I sat down for a Skype interview with the amazing Elizabeth Lee a few short days ago. After only hearing a few little pieces about her, and reading a bit on her many websites, I knew it was going to be a more-than-worthy use of my time; and I was right.
The sweetest lady, she has true poise and a contagious smile. I was so nervous about doing my first interview, and she made me feel right at home and like we were old friends just catching up. A beautiful soul, she took me into her world for a short while and inspired me with her passion and courageous attitude towards life and her true mission of finding her place in the world. She’s here to make a difference, and in the brief time I got to talk to her, she made a difference in my life.
Let’s talk music, how did you get started?
“I got started in a church choir about the age of 10. I’ve been in many bands over the years, working on a lot of different projects. The band I currently tour with is Cozmic Mojo, and we’ll be touring this spring; March 22nd through May 15th, you can see dates available on our website here. I also delight in a very eclectic and amazing project in Austin called Knuckle Yummy. We will be performing SXSW, as we do every year, and we’re currently working on a new record that should be released in the Summer. I also work with various artists co-writing and doing studio work. In addition to that, I work extensively with writer and producer/guitarist Larry Chaney on a wide range of projects including jingle writing/production, film soundtrack and scoring. The latest film – ‘The Last Mark’; we provided the entire soundtrack for it.”
“I consider my writing a gift from God, and as a funnel of love, I want to channel it to all areas that feel right. One of my most recently written songs, which is probably the most beautiful love song I’ve ever written, and pretty much stands up to the most beautiful EVER written..so I’ve been told, is called ‘Lost Up In You’.”
“The story is; I met someone at a dance hall on a Saturday night with a bunch of my friends. I was doing what I love; dancing and being with the people I care about. I was absolutely out of the “dating” scene, as I had just ended a long relationship of 10 years one year prior and was not in the “mood” for dating. I was still just happy working on myself when there he was, and as he tells me, there I was. Our eyes locked, we danced…and danced and danced…and the dancing got slower and slower and slower, and the energy got faster and faster and faster. And before I exploded, I turned into a pumpkin and ran home and wrote this song. Not exactly like that…but close! If meeting this wonderful man was only to win me that Grammy, well, thank you God and keep them coming!!! HA! LOVE IS GRAND!!!”
What is the Red Dawg?
“Red Dawg is the canine vehicle for effecting change in the world. He is all about innocence, purity, love, light and goodness. Red Dawg is an inspiration from the God light in me, and that’s in all of us. His sole purpose is to help others and to spread love. The proceeds from the Red Dawg go towards various community needs, such as; education, relief efforts, environmental projects, schools, medical attention and food. He has been a donor to several organizations world wide through his children’s book; ‘A Red Dawg’s Tale’ and his CD; ‘Gotta Red Dawg’ both of which are available online here. Red Dawg’s belief is that if each of us would just pick even ONE small cause, we could change the world.”
Where do you see the future of the Red Dawg?
“I would like Red Dawg to become a foundation that sponsors youth in education, safe place shelters, animal care and clinics, no kill animal shelters, environmental clean up and energy and relief efforts globally. Ultimately any crisis relief; be it food, medical, health or mental health. Wherever he is needed, he will go.”
What are you most passionate about?
“Opening up spiritually. Searching for the meaning of life, and the questions God has asked me to answer. I practice daily inward meditation and yoga to really just find myself…that is my ongoing quest.”
Beyond the Red Dawg are there any charitable organizations you are involved in?
“We provide support to several organizations, with an always-expanding list that grows daily; KSPCA Kenya, which protects and cares for animals, domestic, livestock, and wildlife. The Hope Streams Academy, which provides quality education and hope for a brighter future in Kenya. Haiti Global Project, Cherish Our Children, Nobelity Project, Emancipet, Central Asia Institute, Persecution Project Africa, Make It Right, The Siddhartha School, The Kibera Penda Project and Crisis Bread Basket…just to name a few.”
How long have you been a part of Global Musicians Fish Pond, what does it mean to you and how do you see it helping other musicians grow?
“I’ve been a member of the Fish Pond for a couple of years now. The Fish Pond is all about networking and working together, which is key. It takes a village to raise a child, and it takes a village to raise a musician. You need others to keep you inspired, to open you creatively and to add color to your own art; it’s a self-expanding process. Having alone time is great, but the co-time is priceless. Having others that love what you love and support you will open up your creativity and help keep you going and moving forward in a positive direction.”
What are three main points you would advise for new musicians just getting started in the music industry?
“Networking is so important, especially for people just starting out. Professionalism. It’s not “cool” to be late, or to do drugs. People respect people with respect. Professionalism is key and the more educated you are about the “business” and how to navigate that and the people who work within that structure, the more successful you will be. And always keep learning. Continue to grow and keep expanding, listen to others that take you out of your comfort zone. If you’re a jazz musician, listen to rock music. If you’re a country music man, listen to some classical or flamenco. The point is to always be illuminating your craft, which can only help open up your mind and further your creative process.”
The greatest value I learned from Elizabeth, is that she lives and leads by example. She doesn’t encourage others to be healthy, if she isn’t herself first, she doesn’t advise others to expand their creative knowledge if she’s not doing the same thing at that very moment. We have a lot to learn from someone special like that, and I look forward to seeing her win that Grammy!
You can hear more from Elizabeth here.
Learn more about the Red Dawg project here.
By Pranam Bai Richter
Singer/Songwriter, The Richter Sisters
Head of Global Publicity, the Fish Pond