Tomorrow, I turn 40 (Bradley Cooper and I are the exact same age, thankyouverymuch!). This clip was taken from November’s show, where I realized it was over 20 years ago that I wrote this song. As Billy Joel gets the Gershwin Prize for his song, “Piano Man”, this week, I wondered what it is that makes some songs so timeless. And I wondered if I’d ever have a song that had that kind of effect. Then, I realized that I’d already written a song that I still sing even 2 decades later. It might not be a Billy Joel-caliber tune, but it’s mine, and I love telling the story behind it.
My drama teacher, Mr. Jennings, gave me an opportunity to write and record this song for a play he was doing by the same name. He was known for being quite creative with the productions he mounted. He wasn’t afraid to set Shakespeare in the 1950’s, and was known for his color-blind casting policy, which sometimes got him into trouble. At the opening of this show, he wanted to have tableaus that looked like scrapbook photos that would come to life. It was a great opportunity to do something I loved in a meaningful way – completely outside the curriculum of the classroom.
Mr. Jennings was one of the first people to give me a platform for my music. He was willing to take a chance. The world needs people like that. The world needs people willing to share an unknown voice or an idea with a larger audience. I’m grateful he was one of those people for me. As I look back nearly 20 years, it’s a thank you that’s been a long-time coming.