Compared to Eartha Kitt, Dinah Washington, and Pearl Bailey, singer, songwriter and musician Sybil Gage grew up in the uptown New Orleans Jazz scene. "My grandparent's property had a bar on the first floor and you could always hear the music upstairs. It was where musicians would hang out and play the Blues."
Watching the scene at Rosy's on Tchopitoulas , Jimmy's on Willow and Tipitina's on Napoleon Ave only endeared her to music that surrounded her each and every day. "New Orleans has a universal love for good music and good food. I was influenced by my neighbors, the Neville Brothers, and kicked up a friendship with the sensational pianist James Booker, while chumming around with Henry Butler. My sister would go with me to Rosy's to see Professor Longhair more often than we went to church, and we came out of that place sanctified."
After beginning stints as a DJ in New Orleans ( WYLD), she headed to Chicago and then to New York where she earned her degree in Fine Arts from NYU. She honed and developed her talents by doing gigs at small clubs like the Village Door in Queens and leaned on actor Gregory Hines for advice and support. "He's the one that kept me focused," she says of him.
Sybil moved to Florida and quickly developed a large and devoted following with her own Blues & Jazz style. Her CD 'Red' took the public by storm and left them clamoring for more. She peppers her repertoire with jazzy blues numbers like "Stormy Weather" , Alberta Hunter's " My Castle's Rockin" and New Orleans favorite " Hip Shakin Mama" as well as original tunes like "Red" which is a nightly request.
Her latest CD NOLA Calling only a few weeks fresh, is already receiving rave reviews.
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Jaijai, what a wonderful mission you've undertaken to create such a place for artistic minds to meet and share their hearts. A place to renew faded determinations, and revive lessened momentums. A place to display our wares and reconfirm to one another that we actually are on the right track.
I commend you, Jaijai, for caring so much that you created this castle of the heart for all of us. I want to share my praise for all of the new friends as well as old friends that I've met and will meet here in our castle. Here we can garnish the where-with-all, the strength, the conviction, and the selflessness through our symbiosis, to share our gift to the world with an unbiased agenda.
My mentor, Daisaku Ikeda says of art: "A beautiful flower delights and refreshes the hearts of all people equally, no matter what soil it grows in. That is the power of beauty. The same is true of great art. It is this spirit that the German poet Heinrich Heine sang of when he wrote that once the peapod bursts open, the sugar peas inside are for everyone to enjoy."
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