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30 Oct 2011

Elton's Losses: Blues Never Fade Away (& III)

Gianni Versace
02/12/1946 - 15/07/1997

One of the most innovative fashion designers of the 20th century, and known for his glamorous styles. He has also created stage costumes for such pop performers as Elton John, Madonna and George Michael. Versace was shot in front of his Miami Beach, Florida home by Andrew Cunanan, who had crossed the U.S. on a killing spree. Elton sat next to Princess Diana at Gianni Versace's funeral: "It was a very emotional day for me, because Gianni and I were extremely close. As soon as I saw her, I breathed a sigh of relief, even though I was with David, who's my partner. And we were like, "Oh, God, thank God you're here," you know? When I started crying, she put her arm around me and she comforted me". Elton dedicated "Abide With Me" and "Live Like Horses" to his friend.

George Harrison
25/02/1943 - 29/11/2001

Harrison was a fluent, inventive and highly accomplished rhythm and lead guitarist of The Beatles. All Things Must Pass and the accompanying single "My Sweet Lord" had the distinction of being the first solo recordings by any of the Beatles to top the charts following their breakup. In 1997 Harrison was diagnosed with cancer and had throat surgery; he finally died years later at a friends home in Los Angeles. Elton explained that when he first came to the U.S., and his self-titled album was No. 18 on the charts, Harrison sent him a congratulatory telegram: "I've never forgotten that gesture. It was such a mind-blowing gesture," he said. He then dedicated a performance of "Your Song" to Harrison "for all the wonderful music he's given us over the years. Wherever you are, George, be happy. God bless you."

Gus Dudgeon
30/09/1942 - 22/07/2002

Dudgeon was an essential part of Elton's team on a dozen albums, seven of which reached No. 1 in the U.S. He had worked in the 1960s as an engineer for several major British acts of that decade, including the Rolling Stones, John Mayall's Bluesbreakers, David Bowie or the Moody Blues. Gus and his wife, Sheila, were tragically killed when their Jaguar XK8 veered off the M4 motorway while they were driving home. Speaking at Dudgeon's funeral, Elton described his friend and former mentor as the "the greatest producer of a generation". His moving tribute gave way to tears when his song "High Flying Bird", which Dudgeon had produced, was played out to the packed church. A note attached on a bouquet of white lillies from Elton read: "Thank you for the glorious times. May you be in Heaven together forever, love Elton."

Guy Babylon
20/12/1956 - 02/09/2009

Guy's first performance with Elton was for a benefit at the Century Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles in July 1988, and his first world tour as part of the Elton John Band began two months later in Miami, Florida. Guy became lead keyboardist on May 26, 1992. He died of a heart attack while swimming in the pool. Elton, who was unable to attend Guy's funeral, posted on his Web site a tribute to his longtime music colleague and friend: "I am devastated and heartbroken at the death of Guy Babylon. He was one of the most brilliant musicians I have ever knew, a true genius, a gentle angel - and I loved him so much," he wrote. In Naples, Italy, Elton dedicated the whole show to Guy's memory: "This has been the saddest week in my life. The keyboard player in my band, Guy Babylon, died last week. I want to dedicate this show to him. I love him so much! This is the saddest thing in my life".

Robert Key
13/08/1947 - 15/10/2009

In the mid-1970s he joined Rocket Records, co-ordinating all the star's record releases and personal appearances. For many years he managed Sir Elton's households in London, Windsor and Nice, overseeing extensive building projects. He was appointed director of the Elton John Aids Foundation in Britain in 1993. Under Key's direction money has been provided for more than 500 programmes in Africa, Asia, South America and eastern Europe. Robert Key died of myelofibrosis following a bone-marrow transplant. "Robert's vision and commitment to the fight against AIDS inspired me to establish the Foundation" wrote Elton, "He will be deeply missed but felt everywhere in our goals and our achievements. Robert, we love you".

