Wednesday, October 27, 2010


First, let me apologize to my faithful followers of the blog!!  I know the blogs about Le Parisen were suddenly gone...I was doing some editing, wanted to change some things, and when I went to retrieve them, I accidentally lost them!! UGH!!  I actually saw some followers having a conversation among each touched me actually that you were worried about me.  I am fine.  Now I know the true meaning of "backing up your computer & documents"!  LOL...

So we are almost 2 weeks away from the celebrating the big 25th Anniversary of Freestyle!!  Wow!  I can't even begin to tell you how crazy that sounds!   I have had this career as a recording artist for 24 years...yes, freestyle had a head start before I broke in the business.  If you are a freestyle freak, you will recall how freestyle spread like wildfire in New York, Florida, Iloinois and California!  Freestyle was in everyone's walkmans (lol, remember that?), cassettes and on the radio on almost every was huge! Freestyle became unanimous with New York culture!  Freestyle was a celebration of the latino culture influencing American dance music - it was clean, feel good music. It was about love, falling in love, losing love, wanting love, cheating love...bottom line it was about the basic feelings of the youth in the 80s.  In other words, freestyle was good, clean fun, have never heard about "gangsta freestyle" LOL...

The 80's were synonymous with freestyle, cavarrici's, high hair, aqua net hairspray, and nightclubs such as Palladium, 1018, Devil's Nest, La Mirage, Marty & Lenny's, Copacabana, Exit, Paled's, Red Parrot, and Emerald City!!  It was a wonderful time for all of us - we were free!!  We didn't have all the drama...we were just celebrating and loving life!  So at first this style of music had no name.  But somehow the industry decided it needed a label. I HATE labels...labels, I find them to be limiting.  Labels puts things in a box, to me, keeps things restricted. So the music industry began writing articles:  "What is this new wave of music?"  "The New Latin Hip-Hop...then it evolved to Latin because I think music is for all people, it is simply FREESTYLE!!  And the crowds that the freestyle shows drew were in drones of the thousands!!!  I will NEVER forget that!  I can never forget it!  And so,  freestyle became a frenzy, an out of control storm force that could not be stopped.  Or could it???

Suddenly in the mid 90s, something happened, and everyone has a different explanation for it.  In the mid 90's there was a station called HOT 103...Hot 103 had given birth to the freestyle by being the first station to play it.  And before you know it, major pop stations such as Z100 wanted to have freestyle artists to perform at their functions.  And what most people don't know is that in the inner circles of freestyle, it became a political war!  Station vying against station, fighting over us...We had a chance to cross over and be more pop, aka, TOP 40 - the very thing all artists strive to achieve.  And for a second we had a taste of it.  But what you don't know is that while many of the freestyle artists saw the chance, we couldn't take the opportunity.  You see, there was a threat going on behind closed doors. It was an unspoken threat:  If you do the show, the parade, the concert for such and such a station, we will black ball all your music and NEVER support your music again.  It may not sound scary, but it became extremely frustrating to feel that one small step could potentially ruin our in a way, many freestyle artists were literally held back. 

There is another theory as to why freestyle did not continue:  EVERYONE was doing it - everyone wanted piece of the freestyle pie...this is not a fact, just an opinion  here.  But I feel that in some ways, freestyle needed to grow - it needed to expand and change and evolve in the very same way that hip hop and rap has over the years.  For some reason, the demand for new freestyle was so HUGE and STRESSFUL, that many people just copied the same recipes from other songs, and before you know it...some people could not distinguish who was who.  Also because everyone wanted it, so many more freestyle artists were emerging...and it seemed that everyone was signing anyone, and thus, the quality of some artists, the standards were not as high anymore. I am not trying to put anyone down - it's an observation that many of us have talked about.

I will never forget the day I was at HOT 103...and an announcement was made that they were changing dials to HOT 97. In less than a year, sometime in the early 90's, HOT 97's program director announced that HOT 97 would no longer play freestyle...they announced they would be changing their format to play a new genre of music:  Hip-Hop!  It was the beginning of the end for freestyle!  And once New York stopped supporting freestyle, the other stations around the country followed suit.  And we were faced with a harsh reality that freestyle was "over."  We were told to go find jobs...I had even heard a rumor that the program director owned a restaurant at the time, and was said to have mocked us by saying, "If they need a job, they can wait tables at my place."  Ouch. That hurt.  I never forgot it.

