[box]Life was complicated for me in junior high. Sharing the intimate details of your life was not an option during the 1970s. You hid everything back then, pretended that nothing hurt. You sucked it up and moved on. But I remember my music class, and our teacher Pip Moss, vividly. Under Pip’s direction, we dissected our favorite songs and discussed their meaning. James Taylor’s “Fire and Rain”is the one I recall the best. That song was the first instance I can remember of anyone talking openly about private emotional pain.

On my favorite radio station back then, the songs told stories about every emotion that life could elicit. I knew just about every word of every song. Music has the unique ability to arouse introspection, and it offered me some stability in those turbulent years. If that’s not a kind of mentorship, I don’t know what is.

I’m very excited to feature my old classmate, Peter Downing. With this post, Peter reminds me how important our music teacher Pip Moss was, and how grateful I still am for his guidance and education.

— Dawn Carroll, OMSF Executive Director[/box]

 

I clicked on two video links: “Musician arrested for singing in subway” and “BBC Music – God Only Knows.” The second video is a montage of pop artists singing The Beach Boys’ masterpiece,“God only Knows.” An eighty-piece orchestra backs twenty-seven hugely famous and talented singers, who take turns singing one line of Brian Wilson and Tony Asher’s classic love song each. Brian himself is in the video. By the time it got around to Dave Grohl, however, the meaning of the song had changed.

I was primed by the video of that brave New York City subway musician being wrongfully arrested for plying his trade. I’ve been a busker, you see—not out of fiscal necessity but rather out of spiritual need. Holding court in The Pit, in Harvard Square, with my old band, The Peasants, is a cherished memory. For me, it was the only outlet that beat the skull-busting rush of shooting cocaine.

Watching the young man in the first video being taken away in handcuffs—for what? For being the most alive one can be? It affected me. It hurt my soul.

I no longer imagined the musicians singing “God only knows” to a loved one; instead, the song become a paean to music itself. I didn’t see Elton John the mega star. I saw the awkward little boy, the target of ridicule, then a tortured artist, finding solace in creativity, now paying tribute to the thing that saved him.

Not every musician is “tortured,” obviously. But there is a certain madness required in mastering an instrument. It takes hundreds of hours alone in room, repeating the same work over and over with single-minded focus. God only knows what Brian Wilson and this distinguished band of merry misfits would be without music as an outlet.

Without it, I know, I’d be incarcerated or interred.

My story is a familiar one: alcoholism, broken home, latchkey kid. I was a good reader, but most of the other subjects confounded me. I couldn’t seem to pay enough attention.

Enter a young, long-haired, energetic, and very knowledgeable music teacher named Pip Moss. He had soft shoes, John Lennon glasses, and a corduroy blazer. Despite the hip style, Pip was the son of the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s first violinist and Concert Master. His intention, according to my classmate Warren, was to turn kids on to classical pieces in his first year teaching the class “Music Listening.” But the kids rebelled.“We want rock,” they demanded. And Pip—maybe realizing the futility of his campaign—turned on a dime. He got a Fender Stratocaster and some Hendrix records, and by the time my class showed up the following year he had whole new curriculum.

He led off with Cream. My older sister liked the band so I already knew them. I was able to answer some questions intelligently. Pip took notice. During a quiz he played an obscure track. It was our job to identify the musician.

I knew instantly, raised my hand, and said, “It’s Cream.”

Pip smiled broadly and said, “Correct! How did you know?”

“Clapton’s voice.”I said.”

“Mmm. Good ear,” he said, “except it’s actually Jack Bruce who’s singing.”

It was an imperfect victory (something I’d have to get used to) but a victory nonetheless. I was suddenly engaged, scored well on quizzes, and in no time I was even teaching my classmates guitar. It was a sea-change.

Pip’s support may have been a small gesture, but it grew exponentially, the way a tiny adjustment at the start of a tee shot becomes a quantum leap three hundred yards down the fairway. A metric expansion of space began that day, and forty years later his words are still helping me as I strive to be more patient, kind, and generous. Where would I be without him as a mentor? God only knows.

[box]About the Author

Peter Downing graduated from Tufts University. He is a musician, father, and Managing Partner of Cerberus Life Management, an addiction recovery services firm.[/box]

1. LisaFischerHeadshot2

[box] “All alone, on my knees I pray / For the strength to stay away / In and out, out and in you go / I feel your fire / Then I lose my self control /How can I ease the pain / When I know your coming back again / And how can I ease the pain in my heart.”

I am so excited to be have the opportunity to share singer Lisa Fischer’s mentoring story with you today.

Lisa is one of my music heros and it is an honor to feature her at the Over My Shoulder Foundation. Her hit song, “How Can I Ease the Pain,” was the soundtrack to my life during a tricky break-up while I was living in Los Angeles. I listened to it over and over while I re-grounded myself. I knew and felt every word, and wished that I could write beautiful lyrics for Lisa to one day sing. With eloquence and ease, her voice soars, an takes you away from your worried world. Her gift has been a sanctuary for me.

Many years ago, in Boston, Lisa and I briefly met. She was touring with the Rolling Stones, and had just gotten off stage and come back to her hotel. I happened to be in the Lobby. Lisa and I had mutual friends, so she came over to the table to say hello. I was completely star-struck but managed to blurt out, “ Your singing saved me. One day I want to write a song for you to sing!” She smiled and said, “Well then do it!” I doubt she remembers that night, and while this post may not be a song written for, her story is one you soon won’t forget. If you have seen Lisa on tour with the Stones or in the film “20 Feet From Stardom,” then you know what an unforgettable spirit she is!

Dawn Carroll, OMSF Executive Director[/box]

 

Lisa Fischer has spent most of her life standing “20 Feet From Stardom,” as the title of this year’s Oscar-winning documentary film puts it. Most of her fellow-background singers in the film ached for the spotlight to shine on them. But not Fischer.

“I never feel like I’m relegated to the background,” she said by phone from her home in New York City during a break from the Rolling Stones current world tour. “I don’t know how other singers feel, but for me, I just love background so much. I really enjoy watching artists who love what they do and need someone to support them. So for me it’s a beautiful journey. I’ve been really lucky and blessed to be with amazing artists who I love and respect.”

LisaFischerHeadshotFischer has had her taste of chart success, awards and, yes, the spotlight. Her rendition of “How Can I Ease the Pain,” a song she also co-wrote, was a smash hit that won her a Grammy for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance in 1992. Rolling Stones concerts feature a rendition of “Gimme Shelter” where Mick Jagger moves over and “backup singer” Lisa takes over with houseshaking effect. She also moves to the front of the stage when she tours with Tina Turner: after going toe to toe with the volcanic Tina on “It’s Only Rock ‘n Roll,” the duet turns into a solo showcase for Lisa’s powerhouse pipes.