Elton's Losses: Blues Never Fade Away (II)

Lady Diana Spencer
01/07/1961 - 31/08/1997

Diana Spencer was a direct descendant of King Charles II who married Prince Charles, becoming the Princess Of Wales. The Royal Wedding, which took place on 29 July 1981 in St Paul’s Cathedral, London, was attended by 3,500 guests. Known for her high profile charity work, Diana was the first celebrity to be photographed touching a person with the HIV virus. "A feeling of love for people, compassion, humor, sadness. She could connect with everybody. She made everyone feel special" related Elton to Barbara Walter's TV Show, short after her death. The black Mercedes S-280 bearing the Princess and her party, Dodi Al-Fayed had an accident in the Seine Tunnel, near the Eiffel Tower, Paris. Elton reworked his hit song "Candle In The Wind" into "Goodbye England's Rose" when he sang it at Diana's funeral, the "People's Princess" she became known.

Daniel Pearl
10/10/1963 - 21/02/2002

The Wall Street Journal reporter was kidnapped and murdered by terrorists in Pakistan in early 2002, just four months after 9/11. Pearl uncovered that the U.S. had mistakenly bombed a Sudanese pharmaceutical plant, believing it to be a weapons factory. Later, he broke the story of Al Qaeda's money laundering through the Tanzanite gem market. Danny's family and friends established the Daniel Pearl Foundation to carry on his legacy, using music and words to address the root causes of the hatred that took his life. "He was exceedingly brave, was one of these journalists from the media that put their life on the line to bring you the truth" said Elton before dedicated "Daniel" to Pearl.

Luciano Pavarotti
12/10/1935 - 06/09/2007

The famous italian tenor, also ventured into popular music, became one of the most succesful operatic tenors of all time. Pavarotti reached out to millions of viewers with his solo concerts, operas performances or charity shows to benefit children. He died at his home in Modena, northern Italy, after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2006. Elton John said it was "a sad day for music, and a sad day for the world". “The Bridge” was dedicated in the memory of “A Dear Friend Luciano Pavarotti” as Elton expressed it on his concert in Vevey, Swirzerland.

Michael Jackson
29/08/1958 - 25/06/2009

He started his career by becoming the lead singer of the band Jackson 5, before becoming the King Of Pop. "Thriller", released in 1982, was the largest selling album of all time, with over fifty million copies sold worldwide, and the it had seven hits. Elton described Jackson as "charming, sweet, lovely but damaged" and explained his experience: "He came down here and we closed all the curtains and had lunch. He said it was the first time he'd sat down and had a meal with people for 10 years. He would always eat on his own," he revealed to the Telegraph. He died of acute propofol intoxication after he suffered cardiac arrest. Elton performed a rendition of "Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me", at his White Tie and Tiara ball, when he learnt of Michael Jackson's death

Elizabeth Taylor
27/02/1932 - 23/03/2011

Renowned for her legendary beauty and startling violet eyes, she had mesmerized audiences as much with her private life as with her dramatic performances on the silver screen, with a career spanning six decades. "She earned our adoration for her stunning beauty and for being the very essence of glamorous movie stardom. And she earned our enduring love and respect for her compassion and her courage in standing up and speaking out about AIDS when others preferred to bury their heads in the sand" said Elton on The AIDS Foundation's statement. She died of congestive heart failure. Elton attended a private memorial service and sang "Blue Eyes".

Elton's Losses: Blues Never Fade Away (I)

Marc Bolan
30/09/1947 - 16/09/1977

Founder of underground group Tyrannosaurus Rex, he was at the forefront of the Glam Rock era. At first, they were not get along very well because Elton made some rather critical remarks concerning Bolan's music and days later was unceremoniously cornered on the street by Marc who first gave him a tongue lashing and then invited him over to his house. Bolan was killed when a purple Mini Clubman 1275GT driven by his girlfriend Gloria Jones hit a tree. Mourners at his funeral at Golders Green Crematorium included Rod Stewart, Elton John and David Bowie. Flowers and wreaths were sent from Keith Moon, Gary Glitter and Cliff Richard. "I'm Going To Be A Teenage Idol" was inspired and a tribute to Bolan.

John Lennon
09/10/1940 - 08/12/1980

John Lennon was an English musician and singer-songwriter who rose to worldwide fame as one of the founding members of The Beatles, along with his long-time friend Paul McCartney. Lennon was shot by a deranged fan in front of his apartment complex in New York. "I was in Australia" explained Elton, "we went to the cathedral in Melbourne at the same time they had the vigil in New York. We sang hymns and we cried. It was an astonishing time. John really touched my soul." Elton wrote The Man Who Never Died and Empty Garden as a tribute to him.

