From Rocking Combat Boots to Indie Rock & Pop
I couldn’t tell my story without sharing with you the amazing and talented family I come from. My grandfather, Rev. Dan W. Tullis, Sr., the patriarch of my family passed away in 2009 but not without leaving so many talented children, grandchildren (ME!!!), great grandchildren, and great-great grandchildren. Below: Aunt Debra, Mother Dwainia, Uncles Darrell, Daymon, Derek, and Dan and of course, my Grandmother Deloris and Grandfather Dan Sr. Their talents range from artist to business owners to politician to financial analyst to chef but one thing my family shares is their talent for singing. I grew up in a family where harmonies and deep bass boomed at holidays and in church. My Uncle Dan has performed in the off-Broadway plays Showboat, Evita, and The Man of La Mancha. He is most famous for his role as Officer Dan on Married with Children! So you see, my passion for singing comes naturally and is one I have had as long as I can remember….But…I was so shy I decided to play the flute.
First Musical Experience
I played the flute from 4th grade until I graduated high school (I joined the Paramount Pirates band after they took the pic). I was very competitive and fought to be first chair and won. I remained first flute and loved it! I won 8 medals in festivals and was even told I should attend Juilliard! But honestly, playing the flute was great…. It was just not my passion. To be honest, I would secretly go in the bathroom and sing my heart out to EVERY song on the radio… Mostly love songs and definitely Madonna! The radio and I were close friends during middle school and high school but as time went on, my realities changed. Real life hit and I grew up. I had my first baby at 17, got married, went to college…and my dream seemed so far from my reach…..
Who Was I?
Like many young marriages, mine ended in divorce. So there I was in my early 20’s with 2 young daughters but still trying to learn how to manage my finances and responsibilities. Sadly, I was unsuccessful and had to call their father as I lost my home and ultimately my little girls. As I walked up and down the streets of southern California, all I could do was sing and remember how special my little girls, Jasmine and Jessica, were to me. I would stop at NOTHING to get my act together and sing to them again. I walked to the JTPA (Job Training Partnership Act) everyday where they eventually discovered I was homeless and pitched in to get me a hotel room. My teacher, Debbie, was wonderful! She let me stay with her and her family until I got a job, car, and place of my own. After nine LONG months, I got my daughters back and was ready to start over with my babies!!
But it didn’t stop there…I was moving from job to job and soon married again…and 5 years later, had another beautiful baby girl, Hannah. A true songstress J I relocated to Georgia with my new family and found a great job and terrific new friends. I thought I was set! My favorite pastime was KARAOKE!! I finally fought my shyness but struggled to sound nice L With a family of three daughters, a full-time job and a husband, karaoke and singing to my girls was the most I could put into my singing…But in 1999, another tragedy struck my life. I was brutally attacked and almost murdered. A man jumped out of the bushes and brutally beat me… I was hospitalized for a week and after a few months of physical therapy and multiple stitches, I was back on my feet and back to work….. After a few years of working as a project manager, I realized I was not happy. I was great at my job! I had even received multiple raises but I had reached the proverbial glass ceiling already. But in 2002, another beautiful blessing, Donovan, who also shares my love for music was born! And yet, six months after my son was born, another tragedy, congestive heart failure struck me…. I didn’t know which way to turn but I was determined to turn my life around and I refused to quit!!!