Yet somehow these small samplings of the limelight have not instilled a gnawing hunger in Fischer for more fame, more money, more of everything. She has found joy and contentment helping others shine.

Fischer’s story begins in the Fort Greene section of Brooklyn, where she started on her musical path as a child. “My mom sang a lot at home,” she recalled. “My dad sang a lot at home, too. My grandparents bought us a piano and we would just sing. It was part of life. And I’d sing at school, elementary school, high school, college. It was just an extension of the life they started for me.”

By the time she finished junior high school she was dreaming of a career in music, thanks to the guidance of an educator who recognized her talent.

“There was a teacher named Dennis Moore,” Fischer said. “He’s the brother of Melba Moore. He was really kind and was interested in knowing what I wanted to do with my music. I was, ‘Oh, I don’t know.’ And he gave me the idea of auditioning for [New York City’s] Music & Art High School.  He helped me choose songs for the audition. He gave me piano lessons and didn’t charge me. He was just patient because I was just a kid, insane, and didn’t know what I wanted to do. He was just lovely. He could see me so clearly. That was just beautiful. And so I went on to Music & Art and then Queens College and just started working in clubs after that.”

Enter the man who would become Fischer’s mentor: Luther Vandross, who spent years touring and recording as a background singer before breaking out as a solo star. 

Continue Reading…

 

 

[box]April 15th marks the first anniversary of the Boston Marathon Bombing. Once again we can lean on the power of  music to heal our minds, ease tension, and free us from painful memories. For those who might struggle to cope on this day we would like to introduce you to a song written just for you by our dear friend Amanda Carr, and performed by her writing partner Charlie Farren.   Music transports us into a peaceful place and it can mentor us—it takes a heavy heart and makes it feather-light. These two iconic Boston Musicians are determined to use their song as a catalyst to rejuvenate the spirit. They hope to make their new song “Strong” an official Boston Anthem.

Boston Strong became  a mentoring mantra: the slogan appeared on thousands of T-shirts, the brain-child of two Emerson College students. “Strong” was inspired by the way our community came together to persevere through a difficult time. Recorded to help inject a positive message into a dark day, we are so proud to present a sneak preview of this song today. We are asking all our Over My Shoulder Foundation friends to share this post and let’s get “World Strong”. [/box]

 

Amanda Carr

Amanda Carr

Boston, MA (March 17, 2014) – Like so many of us, vocalist/musician and Boston native Amanda Carr was moved beyond words by the tragedy that shocked the world, the city and the people of Boston at the 2013 Boston Marathon. Now, just over a year later, she found words that articulate triumph over tragedy. Her new song, written by Carr and sung by Boston’s own Charlie Farren, is dedicated to the spirit and the resilience of the people of Boston and is called “Strong: A Boston Anthem.”A petition drive to Boston Mayor Marty Walsh to adopt the song as Boston’s o!cial anthem is now underway at www.BostonAnthem.com where fans can also download the song for free and watch it on YouTube. It has been gaining fast momentum on social media since its release.

“After last year, I felt so compelled to do my part in helping the city to recover, but didn’t want to write just another ‘Boston Strong’ song that focused on the tragedy” says Carr. “My hope is that this song will be embraced as an actual Anthem that Boston can be inspired by and call its own that, while paying tribute to all those who were a”ected by last year’s bombings, focuses more on our renewed spirit and unifies us as Bostonians.”

“Strong: A Boston Anthem” pays tribute to the resilient Boston spirit with lyrics like: “My town is made of Blood and Steel, its heart is beating like a drum” and “now we live to tell the story of our hopes, our strength, our glory”.

Says Carr, “This song speaks to everything that makes our city so great—our strength, our perseverance and our ability to move on but never forget.”

For more information on Amanda Carr and “Strong: A Boston Anthem” visit www.bostonanthem.com.

 

[box]Singer-songwriter-mentor-performer-mother-philanthropist-healer: meet  my beautiful friend, rock icon Robin Lane. Like many aspiring female rockers, I sat glued to MTV ( when it was actually about music) waiting for my favorite videos. One of theses was by Robin Lane & The Chartbusters—their big song, “When Things Go Wrong.”  Years later Robin still writes, sings, and performs. She also dedicates much of her time to supporting people when things go wrong in their lives. Her nonprofit organization, Songbird Sings, uses songwriting and music to mentor people who have been through difficult experiences, such as sexual abuse, domestic violence, and human trafficking.

Now Robin Lane’s life story is about to come to the big screen, in a new film by Tim Jackson—named after the big song—and we are very pleased to have Larry Katz interview Robin just a few days before the movie premiere and benefit this Friday, April 4, at the Regent Theater in Arlington, MA.[/box]

 

Screen Shot 2014-04-01 at 12.46.14 PM“When Things Go Wrong,” the new film about Robin Lane, includes all the elements you expect to find in the story of a rock musician’s life.

Troubled childhood? Check.

Wild teen years? Check.

A shot at stardom with a major label record deal? Check.

The band’s breakup and the hard times that inevitably follow? Double check.

It’s all there in “When Things Go Wrong,” a new film which will be seen for the first time on Friday, April 4 at 7 p.m. at the Regent Theater in Arlington, MA, a premiere benefit screening that will include a live performance by Lane and her former band, the Chartbusters.

But—spoiler alert—the movie does not end with either the rehab stint or triumphant comeback found in your typical “Behind the Music”-style rock doc. These days Lane, the queen of the Boston new wave scene circa 1980, has found a new venue for her voice and guitar: leading songwriting workshops as a way to help victims of sexual and domestic abuse, at-risk teenagers, prison inmates, and the elderly.

While what Lane does in her workshops is a form of music therapy, she is quick to point out that she is neither a therapist nor a counselor.

“I’m a facilitator,” she said from her rural home in Western Massachusetts. “I facilitate these situations where people can, through songwriting, find a key out of their dilemma—a key to their own healing capabilities. My role is really just to help them find a way to write a song, to help them to heal themselves and get out of whatever they’re in that’s dangerous and not good for their lives.”

It’s not a job she consciously pursued, at least not at first, but it’s one that Lane has found herself eminently well-qualified for. Music, after all, had always been her own lifeline.

