Childhood was a Rehearsal !

Jessie Paul - Studio C

In the Studio for Promo Pics,,,Capitol Records Studio A

I grew up in Los Angeles having moved from New York at 3 years old.    When I was a young girl in North Hollywood, I was already singing.  I knew that I was a singer at 3. My best friend Sandy Ducker sang with me at every opportunity.  Sandy remains a best friend, even though we have lived in different cities as adults. She is singing now also, at her complex where she lives in Phoenix Arizona. They have Karaoke contests etc. 

Life in L A. was always exciting, we had the ocean and the mountains at our fingertips. Our lives were filled with Jazz concerts in our yard in the San Fernando Valley. Also, my parents would travel,  because daddy was a great drummer.  he was with The Andrew Sisters when I was about 5. I remember a long drive to Patty Andrews ranch, lots of land and horses, and a fun filled swimming Barbecue day.   Ray Bolger, and Joel Gray would be our family guests and give me piggy back rides. Bob Crane was still a radio D J and great friends with my family, His wife Anne and kids Bobby Jr, was a playmate in there pool!. In fact We were at Bobs house the day he brought the Pilot script home for Hogans Heros,  I remember they were laughing at the Plot and that it would NEVER be picked up by the network,,Man, were they wrong!

Another very good family friend, so close they were Uncles and cousins, were the Guardino’s.  Lou had sung with mom in Big bands, and Harry was a great actor. We did everything with them. I remember we were at Uncle Harrys house when he got the call from Peter Lawford that Marilyn Monroe had died. He raced out of the house.  I never realized the significance of this until I was older. These were our friends and looking back, life was pretty amazing.

When I was in Elementary school, my best friend was Laurel Resnick.  She was the sister I always wanted. I also loved her dad Nick. Her parents were divorced, I believe that was the first family I knew of, that was divorced. I had my audition at Capitol Records and they were finding songs for me.  By the time we were in Van Nuys Jr high, I had recorded 4 songs, with another two on my contract to come. I took a few friends with me to the studio when I recorded.  When my dad died in 2009, Laurie flew out for the service. She stayed with me and that night we were singing my records and she remembered the words Better than I!!

My Roots were firmly set  in the San Fernando Valley,  I never imagined we would leave.    My childhood friends  are still friends today, but moving out of the state was devastating.  My drummer dad was working in Las Vegas more and more, and felt that it was the future of Live Music.  Which for the sixties and seventies, was true!

It was natural for me to be quite nervous to move to the Adult Planet of  Las Vegas. Because of the records and my song being played on the radio,I was a small celebrity when I got into school there.  I was interviewed  on Keno radio with Dennis Hunt, and before long  I got into a band right away,,,   The first was The Little People,, then that band morphed into  The London Fog,,, and then a band,  Free Circus,   a band made up of college guys who played originals.  I was still in High School.  This was very good for me, I finally figured out who I was, not doing only cover songs.   We opened for Santana, Three Dog Night, Steppenwolf, Iron Butterfly, and Grateful Dead among many many more.

I was doing it, I was working as a singer, and getting paid, and living the dream I dreamed. I didn’t need a Grammy, or a manager. I was working big arena’s. Roby Bennet, our guitarist wrote many of the songs, they all had terrific chord structure and three and four part harmony. His songs began my Love for harmony and loving groups like  The Beach Boys, Crosby Stills and Nash, Mama’s and Pappa’s,  before them,, The Hi Lo’s, who my dad was the drummer for, and Lambert Hendicks and Ross.  Later on,, Manhattan Transfer.  We had a great thing and got along well.  We were approached by a record label, and made demos.    

I grew up very fast, working every weekend, and being in rehearsal after school. Even in summer, we were in Lake Tahoe at the Blue Tooth rock club.  We rented a house in nearby Meyers, and drove to the club together.  We had many bands back to the house . Many late night parties and dinners where it was a big exciting grown up world for me.  It would be  very hard to go back to being a teen after this. I suppose I never did go back to being a teen…I would lie in the fields of grass and flowers and listen to Crosby Stills and Nash..it was pure Bliss!

Free Circus would have remained my destiny, but, our keyboardist Danny Barnett dropped out of college, and was Drafted!

We decided since he played Hammond B3, it would be impossible to replace him. We all went our separate ways.  I was flown right back to L A with an agent my sister had met at the Stardust Hotel lounge!    I flew back to L A  with him and got a Motel room, in Hollywood and he began to get me auditions. The first audition was at the Aquarius Theatre, for HAIR…..  I got it!   It doesn’t get any easier than this.

When you are young,  singing and have a big audience, and you are a teenager, It can really change you. I didn’t get an attitude , not that kind of change, but you know what you will do when you are an adult.  Most kids are still wondering.  I always knew. If it hadn’t worked out, I have no idea what I would have been.  I wasn’t prepared for failure.  At 12 years old I was a signed artist,,, then opening act,,,,and when I went to L A, It was just a few months before my first audition was for the Rock musical Hair..and I got That too!  was it luck? Or Destiny,,,, All I know is, my course was set for my life to travel,, live out of a suitcase, and be the gypsy that I am.     Living on my own, and falling in love and partying at Hugh Hefners Mansion was, well,, the normal.    I remember Hef’s secretary Bobbi, who was a close friend of my then boyfriend Tony Good who managed North Beach Leather on the Sunset Strip. Poor Bobbi, her boyfriend was a drug dealer,, and the FBI in trying to get Hefner for porn,, harassed her and Hef , which led to her suicide.   Very Very sad for all of us who knew she was a great person. 

Looking back, I was blessed. I also had a strong work ethic, and was always taking care of myself, Like an athlete,,,health food, no drinking, or lack of sleep. I learned ethics from my Drummer daddy.       If he were still here, he would smile, and say,,,‘ Well, pookie,, you did it your way….

Maintaining Your Vocal Health

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