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….

My First Lonely Night

Jessie Paul in Studio C

Jessie Paul in Studio C

No, it isn’t a love story post. It is the name of the B-side of my first, recording at age 12. I was signed to Capitol/World Pacific Jazz label when I was in Van Nuys Junior High School in Van Nuys, California.

My father, the great drummer, Irv Kluger was a staple on Frank Sinatra and Harry Belafonte sessions in the 50’s and early 60’s. So, he asked the CEO to meet with me, and let me sing for him.  I knew from the time I could talk, this was what I was born to do. I had no nerves or insecurity about singing. i thought I was more comfortable singing than being in a room with people talking.

The meeting was easy. I brought my acoustic guitar, and I sang for him. he went out of the office for a few minutes, came back with a producer , and a contract. I was to record 6 songs, 3 records, this was the days of 45’s not tapes!. They would be written by either the Everly Brothers or people who were on staff at Capitol.

The A-side, the one they thought had the most commercial potential, was Johnny Let Me Go. The B-side was an English cover of the Japanese hit, Sukiyaki.  It was called My First Lonely Night.

The songs did well. They placed on Billboard with 70 with a bullet. The bullet meant it had sped up from over a hundred and was moving fast in breakout areas.  It was all so wonderful until The Beatles came out. Guess what label they were on in America? That’s right, Capitol!!     OK, OK…  I survived them not spending too much money on ME, and my next two records were done in a smaller studio, not Studio A where I had recorded , with a huge orchestra and strings and back up singers. It was a smaller rock band and a smaller studio, but they had to give me the what was due on my  contract and record me, even though we all knew it was over. I was a has been at 13 and a half.   It’s all ok, I survived, and I  reinvented myself, took my name back, because they named me Jessie Paul???

I had a great career and I still have one, I am coaching fantastic singers, have  many recording, Marine Goujon, Siana, Claudia, and Maria, and Chelsea, some touring, like Nick Hissom. Ohers working the Las Vegas Strip, such as Frank Salerno and Paul Magsig, 

Then it got better, I looked in the garage, and saw a box from the storage unit, it had a lot of music in it. I went through it and shut my mouth!  I found the original scores for Johnny Let Me Go and Popcorn and Candy. I have uploaded the recordings on Soundcloud.com if you want to take a listen

I also found some of the chart of  My First Lonely Night. And to my surprise, I found a chart of an original song, composed by me! It is called, I Wonder What He Meant By That? I have asked my friend and producer Tom Marolda to take a look at it, and he said “Let’s record it!”  Tom is working on a new Stallone  movie right now, ‘The Tomb’. So, when he has a minute , we are going to do that.

So,  I was looking at the chart of Johnny Let Me Go and see the arranger has signed it. OMG  the arranger was George TiptonNow you may not know who George Tipton is , but let me tell you, While he was writing my charts and shortly after while I was down the street doing the Broadway show’ HAIR, he was composing the theme songs for TV shows, such as Benson, Golden Girls, Love Boat, Empty Nest, It’s a Living,  The Courtship of Eddies Father, and recording every one of Harry Nilsson’s albums, and writing songs  ‘Cotton Comes to Harlem’, for  films Badlands, and ‘The Gift’  theme for ‘Soap’. To top it off, he wrote the arrangement for Jose Feliciano’s rendition of Light My Fire.

Now, I was blown away by something that I never knew about my record. No wonder when you listen to it, it holds up, and the lush strings and arrangement, makes you still swoon, after all this time. It is still beautiful! I love listening to it.

There is something very different about Johnny Let Me Go and My First Lonely Night and then my next four recordings…. A  major change in production and arranging. But now I know why. I had a giant do my first record. I was proud of the songs before, but now, I am reliving the glory days of being a little recording artist in the San Fernando Valley.

You never know what treasures you will find when you look in your basement, attic, or storage unit. I found a true treasure, more than one, I found a song that I wrote, was never recorded and I forgot about it!.  I found my past, my youth, and my fond memories of my early years in this business. I wish all of you one day, that you find something of value to your heart in an old box. It sure feels good!

Jessica Marciel
Las Vegas Vocal Training

Working singer since 12, no time for the prom at 17.

In 1964, The Beatles came to America, Capitol Records, my record label was also the distributor. Capitol Records, suddenly distracted by The Beatles, left me, and other artists, high and dry. I lost all my clout with the label and was washed up at 14.

