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MUSICIANS - SINGERS, SONGWRITERS & COMPOSERS - 2

PATHWAY OF THE SINGER AS TRILLING TRAILBLAZER:
Storyline: The pure-voiced pioneer suffers the slings and arrows of a world transfixed by surfaces, before allowing her transcendental talent to make her a world-class emblem of the sheer beauty of the human voice, no matter the color of the package it comes in.
gMarian Anderson (1902-1993) - American contralto. Outer: Of African/American descent. Grew up poor. Mother had been a school teacher, and father sold ice and coal. Oldest of 3 sisters. Began singing from the age of 3. Her father died when she was 12 and her mother took in washing to support the family. Had no money for music lessons, although her exposure to black sacred music was a school in itself. Began singing in choirs at 10, but was turned down from a local music school because she was African-American. Lived with her paternal grandmother, a strong-willed domineering woman, who passed on her own sense of indomitability. Tall and slim. Had a three octave range, could sing all 4 parts of hymns, while rising to angelic highs and unearthly lows. Won some competitions and did voice training privately. Went to Europe to study in Germany and begin her career, since opportunities in the United States were extremely limited. Looked on as a cultural curiosity, but she soon acquired an enormous following, particularly in Scandinavian countries, thanks to her facility with the German lied form. Returned to America in triumph, only to be relegated to segregated halls, and even though she was given access to hotels, it was made quite clear she was only allowed there because of her special cultural status. Caused a huge furor when she was denied the venue of Constitution Hall by the Daughters of the American Revolution. After Eleanor Roosevelt resigned from that organization in protest, the government opened Lincoln Memorial to her and she sang before 75,000 on Easter Sunday in 1939, in an his/toric, her/storic occasion. During the 1940s, she toured the South, always insisting her audiences be integrated, even though she was forced to suffer the indignities of apartheid. In 1943, she married an architect who had been a boyfriend in her youth, childless union. Had always yearned to be an opera singer, but didn’t make her long overdue debut at the Metropolitan Opera until she was 57 and past her vocal prime. Toured extensively, had a large classical repertoire, and was especially noted for her spirituals. Appointed a delegate to the 13th General Assembly of the United Nations in her mid-50s, she was sent to Asia as a musical ambassador. As sole support of her mother and sisters, she continued singing, even when her voice went rough, although she always managed to recover. Wrote her autobiography in 1956, “My Lord What a Morning,” which was guarded in her self-revelations. Given a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1991. Lived into her mid-90s, dying of congestive heart failure a month after suffering a stroke. Inner: Determined, deeply religious and dignified. Remote figure, identified herself as ‘we.’ Pioneering lifetime of serving as a focus of African-American high cultural talent in order to open the doors for others who would postsede her. gElizabeth Greenfield (c1809-1876) - American singer. Known as “the Black Swan.” Outer: Born to slave parents. Mother had some Indian and white blood. When she was a little girl, her owner moved to Philadelphia and freed her slaves. Remained with her mistress as a nurse for 8 years until that woman’s death, taking on her name in the process. After showing a decided talent for singing, she was refused instruction because of her race, but taught herself through the help of a neighbor. In her 30s, while traveling to see some friends, she impressed a group of passengers, was invited to perform, and began a concert tour. Raised funds through singing to go to Europe for further study. Once in England, however, her funds ran out, but she was helped by Harriet Beecher Stowe (Zadie Smith), who introduced her to several prominent people and got a duchess to sponsor her. Gave numerous concerts in England, including a special audition for Queen Victoria. Despite enthusiastic success and kind treatment, her manager defaulted on paying her, and she reluctantly had to return home to Philadelphia. For the rest of her life, she taught voice to students and gave occasional concerts. A devoutly spiritual woman with a strong connection to the Baptist church, she had a several octave range. Inner: Short and thickset with a gentle demeanor and a plain appearance. Head held high lifetime of struggling to make her voice heard over the fears and prejudices that a skin-tone other than white could hold a transcendental cultural talent.

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PATHWAY OF THE SINGER AS WARM-HEARTED ICON:
Storyline: The celebrated chanteuse weathers an impoverished upbringing and physical disabilities to become a well-loved purveyor of the American idiom after a far easier go-round as a well-renowned diva of the classical world.

gElla Fitzgerald (1918-1996) - American jazz singer. Outer: Of African/American descent. Mother sang soprano, father was a guitar player and singer, who died shortly after WW I. Grew up in Harlem, then moved to Yonkers, but was so poor, she couldn’t afford $5 a month music lessons. Entered a talent contest on a dare, and meant to dance, but her knees were knocking so badly, she sang instead and won first prize. After her mother’s death when she was 14, she went to live with an aunt. Dropped out of school soon afterwards, and worked as a lookout in a brothel, only to be caught and placed in an orphanage, from which she soon ran away. While singing in an amateur show in Harlem in 1934, she was discovered by a musician in the band of jazz drummer and band leader Chick Webb, who hired her as a vocalist, and served as both her guardian and her mentor. The two wrote a song based on an old nursery rhyme several years later and it became a big hit, catapulting her to national fame. When he died the following year, she took over his band. Married Ray Brown, a noted bass player, in her late 20s, adopted a child and divorced four years later. Began working as a solo performer in her mid-20s. Became the first of the female vocalists of the big band era to achieve stardom in her own right, when that era began to diminish in the 1940s. Several years after WW II, she joined the “Jazz at the Philharmonic,” a group of musicians and singers who toured Europe, Japan and the United States. Began being plagued by eye problems in the early 1950s after years of staring at strong lights. Had surgery and her last 2 decades she wore thick-rimmed glasses while performing. Had an extended recording career with Decca records before switching to Verve in the mid-50s. Made her movie debut as a singer the same year. Continually toured and did albums in a highly active public life of immense popularity and respect for her inordinate singing abilities. Had a remarkable voice range and a vibrant sense of rhythm as well as a superb ear, using her voice as a virtual instrument. In 1967, she was given a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. Her last years saw her in seclusion and retirement. Suffered a heart attack in 1986, followed by a 5-way bypass operation. Both her legs were amputated because of diabetes, and eventually she died from complications of that disease. Inner: Warm, benign, humble and uncomplicated. Transition lifetime of bridging over into the popular idiom of jazz from her more classical early roots, while bringing her open heart to an equally appreciative audience and weathering considerable conflict, after a relatively easy go-round in the operatic realm. gClara Kellogg (1842-1916) - American operatic soprano. Outer: Daughter of a school principal. When she was a small child, it was discovered she had perfect pitch. Her family moved to NYC when she was 15, and she was given regular singing lessons under a series of teachers. After a concert tour, she made her operatic debut at the Academy of Music in New York at the age of 18. Made her European debut 6 years later in London, and went on to become a co-star with singer Pauline Lucca of the Lucca-Kellogg Opera Company, which enjoyed financial success, although eventually it was dissolved because of the opposing temperaments of the 2 stars. Traveled with her own English opera company, singing over 100 performances in a season, as well as supervising the translations of the libretti, and training the chorus. Sang all over Europe, as well as in Russia. Married Carl Strakosch, her opera manager, in her mid-40s and shortly afterwards retired to a private life in America, returning to the birthplace of her father. One adopted daughter from the union. In 1913 she published her memoirs, “Memoirs of an American Primadonna.” By her death, she had amassed a huge fortune. Inner: Conflict-free lifetime of taking complete control of her life and enjoying both the adulation and artistry it yielded to her, as well as the remunerative rewards her over-size talent earned.

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PATHWAY OF THE SINGER AS PRIMA DONNA OF THE BURNT OUT VOICE:
Storyline: The demanding diva drives herself to such unrelenting extent that she transcends her limitations to become a world/class figure, only to consume herself in her passion for attention and desire to be revered by one and all.

gMaria Callas (1923-1977) - Greco/American operatic soprano. Outer: Mother was forceful and ambitious, and disappointed in her marriage, father was a Greek druggist living in NYC. Suffered an unhappy childhood, which was orchestrated by parental disputes. An older sister, who was favored by her mother, was always jealous of her abilities as well, while a younger brother died at the age of 3. Held a lifelong bitterness about her family, particularly her painful relationship with her mother, although the latter always believed in her talent even when no one else did. Began singing as a child, started taking lessons at 8, and, after her mother pulled her out of school, she went back to Greece at 13, where she won a scholarship to the Royal Conservatory at Athens. Showed tremendous will power from an early age as well as an amazing memory, with the ability to learn a role in a week or so. Had a fierce dedication as a student, would listen in on everyone’s lessons, and attend orchestral rehearsals, and was open to suggestion and advice from anyone who could help her. Plagued by weight problems and bad skin, she saw work as her singular salvation. Made her professional debut in her teens, and was world-famous before she was 30, helping to revive bel canto operas. In 1949, she married Giovanni Meneghini, an Italian millionaire 20 years her senior who was a building materials tycoon, and, after their union, he became her manager and agent. The pair seemed to have genuine feeling for one another, although she had a longtime liaison with Greek businessman Aristotle Onassis, beginning in 1959, as well as other affairs. Always desperately wanted a child, and was heartbroken when she lost, either through miscarriage or abortion, one with Onassis in 1960. Had legions of fans as well as scores of detractors who found her style far too cold. Showed herself to be particularly meticulous around her recordings, doing take after take. Her mother later wrote a book about her, but she refused to read it. Her international career lasted only a dozen years; by her 40s, her great voice was virtually gone. Became obsessed about her weight, which had ballooned to over 200 pounds. Slimmed down to 135 on a 5’8” frame in a year. The weight loss helped in her dramatic interpretations, but made her more unsure of her vocal powers, which occasionally failed her, from lack of care. Made a disastrous world tour afterwards, signaling the end of her musical career. Her end-life’s singular bright spot was her enduring friendship with Onassis, even after his marriage to Jacqueline Kennedy. Died of a heart attack in her Paris apartment. In 2007, she was awarded a posthumous Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. Inner: Hard worker, driven, perfectionist. Highly tempestuous, with a legendary temper. Alternately demonized and lionized by critics. Product of sheer will, possessing neither the beauty, nor the voice nor the technique to be a top-rated performer, but more than compensated for each with the ability to become each of her characters, and reveal their immediate interiors through her considerable powers of interpretation. Passionate lifetime of playing out the archetype of the prima donna and finding her true sense of self in the sheer blaze of her work, only to burn out her prodigious talent in pursuit of its complementary celebrity. Giudetta Pasta (Giudetta Negri) (1798-1865) - Italian dramatic soprano. Outer: Parents were Jewish. Entered Milan Conservatory at 15, and made her debut 2 years later, singing in the provinces in Italy and then Paris. Married a tenor, and appeared with him in London. Disappointed with her reception, she returned to Italy for further study, and 2 years later, scored a success on her return to the stage there. Had an unusually powerful and vibrant voice. Enjoyed her greatest triumph in Paris in 1822, coming into her own with the expressiveness of her singing and the intensity of her dramatic acting. Identified with all the roles she played, bringing a spellbinding sense of theater to her characterizations. Continually worked to overcome the rough edges of her voice, which was imperfect and unruly. Disliked giving concerts, much preferring the challenge of the theater. After gaining a characterization, she never varied from her interpretation of it. Following triumphs in London and Dublin, she returned to Italy, singing operas specifically written for her, although by then her voice began to show signs of wear. Returned to touring, but her singing began to deteriorate, and only the power of her acting carried her performances. Despite the ruined condition of her voice, she was reluctant to give up her theatrical life and occasionally gave performances with absolutely no ability at vocalization left. Bought a villa near Lake Como, where she ultimately retired, teaching a few pupils so as to remain active in the art that had left her vocally spent. Inner: Short, with a great temperamental fire that made her ideally suited for dramatic roles. Act One lifetime of a relatively brief reign as a dramatic vocal queen, before her obsession to continue performing overwhelmed her voice, creating a remarkably similar artistic existence to the one she would re-create the following century, to see if she could handle her self-wounding in better fashion.

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PATHWAY OF THE SINGER AS PRODIGIOUS PRODIGY:
Storyline: The beloved bubbler adds depth and character to her chosen career via the disabilities of those closest to her, while maintaining her stature as an audience favorite and at the same time, adding to her own sense of dramatic depth and resonance.

gBeverly Sills (Belle Miriam Silverman) (1929-2007) - American operatic coloratura soprano. Outer: Parents were Jewish immigrants from the Ukraine and Romania. The doctor who delivered her, nicknamed her ‘Bubbles’ because she blew a little bubble of spit when she was born, and it perfectly caught her subsequent effervescent personality. Her Romanian-born father was an insurance broker. Two older brothers. Moved often because her progenitor worked on commission, so that his income fluctuated wildly. Raised in workingclass neighborhoods, she spoke 4 languages at home, Yiddish, Russian, Romanian and English. Showed herself to be a musical prodigy, and won a baby beauty contest at 3, topping it with a song. Her mother thought she could be a Jewish Shirley Temple, and pushed her early career. A radio performer from the age of 4, she sang under the nom de chanson of Bubbles Silverman. At 10, she won on Major Bowes’ (Simon Cowell) famed amateur hour, and then began appearing on the latter’s weekly family hour radio program. Her father curtailed her career at 12, feeling she should focus on her education. All the while, she studied voice, piano and stagecraft, and wound up doing tours with light opera and Gilbert & Sullivan troupes. 5’8”, 150 lbs., red-haired and voluptuous. Made her operatic debut as a soprano in 1947 in a bit role in George Bizet’s (Stevie Wonder) Carmen in Philadelphia. In 1955, she performed for the first time with the NYC Opera in Die Fledermaus, and soon was a star in a longterm and highly successful relationship with them. Specifically wanted to be known as an American opera star, and molded her career in accordance with that ambition, which held up her Metropolitan Opera Company debut until 1975, after the retirement of its impresario, Rudolph Bing, thanks to his prejudice against American singers. In her mid-20s, she married Peter Greenough, the wealthy editor of a family-owned newspaper, and wound up in Cleveland, a city she disliked. 2 children from union, the first, a daughter, was deaf and suffered from multiple sclerosis, and the second, a son, was autistic, which almost caused her to retire in order to devote herself to them. Her daughter eventually thrived, although her son wound up in an institution. Later adopted her husband’s 3 daughters from his first marriage when their mother died. With her manager and husband’s support, she returned to the stage, and became a singer of far more depth. Moved to Boston, and finally to NYC. Made her debut with La Scala at the age of 40, and was equally successful a year and a half later in Covent Garden in London. Finally won an international reputation in 1966, singing Cleopatra in George Handel’s (Alban Berg) Giulio Cesare. An excellent actress, she was also a prominent personality, which came across in her singing. Appeared on the covers of Time and Newsweek, and also sat on several corporate boards. After retiring from the stage in 1980, she became general director of the NYC Opera, for whom she starred for 13 years, and remained a high profile figure, ultimately becoming chairwoman of Lincoln Center in 1994, the first of her gender and the premier former performer to hold that position. Served as host of “Live From Lincoln Center on PBS,” and as a frequent lecturer. As a TV personality, she was fairly ubiquitous on the small screen in the mid-1970s, appearing numerous times on the “Tonight Show” as its host, as well as with the Muppets and Carol Burnett, with whom she did comic duets from the stage of the Met. Came out of a 6 month retirement in 2002 to lead the Metropolitan Opera Company. Retired again in 2005 and died at home, with her family around her, of inoperable lung cancer, despite never having been a smoker. Wrote her blunt memoir, Beverly: An Autobiography, in 1987. Inner: Ebullient, gregarious, and well-loved as the best known public face of opera in the U.S. Witty, warm and bubbly. Saw herself as cheerful, rather than happy, thanks to her various struggles. Able to demystify the fine arts through her easy accessibility. Well-received lifetime of adding acting to her repertoire and emotional depth to her life through dealing with her children’s disabilities, while once again enjoying adulation, fame, wealth and power through artistic accomplishments throughout her life. gAdelina Patti (1843-1919) - Italian/English operatic soprano. Outer: Youngest of 8 children of 2 singers, who took her to New York when she was very young. Her older sisters Carlotta and Amalie were also singers. At 8, she performed in NYC, where her father unsuccessfully managed an opera house, and then for the next several years gave concerts in North America, under the auspices of her future brother-in-law, interspersing popular songs with her classical repertoire. Between the ages of 12 and 16, she concentrated on her studies, while being banned from any public recitals. Had a doll-like face and figure. Studied voice with her half-brother and piano with sister Carlotta. Toured the West Indies with pianist Louis Gottschalk (Michael Tilson Thomas), then made her formal debut at 16 in New York with striking success. 2 years later, she had a triumphant debut at London’s Covent Garden, and quickly established herself as the reigning soprano of her day. Initially had a nightingale-like trill, although eventually her low notes strengthened, while her high notes lost their ease of expression. In 1868, she married Henri de Roger de Cahusac, a French marquis, although the two were ill-suited for one another, and soon both were having affairs. Hers was with the married French tenor Ernest Nicolini. Bought a castle in Wales in 1878, and had a staff of forty, as well as a private theater, where she acted mimed plays. Her divorce in 1885 cost her half her fortune, and the following annum, she married Nicolini. In addition to other opera houses and music festivals, she sang at Covent Garden every season for 23 years, with an ultimate repertoire of over 40 roles. Very careful about her health, never sang more than 3 times a week, and never attended rehearsals. A great audience favorite, she became one of the most beloved singers of all time, reaping in a huge fortune. Sang in all the capitals of Europe as well as North and South America, and was always extremely well-paid for her performances. After the death of Nicolini in 1898, she married Rolf Cederstrom, a priggish but handsome Swedish baron, who was over a quarter century her junior. Nicolini cut her out of his will, suggesting considerable tension in the latter part of their marriage. Both she and her third husband became English citizens, while he severely curtailed her social life, slicing her domestic staff from 40 to 18, although he gave her the devotion she demanded. Made several farewell tours, and had her official last concert at Albert Hall in London, although from time to time, she would give charitable performances. Her career spanned an unprecedented 56 years, with a voice of great purity and evenness that faded at the end. Died of heart trouble. Inner: Greatly loved by one and all. Adhered to routines to insure her longevity, and also never strained herself. Strong-willed, with a need for flattery, although she knew exactly what her audiences wanted and always gave it to them, in a career that could be characterized as unadventurous and totally geared towards public receptivity. Well-loved lifetime of full support for her gifts and uninterrupted sense of triumph and success, thanks to her ability at exercising control over all aspects of her existence.