“I’d been writing songs for years,” she said, “and didn’t realize why. I’d always loved music, but if I hadn’t had songwriting I would be scared to think of what would have happened to me.”

Lane’s life story has more than its share of mental and physical hurt. Distant parents. Sexual assault. Domestic violence. Divorce. And a tantalizingly close, ultimately frustrating brush with stardom. When the first two Robin Lane and the Chartbusters albums failed to sell as much as expected, the band was tossed aside by their label, Warner Brothers. And after Lane gave birth to a daughter, Evangeline, she found she was no longer considered a serious contender in the male chauvinist rock world of the 1980s.

“I raised my child,” Lane said of her post-Chartbusters years. “Got married again. Had a couple of dogs. Played around. Made the ‘Catbird’ CD [ed. 1995]. Then I got divorced, around 1999.”

And almost without realizing it, she was embarking on a new career as a songwriting mentor.

Continue Reading…

 

Pictured (from left): Janice O'Leary, Denise Hajjar, Paula Daher, Dawn Carroll, Ivo Cubi, Carlotta Cubi, Jon Butcher, and Dave Connor. Photograph courtesy of Russ Mezikofsky.

Pictured (from left): Janice O’Leary, Denise Hajjar, Paula Daher, Dawn Carroll, Ivo Cubi, Carlotta Cubi, Jon Butcher, and Dave Connor. Photograph courtesy of Russ Mezikofsky.

On Monday, March 24, the Over My Shoulder Foundation (OMSF) partnered with Cumar, purveyors of fine marble and granite, to present Charmed by Charity: Mentoring in the Music, Design and Fashion Industries.

The event was held at the Alex & Ani outpost on Boston’s trendy Newbury Street, and featured a mix of local celebrities, media, and mentoring supporters. Guests were treated to light fare and copious attention from the Alex & Ani staff, who were on hand to help customers choose from an array of beautiful bangles and bracelets.

Headquartered in Cranston, Rhode Island, Alex & Ani is known for their collection of meaningful jewelry that “adorn the body, enlighten the mind, and empower the spirit.” 15% of proceeds from the evening’s sales were donated directly to the Over My Shoulder Foundation; guests who purchased $100 or more in merchandise were treated to The Path of Life, a book of testimonies by Alex & Ani customers, who share the ways the positively-focused jewelry changed their lives for the better.

Janice O’Leary, health and wellness editor of the global luxury publication Robb Report, formerly editor-in-chief of Boston Common magazine, was the event’s emcee, which kicked off with a welcome from Dave Connor, CUMAR general manager and OMSF board member. Guests were also treated to a song put together especially for the event: “The Path of Life” was co-written by Grammy-nominated Boston rocker Jon Butcher and OMSF Executive Director Dawn Carroll, and was inspired by the Alex & Ani book of the same title.

After that, Amanda Frederick, assistant manager of Alex and Ani’s Boston location, discussed Charity by Design. Cumar’s executive vice president, Carlotta Cubi, and Paula Daher, principal of Paula Daher Design, talked about the importance of mentoring in the stone and interior design industries, respectively. Then stylista Denise Hajjar, of the eponymous boutique, shared her insights from the fashion industry.

Before she took the mic, Paula Daher mentioned just how important mentoring has been to her as her career’s progressed. “It took me awhile to find [a mentor],” she said, “And in fact, I never thought I would. It’s men who tend to hold positions at the pinnacle level.” In response, she says that she feels even more compelled to mentor—in particular, women—now that she’s established herself.

Janice Dowling, another area designer and instructor at Boston Architectural College, agreed, and added that, “It doesn’t matter how far along in your career you are, or how old you are. There’s always something to learn. Be a sponge. Ask questions. Be curious.” Which just goes to show: mentors are needed at every stage of life.

 

About the Author

Karyn Polewaczyk is a freelance writer living in Boston and a staff reporter on personal finance for the Boston Globe.

[box]Without positive influences, we become lost, both as individuals and as a society. That’s why our dedicated team searches for stories of people who use their talents to fuel greater confidence, self-esteem and self-worth in others. We look for exquisite examples of individuals who are moving us all towards a society of greater inclusion. The heart of the OMSF mission is to find a cure for hopelessness, and we believe that mentoring can help solve many personal and social issues.

Today, Marissa Ranahan introduces us to a vibrant new artist, Gemini Wired, who wrote this amazing song to stand up to bullying. Haters be gone. Let this song and all the stories we publish inspire you to get involved with mentoring. One simple way is to share the mentoring stories we write each week with all your friends—you never know how a story might inspire someone else. If we feed creative minds, they just might discover solutions to the many problems we face in this world.

—Dawn Carroll, Over My Shoulder Foundation Director

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“If you can dream it, you can achieve it. I wouldn’t be where I am today if I listened to people who didn’t want to see me prosper.”

We all have dreams. They might be to inspire, to educate, or simply to do well in this life. At Over My Shoulder, we believe in dreams, and in the unique combination of music and mentorship. Kristian Bryant of Brockton, MA, also known as Gemini Wired, dreamed of being a talented musician; recently, merging that dream with a powerful message has inspired thousands.

When I cought Kristian’s music video, “What Now,” I was entranced by her anti-bullying lyrics. The song’s focus is on overcoming the negativity that’s so often thrown at the younger generation. In her own words, she explains her inspiration behind the video “What Now”:

“I want my ‘What Now’ video to inspire as many people as possible. There are kids who have so much to offer and do not know it because they want to hide their talents or intelligence. I don’t want them to be ashamed anymore. I want them to know people like myself and these organizations have their backs. What now!”

The video, which was posted just a few months ago, in fall 2013, has already exceeded over 30,000 views. “I plan on bringing awareness to bullying through my music but also sharing my message to many kids.” Kristian hopes that the sing will give hope and strength to the victims of bullying. She will be visiting schools in the New England area over the coming year, sharing her video and encouraging children to support one another.

“When young people are busy being positive and supportive, you see less cases of (kids) being bullied. I feel compelled to spread the message.”

So, who are her mentors? She described her family as her “greatest” inspiration, constantly providing Kristian with their support and encouragement. “Everything I do is for them (her family).” She also cited her musical support, the production team Lyve City: “They were kind of that missing piece to my puzzle,” she said.

Kristian has been passionate about music from a young age, when she formed a small, short-lived all-girls group. In college she gained knowledge about “producing music, writing music, and beginning to record my own songs.”

Music with a powerful message has the ability to touch us all. Kristian has done an incredible job of inspiring others through her musical ability. With her talent, she’s spreading a positive message of hope. In her unique song, the essence of music and mentoring come full-circle. With inspirational songs like these, mentorship through music becomes a reality.

