Ahmet Ertegun kissed me in 2002. We were on the top floor of the Atlantic Records building in NYC. That kiss was a “blessing” to push you off into the world of record-making. In my case, it was my first record and I had just sang the “chosen single” 11 times that day – yup, I counted – making the rounds to different offices with my two guitar players. That “kiss” fairy-dusted a path for me into a career of singing. I shook my tambourine the whole time “la-la-la”-ing wherever possible along the way. I let it steer the heck out of me like I actually had no say in the matter.
I had no idea what kind of journey I was about to embark on – that night, that year, the next 15 years. A mix of planes, trains and automobiles in practically every part of the world. But my favorite was always this: the stinky van on long drives with fellow musicians, full of countless laugh-til-it-hurts moments; everyone speaking the same language, on-stage and off. That’s where I felt the connection, kinship, trust and belonging.
I met Michael League of Snarky Puppy a few years ago through my good friend Henry Hey. Michael played bass in my band and we had plenty of long van drives playing small clubs and theaters in support of my 2010 release for Verve. It was Mike who introduced me to the world of The Pups – my dear sweet Puppinos – inviting me up on stage to sing at their “Family Dinner” residency in NYC. “No rehearsal, Lucy. Just come up, we got you,” I remember him saying. And that they did.
At this point, I'd had a few years of flexing my muscles in the “getting dropped-and-signed, dropped-and-signed” department of the music business. My musical ears and eyes were flung open after singing one song and I thought, “Ah, okay, I get it.” I can’t actually explain it in actual words, but musicians and other creative types will know exactly what it means. Something clicks and then you just go do what you gotta do.
Yesterday, I released my 4th album, Til They Bang On The Door. Finally. I am pumped. I made a record that I am extremely proud of. It was made with friends and it feels different from everything else I've done. A typical conversation in the studio: “That feel good to you?” “Man, it sure does.” “Okay, let’s move on.”
Trusting my boys (and co-producers) Henry Hey and Michael League the whole time, my incredible NYC music community, Snarky Puppy, and – the last piece of the puzzle, my label – GroundUP Music. No bull, no need to “get this guy” or “that guy” to approve it while waiting for 2 months. Nothing like that. Just straight up, good ol’ fashioned music-making. Bars were raised.
Ahmet may have also kissed Aretha and Ruth Brown on the top floor of the Atlantic building, fairy-dusting their career paths, too. But I reeeeally hope Robert Plant is the one that kissed him back the way I almost did!
So in short, thank you for checking out Til They Bang On The Door. I really hope you enjoy this little musical journey as much as we did.