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PATHWAY OF THE SINGER AS THE HARDEST WORKING MAN IN SHOW BUSINESS:
Storyline: The hard-driving godfather of soul enflames the stage with his pounding presence and incandescent showmanship, while viewing his total existence as an ongoing performance in a non-stop celebration of his preternatural ability to entertain.

gJames Brown (James Joe Brown, Jr.) (1933-2006) - American singer and entrepreneur. Outer: Of African/American descent. Born in a one-room shack, it was thought he was stillborn, until his great aunt breathed life into him. His father sapped trees for a local turpentine manufacturer, and his parents separated when he was 4, so that he was raised in poverty by an aunt who ran a roadside brothel, becoming one of her procurers. Did not see his mother again until adulthood, after his first performance at the Apollo Theater in Harlem. Dropped out of school in the 7th grade and went to live with his paternal grandmother, pumping gas alongside his father, dancing for troop trains, and shoplifting. Landed in jail for stealing 4 cars in one night at 16. Sentenced to 8-16 years at hard labor, but served only 4 in a reformatory, where he began singing, and playing drums in an inmate combo. Worked as a prize-fighter, winning all 3 of his bouts. Married Diedre Jenkins, 4 children from the union, and took a job as a janitor to support his family. Began his career after that with the formation of a gospel group, the Swanees, which later became his back-up crew, the Famous Flames. Gave incandescent performances, where he would lose up to 7 pounds through his hyperkinetic singing and fancy footwork, making him a hugely popular entertainer, and winning him the sobriquet of “the hardest working man in show business.” Married Velma Warren in 1954. Proved to be an emblem of black pride through his songs during the 1960s, with his message of pride, self-reliance and social conscience, and by the end of the decade, he owned 3 radio stations, a publishing company, a series of James Brown Gold Platter Pantry Restaurants and a Lear jet, which he later sold to pay back taxes. A stern taskmaster, he would fine band members for imperfect shoeshines. In 1968, turned his lustrous fame into a source of black pride with “Say It Loud, I’m Black & Proud.” Divorced after a number of paternity suits and remarried in 1971. 2 daughters from 2nd union as well as a 2nd divorce in 1981. Found his popularity slipping as well in a time of disco music, and wound up endorsing Richard Nixon in the 1972 presidential elections. Lost his oldest son in a car accident in 1973, which devastated him. Got into trouble with the IRS for several million in tax liens, as well as other legal imbroglios. His career went up and down with personal problems, although he was able to maintain his extraordinary stage presence even into late middle age. In 1984, he married Adrienne Rodriguez, a make-up artist, who died in 1996. One of the original inductees into the Rock’n’Roll Hall of Fame in 1986, and in 1992 was given a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. Sentenced to 6 years in prison for trying to run over 2 police officers in a 1988 interstate car chase while high on PCP. Used his prison time to clean out and work with children, the poor and the elderly. Paroled 3 years later and resumed his singing career, while continuing to come into conflict with the law. Married backup singer Tommie Raye Hynie in 2002, before it was annulled, thanks to a concurrent marriage she had. Remarried her in 2004, one son from union. Also brought to trial for sexual harassment by a former employee, although he was ultimately acquitted. Committed to a psychiatric institution for his addiction to painkillers by his 2 daughters, then was later sued by them when he refused to give them any royalty money they claimed he owed them. Given a pardon in 2003 by the state of South Carolina for his offenses, and sang “God Bless America,” afterwards. The following year, he was operated on for prostate cancer, and in 2005, brought out his autobiography, I Feel Good: A Memoir of a Life of Soul. Died of congestive heart failure brought on by pneumonia in an Atlanta hospital. Legal disputes would delay his burial, after a series of highly public funerals both in NY and Georgia, as testament to his standing as a seminal entertainment figure of his time. Both his last wife and son would be shut out of his will, with the rapacity of his heirs a final sad testimony to his brilliant incandescence on stage. Two more children would later be added to his posthumous entourage via DNA testing, Two more children would later be added to his posthumous entourage via DNA testing, which would see his body moved some 14 times after his death, while suffering the further indignity of dismemberment. Inner: Hyperkinetic sexmachine on stage, with the ability to absolutely electrify his audiences as the godfather of soul. Far less successful with his various run-ins with both family and the authorities. Seminal entertainment figure, whose influences were felt by a broad array of performers who followed him. Larger-than-life lifetime of totally uninhibited behavior on and offstage, while trying to balance his creativity with his instinct for transgressive self-undoing. gClarence ‘Pinetop’ Smith (1904-1929) - American musician. Outer: Of African/American descent. Got his nickname from climbing pine trees as a child. Began playing professionally at 14. Initially a vaudeville performer, on the TOBA circuit, he toured tent shows as a pianist and dancer, beginning in his early teens. Married Sarah Horton at 20, 2 children from the union. Worked his way up from the South to eventually settle in Chicago in the late 1920s. Gradually focused on piano and made a number of recordings, including “Pine Top’s Boogie Woogie,” one of the first hits of that genre. Did humorous songs backed up by vigorous playing, and served as one of the founders of boogie-woogie style piano, which got its name from a song of his. Toured the South, and was accidentally shot during a skirmish in a dance hall, either as a bystander or directly in a fight over a woman, the night before he had a recording date at a studio. Inner: Highly exuberant, natural performer. Cup of coffee lifetime of evincing his dual highly effervescent nature, in his ongoing Shiva dance as both potential creator and self-destroyer.

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PATHWAY OF THE SINGER AS A LEGEND IN HIS OWN MIND:
Storyline: The self-mythologizing star splish splashes his way into the public imagination, brashly declares himself an icon, drops out, returns, and is ultimately undone by his uneven heart, in a curious go-round of self-discovery, self-loss and self-sacrifice.

gBobby Darin (Walden Robert Cassotto) (1936-1973) - American singer. Outer: Father died before he was born, mother raised him on welfare. Suffered a bout with rheumatic fever as a child, which damaged his heart. Briefly attended Hunter College, before dropping out to pursue a musical career. Felt he wouldn’t live long and wanted to be a show biz legend by the time he was 25, with the goal of being “bigger than Sinatra.” His initial efforts met with little success, until a song he wrote in 12 minutes, “Splish Splash,” became a big hit in 1958, launching his career. Went on to win 2 Grammys in 1960, for his rendition of “Mack the Knife,” and became a fixture on the Las Vegas Strip, as well as the nightclub circuit. Continued making high-on-the-charts records, then appeared in several movies, beginning in 1960 with Pepe, and the same year married one of his leading ladies, Sandra Dee, whom he divorced 7 years later, one child from union. Following his divorce, he indulged in orgiastic behavior, then worked wholeheartedly for Robert Kennedy’s assassination-aborted presidential campaign in 1968. Claimed to have had a mystical experience during Kennedy’s funeral service and stopped working, tossed his toupee, grew a mustache, sold all his possessions, and moved to a mobile home at Big Sur, California. Re-emerged after a year to start his own label, Direction Records. After an unsuccessful politically oriented album, he went back to what he did best, working Vegas and plugging into mainstream tastes. Married Andrea Joy Yeager, a legal secretary and the following year, died during heart surgery, after long being plagued by heart trouble. A biopic was later made of his life, By the Sea, starring Kevin Spacey. Posthumously inducted into the Rock’n’Roll Hall of Fame in 1990. Inner: Brash, outspoken, highly ambitious, with probably a covert death wish, and therefore a great desire for show biz immortality. Splish splash lifetime of racing against time to try to make himself a timeless entertainer. gChauncey Olcott (Chancellor John Olcott) (1860-1932) - American singer. Outer: Mother used to tell him tales of their Irish heritage. Father was a horseman and stable operator with a fine voice. Made his first public appearance at the Academy of Music in Buffalo as a teen in blackface. Eventually hooked up with minstrel shows as an Irish tenor. Also sang with the Duff Opera Company. Went to England in his early 30s, and was successful in an Irish romantic role. Returned to the U.S. and became a star in Irish musical dramas. Introduced the song, “Mother Machree.” Wed Cora James in 1887, and divorced 8 years later. Subsequently wed his partner, Margaret O’Donovan, in 1997, one adopted daughter from the union, which lasted until his death. Appeared in many sentimental and romantic Irish comedies, writing several himself. Played in popular houses, rather than first class theaters. Had a particular appeal to Irish women, and possessed a solid business sense, allowing him to make and save a tidy fortune. After WW I, his popularity waned. Taken sick in his mid-60s and never recovered. Died of anemia in Monte Carlo, where he had gone to live. Neither a great actor or singer, but was pleasantly competent as both. In 1970, he was inducted posthumously into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. Inner: Charming Celtic personality. Audiences never demanded more than he could give. Unchallenging lifetime of finding a safe niche and sticking with it until both his audience and his body passed him by.

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PATHWAY OF THE SINGER AS SAN FRANCISCO TREAT:
Storyline: The high-flying diva strikes a resonant chord with a drug-addled nation and then does her own personal nosedive via alcohol, before straightening up and flying right, after an earlier go-round of remaining an entertaining child her entire life, and never broaching her underlying wounds by never growing up.

Grace Slick (Grace Barnett Wing) (1939) - American singer. Outer: Mother was a former Hollywood singer and aspiring actress, father was an investment banker. Singing at 4, but bored by the externals of her life, she withdrew into her own fantasy world. Her family moved to California when she was 5. Acid-tongued, with a strong art interest, she had a problem with alcohol beginning as a teenager in high school. Went to Finch College to see NYC, then studied art briefly, before returning to California. Worked as a high fashion model and in 1961, she married Jerry Slick, a wealthy neighbor’s son, who became a cinematographer, as the duo soon slipped into the counterculture. Heard the Jefferson Airplane, which was originally a folk/rock group, sing, and decided to form her own group called Great Society, which was made up of her, her husband and brother, then was asked to join the Airplane in 1966 after quitting her own group and divorcing. Her strong vocals came out of her desire to imitate the yowl of the lead guitar, and the Airplane became a huge success, singing some of her songs, including “White Rabbit.” Ego-battles ensued, since she got the lion’s share of media attention, while her problems with alcohol continued. She was also arrested for assaulting a cop at a concert, as well as drunk driving. Had a daughter with fellow Airplaner, Paul Kantner, originally named “god,” and then China. The group separated into divergent bands, while she and Kantner became the core of the newly reformed Airplane, which created their own label, Grunt, but by 1972, their vehicle had pretty much flown its course. In 1974, she and Kantner formed the Jefferson Starship, which was initially successful, and in 1976, she married Skip Johnson, the band’s lighting director, divorced in 1994. Her ongoing alcoholism, however, caused her to quit the band in the middle of a European tour in 1978, leading to a riot in Germany. Rejoined the band in 1981, although her later career saw her far less in the the public eye, and dealing with her problems in a far more positive fashion because of it. Turned to painting as her primary means of expression in the 1990s, after quitting performing altogether, often doing portraits of her fellow 60’s icons. Fire destroyed her Marin County home in 1993. Became involved in animal rights causes, and co-wrote her autobiography, Somebody to Love? in 1998, while moving gracefully into middle age, her beauty and expressiveness intact. Inner: Sensuous, refined, aloof, alienated. Underground/overground lifetime of exploring her darker side through drink and drug, while continuing to be an arresting stage persona, through a strong physical presence and an equally compelling voice. Lotta Crabtree (Charlotte Mignon) (1847-1924) - American actress. Outer: Both parents was from Lancashire stock, who emigrated to America. Daughter of a bookseller in NYC who caught gold fever and went out to California in the early 1850s. She and her mother followed when she was 6, and the family ran a boarding house for miners. The latter was an unusually resourceful and enterprising person. Taught to dance by Lola Montez (Gypsy Rose Lee), she made her first stage appearance at 8 in a blacksmith shop. Theaters were flourishing in Northern California at the time, and her mother learned to play the triangle, so that the duo could join a touring troupe. Traveled through the mountains by wagons and mules, and enjoyed high adventure and success in the mining camps. Her mother would sweep the stage afterwards for gold nuggets, which she successfully invested in real estate. A tiny figure with strawberry-blonde curls, who did step-dancing in black-face. At 12, she began a long engagement in a variety of halls in San Francisco, where she was known as the “California Diamond.” Her father absconded with a trunk of her gold, and when she couldn’t get him sent to prison, she exiled him back to England. Toured the country, and attracted the attention of actor John Brougham (Jack Benny), who dramatized scenes for her in extravaganzas, giving her a showcase for her talent. Smoked and bared her legs on stage as a teenager. Had an excellent comic facility, which she had gained from the camps, while her dancing and byplay were considered quite daring for the time. Remained a favorite throughout the country for years, and retired in her mid-40s to her estate in New Jersey,’Attol Tryst.’ Never married, and had few close friends, so that her singular companion was her mother. Took up painting seascapes, and was also a devoted animal rights activists. Her life off-stage countered her risque public image. Eventually bought the Brewster Hotel in Boston in 1909, and spent the rest of her life there. Her mother managed her finances, and she was extremely wealthy by the time of her death, leaving an estate of some $4 million, which was contested by over 100 people, fraudulently claiming to be her child or related to her. Gave the bulk of her fortune to the Univ. of Mass, Amherst, claiming smarter farmers would be kinder to animals. Inner: Childlike, never feeling the need to grow up, because of the protective wing of her mother. Eternal adolescent lifetime of remaining an entertaining child to the applause and support of an entire nation, while growing rich and famous through its enthusiastic adulation.

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PATHWAY OF THE SINGER AS QUEEN OF SOUL:
Storyline: The divided diva explodes on stage where she earns the r-e-s-p-e-c-t of an overwhelmed audience, while her private life reveals a much more tentative character, still struggling to get past the blues in her enchained relationships with men.

Aretha Franklin (1942) - American singer. Outer: Of African/American descent. Father was a noted and revered evangelist preacher and singer, mother was also musically talented. 4th of 5 children, 2 sisters also became singers. The family moved to Detroit when she was 2, and her sire told her early on that one day she would sing for kings and queens, which she did, and brought her up as a princess, eagerly showing off her talents. Grew up in comfort, with her household often visited by musicians, but when she was 6, her mother left the family and died 4 years later. Looking for a mother substitute, she became the protege of several well-known gospel singers, including Mahalia Jackson and Clara Ward, as well as secular singer Dinah Washington. At 12, she sang her first solo in her father’s church, and at 14 began traveling with him, exposing herself to both Southern prejudice and the carousing lifestyle of the road. Made her first solo recording at 14, then joined a gospel quartet and established herself as a teenage gospel-singing sensation. Had her first child at 14, and at 16, she became pregnant again and dropped out of school and had a son. Decided 2 years later to become a secular singer and signed a 5 year contract with Columbia Records. Married Ted White in 1961, one son from the union, but she found her early contract stifled her. 5’5”, large-chested and heavier as she got older. Moved to Atlantic Records ,which was much more conducive to her blues talent. Won 4 Grammys in the 1960s, and 6 in the 1970s, as the pre-eminent blues singer of her time, although she struggled with who she really was professionally during the latter part of the latter decade, before rediscovering herself. Had a drinking problem, got divorced in 1972, had her 4th child with her new manager in a 6 year relationship, but never married him. Married actor Glynn Turman in 1978, divorced in 1984. Her father was shot by a burglar and lay in a coma for 5 years before dying. Inducted into the Rock’n’Roll Hall of Fame in 1987. Branched off into movie production, broadening her skills at linking up with audiences in the process, although her later career saw 7 years go by without a new album, until A Rose is Still A Rose, came out in 1998, which would be her finest work in 2 decades. Quit smoking in 1991, giving her voice the range and depth in maturity that it had in youth. Still cooking in her 60s, with no plans to slow down. Co-wrote her autobiography in the late 1990s, Aretha: From These Roots. Winner of over 15 Grammy awards, including a Lifetime Achievement Award in 1994, and was the first woman inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Hospitalized in 2010 after falling down in the shower and breaking several ribs, which caused her to suspend her career for six months. A rumor arose during that time she had incurable pancreatic cancer, which later proved completely untrue, as she continued her career unabated, with further releases and further charting on Billboard, making her the first woman to have 100 songs on it in 2013. Successfully sued in 2015 to have a documentary on her, Amazing Grace not shown at a film festival because she had not given her agreement and consent to do so Inner: Down-to-Earth, often victimized by men, giving substance and soul to her blues. Shy in her personal life, but uninhibited on stage. Great fear of flying, much preferring to tour in her customized bus. Looking for r-e-s-p-e-c-t lifetime of extraordinary widespread popularity as a singer, while literally living the blues in both the triumphs and tragedies of her life. Clara Smith (1894-1935) - American blues singer. Known as the “Queen of the Moaners.” Outer: Of African/American descent. Little known of her personal life. Started her career around 16 and worked the black theater circuit. A star by 24, she toured widely and settled in Harlem. Performed in clubs and managed reviews, and was connected with the Theatre Owners Booking Association (TOBA). Married a former baseball manager, although her main focus was on her outer career. A highly dramatic performer, who also did comedy. Sang duets on record with Bessie Smith (Pink), whom she resembled, and also appeared in several Broadway productions, including one she wrote herself, “The Clara Smith Revue.” Died of a heart attack while working in Detroit. Inner: Largely hidden lifetime that was geared towards the stage and performing, as well as maintaining control over her artistic gifts, while leaving her private life secondary to her desire to be up in front of an audience.