Still Not in Tune
How could I tell all the people who had dedicated their time and wisdom helping me with my life how unhappy I was? It seemed I ran into tragedy after tragedy, setback after setback, and no matter how successful I was becoming, I just wasn’t giving back in a way I felt mattered. I thought and thought about how I could give back to the world. When 9/11 happened, I knew… I could pursue my deep passion for music (although it wasn’t singing) AND give back to the world by enlisting in the United States Army BAND!!! So at 29 years old, I auditioned with my old flute… I was so nervous because I hadn’t played since HIGH SCHOOL!! I traveled from North Georgia to Atlanta with my recruiter and passed!!! And my adventure with the US Army began….little did I know, only SIX MONTHS after my training was completed, I would be deployed to Baghdad, Iraq! So I kissed my babies farewell and went off to serve my country…
It was in Iraq that I was informed I would be the lead female vocalist in the ROCK BAND!! That was the most exciting and scary time of my life! We traveled in convoys, on Blackhawks, Chinooks, and C130s to perform for the troops. I won’t pretend I was an outstanding vocalist…it was my first time performing… I remember when we opened for Toby Keith and I sang Shania Twain. I had forgotten the words and a Soldier in the audience sang the words to help me out! The support I received was great because the other troops understood how challenging it was to be deployed AND perform! We sang Evanescence, Pink, Shania Twain and multiple other songs…That was my first real taste of performing and I LOVED IT but knew I had a long road to go to perfect my vocal ability J
Life is a Transition
After my tenure in the Army band, I decided to complete my degree and earn my commission as an Air Defense Officer in 2007. While I didn’t get to play music or sing anymore, I never lost sight of my passion for music. I still performed at karaoke during my off time with my husband and friends and even won several competitions!! WHO KNEW?? I was getting better and having FUN J however; in 2009 I began to have difficulties and was forced to undergo hip surgery after discovering I had been running with an acetabular fracture (broken hip). Things seemed to go downhill physically from there. I had shoulder surgery in 2010 and C-Spine fusion in 2011. The last surgery resulted in complications that made me so ill, 10 doctors could not find the source of my illness. I started to experience significant medical issues that were hindering my ability to not only function within the Army, but my daily life as well. This series of medical evaluations and procedures led to one conclusion; my military service was over indefinitely. This period was extremely difficult for me, but as I had learned from my mother earlier in life, the only thing I could do was keep fighting. Making the most out of the situation, I began pursuing my MBA in Management at the University of Mary Hardin Baylor in Belton, TX and I also started my music career…
Exit Stage Left
October 2011 had me looking at certain discharge and fast… My passion for singing/songwriting instantly came to mind. I had nothing to lose and time to focus and sculpt my craft after the Army. With my husband by my side, my MBA in hand and my Army Band training, I have the perfect combination. I chose to combine the music I love; an eclectic hybrid of pop, rock, jazz and alternative that creates an Indie Rock & Pop feel. This sound was heavily influenced by the instruments and songs played during my time in the Army Band. I also knew living close to Austin gave me the perfect audience to successfully launch my career. I already have over 50,000 fans, 7 singles and a CD on iTunes which were all financed out of my own pocket
From Rockin Combat Boots to Indie Rock & Pop
Once my undivided attention was returned to my passion of Indie Rock & Pop music, initial successes came quickly with the production of my first five songs and first music video. This success transitioned me from zero music based fans to over 25,000 within the first nine months on the market, especially on Twitter and Reverbnation where I broke the top ten within the Austin, TX area (live music capital of the world). Some of my reviews include statements like: Very eclectic sound. Great production, tracks and vocals. Lyrical content adds dimension. Haven’t heard anything of this nature since the Bond movies in the 90’s. Immense creativity has earned this artist a spot on our 360 Watch List.
What I need now is support from my current/new fans. The purpose of this project is to launch my Indie Rock/Pop career after medically retiring from the US Army. The $12,000 requested will be applied to recording, mixing, and mastering as well as other costs critical to produce the last three tracks required to release my demo. There’s a lot riding on this one… This album needs to be amazing enough to stand on its own. It needs to be so good that it generates enough momentum to Kickstart my career as an artist that has not just this one album, but many albums to come.
You are the reason why this is now possible, but the music needs to be the reason why it will continue to be possible. I never ever take for granted the amazing things that have happened to me thanks to your support.
I will be turning 40 this November, and I have to admit I’m kind of freaking out. Age 40 has a big significance in my mind and I told myself that it would be silly to waste the best years of my life doing something I don’t like. Fortunately due to outstanding family and fan support, I am able to pursue my goals and dreams in the music industry.
I’m so excited about this project! My passion for music in conjunction with the support I receive from you is certain to make this project a success! Thank you for your love and donations. Keep Rockin!