At Over My Shoulder, we thank Kristian Bryant for her positive messages through music, and all those who continue to write inspirational pieces for all ears to hear.

Marissa Ranahan, OMSF Team Member

 

[box]So far, 2014 has been an exciting year for the Over My Shoulder Foundation. We discovered some amazing people who have agreed to share a little of their wisdom. We have stumbled upon dynamic examples of how easy mentoring can be—and seen how quickly you can change a life. A few weeks ago OMSF writer Larry Katz snagged an interview with Stanley Roberts, the reporter who reunited international music star Carlos Santana with his homeless former band mate. That story gets bigger every day (watch parts 1, 2, and 3). Last week, I got the opportunity to write a story for the amazing jewelry company, Alex and Ani, whose fantastic mantra is “Inspired by the Wisdom of Ancient Thinkers.”

Today we have an interview with Kim Taylor, who was recently appointed to serve as a member of the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities alongside Sarah Jessica Parker, Forest Whitaker, Anna Wintour, Yo-Yo Ma, Jhumpa Lahiri, Kerry Washington, and Secretary of State John Kerry’s wife, Teresa Heinz.

We hope you’ll be inspired by these stories. Mentoring is a life-force we cannot live without. These positive influences in our lives stop us from becoming disconnected as individuals and as a society. So, in the words of President Barack Obama: “Be the change. Mentor a child.” [/box]

 

James Taylor and his wife Kim Smedvig © Rubenstein, photographer Martyna Borkowski

James Taylor and his wife Kim Smedvig Taylor
© Rubenstein, photographer Martyna Borkowski

Kim Taylor received a most unexpected phone call last spring. It came from the White House. And, no, they weren’t trying to reach her rather well-known husband, musician James Taylor.

They were calling to ask her to serve as a member of the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities alongside the likes of Sarah Jessica Parker, Forest Whitaker, Anna Wintour, Yo-Yo Ma, Jhumpa Lahiri, Kerry Washington and Secretary of State John Kerry’s wife, Teresa Heinz.

“It really was a surprise,” Taylor said from her home in the Berkshires. “It was out of the blue. Of course I said yes.”

Taylor expects her new position will offer opportunities to promote arts educations in schools across the United States, a mission, she says, “that’s very near and dear to my heart from all my years at the BSO.” Her relationship with the Boston Symphony Orchestra began 30 years ago, when Taylor worked in the orchestra’s publicity office, and continues today as a trustee and board member.

Taylor still isn’t sure what she will be asked to do as a member of the President’s Committee. She missed her first meeting, but she had an impeccable excuse.

“It was just so frustrating that the meeting was on November 22,” she explained, “the one day James and I had committed to being in Boston to perform at the Kennedy Library. It was a hard decision.”

On that day the Taylors performed at a ceremony marking the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. As she has done for some fifteen years now, Kim added background harmonies to James’s performance. “We sang ‘Close Your Eyes,’ that beautiful lullaby, which we did as a duet, just the two of us.”

Does Taylor, who married in 2001, consider her husband her mentor as a singer?

“Yes,” she said laughing, “without question. I’ve been singing for as long as I can remember, but basically I was classically trained and it is very different to get up and sing in an arena with thousands of people.

“I grew up in a very musical family. My grandmother, who was born in 1891, was a trained opera singer. Her name was Portia Fitzsimons. She was a huge influence on me. She had a beautiful voice. She gave up her career when she had my mother, who also had an incredible voice, but never pursued her career, to have me. I just wish they were still here to see me. Not that I have a great singing career, I don’t mean to imply that. But I’ve been really lucky to be able to experience that. It’s such a wonderful outlet.

“I used to sing in the glee club and school choruses. After I went to work with the BSO, the highpoint of the year for me was if I could sing with the Tanglewood Festival Chorus at Christmas Pops. In fact, I just sang with them last week with Keith Lockhart. It’s the greatest thrill to be onstage with that chorus and that orchestra. So much fun.”

How did she make the jump from singing in a large chorus to performing on tour with James Taylor, one of the preeminent singer/songwriters of our time?

“We started very slowly. James heard me singing around the house or something. Then he was in the studio in New York with Russ Titelman, his producer, and he asked me if I could sing a harmony so he could just hear how it sounded. He tricked me! He didn’t tell me he wanted to use it or I probably would have been really nervous. When Russ said they were going to use it I said, ‘No way, that’s crazy!  Let me re-do it.’ But Russ said, ‘No, it’s great.’

“From there it just evolved. It started with James saying, ‘Why don’t you sing the encore?’—‘Shower the People’ or ‘How Sweet It Is.’ And it was so much fun working with his backup singers, Kate Markowitz and Arnold McCuller. They were so patient. It taught me so much.”

In recent years Taylor has rediscovered another artistic passion: acting.

“I’ve always loved it,” she said. “I acted as a child, in high school, and some in college. It’s something that’s been with me for a long time. But in my years at the BSO I didn’t really have the time to audition. Now my life is different. About four years ago I was able to audition for ‘A Christmas Carol’ at the Berkshire Theatre Festival. I went mainly because our children—we have twin boys—they were eight then and they wanted to do it. They were auditioning for Tiny Tim and the young Ebenezer Scrooge.

“Much to my surprise the director asked me to read for Mrs. Cratchit. I was not expecting to audition. I had to do a Cockney accent on the spot. You know the Alastair Sim’s (1951 film) version? I tried to conjure that and much to my surprise, and terror, I was cast as Mrs. Cratchit. And there were 22 shows that year at the Unicorn Theatre in Stockbridge. The next year we moved to the Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield, which is a beautiful facility, and because it has a greater capacity we could do fewer shows.

“Then the artistic director, Kate McGuire, asked if I wanted to audition for this piece based on one of Edith Wharton’s short stories, ‘Roman Fever.’ We performed that this fall as part of this fall festival in the Berkshires. It was directed by Keira Naughton, the daughter of the actor James Naughton. She was fantastic to work with.”

Taylor did not hesitate when asked if she had an acting mentor in her life.

“Yes. Absolutely. I went to the Albany Academy for Girls. I had an incredible theatre teacher there, Margery Van Aernum. I studied with her from when I was nine to 17. I think it’s a very hard age to work with kids. I think like most kids that age it was difficult to get me to focus. But she treated us like professionals. Like adults. She had very high expectations.”

Without doubt Taylor will bring an unusual combination of experience and perspective to the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, whatever her role.

