Saturday, April 30, 2011


Okay it's been a bit challenging trying to keep up with the blog because of the highly demanding schedule I've had lately, not to mention drama with a friend, taking care of my health, getting back to the zumba classes, writing songs, recording...It's been good.

So the other evening, I'm lying in my bed, just about to read the new book by Iyanla Vanzant (who I love & had the pleasure of meeting - that's for another blog), and I stopped for a second. I looked around my room and suddenly had a moment. Hm. Something feels odd. What couid it be? It hit me. I'm happy. No reason..just feel truly content. I smiled, and took a moment to recognize the joy & prayed to God, thanking him for it all! And so I thought back. Lots of things to be happy about.

I was at a songwriting session in Massachusets, when I received a call right out of the blue. "Hey, Judy, are you busy tomorrow? I'm in town...want to record that song with you." The call came from none other than Tony Moran. For the freestyle world, people know him at one of the men who made up the duet called the Latin Rascals - lead singer of Arabian Nights, Please Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood and more. To the inside producers world, he is known a huge, popular success, producing for mega stars such as Luther Vandross, Barbra Streisand and Gloria Estefan. He's worked with U2, Bruce Springstein and so many more! To receive a call from him would be the equuivalent of Clive Davis calling me, lol. I've known him personally for many years, and we had always "talked" about working together, but it never happened. We were finally getting ready to record a song with him as producer, when things got in the way. Things like him receiving a phone call from the Estefan's requesting him to produce Gloria's next album. When he told me about the call, even I was like, "If you don't take this opportunity now, you'd be making a big mistake, huge." So, I was put on hold again...

So, almost 2 years ago, Tony had given me a song to listen to, promising me we'd do a duet together. And more things got in the way - my label not liking the song for one; my manager advising that the song would never make radio. At the time, I listened to the "things that got in the way." It made sense, so I let it go. But I would find myself still listening to the song, and just feeling an overwhelming sense of joy each time I heard it. True, it probably would never make radio...sounds nothing like what's on the radio now. But I still loved it. So it was just one of those songs that could've been, that I would listen to from time to time...

Now I get the call from Tony. "Remember that song I gave you a while back? Well, I'm putting my album together - a lot of people on this album with me: Jennifer Holiday (the orginal Dreamgirl on Broadway), Anastacia (OMG - I have ALL her music) and many more...I want you on this album." I'm not an idiot...I said yes before he even completed his sentence. "Okay, Judy, I'll be in touch with you...we'll record tomorrow night." I thought to myself 'sure...that's what he said before.' So I cleared my schedule just in case, but planned to songwrite some more, and take a zumba class in its place.

Well, it was almost 4pm the next day. And just as I thought it wasn't going to manifest, he called me to confirm we were recording at Peter's Planet in NYC (Barbra Streisand recorded there!) that evening at 7:30pm. Woohooo!! I posted the good news on facebook...I HAD HAD to share that! I arrived at 7:29pm...and Tony Moran was on Latino Time!! He arrived at 8:47...and we went right to work ( I posted a little video for you to see at the end of this). I have recorded with many people over the 24 year span of my career. I have recorded with wonderful, talented people. And I can say bad things about no one, except one who shall remain nameless. This was Tony Moran. This was different, and I was genuinely so excited that I cried when I was preparing to sing. To have Tony Moran work with me was a dream come true! To work with him was, well, to work hard. He is a perfectionist in his own right...and yet, I never got angry or frustrated with him...I felt that way with myself at times, but I will forever remember the experience as going to another level.

He was a stickler for details. And they say love is in the details, lol. He picked on me about my pronunciation of the word moon; how I didn't let the chorus be more legato; where he wanted and didn't want was all so awesome! I left the studio and returned home at almost 6am the next morning...but the sun was shining and I did nothing but thank God repeatedly for such a blessing. Somehow I knew that it was a sign of even better things to come.

Awesome shows lately too -like the one at Lehman College in the Bronx, a college I attended. Actually I took music classes, psychology classes and every single acting class imaginable until the professor said, "Judy, there are no otehr acting classes to take - you've taken them all!" So, at the show in Lehman College, there was just a collective joy from the audience - it was so amazing it was palpable!!! I was excited because I had worked on a new show tape, and well, the last time I was a Lehman performing, it was a memorable one. I stepped out on stage, and felt pretty good about how I looked...I desperately searched my closet for something worthy of a large stage like that.

When I stepped out on stage - the sweet reception was palpable, and I felt wonderful. I brought out some props to remind them of our freestyle generational era, and we all had a good laugh. And of course, when I'm having a perfect show, something imperfect always needs to belt broke, fell off, I don't know I just know I looked down, and there it was - forming a cute little circle around me. Oh, well...I kept singing and said my thank yous and walked off, satisfied with a good show. But I left the belt on stage.

