by Kenny Kerner

How many times have you heard people tell you that patience is a virtue? Dozens? Hundreds, maybe? Well, Dorothy Sea Gazeley, this month's subject for our Passenger Profile, knows all too well how to reap sweet rewards by being patient. Excessively patient; patient to a fault.

Dorothy is a full-time songwriter; a professional. Among her achievements are some 65-70 songs recorded by such artists as Patti LaBelle, Atlantic Starr June Pointer, Tracie Spencer, Kool & the Gang and Jellybean, among others. And, oh yeah, Barbra Streisand--but we'll get to that later.

The inspiration to become a professional songwriter came by surprise during Dorothy's former day job as a public school music teacher. Since she enjoyed writing songs and musical plays for the children, she enrolled in ASCAP's songwriting workshop. Little did she dream that it would lead to a career change, numerous charted singles, film and TV credits and songs on one gold and two platinum albums.

Right about now you're probably trying to figure out what's wrong with this picture, right? Here's a successful songwriter--successful for 15 years--with songs cut by some of the biggest recording artists around, and she joins TAXI! What's up with that? Let's let Dorothy explain: "Like most songwriters, I would rather write than try to get my songs out there. I think it's too big a task to do it all by myself. I like to live a balanced life and I like to have as much fun as I possibly can, and if that means giving away some of my profits or responsibilities to other people, then I am willing to share. I heard about TAXI through Gloria Sklerov, a TAXI screener and a writer I've always admired. I've known Gloria for quite a while and we collaborated on a couple of songs which I'm very proud of. I discussed joining TAXI with Gloria and it sounded like a good idea so I thought I'd try it out."

Joined TAXI:
Songs Forwarded:
Deals Made:

Dorothy Sea Gazeley
Redondo Beach, CA
July, 1997
One song being recorded  
by Northstar Records

Though she's a pro, Dorothy still takes the advice of the screeners to heart. "Sometimes one screener will return a song and a different screener will forward that same song. We just need to keep faith in our songs and if we believe in them we should keep sending them out. Then again, if certain songs keep getting turned down by the screeners and others, over and over again, then that's a good message to be open to as well."

All in all, if we ended this profile right now, you'd have to say that Dorothy Sea Gazeley is enjoying a fun-filled, lucrative career as a songwriter. But we saved the best for last. Remember my little intro about having patience? Well, Dorothy recently learned that one of her songs that was on hold for more than four years, had just made its way onto Barbra Streisand's new multi-platinum album.

We'll let Dorothy recall the story for all of us to enjoy: "About four years ago, one of my collaborators, Allan Rich, called me and said that a friend of his asked him to write an inspirational song for her. He asked me if I'd like to collaborate with him and another writer, Marsha Malamet, who would collaborate on the melody. I went to Allan's and we started talking. Allan mentioned that he always wanted to write a song about lessons--so we began to talk about how everything in life seems to teach you something, but sometimes you're in a state of doubt or negativity and can't see the lessons you're supposed to learn. From those talks, the song 'Lessons To Be Learned' evolved.

"When the song was finished, Allan took it and played it for Ron Fair, (now Senior VP/A&R for BMG Records) who got so excited about it that he called Jay Landers, Executive Producer of Streisand's album, and told him about it. Landers played it for Streisand, who liked it but held on to it for four long years." And that's where the patience comes in. The writers believed so much in their song that they did not shop it to other artists. They were convinced that this song was meant to be recorded by Barbra Streisand and had enough faith to keep waiting. "To me, this means more than any song I've ever written," Dorothy continued, "I love writing inspirational songs and the fact that this was recorded by someone like Barbra means that so many more people will get to hear its message."

Her feet still very firmly planted on the ground, Dorothy's advice to new songwriters was also inspirational: whether it's songwriting or whatever you're doing, you need to find the joy in it now and not think only of the end result. We need to look for the joy and meaning in whatever we do--regardless of how big or small. Then, do your very best and just let it go." Amen to that!


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