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PATHWAY OF THE PERFORMER AS SOUL MAN:
Storyline: The Black Moses helps lead his reflective people into the promised land of empowerment by serving as a muscular, musical avatar of African/American culture, as well as a living embodiment of the strength of soulful creative expression.
Isaac Hayes
(Isaac Lee Hayes, Jr.) (1942-2008) - American musician, singer and performer. Outer: Of African/American descent. Born in a tin shack to a pair of sharecroppers. Both he and his older sister lost their mother when he was 18 months old and then were abandoned by their father, before being raised by their maternal grandparents. Grew up poor but relatively self-sufficient, with the family growing their own food, or hunting for it. When he was 6, they moved to Memphis, where his grandfather worked in a tomato factory, only to become disabled and die four years later, causing him to live on the streets for a while. Sang in church from the age of 5, although stopped when his voice broke as a young teenager. Picked cotton for survival, while doing a host of odd jobs, including shoeshining and serving as a bus boy and dishwasher in a restaurant, before becoming a cook there. Dropped out of high school because of his extreme poverty, and was arrested for burglary, only to be fetched back by his teachers, who saw considerable potential in him. Wound up getting his diploma at 21, while seeing literacy and education as preeminent interests of his, when he became well-known. 6’ and well-built, with a strong masculine cast. Took up singing again when his voice deepened to a rich baritone, and won a talent show, which inspired him to join the school band, and play the saxophone, unconsciously tapping into his previous go-round in this series, when it was his main instrument. Sang gospel, then doo-wop with various groups, as well as playing sax and singing blues. Learned piano, and after graduating high school, started pursuing music full-time, turning down a septet of musical scholarships to college in order to do so. Shaved his head in 1964 and began to be known as the Black Moses of the musical world. Married Emily Ruth Watson in 1966, three children from the union, which ended in divorce in 1971. Began recording for Stax Records, as a keyboard session man with a variety of well known groups, including Otis Redding, while collaborating with David Porter as a songwriter under the name “Soul Children.” From 1966 onward, they became Stax’s hottest pair as writers, arranger and producers, penning some 200 standards for a variety of artists, including Sam & Dave, and won an R&B Grammy for “Soul Man”, while creating what became known as ‘the Memphis Sound,’ which found its way into the works of a who’s who of rock greats of the 1960s and 1970s. In Memphis the day in 1968 Martin Luther King was assassinated, prior to a scheduled meeting with him, which enraged him and he stopped writing for a year, until he decided his voice could make a difference. In 1969 his album “Hot Buttered Soul,” launched him anew, as a crossover R&B phenomenon, landing him a no. 1 spot on Billboard for over two months, while also making Soul Music a cultural phenomenon. Over the next 5 years, he would have seven #1 R&B albums, and over the next decade he would have 20 albums on the charts, leading to a first ballot election to the Rock’n’Roll Hall of Fame in 2002, despite numerous dips in his career. With his trademark shaved head, shades, bared chest and gold chains, he became a hugely magnetic sex symbol, and with the release of the movie Shaft and its attendant album in 1971, he made his/story as the first solo black artist to achieve a no. 1 hit on both the pop and R&B charts. Won an Oscar the following year for Best Musical Score for it, once again scoring a first for an African-American composer, while also collecting three Grammys, and a host of other awards. Continued doing soundtracks for films, as well as appearing in some highly forgettable fare afterwards. Married Mignon Harley, a bank teller in 1973, two children from the union, which ended in divorce in 1986. In 1976, he was forced to file for bankruptcy, some $6 million in debt, and had a rocky road afterwards, including being jailed twice for using drugs and failing to pay alimony, while struggling to find an audience for his endeavors. In 1991, he traveled to the Ivory Coast for a video, and was overwhelmed with seeing slavery’s past there. Turned to humanitarian work on his return, speaking and eliciting funds for development and education, which led to a symbolic crowning as an honorary king, Nene Katey Ocansey I in Ghana, in what was probably a reflection of his hidden past. Started the Isaac Hayes Foundation to enable people around the world through literacy, and also joined the Church of Scientology in 1993, which gave his career ballast once again, as he started working as a radio DJ in NYC. His third and final marriage was to Adjowa, one son from the union. His last recurring role was as the voice of the cook, “Chef” on TV’s animated “South Park,” which he began in 1997 before quitting in 2006, when he was offended by its satire of Scientology. Had health problems surrounding his heart towards the end of his life, although he continued to tour, before finally passing in a Memphis hospital after he had collapsed near his treadmill from a second stroke. Inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2005. Fathered 12 children all told, and was given a star-studded funeral. Inner: Strongly dualistic, with a self-defeating side to counterbalance a great desire to inspire and do good. Wore gold chains as a symbol of transforming the chains of slavery into one of golden empowerment. Larger-than-life lifetime of serving as a cultural beacon animated by a deep sense of soul, while dealing with his own dual draws around creativity and self-destruction, in his ongoing dance with his elevated, albeit, angry heart, and all its vulnerabilities. fJohnny Dodds (1892-1940) - American musician. Outer: Of African/American descent. Father was a farmworker and handyman, as well as an amateur musician who sang religious songs. Mother played the reed organ in a Baptist church where her husband was also deacon. One of 6 children, with brother Warren ‘Baby’ Dodds becoming a well-known drummer. His mother died when he was 12. Started on clarinet at 17, after his father gave him the instrument. A high school grad, he studied with legendary Creole master, Lorenzo Tio, and was also influenced by Sidney Bechet. Labored at a rice mill until 1911, then worked in marching bands on and off with Kid Ory (50 Cent) until 1917. In 1915, he married a woman named Bessie, 3 children from the union, which ended with his wife’s death in 1931. Always maintained a strong sense of responsibility for his family. Left New Orleans to tour, before joining King Oliver (Dr. Dre) in Chicago, and subsequently both recorded and toured with him on the West Coast. Invested in real estate, as well as a brother’s taxicab company and garage. Highly emotional and expressive musically, although serious and sobersided otherwise. Became a band leader with Freddie Keppard for 6 years, beginning in 1924. Had his most prolific recording period during the later part of the 1920s, with Oliver and Jelly Roll Morton (Snoop Dogg) and various singers, among others, and led his own small band, the Black Bottom Stompers in Chicago clubs throughout the 1930s. Far more the ensemble player than the soloist, he always provided the base sound for others to soar. Suffered a severe heart attack in 1939, but was playing again by the following year, although was forced to quit because of teeth trouble. Equipped with a new set of choppers, he played with his brother’s quartet, doing occasional gigs until his death, although he disapproved of his brother’s wild lifestyle. Died of a third stroke. Inner: Serious, focused, responsible and totally professional in his performance art. Sobersided lifetime of allowing his freeswinging nature expression only in his music and not his life, before returning to explore the full extent of his innate leadership, both the dark and the light, as a dominant cultural icon of his time.

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PATHWAY OF THE PERFORMER AS HIGH-FLYING DIVER:
Storyline: The plunging pilot cannot countenance the lows that accompany his highs, despite an excellent capacity for touching large audiences with his simple heart-felt fare, forcing him to abort his flights in an attempt to raise himself to another plane, where his talents, his emotions and his ambitions are one.

John Denver (Henry John Deutschensdorf, Jr.) (1944-1997) - American singer. Father was a lieutenant colonel in the Air Force, who ultimately became a Lear jet instructor, giving his son a lifelong fascination with flight. His family moved around quite a bit, including a stint in Japan, giving him a lonely childhood. His grandmother gave him his 1st guitar, a 1910 Gibson, when was in the 7th grade. Took lessons for a year, but grew bored with practice. Listening to Elvis Presley inspired him to take it up again as a teenager. Went to Texas Tech to study architecture, sang with a fraternity trio and played in a rhythm and blues band, as well as singing solo, before dropping out of school to focus on music. 5’11”, 145 lbs, outdoorsy. Got a job as a draftsman in Los Angeles and was hired as a warm-up man for an L.A. night spot. A producer had him change his name, although his initial record for Capitol, was never released. Replaced Chad Mitchell in his eponymous trio, and became the lead singer of the renamed Mitchell Trio. His first hit was “Leaving on a Jet Plane,” which ironically would be his epitaph. Married in 1967 to to Annie Martell, a student he met while touring. The group disbanded in 1968, and his career took off the following year. Moved to Colorado to become the bard of that state, with the governor anointing him as its poet laureate, following his popular paean, “Rocky Mounty High.” Continued as an extremely popular country-pop singer throughout the 1970s, with a worldwide reputation, thanks to his melodious songs. Made his movie debut in 1977 in Oh, God, and also had his own show on British TV. Enjoyed his last hit in 1981, then became extremely hurt and frustrated at his failure to maintain his career. Threw himself into causes, founding an environmental center, Windstar, while donating his royalties to UNICEF, and touring for hunger. Divorced in 1983, he wed Cassandra Delaney in 1988, only to later divorce. Adopted a son and daughter, and had one daughter from his second union. Made documentaries on environmental concerns and in 1994 wrote his autobiography, “Take Me Home.” His last years saw car crashes, unhappiness, and his sudden demise when he crashed in an experimental light plane into the waters off of California. Inner: Simple, traditional. Felt he was a poor father, sacrificing family life for worldly concerns. High-flying lifetime of enjoying his own brand of Rocky Mountain high, before running into self-imposed roadblocks and deciding to literally exit via another plane into his own deeper waters. John Stromberg (John Srramberg) (1853-1902) - Canadian/American composer and conductor. Outer: of Swedish descent. Born in Canada. Father arranged music and was connected with a Canadian regimental band. Studied music under his sire and a musical professor, before moving to Nova Scotia as a band director. Joined up with a group of traveling musicians as their pianist, and ultimately wound up in NYC, where he changed his name to Stromberg. Worked as an arranger for a NY publishing house, but dwelt in relative anonymity until he was hired by the comedy team of Weber and Fields (Steve Martin and Martin Short) to compose the songs they sang for their new musical hall in 1896, as well as conduct the hall’s orchestra. As the house prospered, so did he over the next 7 years, providing them with songs for their burlesques. Despite professional success, he lost money in a Long Island real estate venture, which caused his health to fail. Committed suicide by ingesting paris green, as a result of his inability to integrate his life with his song-writing talents. Found in his apartment with his last song his pocket, “Come Down My Evening Star,” which became Lillian Russell's (Lauren Bacall) signature song. Inner: Good light popular touch to his music. Low-flying lifetime of finding professional success, without the ability to transliterate it into his larger sense of himself, causing him once more, to abort his mission in mid-flight.

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PATHWAY OF THE SINGER AS BEAUTIFUL BRIDGE:
Storyline: The former social pioneer opts to cash in on her good karma, and leave the struggling to others, as she goes for the gold and the easy applause in a public life of great success, and a private one of less notable achievement.

Diana Ross (Diane Earnestine Earle Ross) (1944) - American singer and actress. Outer: Of African/American descent. Mother was a teacher, father was an army vet and later a factory worker. 2nd of 6 children. Raised in housing projects. Had a comfortable and enjoyable childhood. Both her parents sang in the choir of Detroit’s Olivet Baptist Church, where she also trilled, and she decided at 6 to pursue that pathway as her life’s vocation. Went to one of the prestigious high/schools in the city, and was asked to join a quartet of singers that called themselves the Primettes, a female counterpoint to the Primes, later known as the Temptations. Played in various clubs, churches, and for dances, learning their trade, beginning in 1959. After graduation, along with Florence Ballard (Amy Winehouse) and Mary Wilson, they became a trio called the Supremes, cultivating a faux glamorous look with handsewn gowns, wigs and five and dime jewelry. With a carefully managed career by Motown impresario Berry Gordy, they became superstars, appealing to a huge crossover audience, and winding up having a decade run, with Cindy Birdsong replacing Florence Ballard in 1967. Quickly dominated the group, both through her striking physical beauty and supple, sexy voice. 5’7”, slim and striking. As Gordy’s favorite protégé, she began studying in order to diversify her career, as the group was renamed Diana Ross and the Supremes, causing tensions within it. Began a solo career in the 1970s, both as a singer and as an actress, after bringing Michael Jackson and the Jackson Five to Motown. In 1972, she starred in a biopic as Billie Holiday (Queen Latifah) in Lady Sings the Blues. Married Robert Silberstein, a businessman, in 1971, and had 3 daughters with him. Divorced after 6 years, with a strong desire to set herself up independently in business. Created a record production company, and gradually diversified her corporation, managing not only her career but the careers of others. Married Arne Naess, a workaholic Norwegian shipping magnate and mountain climber in 1985, adding 2 more sons to her progeny, and widening both her business and social orbit. The duo later separated in 1999, then divorced. Returned to Motown at the end of the 1980s as a director of the company and an equity partner, as well as an artist, although she showed herself prone to temperamental behavior, once berating her sound crew in front of an audience of 800,000 in NYC’s Central Park. Continued as a highly public personality, although the end of the century saw a public temper tantrum at an airport over what she perceived as mistreatment and a greedy grab for most of the profits of a projected Supremes reunion. In it, she used back-ups, instead of the originals, to insure her getting the lioness share of the money, only to have to cancel it over a less than enthusiastic reception to the tour. After more vehicular incidents, she wrote her explain-all autobiography, “Upside Down: Wrong Turns, Rights Turns and the Road Ahead,” in 2003. Lost her beloved father in 2007, and has been less active into the millennium, although well-honored with a tribute at the Kennedy Center that year, and a Presidential Medal of Freedom award in 2016, the nation’s \ highest civilian honor. Has a net with of $250 million. Inner: Highly ambitious, narcissistic, extremely focused, with the ability to actualize her projected life designs. Hard-charging lifetime of establishing her own financial independence through her creative talents while reaping the rewards of having been able to integrate beauty, brains and talent, if not love or her emotional underpinnings, in her life. Florence Mills (1895-1927) - American singer and dancer. Outer: Both parents had been born into slavery and were illiterate. One of 3 sisters. Father worked sporadically as a day laborer and mother took in laundry. Appeared in local talent shows at the age of 3, demonstrating precocious abilities at singing and dancing. Recognition fed into a strong sense of self-worth, as well as enhanced the family’s meager income, which gave her the responsibility for those around her, 2 traits she would continue to demonstrate throughout her relatively short life. At 7, she appeared with Bert Williams (Sidney Poitier) and George Walker’s (Little Richard) all-black company. Aida Walker (Whitney Houston), George Walker’s wife, would become her mentor and role model. Afterwards, she was exploited by a white vaudeville team who used her as a child singer and dancer in their routines. At 14, she organized a traveling song and dance act with her 2 sisters, billing themselves as the Mills Sisters. Briefly married at 16. Tired of low-paying vaudeville, she moved to Chicago and performed at a cafe in the red-light district there. The club was finally shut down and she returned to vaudeville, joining a traveling black troupe. In 1921, she married Ulysses ‘Slow Kid’ Thompson, an acrobatic dancer of considerable skill from that troupe and the duo had a positive, supportive relationship. Her husband would ultimately live past 100, in marked contrast to her all-too-brief life. Eventually opened in an off-Broadway show, which helped introduce African-American entertainers to mainstream white audiences. An excellent dancer who was demure and modest in private life, but totally uninhibited on the stage, she was an assured and confident entertainer who easily enchanted audiences. Along with her husband, she appeared at the Plantation Club in NYC which accelerated white interest in black entertainment, and was the first high-class black cabaret on Broadway. Later opened on Broadway in “Plantation Review,” and established herself as the preeminent female black entertainer of her time. Appeared in England, then returned to NY for a show, although the fears of the white cast prevented her from actualizing that opportunity. Later turned down an offer from impresario Flo Ziegfeld (Bob Evans) because of a desire to do an all-black show, which she did in “From Dixie to Broadway.” Became the first African-American headliner at the fabled Palace Theater in New York. Her crusades for racial justice, however, eventually undermined her health. After touring in Harlem, Paris and London, where she probably had an affair with the youngest son of the King of England during her run there, she returned to New York and was hospitalized. Died from peritonitis following an operation, with her last words, “I don’t want anyone to cry when I die. I just want to make people happy, always.” Had the largest funeral up until that time in Harlem, with over 5000 mourners in attendance, and another 150,000 lining the streets in honor of her. Legend had a flock of blackbirds flying over her funeral cortege, as one final tribute to her. Inner: Proud, uncompromising and determined, with a strong sense of social obligation and racial justice. Shy and unassuming, save when she was on stage. Pioneering lifetime of serving as a bridge between the black and white worlds of entertainment, while taking on a host of social, psychological and economic responsibilities that eventually overwhelmed her.

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PATHWAY OF THE PERFORMER AS BLUES BELTER EXTRAORDINAIRE:
Storyline: The musical matriarch shows a mastery over every form she assays, as a belle cantor whose true beauty rings forth every time she opens her mouth to sing.

Patti LaBelle (Patricia Holte) (1944) - American singer. Outer: Of African/American descent. Father was a railroad worker. Fourth of five children, with three sisters, and the only one not to succumb to cancer and make it past 44. Began singing at church, and at 15, formed a female quartet called the Ordettes, which underwent several member changes, including future Supreme Cindy Birdsong, before hitting the road with her mother’s blessings to perform in nightclubs, honky tonks and truck stops, with their own manager. Found to be too dark and too homely for her initial recording contract in 1962, until she began singing, and her true beauty shone forth. Underwent a name change to Patti LaBelle, which means ‘the beautiful’ in French, and her crew became Patti LaBelle and the Bluebelles. The group achieved some success in the 1960s, both in their recordings and performances, and then she was shocked when Birdsong left in 1967 to join the Supremes, taking years to finally forgive everyone, including Motown, for the manipulations surrounding the exit. In 1969, she married L. Armstead Edwards, a longtime friend, although her opposite in temperament. One son from the union, and she later adopted one of her sister’s two sons, and also raised a neighbor’s two boys. Went to London in 1970, where the group underwent an image change from bouffants to more natural Afros and jeans, and became Labelle on their return. Enjoyed a cult following as an opening act, and began recording more politically and sexually relevant material, while once more changing their image to a glam rock look, which led to a breakout hit with “Lady Marmalade” in 1974, from the album “Nightbirds.” Noted for her high-octave belting style, along with a wide vocal range. Labelle became the first African-American pop group to open at the Metropolitan Opera House, with the wearing of silver as one of their thematics. In 1977, the group split up to pursue solo careers, although her well-received albums didn’t translate into chart domination. Finally did so in 1983, with “I’m in Love Again,” as her higher profile career led to a TV special two years later and continued successes over the next decade, including a half-time show performance in 1995 at the Superbowl. Won her first Grammy in 1991, and a second in 1998, while also appearing in the sitcom “A Different World,” in a recurring role as the mother of one of its stars. Diagnosed with diabetes in 1995, the disease which killed her mother, causing her to become a spokeswoman for the American Diabetes Association. Divorced in 2001. Continued releasing albums, including her first gospel album in 2006, and then two years later, she reunited with the original Bluebelles, Nona Hendryx and Sarah Dash on their first full album release in 32 years. Inducted into Harlem’s Apollo Theater’s Legends Hall of Fame the following year. Inner: Fiery and passionate. La belle lifetime of expanding her repertoire, while dealing with the premature mortality of her family, in her great desire to both survive and excel. Gertrude ‘Ma’ Rainey (Gertrude Pridgett) (1886-1939) - American singer. Outer: Of African/American descent. One of her grandmothers was a singer. Grew up poor, and probably illiterate in a Georgia riverport, as the second of 5 children. Both her parents were minstrel troopers, and she began her own career in her mid-teens as a singer and dancer working a local opry House, before touring in minstrel shows and vaudeville venues. Heard her first lament song at 16, which she called ‘the blues,’ and it immediately became part of her repertoire. Short, homely, heavyset and dark-skinned, using creams and powders to lighten herself somewhat. Married a much older comedy songster and manager, William “Pa” Rainey in 1904, and the two toured the South, as Ma and Pa Rainey, doing tent shows and small nightclubs with the Rabbit Foot Minstrels in an act that included comedy, song and dance, which played to segregated audiences. Had an unknown number of children. Served as a mentor for young Bessie Smith (Pink), and continued touring with her husband until 1915, when the pair separated, and she started performing with her own band, Ma Rainey and Her Georgia Smart Set. Proved to be an important link between male-oriented country blues, and female urban blues. Always flamboyant, she had gold-capped teeth, straightened hair, and often carried an ostrich plume, while sporting a triple necklace of shining gold coins set against her sequined dress. Sang in a gravely contralto, which was limited in range, but she more than made up for it with the depth of emotion she rasped out. Made her first recording in 1923 with Paramount, and was soon known as the “Mother of the Blues.” Her recordings helped make her famous, as one of the first women to put the blues down on tracks, and she always enjoyed expert musicianship backing her up. Bisexual, she was arrested in Chicago in 1925 for hosting a sapphic party, while often portraying herself in her sons as a victim of men. Dropped by her label in 1928 because of changing tastes that no longer featured her ‘down-home’ style. Proved to be a smart businesswoman in all she did, always paying her musicians on time and appearing at all her dates. Wound up managing two theaters in her hometown, as the latter part of her career proved to be anticlimactic. Finally retired from performing in 1933, following the death her mother and sister, and four years later, she succumbed to heart disease. Her passing went unremarked in the black press, while her death certificate listed her as a housekeeper. Shortly afterwards, her reputation began to soar through a rediscovery of her recordings. Inducted into the Blues Foundation's Hall of Fame in 1983 and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990. Inner: Treated everyone in a maternal mode, more than living up to her nickname. Warm, open and totally in command of her audiences. Strong and fiery, but softhearted as well. Mother of the blues lifetime of making herself into a living legend, through the sheer dint of her talent, and the beauty she could easily evoke from within.

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PATHWAY OF THE MUSICIAN AS PRODUCER AND PERFORMER:
Storyline: The tin pan alley tunesmith easily finds his niche and feeds into it as a highly commercial romantic with a sure musical sense, and a better-developed business acumen to complement it after failing in the latter capacity his previous go-round.

Barry Manilow (1946) - American singer and songwriter. Outer: Only child, mother was 20 when he was born. His father deserted the family when he was 2, and he was raised by his grandmother and grandfather in a tough section of Brooklyn. Started learning accordion at the age of 7, and honed his early musical skills by tinkering on a neighbor’s piano. His mother remarried an Irish truck driver when he was 13, and the latter introduced him to cool jazz and concert music. Was often beat up in his rough neighborhood. Married Susan Deixler, his high school paramour and moved to NYC, although found the union constraining, and the pair separated and divorced two years later. Got a job in the mailroom of CBS, then studied advertising in college and music at nights at the Juilliard School of Music. Given the opportunity in 1964 to arrange and direct a show, and did so, The Drunkard, which ran 8 years Off-Broadway. Began working as an arranger and vocal coach. Labored on several television shows and wrote commercial jingles before setting out on his own in his 20s, starting as an accompanist for Bette Midler at a gay bathhouse, and winding up accompanying her at Carnegie Hall. Co-produced her best-selling album, then began working on his own albums as an arranger and performer. Although his jazzy debut album in 1973 didn’t sell well, from the mid-1970s onward, he was an extremely successful songwriter/performer, enjoying continual mainstream pop-friendly popularity, selling over 50 million records worldwide. In the 1980s, he turned to more noncommercial fare, with jazz albums. Multi media-award winner: garnered a Grammy and Tony in 1977, and an Emmy the following year. Has continued to maintain a devoted audience for his brand of popular music, although also a joke to some for his outfits and taste, including himself, with a fear of stepping over the line and becoming ‘cheese.’ Always felt the stage was his true metier, and composed the musical Harmony, as a career top-off, before finally hitting Las Vegas in 2005, the year after he completed his farewell tour. Saw his subsequent new album, of 50s hits, debut at number one, a feat he had never accomplished in his ongoing desire to continually try to top himself. Also the proprietor of a foundation, The Manilow Fund for Health and Hope, that was able to raise over $4 million for the victims of Hurricane Katrina. Closeted for many a year, before surprising many with a late life marriage to his long-time manager Garry Kief in 2015. Inner: Strong sense of showmanship, great drive to succeed, although much prefers behind-the-scenes work to actual performing. I write the songs lifetime of building on successes from his proven talents, while maintaining control of a long-lived career by doing so. Vincent Youmans (1898-1946) - American composer. Outer: Family was in the hat business. Mother was from a socially prominent family. Father and uncle operated prosperous stores along Broadway that sold stylish hats and derbies. Took piano lessons, with the initial intention of being an engineer. Went to work on Wall Street, then enlisted in the Navy. While stationed in the Great Lakes area, he began writing music and assisting in productions. Won the approval of John Philip Sousa (John Lennon) for one of his marches. Following the military, he abandoned his career plans and went to work as a pianist. In 1927, he married Ann Varley, a dancer, had twins, and divorced in 1933. Two years later he Mildred Boots, a former “Follies” girl, who divorced him 3 months before his death. Did rehearsals for Victor Herbert’s (Paul McCartney) shows. Began writing for Broadway, and initially his songs were more popular than the shows. His first big hit was, “No, No Nanette,” in 1925. Co-produced, then became the singular producer of his shows, with a greater desire for control over all aspects of them. After a series of failures in that role, leaving him bankrupt in 1936, he left for California, and had one successful musical film, Flying Down to Rio. Became sick with tuberculosis, that he had caught a decade earlier, and was hospitalized in a Denver sanitarium. Moved to New Orleans to become a serious musician, but never realized his goal. Mounted one more disastrous production, and then died of tuberculosis soon afterwards. Inner: Shy, but extremely ambitious, with a deft musical touch, but an unsure business sense. Half-realized lifetime of over/reaching himself by trying to exert too much control, through a highly controlled personality, necessitating an immediate comeback to see if he could integrate his creative and commercial sides better.

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PATHWAY OF THE SINGER AS TORCH AND TORCHED SONGSTER:
Storyline: The continually tested chanteuse is able to get past a host of problems to become a singing mainstay on the cultural scene only to be forced once again to deal with a debilitation, through a body unwilling to allow her easy reward for her efforts.

Linda Ronstadt (1946) - American singer. Outer: Of Mexican-American-German descent. Parents owned a hardware store in Tucson, father played guitar. Performed around Tucson with her siblings while in high school. Briefly attended the Univ. of Arizona, before going to Los Angeles to pursue a musical career. In 1964, she joined a folk group called the Stone Poneys, and proved such a personal draw, she was offered a contract as a single, but remained loyal to the group until they broke up. After signing a contract, regrouped with them and cut several albums, but eventually the trio disbanded. Spent 5 years as a single, unable to get past her timidity on stage, while having trouble with her support personnel. Tried the country idiom, but wound up in debt. Finally found a good manager, who saw how to showcase her to best advantage and her career started to take off, particularly after the song selection on her album "Heart Like a Wheel" in 1974. Became an international entertainer, through a successful world tour, and later expanded her repertoire to big bands and pop tunes. Linked with several well-known personalities, including former California governor Jerry Brown and film-maker George Lucas. Adopted 2 children, a boy and a girl, and raised them herself. Highly critical of her earlier work, she felt she didn’t begin to sing well on records until 1980. Had troubles with substance abuse and weight, although continued to show an all-around musicianship through good taste in music, with a particular affinity for her previous life’s repertoire. Has helped other female singers along the way, to remain a voice for integrity in the popular arts throughout her latter career. During this time, she suffered from a hyperthyroid condition, causing fatigue and weight gain, which eventually was diagnosed as Parkinson’s Disease. Booed off the stage in Las Vegas in 2004 for expressing her liberal views to a conservative crowd, and kicked ot of her hotel room, which did little to deter her ongoing activism. After a stretch of uncharacteristic silence, she revealed in her 2013 memoir, “Simple Dreams,” her struggles with Parkinson's’ which ended her ability to publicly perform, while also impeding her ability to function physically with confidence. Nevertheless, she remains impassioned politically, still looking to make the world a better place according to her vision of its ills and imbalances. Inducted into the R’n’R Hall of Fame in 2014. Inner: Articulate, voluble, with the ability to redirect herself and deal with her foibles. Evinced a sense of compromise on many of her recordings, which she later dismissed. Forced ultimately to deal with a body in revolt, and be dependent on others, while still maintaining her passion around causes. Resurrected lifetime of taking control of her life, rather than sinking into it as she had previously done, only to ultimately fall prey to the vicissitudes of ill health as an added test of her revitalized self. Helen Morgan (Helen Riggins) (1900-1941) - American singer. Outer: Mother was a teacher, who divorced her father, a farmer, and remarried. Took on her stepfather’s name. The former separated from her 2nd husband and took her young daughter to Chicago, who went on to work as a biscuit packer, shop girl and manicurist, while taking singing lessons, before beginning her career in a Chicago speakeasy. Won a beauty contest in Montreal, then went to NYC, where, in an overcrowded nightclub, she established her trademark of sitting on the piano and singing. Her high contralto was ideal for torch-songs. Petite, wan, pallid and angelic, with dark eyes and a plaintive voice, often sang of isolation and alienation. Married Maurice Maschke, a Cleveland attorney, in 1933, divorced two years later. Managed several speakeasies during the Prohibition era, and became an alcoholic. Appeared in numerous Broadway shows, with a particular triumph in “Show Boat.” Also appeared in several films, usually as a fallen woman. Extravagant and extremely self-destructive, she eventually fell into financial difficulties. Married Lloyd Johnson, an automobile dealer from Los Angeles, and converted to Roman Catholicism near the end of life. Ultimately died of cirrhosis of the liver and hepatitis. A film bio was later made of her life, The Helen Morgan Story, starring Ann Blyth. Inner: Naive, trusting, unhealthy, classic victim. Mixture of pathos and genuine prowess. Overboard lifetime of drowning in her own tears, despite her adept business abilities and her soaring talent.

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PATHWAY OF THE SINGER AS TROUBLED TROUBADOUR:
Storyline: The shy escapist finally finds a balance between his inner and outer lives, through a process of loss, maturation and a weaning of himself from bottled oblivion, allowing him to reclaim and heal himself from his longtime demons of self-loathing and self-annihilation.

James Taylor (1948) - American singer. Outer: Father was a doctor and dean of the Univ. of North Carolina’s medical school, as well as a liberal Democrat and advocate of socialized medicine. The family was musical, and used to entertain one another with kitchen recitals. 2 siblings, Livingstone and Alex, became singers, and also shared his experience of being institutionalized. Alex eventually died of alcoholism. Despite loving the lush countryside of his youth, he was sent off to Milton Academy in Mass. to give him direction. Became extremely depressed, considered suicide, and was finally sent to a local psychiatric hospital for several months, which helped him avoid the draft. 6’3”, 155 lbs. Slipped away from the hospital and went to NYC, where he picked up a heroin habit that would bedevil him for nearly a decade. Went to Europe, and was signed by Apple records, inaugurating a career that would be noted for its artful angst. Became a major star from the release of his first album in 1969. In 1972, he married singer Carly Simon, 2 children from the union, both of whom became professional musicians. An anti-nuclear activist with his wife, they also performed and recorded together. The duo later divorced in 1983, with no contact whatsoever between them, per his wishes. Clean and sober since his mid-30s. Inducted into the R’n’R Hall of Fame in 2000. Married and divorced a second time to Kathryn Walker, and had twin sons born to a surrogate mother, from his third union in 2001, to Kim Smedvig, the director of Public Relations & Marketing for the Boston Symphony Orchestra. The same year he was inducted into the Rock’n’Roll Hall of Fame. Has sold nearly 30 million records in a 3 decade career, that eventually some him come to grips with his watery self and find some semblance of peace and order in his life. His later career saw him willing to compromise, and become a more commercial entertainer. Inner: Quiet, eccentric, reclusive dreamer as a youngster, far more voluble, but equally off-center as he grew older. Shy, reflective, eventually capable of maturity in a profession notorious for keeping its stars eternal adolescents. Refuses to license his songs for commercials, or accept corporate sponsorship for his tours, but is willing to go after the niche markets that keep his albums selling. Healing lifetime of trying to purge himself of a great sadness, through the shared epiphany of music, and the ability to mature internally as he grows older. James Thornton (1861-1938) - English/American songwriter and performer. Outer: Brought to the U.S. from England around the age of 8. Had a 50 year vaudeville career, and teamed with Charles Lawlor, with whom he collaborated on some of his earliest songs. His wife was a singer, Bonnie Thornton (Carly Simon), who sang under the name of Lizzie Cox and plugged and popularized his songs while also trying to manage his finances despite his alcoholism, where he often sold songs for drink. Wrote simple but memorable tunes, and was best known for “When You Were Sweet Sixteen.” Later became known as a dour, sarcastic monologuist, giving mock-solemn sermons as part of his act, although he continued singing sentimental songs. By the turn of the century, his writing style was passé. Wrote lyrics for others, and was still appearing on Broadway in his late 60s. Underwent regular alcoholic cures, writing during his periods in enforced idleness in clinics. Eventually renounced drink and died a sober and moralizing man. Inner: Notoriously heavy drinker, angry sentimentalist. Through a glass drunkenly lifetime of trying to integrate an innate draw towards sour self-destruction with an equal desire to please large audiences, despite his own inability to please himself with who he was.

