I started playing in local bands in detroit in the 1970's. The first major act I worked, toured and recorded with was Bob Seger. Bob snatched up all of the musicians from the band I was in called "Julia" which included great guitarist/producer/writer, Bill Mueller to back him up. After a while Bob fired the rhythm section and hired Dick Sims [keyboards] and Jamie Oldaker [drums] from Tulsa, OK. I sang background vocals [along with my friend, vocalist and fellow Detroiter, Luke Smith] on his "Back in '72" album which was recorded at Leon Russells' Grand Lake studio and toured with him for a while after that.
After I left Bob's band, I was invited by Dick Sims and Jamie Oldaker to move to Tulsa, Oklahoma, to start a band.
The music scene was really happening there at the time; lots of great R and B. Many notables used to come in and jam with us, i.e., Carl Radle of Derek and the Dominoes, people from the Gap Band, Leon Russell, JJ Cale, etc.
It so happened Eric Clapton was looking for a new band. Carl Radle told him about our band, he came to check us out and he hired everyone. I couldn't go because I had made a prior commitment to tour with Leon Russell for nine months.
After my tour finished, I was invited down to Jamaica where they were all recording "There's One in Every Crowd" and sang on several tracks.
After being there for four days, Eric asked me to join the band. I spent the next four years touring and recording with Eric , and also writing several songs with and for him; "Innocent Times" on the "There's No Reason To Cry" album, as well as "Hungry" written with fellow bandmember, Dick Sims. At one point, I was signed to RSO records [Robert Stigwood] to do my own album which was produced by David Foster but was never finished.
I co-wrote "Lay down Sally" with Eric and bandmember George Terry, as well as "Rollit" with Eric and also "The Core" written with Eric and other bandmembers, which were all on the "Slowhand" album. And I was also involved in writing some other Clapton songs like, "Walk Away" and part of "Promises".
After that I stopped working with Eric, and moved to Los Angeles to pursue my own career.
I ended up doing lots of session work for some of the greatest singers and producers of all time.
I did recording sessions for:
Aretha Franklin, (my vocal idol), George Duke, Stanley Clarke, Al Jarreau, Bette Midler, Leo Sayer, Melissa Manchester,and worked for some of the best producers of all time: Jerry Wexler, Arif Mardin, Glyn Johns, Tom Dowd, Roger Hawkins.
I sang sessions for Burt Bacharach and Carole Bayer Sager, Leiber and Stoller and many more.
I also wrote loads of songs including co-writes for: Chaka Khan,
Belinda Carlisle, Al Jarreau ["One Way" written with Billie Hughes], including Philip Bailey's hit "Walking on the Chinese Wall".
Amidst doing all the session work, I also did my own record on Epic Records called, "Marcella". I co-wrote all of the songs on the record which was released in 1982, with production by John Boylan, Frank Rand and Executive production by Richard Feldman. The record was met with lukewarm response unfortunately and we were refused tour support by Epic Records when we were asked by John Cougar Mellenkamp to tour with him.
I worked with Clapton again in 1985 after writing a song with Richard Feldman called "Tangled In Love" which was on the "behind the sun" album.
I was invited to come down to Montserrat , Air Studios,where Eric was recording what would become his "Behind the Sun" album with Phil Collins produciing. I got a call from Eric who had heard our song, "Tangled in Love" and asked me to come down to sing on it. He said, "bring a friend", so I brought this great singer from Detroit named Shaun Murphy. She and I worked with Bob Seger together a while before. Shaun and I went down and a few days later Eric asked us to join the band. I toured with him for about a year and then quit so I could pursue my solo career.
After coming back to LA, I did lots of session work again and also started writing for my own project. I was playing all the LA clubs and then met up with Siobhan Fahey, which brings me to the start of Shakespear's Sister...