have spared no part of my heart, my voice, my musicianship, my intuition … it is all here for you.
YOU GOTTA LOVE THE LIFE, my 20th album in a career that spans more than 40 years, is the culmination of what I’ve learned, what I know to be true and where I am on my journey.
In August of 2013, I launched an Indiegogo fan funding campaign, spearheaded by my soul sister Sue Holder and managed by my former USC student, Barry Harris. Each day, each week, I felt this living thing arise from your contributions and your comments about my posts on Facebook. I realized you were interested in following the process – and being a part of the process – of making an album. I realized that, even when you learn how you pull the rabbit out of the hat, there’s still a thrill when that bunny shows up! Amazing!
I had the great good fortune to meet Terry Wollman around this time. He’d invited me to sing a song of mine on his holiday album, A JOYFUL NOISE. He is a true gentleman, a formidable artist in his own right, a font of information about the path of the independent artist and oh so generous to share his sizeable knowledge about production – it felt natural to ask him to be my co-producer on the album.
I was given the great gift of recording at Citrus College Studio A. This studio is one of the best kept secrets around Los Angeles. Our engineer, Tim Jaquette, is the supervising professor in the Recording Arts Department. Therefore, the sessions became a kind of teaching experience, in real time, for his students. They were often around – engrossed, eager and engaged in that same process that you fans have been following. Tim’s musicianship, as well as Terry’s careful guidance, allowed me to feel really and thoroughly heard. Can you see how the loving, living energy of this project starts to deepen and grow wider?
This album completes a circle, a return to how I made albums in the first place. Great musicians “bring it” with everything they’ve got to help new – and a few old – songs claim their life. A gorgeous bunch of soul brothers – Stephan Oberhoff, John Proulx, Steve Welch, Steve Wilkinson, John Lewis, Peter Hume, Abraham Laboriel, Sr. and Lenny Castro made up the crew. In its purest sense, these sessions were a love fest, a musical feast.
And the extraordinary guest artists who said “yes” when I asked … Keb’ Mo’, Dave Koz, Joe Sample, Dionne Warwick, Al Jarreau, Stevie Wonder – I have stories that connect me to each and every one. I’ll have to share them with you from the stage.
But it starts with the song. I believe this collection of songs has emotional muscularity. I’ve earned these insights. I’ve honed my craft. I know what I know. I believe I’ve found the balance between emotion and strength.
One last thing … I stand on the shoulders of so many musical giants who came before me. I feel it when I sing. I hear it when I stand back and listen. I am grateful for the torch that I carry.
Melissa Manchester / You Gotta Love The Life
2015 For Your Grammy® Consideration, Best Album Notes
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