Once upon a time I was a a new girl on the block. Which means not many, let alone well established people in the game were trying to put me on. Its sort of like when you get to that age when you want to get a first job and you have nothing to put in the previous employment column and the prospects all require previous experience. We have all been there, you throw your hands up in frustration and say " How am I supposed to get experience if no one hires me?". Well same applies with music, and those "No's" and "Who are you… you're not established" laced rejections cut way deeper than the local retail Manager's, "Sorry kid, come back when you've worked a register" moments.
Anyway, there were a few who didn't just give me the business but gave me opportunities to show people what I could do. And in my case I didn't start out with light weights. I started out with people who were established and respected worldwide. It is to them I am so grateful for not saying the usual.." Can't invest in vinyl on someone no one knows…" But rather, "Ok…so you say you can sing and write…show me!". I did my best to show them and they did their best to make sure others heard me.
One such Legend, who opened his studio and his heart to me was the late GREAT DJ Camacho. He saw something in me, and never tried to stifle it, or manipulate it but rather encouraged it. He saw my talent! He didn't just hear my voice, I never sleep on the fact that I may be good, but there is always someone out there better. All I can do is be the best me I am as a vocalist. But what he saw was my fire to write and speak for real women, and about real things and emotions. Not just pen hooks that may be catchy or fleeting. He also encouraged me remaining true to myself as a musical person whose style of singing was just as varied as my broad taste in music as a fan of music. He also noticed my affinity for playing with tracks and what i was calling "dabbling " at production so I could have melodies and beats to write to the way some keep their lyrics in notebooks. Around that time he would often remind me that although I love to sing, and write, what I was doing more often than not was producing and arranging solid stuff even if only to bring to collaborations with others. He made a point to stress that and what ever I brought to the table with others... that I should NEVER let anyone take that credit away from me as far too many in the game were not giving it. But rather taking advantage of Artists who had this particular skill set and treating them like what he called " Studio hoes" make the Artist who may also be the songwriter and vocal arranger work like a dog yet try to pay them as "just" the vocalist with no real interest in the project on the back end. Which for people who know me in the game know, I don't play that, and David's advice is one of the reasons why I learned to watch for that pitfall so early on. This is a business, and we were eye to eye on that from day one. His words were harsh, and steady, he didn't waver and I didn't flinch. In essence what he did was confirm what i already knew was the right way to do business, don't settle and don't go along for any okey doke madness. Quality music and business over quantity and you can't go wrong.
What many don't know is that he and I recorded several songs together. Sadly they never got to get released. But one of the records, out of many we did together, that did get to come out was "Me". The ins and outs of its release … it came out. And in later years I along with another dear one, the late Carl "Big Cee" Proctor, re-released it with me as Executive Producer on his label Consortium Muzik, to beat some pirates to the punch and preserve some control and respect for the work. The remix project had some of the most amazing new Producers and Remixers bless it as a tribute to Camacho, someone they each held in high esteem, and favor to Carl and I. It was well received and still gets played even now. I took pride in talking to him about it the last time I saw him, and being able to go back to Carl and the Remixers with his approval and appreciation for their work and respect.
I post this song on my website player as a tribute Camacho; he gave me something precious, I don't know if he ever knew how much that gift meant to me. For all of our disagreements, and laughs, and serious talks about music, and life, I am forever grateful. Both are no longer here, and I realize that my silence, my stepping back from making the music for the past few years was my reaction. I felt lost knowing two I respected and trusted so much were gone. In this business that kind of made me an orphan. I guess you could say that is how I grieved, by going silent. The one thing neither would want me to do, is what I did because I just couldn't… This is actually the first time I felt I could really express my feelings in words about Camacho since his passing. I think his passing although not as sudden as Carl's hit me harder because I wasn't shocked into having to accept it. I like others who knew of his condition had time to brace for the call. But even in that I just didn't quite process it. Can't explain any better than that. The loss kinda settled just below the surface, him and several others the community lost around the same time, people I lost personally as well, I just went numb, got quiet and introspective…held my own memorials in my head, and avoided the subject of peoples passings in saddened tones as to not be sad. Needless to say writing something public, I couldn't.
I am so grateful for what is possibly the reason why I dealt with it all the way I did, with ease and a quiet sadness and peace; the fact that I saw him on his last birthday. We hadn't spent a great deal of time together as we had years passed at that point. But one thing remained true, still waters run deep. When someone has impacted your life in a big way, all you can do is love them, period. So that night, as always I got to tell him that I loved him and appreciated him. So I have no regrets on that front. I got to see him dance in his seat and smile. I got to hug him, and talk about how the scene had changed so much, and how I had changed and grown while holding fast to his advice. I new in my gut that was our goodbye. Either way, like my Grandmother says "Give me my flowers while I am here to enjoy them" Pay that respect,say the THANK YOUs and I LOVE YOUs while people are here!
With that said, This is "Me", as David Produced it, as I sang it with him looking on coaching me to just let go and have fun and just be ME. We shared a love for soulful music, thoughtful lyrics and arrangements, direct and to the point grooves that move and have what it takes to become classics in the genre. For me this is timeless, its a moment that I can close my eyes and flash back to whenever I wish to, and he is there…smiling , pointing up for me to sing to the rafters, wiggling his fingers for me to scat, giving me the thumbs up that I nailed it. Dancing in his seat and working the mixing board while conducting the session. My mentor as he was a mentor to others. He was a REAL Producer who did not need to build his legacy by playing both sides of the fence. When he was in DJ Mode there was none other like him, when he was in Producer mode, his drive was to put you out there , front and center for he truly understood the success of the Artist IS the success of the Producer, its is not an either or, its is only together that you truly can appreciate a hit, side by side with mutual respect and admiration.
I will forever love, appreciate and respect him. I will forever be on my game with my business for that is what he liked about me more than my voice, lyrics or love for the same soap operas and white castle cheese burgers. He respected the business woman I am, the Artist I am and want to become…he respected ME!
I look forward today, but I tell ya sometimes you must look back and reflect to appreciate how far you've come and the fact that the journey is not over. This song… this wrinkle in time, is truly one of my happiest recording moments ever...
With so much LOVE… here's the Original Main mix of "ME" David Camacho & Jannae Jordan
Copyrighted 2002 Jannae Jordan, David Camacho (Exclusive sole rights, don't get it twisted…)