I remember walking the streets of Parkchester, in the Bronx...and wondering, "What am I going to do?"  We had such a  tremendous success, that I think we didnt' see the end ever coming.  We felt invincible...that freestyle would last forever.  We were wrong...well, sort of.  I can't tell you what everyone did; I can only tell you what happened to me.  I was not ready for the rainy day.  I did not save enough money.   was so preoccupied with taking care of my family, my siblings, etc., that I kind of gave it all away.  And little by little, the shows slowed down.  the bills began coming.  It is VERY expensive to keep this business going. Each artist is their very own business...and they have LOTS of overhead:  you have to pay your manager, booking agent, road manager, dancers.  You have to constantly invest an re-invest into yourself...there are costumes to buy, shoes to wear, make up, hair, nails...and you have to keep it fresh to keep up the face e of the illusion you've learned to give the public.  The public loves to believe you have it all, when in essence, you are truly spending a LOT of money.  In less than a year, I lost my precious condominium that Ihad purchased at the age of 18!  Gone. Done.  My stubbon self refused to declare bankruptcy, so I paid off every single credit card.  I was stil singing, but instead of 12 shows a month, it was about 2...too little to suvive one.  I became an aerobics instructor, I worked for two attorneys, and every once in a while deal with the "shame" of someone recognizing me on the street, saying, "Oh, my God! Judy Torres?? Judy Torres works here?!"   Ah, yes it was a very humbling time for me...and I am happy to have been humbled!  It was a valuable lesson to learn...and I'm glad God gave me that lesson very early. 

And then something happened.  The phone started ringing again.  I was told that the people in the clubs were asking to hear me perform...huh? But the songs are so old didn't matter.  And in a couple of months I was working regularly perfornmng in clubs.  I wasn't the only one - George Lamond TKA Coro, Cynthia, etc...we all were working consistently.  And in a few more years, a new station re-emerged:  WKTU, the Beat of New York. And they supported freestyle...the people's hunger to hear it agin was satisfied. I was hired there and for 12 1/2 years I hosted the KTU Freestyle Free For All.  And soon after, the idea of freestyle concerts began to flourish, and we were once again thrown into a resurgence of freestyle, accompanied by new fans - the younger borthers and sisters and children of the original freestyle freaks!  We've been able to say we've performed in the big arenas:  Nassau Coliseum, PNC Bank Arts Center, arenas all over the country and finally the world famous Madison Square Garden....almost 25 years later!!  Sold OUT!!  It has been an incredible ride.

We are now less than two weeks away from the 25th Anniversary of Freestyle!! Twenty-five years!!!  A quarter of a century! If someone had told me I'd still be singing No Reason to Cry ans  Come Into My Arms 25 years later, I would never have believed them!  But yet, here we are...and I have to tell you how grateful I am, how grateful we all are, that you have stood by us through thick and thin.  And it is YOU, the PEOPLE who forced freestyle to be reincarnated!!!  I will take this joy to my grave!  And I will NEVER again take it for granted. I am well aware that we are all getting older - many of you have children, mortgages, and I fear the day that you wil all say, "Ay, I wish I could go to the show, but I'm too tired!" LOL...

And so, I enjoy

And when I step out onto the stage in two weeks to sing, I am going to soak up EVERY SINGLE MINUTE!!  I have some special things planned...I want to show the "industry", well, we STILL GOT IT!! And FREESTYLE isn't going anywhere!!  It is the voice of the people, it is a part of our is our LEGACY!!!                                        

Monday, October 11, 2010


So yesterday, I woke up still feeling sick, but felt I was getting better.  I slept a LOT the night before - almost 11 hours!!! Whew, hadn't had that kind of sleep since I was 19 and doing 4-5 shows a night, lol.  I showered, got dressed and was all set for work at KTU and a date I had made with a gentelman who teaches Rhumba and Cha-Cha at a dance studio in the city.  Yea, paints a picture for you, huh? LOL...makes me think of a svelt, tall, perfect-postured man, with his hand held out to invite me to dance.  But then, as I was literally inside the tunnel, I began to feel body aches again, and just an agonizing sensation that I wanted to sleep. I realized, at a very late juncture, that I didn't think I'd make it through my shift.