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PATHWAY OF THE MUSICIAN AS PIANO MAN:
Storyline: The short fused songsmith enters an unstable situation geared to push him over his own edge, then spends the rest of his life trying to find a balance between his melodic grace and his disharmonious interior, while continually questioning what he is doing here.

Billy Joel (1949) - American singer and songwriter. Outer: Mother sang in choral groups, father had been a Jewish Alsatian inmate of a Nazi concentration camp as well as a classically trained pianist. Emigrating to the U.S. by way of Cuba, his sire became an electrical engineer, married and settled in cookie-cutter Levittown. Began piano lessons at 4, and his parents divorced when he was 7. His father subsequently moved to Vienna, where the former’s brother became conductor of an opera orchestra, while his mother raised him on a secretary’s salary and small support checks. Became a high school lowlife, and robbed and fought along with fellow gang members in rebellion against his Levittown upbringing. Formed a group, the Echoes, later redubbed the Lost Souls, then began playing bars and roadhouses, neglecting going to high school and failing to graduate. Ran away from home, was picked up on a burglary charge, released, identified with his father’s experience in the camps and panicked. Joined a band to escape the criminal patterns of his childhood friends, and after it disbanded, he dredged oysters from a barge, before drinking half a bottle of furniture polish in a suicide attempt. After 3 weeks in an institution, he decided he wasn’t crazy and formed a psychedelic duo, but ill luck and bad contracts finally forced him to flee to Los Angeles, where he lived under the name Bill Martin. Established himself with the song “Piano Man,” in 1973, and began his successful career as a songwriter with a unique popular style of highly melodic tunes. Married the same year to Elizabeth Webber, his manager, divorced 8 years later, after being fleeced for millions by his brother-in-law. Toured Russia, and enjoyed a continuous stretch of hits, while occasionally indulging in the self-destruction that marked his childhood. Married model Christie Brinkley in 1985, one daughter from the union, Alexa Ray, who became a singer/songwriter, although garnered more attention for a suicide attempt in 2009 than her career. The couple divorced in 1994, after an infidelity on his part. Had a relationship with an artist for 5 years afterwards, while exhibiting a penchant for lawsuits through unscrupulous partnerships, as well as auto accidents due to his drinking. Inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1992, and the R’n’R Hall at decade’s end, although retains a bitterness about not being more critically acclaimed. Has done several tours with Elton John, with whom he’s been compared, and has also raised money for local Long Island fisherman, after becoming fascinated with their hard lives. A boat builder himself along with a partner. Views himself as primarily a composer, and has been working in the classical mode in recent years, although remains an avowed rock’n’roller, with over 100 million record sales to his credit. Went into rehab in 2002, and also saw a Broadway show, “Movin’ Out,” based on his songs, get savaged in tryouts, as he remained a melancholic victim of his ongoing inability to recognize his limitations and his inability to find connection with anything other than his music. In 2004, he married Katie Lee, a TV food reporter over three decades his junior, only to divorce 5 years later, which would profoundly affect his $100 million fortune. Had both his hips replaced in 2010 to correct a congenital condition, and remains a concert-attraction, with sold out venues and Madison Square Garden in NYC as his special showcase. In 2015, he married his pregnant girlfriend, Alexis Roderick, over three decades his junior in a surprise July 4th ceremony presided over by NY’ governor Andrew Cuomo.. Inner: Moody, restless, manages to maintain a fine line between creativity and self-destruction. Perennially lonely, with a wounded sense about his inability to hold onto love or be properly loved by the critics. Strong feelings of being disrespected for his true abilities. Lonely lifetime of trying to find his self-worth through his music, while showing far too great a sensitivity to his failures to ever really appreciate his successes. Ernest Ball (1878-1927) - American songwriter and performer. Outer: Of Irish descent. Musically precocious, he began his early studies at Cleveland Conservatory. Gave piano lessons at 13 and began composing 2 years later. Moved to NYC in his teens, and became a relief pianist in a theater before joining a music publishing firm, as staff pianist and composer. Wrote his first hit with the future mayor of New York, Jimmy Walker. Produced a steady stream of hits afterwards, with a particular affinity for the Irish ballad form, and was a headline performer virtually his entire career. HIs best known songs were “Mother Machree,” written with Chauncey Olcott (Bobby Darrin), and “When Irish Eyes are Smiling.” In addition to his song-writing, he was a vaudeville performer, and later a staff composer for Witmark, as well as a charter member of ASCAP. Married a singer and shared a vaudeville act with her in later years. Died after suffering a heart attack in his dressing-room, following a performance. Subject of a biopic in 1944, When Irish Eyes Are Smiling, where he was played by singer Dick Haymes. Inner: Discovered he did better writing songs for his own satisfaction, than going for hits. Uncomplicated lifetime of integrating his talents for his own self-expression, and enjoying popular acclaim in doing so, before coming back in far angrier form to plumb his interior more thoroughly.

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PATHWAY OF THE SINGER AS HIGH-ENERGY ENTERTAINER:
Storyline: The dynamic diva just wants to have fun, but also understands her responsibility for making the world a better place than the one she was thrust into, and pursues both goals with equal eccentric verve and elan.

Cyndi Lauper (Cynthia Ann Stephanie Lauper) (1953) - American singer, songwriter and actress. Outer: Mother was Sicilian, while her father was of German and Swiss descent. One brother and sister, with the latter, Ellen, a gay socialist who ran for mayor of Phoenix. When she was 5, her parents divorced and she moved with her mother and siblings to a poorer neighborhood. Later claimed to have been molested as a child, as well as raped as a young adult. Went to Catholic school, but was kicked out when it was discovered her parents were divorced. Switched to an upstate New York convent school afterwards, only to find it so oppressive, that she finished her education in the public sector. Her mother married and divorced again, while working as a waitress, which showed her that she had better develop her talents if she wished to transcend the roles thrust on most women. Began using her physical presence as a vehicle of self-expression, dying her hair unusual colors and wearing clothing to match. Went to a visual arts high school, although dropped out, eventually getting her GED much later. 5’3” and slim with blonde hair and green eyes. Went to Vermont, taking art classes at Johnson State College, before returning home, to become a cover artist of other people’s works with a variety of bands, which she ultimately found stifling. After damaging her vocal cords in 1977, she was told she would never sing again, although she found an excellent teacher, who gave her the exercises to do so. The following year, she formed Blue Angel with a partner, although she was far superior to her band-mates, and after one release, they broke up, and she wound up bankrupt following a lawsuit. Went to work in a thrift shop, while also singing solo, and in the early 1980s, she met, fell in love and moved in with a manager, David Wolff, who knew just how to market her 4 octave range and perfect pitch. Through their partnership, she became a queen of MTV, as well as a huge star by the mid-1980s, with her debut album, “She’s So Unusual” launching no less than 4 top ten singles, an all-time record for a record, including her seminal hit, “Girls Just Want to Have Fun,” and “She Bop,” an homage to masturbation which she later claimed to have recorded naked. With her decided Queens accent and rainbow spiked hair, as well as an outsized personality, appended to her unique voice, she quickly won a huge following, which led to a Grammy in 1984 for Best New Artist. Her mother subsequently wound up starring in some of her music videos under the nom de chanson of Catrine Dominique. Went on to intertwine her early career as a star with the World Wrestling Federation for their mutual promotional benefit, in keeping with her oddball public persona. After doing a concert film, she made her cinematic debut in 1988 in Vibes, a comedy which did poorly. Movies would subsequently become a secondary vehicle for her, as she continued releasing albums and touring while putting her considerable energy into being a voice for human rights. At the end of the decade, her relationship with Wolff soured and the two went their separate ways. In 1991, with flamboyant rocker and former minister Little Richard performing the ceremony, she married actor David Thornton, after appearing with him in Off and Running, one son from the union. After her sister came out, she took on AIDS awareness as a personal goal, and began performing around the world at gay pride events, while continuing her career full blast through the turn of the century as a rock elder, undiminished in her enthusiasm for bringing fun, joy and social awareness to her ongoing audience. Won a Tony in 2013 for the musical score to the prize-winning “Kinky Boots,” and in the process became the first woman to win the award for best score. Has a net worth of $3- million. Inner: Harbors a great love of performing, with a uniqueness to all she does, from her physical presentation of herself, through her voice to her choice of material. Totally on stage lifetime of using her gifts to not only uplift those around her, but everyone her dynamite dynamic touches, in an all out effort to awaken the world to itself in joyous, fun-loving manner. Merna Kennedy (Maude Kahler) (1908-1944) - American singer and actress. Outer: Began performing in vaudeville at the age of 9, and became a talented singer and dancer. 5’2”, with muscular legs. Her first film was as the female lead in a Charlie Chaplin vehicle, The Circus, which would prove to be the apex of her cinematic career. A possible affair with him made headlines when he was sued for divorce by his young wife of the time, Lita Grey, although the negative publicity did not hamper her career. Made the easy transition to talkies, and appeared in several musicals during the early 1930s. In 1934, she retired and married director Busby Berkeley. Although they divorced the following year, she remained retired, and faded from the public eye. Died of a heart attack just hours after marrying her second husband. Inner: Probably grew tired of performing, after having done it her entire life. No act two lifetime of reaching a peak early on, and then doing an early exit, when she literally realized her true heart wasn’t into doing anything else than being stage center.

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PATHWAY OF THE SINGER AS UNHAPPINESS ADDICT:
Storyline: The accomplished chanteuse continually searches for self-obliteration, despite a distinct talent for melodious expression, in her ongoing disharmonious struggles with herself.

June Pointer (1953-2006) - American singer. Outer: Of African/American descent. Youngest of six children of a pair of ministers affiliated with the Church of God, including two brothers and three sisters, Ruth, Bonnie and Anita, who would later join her as the Pointer Sisters. Had a closeted upbringing, with radio, television and movies, as well as dancing, forbidden by her parents. Rebelling against their tight control, she began smoking pot at the age of 13, which led her into a lifetime of drug and alcohol abuse. Sang with her siblings in her parents’ church choir, and at the age of sixteen, she began her professional singing career while still in high school, linking up with her sister Bonnie to become the Pointers - A Pair. Slender, with an exuberant, soulful voice. Her third sister Anita quit her job as a secretary and joined the act later that year, with the trio singing at local clubs, before getting a contract with Atlantic Records. Their initial offerings failed to chart, until Ruth joined them in 1972, making a quartet out of them, while their parents relaxed their anti-show business views with their rising success. As soon as they signed with Blue Thumb Records, their combined career took off. Their first eponymous album, released in 1973, had several hits in a number of genres, as their upbeat sound, with a jazz and bebop tinge to it, proved extremely popular, particularly their synthesizer-backed dance numbers. Briefly left the group in 1976, to deal with her ongoing problems with cocaine, as well as tranquilizers and alcohol, in the first of a series of breakdowns, before Bonnie exited to try to forge her own solo career the following year, much to the dismay of the others. In 1978, she married William Whitmore, a computer programmer, no children from the union. The group toured continuously, and also made numerous TV appearances, scoring their first significant hit in 1979 with a Bruce Springsteen song, “Fire.” Released her first solo album, “Baby Sister” in 1983, at the same time the remaining trio were enjoying their biggest successes, with the breakout album “Break Out.” Despite playing before presidents and prime ministers, her problems with drug and alcohol addiction continued all during this period, while her own solo efforts achieved only modest successes. Posed nude for “Playboy” magazine, in a brief celebration of overcoming her problems with altered states, before succumbing to them again, when gangsta rap and far grittier sounds superseded the wholesome appeal of the group’s music. Her own professional failures also fed into her mental instability, as her marriage ended in 1991. Made a brief stab at filmdom with a small role in French Exit in 1995, while drug problems finally caused her to be ousted from the group in 1999. She was replaced by her niece, Issa, Ruth’s daughter, as the bank repossessed her home, which had begun to turn into a crack house, through the bad company she was keeping. After bottoming out in 2000, she returned to tour with the Pointers in 2002, reconciling with her sisters and family. In 2004, she was arrested for crack cocaine possession and also assaulting a boyfriend, and was ordered into rehab, while once more being ousted from the group, with the hopes she would recover. Suffered a stroke in 2006, and was also diagnosed at the same time with cancer, which had spread throughout her body to the point where she lost the power of speech. Spent her last months in a hospital, and died of the disease surrounded by her brothers, and all her sisters, save for Bonnie, while dying in the arms of Anita. The winner of numerous awards, including three Grammys and an NAACP Image Award. Inner: Extremely generous and giving, as well as free-spirited and rebellious. Addiction-prone, ultimately consuming herself in her inability to accept who she truly was. Up-and-down tempo lifetime of unshackling herself from a rigid upbringing, only to fall victim to her ongoing inability to accept and love herself, in her continuing struggles with her dual conflicts between self-expression and self-destruction. Dixie Lee (Wilma Winifred Wyatt) (1911-1952) - American singer, dancer and actress. Outer: Her parents were both zealous about a show business career for her, and, despite an introverted personality, pushed her to pursue one. Won a singing contest as a teen, and became an understudy to torch singer Ruth Etting (Rihanna). After appearing in a hit Broadway musical, “Good News,” she signed a Hollywood contract with Fox, at which point she met singer Bing Crosby, who was immediately smitten by her. Blonde and petite. Renamed Dixie Lee, she sang and danced in a number of Fox musicals, including “The Big Party” and “Smile.” Although hesitant over Crosby’s infatuation with her, since she was a bigger star at the time, she turned down a number of his proposals, but eventually caved in to his obsession with her, and the two wed in 1930. Continued her career until she became pregnant for the first time in 1932, then restricted herself to the radio until 1935, at which point she largely retired. Four sons from the union, including a pair of twins. All of them made stabs at show business careers, but did not reflect the talents of their parents. Greatly helped her husband’s career, as he became a major singing star, while she gradually disappeared from public view, save for the annual Crosby family Christmas show they did on Bing’s various radio shows, and a pair of duets she recorded with him. Her husband proved to be quite a tyrant at home, with two of her sons, Dennis and Lindsay ultimately committing suicide by self-inflicted gunshot wounds, while Gary wrote a blistering biography of his father, painting him as a rigid and abusive disciplinarian with little feel for family life. Bing Crosby’s heavy drinking led to her to take up the same habit and become a full-blown alcoholic, going on binge benders as soon as her sons started school, while resenting her husband for curtailing her career. Largely left alone to raise her family, because of her spouse’s constant travel, she saw her home burn down in 1943, although escaped with her sons uninjured. Gradually became more and more of a recluse, using alcohol to medicate herself against her constant state of depression. Ultimately came down with ovarian cancer, right at the point when her mate had been thinking of divorcing her, and she succumbed to the disease three days before her 41st birthday, while converting to Roman Catholicism just beforehand. The film Smash-Up: The Story of a Woman, which came out in 1947, and starred Susan Hayward (Jessica Alba) is based loosely on her relationships with Crosby and the bottle. Inner: Innately shy and insecure, allowing herself to be maneuvered and manipulated by those around her, much to her continued resentment. Victim lifetime of allowing herself to be controlled by others, to the point of totally subsuming her talent and becoming a besotted shadow of herself, before returning to another highly controlling environment, and rebelling against its strictures, only to allow her innate need for escape from herself undo her once again.

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PATHWAY OF THE SINGER AS CROSS-CULTURAL DIVA:
Storyline: The latina ambassadora abandons her fruit-salad head/dress shtik for a more complex career as a well-supported singer, wife and mother, as well as a crossover star, after earlier being a stranger in a strange land, and never transcending her limitations.