“I’d love to tell you more about it when I find out more about what I’ll be doing,” she said.

And we will look forward to hearing about it.

 

About the author
Former Boston Herald columnist and editor Larry Katz has covered music and the arts for more than 30 years. Visit his website, thekatztapes.comContact him at larry@thekatztapes.com.

 

[box]“I did not know where my life would go…” That’s one of the lyrics from the song that inspired this foundation, “Over My Shoulder.” It happens to be one that I did not write—but I love it the most! Most of us think we know exactly where we are going and then… a surprise comes along and before you know it, you’re in the middle of a mesmerizing experience you never saw coming.

Today we feature a story on reporter Stanley Roberts, who was investigating a story when, out of the blue, his whole life changed. He had stumbled upon something breathtaking. Then his small town story shot around the world and he had everyone, from CNN reporters to people like me, chasing him down to learn more.

Stanley had re-connected two former best friends—international Rock Star Carlos Santana and Marcus the Magnificent, his brilliant but homeless band mate. The powerful mentor-centric energy in this story blew my mind. I wanted to know—why did Stanley pursue this story? What did he hear in the tale of Marcus the Magnificent that so inspired him?

You’ve probably seen the moment when Stanley reconnects Carlos Santana with his old best friend. We wanted to tell you more about Stanley, who took it upon himself to assemble a team to help a person in need of hope and restoration.

It’s the first week of a new year, also the beginning of National Mentoring Month. So I entreat you to adopt a simple habit, to be a little more like Stanley: when you see a new person, ask yourself, “What do I see that this person can be?” I call this habit of mind “Designing the Next Generation.”

—Dawn Carroll, Over My Shoulder Director

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Stanley Roberts

Stanley Roberts

As the TV newsman responsible for “People Behaving Badly,” a nightly feature on KRON 4 in San Francisco, Stanley Roberts has been called a lot of names, most of them not very nice. So he’s amazed that many people, including rock star Carlos Santana, are now calling him “an angel from God.”

A week before Christmas, Roberts played the pivotal part in reuniting Carlos and his long-forgotten percussionist, Marcus “The Magnificent” Malone. The two had not seen one another in forty-five years. The touching story of this unlikely reunion first aired on KRON and quickly spread around the globe.

Roberts encountered Malone by chance. He was homeless, reduced to picking through the trash, and claimed in a televised segment that he was a founding member of the world-renowned Santana band. That might have been the end of the story—but Carlos Santana happened to catch the segment. Santana reached out to Roberts to help him reconnect with his old bandmate. Now the two are actively involved in getting Malone off the streets and back on stage.

Two days before the start of the new year, we spoke to Roberts by phone from his Bay Area home. Still absorbing the ramifications of what has turned into the biggest story of his life, Roberts graciously shared his experience.

“I used to be a photographer, a regular cameraman,” he said. “Then our company got purchased by another company and they decided to change us into something they call ‘video journalists.’ Basically I started doing everything myself, writing and editing. The acting news director told me, ‘Go out and do POV,’ point of view journalism, where you go out and see what’s going on and talk about it. I said, ‘I have a better idea. I want to go out and look at what people are doing that they shouldn’t be doing. We could call it People Behaving Badly.’

“We went out and did the first one and phones rang off the hook. We got an incredible response. It drew people’s attention. It was about public urination. We watched people buying alcohol—and when they got drunk, because there are no rest rooms downtown around Market Street, they would pee and poop anywhere they wanted to, in broad daylight. Basically I just showed that. It was the grittiness of what was actually going on there, that no one wants to talk about, and I talked about it. So that was the first segment. That was eight years ago. The segment got so popular that now I actually turn a story every single day, except when I’m off.”

Roberts doesn’t go after big time criminals or expose major scandals. People Behaving Badly is about what he calls “quality of life issues.” Texting while driving. Bicyclists running stop signs. Drinking alcohol in city parks. Littering. Viewers love seeing transgressors caught in the act—and not just in the Bay Area. Roberts has more than 1,200 videos on YouTube, which have attracted close to 10 million views.

Of course not everyone is a fan of his brand of “gotcha journalism.”

“I get a lot of hate mail,” Roberts said. “A lot of people don’t want to know what’s going on, don’t want to know the truth. I get accused of picking on the homeless, of picking on dog owners, cat owners, home owners. I get death threats. It’s amazing. I was not used to it. I was always the guy with the camera while the reporter gets the fame and the glory. Then I had an idea eight years ago and it changed everything. It flipped my world upside down.”

Now Roberts’ world has flipped again because of Marcus Malone and Carlos Santana.

“It’s crazy,” he said. “I’m a devil one day and then all of a sudden the biggest rock star outside of the Rolling Stones is calling me an angel. Carlos told me, ‘You were sent by God. You’re an angel from God.’ I told my assignment desk what he said and they just laughed. They made fun of me. I’ve been called a few other things like asshole and the N-word, but never an angel.”

December 9 started out like any other workday for Roberts. He decided to go out to a dicey area of East Oakland to look for illegal trash dumpers. He found plenty of trash, but no dumpers, just an elderly man rummaging through the discarded junk.

“Sometimes fact is stranger than fiction,” Roberts said. “First of all, I don’t normally talk to somebody randomly digging through the trash. That was an anomaly. I just wanted to get shots of him going through all the garbage on that street and then go back to the office and get the story done. What made me speak to him was that I’d already asked some of the businesses on that street what was some of the strangest things they’d seen dumped out here. Couches. Marijuana. Dead dogs. I asked Marcus, ‘What did you find today.’ He says, ‘Nothing. But I’ve found jewelry. And money. Once I found 800 dollars in an old pair of jeans. Eight one hundred dollar bills.’ And I go, ‘What did you do with the money?’ I thought he probably smoked it or something. You tend to think if you’re homeless or something you probably got there because of drug use or alcohol or something like that. That’s what’s going through my mind. But then he says, ‘I bought some tools because I’m a landscaper.’ I’m thinking, ‘Okay, but how many landscapers are digging through the trash?’ Then he says, ‘I bought some supplies, some paper, because I’m a composer and I write music. My name is Marcus Malone.’

“It didn’t mean a thing to me. And then he says, ‘I used to play in the original Santana Blues Band.’ I never heard of the Santana Blues Band, I just heard it called Santana. I said, ‘Blues Band? Some band like Santana?’ And he said, ‘No, Santana. Carlos Santana. I was an original member of the band. We started it in my mom’s garage.’

