Monday, November 28, 2011


I had a show in Philadelphia the night before, November 4th. It was a great show, but a long night. On my way upstairs I asked my road manager for my music that he left in the car. He didn't want to go back downstairs: "Judy, they already have the showtape for tomorrow, so you don't need it." I argued, "Yes, David, but if something goes wrong, I need back up." He didn't budge, and I admittedly was feeling too tired to argue with him. I arrived home from the show at 3am. I already knew I would be sleep deprived because I had to be up at 8:30am in order to arrive at my soundcheck on time. Walked through the door, took off my still sweaty clothes, wiped off the tons of black mascara from my eyes, threw on a t-shirt and went to bed...

Almost 10 minutes later, just as I began to have my first dream, my house phone rang. Who the heck would be calling at this ungodly hour? It was my road manager, "Yo, Judy, you gotta call the the driver..." He was ranting with incomplete sentences. "David, what happened?" "The driver left me." What do you mean 'the driver left me'?" "I mean...the driver stopped for gas, and I told him I would be right back. I went into the store, came out...and yo, he was GONE!" I immediately got on the phone, called the limo company's owner and told him what had occurred. Wow, I thought, that driver is probably almost at David's house...without David. The owner called me back, and told me, "Hey, Judy, Mike knows about David, and is on his way back to the gas station." And then it happened -

A little gurgle of laughter began to rise out from my stomach...

I could just imagine David standing there...This very large, muscular guy coming out of the store with some sort of food in his hand, and then with his mouth agape...thinking, "Oh s...t! Where's the freaking limo?" LOL.

I called David back to let him know that the driver was returning to his rescue. LOL. I began to laugh...and I didn't stop for almost ten minutes...I'm not exaggerating. I would be severely sleep deprived now, but damn, that laughter was ALL worth it! Everytime I thought of him standing there in complete disbelief that the driver was there, I lost it. Then it hit me. That's what he gets for refusing to get my music back to me. Karma is funny.

I got back to my bed. Closed my eyes. Ten minutes later - screaming coming from the park down the street. She was screaming as if she was being hurt, but then when I heard the screaming followed by her laughter, well, I didn't find it funny at all. The immature teen kept me up. It was 4:30 when I finally fell asleep. Oh, well.

I woke up, and out of sheer determination (and excitement - The Quiet One was going with me), I woke up with tons of energy. Or was it adrenaline? I arrived at the Taj Mahal in Atlantic City a little early, so the Quiet One and I decided to play slots for a minute. And in about two minutes of playing with just $20, I was $60 richer. Cool. We went to the theater for soundcheck, and there was Aby, Tony & Angel, formerly of TKA, on stage doing their thing. It had been a long time since I'd seen them on stage. Afterward, I see a red-head on stage, and for a second I wondered, 'Who is this girl?' And in just 5 seconds of her first song, I was catapulted back to the 80's, and instantly realized it was 80's teen heart throb, Tiffany! She began singing, I Think We're Alone Now, and I had a smile on my face. And then The Quiet One turned to me, and innocently asked, "Who is she?" There are times when I don't realize our 12 year age difference...and then there are times like these, that I think, "Oh, my God...I am SO much older than he is!" So I briefly educated him...and she began to do her next song, "Could've Been". I cried. Yep, right there during her sound check. I cried because, to be completely honest, I have not heard a voice sound as pure as hers in my life!! Take out Could've Been if you still own it on a 45" and give it a listen one more time. Her vocal range, power and tone are simply amazing, and I just could NOT believe that I was witnessing this with my own ears, in person. Sabrina, a member of the Cover Girls, had the same look on her face, and I took comfort in knowing I wasn't alone in my sentiment.

Well, it was showtime, and I was excited...and I was tired. I honestly wasn't even sure I would have a voice to get through the show. If I don't have enough sleep, I simply don't have enough voice either. But I took a nap before the show, drank something like 3 cups of coffee and three cups of tea & sucked on lozenges like a woman dying of thirst. I got to watch Tiffany perform again, and I just felt like, 'I have to meet this girl!" I went on right after Tiffany...and I was just elated at the thought that I could say, "Yes, I peformed with Tiffany...I even went on right after her." To me, that was a highlight of my career!

Funny little story. I was truly stressing about what I would wear for this show. I ended up purchasing a leopard print, one piece jumpsuit. It was simple, but it was comfortable, and I thought it was flattering. As long as I dressed itup with a lot of cool accessories great shoes, it would work. When I was getting ready for the show, and The Quiet One saw me, he asked me something he had never asked before: "Um, is that what you're wearing for the show?" "Um, YES, why?" "Well, it kind of looks like something you would sleep with looks like something you would have worn in like the 80's." I was too nervous to even take in the comment. But just before I went on, I thought it would be useful for the show.