Shortly thereafter, my dad was with Juliet Prowse as her drummer and was seeing Las Vegas as his future.  Against the family’s wishes we all moved to Las Vegas and I had to re-invent myself.

Dennis Hunt a DJ with KENO radio had been playing my record, Johnny Let me Go“, and frequently had me appear on his show. I opened a concert for Johnny Crawford of The Rifleman TV show, who had a big hit, “Cindy’s Birthday”. this was my first big concert at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

I was in Valley High School, and there were tons of local bands in town. The  Scatter Blues, The Weeds, The Present Tense, Nobody’s Children, Sioux Uprising, The Teenbeats, Kentucky Blue Grass, Loadstone, Later, Kharisma,with John Sterling, Terry Ryan, Jay Mitthauer. Same band, few changes. and the band that I joined, The Little People.

 

The Little People were, Mike Lyman, Mike Friedman, Glenn Cooper, Steve Harvey, Howard Salstein, and myself. We were very popular and appeared on the Jerry Lewis Telethon. Mike Friedman”s father Maurice Friedman was a mob-connected hotel man. The Frontier Hotel. Mike was a spoiled and complex kid. Naturally, I was drawn to him…. What was I thinking? I wasn’t thinking, that was the problem. His parents were always out, and he had a nanny that let us all do anything and everything around his golf course home.

We evolved into a better group called  London Fog. That was Bob Lilly, and Glenn Cooper, Mike Lyman, and Mike Friedman and myself.  We worked the Teen Beat Club, and shopping centers, local parties and even a Hotel in Searchlight.

Free Circus

Free Circus

I outgrew my high school musicians soon, and was solicited by  a college band, The Free Circus. Roby Bennet, Bob Byornsen, and Danny Barnett. This was a great band. We covered Stevie Winwood, Cream, and a lot of originals. With this band we got a manager, Jennifer Joseph, and opened for  Santana, Grateful Dead, Iron Butterfly, SteppenwolfThree Dog Night, Blue Cheer Sweetwater, and virtually every headliner who came through town. We even spent a summer in Lake Tahoe, and opened for Steppenwolf, again.

I  distanced myself from Mike Friedman at this time, and started seeing John Sterling, who I met through drummer Jay Mitthauer, {Jaybird}  He was taking drum lessons from my dad. John was in Loadstone and a little older, 24,  My parents were thrilled about this, I’m sure!

But shortly after we began, the band Loadstone became Andy Williams featured band on his TV show, and they were slowly transitioning to Los Angeles.  I made a few weekend trips to see Sterling before we drifted apart.

On one of these trips, we were at A&M studios, they were recording and I ran into my idol, Lani Hall. I had always wanted to be in Sergio Mendes & Brazil 66!!! Just seeing her in the restroom of A&M was thrilling.

Las Vegas Convention Center

Las Vegas Convention Center

Meanwhile, my band, The Free Circus, was getting close to a recording opportunity when our pianist Danny was drafted to  go to Vietnam. He was still in boot camp, when on a  trip to visit him, his parents and brother were hit by a drunk driver and his mother was instantly killed. He got a grief discharge, but we were broken up by then. Danny’s  mother was a beautiful woman and it was so sad.  His dad moved to Morrow Bay and lived on a yacht with the settlement money.

My sister met an agent Bill Loeb, he met with me, flew me to Los Angeles, and my first audition was HAIR. I was blessed! But back to Free Circus. We were close, I loved these guys, Bob had cancer in the 80’s and passed away, but Roby and Danny and I are going to be inducted into the Las Vegas Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, as well as Little People and London Fog.

 

Actual London Fog

Actual London Fog

Mike Friedman died of cancer as well and I was reunited with him at the end. He had nothing left, having snorted his money away and estranged from his sister, who told me, I don’t even care , don’t call me when he dies. I found a place for Mike to stay while he was sick, my dear friend Rene had been letting him live with her but it was going on way too long. She needed help. He abused my friends apartment with beer bottles and cigarettes, and I too, had to ask him to leave. He went back to Rene’s and died.

But I will add that when I was with Free Circus, I did no drugs. No drinking, I was really a serious singer…unlike my London Fog days, when I was a bit messed up and not very mature.

All this led to who I am today, and shaped my values as a singer. Take care of yourself and be on time! My life has been crazy and wonderful, but I wouldn’t trade anything I did. Even missing my prom!

