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I Hope It Makes Them Smile

Author Interview

Sally Stevens Author Interview

I Sang That tells your story about life in the music industry in Hollywood and as a single mother working in this field. Why was this an important story for you to share?

I started working in music at a very young age, and I also became a wife and mother at a very young age. The music business was so competitive in those days—it still is, of course, but the activity was much greater here in town. I began to get calls to work for very significant projects, for important vocal contractors, and the schedule became very intense—sometimes six days a week from 9 in the morning till 10 or 11 at night. My first husband, Susie’s daddy, and I were divorced when she was 4 years old. I became the supporter of our little family then, and felt I had to accept every call that came up. Additionally, if I did not show up for something, they very likely might find someone they liked better, and I would lose that contact. So I really was “on call” 24/7. Susie had no brothers and sisters, and we were blessed to have good ‘caring for’ situations, but I know she felt very alone, very abandoned a lot of the time. I wish I could make amends for it, but alas… my daughter is 60 now, with daughters of her own. It’s just hard to move on from those feelings of how I disappointed her, how I wish I could have done it better.

I appreciated the candid nature with which you told your story. What was the hardest thing for you to write about?

I think the hardest thing was talking about the business in a way that was honest, that allowed me to express thoughts and opinions about it, but that wouldn’t hurt or harm anyone else. You just never know what someone would rather not see discussed on the pages of a book! I didn’t share any personal relationship information that I think would be hurtful, but the interactions and relationships within our business get political at some point. I tried to be respectful and still be honest about my thoughts and opinions.

The chapter too about the tragic event at the Toluca Lake House—it’s always painful to think about, to write about, to share.

What is one piece of advice you wish someone had given you when you were younger?

I sometimes wish I had been encouraged to “follow my dreams” a bit more enthusiastically—I really had at one time wanted to be a song writer/artist—it likely would have been a much shorter career than this long journey I’ve had…and I think in the long run it was the wisest thing I could have done, and undoubtedly the most interesting and diverse—but sometimes we need encouragement to follow our dreams, but still be as realistic as we can about the choices and paths we follow.

What do you hope is one thing readers take away from your story?

I honestly hope it helps them understand and gain respect for the huge community of artists—musicians, singers, composers—that might never become famous, but are at the core of almost every film they view, every record they listen to… I hope somehow it brings to the front of the stage the people whose skills and talents are often responsible for bringing emotions to life in the scenes we see on the screen—those actors most of the time are great, yes… but try looking at a film without the underscore sometime. It feels empty, hard to relate to, like nothing much of great importance is really going on.

I also hope that they find moments we shared—moments they may have forgotten about in their own lives, or tried to forget about… to see it on the page, to see it in another person’s life… the happy moments and the sad moments sometimes help us feel the events of our own lives more deeply. I hope it makes them smile, or laugh, and I hope it makes them think.

Author Links: Amazon | GoodReads

This book is a personal journey behind the scenes into the world of music-makers who created the film scores, television music, sound recordings, commercials and concert evenings over the last sixty years.

It’s about a long singing career that began in 1960 with concert tours – Ray Conniff, Nat King Cole, and later, solo work in concert with Burt Bacharach – to thirty years of vocals and main titles for The Simpsons, vocals for Family Guy…vocals on hundreds of film & television scores & sound recordings, plus twenty-two years as Choral Director for the Oscars. It’s also the personal story of growing up in a “his, hers and theirs” family in the forties and fifties, and how a shy little girl became a second-generation singer in the ever-evolving music business of Hollywood.

I Sang That

I Sang That is a memoir by Sally Stevens looking back on her life as a session singer and later a vocal contractor spanning the decades from her upbringing to the present day and the recent global pandemic. The book provides a unique insight into the inner workings of the Hollywood music industry as it develops over the years and is brimming with all of the biggest names in the music industry. Written in an approachable and extremely humble manner, Sally charts her career progress and its impact on her personal and family life.  

I enjoyed reading this book and this incredibly talented lady’s fantastic adventures. The book like Sally’s career, spans over six decades and the writing provides a fascinating look into the entertainment industry and the broader social and political context of the time. Her writing reveals the sexism experienced by women in their lives, insights into the changing nature of the music industry, and the different political climates over the years.  

I found the letter to her mother after the birth of her first child and her first marriage particularly illuminating. Not only does the book provide an excellent window into Hollywood and its stars, but Sally’s emotional journey. She gives an honest look at being a single mother while trying to forge a career in a highly competitive industry.  

The book is written honestly and openly by Sally, whose achievements are far-ranging and well deserving through the dogged perseverance of her passion. Her work with the union is particularly inspiring, and she is a true role model. However, her writing also offers a pearl of hard-won wisdom on both life and romantic relationships that can only be gained from hindsight and life lived and is a privilege to read and learn from.  

I Sang That it is such an exciting and inspiring memoir. Sally has such a remarkable life to cover; it is a long story but well worth the read. Readers will come away from this true story with much to thing about and a greater respect for all that Sally has endured and acheived in her carrer.

Pages: 403 | ASIN : B0BK5NPYW6

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