The emcee who introduced me was AMAZING! He gave me such an incredible introduction that the crowd was on their feet!! Wow! I wish I remembered it because I would have thanked the man myself! The crowd was ON THEIR FEET and I didn't even walk on yet. It's so exciting, so exhilarating and So SCARY!!! Now, that I have them on their feet, I somehow have to keep them standing! Pressure! I walked on with a smile that no one could ever erase! When you see the people standing, looking with hope in their eyes, you have to smile! These are moments that will be ingrained and burned into my memory for the rest of my life, so it has to count! So I began to sing and the dancers of T.R.U.E. dance company came on and joined me. They are simply amazing and determinged kids, for whom dance is such a passion! One of the dancers, Gia, stole the show! I was doing my chest pump dance move, and as the dancers were clearing the stage, she remained there, tapped me on the shoulder, and totally out-danced me...and then another dancer came back on stage, and literally picked her up and took her off stage. I heard the crowd laugh and applaud, and I thought, 'yeaaaa! She did it!' The crowd cheered, applauded so loudly, I got chills!! Didn't want to get off, but there were more people to be heard, lol.

My girl, my friend, the woman I look up to, Lisa-Lisa, was up next. As I was passing her on the stairs, she appeared upset. "Lisa, you ok?" I asked her. "My's just not there today." I want to take a moment to share something with you. If you are not a singer, most people say, "Oh, just drink some tea with honey & lemon." LOL Yes, tea with honey and lemon aer helpful, but sometimes it's not the cure-all you think it is. There is nothing more depressing and anxiety inducing for a singer than knowing your voice is not up to par. And when you are performing at a HUGE venue, where people have paid LOTS of money to see you sing JUST LIKE THEY REMEMBER, you feel like a failure before you even step onto the stage. My heart broke for Lisa-Lisa. I cannot tell you how many pep talks she has gifted me with throughout the was my turn to give back to her and help out. I asked her, "Would you like me to help you?" "Yea, what ever, mama!" She had such a look on her face, one I'm all too familiar with. It was that - Oh, my God-how-the-hell-am-I-supposed-to-do-this - face! I asked the sound guy, "Do you have an extra microphone you could give me? She needs help." I stood backstage and anytime I thought she may need help with the higher notes, I sang along...if I could harmonize with her, I did...anything to help. When she came off stage, she thanked me, but she had tears in her eyes. To be 100% honest, she did GREAT! The crowd was with her, and I felt it in my heart that the audience sang with her, for her, to her...they just wanted to SEE her! I told her she did great...I just hope she believed it.

I eagerly watched the rest of the show, and then the Quiet One said to me, "Hey, Judy, I think that's Tiffany right next to you." I looked at him, and squinted my eyes, "Are you sure?" "Yes." I slowly turned my head as to not act like an idiot too much. And yes, that was her. I introduced myself, and she was THE BEST!!! She was totally humble, sweet in nature, and we talked a lot. I told her I had seen her on The View..and next thing I know she was asking me if I had a Facebook page. Suddenly, Slick Rick went on stage, followed by Vanilla Ice...and I really didn't care that they weren't freestyle was just nice for me to feel EXACTLY what the fans are always telling me that they feel - I was transported to an earlier time, a happier, more care-free, and innocent time!! It was a GREAT night!!

Monday, November 21, 2011


Anytime I perform in Chicago, I always feel a certain excitement. Next to the energy of New York City, I would say Chicago comes in second for me. Chicago is a beautiful city, and to call it the Windy City is indeed an understatement. But I woke up SO sick. Oh, my God! I couldn't move. My back was aching, and so were my joints. I woke up sweating and my throat felt as if I'd swallowed glass. How am I supposed to do a show all the way out in Chicago, and fly home the following day to sing on a ship in NYC?
I took my temperature. 100.5. Yep, low grade fever.

I had to be at the airport by 9:30am. So I rushed with my road manager, David, to the doctor's office. It would be open at 8:30am. So I was there at 8:15 am, begging the doctor's assistant to see me soon so I could catch my flight. My doctor laughed when he saw me. "Ha, you're sick? What happened?" He gave me a shot and two prescriptions...I ran to Rite Aid and begged the pharmacist to assist me in leaving on time. I was in the car at 9:28 am. Excellent. There was word all over the television of a winter storm warning for New York the following day. Yeah, sure.

