Friday, August 10, 2012

Presenting Simon Le Bon with his cover song request!

Check another dream off my bucket list: Meeting Duran Duran

I first heard them when I was 11. My band director used to bring a couple high school jazz students to tutor the jr. high band after school and I remember very clearly one of the tutors (hi Scott!), was always playing the bass line to Rio. I had to know what the rest of the song sounded like so the next time my parents took me to the mall, I bought my first cassette tape: Duran Duran Rio. I had previously been given two other cassette tapes in my young life, and Rio quickly replaced Madonna's Like a Virgin and Prince's Purple Rain. From that point forward, I listened to Duran Duran religiously and bought cassette tapes with my allowance until I had them all. At one point, I literally carried their sheet music books around with me EVERYWHERE. I never put them down and I had piano versions of every song memorized.

One summer I visited my grandparents and we went to a mall (because that's what you did in the 90s!) and I walked into a record store carrying my DD song books. The store owner said, "You look like a gal who could appreciate this" and handed me two DD fan club folders FILLED with fan club zines, posters, official membership cards, lyric sheets, pictures... as you can imagine, I nearly cried. I still have all that stuff, safely stored away at my parents house. I was so excited, I showed it all to my grandmother and I remember her saying, "Janice, honey... do you know what this song is about? Skin Trade? Do you know what that means?" haa haa! I had an inkling (not much!), but I could care less. It was all about the music and way Simon sings.

On my 18th birthday I went to my very first Duran Duran concert. August 18th, 1993. I had just finished school and made it to the other side of a 2-year long battle with a rare and debilitating muscle disease. Just the fact that I was once again strong enough to stand (and even kind of dance!) was HUGE for me. When Simon sang Come Undone, "Happy birthday to you..." I remember welling up because it was seriously a very happy birthday for me.

Fast forward.... Last year I did one of my tweets to the twitter gods asking to work with a list of my male vocalist heroes. Of course, Simon was on the list. To my surprise, he RESPONDED. I told him I had just worked with Curt Smith from Tears For Fears, I sent him a link to The Smiths Project. He listened and tweeted his followers about it and STARTED FOLLOWING ME. You can imagine the happy dance in my kitchen at 2am as this was happening while my family was fast asleep!

I asked him if I were to do a DD cover, what would he pick? and he chose "We Need You." I was currently in the middle of creating Patchwork Life so it took me nearly a year to complete his song request. Creating an entire song with just my voice takes a LONG time. I was already staying up til 3am every night and simply could not move any faster on it. Simon was so nice though. I apologized for taking so long and he told me, "Take all the time you need, dear." He let me send him all my CDs to his house in England and, in general, has just been a very supportive guy over the past year. He even tweeted his followers when Patchwork Life came out. I can't say enough nice things about him. He's just a truly stand-up guy.

When I found out DD was playing in my city, I asked if I could give him the finished cover song in person. As luck would have it, he went off twitter for a few weeks while on tour so I wasn't sure it was going to happen. But the day before the show, he told me he had tickets and passes for me. OMFG! So last night my boyfriend Josh and I went to the Mountain Winery, got our passes, called the number to find out where we meet (Oh hi Janice, you're Simon's friend, right? *dies*) and attempted to breathe as I waited in a converted wine cellar waiting room. When Simon came in, he walked straight to me and gave me a big ol' hug and my nervousness disappeared instantly. We talked for a bit and I gave him my cover of We Need You. This is a special song to him, so I hope I did him proud with my cover. (I know you all want to hear the song and, believe me, you will get to... soon. I just want to know the band has listened to it first. OH, the suspense!)

Then we got to take pics with the band. Simon introduced the band to me and told them that I've worked with Curt Smith and created The Smiths Project. It was so amazing to meet Nick, Roger and John and shake their hands!

The rest of the night was spent singing and dancing at the show. One week shy of 19 years since my 18th birthday Duran Duran concert, I welled up again when Simon sang, "Happy birthday to you.." Never in my wildest dreams, in all the years that I've listened to them, did I ever think someday THEY would be listening to me.

Thank you Simon for making all this possible!! I love yo forever. XOXO


  1. What a lovely blog entry and what a dream come true! Janice, I've been following you and this whole story since the day Simon first tweeted you. I am so thrilled for you! Also, I'm very much looking forward to hearing your cover of We Need You. Thanks very much for sharing your story. xo

  2. Amazing post! So glad my favorite Duran guy seems like such a stand-up guy as well.

    Will see them tomorrow in my new home state (just moved from NY 3 weeks ago).

    Best to you!

  3. I was told by a very wise person "good things come to good people" our small amount of time spent meeting made me a believer of you. Such a sweet soul with a mountain range of talent. It will all fall at your feet when you least expect it. xxoo cmechriss aka Christina

  4. Congrats, how exciting! Can't wait to hear the cover. I saw you at the Thursday night Duran Duran show, I was sitting about 2 or 3 rows behind you. I thought you looked familiar, and then I saw your post on FB, small world! Love your singing and work!

    1. It IS a small world! And it keeps getting smaller, which is good because it means we are figuring out how we're all connected. <3 If we cross paths again, say hi!

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