To my surprise, backstage, I saw Tony Moran...he was performing too!! How cool!!! He forewarned me that we might be singing the song on stage I was excited, and then freaking terrified...didn't know if I even knew the words by heart yet. So, I'm watching Tony sing, and he's in GREAT shape...he's got a great tanned, muscular physique...the only things that reveal he's over 40 are the distinguished grays on his head...BUT he really is a handsome man - grays and all. Here's the issue that people might make an issue out of: I am very tall 5'9", and a chunky hunk of woman! Tony, well, I don't know how tall he is, but he's shorter than me, and in trim condition. I speculated what people might say if we sang together...but then I reminded myself that people want to hear us sing, and if they like the song that is all that matters. And if anyone wants to make an issue of the "look" - that's their problem, isn't it? LOL...and then I saw Tony.

HE was stage left (which means on my right) holding my cute, pink, purple beaded belt in his hand. What a gentleman he is to have remembered to get my belt for me, when all he should think about is his show. Here is this handsome, adonis-like-physiqued-man holding this dainty little belt. I couldn't let that happen. I thought to myself 'run on stage, grab the belt, give him a quick kiss on the cheek and let him finish." So I run onto the will only take a second. And BAM! OUCH...i tripped on this mini black platform that came up off from the stage & it was black too, and I heard the crowd gasp. But Tony caught me. Thank you, Tony. I wasn't really embarrassed but I felt bad - I didn't want to take the attention off Tony - I just wanted him to finish his show without holding my belt. And then he knelt down, and kissed my hand. Que lindo! So sweet!

Just three days ago, he called me back into the studio for fix just 3 lines in the song...and yes, after hearing them, they needed to be done over. So I thought I'd be in the studio for no more than a half hour...but NO! This is Tony, people, lol....sometimes when you work with a "genius", the experience is not at all what you expect it to be. If you have ever had the unique privilege of being with a genius, they are unlike others. Tony has a unique way of being all over the place in his thinking...before I stepped into the studio booth, he began telling me why we were doing the lines over. The experience reminded me of watching Gary Busey on Celebrity Apprentice, lol...but realistically, the second I walked into the booth, we did exactly what he wanted. Unfortunately my voice was working against what my brain told it to do. Ugh. Even though I finally got what he needed, I still felt I had failed him. I know what my voice can do, and since I've got the nodules on my vocal chords, my voice doesn't always do what I need it to, when I need it to. Tony told me, "Before you leave, I want you to hear a song I've been working on. Maybe you might wanna add something to it." The track was EXCELLENT! And he grabbed a piece of paper, quietly scribbled and scribbled, and when he sang to me what he wanted me to do, I RAN into the booth. He wrote a hit in 5 minutes. It was an out-of-body experience. I felt privileged that he asked me to sing it...I am truly blessed!

And so, as I was preparing to go to sleep, I looked around my quiet, dark bedroom and just felt a sense of peace. I still have no townhouse I've been dreaming of; I still have no man in my life...but I have SO much....mmmm...and I went into a deep and happy sleep! Yes. Life is good!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Painted Nails, Easter Eggs and An EggHead!!

So I owe you a HUGE apology for not blogging for more than a month! Wow, has it been that long? Sorry. I am usually blogging about how busy I am, lol...but this time I was so busy I couldn't even blog about being busy.

My niece, Jennyce, is with me for the week...I wanted to give my mom & my sister a well-deserved break, and spend some quality time with Jennyce as well. Problem is I kind of picked the wrong week to do it. I was personally invited by John Leguizamo himself, to see Ghetto Klown, his latest one-man Broadway show, along with a cocktail party, show, and meet & greet afterward. Although I had already met him and have the picture to prove it, I DON'T mind meeting him again. He has a brilliant mind, and he's far more intelligent than one could imagine. But I won't be going because the invite is for this Thursday - the same day I promised my niece that we would go to Sweet & Sassy a very, girlie-girl place where she can make her own lotion, and go bowling afterward. Normally, I wouldn't be selfish, but I had a momentary lapse of insanity, and my mind went like this:

John Leguizamo! Oh, John!
No...Jennyce - bowling. Cute smile!
John - he's got a cute smile too!
Jennyce, I promised her I'd bring her with me for Spring Break.
John..hello!!! A personal invite from him!! How could I not go...John needs me!
Jennyce needs me!

As heartbreaking as it was to decline the invite, it would have been heartbreaking for me to have canceled on her. This 5 year old child doesn't know who John Leguizamo is...and quite frankly, I don't think she cares either, lol. Besides, as a child, one of my most bitter memories are the ones I remember of looking forward to something, only to have it canceled on me. I can still remember being told 'you'll get over it...disappointment is part of life.' True. But. Children don't need to know disappointment until they're a bit for now my motto is: if you make a promise, you keep a promise - ESPECIALLY when a child is involved.