Ryan White
06/12/1971 - 08/04/1990

Ryan White acquired HIV/AIDS from a routine blood transfusion in treatment of his hemophilia. After facing discrimination and eventually losing his battle against the newly discovered infliction, his legacy remains an important lesson about humanity and the mistakes people can make when they are ill-informed. Elton, who had maintained a bedside vigil during Ryan's final week, led the congregation in singing a hymn, accompanied himself as he sang his "Skyline Pigeon" then served as a pallbearer. "You never blamed anyone for the illness that ravaged your body or the torment and stigma you endured" wrote Elton on a posthumous letter on the 20th anniversary of his death.

Freddie Mercury
05/09/1946 - 11/24/1991

Fronted by Mercury, Queen went on to sell more than 300 million albums internationally, and he composed songs like "Bohemian Rhapsody", "Somebody to Love" or "We Are the Champions". Freddie was the first major rock star to die of the disease. "The year that he died, at Christmas, someone gave me this parcel wrapped in a beautiful pilowcase and inside was a Henry Scott Tuke watercolour ("The Bathers") and it said: Dear Sharon, Thought you'd love this! Melina X", remembered Elton, "it was one of the most touching things anyone's ever done for me". At his funeral, Elton joined the mourners who bid farewell to Freddie. Elton dedicated to him The Show Must Go On in his 1992 live tour.

Dee Murray
03/04/1946 - 15/01/1992

Before joining Elton John, Murray, and drummer Nigel Olsson, were members of the Spencer Davis Group in 1968 before joining Elton John as his road sidemen in 1970. In 1975, Dee was fired from the band because Elton wanted to achieve a different sound. In the late Eighties, Dee moved to Nashville, where he embarked upon a career in the country music scene. Diagnosed with cancer shortly thereafter, he died of a stroke. "Dee Murray has made huge musical and personal contributions to my life," John said in a statement. He dedicated "That's What Friends Are For" to Dee on a two dates special shows to raise money for his wife and children.

20 Oct 2011

Happy Birthday, Ben Babylon!!!!

"She packed my bags last night pre-flight / Zero hours nine a.m. / and I am gonna be high as a kite by then", Jack Rabbit's whispering. Long journey today to the stars. Explain us the purpose of this tour along, basically, UK and US. I guess you have special guests with you, tonight. Ahh! Ok! It's Ben Babylon's Birthday and you have some people wanting to share time with him. That's ok, Rabbit! And also there's the release of the first single of the album. Wow!! We're ready for what you got.!!!

John Jorgenson
Liverpool, UK

Currently touring UK with his band. After a few gigs in Scotland, he performed a benefit concert in Stockport for his friend Stuart Fraser Thompson's Memorial Foundation, who passed away earlier this year. Andy MacKenzie featured and played a few gypsy jazz duets with him. Wednesday night playing in Liverpool, then Friday in Milton Keynes and finally back to the US on Saturday. Hi John, I am sure you know about the release of Ben Babyon's new album, early next year.

"I am already very proud of Ben, as his father is, for the way he is going for his music! To be this driven and accomplished at such a young age bodes well for a very good future. I look forward to seeing Ben develop as an artist and performer, and I think I speak for the many fans and supporters that he already has! Bravo Ben!"

Kiki Dee
Derbyshire, UK

Tourin' with Carmelo Luggeri in Europe. Since they first started working together 9 years ago, Carmelo and Kiki have been on a journey that has not only resulted in beautiful music that speaks straight to the heart, but also on a road of growing and learning for the guitarist and vocalist. They are equally at home doing an acoustic arrangement of a known song or experimenting with Indian drones and tablas. Also, the Fontana Years has been released featuring Kiki's first recordings from the 60's on CD for the first time from the 60's on CD for the first time. You know about Ben, right?

"I realize he is Guys son and I am wishing Ben all the very best with his music and Love and happiness in his future".