Jessica Marciel
Las Vegas Vocal Training

Born to sing? How do you get there?

They said it tonight, on American Idol, and it is said over and over: “You were born to sing”. Well, yeah, thanks, but what do you do if you don’t have the contacts, or “juice” TO GET STARTED.

It is very hard and you must have a plan. If you have read my blogs you know, my dad simply took me up to Capitol Records and I sang behind the president’s desk. Wham, had a contract. Not that easy now.  Not half as easy, so you must plan how to get discovered.

There have been people  discovered  on YouTube. That is one way. If you do it this, make sure you are brilliant to get as many hits as you can.  I have students who are much better than the two final contestants on American Idol so I know it is largely luck and timing.

If you have a backer {financier}, you can find originals and record some great songs and shop them. My student Cherish Berdahl did this.We went to Nashville through a friend of mine, Producer Eric Bikales. Eric found 4 great songs and they are better than anything I have heard on the CMA’s.

The songwriters are Grammy award winning writers, Vince Melemed, Danny Orton and David Kent. These songs and her voice are so strong I know it is a matter of time before It happens for her. She is a better singer now since we recorded in  Oct, so I am in favor of her re-doing the vocals. This is one wasy to go, but it isn’t cheap.

Another way is to go to Los Angeles, get a day job, and sing in clubs every where and every time you can. Learn to read music and be a session singer. Do ANYTHING you can to get out there. Check out people who come on to you, don’t trust anyone. it is easy to do a background check. See if they are in the unions, or just do a search for warrants. It is a rough business and people will promise you everything and give nothing.

My two students D&A have recorded at least 6 sides and one video. They are so close and still it hasn’t happened. They are ready. They dance, sing, have personality, looks to kill and supportive parents. If it is hard for them to get a deal, it is really hard for anyone! A Record label has been courting them for months and no deal yet.

The Fulco Family from here in Vegas, took a few lessons from me, they have just decided to be on “Wife Swap” to get noticed. Any publicity will help; they are smart to do this. They are a modern day “Partridge family” band and they are good.

So bottom line is… get out there, stay active, be creative, and keep at it. Don’t give up, after all, you were born to do it!

Jessica Marciel
Las Vegas Vocal Training

Recording in Capitol Records Studio A at age 12

Jessie Paul in Studio C

I always knew that I would sing. it was a given. I didn’t have a back-up plan. Thank goodness it worked out. Although I hadn’t sung on stage as a child, I did concerts at my folks home in North Hollywood. I mean, concerts!

Before we put a pool in, we tore the orchard out, rented a stage, chairs, and had The Andrew Sisters, Joel Grey, Ray Bolger, Joe Williams, and many others my dad played drums for. This was a normal summer jam at the Kluger house.

My dad, the late Irv Kluger was on the road so much, we threw huge parties when he would come home. Once we took nail polish and wrote on the inside rim of the toilet seat “GOODY, DADDY”S HOME!” Everyone really got a kick out of that.

My first album, not counting Shirley Temple”, was “Eydie In Love”. Eydie Gorme was my favorite, at four years old.  Forty years later I got to tell her that, when working the Las Vegas Country Club, where Steve and Eydie would come in  often after they moved to Las Vegas. They were so gracious, I spent my breaks in the lounge with them, talking shop.

Edyie in Love

Edyie in Love

It wasn’t a shock when my dad thought it was time that to bring me to the CEO of  Capitol Records for an audition. I wasn’t a bit nervous. This was what I did. I played guitar for myself and sang a Peter Paul and Mary song.

I got an answer right away! I was signing a 6-record deal. 3 records, 6 sides on 45s. They put me on a subsidiary label, World Pacific Jazz. I still got the Star treatment.

My producer started writing songs for me, and some were written by writers for the EverlyBrothers. Another song chosen for me was “Sukiyaki” with a new English lyric.

My dad’s good friend,  a  Radio DJ Bob Crane (late, an actor of Hogan’s Heroes fame) was excited to start playing my tunes on the air. His wife Anne and son Bobby Jr. were great friends and we spent many weekends at their home, swimming and hanging out.

Capitol Records Building

Capitol Records Building

We were at his house when he brought the Hogans Hero’s script home. We all laughed. It would never last. Too outrageous.  Wow, were we wrong!!! I even saw Bob in the 70’s at the Tropicana with his new wife, when he came to hear my band Commonwealth. No matter what you heard about his death, he was a lovely man.

