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  • Dana Robbins

Moved to LA!

After moving back for a short time to the Detroit area after Berklee, I decided to move to LA. Some friends of mine lived in the beach area, and I knew I would have a couch to sleep on for at least a few weeks until I got a job. So..... with $250 and my sax and suitcases, I moved!

I love LA, always have, always will. There's an energy out there that you can't describe. There's music opportunities out there. The weather out there is so nice. If you get a great gig like I did or get a TV show like I did, its wonderful. More on the TV show later.

I started to meet musicians and started playing a little, and then one day about a year after I got out there, I got the call. It went like this: "Hi this is so and so, and you were recommended to audition for Barry Manilow. Can you meet at the rehearsal studio and can you bring your baritone saxophone....tomorrow. With one deep breath, I said absolutely. Now here's the thing..... I said yes, but shit!.....I didn't even own a baritone saxophone. I hadn't really played one........ I said yes, and so I'll figure it out!!


I walked into the rehearsal studio and there was Barry at the piano and his assistant. That's it. Barry had just recorded "Paradise Cafe" , a wonderful jazz record which featured the greats; Sara Vaughn, Mel Tormé, and Gerry Mulligan ( baritone saxophone) and several others stellar musicians. Check this album out, its wonderful.

So he put sheet music in front of me and I played it. And then he had me sing harmony with him. I got hired!! I learned SO MUCH from Barry ( who has stayed a dear friend) and his fabulous background singer, Debra Byrd. Debra Byrd began singing with Barry from the very beginning of his career. What a voice......!She has done a ton of work in Television, and for years has been the vocal coach on American Idol and most recently The Voice.

With a tour at that level, its very hard work but very comfortable at the same time. Yes, we had our own plane, and old Viscount, which was an older sturdy, reliable plane, and really fabulous!!

This picture is Barry, Debra and me on a big featured song called " Some Good Things Never Last" from the Big Fun Tour.

I'm so thankful for this.

The picture below was another picture of Barry and I that I love. ( There are many more which I'll continue to post). You can go to Youtube and find Barry Manilow "LIVE ON BROADWAY" 1989 to see more footage of me with him.

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