Charlie Morgan
Nashville, Tennessee

Still with playing regular shows with Orleans, and the Rock & Pop Masters (RPM). RPM visited Iraq/Kuwait last year, playing 5 gigs for the troops. His studio, in the Nashville house, is going strong: since the succesful album with mexican Manuel Mijares, a number of Latin artists have asked to do the same treatment for them. Also he'd developed a drum game "App" for the iPhone and iPad: Drums Challenge.

"Ben, I know you are embarking on your first major album project. This is both exciting and probably a little nerve wracking! I just wanted to wish you "good luck" - have fun, put your heart into it (as I know you will), and if you need any help or advice, please don't hesitate to ask!"

Natalie Jackson aka Kudisan Kai
Boston, Massachusets

The range of artists with whom Kudisan includes Bette Midler, Diana Ross, Joe Cocker, Saliva, Mary J. Blige, and Powerman 5000. She can be heard in a host of television and radio commercials, as well as movies like Dreamworks El Dorado, Disney's Dinosaurs, Ali, and John Singletons Dark Blue, working with top-rated music producers such as James Newton Howard, John Powell and others. Kudisan, who also teaches in the Voice Department at Berklee College of Music, had released her own Hard Rock EP entitled Confessions.

"I am really excited for Ben's first debut album. He is truly a gifted musician. I can hear Elton and his dad's influences throughout his artistry. His message is powerful and I think he is destined to becoming a true star".

Kathryn Keats

She continues to write and record and is completing a new CD she is co writing with producer, Narada Michael Walden. Keats has created a theatrical concert playing such well-known venues as Yoshi’s Jazz Club, Oakland, Ca., Knitting Factory, Los Angeles, the Bitter End, NYC and the Throckmorton Theatre, Mill Valley, Ca. It is a theatrical concert filled with joy, humor, and a ton of love. Also, she is working on book about her experiences in hope to inspire others.

"I am so happy for Ben! His first CD is, no doubt, going to be amazing! What a brilliant light!"

Ken Stacey
Los Angeles, California

Ken was in the last season of American Idol as a vocal coach, vocal producer and arranger. Ken was instrumental in putting Scotty McCreery through the first round of judging during season 10 and helped Scotty find his upper range which played a key role in his success on the show! Also, Stacey collaborate at the University of Rock and Roll, which features a variety of musical education programs by world-class musicians from Rockers Collective.

"I am very proud of Ben! I know he carries his Dad's soul in his music. Ben is an extraordinary young man who has taken his God given talent to great heights because of his hard work and passionate commitment! There are many, many people who find Ben a true inspiration! I wish him so much success... he deserves it!"

Bill Trudell
Mar Vista, California

"I like to write sometimes, but now I'm in the studio 6 days a week writing songs and producing new artist for film and television". Trudell also co-own a few on-line companies and A new song from Michael Thompson/ Billy Trudel "Don't Take This Love", a little soul with a pop edge, is available to download. Trudell performed live with Ben Babylon and was quite surprised:

"I remember walking into Guy Babylons studio to work on a song for an up coming gig we were doing to raise money for the school, Davey and Guys kids went to. I was told that Guy and Kathy's youngest son Ben would be performing the song Baba O'Reilly with me and thought, what a cute idea it was to have him play with us. When Ben came into the studio to go over the song, I sat a watched him play and my jaw hit the ground. He was amazing, a star in the making. And now to watch him grow into this young man ready to take on the world, only makes me happy. I wish Ben Babylon all the best there is in this world of music. Ben, you are a true musician, a wonderful son to your mom and dad and will always be my friend. You have truly carried the torch for your dad, and I know he is there with a very proud heart watching you become everything he wanted you to be. I look forward to hearing all your music for many years to come. Big hugs to my brother".

Fred Anderson
Los Angeles, California

Ben Babylon's publicist. Also a writer, producer, media consultant: "I am not a musician, but I know what I like, and I like Ben Babylon's music! I recognized his talent the first time I heard "Goodbye Superman," and he just keeps getting better" says about Ben, while adding: "He writes and plays with the passion of a rock star and the discipline of a classical artist. He has the self-confidence he needs to succeed, without being arrogant. It is an honor to be associated with him and his mother, Kathy, and I am proud to call them friends". No one could describe best Ben. Could you share something about the recording session, Fred?