I called my boss and told him I was afraid I couldn't make it...could the dj after me come in a bit earlier? He told me he'd call me back.  I drove around 2 times and found a GREAT parking space.  I walked to the store to purchase apple juice,  tea and phone rang. 

"Judy, don't come in...We got you covered. "  Wow that was quick.  Sounds strange, but I was so freaking relieved.  Walked right back to my car, drove back home, bought chicken soup, placed a sorry-I-didn't-make-it-to-work status on Facebook, and put my head down. OH MY GOD!  I had to call the dance instructor to cancel.  He was, gratefully, understanding.

Went to see my caring Dr. today.  Yes, I have bronchitis.  I received medication...and then she went over my blood test results.  Negative - for lupus; Negative - for Lyme Disease.  Then she points out that I am Vitamin D deficient and that it may explain a little of the fatigue as well.  There was somthing suspicious in my bloodwork and she referred me to a specialist...something about connective tissue disease - could be possible arthritis, although my phsycial indicated negative towards that too. Well, at least I may be getting some answers to why I KNOW I've not been myself lately! LOL

Well, my friends...take this blog as a sign to get yourself examined,. If you have not had a thorough physical in a long time, please do it.  Do it for yourself; for without your health, you don't have anything!! Muah!

Friday, October 8, 2010


Had another date this evening...with a new man.  Yes, I have decided a will do the dating game until I begin to feel a true connection with someone, and then I will be a committed girlfriend.  In my past, as soon as I'd met someone, he immediately became my boyfriend, and well, because of my desire to have a boyfriend, I chose the wrong ones.  This blog is beginning to become a magazine editorial called, "Single in the City!"  LOL.  Anyway, he is aware that I keep a blog and has given me permission to discuss the date, etc, but in respect for his privacy I am limited to what I can mention...BUT...

We will call him Wall St. Guy...older than me by 5 years. Hm, I just realized it's been a while since I've dated a man older than me. The men I date tend to me my age or younger (NOOOO I am NOT  a cougar!! LOL).  Wall St. Guy, well he works on Wall Street and is an entepreneur.  Quite frankly, he's different.  VERY different.  Okay, I have to fess up here. I met him online. Yes, I know. LOL. Handsome man, tall, very athletic...runs in marathons. The second I saw him, I realized that he was "out of my league". I don't mean it in the sense that I don't deserve him or anything like that. But he basically looked like Jeff Bridges....piercing blue eyes, blond hair...but his facial expressions...all Jeff Bridges.  He is highly intelligent, has an incredible vocabulary.  In fact, when I got home tonight, I had to run to the dictionary to find out what "premontories" meant, lol.  Wall St. Guy was a gentleman. But everything he is - I am not.  From his fashion sense to some of the topics we covered, we were clearly very different...but it was nice to feel challenged, and as my friends have recently encouraged me - it was nice to explore new avenues.  Wall St. Guy has NO idea who I am...that was nice too.  The best thing about him?  The way he treated me.  He was kind, he was respectful, he was truly interested in every thing I said.  And...he complimented the crap out of me! LOL...apparently, he is only attracted to BBW - Big Beautiful Women! I know people always put their best foot forward, but he was sincere...I could see that.  He even admitted before he took me home, that we are on opposite sides of the spectrum...but that he would see me again in a heartbeat.  We'll see where it goes...

And then...

I decided to stop at the supermarket for a couple of groceries. I chose to walk because it was a good night, and I was in the mood.  It wasn't even 10:30pm...I began walking up the hill to get home, and this Hispanic man was sitting on a stoop.

"Oye, mami!  Ps, Ps, Ps." he exclaimed, using a sound that I call letting-the-air-out-of-the-tires.
"Oye, mami! You need help with your bags?"

Now if you're a man, please let me explain what happens in a woman's mind:
If I am nice to him, and acknowledge him = he may think I am interested (which I am not)
If I ignore him, and pay him no mind         = I'm a bitch, and now I have to pay a price by being called all sorts of things..

So what did Judy Torres do?  You know me by now, I'm sure.