As soon as I got to the hotel, I slept. I slept for about 2 1/2 hours - no where near what I needed. But it would have to do. I was picked up at 11:30pm...and I was excited. On Facebook, I get a lot of, "Judy, when are you coming to Chi-town?" I can honestly say I've never had a bad show in Chicago. So when my ride picked me up to go to the show, we overheard the promoter talking about rival gang members trying to get into the club. Oh. I forgot about that. Many times when I perform in Chicago, especially in certain areas, gang activity is a given. Although, thankfully, I've never had a personal negative experience, I have done shows for example Congress Theater, where a fight will break out. Whenever I ask what's going on, I'm told in one word: gangs.

Freestyle music is very much music of the Latino streets, so I am not surprised that our fan base also includes many in prison and in gangs. But it saddens me that going to a show to hear someone perform, which should be a FUN thing to do, sometimes turns into a tragic event. Music is supposed to bring people together, NOT be a preface to a battle. And so, the word was there were gang members trying to get in. Next thing I know my road manager is saying things like, "Be sure you stay close to me, and if something goes wrong, you go out this way...." In my almost 25 years of performing, I've only experienced three shows where there was extreme violence: one was a shoot out, the second was men & women with razor blades slicing each other, and the third was when my limo taken with ME in it - but that's a whole other blog.

Anyway, it was time to perform and dammit, I wanted to sing in was a new place for me: Buzz Bomb! I have to say the second I got on stage, the welcome was, well, it gave me the warm fuzzies all over, lol. From the second I got onstage, the stage was not too stable...and when you're wearing 4 inch heels, and the there's a potential for being recorded and put on youtube the following day if you fall, well, it's not a chance I was willing to take. Enter...the chancletas. Slippers are my best friend lately...they're black and they sparkle. So cute. I summoned my slippers and the promoter brought a chair on stage. Okay, dude, it's not THAT bad. LOL..I'm not that old, not yet. And so the show continued... and in spite of singing with a sinus infection, I think everything panned out just fine.

There was a man in the audience with a 12" of No Reason to Cry...he was waving the thing like a proud American would wave his flag. I asked if I could borrow it, and talked about the old days with 12 inch records and 45's and such. I gave it back to him. He was over excited - perhaps he was even drunk...and he became so rowdy that the bouncers removed him. I begged for them not to throw him out, but it was done. All I wanted to do was sign the album for if anyone knows who he is, please forward me his name & address...I'd like to be sure he gets it.

What's my favorite thing about performing in the Windy City? The people. The people in Chicago, those who come to see me perform, are the MOST affectionate people I've met. Every single person tells me a story, hugs me, and I feel their sincerity. That kind of affection from your fans is quite unique. I stayed afterward to take pics and sign autographs - an hour and a half later, I was ready to return flight to return home was so early that as soon as we returned to the hotel, it was time to pack my bag and head to the airport.

My flight was at 7am. I had to return & I wanted an early flight because I had a show that night on a ship in NYC. WE took off, we landed, (Thank you, God, for a safe flight)...and we arrived to rain. The Quiet One picked me up and had a cup of coffee ready for me (he's thoughtful that way :) ) and next thing I knew it was snowing...HARD!!! For the first time, New York was far colder than Chicago...

Monday, November 14, 2011


In less than two weeks I performed in three cities: Miami, Chicago and Atlantic City. My schedule beginning at end of October into November is BRUTAL...and it all began when I went to Miami. I'm sure people think it's all very cool to jet set all over the country - and it is a blessing, don't get me wrong, but allow me to give you an example of what it can be like.

First, I fly coach. LOL. I don't do first class. It would be nice, but let's face it; I'm not Lady Gaga. And I was sitting in the middle to two large men...and I'm a big girl too. I admit it must have been a funny sight. I land in Fort Lauderdale, a half hour away from Miami. We drive to the hotel, and I'm already sleep deprived from the day before because when I know I have a flight, I become anxious that I'll miss the alarm clock when it fires. So I take a nap...about an hour and a half. I wake to several messages and emails about the upcoming show in Atlantic City. I get picked up for the show around 11:30pm. I go onstage at 1:30am.