"I had the privilege of being in the studio with Ben during one recording session, when Nigel Olsson came in to lay down drum tracks for the song "Contradiction". It was an honor to be in the room with such a rock legend as Nigel, and to watch him work. Jesse Johnstone was engineering the session. He is very meticulous, and he has a great sense of humor. To be around these professionals, in the very studio where the late Guy Babylon created so much of his own music was humbling. It was a day I will never forget, especially whenever I listen to "Contradiction".

"Contradiciton", the first single of the album, available on itunes for Ben's Birthday.

"I have only heard a few songs that are going to be on Ben's album. "Contradiction" has a great melody and excellent, hard-driving guitar riffs by Davey Johnstone. I really think people are going to love it. Another song I like is "No Goodbyes On the Road," which was inspired by something that Ben's father used to say. "Us" is a fun, very fast song, which I think will surprise many people. And, of course, I have always been impressed by Ben's epic tribute to his father, "Goodbye Superman." I have not yet heard the new version that will be on the album, but with members of the Elton John Band backing Ben, it is sure to be spectacular".

Marlena Jeter
Las Vegas, Nevada

Marlena has recently released "Serenity", an EP which consists of 7 songs, and it was written, arranged, produced & performed by herself. Recently she’ve also been working with Timothy Schmit from the “Eagles”, getting ready to begin touring with him again in December 2011. Marlena has also been a consultant for several Los Angeles based production companies, as well as film projects.

"I'm happy to hear that Ben is about to release his first album. I can't comment on the album itself as I have not yet heard it. What I can say is that once I heard this young man perform, I believed he had a big career ahead. He has so much of his father's touch & talent, & I could hear the Elton John influence... What a combination! It is my opinion that Ben Babylon has something wonderful to share with the world. I send my best wishes to Ben for a successful musical journey!"

Davey Johnstone
Las Vegas, Nevada

Elton John returned to Las Vegas for a three-year headlining gig at Caesars Palace. He was set to perform about 16 shows scheduled through October, on a new show titled "The Million Dollar Piano. At his side, long-time guitarrist Davey Johnstone, was remembering about Ben Babylon's recording sessions.

"On a day off in Germany during our Elton John summer tour, our bassist Bob Birch called and asked if I would put some guitar on one of Ben's tracks. Birchy had already put bass and drums on the song. Our gear was on the way to Berlin, so I went to the local music store to beg the use of a guitar! The guy said, "We do not lend guitars here!" Then the owner who had been at our show the previous night said, "It's cool, Fritz, he's Elton's guitarist!" I still had to pay a $100 deposit for a cool Strat, then I walked back to the hotel, knocked on Bob's door, and we jammed for an hour on Ben's song. Who needs a studio when you have Bob Birch's Mobile Rock Palace!"

Nigel Olsson
Las Vegas, Nevada

Nigel is so special for Ben too. The original drummer of Elton's band has been doing occasional session work, donating his time to various charitable causes and races vintage cars in California, where he lives with his wife Schanda and his son Justin.

"Ben is a true vision of his Dad GUY. He has a long way to go to fill the shoes of a true genius ( His DAD ) but he has the faith Joy and inspiration that will take him to new heights So honored to be part of HIS life. Love you Ben Always. Love Uncle Nigel XXXX"

John Mahon
Las Vegas, Nevada

As Nigel and Davey did, as well as Bob Birch, Mahon was on the recording sessions of the album and Jack Rabbit asked about his impressions to that experience. So, John, what you would like to share with us?

"I just recently played drums and percussion in my studio for a song called "Learning". It's a short concise song and was fun to play. I played drumset and some tamborine, shakers, bell tree, and a little African drums too. Earlier in the year we went to the Babylon's home studio and recorded 2 or 3 songs with Davey Johnstone and Bob Birch. I played drums on those songs. We asked Ben to make some chord charts for the songs because he is young and a bit inexperienced. It's fun to play with him because he is very happy to make music all the time. Songs I would like to talk about? Well, we recorded "Goodbye Superman", and "No Goodbyes On The Road". The first is a song about Ben's dad Guy Babylon and is quite a little masterpiece. It was very fun to play. "Goodbye's" also comes from Guy in way. Guy did not like to say goodbye when we were at the airport getting in our cars to go home. He always would say "there's no goodbye's on the road" - meaning we'll see each other again soon".