“I’m thinking, ‘Wow, that’s a tall story.’ I said, ‘If I go look it up will I find your name, that you played with Carlos Santana?’ He goes, ‘Yeah, you will. But I messed up everything. I messed up my life. I went to jail and ruined my life forever.’ He said it really low, whispered it. And he walked away. The interview was pretty much over but I went up to him one more time. He was still looking through trash, but he was singing ‘Black Magic Woman.’ I laughed. I thought, ‘Okay, now he’s just performing for me. But I’m going to go back and check on his story anyway.”

 

Marcus Malone

Marcus Malone

Call it instinct or intuition, but Roberts aired the segment of Malone talking about Santana, even though it had nothing to do with the subject of the story.

“Typically at KRON we keep our stories uber-focused,” Roberts said. “My story should have been about illegal dumping and nothing else. I should have just mentioned that this guy once found some money. But I decided to keep him in the story. One of the editors came to me and said, ‘The story is good but you kind of went off course with this guy.’ And I go, ‘No, the fact is that when I did some research, his name did pop up with Santana, so I decided to keep it in.’ I figured if my bosses chew me out the next day, well, it’s already out there. You can’t un-ring a bell. So that bell was rung. If he was nobody, then he was nobody.”

But there was another concern. In his research, Roberts discovered what Malone had meant when he said, “I messed up my life.” In 1969 Malone was convicted of manslaughter. He served three years in San Quentin.

“I spoke to our assistant news director after the story aired,” Roberts said, “and I said, ‘If this guy is who he is this could be something big.’ She said, ‘Yeah, but he killed somebody.’ I said, ‘Yeah, but it looks like it was a fight. He didn’t go out there trying to kill somebody. It appears that a fight broke out and somebody died. It was unintended. But if you don’t think it’s a big story, then I’m not going to worry about it.

“To be honest with you I had no idea of the magnitude of what was going to happen. No clue whatsoever. I was not prepared for it. Nine days later I get a Facebook message on my fan page, which I don’t check that often. It says, ‘Hi, I’m Kathy, manager of Carlos Santana.’ I’m thinking she’s going to say this guy Marcus was not with the band and never has been. But then she says Carlos has been driving around 90th and Pearmain trying to find Marcus. My mouth hit the ground. I jumped up and ran to the assignment desk and said, ‘Hey look at what I just got.’

“It was a Thursday night and the assignment desk wanted me to talk to Santana on the spot. Now I’m a huge fan. I love his music. And they’re saying see if you can go out there with him and look for Marcus. Now here’s where it got interesting. The next day we called Carlos and he said, ‘Well, I’m busy right now, it’s getting close to the holidays. Can I do it on the 23rd?’ I said, ‘Well, I’m going on vacation in two weeks and I won’t be here. But if you want to do it today, I can.’ He said, ‘I’ll tell you what. I’ll meet you at 2 o’clock today in Sausalito and we’ll go looking for Marcus together.’

“I told my news director that I’m going to drive out to Oakland and look for Marcus. Now we’re not allowed to go out without security. He said, ‘Don’t you get out of your car. Just drive around and see if you can spot this guy.’ Because we’ve been robbed. They’ve been robbing photographers and reporters. Oakland is crazy dangerous right now. So I jump in my car and drive over there. I’m looking for a guy with a beard riding a red bike.

“Well, there are bikes everywhere. Everyone is on a bike. I decided to do what every journalist would do: ask someone. There are two guys sitting out there and I say, ‘Hey, I’m looking for someone named Marcus Malone.’ First thing they say is, ‘Oh, what did he do? You the police?’ I said, ‘He didn’t do anything. I want to find him and give him something.’ They said, ‘We don’t know who he is.’ That’s the standard response. Then one of them says, ‘You mean the little guy who rides around on a bicycle, the old guy? There’s a camper around the corner he lives in.’ I said, ‘Camper? What camper?’ He said, ‘Trust me, you won’t miss it.’

“I turned the corner and there’s an old camper parked on a dirt sidewalk with an abandoned house next to it. There was a red bicycle chained to the bumper. I bang on the door and yell ‘Marcus!’ but there’s no answer. So I take a couple of pictures with my phone and call back my desk and say, ‘I think I’ve found Marcus. I’m going to hang out for a little bit.’ So I’m sitting and watching, and also watching that no one is going to roll up on me while I’m sitting there. I decided to take out a business card. I write, ‘Be here at 3 o’clock.’ That’s all I said. I stuck it on the door and waited a little more. Then a guy walks by and I said, ‘Hey, quick question. Who’s camper is this?’ He goes, ‘Oh, that’s Marcus’s camper.’ Then he looks at me and goes, ‘Hey, you’re that guy! The people who act badly dude! You put Marcus on TV. Y’know, he’s the real deal.’ I said, ‘Okay, if you see him tell him Stanley was here from Channel 4 and I have something to give him at 3 o’clock.’ I wasn’t going to say I’m bringing Carlos Santana back here. That would have been like setting a fire in timberland. Everyone would have been out there.

“So I go drive from Oakland to where Carlos is in Sausalito. That’s like driving between two different worlds. Well, Carlos is late. Then we get stuck in traffic. I had told our security officer, a retired cop, to meet me at the camper and stake it out. He called and said, ‘I’m at the camper, the door’s open and there’s another bike there.’ I said, “If you see him come out, detain him.’ He laughed and said, ‘I am not detaining anyone, I’m not a cop anymore.’ I said, ‘Just don’t let him leave.’ When we got to the camper I looked at my clock and it was 3:39.

 

Carlos Santana and Marcus Malone

Carlos Santana and Marcus Malone

“I knocked on the door with Carlos and the security officer watching. Marcus came out and I said, ‘Man, you are the real deal. So I’m back, like I told you.’ He said, ‘Man, I don’t remember your name.’ Now when I do my segments it’s not about me. It’s about the world around me and what’s going on. This story wasn’t about me. I’m about to introduce Marcus to Carlos Santana. I said, ‘Dude, my name is not important right now, your name is what’s important.’ I got a lot of hate comments about that, people saying that I was being a douche bag for not telling him my name and that I was being disrespectful. On the other hand, I also got comments saying it showed that I’m not the kind of person who’s out there for fame and glory. Honestly, I just wanted the moment of him walking to the car and he sees Carlos’s face and Carlos sees his face. I just wanted to cry. I’m laughing, but it’s laughter that they’re finally seeing each other after all these years.