"No, I don't need help.  Thank you." I gave him a very small and slightly dismissive smile.

I didn't think it was a big have been cat-calling since women walked by the caveman's cave.  I just continued to walk home. I had about 2 blocks to go.  I felt something...He was behind me.  He was walking directly behind me.  He was followng me.

"Hey, mami!  I'm talking to you...don't be a pendeja!" (I forget what pendeja means, but you never want to be labeled with that name, lol).  He was making me a little nervous...He was getting too close.

If we were to rewind this scene ten years ago, I would have walked faster, perhaps run...anything to get away from this man..
Fast forward to present.

I turned my head around so much that Linda Blair in the Exorcist would've been impressed!

I yelled in a way I had never heard myself yell.  It was as if any anger I had toward being mistreated and disrespect for the last 42 years were poured on to him. 

 "I know you did not call me a asshole!  Get the fuck away from me - you hear me!  Don't fucking try me...I WILL BEAT YOUR ASS - you hear?"

I SO wish you were there to see his face.  Wow. Even I shocked myself. He was mystified. His jaw dropped and he stopped dead in his tracks.  He was in disbelief...and so was I. 

I witnessed a lot of abuse as a child, and I put up with a lot of stuff...I tolerated mistreatment, disrespect, violence. I was put down, neglected, abused...and as a child I had no voice; I was powerless. I was in survival mode.  Today I was in survival mode too. It could have been a bad situation...but today I am not a child. I am a woman!  I do have a voice...and thank God, today for the first time, I found my power!!  I have to tell you, as I walked away, as I entered my home, I smiled.  It felt good...I stood up for myself.  It felt good to reclaim my power, to yell because I was angry, instead of cry or cower in fear.  Yea. It - felt - GOOD!   

Monday, October 4, 2010


Spent most of the day at the doctor's office, reviewing the results to my physical.  Good news:  Sugar, Cholesterol, Blood Pressure - Excellent! Vitamin/mineral levels - Excellent!  I admit I was SO relieved to hear that, especially knowinge that high blood pressure and diabetes run in my family. So as Dr. M continued the examination, she did see that, in spite of the medication I was given last week, my legs and ankles are still somewhat swollen.  She did all these strange things to me: pulling my shoulders up, moving my legs around, feeling my neck. Wait. She was feeling my neck too long.

"Hm, you know..." the doctor said, "the right side of your neck is larger than the left."
I looked at her face for more.
"And sometimes the swelling in the legs, especially in the shin area can mean thyroid issues. Although your thyroid results were good, I want to do an ultra sound just to be sure, make sure it's not a tumor."
I nodded in consent.  Yes, this is good...let's be thorough.  And then she did something some doctors never do.  She sat on her chair and moved it up to me.

"So, Judy. Tell me.  How are you?"
It was as if the flood gates opened.  Part of me was relieved and the other was scared to speak up. What the hell...let me get it out.
"Dr. M, I have not been well. I have been EXTREMELY fatigued lately. I wake up, and want to sleep. Sometimes I do go back to sleep, and the other morning I gave in and slept an additional three hours after already having had eight hours sleep.  I have trouble falling asleep."
"Well," chimed in Dr. M, "Do you have a lot on your mind?  How is your career?  How've you been feeling about your weight?"
"No.Yes. Yes, I have a lot on my mind. I am worried, but I'm not obsessed about it.  I don't know, to be honest, I just noticed that the last five days or so, I'm having crying spells...I start crying, and I can't stop...just telling you about them makes me feel like crying right now."
She shocked me:  "Here, here's a tissue...let it out! It's okay, really - go ahead and cry."
Ironically, I didn't - I just looked to her for answers.  She looked at my results again.

"Okay, let's test your hormones...let's do more bloodwork to check for arthritis, Epstein Barre Syndrome, Lupus...everything...let's help you. In the meantime, call your neurologist and get your brain and spine checked with MRI...let's rule out the physical symptoms before we approach the psychological." 

This is a good doctor.  The fact that she moved her chair up, and LISTENED to me was half the healing, lol.  Anyway, she encouraged me to find a therapist because she said it's good to have someone to listen to anyway. I left her office and immediately did all the testing...I continue to pray and have faith in God's goodness...and I know things will get better. 

