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  • Writer's pictureMary Ann

"Thirsty Thursday" Featuring Jay Elle

Thank you for talking with us! What was the best piece of advice you've ever been given about pursuing a career in music? “Just keep at it.” I am a big fan of Mike Chapman. He wrote and produced so many hits for so many artists from Pat Benatar, to Blondie, to Huey Lewis and the News, to Tina Turner, etc. We talked briefly. I had sent him my first album. I asked him if he could give me some advice. That’s all he said: “Just keep at it.

What's the story behind your album's title? I think that much of what we do in life is ride one wave after another, as best as we can. Some waves are fun to ride, like recording a new album, and some are tough. Riding a pandemic is no picnic. But what choice do we have? I take life as it comes, and ride the waves as they rise. As my friend Jett Harris reminded me, “Surfers are really cool interesting people and their philosophy on surfing is very similar to your analogy of waves and life. The adage “Luck is when opportunity meets preparation” is appropriate as you never know when you’re going to get the opportunity to ride that really great perfect wave, but you hope to be ready to take advantage of it. If not you’ll find sympathy in the dictionary between sh*t and syphilis.” Jett Harris, a fantastic drummer with whom I recorded a few albums and countless songs, takes great pictures of surfers, among other subjects he focuses his lens on. (Instagram @jettt1209). I was inspired by these pictures.

Is there one song in particular you're most excited about people hearing? Other than “Tequila Kiss” which I mentioned earlier, I would say “Miss Mess” for sure. “Miss Mess” is the first single we released. It is a song that reflects on the strange “relationship” I developed with the TikTok algorithm while on lock down. I get served these incredibly entertaining posts by women from around the world. The ladies are dancing, joking around, acting, shooting arrows, exploring beautiful sites, playing with their pets, venting about their boyfriends, playing pranks, flying helicopters, etc. They seem to be in total control of my life for 30 seconds or so. And there’s nothing I can do. Of course I could stop watching… But I am liking it. A lot. There is always some “messy” elements to these posts. And some of these ladies are reckless and sometimes flawless in their recklessness. I love watching puppies. I had dogs. Cavalier King Charles. They all passed away, sadly. I wrote a song titled “Angeling™” in their memory. But TikTok doesn’t serve me a continuous stream of videos full of doggies for some reason. Just them ladies… Some of these ladies are pretty intense. You’ve got to see the gymnasts. Wow! And the military ladies. Intense. Some great actresses lip-synching to movies and TV shows dialogs. Very funny ones too. I don’t always understand the thrill of some of the stunts, like jumping from the roof of your house into your pool. But, to each her own. After all if there isn’t a “tsunami” hitting your shores, you may as well create one. Make a TikTok.

Caleb “kbc” Sherman, who produced the album did a magnificent job capturing the spirit of all the songs, especially rendering the feel of “Miss Mess”. There’s a groove to it that gets you going from the moment you start the song until the end. Perfect for walking down the New York City streets. The sounds are perfectly chosen to express the multitude of playful scenes I see on the TikTok videos. It’s witty and you keep discovering clever touches that Caleb introduces through the course of the song.

Who have been some of your biggest musical influences growing up and do the same artists currently continue to influence you now? I listen to everything that comes my way. There are so many great musicians and songwriters out there. Some well-known of course and many talented folks I heard or had a chance to work with that have not reached the top of the charts, yet. I listened to every recording by Eric Clapton and Andres Segovia when I started playing guitar. I love the songwriting of Billy Joel, Freddy Mercury, Sting and Paul McCartney and many others. They’re great singers as well. I think Elvis is a great singer. These are obviously some of the titans of the music world. I’m enjoying listening to Niall Horan and Keith Urban. I think Pink is really good. I would not be able to pin down how each of these and others specifically influenced my work though. They all have in one way or another. I also worked with great musicians in New York City. One of my co-writer is Margaret Dorn. She is on the Halfmoon Records and Publishing Label. Amazing writer, singer and piano player. And of course Caleb “kbc” Sherman, the producer of my new album “Ride the Wave”. Caleb did a magnificent job producing my songs. You have to listen to the album. It’s really, really good.

I love a great show where the audience sings along too. I’ve seen a number of bands at Madison Square Garden. Nothing like 20,000 souls singing along to a great tune. One U2 concert was phenomenal. The band came on stage and the audience stood up. Everyone. And no one sat back down until the end of the show. Bryan Adams was great too. I remember him walking to the microphone to start singing “Summer of ‘69” and then stepping back as the audience started singing from the first line of the song. He did not sing a word for half the song. He let the audience sing the song to him. You know he was having a good time. That kind of energy coming from audiences is just fantastic. That’s what playing live is all about.

The same artists are on my playlist now. I have added many more to the list of course.

At the end of the day, what do you hope is the message of your music? What do you hope people take away from your songs? I so enjoy listening to great music, great songs. A great song can really give you that energy boost and make your day. Whether you’re walking around or relaxing or exercising, a cool song can make the time go faster and uplift you. So, I try to pass that energy on in my songs and pass on good vibes in whatever I do. I prefer being hopeful and optimistic and share that approach to life with people around me. I look for great positive energy and do my best to pass that on to others. I strive for positive lyrics that pass on hope carried by the best melodies I can come up with.

Was there ever music playing in the kitchen growing up? Non-stop. All kinds too. But mostly pop music. It certainly influenced my writing. Though I did not get to write until later on. I love a great pop song.

What is an example of a menu you would prepare if I came over? Four spices Cornish Hen served with vegetables, salad, and strawberries (in Jell-O, of course). What is your favorite wine? There are a few. From around the world. Tough question. If I have to pick one, my favorite would be a Bordeaux Saint-Emilion. It goes with everything I like to eat.

What is the one place you have always dreamed of dining? The kitchen of the best actress ever: Nina Dobrev. She is the star of The Vampire Diaries. I follow her on Instagram. She posted a video preparing steak and kale in her kitchen once. It looked amazing. I wrote a song for her on my new album “Ride the Wave”. The song is titled “Tequila Kiss”. I understand it’s one of her favorite drinks. Nina and Julianne Hough have come out with a wine collection “Fresh Vine Wine”. I have not had a chance to taste them. They look fabulous. The packaging is gorgeous.

If you could be sponsored by one food/drink brand who would it be and why? Jell-O. It comes in many different flavors and colors. You can get it sugar free. It’s perfect if you have a creative mind and you want to explore food and drink combinations. It’s like sitting down with a band and improvising on a theme. The possibilities are endless. I have combined Jell-O with just about everything you can imagine. Some combinations with salty food don’t come out so great. You need to use unflavored gelatin. Of course, it’s jiggly. It dances. And it can be molded in various shape. It’s like a great song. It’s great with just a guitar or with a full orchestra.


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