“Carlos handed him $7,000 in cash. I didn’t put that in my story because they would have run up to him the next night if they knew Carlos had handed him that cash. I thought it was a bad idea, but it is what it is. You can’t tell Carlos don’t give this guy seven grand in cash because who knows what will happen.

“I called the station and told them that they met. The station went ape-shit. Oh my god! When I came back with the video there was huge applause in the newsroom from all my coworkers that I had got this. Then it was, ‘You need to do this, you need to do that.’ But I’m thinking, ‘I need to get to work and write the damn segment because I’m off at six and I’m going on vacation.’ But they wanted me live on set at 8 o’clock. Now I do live stuff rarely, and never on prime time. I’m not a big front-of-the-camera guy. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll do it—but it was my last day of work before my vacation and I wanted to get out of there and do my thing. But I’m there until 8:30. And I have to drive to Los Angeles the next morning because I can’t afford to fly.

“So the story aired and there was not a dry eye in the place. But the magnitude of what took place didn’t dawn on me until I got a phone call from CNN saying ‘We want to put you on air.’ I said, ‘For what? I didn’t do nothing.’ I said, ‘I’ll be in L.A. tomorrow if you want to talk to me. So I talked to them and Inside Edition and did some radio. And now I’m talking to you.”

Roberts’ chance meeting with Malone resulted in the biggest story of his career. But this is just the beginning of Roberts’s relationship with Malone. He is committed to acting as Malone’s guide to a better life.

“We’re doing everything we can to help him,” Roberts said. “I told him, ‘I’m in it for the long haul and we’re going to get you back on your feet. The problem is he wants to move, but old habits are hard to break. Carlos called me. He basically designated me on the spot and I am here to help Marcus get back on track. So I’ve embraced that, even though I still have to figure out how to pay my own bills.

“I created People Behaving Badly not knowing it would lead to this. It’s me going out every day, trying to make ends meet, doing these segments, getting hate mail from people, getting death threats, being told by the police to change my habits so that people don’t follow me home. I’m like, ‘Is this really worth it?’ But I guess it is, when you find people like Marcus. This was a diamond in the rough—who now we have to shine. Because he’s really rough. Between me and Carlos Santana, we’re going to shine that diamond and try to bring out the stone that was covered in soot. We want to get him back on the stage playing. And if he’s on the stage I want to be in the front row. I’ll be bawling out of control.”

 

About the author
Former Boston Herald columnist and editor Larry Katz has covered music and the arts for more than 30 years. Visit his website, thekatztapes.comContact him at larry@thekatztapes.com.

A song gave birth to Over My Shoulder Foundation.

Now Over My Shoulder Foundation (OMSF) is giving birth to a new song.

Four years after Patti Austin’s recording with then–13-year-old Lianna Gutierrez of “Over My Shoulder” led to the creation of a foundation to spread the gospel of mentoring, OMSF is on the verge of a new release. Get ready for “Half Filled Tear.”

“It’s about saving lives from a lifestyle of repeated violence,” said Dawn Carroll, who co-wrote “Half Filled Tear” with Boston rock legend Jon Butcher and Gidon the Mighty Warrior, a rap artist and social activist from Austin, Texas. “The lyrics were written to relate the victim’s anger and show that repeated violence is not the way.”On the first Saturday in November, Carroll and Butcher went into Q Division Studios in Somerville to record the final vocal tracks of “Half Filled Tear” with the dynamic singer/rapper Shea Rose and the Boston Children’s Chorus. Adding to the occasion was the presence of teenaged filmmakers and photographers from Wakefield, who came to document the session for a forthcoming “making of” video.

The story of “Half Filled Tear” starts back in 2009, when Carroll was brainstorming ideas for songs that would work as a duets by older mentors and younger mentees. The reaction to that song, “Over My Shoulder,” was so positive that Austin and Carroll followed up by creatingOMSF, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to the promotion of mentoring. Carroll’s unused song ideas were put aside, but not forgotten.

“‘Half Filled Tear’ was one of the songs I had,” Carroll said. “I wanted to tackle the touchy, tricky subjects. I wanted to write songs and Drawing on experiences from her own life and those of the youngsters she was meeting through OMSF, Carroll decided the time was right to complete “Half Filled Tear.”create music that inspired listeners to stop the cycle of hopelessness: ‘One less tragedy’ was my mantra. I believe you can write music and create anthems that bolster self-confidence, self-worth, and self-esteem. I believe that music can deflect some of the craziness you see on the news every night and help people focus on solving individual as well as social issues.”

“This one is a personal story,” she said. “Someone very close to me was murdered at a very young age. I went through this experience. When I started getting more involved with kids through the foundation, and we started working in the city, I heard so many stories about brutal murders. I went through just one, and I never got over it—these kids had gone through multiple traumas with little support. I could see and relate to the delicate emotional state, I knew how easy it is to become lost when dealing with this type of anger and pain. You just never get over the loss and dealing with the anger is a constant struggle. It’s a blinding blizzard of emotions that follow you after someone you love has been taken from you, violently, and that post-traumatic stress is hard to deal with.”

“Then I learned about the tattoo, usually used in gangs: the half-filled tear, carved onto someone’s face. It tells the world that someone has been violently taken from you, and that you seek revenge—and when the revenge is satisfied, the tear tattoo is colored in. This image really freaked me out. I was desperate to write the song and just prayed it would be powerful enough to stop even one future murder. Music can arouse great introspection and activism, it can inject hope into a life like nothing else.”

OMSF Executive Director Dawn Carroll with Jon Butcher

Carroll shared her idea for the song with Jon Butcher, who not only agreed to co-write and co-produce it, but to sing, play guitar, and engineer the song too.

“It really affected me,” Butcher said, “so I wanted to shepherd it the whole way. I was really keen to produce it and that’s what happened. To me, that image of the ‘Half Filled Tear’ symbolized how pervasive violence is in the country we live in. We have a romantic relationship to violence. And that relationship is a love-hate relationship—how we portray it in the culture, how it manifests itself in our kids and the media. That was a big subject to me.”

While working on the lyrics, Carroll and Butcher decided to add a hip hop element to try and reach a wider audience. Their search for a collaborator led them to Gidon the Mighty Warrior (real name: Christopher Ockletree), one of the founders of The Cipher, an Austin hip hop collective dedicated to uniting youth through music, poetry, and activism.

Carroll and Butcher got more than they expected from Gidon. A lot more.

“We got on a conference call with Gidon and told him the concept of the song,” Carroll said. “I told him if he needed to change any of the words, that he should feel free, and nobody would be insulted. Well he did. He rewrote the entire thing! I think there’s one of my lines left,” Carroll laughed. “He did a brilliant job. Gidon had also lost someone to a violent crime, so he knew exactly what emotions to tap into. Now it’s more his song than anybody’s. The whole rap is his.”

