Minelli in Music –Woman of Substance by Jo P
Geri made her first appearance in the local newspaper “Evening Mail” at the age of 7 having been chosen from a park full of visitors, she appeared with a local magician creating her first story and public arrival into showbusiness
After starting out as a dancer and teen choreographer winning her places and leading roles in stage shows, she moved her career into singing at the age of 16 and realise from the disappointment on her dance teacher’s face that this was a career option of chance.
Formative years of musical creativity helped to pave her way in music as she uses the films starring the likes of Doris Day and Gene Kelly, and directed her choices into show business. By the age of 7 Geri was penning however recalls that her earliest recording in her catalogue is noted as being ten years old. “I still have the song and lyrics” she advises “A Man Outside” may sound like it is written by a ten year old, however, this is just the start of what has helped to pave the mindset of this prolific songwriter.
At the age of 16 Geri penned her first Country song, as she knows it ” The Last Dance”
“I never actually knew how to play the guitar and just strummed on it; belonging to my sister I had to coax her it from her, however my sister was so busy with all her artistic creativity, she allowed me to grow. She was certainly my influence when it came to photography and I wanted to be just like her”
At the age of nineteen Geri organised her first public solo show, and appeared in her fancy big frock at the Cannonball Jazz in Birmingham.
” I invited my sister’s friend who turned out to be a singing teacher and offered me a few session to teach me for free – I soon learned to use those session wisely”.
For her 21st Birthday, she booked her local community centre, created a whole band and performed her first ROCK concert, where she realised she could get away with what she now calls her Status Quo special three chords and played the guitar for the first time in a public arena covering songs by Stevie Nicks, Heart and more, here is where she found her true sound and began to realise it in her songwriting.
Organising local concert nights at Clubs and pubs musical performances with her then outfit, gave her confidence and the education, needed to grow musical, however this journey soon hit a road-block in trying to find her audience as a young female of color in country/rock music.
“It was nuts, I recall us playing The Lamp in Digbeth and having 5 people in the room – rock& roll for ya”.
After recording her song “Mine” in 1995, Geri is picked up by local entertainment agency and takes to the Pub circuit performing country songs and more in her (what she calls her yee-hah) stetson. “I never had a PA and so they would set me up for a cut and I would catch the bus, do my stint and leave – even then I was breaking the mold, pity I could not chip harder at it”
From performance with various set ups, Geri began producing shows and supporting worthy causes, and managed to add appearances at Brummie venues such as local Ronnie Scott’s Club and the Crescent Theatre.
Fast Forward to 2004 – she created and self-produced the musical production “Minelli Sings Minnelli”- tribute to Liza and Judy Garland, launching the show at the then Civic Hall in Stratford Upon Avon. Geri admits that this show should have been a huge success, if she had continued to tour it. With her 12 piece orchestra and entourage of dancing girls, the content was WOW for audience who loved the stars of yester-year.
After being head-hunted and performing with the Latin band “Mambo Taxi” she went onto creating festival events and opportunities for women to profile their musical talent and created the first “Women in Music Festival”.
In 2014 having encountered an injury which would change her life and take her to a whole new dimension, Geri struggles to comes to terms with the changes and suffers three years of challenge.
In 2016 – she dusted off the cobwebs and returns to promote the Maroon Ribbon Campaign, campaigning for females in music.
Here is 2017 struggling to get her own career back on track, Geri created the Women in Music Club Nite to offer performers and opportunity to promote their art. “This is the musical interlude before any Women in Music Festival that may be in the pipeline”.
In 2018 Geri had already released two songs – one a collaboration with a US Country singer. ” I am so pleased to be here today and although this has been a result of a rest to default button, its the best things that could ever happen to me as I dig deep to remember who I was before I spread myself so thin trying to help others: let the games being”
The Journey continues…