What made you decide to move on from that?
Because everybody in New York thought I had lost my mind. I was turning down gigs, because I got so ensconced in the activities at Berklee. I had also established a night called Singer’s Night, which I understand still goes on. I had offered my services when I saw another showcase that the "Yo Team" put on, which I thought was the most ridiculous thing I’d ever seen. All of the students thought it was the cat’s meow and everything, but then they didn’t have anything else to compare it to. I had already been almost around the world and I had seen so much, and I was sitting there watching this showcase. It was like a factory line: the singer comes on, the singer sings, the lights come up, the singer bows, the lights go off, the singer leaves. Every singer was coming on the same way, and I was like, "They’ve gotta be kidding me." So, I offered my services, and the head of the team basically fluffed it off, like “Who do you think you are?” I was very nice and very careful with how I worded it. So, I went to the head of the voice department, like, “Okay, I want to do my own show called Singer’s Night.” And the rest is history.
When you talk about some of the situations you can run into, whether it’s in the business or even at an educational institutions, it summons to mind a quote from you earlier in your career. You described yourself as "no Miss Sweet Polly Purebred.” So, how do you deal with those situations? If someone is not being respectful to you as an artist or what-have-you, how do you find the balance in standing up for yourself?
I think I’ve gotten better as I’ve gotten older. When I first came to New York, I was very sweet; very, very green. Someone told me in the early part of my career, “You’re going to have to harden up, because people will take advantage of you. You’re going to have to learn how to be tough when you’re called on to be, because people are going to run over you.” So, with everything that I ran into with Bubbling, with the jealousy, I developed that hard exterior. Not so much nowadays, because when I see it coming, that’s on them. I’ve come to learn that. But back then, I fought back, and maybe in ways that I would never do now. But God had given me this gift, and how could you be hatin’ on me for that? What could I do? I didn’t tell the critics what to write.