The singer walks through the reality of making it and the costs involved.
Today, my story on singer Debbie Davis and her new album, Linger 'Til Dawn, appeared in The New Orleans Advocate. We had a good conversation, talking about parenting, Miley Cyrus, and more. Much of it didn't belong in that story, but I didn't want to lose the following exchange.
I always wonder if musicians have thought through their dreams, even as they take steps to try to make them happen. Davis and I were talking about how Linger 'Til Dawn came about spontaneously and wasn't planned to coincide with Jazz Fest.
I lucked into it, and it came at the right time. I wasn’t in a rush, and it wasn’t dictated by This is going to be my Jazz Fest record!
We all think that if we get our record out by Jazz Fest, that Mr Ziegfeld will come along and whisk us off to the follies, and that’s not the way it works. Jazz Fest has never been the make-or-break for anybody with the exception possibly of The Imagination Movers. That’s where Disney saw them; that’s where Disney picked them up. But everybody else - we hope it’s going to be this transcendental thing that changes our lives and show a larger audience how terrific we are and we won’t be the victims of our hometown. We can do what Louis Armstrong did and make everybody love us and then leave and never come back.
How much of that would you really want?
I’d like the money. I’d like the security for my family. I’d like the ability to come and go as I please, but I don’t know that going some place permanently is the answer. Franky, because I want to keep working. If I went some place else - I love New York, I’d love to work in New York, but I can’t afford to live in New York unless I”m one of five people who are making a grand and substantial living as musicians. The rest are working day jobs and playing in clubs for $70 a pop. I’m making twice as much here. And I don’t have to have a day job. In some ways, I’m better off. It would be great if I could get someone to fix the pot holes on my street, and the cops would show up when shit’s going on in my neighborhood …
To me, that’s an interesting question. How many people have thought through the consequences of their dreams? How many people are ready if someone from Sony said, We’d like to sign you, put your album out, and you’ll spend the next year in a van?
I don’t know if I could do it. I’d like to think I could. I’d like to think that kind of success brings concessions to my family and what I perceive as what they need. Kids are flexible. They get used to what you get them used to. Taking two kids on tour and getting them tutored isn’t the most bizarre thing I can think of. But not having a yard for them to play in is more bizarre than that. Not having people that they know that they can go meet at the park - that’s more bizarre.
Debbie Davis plays a ton of gigs over course of the next month or so.