Sunday, June 7, 2009

A Tribute To Sony and Jerry Holland



It was a warm morning in February 2003. I was working at
Ghirardelli Square in San Francisco. The plaza was empty and I was sitting in the store reading a book. All of a sudden I hear this jazzy tune playing on the Fountain Plaza. I did not recognize the tune but I loved the melody. A few seconds later I was stunned by what I can only describe as the voice of an angel. The pure, smooth vocals were so engaging that I had to get out there and see who this was filling the square with such beautiful music. I went out, stood by the door and saw this elegantly dressed beautiful blonde in a long black gown and heels singing her heart out in this quiet bare plaza. I was completely mesmerized by her voice and stood there for her entire set without even moving.

When I heard "This City Is Mine" which was written and composed by Jerry Holland I fell in love with the song. I waited until her set was done and went out and bought two
CD's. I remember telling her that it was so nice to actually have someone with such wonderful talent to be out there performing at the square. What really made an impression on me was after her performance that day this talented singer came into the store to thank me for buying her CD's. We chatted a bit and I thought to myself how sweet to take the time out to thank me. Then again that is Sony.

From then on when she would play at the square I would sit outside and watch her during my breaks and time off. One day in particular she was in the middle of a song when tourists surrounded her table wanting information on her
CD. She only had one at the time. I thought to myself I better go see if I can help them and walked up to the table and sold a few CD's. After, I retreated back to the bench to watch the rest of her performance when she motioned to me to go back to her CD table and simply said "I want you here." The rest is history.

I went on to work for her selling her
CD's in the early days of busking on the streets of Fisherman's Wharf and at various gigs around the bay area. I have to say that those early days at the Pier and Ghirardelli Square hold special memories. We would hang out during the break and just relax and enjoy. There were times when Nancy, our friend, would come out and we'd do little "skits" at the CD table in order to draw people over to us though we really didn't have to work too hard. Sony's music always attracted so many tourists and locals alike. Those days though gone, hold a special place in my heart.

Click Here to watch their youtube video of "When I Find You" which is an original tune written and composed by Jerry Holland with vocals by Sony Holland. This song moves me in a way I cannot even describe in words.

Before I had met Sony and Jerry, I never really listened to jazz. For me it was just a
mish mash of notes strewn all over the place. Once I started listening to their songs I fell in love with jazz. With Sony's vocals perfectly blending with Jerry's songs it was a no brainer. You just cannot get any better than that.

video

The video above is a photo montage I created of the early years right on up through today and includes their song "On A San Francisco High." Through these past six and a half years there have been so many gigs, so many good memories and so many fans and friends. It was a whirlwind of music, fun, laughter and towards the end, a few tears. Though I am sad they have moved, I know that being in LA is a stepping stone towards their dreams coming true and that is what is important.

I have fond memories that will last a lifetime and beyond :) As was said last night at their final concert "this is not goodbye but only until next time." They will be gigging up here in the Bay Area whenever possible including a date in August for the San Jose Jazz Festival.

For those of you who are fans, I invite you to post a comment on this blog sharing your memories, first times etc... with Sony and Jerry.

For those who are not yet fans and my regular readers, I invite you to view the video tribute montage yours truly created and leave your thoughts and comments with me.

There is also more information on the sidebar of this blog with a link to her website, her lyric and melody blog, and her Sony Holland Shop collectibles.

Be sure to visit her website at
www.sonyholland.com

Thank you.

Jo

10 comments:

Poetic Shutterbug said...

George Strong
Today at 6:25pm
Reply
OK Joanne, here goes. First, and so most important, Jerry and Sony always will be part of my life, and Sharon's too. We met them through their music, but they are and will be our friends if they never sing, play, or write another note or word, just because they are what we all need most--wonderful, delightful, good people. That said, I love the music, and I will be there any time they are performing within 300 miles (maybe more) of us.

My first time...KCSM radio, "The Liberal Ladies of San Mateo" several years ago. That's cool, I said to myself, and I remembered both the clever, timeless lyric and the incredible voice. Then one day I way longing to have a better rendition of that precious song, "Someone to Watch Over Me," and remember thinking, "That voice on the Liberal Ladies would be wonderful, I wonder if she recorded "Someone to watch..." I checked, she had recorded it, I bought it, and every other CD of Sony's. Sharon and I looked for when we could see and hear her in person. I never checked the web so I missed her site. But I'm on the Yoshi's email list so when she came to Oakland, Sharon and I were in the front row, the whole night (loved the ankle tat). We both were smitten!!!

We found the website and came to Cafe Trieste in Sausalito a couple of times. The music was wonderful beyond my belief, and there we were, sitting almost in their laps. Finally thought we should introduce ourselves just in case Sony would think I was a stalker. We've been to every performance we could in the Bay Area (that includes Reno, doesn't it?) since then and we have loved each one. Many were in places with no cover charge, and I've said to lots of people during that time, "You know, we should be paying a lot just for the privilege of hearing them."

