Lisa Fischer

It’s not very often people get to sit with and talk to someone they admire and respect.  I have been very fortunate in my life that I’ve been able to do that a few times.  The first time was with Mr. Harry Belafonte.  At first he didn’t even believe that my name was Carmen Jones but after much coercion he was able to see past my name and see me for who I am.  And of course I can’t forget my few moments with Maxwell.  I always have to drop that name (oh my).  But those are other blogs at other times.
A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of meeting songstress Lisa Fischer.  She came in as a fill in background singer for Cher’s show at the Colosseum at Caesar’s Palace.  Now, a brief history about Lisa Fischer….if you didn’t  know Lisa Fischer is best known for her 1992 Grammy award winning song “How Can I Ease the Pain,” which she tied with Patti Labelle for Best Female R&B Vocal performance.  In that same category was Gladys Knight and Aretha Franklin.  Not bad company huh? As for me, I’ve known about Ms. Fischer and her music career long before the hits.
(photo of Lisa Fischer from Google images)

When I first decided that music would be something I wanted to pursue I wanted to get out there and do the damn thing and be the next Whitney Houston.  Okay…Janet Jackson, since at the time I could somewhat dance like Janet, but then I realized that the true singers and lovers of music were the musicians and the background singers.  Hence, I would pursue background singing.  I would be able to hit a high note where it’s needed, add an extra voice when the track needed to be fuller. All in all, I’d be someone who’d come in, learn her part, get to sing on a major tour like Janet or Madonna and I could still come home drop an album or two and go back to touring with the major stars.  That would be amazing. After that realization I never wanted to pursue the “limelight” so Lisa Fischer was the person I looked up to.  Seeing her rock out with The Rolling Stones and Tina Turner and to turn around and perform smooth R&B vocals on every Luther Vandross tour until his death Lisa  Fischer was my idol.  She did exactly what I’d been thinking about doing and was successful at it.

(Lisa Fischer and Mick Jagger/Rolling Stones Mexico City/Life Magazine 2001)  

But, as time progressed the pursuit became less and less. The priority of having a job and paying the bills put singing on the back burner.  Then one day, I'm outside of the Colosseum after work waiting for a friend to meet me for a cocktail and he introduces me to Ms. Fischer.  I play it cool, say hello and then she tells me she loves my energy.  Really? Oh I have to ask her to be a guest for REDEFINED.  But the timing never allowed us to make the filming happen.  However, Ms Fischer was kind enough to sit and talk with me one night.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      So So for nearly two hours we talked about our mutual musical pursuits, the love of singing and just doing what we love.  I expounded on how even though I’m not singing like I once wanted, I still get some fulfillment from my weekly karaoke stints and how much I love the entire CarmenJonesOne concept and the inception of it.  She even asked me what was holding me back from continuing to pursue a career in music.  The only answer I could give her was ME.
Ms. Fischer reminded me so much that even though I'm not doing music, I have to remember to do what makes me happy.  Singing, interviewing, dancing or just finding what's inside of me that will make me happy.  I found out that the one thing she loved about her career is knowing she was a good support person.  Be it for Tina Turner, Luther Vandross or Cher, she just loves to sing and loves to perform.  Being the support person on the stage and helping make the artist sound great is really what makes Lisa Fischer happy, and after our conversation, yes she even supports me and my endeavors.  Talk about coming full circle.  The same concept that I had when I wanted to become background singer all those years ago.

There is one more thing that I have to tell that will make Ms. Fischer smile.  During our conversation the topic of diabetes came up.  She talked about the importance of being tested, the diets and exercises that help keep diabetes under control and that the disease is more prevalent than most even realize.  So the next day, I went to work on my day job (a local hospital) and gave $25 to the juvenile diabetes cause that my hospital sponsors.  I did it as a favor for my mentor, Ms. Lisa  Fischer and this is how you REDEFINE.

(So Intense photo shoot 1991)
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