So, it's just past midnight now, and I finally got her to bed after a VERY full day of events: she HAD to paint my nails (first time in my life, I have 4 different-colored nail polishes on; shoe shopping for her at the mall; Easter shopping at Target because she said my house needed to be decorated; shopping for my sister-in-law's baby shower on Saturday; egg-decorating; neighborhood carnival...oh, had to cook dinner; read her a book, get her a bath, made her brush her teeth and then she said "Titi judy, come on, let's have a talk." Everytime she says that, honestly, my heart just becomes blob-like...and I find myself saying, "Ok, what would you like to talk about?" More than half an hour later, she's sleeping like an while I have a precious moment to myself, I'll try to bring you up to speed. And by the way, kudos to all the people who do this every single day with their own children!!

First, please know I promise to blog about recording with Tony Moran and the concert at Lehman College and Horseshoe Casino in Indiana...but that will come in the next one. For now, a couple of weeks ago I had a date...

I met him at a convention where I was asked to be a speaker. Although I have select words for him, I'll call him AJ. AJ works as a social worker for under-priveleged children, in his late 30s, handsome, well-spoken. More than two people there basically sang his praises, promising me what a good guy he is. So we exchanged numbers and chatted on and off for a couple of weeks. He finally says, "So, when can I actually take you out?" I offer to meet him for brunch at a local restaurant. We had already discussed the typical: are you married, children? Where do you live? Where did you grow up, etc...I was relieved to discover that he was single. Divorced. But over 10 years that sounded good.

I meet him at the restaurant, and he was courteous, on time, and a gentleman. He was a bit shy at first, but then he opened up, At some point between the appetizers and main course, he asks me, "So, Judy, why are you still single?" I always somehow feel that that is a trick question...because if I knew why I was single, perhaps I wouldn't be. Anyway, I tell him what I believe to be true: Things haven't worked out so far, and I'm looking for a good single man, who doesn't have issues of fear of intimacy, baby mama drama, or commitment phobia. Then he begins to flirt just a bit and compliments me. Who doesn't like a compliment? I gladly accepted, especially because my last situation left me feeling - well - quite rejected and without real explanation. So it was time to go because I had another commitment. He asks if we could take a picture. I thought it odd for a "first date" but I said ok.

He walks me to my car. I thank him for brunch. And then that awkward first moment comes (although I admit with other dates in my past, it wasn't awkward at all.). He says, "I had a great time...when can I see you again?" Don't know why, that little voice inside me decided to mess things up, but it nudged me, so I complied. "Ok, AJ, before I say yes and agree to another date, I need to ask you something one more time. You see, I don't normally make a new guy pay for the last guy's crimes, but I MUST ask you this."

"Sure" he says.
"Okay. Here goes. Are you sure you're single? I mean, not married, not separated, not in the middle of a divorce, not seeing anyone, no girlfriend (here or long-distance wise), not sort-of-seeing someone? Completely? - because the last man I dated told me he was single until the 3rd time we went out."

And then he drops the ball.

"Well, Judy, you know, I think you're so great...I mean really great. (Oh, God, here it comes...anytime someone begins a sentence with 'I think you're's not good) I didn't think you'd be so cool...but I am kind of seeing someone."
Ugh. Disgust. we go again.

"So how long are you kind of seeing someone?"
"A year and a half."
"Okay, that's not kind of seeing someone...that's called a girlfriend, my dear."
Drum roll please....

....and the EggHead of the Year, 2011 goes to....AJ

"So, why did you lie to me? Why did you even ask me out? Does your girlfriend know you're here?"

"I'm sorry, Judy..but how could I pass up a date with Judy Torres? It's cool, you know, go to my buddies and be like, 'yea, I went out with her once..."


....and the Supporting Egghead of the year awared goes to...AJ...


So, I got in my car, regretting I even let him take a picture with me. I drove away...and funniest thing, he called me today and left a message:
"Hey Judy, how are you, beautiful? I wanted to invite you to my girlfriend's birthday party this Saturday...blah, blah, blah."

Really? Seriously? Come on...
Freaking Egg Head!!

This is the strangest thing though. For the last month and a half, I have been very happy. And even though once in a blue moon, I feel a pang of loneliness...I'm not lonely. And I am sincerely happy with my life - with or without a man...And it is rare for me to feel that way....

So if you're single and frustrated about the dating scene, you are not alone. But here's my message: Never settle for anything just because you're lonely...and don't do booty calls either, lol. I am trying to get a rain check to see John & his show next week. Fingers crossed! Darn...gotta niece is calling me...goodnight!