New York City – Mixing at Whitney Huston’s Studio – June 24, 1998

I’ve decided to mix “Tomboy Bride” in New York at Whitney Houston’s studio.  Kipp connected me with Whitney’s engineer, Michael White, and he’s agreed to take on my project as long as we can finish all 11 songs in 5 days.  I’m here now, in the hot city with Wendy Woo and at the moment we’re working on “Sign of Rain.” 

My mom made a special trip down to the studio today.  It’s such a role reversal.  I spent my entire childhood and adolescence traveling to mid-town to her studio sessions, ordering grilled cheeses from take-out menus and finishing up homework assignments as musicians like Mic Jagger, Debbie Harry, Harry Belafonte, Ry Cooter, and every session player you’d ever want to meet passed through the reception area.  I drank Lipton tea by the bucket, downloaded receptionists with my latest relationship sagas, and between subjects I rewarded completed assignments with the arcade game of the month for the price of a quarter: Donkey Kong, Ms. Packman, Space Invaders, the car one I can’t remember the name of.

Today at Whitney’s I ordered Wendy, Michael my mom and I turkey subs. We ate while mom wheeled herself around on a console chair like a boss yelling half-chewed suggestions at Michael like “Fly it over.” “That’s the one.  Don’t touch it now” and “Buy it baby! buy it!”  Before she left for the day, she requested a copy of the track.  “I want to blare it through the streets of Martha’s Vineyard and scream ‘This is my DAUGHTER!”  I felt so so so so grateful for her love and tutelage and hand holding and accolades.  It’s her birthday tomorrow and as we finished the day I sketched out this letter to copy into a card I painted:

Mom wanted to know what I was going to do about distribution for the Record. “But it’s not really a record mama.” I explained, ” It’s more of a glorified demo.” I’m not sure I want to deal with retail or a professional distributor.  I’d have to deal with returns and comps and shrink-wrapping CDs. For now, I got myself a mailbox at a local Post Office in Boulder and a website “”  I think I’ll take orders by snail mail for now, and test the waters just to see if there’s any interest.  I can also sell CDs at shows.  In total this record has cost me $7,778 plus a few dinners and brewskies for players who’ve refused payment. I just want to make my money back at this point.

Reader interactions

11 Replies to “New York City – Mixing at Whitney Huston’s Studio – June 24, 1998”

  1. Man you look like your Mama! That letter brought tears to my eyes. I hope my own daughter sees me that way someday.
    I honestly had no idea what an investment you made for Tomboy Bride. That’s an amazing achievement – I hope you felt so proud. Sign of Rain is one of my favorite songs – I play it often. You are so talented and reading this journey of yours is truly so special. Thanks Sal! (Can I call you Sal?!!) Xo

    1. Thank you Meg, Can I call you Meg? I love that and yes, Sal works for me.

  2. What a sensational entry! Thanks for sharing your journey toward recording with us. I’m sure you hear it asked often….any chance you’ll record another album again? A family collaboration, perhaps?

    Of course the letter to your Mom, is a such a beautifully intimate share…If we’re lucky we all get to that place where we meet our parents as adults.

    1. Hey William, