I only met Kofi Burbridge one time, but it was perhaps the most encouraging experience of my musical life time.
I was driving UBER and picked him up near the stage door after a Tedeschi Trucks Band performance at the TENNESSEE THEATER, in Knoxville about two years ago. He was relaxed and forthright in explaining who he was. I had heard Tedeschi Trucks Band before but was only familiar with Derek and Kathy. I was impressed and pleased to meet him. He was easy to talk to.
He saw the picture on my phone wallpaper of me playing a singer/songwriter showcase at the OPEN CHORD and asked what kind of music I played.
I explained that I write and sing original songs that are kind of jazzy pop, rocky soul. He said, “I got to hear some of that.” I always have a CD of test mixes in the CD player so I can analyze them for things that could be improved. When I played one for him he focused instantly on listening. Afterward, he was quiet for what seemed like a very long time. He asked, “Did you record that?”
I said, “Yes, I have a small studio in my house.”
He said, “Can you email me an Mp3 of that one? I want our lead singer to hear it. I’ll text you my email.” He continued to tell me how much he liked it and spoke very sincerely about his interest in hearing more.
I was over the moon with excitement after I dropped him off, but I was also scared to death. I had decided to self-produce a 6-song EP or 12-song album to release on TuneCore or CDBaby, but although I had registered a copyright for each song, they were all in some stage of un-mastered mix.
I sent “Falling in Love Again”, the song he heard, to his email address and stepped up production on the other songs getting them ready to master… and WAITED. It was several months later when I finally got a voicemail message from Kofi.
He graciously apologized for taking so long to get back to me. He said he was learning some new material down in Jacksonville, Florida, but he wanted to get back with me to find out what I wanted to do with my music and hoped to hear from me soon.
WOW, he wanted to know what I wanted to do with my music!!! I didn’t even know that completely myself.
I was struggling to get my songs in publishable quality, and by the time I thought I had two of them ready I read that Kofi had some serious health problems and had left the band to recover. I emailed a personal Get Well message, hoping to get some good news from him, but I never did.
Kofi, what I did get from you was great, professional level encouragement; confirmation that my songs were actually worth sharing with the public. So, I have continued work to get them to market.
I have much to thank you for, Kofi. You treated a total stranger like a friend you felt could make an important contribution to the music world. You effortlessly demonstrated all of the wonderful comments and observations those who know and love you have shared.
Every so often I listen to the voicemail message you sent. Hearing it from your own voice always reminds me it really did happen and I can’t give up.
Thank you, again, for your kind helpful words. I wish I could have told you in person.
What a treat to see and hear the friendly, spirited interplay of two keyboard giants respectfully trying to blow each other away while switching from instrument to instrument in a challenging game of musical chairs that they both ultimately win.