Gloria Estefan (Gloria Fajardo) (1958) - Cuban/American singer. Outer: Father was a Cuban soldier and bodyguard of dictator Fulgencio Batista, mother was a teacher. Oldest of 2. Fled at 2 with her family during the Cuban revolution, and the fall of one dictator for another. Her sire was part of the subsequent Bay of Pigs invasion and was captured, then freed, and joined the U.S. Army, serving 2 years in Vietnam, where he was sprayed with Agent Orange. He then developed multiple sclerosis and had to be taken care of by her until he died. Felt she had no social life and was buried in responsibilities, although her grandmother gave her a love of music. At 17, she met Cuban keyboardist Emilio Estefan, who had suffered for his own political actvism, before finally gaining his freedom as a fellow exile and began singing with his group, the Miami Latin Boys, while attending the Univ. of Miami, where she majored in psychology and communications. Initially plump and shy, she worked on both failings to become a confident singer, and the band renamed itself the Miami Sound Machine. Married Estefan at 20, son and daughter from union. Although the group went on to create hits around the Spanish-speaking world, it remained peripheral in the U.S. until it recorded its first album of Latino rhythms in English, Eyes of Innocence. Became a producer with her husband, who quit the band after the birth of their son. Has maintained a close family, who always travel together. In her early 30s, she suffered a broken vertebra in her back in a touring bus accident, and had to withdraw from her career in order to recover, when the initial prognosis was negative. Backs are often symbol of father and support issues, which she internalized and then expunged through self-healing. Made a miraculous recovery and comeback through her own sheer determination. Won the wrath of the hardcore exiled Cuban community for her principled stand on art over politics on allowing Cuba-based performers to play in the United States, as she became more political, writing op-ed pieces for the Miami Herald, and appearing frequently on talk-radio. Made her film debut in 1999 with Music of the Heartand remans a mainstay of the exiled Cuban community in her political activism, while feeling her life is as full as she ever wished it to be on all levels. “On Your Feet,” a musical based on the lives of her & her mate, came to Broadway in late 2015, with the music by far the most compelling element of the show, as well as the performance by Ana Villafane as herself. Inner: Strong sense of support from those around her. Feeling of being well-loved as the embodiment of the Cuban-American dream, and willing to serve as a symbol of its cultural and political dreams. Solidly supported lifetime of being able to resurrect from adversity, unlike her previously go-round, thanks to the addition of a secure foundation of sustenance and love for who she is. Carmen Miranda (Maria do Carmo Miranda da Cunho) (1901-1955) - Portuguese/Brazilian singer. Outer: Born in Portugal but moved to Rio de Janeiro with her family a year later, where her father was a barber turned successful wholesale fruit seller. 2nd of 6, including younger sister, Aurora, who also became a popular Brazilian singer. Convent educated, she worked in a hat shop, sold ties, and became a hat maker. 5’. After singing at a party, she was discovered and her test record made her a public personality. Signed with RCA at 20, and became a buoyant samba star. Did a double act with Aurora, as “Las Hermanas Miranda,” with the duo the most popular singers in the nation. Appeared in several Brazilian films, before being imported to Broadway 1939, where she and her group, the Bando da Lua, was a novelty, and she won a film contract. Billed as the “Brazilian Bombshell,” she appeared in more than a dozen movies, typically in exotic costumes and wearing high headgear that was adorned with a bowl of fruit. Returned briefly to Brazil, but was derided as Americanized, and became an object of derision in her native press, despite her strong identification with her quasi-native culture. Left and moved to Beverly Hills, married an abusive American movie producer, and became depressed and ill over his treatment of her. Bought out her movie contract, but could not escape from her pervasive image, and had to continue as the fruit-salad lady. Brought her mother and 6 married sisters and their families to the U.S., and they all lived together in the same mansion. Became addicted to prescription pills, and suffered a nervous breakdown in her early 50s. Carted off and subjected to shock treatment before being released. Went back briefly to Brazil after a 14 year absence, but signed her emotional death warrant by returning to the United States. Died of a heart attack in the dressing-room of her Beverly Hills mansion after an appearance on American television. Was still holding onto her mirror as she collapsed on the floor. Her death was cause for national mourning in Brazil, with tens of thousands on the streets of Rio to mourn her. A Carmen Miranda Museum in the same city sprang up in her wake. Inner: Flamboyant, highly entertaining, but ultimately quite unhappy with the image with which she was corseted. Mixed salad lifetime of allowing herself to become the victim of Latina stereotyping, losing all sense of support for her efforts and self-destructing as her only way to get past the sour grape-laden bowl in which she had placed herself.

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PATHWAY OF THE SINGER AS TOAST OF THE TOWN:
Storyline: The dishy diva is immortalized through culinary delights after proving herself up to the tastes of her times with both critics and opera-philes alike, before delving far deeper into herself to see who really lurks behind the gratuitous applause.

Renee Fleming (1959) - American opera singer. Outer: Both parents were voice teachers, and their household was infused with music. Mother was a classic stage mom. Originally thought she would go into music education. Went to NY State Univ., and sang with a jazz trio off-campus, showing a great versatility, which has subsequently marred her reputation with some critics. Continued her graduate studies at the Eastman School of Music and then the prestigious Juilliard School of Music. Won many awards, including a Fulbright scholarship to Germany. In 1986, she made her professional debut in Mozart’s (Stevie Wonder) “Abduction from the Seraglio.” 2 years later, she was invited to sing at the Houston Grand Opera, and the following year, she made her debut with the NYC Opera Company and Covent Garden in London. The same year, she married actor Rick Ross, 2 daughters from union, although the duo eventually divorced in 2000, after career pressures flooded her briefly with stage fright. In 1991, she made her NY Metropolitan Opera Co. debut, and her daughters would later sing in the chorus. An extremely well-loved and popular singer throughout the world, she is also a champion of new music. Sang at Ground Zero right after 9/11. In 2004, her first book, Inner Voice: The Making of a Singer, was released. A newly hybrid iris was named for her in Australia in an unconscious gesture of appreciation for her previous go-round. Willing to experiment and explore other genres like jazz and rock, despite a distinct loss of identity in doing so, in her effort to try to be true to alien, for her, material. Signed on as a creative consultant for Lyric Opera of Chicago in 2010, to add administrator to her c.v., as a means of expanding her own knowledge of all aspects of musical presentation. Inner: Perfectionist constantly assessing her skills, while searching herself both vocally and as an artist. Well-loved, highly likable, playful and no-nonsense about all she does. Prefers the recording studio to the stage, less the actress than the sheer vocalist. Well-toasted lifetime of looking at herself through her skills and trying to discover herself through performance in an attempt to deal with her flaws amidst unending applause. Nellie Melba (Helen Mitchell) (1859-1931) - Australian opera singer. Outer: Both parents had emigrated from Scotland during a gold rush. Mother was a talented pianist, father was a bricklayer and contractor, and her 6 younger siblings were all good singers. Hummed constantly as a child, which drove her mother crazy, but she later realized it was an excellent teaching and exercise tool. Gave some public performances, although was given musical training in other disciplines in Melbourne, ultimately taking her stage name from that city. Attended the Presbyterian Ladies College, and received some voice instruction while singing locally. Toured once after her marriage in 1882 to Charles Armstrong, an adventurer and the son of an Irish baronet, one son from the union, which ended in separation a year into it, although they did not officially divorce until 1900. Left her family to pursue her career in Melbourne, then accompanied her father to London, when he was appointed commissioner to a colonial exhibition, and began to study seriously in Paris, under Mathilde Marchesi, a teacher who recognized her potential. Made her opera debut in Brussels in 1887, less than a year later, and followed that up the next two seasons with debuts in London and Paris, where she remained 2 years, before singing in St. Petersburg. Her husband clung to their marriage, until she had an open affair with Philippe, Duc d’Orleans (Dmitri Medvedev), the Bourbon pretender to the French throne, in 1890. Possessed a crystalline coloratura soprano, with a three octave range, that had some difficulty with the upper registers. She was also limited in her dramatic abilities, depending far more on her florid style of singing. Nevertheless, she proved a great favorite of both critics and fans in the English-speaking world. Made her La Scala and American debuts in 1893, and 3 years later almost ruined her voice singing Wagner in NYC, forcing her into an extended rest period. One of the few performers allowed to dictate the casting for her operas. Formed her own company the following year and toured the U.S. Her favorite role was Mimi in “La Boheme.” Began recording in 1904, ultimately issuing over 100 gramophone records. Became the first international star to broadcast over the radio in 1920. Made a dame of the British Empire in 1918 and gave her final performance in London in 1926, although occasionally sang concerts afterwards. Wrote her autobiography, “Melodies and Memories,” in 1926. Melba toast and Peach Melba were named after her, in a gesture of appreciation for her skills. Died of a blood infection, which developed from facial surgery some weeks before. Her last words were in Italian, and translate, “Farewell without bitterness.” More than 5000 people viewed her coffin, as a final tribute to her star power. Inner: Brash, imperious and forthright. Actively curried aristocratic favor, seeing herself as a superior being. Charismatic with great concentration and attention to detail. Practical, preferred light roles that did not need great psychological exploration. Both teacher and performer who knew how to touch the hearts of her listeners. Shrewd businesswoman, with a charitable nature, save towards other sopranos, who often received her withering appraisals. Diva lifetime of proving herself the delicious toast of both critics and fans alike, while enjoying playing the role of prima donna to the hilt.

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PATHWAY OF THE PERFORMER AS ANDROGYNOUS SELF-ANNIHILATOR:
Storyline: The fey musical jester literally makes up his own odd way in the publicity pantheon of pop culture, evincing a serial tendency to discreate himself, despite an uninhibited flamboyant creativity and an ongoing public acceptance for who he is.

Boy George (George O’Dowd) (1961) - English singer/songwriter. Outer: Mother was a bar maid and Irish immigrant, who had been raised in a violent home. Father was abusive, and beat her although she stayed with him until his death. Third eldest of 7 siblings, with 5 brothers and a sister. Always had a need to draw attention to himself. Never much of a student, although he had an interest in the arts, and began experimenting with outrageous clothes and make-up quite early, while proving a rebellious disciplinary problem in school, which eventually led to his expulsion. Worked on a fruit farm afterwards, as well as serving as a printer and milliner, although his true education began as a make-up artist with the Royal Shakespeare Company. Also worked in boutiques where he designed clothes, so he was able to give himself a working education in the disciplines he most enjoyed. Became enamored of the New Romantic movement, which was popular in Britain during the early 1980s, and through the auspices of Malcolm McLaren, who helped form the Sex Pistols, he made his rock’n’row bow with Bow Wow Wow as a counterpoint to its flamboyant lead singer, a 16 year old Burmese named Annabella Lwin. 6’. Inevitable frictions led to his desire to form his own group, which eventually came to be known as Culture Club, because of the varied ethnicities of its members. Sang under the nom de chanteuse of Boy George, and his group’s first album, “Kissing to Be Clever,” got them a #1 international single, “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me?” and made them a U.S. presence on the pop charts, with three top 10 hits, the first band since the Beatles to achieve that distinction. Able to follow up their initial success with a second album, “Colour by Numbers, with numerous hit singles off of it. Had a longtime relationship with his bisexual drummer Jon Moss. As the group’s main writer, he also penned a number of hit film songs, although his success soon went to his veins, and by the mid-1980s, he had a serious heroin addiction, which would go on to eventually doom his group. Two friends subsequently died of overdoses, and he wound up arrested on suspicion of drug possession, while Culture Club called it a career after four albums. His addictions continued, as he switched to a less successful solo career, after enjoying an initial renascence through “Sold,” which produced several hit singles. Because of his nonrecording record, he wasn’t allowed to perform in the U.S., cutting off a major market and reducing his commercial reach greatly. Through the use of electro-acupuncture, in 1987, he overcame his longtime heroin addiction, which nearly did him in. Afterwards, he became somewhat more political in his releases, challenging the Conservative Party on its anti-same sex stance. In 1989, he formed his own label, More Protein, while using Jesus Loves You as his staged name. Became involved with the Hare Krishnas, and for a year in the early 1990s, he had a weekly entertainment show on satellite radio. His last big hit would be “The Crying Game,” from the hit movie of that name in 1992. His extracurricular activities from the 1990s onward would far overshadow his recording career, and he turned to DJing as his main contact with the public, while also publishing a co-written autobiography, “Take It Like A Man,” in 1995, before adding “Straight,” to his memoirs, a decade later. Enjoyed a theatrical run in 2002 in “Taboo,” which was based on his life, although he played a secondary character in it. Its West End run was a hit, but it translated poorly to the Broadway stage. Continued to experiment in a wide variety of genres in his solo musical output, while also dabbling in his other creative interests, including a fashion line called “B-Rude.” Arrested for cocaine possession and falsely reporting a burglary in Manhattan in 2005, and was given community service with the Dept. of Sanitation for the offense, sparking a swarm of media coverage. Assaulted and briefly imprisoned a male escort in his flat in 2008, and wound up being given a 15 month sentence for it, before gaining an early release after 4 months, with an ankle monitor and a curfew as his ultimate punishment, in his ongoing dance-with-the-devil public and private life. Reunited with Culture Club in 2012 and two years later, released his first album of original songs, “This is What I Do,” in 18 years. Inner: Exhibitionistic, and equally creative and self-destructive, never truly finding the balance between the two. Boy, oh, boy, George lifetime of continuing in the precise mode of his previous go-round in this series, updated for the tastes and dissipations of the late 20th and early 21st century. Frederick Jester Barnes (1885-1938) - English singer/songwriter and actor. Outer: Only child of a butcher, while his mother’s maiden name of Jester, would be quite propitious for him. Although his sire wanted him to follow in his cleaving footsteps, he rebelled. Had a longtime fascination with the male music hall impersonator Vesta Tilley, and in 1901, began his career as a pantomimist in Birmingham. Handsome, with blue eyes and wavy hair, he affected a debonair look, with white tie, tails, a monocle and cane, whenever he was out and about. Had a pleasant baritone, and wore pink and white make-up that was more appropriate for female performers. Graduated to soloist in 5 years, then toured before hitting the London music-hall stage, where he made a name for himself with “The Black, Black Sheep of the Family,” a song he composed himself. By the end of the decade he was a huge music-hall star, while doing nothing to hide his open sexual appreciation of men, which was accepted by his audiences. His signature song, appropriately would be, “It’s A Queer, Queer World We Live In.” In 1913, his father committed suicide with a butcher’s knife, and he inherited £10,000, which he quickly employed to considerably upgrade his lifestyle, entertaining his hangers-on royally and living in grand style in a posh apartment. Continually sought publicity with gimmicky postures, including perambulating with a marmoset on his shoulder, while clad in plus fours and pink stockings. Enjoyed picking up male prostitutes in his Rolls-Royce, although was turned down for service in WW I for euphemistically having a ‘nervous condition.’ Instead, he continued producing hits and touring the world, enjoying audience acclaim wherever he went. In 1924, he was arrested for drunk driving, after upending a motorcyclist. Had a half-naked sailor in the car at the time, and tried to bribe the arresting bobby, only to wind up spending a month in prison. His fans, however, forgave him, which he subsequently celebrated in the song, “The Worse You Are, The More the Ladies Like You.” The authorities, however, took a more askance view of him, although it was alcohol which ultimately served as his great leveler, and his venues grew smaller, since he could no longer be relied upon. By the 1930s, he was living on handouts from former colleagues, while performing in pubs with a pet chicken. Eventually he was stricken by terminal tuberculosis, and was told at the end, he had but two months to live. His final lover, a former theatrical manager who collected tips while he played the piano in pubs, found him dead on the floor of their lodgings with his nose by a gas ring, in his final performance, a suicide. Inner: Kindhearted, well-liked and extremely giving. Jester lifetime of finding great support for his eccentricities and his ability to entertain, until his greater predilection for self-obliteration took over and overwhelmed his endlife, a happenstance he would repeat the next time around in this series, to see if he could rewrite himself a happier second act, without summarily bringing his life to conclusion.

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PATHWAY OF THE PERFORMER AS EARLY DEATH DRAWER:
Storyline: The easy singing ace has great difficulty with his own mortality, thanks to a fascination with early exits, and a willful desire to continually do as he pleases, no matter the consequences.

Eazy-E (Eric Lynn Wright) (1963-1995) - American singer, songwriter and record producer. Outer: Of African/American descent. Mother was a school administrator, father was a postal worker. One of three children, with a brother and sister. Grew up in Compton, California, and dropped out of high school in the tenth grade, although later got his GED. 5’5”. Became a member of the Crips, gangbanging and selling drugs, which he later used to finance his musical career. Created Ruthless Records with music biz veteran Jerry Heller, and then, with fellow Comptonites, Dr. Dre and Ice Cube, formed N.W.A. (Niggaz With Attitude), along with MC Ren and two later additions, DJ Yella and Arabian Prince. Their official debut album, “Straight Outta Compton,” released in 1988, would be a seminal contribution to the genre of gangsta rap, while his first solo album, “Eazy-Duz-It,” would certify him as a rap superstar, although it would be the only full-length album he completed, selling over 2 million copies. Despite being frontman for NWA, most of the work was done by Dre and Ice Cube. The provocative songs, like “Fuck Tha Police,” would win no fans among law enforcement, and he would come to embody the rebelliousness of gangsta rap. Money mismanagement would spell the group’s end by 1989, and he took over the writing after Ice Cube left, although it became more cartoonish and less authentic. Eventually both Dre and he had a falling out, which resulted in the end of the group, and court proceedings, which were eventually tossed out. Turned his attention to running his label, while his creative coin became largely spent in his further releases, which had little to say, other than put-downs of his perceived enemies. Spent $2500 to attend a Republican fund-raiser in 1991, while supporting the first Gulf War, which shocked people. Had nine children, all told, by seven different women, including Lil Eazy-E, who was 10 at his father’s death, and went on to a rap career of his own, with far less success. Thought he had asthma, but it turned out, he was suffering from AIDS, which he went public with, before dying of it. A week before he died, he married Tomica Wood in 1995, after fathering his two youngest children with her. After three failed nominations, NWA was finally elected posthumously into the R’n’R Hall of Fame for the 2016 class. Inner: Contentious, controversial and promiscuous. Always wore dark sunglasses. Eazy does it lifetime of doing precisely as he pleased, with little thought to consequences, while once again courting early death, in his ongoing dance with the fleetingness of fame. Johnny Ace (Johnny Marshall Alexander, Jr.) (1929-1954) - American singer, songwriter and pianist. Outer: Of African/American descent. Close to his mother, who recognized his talent, and gave him financial support to take both music and art lessons. Father was a circuit-riding Baptist preacher and sometime laborer. One of 11 children. Sang in a church choir, and learned to play gospel piano, while secular music was forbidden in his household. Dropped out of high school in his junior year, much to his parents’ disappointment, and joined the Navy, although was often AWOL, and soon discharged. Did a short prison term in Mississippi, then became involved in Memphis’ vibrant music scene. Played piano in a back-up band to blues singers B.B. King, Bobby “Blue” Bland and Junior Parker, among others, with the Beale Streeters. His vocal abilities also began coming into play, as a smooth baritone crooner. Married 9th grader Lois Palmer, one son from the union, although the two did not live together, since she stayed at his parents’ house and he wasn’t allowed there. In 1952, he signed with Duke Records, who renamed him Johnny Ace, to go along with his band, the New Blues Sound. Producer Don Robey took over his career, and he began touring almost constantly, doing 350 concerts a year by 1954 while scoring eight top ten singles between 1952-1954. Extremely popular on the rhythm and blues circuit, although he did not live long enough to become a crossover star. While touring with Willa Mae Thornton, he was drinking and waving around a small .22 caliber pistol while sitting backstage, thinking it was empty, and to prove it, pointed it at his head, and pulled the trigger, in what has been erroneously called a game of Russian Roulette. Died Christmas Day, as rock’n’roll’s first major death. Had his biggest hit posthumously, “Pledging My Love,” while some 5000 attended his funeral. Served as a singing prototype for later r’n’r superstars, such as Elvis Presley. Inner: Handsome and charming. Had a longtime fascination with guns, and probably a crypto-death wish. Aced out lifetime of exiting at the height of his powers and popularity, only to return and pursue the same self-destructive impulses that continue to offset his creative gifts.

