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The first song that I wrote was when I was with The Del Rios. I was like 14 years old but I was always putting my thoughts down on paper even before then because it was like an escape - a way of unleashing all the stuff.
Some of my other heroes around that time were, oddly enough, Frank Sinatra, Nat Cole and people like that - I was always more inclined to listen to ballads.
It's been a rollercoaster ride. There have been some great moments and some low points... like when I was leaving Stax. That's when I actually thought of getting out of the business.
I wear a lot of different hats - from writer to producer and artist. We all do 5 or 6 jobs, everything from creating our own graphic design to actually recording and the whole bit.
I stayed with them for about a year up there and, at night, worked over in Long Island at a club called The High Hat Club which was like a pseudo jazz blues place.
I felt a little uncomfortable because, when I went in to the military, I was the main male vocalist they had and when I came out they had like two or three vocalists. Otis came in when I was in the military, too.
Growing up in Memphis and listening to all kinds of music and dreaming... So that was one of the first times I wrote a complete song and set it to music and the whole bit. From then on, I was busy with it.
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