Dawn Carroll and the Boston Children’s Choir

They had the rap. They had the chorus. Finally, they added the voice: Shea Rose and the Boston Children’s Chorus. Their vision was complete. “Half Filled Tear” is a song that finds hope and inspiration in the depths of despair.

“I feel like the song does two things,” Rose said as she prepared to record her vocals at Q Division Studios. “It’s inspirational. And at the same time, it tells of the agony and pain that is going on in society. So it has that dark part, especially in the rap verses, but there’s also a feeling of hope in the chorus.”

Hope is exactly what “Half Filled Tear” is intended to provide, especially to those whose lives have been damaged by violence.

“When you’re struggling with feelings of revenge, you need hope. You can’t get over the shock because the crime has entered your life and left you with an emptiness and with so many questions,” Carroll said. “You need somebody to tell you, and show you, how to channel that energy, otherwise you’ll be a prisoner of it your whole life.”

Carroll expects OMSF to unveil both “Half Filled Tear” and the “making of” video in January—which, not coincidentally, is also National Mentoring Month.

“What we tried to do in ‘Half Filled Tear’,” Butcher said, “was flesh a story out in a way that touches a lot of people. I hope that we were successful—and I guess we’ll find out.”

—by Larry Katz

Former Boston Herald columnist and editor Larry Katz has covered music and the arts for more than 30 years. Visit his website, thekatztapes.com. Contact him at larry@thekatztapes.com.

 

[box]Today we’ve got a glimpse into the mind of Over My Shoulder Foundation Co-Founder and Executive Director Dawn Carroll. She’s working on a new song with Jon Butcher, one of the most influential recording artists in the legendary Boston music scene.[/box]

At the start of Over My Shoulder Foundation (which, back then in 2009 was just a project), here’s what I wrote:

There comes a time in life when the term “complicated” takes on an entirely new meaning. One day, even the most powerful among us wake up and discover they are no longer fearless. It is the moment in which you may lose your focus, your sense of worth, or have a sense that you cannot move past the challenges before you.

This is when the beauty of divine intervention, rich with guidance, friendship and the talents and imagination of a mentor becomes an essential ingredient for inspiration; maybe even for survival.

This is the genesis, for some, of a desperate search to connect with someone – anyone – who can help move negative or challenging thoughts into a new and brighter light, or simply help you recalibrate and reconnect with the things that matter.

This fascinating and provocative moment is when your goals take precedent over any opposition, the moment when you decide if you will allow your dreams to walk away, or, if you will grab on with both hands and walk within them. This describes my personal experience, and how I finally found my true purpose as an advocate for mentoring.

You can read all about the whole story of the song here.

Now, with Over My Shoulder Foundation a 501(c)3 registered non-profit, we are writing more songs.

I wrote those words you just read, above, when I first started OMSF. We were writing songs that tackled difficult subject matters and tried to find a mentor-centric “spin”. Do you know the song that started Over My Shoulder Foundation, performed by Patti Austin and her mentee Lianna Gutierrez?

Recently I just dusted off the songs that were started and shelved because we had to write business plans and become a real foundation with a 501(c)3 non profit status.  But now I am pleased to say that one of my Rock ‘n’ Roll heroes Jon Butcher is partnering with me to write another Over My Shoulder Song.

I have been a fan of Jon’s for over 20 years and although we have been great friends for many of these years I never thought we would collaborate on music together. This one of those “pinch me I am dreaming moments. Once a fan and now a co-writer or co-producer was never something I thought would ever happen. When Jon agreed to work with me on the next OMSF song I giggled in delight.

And here is the fabulous mentoring lesson – Always Ask. 

A Sneak Peak Into Our New Over My Shoulder Foundation Mentoring Song, a Collaboration with Jon Butcher

The song Jon and I are working on is a subject matter that is deep and dark. If you have ever lost someone to violent crime or have suffered with survivor guilt or PTSD than you understand the blizzard of emotions that consume you 24-7 often for years.

Dawn Carroll and Jon Butcher, collaborators on the NEW Over My Shoulder Foundation mentoring song.

Dawn Carroll and Jon Butcher, collaborators on the NEW Over My Shoulder Foundation mentoring song.

Photography by Michael Sparks Keegan

Revenge is a toxic emotion that doesn’t allow forgiveness easy. Anger rips into your clarity and causes a blur that can lead you down a most destructive road. The song we are working on dives deep into these emotions but…begs for intervention. It begs to be shown a better way.

The song message begs for an outcome that won’t hold regret. It won’t hold repercussions that inflict more terror, horror, pain or chaos.

Forgiveness doesn’t always come easy and yet we can mentor forgiveness. We can reach out to those stuck in the tsunami of violence. Jon and I intend to use the power of music to insert a positive message into a really difficult situation.

Stay tuned and we thank you for being part of our OMSF community- we thank you for  committing to a mentoring lifestyle and for injecting your positive message into our world!

[box]If you like Over My Shoulder Foundation, please SHARE your mentoring stories, consider donating to our non-profit and don’t forget to follow Over My Shoulder Foundation on Facebook too.[/box]

 

 

[box] Patti Austin, Over My Shoulder Foundation co-founder and Grammy Award winning singing legend, reflects on her design mentors. Look out, she’s going to get awards for her design work pretty soon![/box]

This article appeared originally on Patti’s website.

I couldn’t say goodbye to 2012 without reflecting on all my magical DESIGN mentors in Boston who graciously shared their time, wisdom and expertise and helped mentor me as I pursued learning more about my passion of Interior Design.

Enjoy this amazing video that designers Leslie Fine owner of Leslie Fine Interiors and Rosemary Porto from the luxurious kitchen design firm Poggenpohl had made for our Over My Shoulder Foundation last June…

 

And you must see this amazing video that was shot at the Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams Boston showroom on Thank Your Mentor Day last January…

Lastly, I would like to thank my friend and Over My Shoulder co-founder Dawn Carroll and her company Cumar Marble & Granite for mentoring me!

January is National Mentoring Month… Who mentored you? Who is your navigator? Go to Over My Shoulder Foundation or visit our Facebook page and tell us your story!

If you like Over My Shoulder Foundation, please SHARE your mentoring stories, consider donating to our non-profit and don’t forget to follow Over My Shoulder Foundation on Facebook too, especially this January during National Mentoring Month.