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PATHWAY OF THE MUSICIAN AS MULTI-TALENTED MURDER VICTIM:
Storyline: The socially conscious composer has an ineluctable draw towards premature death by violent men of the sea, despite a genuine desire to not only entertain but enlighten through a conflicted personality still trying to remain self-resuscitative around sudden endings.

Mia Zapata (1965-1993) - American singer and songwriter. Outer: Distant relative of Mexican revolutionary Emiliano Zapata. Both her parents were well-paid broadcast television executives. One of three children, with a brother and sister. Raised in an upper middle-class milieu in a suburb of Lexington, Kentucky. Her parents divorced and her father moved to the Pacific Northwest when she was young, although the two maintained contact and saw one another frequently. Showed an interest in punk rock at an early age, learning the guitar, while rejecting the comfort-filled lifestyle of her progenitors. Went to a Catholic girls’ school until the 12th grade, while her desire to perform didn’t manifest until she attended Antioch, a liberal arts college in Ohio. Formed a progressive blues-oriented punk rock group with three others called the Sniveling Little Rat Faced Gits after a Monte Python sketch, which was shortened to the Gits, with her serving as lead singer and songwriter. In 1989, she moved with them to Seattle, where she reunited with her sire, and remained close to him even though he couldn’t understand her music. 5’8”, slim, with a tomboy mien. Released a number of singles on local indie labels, and their debut album, “Frenching the Bully,” in 1992. Their second album, “Enter: The Conquering Chicken,” came out the next year, as their reputation began bringing them considerable attention as exemplars of the Seattle grungistas. Continually evinced a desire to help people, taking in the homeless, while constantly being there for friends as a thin shoulder to lean on. After a successful West Coast tour, the group returned to Seattle, although she had a bad feeling about her imminent future there. While walking home very late at night, listening to music on her headset, she was raped, viciously beaten and strangled in the early morning hours, and left lying in the street face up, where she had been positioned as a crucified Christ. Her body was discovered soon afterwards, but her murder remained unsolved for years. In the wake of her death, her friends formed Home Alive, a self-defense group, while her body was kept in cold storage in the hopes of finding her killer. Finally, DNA evidence extracted from saliva linked Jesus Mezquia, a former Cuban fisherman with a violent past against women, to her murder. He was convicted in 2004 and sentenced to 36 years, while continually maintaining his innocence. The sentence was subsequently overturned, then later reinstated. An eponymous documentary was released on The Gits in 2005, while she has been the subject of numerous crime shows, as well as a documentary. Inner: Extremely intuitive, alternately raucous and withdrawn, with a compelling stage presence. Strong social conscience with a great caring about people. Habitual brooder with a taste for alcohol. Viva la muerte lifetime of once more falling victim to the insensate violence of a man of the sea, in her/his ongoing dual fascination with creation and destruction, as a vulnerable voice that keeps getting stilled only to rise again from a reincarnated source to rock the cradle of the cultural milieus in which she finds herself. Marc Blitzstein (Marcus Samuel Blitzstein) (1905-1964) - American composer. Outer: Of Jewish descent. Father was a wealthy banker. Born into an affluent milieu, showing himself to be a prodigy on the piano. Started studying music at 3, and by 7, he was already composing and performing publicly. Studied with name teachers and made his adult concert debut at 21, with the Philadelphia Orchestra. Learned composition at the Curtis Institute, then continued under the auspices of composer Arnold Schoenberg (Alex Cox) in Berlin, although the two clashed, as well as Nadia Boulanger in Paris. A snob by inclination, who believed in art with a capital ‘A’ as the province of superior minds, while holding anyone who prostituted their talent for popular commercial approval in complete and utter contempt. Composed in a modernist percussive vein, with an elite audience in mind. Despite being openly homophile, he married German critic and novelist Eva Goldbeck in 1933 on his birthday, no children from the union, which was one of intense friendship, and mutual inspiration, while she served as his muse. Wrote essays for left-wing journals such as “New Masses,” attacking fellow modern composers during this period. Following her death from anorexia in 1936, which shattered him, his profound sense of loss threw him into his composing as a salve and he produced his most influential work, “The Cradle Will Rock,” an allegorical political opera influenced by his theatrical idol Bertolt Brecht, that had a dramatic history all its own during its opening venue. The work made him famous, and he continued composing pop operas and musicals based on established works, with political themes, including the radio play, “I’ve Got the Tune.” Although a member of the Communist Party, he ended his affiliation with it because of its closed mind towards his own sexual stance. Won a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1940, and became less militant afterwards. Worked closely with the young Leonard Bernstein, in a mutually supportive relationship, as well as Orson Welles, and enlisted in the US Army Eighth Air Force during WW II, where he served as music director of the American broadcasting station in London. Continued composing as part of his own war effort, and returned to the stage afterwards, enjoying his greatest personal success with an adaptation of Brecht and Kurt Weill’s (Harmony Korine) “Threepenny Opera,” despite an open distaste for the latter’s prostituting his talent. Subpoenaed before the House Committee on Un-American Activities in 1951 in which he admitted being a Communist Party member in a closed session, although refused to cooperate any further. Proved to be too small a fish to fry, although he was pro forma blacklisted by the studio bosses. His later offerings in the 1950s were less well-received, and his final works, including one he felt was destined to be his magnum opus on the rush-to-judgment anarchists Nicola Sacco (Terry Nichols) and Bartolemeo Vanzetti (Tim McVeigh) remained incomplete, because of his premature death. After a night of heavy drinking on the Caribbean Island of Martinique, he picked up a trio of black Portuguese sailors,.who robbed, beat him and stripped him down to his shirt and socks. Wound up bleeding to death from internal contusions. The trio was identified by him before he died, and all were convicted of manslaughter. Inner: Curious combo of snob and left-wing social sentimentalist, with the overview of “art for society’s sake.” Discordantly lyrical lifetime of trying to integrate his elevated view of art with his reformist view of the world, only to ultimately find himself undone by his inability to discern the difference between his own occasional walks on the wild side and the far more predacious instincts of those who dwell there.

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PATHWAY OF THE SINGER AS LOVABLE ECCENTRIC:
Storyline: The colorful contralto allows her full off-center character to come forth to create a completely unique world figure, with all cultures at her behest, and the ability to integrate them into her distinctive musicianship, after earlier struggling through limitations imposed upon her, in order to allow her indomitable will to transcend them.

Bjork (Bjork Gudmundsdottir) (1965) - Icelandic singer and actress. Outer: Mother was a homeopathic doctor, father was an electrician’s union chief. An only child, her parents had been together from the time they were 14, and split up when she was one. Grew up in a cultured communal setting, with an emphasis on not only music, but Scandinavian folk and literary culture, as well. Lived with seven adults and a number of children. Because she wound up with 3 sets of parents, she has 3 brothers and sisters, while her stepfather was a member of an Icelandic rock band. Studied flute, piano and voice, beginning at the age of 5, as well as the full classical repertoire, before finding punk to her liking. At 12, she recorded her first album, then joined a series of bands, and became a countrywide star, thanks to a documentary on Icelandic New Wave music. Developed a world reputation afterward, because of a later global interest in that phenomenon. 5’4”, pixyish. Formed a trio called Kukl, which is Icelandic for ‘witch,’ and toured Europe with them, before the band broke up in 1986, and retransformed into the Sugar Cubes. Married guitarist Thor Eldon, and had a son from the union the same year. Also appeared in her first film, an independent American production, The Juniper Tree. The Sugar Cubes turned into an international sensation, putting Icelandic rock on the charts, and they signed with Elektra records, although the band broke up in 1992. The following year, her marriage broke up as well, and she moved to London with her son to begin her solo career. Her first album, “Debut,” was a huge commercial hit, and she became a transatlantic star, employing a wide variety of genres, punctuated by her haunting, powerful voice, which can be alternately sultry, girlish, breathy and raspy. Fond of inter-splicing polarities together on her recordings, creating improbably integrations of disparate sounds. Won the Best Actress Reward at the Cannes Film Festival in 2000 for her role as a factory work in Dancer In the Dark, although found the experience so draining, she vowed never to make another film. Given the island of Ellidaey off the coast of Iceland by the government for her promotion of her native country, before moving to NYC, where she had a daughter with artist Matthew Barney. The duo moved to New Jersey together, and eventually collaborated on a film, Drawing Restraint 9, as well, while both remained intensely protective of their privacy. Appeared at the Academy Rewards in a “swan dress,” in 1999 to accentuate her complete individuality, and remains a unique figure on the pop scene, both stylistically and artistically, with each new release showing her remarkable ingenuity, and ability to grow with her success, rather than be buried by it, as is the case with many stars who find a niche and do not go beyond it. Outraged Chinese authorities in 2008 by shouting “Tibet, Tibet,” at the end of a concert, eliciting a promise of a crackdown on further displays of that nature by foreign entertainers. Mapped out her vision of art, nature and technology in 2011’s “Biophilia,” then after breaking up with artist Matthew Barney, released her 9th studio album, “Vulnicura,” which included a diss track on him, and her ultimate recovery from lost love, in a bravura performance showing her extraordinary depth of personal and musical intelligence. Inner: Extremely creative, from head-to-toe, while cultivating both an exotic and a highly broachable approach to her artistry. Harbors a wide range of musical tastes, from pop to classic to twelve tone modernism. Views her work in collaboratory terms, with different periods marked by different collaborators. Eclectic lifetime of giving full play to her playful sense of musicianship, operating from a solid cultural base, rather than the hard-fought struggles of her previous go-round in this series, where she had to constantly deal with obstacles in order to allow her true artistry to shine forth. Ernestine Schumann-Heink (Ernestine Rossler) (1861-1936) - Czech/American singer. Outer: Mother was a half-Jewish Italian singer. Father was a Catholic officer in the Austrian army, of aristocratic heritage. Had an impoverished upbringing, and was often hungry. Her mother began teaching her to sing contralto arias at the age of 9. Began working at 10, singing and dancing for food from a dour grocer. Taught herself the piano, by rocking her crying baby sister with one foot, and keeping time with the other. Short, stocky and homely. Failed in her first audition at 15 for the Vienna Court Opera, before being accepted by the Dresden Royal Opera, where she made her debut in 1878. Possessed an opulent, rich voice, as well as a fine dramatic temperament. Learned parts quickly, and ultimately had a repertoire of some 150 roles. Fired in 1882 for marrying the opera house’s secretary, Ernst Heink, for which he, too was canned. The pair had four children, although her husband left her when she was pregnant with their fourth, and the two divorced in 1893. Thought about suicide, but instead, channeled her unhappiness into her art, and began singing again, while letting her parents raise her children, until she had enough money to support them. Learned to read music, continued her career, and in 1892, married Paul Schumann, an actor and stage manager, who had been widowed with a son. Together the duo had three more children. Made her Chicago debut in 1898, while pregnant with her last child, while claiming the birth of each added a note to her range, which ultimately spanned three octaves. Fell in love with America, as America did with her, and she became a transatlantic performer, although limited her roles in her adopted country. Her husband died in 1904, just before she was to perform for President Theodore Roosevelt (Kathleen Kennedy), but she sang anyway, with tears coursing down her cheeks, as well as his. The following year, she married her manager, a Chicago lawyer, who was a dozen years her junior, in order to give her children a stable American home, although he divorced her in 1914, when she paid more attention to her brood than him. Toured the U.S. and sang in more than 230 operas and concerts over the next three years, and finally bought a 500 acre property in southern California, after becoming a U.S. citizen in 1908. Lost her eldest son in WW I, when he disappeared at sea with the German navy, while her next three sons all fought for the U.S. Devoted her own considerable energy to the U.S. war effort, opening her home to servicemen, singing for the Red Cross, and touring hospitals and army camps. Dubbed “Mother of the Army Expeditionary Force,” for her efforts. After the war, she returned to Germany to collect her daughter-in-law and grandchildren. Extremely generous, she insisted that many of her performances be for free or low admission, and established a tradition of singing “Silent Night,” on Christmas Eve on radio for years. Became one of her adopted country’s most admired women, in the process. Made her final appearance at the Metropolitan Opera House in 1932, but continued giving concerts, and serving as a public speaker, castigating the rise of the Nazis, while asking for tolerance for all races. Made her film debut in 1935 with a small role in Here’s to Romance, and though she signed a contract to appear in several more, ill-health prevented her from doing so. Died the following year of leukemia at her Hollywood home. Wrote her immodestly-titled autobiography “Schumann-Heink: The Last of the Titans.” Inner: Humble, socially aware, extremely loving, and well-loved in return. Natural actress, who transformed her ungainly appearance, as soon as she began singing, into a transcendental titan of the opera stage. Well-loved lifetime of continually overcoming obstacles to allow her great voice and even greater heart full expression as a mother figure on both a personal and national level, with the entire world as the repository of her good graces.

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PATHWAY OF THE SINGER AS SUICIDE KING:
Storyline: The nirvana-starved neurotic finds little peace with earthly life and feels even less attachment to being body-bound, resulting in his ongoing casual early exits, much to the grievous unhappiness of all who come to identify with his total lack of commitment to living.