At this time, I was in Van Nuys Jr High School, learning my songs for my first record. This was no big deal, I always planned on this.

I went to school with a lot of big stars kids. John Derek’s, and Jane Russell’s, to mention a few.

We worked hard on the phrasing and articulation of my songs. I was ready. I wore white slacks, tennis shoes, a striped polo shirt and strode in like it was another day. Never a lesson in my life.

I had Studio where  Sinatra recorded. The Big Studio. I walked in to find an orchestra, strings, and three back-up singers. We were doing it live. I had great pitch and they  had faith I could pull it off.  I did it,

I was in a little booth, the band played on and it was AWESOME.  My first single’s were Johnny Let Me Go” and “Popcorn and Candy “.  My Press pictures were done, I was clueless how to pose. Just look at my pics! Ughhh, but I was a baby.

The record was pressed, I did a concert at Van Nuys Jr High lip-syncing my records, I was a budding pop star. I was written up in all the trade magazines.   Billboard Magazine charted “Johnny Let Me Go”, 75 with a bullet. Meaning, the song was shooting up the charts.

Then my world stopped. The Beatles came out and were on Capitol!!!!! Singers like Lesley Gore and Jessie Paul, {They changed my name} were history. Hermans Hermits, Dave Clark Five and the Beatles were IT.

We had a contract, so they recorded my other songs and shelved me. Tax write-off.  I was a has been at 12. They changed my name, my life, my dreams, and now it was up to me, to continue a career that they had started. My dad got busy, on his own dime, flew out to Boston, Philly, all the breakout states and wined and dined the radio station managers to play my song.

I lasted long enough to do some opening act concerts with Johnny Crawford, and later,  as a teen, with Steppenwolf, Three Dog Night, Iron Butterfly, Cream, Santana, Sweetwater, Blue Cheer, Grateful Dead, and others.

I continued to work, even though I wasn’t particularly famous. I worked at something I loved, I sang for a living. I did it on my own, with my name, on my terms.

I continue to sing into my  next chapter of my life, and happily, get paid darn well for it. I am proud of what I did with the talent that I got from my parents.

I know my dad was proud of me, I know he still is .

Jessica Marciel
Las Vegas Vocal Training

The Art of the Audition

Singer auditionEvery so often, I get a new student who just comes to me for one week, every day, to get ready for an audition.

In the winter I get alot of American Idol hopefuls. I haven’t had a bad one yet. I get amazing people come to me, and I am grateful for the website. Thank you Andy Ebon, master of websites in mine, and many other minds.

It’s true,  I have truly  amazing students. but the dreaded audition, the pain and humiliation, it is an art.

I have auditioned so many times in my life, I have to believe I learned alot over the years.

At the age of 12 i sat across from the CEO of Capitol Records and sang with my guiter that I stummed badly, and got my first recording contract for 6 sides, that is 3 single records. Remember records, no you probably heard of them though.

The first most important thing is to find a song that makes you stand out. A song that will show your strengths, and if is  too long,, start at the bridge and shoot for the coda.

You have to get their attention right away and hold it all the way through.  One way to do that, is to choose a song that you have passion for, one you love and  feel sure about.

You  now have to paste and cut the song to 16 bars. That is the hard part, because you need to show your range and emotions..

You have to believe the song. You are a story teller. You must be so involved in your song, that the people in the room do not matter anymore. Do your thing and draw them in. If you really sincere, they will come with you, on your 16 bar journey.

Then, you must choose an alternate song,, in case they want more.  Most of the time they know right away if you are what they are looking for.  They have someone in mind, Do not , I repeat, do not take rejection personally. I mean it, if you have faith, and you are good, you are just the wrong type for this particular show.

When you walk into the audition, be confident, walk straight, be nice to all the other people there to audition.

When you go up to the stage or go  into the room, whatever it is, make sure that before, you have gone somewhere quiet to relax, and meditate or whatever works for you. In my classes, I use relaxation exercises  before we start the lesson, to have  them focus and be in the groove and get the work done. You can,t be distracted, you need to separate  your complicated life and  give the song respect.

So, in short, the song, the respect for others, the focus, and get into the whole mood of the song. Choose wisely,  someone should

write a book with great audition songs. It would be so much easier, and we wouldn’t have to hear Black Velvet every year on American  Idol!

Good Luck and go get em!

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