Saturday, May 2, 2015

David Gates - Oklahoma's Own

David Gates has always been one of Oklahoma's favorite sons.  He's such a gentle soul.  I knew I had to include him in my Tulsa book titled "Movers and Shakers" which I produced for the 100 Year Celebration of Tulsa.  At the time of our interview he was performing in Hong Kong, but his agent made arrangements for us to talk and I'm so glad that we did.  

David was born in Tulsa in 1940, the son of a band director and piano teacher.  Of course music was in his blood from as early as he could remember.  It thrills me when I hear stories about people who knew early in life what their purpose on this earth was supposed to be.  Because of his father's influence David could read music by the time he was five years old.  By the time he was in high school he was proficient in piano, guitar and the bass.  
 David married his high school sweetheart Jo Rita and shortly after two children were added to their family.  It was inevitable that David would advance in his music career.  He had formed a local band and had already been the backup group for Chuck Berry who had made a stop in Tulsa.  Rock and Roll had just come on the scene and David knew he had to pursue his dream, which at the time meant he would have to pack his bags and move to Los Angeles.  So in 1961, with his wife, two small children and $200 in cash he made his way to California.  He promised his Dad if he didn't make progress in the business in two years that he would come back home and finish college at the University of Oklahoma.  It was almost two years exactly when he realized he was in the music business for life.  He wrote a song titled "Everything I Own" to honor his father who had recently passed.

A fellow classmate Leon Russell was there as well as an Arkansas boy we all came to know as Glen Campbell.

 David had a great advantage because he knew Rock and Roll, Country and Rhythm and Blues.  He could read music, create arrangements, produce and play instruments.  By the end of the decade, as an arranger, his clients included Bobby Darin, Elvis Presley, Ann-Margaret, Duane Eddy, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Merle Haggard, Hoyt Axton, Bobby Vee and Buck Owens.

By the late '60's rock groups were the rage and David knew that the best way to get his own songs recorded was to sing them himself.  So in 1968 he formed a group affectionately called "BREAD" - with Jimmy Griffin and Rob Royer.

During the '70's hit songs were coming one right after the other.  Songs like "Make It With You", "It Don't Matter", "Guitar Man" and "Sweet Surrender".  The group was so popular they had to start putting a limit to how many performances they would make.  "Make It With You" and "Baby I'm-a Want You" became Gold Records.

Later David began making solo hits - he produced eight successful singles - five of them became top-10 hits.  Music will always be in David's life.  Over the years he's occasionally made his way back to Oklahoma and his hometown fans are still eager to gather around when he's in town.

I was so impressed with David Gates and certainly hope that some day we will meet again.  Let me leave you with a couple of songs for old times sake - "Guitar Man" and "Sweet Surrender". 

Friday, May 1, 2015

Tommy Brandt - An Unstoppable and Gifted Singer.

I remember when I first met Tommy Brandt in 2009 on the set of Making It Happen TV.  It wasn't just his amazing ability to capture the hearts of his audience that intrigued me - it was his genuine love for the people he knew he was destined to touch in his performances.

His wife Michelle informed me that Tommy wasn't just a singer that preached, but he was a preacher that sang.  It didn't take long to see that everything about Tommy was all tied up in his desire to walk out the destiny that God had placed on his life.  We all have gifts and talents that have been placed within us, but it's up to us to hone those talents so they can be brought forth to the world.

Tommy and his family spend countless hours on the road traveling from one city to the next in a tour bus that they often call their home.
If you receive word that Tommy is coming to your town I would encourage you to take time to go to one of his performances.  I guarantee you'll feel just like you do when you come out of a "feel good" movie.  Tommy and his family will leave a mark on your life that cannot be erased.
I recently went to Tommy's website and heard him sing "If I Had My Way" and I just had to share it with others.  Please listen and enjoy.

Spread the word about Tommy Brandt - you'll be doing everyone a favor.  Be sure to tell them Victoria at Making It Happen TV highly endorses him.