English – Spanish – French – Portuguese

I'm an Oakland jazz salsa singer-songwriter, fluent in a few languages thanks to my itinerant childhood. Since 2004 I've done more than a dozen studio recordings for my own & other bands. In 2010, I sang on the Grammy-nominated Bien! Bien! In 2011, I made a fan-funded CD, and in 2012 my singing/songwriting was on Pacific Mambo Orchestra's debut CD. In 2013, we won a Grammy!

Pep talks
Does abundance make you more selfish or more generous?

Does abundance make you more selfish or more generous?

One of the problems I have with Law of Attraction is that at times it seems to be a philosophy about living at the leading edge of individualism rather than collectivism. Viewing the world’s suffering as “contrast” is useful advice for detachment but can seem to point to extreme selfishness. I was outside sweeping the...
You don't have be a freak to master music! Q&A with mastery expert K. Anders Ericsson (from my new book!)

You don’t have be a freak to master music! Q&A with mastery expert K. Anders Ericsson (from my new book!)

Since the release of my album I Wanna Work For You, I’ve been writing a book about practicing. More specifically, I wondered how I could finally get better at things that had eluded me despite a lifetime of effort. Were there keys to motivation, method or memory that the virtuosos knew? After much research, I...
Money is imaginary. Go ahead and imagine yourself some more (and other thoughts inspired by my grandma)

Money is imaginary. Go ahead and imagine yourself some more (and other thoughts inspired by my grandma)

The older I get, the more I resemble my grandmother. She always had tapes in her car from some motivational thinker or another, and she loved transcendentalists and religious philosophers, from Thoreau and Emerson to Lewis Carroll and Eckhart Tolle. She bought us a subscription to Town and Country magazine so we could see how...
How I shouted down that (inner) critic while performing at a prestigious venue

How I shouted down that (inner) critic while performing at a prestigious venue

I was dancing, sweating, playing guiro and singing back-up, carried on a wave of sound and positive energy. The dance floor surged with happy bodies, the seated audience beamed at the stage packed with musicians. I looked down at the set list taped to the stage in front of my microphone and realized that I’d...
Why I left Facebook to find the fractal side of life

Why I left Facebook to find the fractal side of life

I’m afflicted or blessed, depending on your point of view, with the quest for the meaning of life. Maybe it has to do with my moods. I’m always trying to find ways to stay productive and/or keep my head above water. Running long distances makes me happy, but for some reason I procrastinate it (I’ve...
For artists only: Lies your day job tells you

For artists only: Lies your day job tells you

I was feeling very San Francisco, frighteningly SoHo, awfully hipsterish. The multi-act show was packed, the fashionable audience sat in rapt attention. An aerialist was suspended above the band at one point. Later, a singer-songwriter told stories while a slide show splashed art up on the stage backdrop. I’d been hired to perform with one...
20 inspiring thoughts on playing music (in middle school)

20 inspiring thoughts on playing music (in middle school)

This morning I helped for the first period of 6th grade band and it got me thinking about all the things I like to say to kids when I visit a classroom or teach at summer camp. They all came tumbling out, in no particular order. Well, except for the first one, because I think...
How I survived in an improvised shelter in the shadow of Mt. Shasta

How I survived in an improvised shelter in the shadow of Mt. Shasta

The rushing burble of water seemed soothing — just the thing to block out any hints of foraging predators (bears, cougars) or nocturnal visitors while I slept in a shelter of my own making. There was a flat clearing in the sandy soil, and I was four feet higher than the water, so barring a...
Are you dead or alive?

Are you dead or alive?

I’m tired of “I’m old.” I’ve been feeling old since I left home at 18. I got married at 22, and by the time I was 30 I was a wife and a mom with a house and a career and I felt old. I meet old people all the time. They’re 35, or 23,...
Forget about time and find the rhythm instead

Forget about time and find the rhythm instead

  Time is infinite, ever flowing, on-ungoing. The six-year-old running barefoot at dusk with his mommy wears a watch for the first time. He calls out the time constantly, in time with the innocent slap of his feet on the pavement. He has no concept of measuring time. Yet wearing his big brother’s big blue...
Feeling Superior to Someone Else is the Least Effective Way to Feel Better About Yourself

Feeling Superior to Someone Else is the Least Effective Way to Feel Better About Yourself

We all do it, it’s true. But indulging in this sentiment for too long isn’t good for you. Feeling superior to someone else is the least effective way to feel better about yourself. Why? First, you do so by comparing lists of your pros vs. their cons, generally focusing on their cons and how your...
The Magic Burger

The Magic Burger

She took a bite. Secret sauce a tang on the back of her tongue, a rippled pickle slick between her lips, the meat and fluffy bun filling her mouth. She swallowed and felt the bolus sliding down until it nestled in her stomach. A tiny, fist-shaped packet of energy. The stadium was a behemoth; here...