John, you have the honor to close Jack Rabbit's journey. Do you have some encouraging words for Ben Babylon, just for him, about the career he’s beginning?

"I think Ben will have a great career in music. He's a good piano player and is writing some interesting songs. He is getting out and playing with musicians which is something any serious musician needs to do. It is very difficult to develop a music career - much more now than in the past because record sales are so low from illegal downloading. If you download songs without paying the musicians for them they can never make a living from making new music for you to hear. I hope Ben gets to see a new business of music in his future".

Thanks so much to all of the guests invited here for their collaboration. All they agreed to do that for Ben as a surprise, so their wishes for Ben are the best way to close the journey.

Me and them, we would like to tell you, Ben Babylon,

we wish you a HAPPY BIRTHDAY,

and we're ready to buy your new single as soon as it is available. Special thanks to the greatest Fred Anderson for his help, for his work, for his generosity. And finally, to the lovely Kathy Babylon, thanks so much for your efforts, for being there, for being such an extraordinary person. Jack Rabbit!!!! You have to run to the record shop, check out i-tunes, whatever you prefer, but you must have this record, ok?

14 Oct 2011

Marlena Jeter's Serenity Interview: The Voice Of Angels

An angel's voice with a unique sultry, soulful sound. Jack Rabbit had the honour to interview Marlena Jeter, back in 2009. He found a human being, a great spirited person, and a lovely woman. Thinkin' about her, always comes to mind her impressive performance in Barcelona, 1992, for The One Tour. "Sad Songs" never sounded the same without the girls. Now she has another own project, the third in her collection. A new age sensation with plenty good songs, and we would like to learn more. So, ladies and gentlemen, the open doors of AllSongsList are all again wide-open to receive the talented, fabulous and wonderful: Marlena Jeter!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thanks so much Marlena for being here and for your acceptation. Your new project for me is awesome. We are so privileged to have you in the music business. But what does it mean for you to be a musician? And what inspires you to create?

It means everything to me to have the ability to create music. It’s the one thing I do that totally fulfills me.

My inspiration comes from within, as I have always had the desire to create music that makes the listener feel something… something real. It’s my way of giving myself to the world, of giving to life.

Wonderful!! And how could you define Lena J and why the reason of your alter ego?

The artist “LENA J” was born as a result of a certain type of musical stimulation. She’s the R&B singer/writer whose energetic flow tends to lean more towards the sensual & sassy side of love & relationships. “LENA J” is definitely a different energetic type from “MARLENA” so it works better for me to keep the two separated.

Lena J has two exceptional album’s now available for purchase: “Love Stories”, from 2009, with “Live The Dream”, a favourite to me; also, “Pleasure, pain & passion”, released in 2010, which received a lot of airplay, especially in Chicago and Las Vegas, and it’s a collection of smooth R&B songs, with pieces like “If That’s What You Want” or “It’s Time”, which absolutely does it for me! What else could you remark from those albums?

Well Miguel, the “Love Stories” EP was “LENA J’S” first release. However, after much consideration & consulting with my adviser, Industry veteran Mr. Stan Sheppard, we decided to take the “Love Stories” project & combine it with the new music I had been working on to create what is now “LENA J’S” “Pleasure, Pain & Passion” EP.

“Live The Dream” was a song I collaborated on with a very gifted producer/writer named Kirv for the “MARTIN LUTHER KING” tribute album entitled “The Message In Music” which is available on iTunes, all proceeds going to the MLK Foundation.

At this point in time, “LENA J” has the “Pleasure, Pain & Passion” EP, which is available for purchase, & “MARLENA JETER” has the new “Serenity” EP available as well. Both projects are available on iTunes, Amazon & most digital outlets.

The new one, “Serenity”, released recently, is a beautiful album. “When I want to kick back, relax and forget any negatives in my life I put on some Marlena Jeter and I’m good,” says producer DJ Battlecat. I am agree. What does it mean to you that this great producer paid attention to your projects and decided to produce them? And how did you get into new age music?