I could go on for a lot longer, but I'll spare everyone. I'll just say that Sharon and I love Sony and Jerry, they always will be our friends/family, and we go anywhere to hear them perform...and we will bring granola. Love to you all, George

RNSANE said...

I have the receipt from the first album, "On a San Francisco High" that I bought at Amoeba Music on 1-9-05. I didn't know Sony at all. I was just trying to put together a gift basket for an esteemed forensic nurse colleague who was coming to UCSF to do a presentation and wanted something representative of our wonderful city. I did a search and heard Sony sing the title song of that CD and was so impressed, I bought a CD for the basket and one for me.

A month later, driving some other colleagues to dinner at a forensic conference at Shell Beach, the CD was playing and someone commented, "Who is that incredible singer?" Everyone loved her voice and the special lyrics penned by Jerry Holland, her husband, but none of us really knew anything about the duo.

In June of 2005, a major forensic conference was held at the Hilton in San Francisco. One of the Shell Beach nurses, on an airport shuttle to the Hilton, passed the Plush Room and noticed Sony
Holland's name on the marquee. As soon as she checked in she phoned my room. "THAT jazz singer is playing now just up the street!" Ten forensic nurses heard Sony in person that night and have been her passionate fans ever since!

Two of us, my friend, Sherry Arndt, even went to Tokyo for five days to see her when she was playing at the NY Bar at the Park Hyatt - a most auspicious journey for me, in more ways than one. It initiated a connection with forensic colleagues in Japan ( I gave them Sony's CD as a gift ) and they, subsequently came to San Francisco and got to see Sony perform at Yoshi's in Oakland, after having a wonderful Japanese meal! Some things are purely karma, I believe! Two years later, I was invited back to Japan, as their guest to speak about my specialty to Japanese professionals!!

I have been to see Sony and Dos Hollands perform at every sort of venue from the RRAZZ Room to Yoshi's to Cafe du Louvre to Enrico's to Cafe Divine - and seen her perform in glitzy outfits and sparkling bling or jeans and a T-shirt. The setting and attire don't make a bit of diffeence. What matters to Sony is her audience and she sings her heart out, mesmerizing us with her incredible voice, sultry and sexy, angelic and pure, the consummate performer, beloved by her fans.

Not only will I miss Sony and Jerry terribly, I will miss all the friends I have made these past four years, those I've seen so often, often on a weekly basis, as we come together all over the Bay area to see our "dynamic duo" perform. I remember our delight at Yoshi's Oakland the first time Jerry took to the stage! Now, his magical guitar is an expectation and he is the perfect accompaniment to his wife's beautiful voice. I mourn their leaving even if it is for bigger and better things - but I wish them all the best in the world. They could never be bigger stars than they are in our hearts right now, even when those platinum records come along, and I am sure they will. I, too, love you, Sony and Jerry.

Poetic Shutterbug said...

From: nancy smith

So my story of Sony and Jerry goes like this:

One very sleepy night, about 6 years ago, my girlfriend and I were debating whether to use her 2 cabaret show tickets. A very last minute decision meant that we rushed to San Francisco, barely arriving at the theater in time to enjoy the 20 or so singers. A very talented Sony Holland left me nearly speechless when she sang Jerry's "In Marin" and I just had to meet her after the performances were over. I did, and found out that she and her husband were fairly new to the Bay Area. So I offered to show them around and even suggested that at the end of our touring day, we could stop at my San Mateo home to meet some of my friends.

Oh, how sweet it is! That last minute decision changed my life. It was not only the beginning of the wonderful "jazz on the lagoon" parties, but also the start of years of great entertainment, and most of all, a beautiful friendship. My life has been enriched in so many ways and I am in deep gratitude to Sony and Jerry. As they venture off to new experiences, I thank them for joyous memories and hold precious all the ways in which they have enriched my life.

Poetic Shutterbug said...

Cheryl Oertli
Today at 1:14pm
Reply
I have two of Sony's cd's (thank you Jo) and love her work.
Smiles,
Chey

Icy BC said...

That was a nice tribute to them, Jo! I enjoy listening to the videos you've posted!

Poetic Shutterbug said...

From: Vicki Bobbi Burns
Today at 2:45pm
Hi Joanne,
I sure wish Sony and Jerry the best! Do they have some exciting new projects in LA?

Ms Terri said...

I know them only from your blogs. Such beautiful music! I'm sorry your friends are moving so far away, but I hope they find all the success they so richly deserve.

Susan said...

It's hard to imagine Sony and Jerry not living in San Francisco, after hearing their song, San Francisco High. Thank you, Jo, for sharing your beautiful tribute to such a talented duo. I always wondered how you met them and now I know the story.

Poetic Shutterbug said...

From:
This sender is DomainKeys verified
"julie fyfe"
I wish her the best of luck.

Poetic Shutterbug said...

Thanks to everyone.