And then I got a phone call...a phone call from a man in my past...20 years ago.  We'll call him Six.  Six and I met in Florida in the beginning of my career through a mutual friend in grammar school.  For three days we hung out, laughed, danced..and on the very last night he kissed me. On and off for the next two years or so we would hang out and make out and he would always try to seduce me. Yea, I said it - sorry, Mom. It wasn't that I wasn't curious; it wasn't that I wasn't crazy about him; it wasn't that I didn't care about him.  But . He was intimidating. One of those men who knows what he wants, and agressively pursues it.  I will say in spite of his feelings, he ALWAYS respected me.  I don't remember how we lost touch, or why we stopped speaking, but I never forgot his great, sea-like green eyes.

"Nena," (that's what he always called me.) would you like to come with me to the movies to see Conviction at the Director's Guild Theater, starring Hillary Swank and Minnie Driver?"
"Hey, stranger! Sure!"
A couple of hours later we met at Starbuck's to catch up. Six is a retired police officer and has been a professional actor for the last 10 years! I was so happy for him because it was always his life's dream and he was now doing it, and has been pretty successful too!  We discussed our lives, successful careers, and failed relationships.  And there was a moment, where I just looked at him and it came rushing back, and I suddenly remembered how intimidated I used to be in his presence. I was so young, naive and VERY shy.  He was always such a powerful man, and quite frankly, it was a turn on.  It was not his "power" per se, but his confidence that was sexy.  And, while I love bald men too, he has a GREAT head of hair on him grey hair, just a little on the stubble on his chin.  Gorgeous green eyes, and the best eye contact that I can remember.  He is not pretentious in the least.

The movie was very very good, and I was so happy to be there. It was great to have that spontaneity in my world, even if just for a day. But, God, I needed this...I needed the company of a man, without worrying if he would expect or disrespect me...Six was my friend.  And after the movie, I invited him for a drink. We went to a very nice restaurant and ordered a couple of drinks, and it was there that I began to blush. I admit it, I am STILL attracted to him.  The best part of it all, is that neither one of us had to be on guard. It was comfortable. 

I shared with him my recent disappointments from Navy Guy suddenly disappearing, to Lobster's cameo appearances and phone calls, to the men who make dates just to stand me up, to the men who just want to have sex with me on the first date...and nothing else. Six listened, told me about his divorce and why his marriage failed, about the women who had come and gone, the turn on's and turn off's and he reminded me of the following:
"Judy, most of us suck! But you  remember I told you this - YOU, the woman, are ALWAYS in control. You decide what you want from us, and if they don't offer you what you want, forget them.  You take control...and you let them wonder for a change. Not the other way around.  You're a good woman, Judy...I always thought you were different...and we always had a connection."

Five minutes later, I began to remember what attracted me to him those 20 years ago, and why I had not taken things farther those 20 years ago - He makes me feel wanted, happy, like I can trust him, but there is always something there that tells me he is not the relationship type. Suddenly I realized he'd continued his lecture and I wasnt even listening:

"...deinitely am still attracted to you...still something there...but right now I'm really working on myself before..." Yep, I was right, lol...not the relationship type. Six did say something profound to me. And although I'd heard it before, and I've even said it to people before, I needed to hear it today.  "Judy, sometimes you have to quit worrying whether or not you'll be married, or have children, or you'll have that successful career.  It is here. It is now. All you have is the present...and if you can stop worrying for one second and appreciate all you have now, you will be happier.  And when that happens, the love you have been waiting for will pop right into your life."

It honestly calmed me to hear him remind me of that.  Damn...still cute.  I could kiss him right now.
"Judy?  You there? Why are you smiling?"
"Nah, nothing."
We got to his car. We talked for a bit as he dropped me off, and in an instant, grabbed me and kissed me.
"Yes, Judy...I am still find you extremely beautiful!"  Woooh.  Call the ambulance!!  Fire!! LOL....I walked away with a smile on my face, no questioning if he'll call me again or not, whether or not this will turn into something. In fact, I didn't even care that perhaps his speech was just a set up to provide him the opportunity to kiss me. I didn't care! Nope! Just...enjoying the NOW.