It is very flattering of course, to have successful people in the same industry take notice of the work I’ve done. Though I have collaborated with “DJ BATTLECAT”, I am the sole writer & producer on my “Serenity” project.

I began creating music that falls into the genre of New Age as a result of having a deep & constant desire to create beautiful music that would move me. “Serenity” does that for me.

From “Serenity”, I specially recommend songs like “Soothe Me” and “Wistful Beauty”. What’s the story behind them?

I was in my recording studio one afternoon letting the creative energy flow through me, & I created the music for the song “Soothe Me”. For some reason that particular day I was a bit restless & just needed something I couldn’t quite put into words. I went to the microphone, opened my mouth to sing & the words & melody came to me instantly… In that lyric was the answer for my need.

“Wistful Beauty” happened as a result of me sitting at my keyboard one evening with the intention of creating something just a bit different. I can’t really say what happened, but later that night, actually around 2 AM I found myself standing at the microphone singing this wonderful melody that just seemed to flow out of me the moment I opened my mouth. I hadn’t even formulated the melody at that point. It doesn’t always happen like that, but that night it did.

What led you to create your own label?

I’ve always wanted my own record label so that I might be able to have some influence on the music that is presented to the world. In my travels I have met some incredibly talented individuals & have often wished for a way to help them get the exposure they sometimes craved. At the same time, the world gets a chance to experience another artist who has something to offer. I’ve also always had a strong desire to be in a position to pay musicians & singers to do what it is they love doing.

What other recent projects have you become involved with? And what are your future goals?

I still work & record with other artists… As long as I get the call, I’m there. I’ve worked on a few “ROD STEWART” CDs, worked with the standards/jazz artist “STEVE TYRELL” & had an opportunity to write a beautiful ballad for a wonderful Brazilian artist named “LIRIEL”. Certainly there have been other projects I’ve participated on, but I can honestly say that my main focus of recent years has been to establish the artistry of “LENA J” as well as “MARLENA JETER”.

You might be aware that I have been recording & touring for many years with Linda Ronstadt since working with Elton. Recently I’ve also been working with Timothy Schmit from the “EAGLES”. As a matter of fact, I am getting ready to begin touring with Timothy again in December 2011.

As you know Miguel, between “LENA J” & “MARLENA” I am constantly writing & recording. In the immediate future, perhaps in February, I should have another New Age project available. Shortly thereafter I expect to have some new material completed by the artist “LENA J”. We’ll see how the creative flow goes…

Great!!! And Elton? Do you still keep in touch with Elton John? What do you think about his recent projects? And would we have you collaborating with him other time?

I have had a couple of brief encounters with Elton in the past couple of years while he was doing his Las Vegas show. I am however, much more in touch with Davey Johnstone.

In reference to Elton’s projects, we all know that Elton is a very gifted soul & I have always loved his work & admired his work ethic. Collaboration with him would always be something I would welcome. Working with Elton John was an incredible experience that lasted 7 years. He’s the kind of person a girl could never say ‘no’ to!!! :-)

Thinking about Marlena Jeter, is quite impossible not to think about the other girls: Mortonette Jenkins and Natalie Jackson. And Alex Brown I could add. Do you know what they are doing now?

All three of them are still making wonderful music!

Listening to this new album, it is quite obvious that Marlena is a New Age star in the making. Her beautiful musical textures and melodic vocals are a work of beauty that should be experienced by everyone. Eltonites, do yourself a favor… Go to iTunes and other digital outlets and get it now. You will love it, I promise you that.

Marlena, would you like to add more to this interview? And if so, what would you like to share with eltonites?

Miguel, you are very thorough. I can’t think of a single thing to add to your questions. I would like to say however, that I appreciate the interest shown to me (as well as the other ladies) by the Eltonites. It is always good to be appreciated. Music is what we do… We do it all for you.

Thanks so much, Marlena, really and enjoyable experience to chat with you. I wish you all the best success you deserve.

