It was an honor to be receive invitation and opportunity to perform 2 of my classics (I chose Don’t You Want Me & Looking For A New Love) and The National Anthem by the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium for their Black Heritage Pre-Game Show. I’d previously performed the anthem many years ago at Staples Center at an LA Sparks Playoff game.
The weather was perfect – not too hot with a gentle breeze. I really tried to be present in the moment from the minute I arrived..especially since I’d never been to the this historic stadium in the majestic setting of Chavez Ravine.
Once received my custom Dodgers jersey – Number 42 in honor with baseball trailblazer Number 42 Jackie Robinson – also a Dodgers Legend breaking the MLB color barrier.
I usually get nervous before each performance..not a lot just enough to know I’m not jaded and still excited about what I do, always wanting to do and give my best.
My dancers John ‘Havic’ Gregory and Joseph Szekula and I were fitted with in-ear monitors which I never use but due to the stadium setting it was the only way for us to hear the music and not get the delay. We were positioned with our backs to the bulk of the crowd to perform for the cameras and television broadcast – that was interesting but we could feel the energy of the crowd throughout.
After performing 2 Jody Watley classics, it was anthem time..a sense of surprising calm came over me. Closing my eyes, just sang it with my heart and soul, choosing the warmth of my lower register allowing room for the modulation. Because I’m comfortable in so many genres, I wasn’t intimidated by the song at all. My main thing was to keep it simple and not try to do too much – simplicity is key for me, deliver the sentiment of the song. I didn’t sing it exactly how I’d been singing it on my morning walks or home..or the run-through in the press box with Dodger’s official organist Dieter Ruhele – the final higher note I had not rehearsed or planned, the crowd was cheering and that’s the spirit took me to the finish…it felt very much like a home-run!
After performing we went into the Dodgers ClubHouse for food (haven’t had a hotdog in probably 10 years but I had a world famous Dodger dog before going on to a more healthy salmon and fresh veggies – the selection was vast) and drinks and then on to watch the game vs. The Mets. The box seats were incredible and the day was capped off with a Dodgers win. Yaaay!
A special shout out to Pamela Broussard PR who really got this ball rolling! She’s simply the best. More video to come.