The Club at the Renaissance was the venue. The crowd was a good one. Scratch that. They were GREAT! I don't do Miami too often so I know the people who showed up really came to see me. AS I performed there were three men in the audience who were starry eyed. I rarely ever see men look at me that way. But something was different about them. Couldn't put my finger on it. As I performed, with each and every song, the energy from the audience expanded, and then I felt it. Euphoria. It's true happiness. And it is SO contagious. I feel it. The people feel it. And it is just the best natural high a person could have. When I sing, Please Stay Tonight, there is a small segment of the song where I move my hips right, left and as I do that, I lower my body. And then boom. I spring back up. Then I usually make a little joke about it. I say something like, "Ah, you didn't think I could get myself back up, huh?" Then the audience laughs, and so do I. So, there I was lowering my, hello? Oh, shoot!! I can't get up! LOL LOL LOL. Oh, my God! Seriously, I'm stuck. It may have been the shoes that were higher than usual, but for some reason, my legs just didn't have the oomph to pull myself up. So there I am, just squatting there. I have to sing in like 3 seconds. So, I did what we all have to do sometimes in life: I reached out for help. And two of the three men with starry eyes helped me up. I received great applause - I really had fun onstage!

Now it's about 2:15am. I have a flight at 7:40am. I need to get back to the hotel and get sleep. But I can't because there are people just outside the door of the dressing room, waiting for pictures. I firmly believe in meeting the fans, taking pictures and chatting with them. They deserve that. If they took the time to get dressed up to come see the show, if they take the time to wait on line to meet me, the least I can do is give them that time. Besides, I confess, I LOVE people. I love that we all come in different shapes, sizes, colors, attitudes, races, creeds...and I love to try to connect with each person - even if for a second. And so, I take a moment...get a couple of sips of water, and the door is opened. By now, my feet are usually hurting...but I put on my chancletas (slippers) and just keep going. There are always a few people who challenge me: "Judy, you don't remember me, do you?" Um. Hm.

When I'm in a good mood and I'm not too tired, my response will be, "No, I'm so sorry. Where did we meet?" or "How do we know each other?"

When I'm in a bad mood, or exhausted to the point I may cry, my response is, "No, I'm sorry." Period. What else can I say? But in my mind, I'm thinking, 'Um, hello, if I remembered you, you probably wouldn't have to have asked me.' But I know how rude that sounds in my mind, so it never gets released from my mouth.

But I won't lie. I won't make believe I remember that person. About 20 years ago, someone asked me, "Judy, you don't remember me, do you?" I didn't remember him, but I felt SO horrible because he had this hopeful look in his eye. So, I lied to please him, "Yeah, how are ?" He challenged me: "Oh, yeah, you remember me? What's my name? Where did I meet you?" I stood there like an idiot. I swore I would never lie again. Truth be told, sometimes I do remember a person's face, but not the name. It's hard. In the span of ONE evening, I am easily introduced to at least fifty people. It's really hard.

Okay, I got off the subject. Sorry. So, after a show there are always a few drunk ones. It used to bother me, but now I just find it funny that the next day, they will probably remember nothing. So as I was taking pictures the three men with the starry eyes came in. They took pictures with me and seemed tickled pink. I felt honored to take the pictures with them. There was something special about them. And then one of them, asked me in Spanish what my nationality was. I told him that my mother is Puerto Rican, and my father is Cuban. Their eyes lit if they couldn't light up any further. He announced to me that they were all from Cuba and had been in the country for just a year. I asked them what city...they were from Havana, the very city my father was born in.

My father speaks of Cuba frequently. He tells me of the white sandy beaches, the amazing music and the impeccable dancing that occurs there. My father came to this country when he was shy of 18 years old. I understand from his stories that it was a hazardous trip, and that when he got here in the winter time, the only word he knew in English was hamburger. I admire my father for his courage. To come to a land where you don't speak the language, or know the not even have a home or know of a friend or a relative who can get you started - that takes guts. And my father created a wonderful life for himself here...and later in life, he had his sister and mother join him here as well. It is a common story for many of our relatives, but it is always admirable..this country is built on immigrants. I sure wouldn't be here today if my parents had not come into this country.

And so, the three starry-eyed gentlemen began to tell me about how they would climb to the roof of their homes with antennae to desperately try and catch Power 96, a big radio station in Miami. They told me they could barely hear No Reason To Cry but they knew they loved it. Wow. Their story, told with so much passion, simply brought tears to my eyes. The idea that they could have been in trouble if they had been caught, but they risked it anyway, truly moved me. They had looked forward to this day, hoping they could finally hear me in person, meet me. So cool. I gave them pictures, I took more pictures with them and I hugged them...really, really hard. Wow. Now, that's what I call Freestyle Freaks!! Yo quiero mi Cuba libre!!! (I want my Cuba to be free)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


Because of my career, many men have been under the impression that in order to make me happy, in order to impress me, in order to win me over, they need to wine me and dine me. Now, I admit, like any other woman, I love getting dressed up, going to a great restaurant with fine ambiance, and enjoying good conversation...but I don't need that all the time. Truth is, my best dates have been doing things unexpectedly and as long as it's new to me, and I have fun, I love it.