Kurt Cobain (1967-1994) - American singer and songwriter. Outer: From a family of suicides. Son of an auto mechanic. Interested in music from the age of 2, as well as art. Diagnosed as hyperactive as a child and given ritalin, which kept him constantly awake until 4, then given sedatives to counteract the affects of amphetamines, which set up his drug patterns for the rest of his life. His parents divorced when he was 8, and he didn’t get along with his macho father or his mother’s abusive boyfriend. Was shuffled between relatives, and suffered a sad and lonely childhood as well as a sense of being a misfit. His chronic bronchitis, and his later acute stomach trouble, indicated a total lack of sense of his own power. Announced at 14, he was going to become a superstar, then kill himself. Skipped school, did a lot of drugs, and finally dropped out to pursue a music career. Became interested in punk rock, and ultimately formed the Seattle group Nirvana in 1986, which quickly proved a huge success. His primal screaming style touched a nerve with his searing, sarcastic self-deprecating oeuvre. Unable to deal with fame, he receded every deeper into altered states as a balm. His seminal album, released in 1991, was “Nevermind,” with its sarcastic anthem, “Smells like Teen Spirit.” Married flamboyant rock’n’roller Courtney Love in 1992, and had daughter Frances Bean from union. Continued his heroin use, as did his wife during her pregnancy, which elicited a court action against them, and the first of his five attempts at rehabilitation. Stated in 1992 he had conquered his drug habit, but kept relapsing. Turned to painting for a while to release his demons, showing a distinct talent, with the dream of opening a gallery. Despite the huge success of the band, he took an overdose of sedatives in Rome and went into a coma, although he recovered, but a few months later, he finally committed suicide via a shotgun to the head. In his last note, he cited the pressures of fame, the pain in his stomach and his despair that music was no longer his salve. His anguished diaries would be published nearly a decade later, revealing someone hell-bent on self-annihilation. Inner: Hypersensitive, alien, infuriated, but also sweet and whimsical. Dualistic character, longing for normalcy and yet unable to rouse himself from a lifelong depression. Often in denial about his drug use. Uberdowner lifetime of sheer self-destruction in the name of art, as well as a total disregard for the sanctity of life. Russ Columbo (Ruggiero Eugenio de Rudolpho Colombo) (1908-1934) - American singer and songwriter. Outer: Of Sicilian descent. His parents were immigrants, and he was their 12th child. Learned to play the violin at age 5 and was considered a prodigy. His family moved to California when he was 8, finally winding up in Los Angeles. Made his professional debut at the age of 13 as a violinist in San Francisco. Played in his high school orchestra, then dropped out at 17, to join the ballroom circuit. Began his pop career with a band at the Los Angeles Cocoanut Grove as a violinist, then took over vocalizing duties when Bing Crosby (Harry Styles) left. Sang in the crooning style popular at the time, and became a rival of Crosby, the most popular exemplar of that silky ballad style. Had a high baritone with dark good looks, and appeared in several films, beginning with The Wolf Song in 1929, although he was largely a voice rather than a face, which disenchanted him with filmwork. Left the band after 2 years and formed his own combo, co-writing his theme, “You Call it Madness.” Enjoyed great popularity, with his own radio show, while touring the U.S. and Europe, and competing with Crosby in “The Battle of the Baritones.” Linked with tragic actress Carole Lombard (Meryl Streep), at life’s end, despite studio objections to the romance. A friend used an ancient pair of dueling pistols as paperweights and struck a match on one, which turned out to be loaded. The bullet hit him in the left eye after ricocheting off the wall, and lodged in his brain, killing him. His mother was never told of his death, and his father perpetuated the illusion by writing letters to her as her son for the last decade of her life. Inner: Vain, never fully given a chance to develop as a singer. May have been a homophile. Fickle finger of fate lifetime of becoming a pre-eminent early personality in the most popular musical idiom of the day, only to self-destruct through bizarre, and perhaps, secretly wished, circumstances, in keeping with his casual attitude towards life’n’death. Prince Alfred of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha (1879-1899) - British prince. Outer: Father was Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh (Prince Philip). Mother was Grand Duchess Maria of Russia (Queen Elizabeth II). One of 5 children, and their only son, with four younger sisters. The product of an unhappy union of which the British monarch, Victoria (Mary Renault), disapproved. Raised initially in the UK, before his parents moved to Germany in 1893, when his British-born father succeeded to the grand duchy of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, to assume his grandfather Prince Albert’s (Josef Albers) ancestral seat. Went to a military school in Potsdam to prepare him for his eventual succession as head of his familial duchy. Engaged to a German princess in 1895, although the marriage never came about. Did poorly away from his family, and took to heroin as a means of salving his unhappy situation, while royal cover-ups had him consumptive. May have secretly wed Mabel Fitzgerald, the granddaughter of the 4th Duke of Leinster. During his period a a guards officer, he contracted syphilis. At the official celebration of his parent’s silver wedding anniversary he got into a violent argument with his mother over her suspicion that he had secretly married and shot himself with a revolver. Taken to a spa in Meran in the Italian Tyrol to convalesce, he died a week later of his wound. Buried in the ducal mausoleum in Glockenberg Cemetery in Germany, while considerable question remains about the true nature of his death. Inner: Extremely self-destructive, with little personal sense of self. Royal screwup lifetime of being a total misfit, with little desire to fully live out his years, in his ongoing disregard for his presence upon the mortal coil.

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PATHWAY OF THE PERFORMER AS BIG BOPPER TURNED EVEN BIGGER RAPPER:
Storyline: The bad luck big man gets way too large for his body, and once again exits early via crashing to Earth, as he continues to play with his mortality as if it were an ongoing broken record.

Darren Robinson (1967-1995) - American rapper. Outer: Of African-American descent. Outer: Grew up poor, along with his older brother Curt, who would become his manager. Hung out with a couple of equally large neighborhood friends, Mark (Prince Markie Dee) Morales and Damon (Kool Rockski) Wimbley, and after witnessing the violent death of another compadre, decided to make something of themselves. Together the trio, who tipped the scales at over 800 pounds, and had played high school football before being kicked off the team, won a rap contest in 1984, calling themselves the Disco 3. Used belches, grunts and backward breathing to create a unique percussive background, which earned him the nickname of the Human Beat Box. Also took on a number of other sobriquets, including Buff Love, and DJ Dr. Nice. After securing a record deal, they went on a promotional tour of Europe, as one of the first rap acts to do so. Racked up room service bills that were so huge, their exasperated promoter dubbed them the Fat Boys, and the name was deemed professionally appropriate. Their first album went gold, and their next two sold in the millions as well. Hard core rappers accused them of being lightweights, although he likened the group to the Three Stooges, with their intent to make people laugh, rather than celebrate the gangsta life. Constantly touring afterwards, showing themselves to be consummate performers, and one of the few rap acts interested in spreading good cheer. In 1985, he and the group began appearing in film, beginning with Knights of the City, followed by Krush Groove, a rapsploitation epic, which they followed up with The Disorderlies. Filmed a roadie carnalizing a 14 year old at a Philadelphia party, in 1990, which elicited a $10,000 fine, and after Morales left in 1991 to pursue a solo career, he and Wimbley continued to perform, produce other rap artists, and host “Yo MTV Raps.” Had one son, Quinton, whom he doted upon. Ballooned up to 450 pounds, while suffering from lymphedema, a rare and crippling lymph node disorder. Tried to lose weight at life’s end, while battling the flu and working on a reunion album. As he was climbing on a studio chair in his home, he fell, once more crashing to Earth, and died of cardiac arrest. Inner: Sweet-natured and good-humored, with a genuine desire to entertain and uplift people. Outsized lifetime of allowing his oral needs to dominate his life, despite a gift for unusual mouth sounds, and an equal facility for giving out pleasure as taking it in. The Big Bopper (Jiles Perry Richardson) (1930-1959) - American DJ and performer. Outer: Father was a driller in the Texas oil fields. Oldest of three brothers. Called Jape by his friends, since he and his sire shared names. Large-bodied, he played football as a defensive lineman in high school in Beaumont Texas. Studied law briefly at Lamar College, while participating in the band and chorus and working part time at a local radio station. Married Adrianne Fryon in 1952, daughter and son from the union, with the latter born posthumously and going on to a career of his own impersonating his father. Joined the army in 1955, and spent two years as a radar operator in Texas. On his release, he began his full-time career as a DJ on KTRM, initially doing the late night shift, before shifting to afternoon drive time, while redubbing himself “The Big Bopper,” after a dance hit of the time “The Bop.” Became the station’s program director, and also started writing songs for others, including “White Lightning” for George Jones and “Running Bear,” for Johnny Preston, which became a huge hit after his death. In 1957, he set a marathon record for continuous on-air play, with a five, two hour and 8 minute stint, in which he lost 35 pounds, while playing 1821 records. Slept for 20 hours afterwards. Had his biggest hit, “Chantilly Lace” in 1958, a pre-rap spoken song that established him as a unique entertainer in his own right. Joined a tour with other hitmakers during the winter of 1959. Came down with the flu on the tour bus, so singer Waylon Jennings relinquished his seat on the four-seat Beechcraft Bonanza plane the show’s stars were using, which led in the infamous snowstorm crash that killed Buddy Holly (Jay Reatard) and Ritchie Valens (Selena), as well as the pilot, in an epic curtain call for the early days of rock’n’roll, later immortalized as “The Day the Music Died.” At his death, he had been building a recording studio in his home, and was also planning on investing in a radio station. His body was later exhumed and reburied. Inner: Well-loved, and a strong family man with a good sense of humor. Truncated lifetime of coming crashing down to Earth in a legendary accident, before returning to blow himself up to such gargantuan proportions, that even his ongoing good humor could not stem yet another crash for his overtaxed heart.

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PATHWAY OF THE PERFORMER AS SISTERS ACT TURNED SOLO:
Storyline: The sorority singer spends an entire go-round playing a little girl, before growing up her next incarnation, to reveal a passionate woman with a troubled heart and a litigious soul, unwilling to bend to the will of others.

Toni Braxton (1967) - American singer, songwriter and actress. Outer: Of African-American descent. Father was an Apostolic minister as well as a singer. Mother was a cosmetology instructor and extremely religious as well. The pair raised their children according to their strict religious dictates, which meant no pants or make-up for the girls, and no boyfriends. Things loosened up a bit when they joined the United Methodist Church, giving her access to TV and pop music, although much of it was done on the sly. The oldest of 5 sisters, all of whose names began with a ‘T’, as well as a brother. Began singing in her sire’s church choir, and always wanted to be a singer, taking lessons towards that end, although per her parents’ wishes she went to Bowie State Univ. in Maryland to pursue a teaching degree, although dropped out to become a court reporter. 5’2”, with a voluptuous figure she enjoys showing off. Overheard singing at a gas station, which launched her, along with her sisters, on a public singing career. Began performing with them as the Braxtons in her early 20s, and caught the attention of producers Babyface Edmonds and L.A. Reid, which led to a contract with their label, LaFace. Both saw in her a similar contralto as Anita Baker, and commandeered her career. Began hitting the charts with singles, while her eponymous debut album in 1993 won her a Grammy for Best New Artist that year, and since then she has added at least 5 more, while also co-producing and writing songs on her next albums. Her biggest international hit would be “Un-break My Heart,” an irony, because of her later diagnosed condition with that vulnerable organ. It would become the second biggest selling single by a female artist in Billboard herstory, topped only by Whitney Houston’s over-the-top “I Will Always Love You.” Went on racking up awards, only to file for bankruptcy in 1998, following litigation with her record company. Later resolved it and continued recording for LaFace, although not without further conflicts, particularly when she chose to focus on pregnancies and family rather than career. Made her Broadway debut in 1998 in “Beauty and the Beast,” and followed that up with “Aida” in 2003, both of which were Disney productions. Made her film debut in 2001 in Kingdom Come. The same year, she married keyboardist Keri Lewis, 2 sons from the union, which ended in separation. Her second son, Diesel, suffers from autism, while she was diagnosed with a serious heart condition called pericarditis in 2003. Became a public spokeswoman for both afflictions, and in 2003, moved to Blackground Records, her manager’s label, although her later work did not meet the sales expectations generated by her earlier releases. Became an extended Las Vegas headliner in 2006, although heart problems would curtail that venture in 2008. In the interim, she filed a large lawsuit against her former manager, which ultimately limited the companies she could sign with, in her ongoing need to both assert herself and remain very much in control of her high profile life. Filed for bankruptcy in 2010, claiming she owed somewhere between $10 million and $50 million in unpaid debts, after the IRS filed a lien against her for $396k. Ultimately settled for $150,000. Retired from music in 2013, stating her heart wasn’t in it anymore. In her subsequent memoir, “Unbreak My Heart,” she admitted that she initially felt her son’s autism was punishment by God for her having had an abortion, although later realized, he was special and a gift, rather than a trial. Picked up her 7th Grammy in 2015, and her first in 14 years, as a send-off from the music industry. Inner: Passionate with a good wit and persistent with a strong will and sense of justice for herself. Sees herself as the musical equivalent of a Lifetime channel for Women soaper, with all her sad songs, despite a sense of resurrection in most of them. Completion lifetime of dealing with heart issues both large and small, while bringing herself to full maturity after a go-round of continuing playing the little girl deep into middle age. Rosetta Duncan (1894-1959) - American singer, comedienne and actress. Outer: Father was a violinist who became a salesman. Middle of 3 sisters and older sibling of Vivian Duncan, with whom she would team up as a vaudeville act. Originally wanted to be an opera singer, and studied to that effect. 5’2”. Along with Vivian, she served her show business apprenticeship on the smalltime western vaudeville circuit, then moved to the midwest, playing cheap houses, before coming East with the help of their eldest sister, Evelyn, who also had a showbiz career as a vaudeville actress. Made their NYC debut in a kiddie review, playing off of one another, with her sister a prototypical dumb blonde and herself a comedienne, with their act originally showcasing them as child-voiced mischievous singers. As the babyish Duncan Sisters, they intertwined slapstick, close harmony singing, and satiric imitations of popular musical stars, while perennially playing little girls. Loved to ad-lib, although never developed a range of characters, preferring to stick to her childish act, largely because her audience demanded it. The sisters penned their own musical material, and appeared in nightclubs, as well as on the NYC and London stage, with 1919 proving a banner year on Broadway with “Doing Our Bit.” Four years later they made show biz herstory with their musical comedy take on Harriet Beecher Stowe’s (Zadie Smith) “Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” playing it for laughs, rather than social commentary. Carefully studied minstrel mannerisms, then assayed the slave Topsy in blackface to her sister’s Eva in what would be their greatest success. The show would find its way to the silent screen in 1927, although their particularly brand of stage horseplay did not translate from one medium to the other, and the film was a financial failure, as were their further efforts in cinema. After her sister got married in 1930, she tried a solo career for a few years, before Vivian divorced and they teamed up again as a popular night club act, reviving their hit play twice during the decade, and managing ultimately to keep it alive for thirty years, by constantly rewriting it to reflect changing tastes. Appeared in one of the first musical comedies on the new medium of TV, and then the duo spent the rest of their career playing to the nostalgia of the earlier vaudeville era that they in part personified. Recorded and also did occasional TV performances, while focusing her entire go-round on her public, rather than private life, as did her sister, save for the brief period of her marriage. Never married herself and died from injuries suffered in an automobile accident. Her sister continued on as a single, and ultimately died of Alzheimer’s in 1986. Inner: Good mimic and ad-libber. Never really escaped her blackface role, ultimately imprisoning her larger creativity in it. Impish lifetime of remaining a little girl in essence, her entire existence, curtailing her larger talent, before returning to reclaim her womanhood and her larger sense of self.

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PATHWAY OF THE SINGER AS VOICE OF HER OWN SWEET DREAMS:
Storyline: The self-identifying songstress is given a strong foundation to discover her true being, then rediscovers her own past self, and builds directly on the connections she finds, to forge an amalgam of past and present.

k. d. lang (Katherine Dawn Lang) (1969) - Canadian/American singer. Outer: Mother taught grade school, father was a pharmacist. Youngest of 4, she grew up in a small Canadian town. Her parents supported her unconventionality and gave her a strong sense of self-confidence to pursue her own pathway. They divorced when she was 12, and she hasn’t seen her father since. Evinced an early interest in music, as well as art, and was a tomboy and good athlete in high school. Attended Red Deer College, but left without graduating. Instead, she immersed herself in performance. Appeared in a musical based on the life of Patsy Cline, an earlier incarnation of hers, and came to identify with her strongly. Her first group was named the Reclines in honor of Patsy. Legally changed her name to the lower case. Began her career affectionately parodying country music, then embraced its emotion. Had the same producer as Cline, who came out of retirement to work with her. A controversial animal-right’s activist and androgynous star in the heterosexual country milieu, she then added further fuel by coming out as a lesbian in 1992. Continually expanding her abilities as well as her musical repertoire, while writing about emotional states, particularly love. Works with longtime collaborator and instrumentalist Ben Mink, composing the music and melodies first and then struggling with the lyrics. Eventually settled in Southern California in 1997, to get more of a domestic sense of herself, while exploring her more positive, up-beat side and trying to make her music even more accessible. Inner: Down-to-earth, honest and intense. Loves to shock people, as well as entertain them. Wanderlust, rarely home, no sense of domesticity earlier in her career. Resurrected lifetime of opening herself up to a whole other plane of being, as befits a victim of a plane crash, directly expanding on her earlier life and abilities. Patsy Cline (Virginia Patterson Hensley) (1932-1963) - American country-western singer. Outer: Grandfather was a patriarchal property-owner known as the baron. Father was a hair-triggered vagabond with a singing talent, who worked as a blacksmith. Born 6 days after her parents had a shotgun wedding, mother was only 15 at the time, and the duo subsequently fought constantly. Very close to her seamstress mother, while suffering incest and abuse from her father. Won a tap-dancing contest and took up the piano at the age of 8, but didn’t begin singing until her teens. Entertained on street-corners to help feed her family during the Depression. Quit school at 16 to work in a drugstore, and won a trip to Nashville from an audition the same year. Began singing with local country bands, then married in 1953 to to Gerald Kline, whose family owned a construction business and looked old enough to be her father, although was only 7 years her senior. Had an affair during the marriage, then divorced in 1957. The same year, she married an alcoholic bad boy, Charlie Dick, who was a linotype operator, and put her career on hold, although her husband ultimately became her manager. Daughter and son from the union. After her spouse’s army stint, she appeared on several radio and TV shows. Signed to a recording contract following a win on national TV’s “Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts” Show, which gave her a 2 week stint on the latter’s morning show, and national exposure. Had a string of hits afterwards, and within 3 years she had achieved a lifetime ambition by becoming a member of the “Grand Ole Opry,” giving her the platform she needed for an extended career. Became one of country music’s biggest stars, gradually evolving a more sophisticated style, which turned her into Nashville’s most prominent female country singer. Never comfortable being categorized as a pop singer, which her record label insisted on, after 3 cross-over hits, including “I Fall to Pieces,” and continued yodeling on her records and affecting cowboy gear on stage to underline her roots. In 1961, she became the first female country singer to play Carnegie Hall, and the following year the first to headline her own show in Las Vegas. Died in a plane crash in a remote area at the age of 30 at the height of her career, following a benefit concert, along with 3 other performers. It took 3 days to find her. Her honey soprano voice and phrasing were distinct, and she is best remembered for “Crazy.” Posthumously inducted into Country Music Hall of Fame in 1973, as the first female solo act, and given a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1995. Her life was later made into a motion picture, Sweet Dreams, starring Jessica Lange. Inner: Ambitious, emotional, domestic, and driven. Cowgirl Hall of Fame lifetime of creating the foundation for the modern-day country and western vocalist, reaching an apex of popularity and then symbolically moving up to another plane through her dramatic exit.

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