Unforgettable People (L): Marlena Jeter

“Marlena Jeter’s voice sounds like pieces of silk chiffon floating on the breeze” started Linda Rondstat, who has also performed extensively with her. That's the perfect definition I could have found. Marlena Jeter, known for her high soprano register, started in the music business as background singer on various record projects of mainstream recording artists: Joe Cocker, Hiroshima ("Hiroshima"; "Odori"), Lionel Richie ("Dancing On The Ceiling"), George Benson ("While The City Sleeps"), Martha Davis ("Policy"), to name a few. She also worked on countless other Japanese artists projects like Keiko and Kazu Matsui.

Her life changed completely when she received a call one day from Davey Johnstone, Elton's guitarrist and musical director, who invited her to audition. "I was fortunate enough to work with him (Elton) and his band", explained Marlena when she was interviewed by Jack Rabbit in 2009, on the "Live Week", tributing the three wonderful ladies, along with Mortonette Jenkins and Natalie Jackson, while adding: "Believe me when I say that his band is one of the best! The work ethic in that organization is one I highly respect and I learned a lot during my 7 years of being a part of it all.". That's it! Since "Sleeping With The Past", where Elton wanted to reflect the style of 1960s R&B icons such as Marvin Gaye, Otis Redding, and Sam Cooke, whom he and Bernie admired, Marlena joined on one of the most remembered background vocalists trio.

Then it was Jeffrey Osborne ("Only Human"), Ofra Haza ("Kyria"), Ricky Martin ("Vuelve"), Kenny Rogers ("Christmas Greetings"), Joe Cocker again ("Have a Little Faith"; "Across From Midnight"; "No Ordinary World"), Steve Tyrell ("This Time Of The Year"), Laura Pausini ("From The Inside"), Rod Stewart ("The Great American Songbook, vol. 3"), Timothy Schmidt ("Expando") or Ronan Keating ("When Ronan Met Burt"); selected from an endless list of collaborations. As well as recording albums, she has been travelling worldwide performing live with some of entertainment's most established artists such Linda Rondstad, Timothy Schmidt, Aaron Neville, Rod Stewart, or Lionel Richie. Marlena has also been a consultant for several Los Angeles based production companies, as well as film projects. "Singing & composing are my greatest loves, but photography comes in at a close second!!!" she added with satisfaction.

Not only a superb singer, Marlena’s song writing talent is even more indicative of her creative ability. As Lena J, she debuted an extraordinary album entitled “Love stories”, a diverse collection of songs that would appeal to R&B purists and the Hip-Hop Community as well. "The Promise", the icon of the album, is a tender and powerful song: "We wrote that song for a couple of great singers who happened to be married at the time, Kenny Latimore and Shante Moore and their record label wanted them to do a duets album of love songs", she adds. "I was told that they wanted us to write about the changes people go through in relationships, but done in a positive way. "The Promise" is about two people who have committed themselves, but temptation always seems to show up. In any case, they were able to resist because of their commitment to one another!". Her second album, an extension of the first, was called "Pleasure, Pain & Passion", an energic EP with songs like "If That's What U Want", co-written & co-produced with multi-platinum producer "BEAT MASTA WES" from the "UGK". As a result of her efforts, she has launched her own company known as Lady J Entertainment.

"Serenity", the new album, first started making in-roads in the Hip Hop community when super producer “DJ BATTLECAT” (producer of Platinum hits for SNOOP DOGG, DR DRE, BUSTA RHYMES) heard the recordings in a Los Angeles studio and started to share the information about the album with other artists and producers because he was so blown away by what he heard. Then, the Multi-Platinium Rap artist named “KOKANE” heard the project and he immediately became a Marlena Jeter fan and he too started to spread the word to everyone he came into contact with. "Serenity", it is an EP which consists of 7 songs. All the instrumentation was performed by me, it was written, arranged, produced & performed by me" she told Jack Rabbit this time. From all early indicators, the music industry might just be witnessing 2011’s most “Unusual Breakout Artist Of The Year” award in the making.

“Marlena’s voice is only exceeded by having the pleasure of meeting her in person. When you experience the whole package, you are in for a treat. A truly beautiful singer in every way”. I am agree in what Timothy Schmidt has said. Not else to add.