So, I got a phone call from the Quiet One.

"Hey, hon. It's a really beautiful day! How about we go to the cliff?"

I talk about the cliff to many people in my life, and I've even blogged about what I call My Cliff. I am happiest whenever I am around nature. There is something therapeutic about hearing the leaves being kissed by the breeze; seeing all the green all around; noticing the trees that have been in existence for almost an eternity; and the idea of a possibility of seeing the forest's creatures. All these things turn me into a little kid. I did indeed take the Quiet One to the cliff in the beginning of our relationship...all we did was stand there and talk. The Quiet One remembered. He remembered how much this little place means to me. The idea that he spontaneously suggested it thrilled me. So he picked me up, and there we were. I showed him the trails that are there - there are two. One marked with red on the trees and the other marked with blue. He spotted a turkey vulture. I looked up, waiting to see it soar. But he pointed straight ahead, and there it was walking along the woods. Cool. Turkey vultures are not exactly the most beautiful of birds, but I LOVE birds of prey. Just the mere sight of any bird of prey fills me with adrenalin. We began to walk the trail marked in red, but we quickly realized we were not wearing the appropriate clothing, or type of shoes for the rocky landscape. He suggested that the next time we came to the cliff, we should make a day of it; pack a bag, blanket and snacks, and go.

So the following week, The Quiet One picked me up. That particular day, for some reason, I wasn't really in the mood. But the sun was calling out, reminding me that soon it would be further away. Soon it would be too cold to visit the cliff...this was the day. So, he drove me there - knapsack, blanket, snacks, water and all. We had our hiking shoes on too. We chose the trail with the red on the trees. Last summer I had attempted that trail, but I was forceed to stop dead in my tracks because there was so much brush growth, it completely denied me access. But on this day, with the Quiet One, it was completely free. There was a sign posted: 440 Foot Descent. I don't know what the hell that means - 440 feet? I just know I was determined to do it. And so was the Quiet One. And so we began to walk down.

It was wonderful because for two hours we were completely alone, almost as if no one else existed. As we walked, sometimes in complete silence, we saw chipmunks, more chipmunks...and more chipmunks. We found a large rock that to me, looked like a love seat. We sat for a moment and took in the awesomeness of the forest. And then we continued to walk down, even passing the area where I was stopped last year. Finally, at the very bottom, we had reached the river. It was GREAT! It was so quiet, so private and extremely peaceful. We found a large tree and sat for a while. It was perfect. It was even romantic. And all I kept thinking was how sweet he was to do this for me. Although he's never told me, I get the feeling that nature is not really his thing. But he entertained me with something that I love, and it makes me love him that much more.

It was time to go back. Oh. I forgot. The entire return trip would be entirely uphill. Uphill onto rocky terrain, over broken trees and sometimes unsteady footing. The Quiet One was so manly - he sometimes walked in front of me to be sure I wouldn't step on something unsteady. He sometimes walked behind me, claiming he just wanted to see my butt, lol. Silly. Either way, half way up, I was huffing and puffing...and sweating. Excuse me, I mean I was glistening. He was not. Damn, I really need to get into better shape. Perhaps Zumba isn't enough. Three quarters of the way, I HAD to STOP. I needed a little break. We rested about a minute and proceeded. "We're almost there, got this!!" Aw, he's so supportive. my mind, I was thinking, "Yeah, that's easy for you to say, Tarzan!"

Just before we reached the end, the Quiet One pointed out the cutest deer. I love deer. Some people see them as nuisances on the highway, or creatures harboring lyme-disease carrying ticks, but I see them as sweet, docile creatures. In Native American folklore, they are considered to represent innocence and child-like naivete. Either way, the Quiet One saw something that he knows I love...

Looks like the Quiet One is the Good One too. I have to tell you that so far, I have nothing bad to report. As we ge to know one another, I have learned that he is easy-going, attentive, romantic, affectionate...and he can be quirky too. One of his quirks, my favorite so far, is that when he really likes a song, he will sing it passionately, but a split second faster than the tempo of the song. As a singer, it used to make me cringe, but now it makes me smile!!!! It was nice to see for once where the trail led was nice to finish what we was simply - very - nice.