At a very early age (before double-digit-age-numbers) I loved to sing along with recordings of Connie Francis, John Gary, Mitch Miller, and so many others... My Dad was a a Navy Submariner and our family (6 sisters and 1 brother, Mom and Dad) traveled a lot. I remember Mom and Dad keeping the whole carload of us singing from the edge of the Atlantic to the edge of the Pacific...(It wasn't till I had kids of my own that it occured to me how smart they were...it's hard for kids to fight when they're singing...) The only TV shows we were allowed to watch were ones like Lawrence Welk, Mitch Miller and Walt Disney. My sisters and I used to pretend we were the Lennon Sisters (and we were masters of following that "Bouncing Ball" of Mitch Miller's!). Then I got tangled up in the sound of Judy Collins, Joan Baez,Ian and Sylvia, Simon and Garfunkle, Woody Guthrie, Leadbelly,Bessie Smith, Billie Holliday, Kingston Trio, etc and..yes... the Singing Nun.
My last year of High School in Gainesville Florida, I was in a folk band, singing a lot of Peter, Paul and Mary, Gordon Lightfoot, Dylan, Mama's and Papa's, Bonnie Bramlett, Byrds, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, etc. It was a magical time(1967/68)! For the next few decades, I sang in bands, doing all kinds of music. I loved to try to get every vocal as close to the original artist's as possible. I really didn't even THINK about my own voice as an individual entity then. I was as comfortable (and excited) to sing Stevie Nicks as I was Linda Rondstat (sp?)or Janis, Tina Turner, Supremes, Jesse Colin Young, CCR, Tim Hardin, Donna Summer (!), The Band, CSN&Y, Byrds, Aretha, Bette Midler...and on and on. I decided to do a solo act when my kids needed more "Mom time". As a solo I had more freedom to book jobs around family comittments. The only problem was that I knew only basic chords on the guitar, so I began to sort of re-do songs so they would fit the chords I knew. That was the start of my discovery of my own vocal expression. All the years of practicing other people's styles really was a gold mine of vocal exercize for me. Although today I feel that the voice that comes from me is my own expressive interpretation, I know my voice is richer because of those many influences.