A Tribute to My Mom on “Our” Birthday!
Since my Mother always reminds me today is “OUR” birthday, I thought I would take a moment to pay tribute to …the woman, the legend…the original “Momager”!
I will say, that at 41, I can still barely take care of myself. I am still learning how to juggle a career and having a domestic life!
At 41 Diane Gibson had 4 kids… Karen, the eldest, was in college already!
Add to that me being a teenager and about to embark on what would be an epic and manic time!
When she was roughly about 4 years younger than I am now, Diane – with no college education – had worked her way up from secretary to office manager for hugely successful NYC doctors. Think “Working Girl”! What she didn’t know, she fibbed about and bluffed her way ’til she learned the actual skills required …which she always did! As Tony Robbins says… “It’s never a lack of resources, but a lack of resourcefulness”, a lesson I learned watching both my parents somehow put food on the table, juggle jobs, get all of their kids to their lessons of varying kinds, participate in our school lives, social lives, you name it….all with basically no money and never leaving us in the hands of babysitters. I still don’t know quite how they did that!
When I was 12 years old, my Mom used the office Fed Ex supplies to get a cassette recording of a song I wrote on a Casio synthesizer called “I Come From America” in by the deadline (I was always a bit “last minute”!) … Well? It paid off. I won first prize which was $1000 and a chance to hear my song played on WOR Radio! Little did she know, she created a monster! I was already obsessed with the radio but, the thrill I got from hearing MY original song on the radio…well, that was the be all end all for me.
After watching me line up tape recorders on the ironing board in my attempt at “Multi track recording” my Mom bravely called an Uncle of mine in Vineland NJ and drove 3 hours to plead with him for a $10,000 loan to help me build a recording studio in the garage. He agreed and a producer was born!!! I will always be eternally grateful to Uncle Joe and to my Mother for having the guts to put herself on the line for me in this way. She did not just “believe” in me… she “KNEW” what I was capable of if given the tools.
Throughout the years, Diane educated herself in the ways of Publishing and Record deals and would sit at conference tables full of record execs in suits who were smuggly thinking “Oh, it’s the Mom…we can surely pull a fast one on her!” Well, they couldn’t! She knew how hard I was working…to the point of panic attacks and fatigue…and by God, she was going to ensure that I was compensated as fairly as any other artist. She fought for my right to be able to record my original songs and produce or co produce and arrange… She backed me up when no one else would. This is not wasted on me to this day. I heard Tiffany say in concert just last month that she too was writing music at the time but she did not have people by her side empowering and encouraging her. She has now turned into a wonderful writer… Much harder without the support. Everyone should have a “Diane Gibson” in their corner! Most do not.
Now, as a woman, my Mom’s wish for me to know my own business should she get “hit by a bus” can sometimes backfire! It must be terribly difficult to wake up one day and realize that roles have changed and there is not the same kind of “protection” required of her. I am my own woman. With that said, last month when I was sick and freaking out because I was performing on GMA and not feeling my best… I knew I could look at her and I knew she knew what I was going through. Only she, in all the people in my life have been there from day one. From the church talent show to Madison Square Garden and everything in between. Only a mother would deal with ups and downs and roller coasters and musical tides changing and mood swings and on and on and on…. When people have jumped ship because the chips were not up…. she remained.
Very recently I was sitting on a career decision… She said “I support whatever you do. It makes no difference to me if you ever do a “hit” anything again. I just want YOU to be happy”. How many agents or managers would say that? I am lucky…both my agent and “Momager” would. They care about me, the human being…not just a paycheck.
Mama? It ain’t always easy, but know that I love you with all my heart and you gave birth to me 41 years ago today, so I wanted to celebrate “our” day and celebrate you…who never gets to take a bow.
BRAVO…. The wind beneath my wings!
Love, Your Daughter, Client, and Friend….. DEBORAH
Photos of my mother and I at the Grammys 1988 and now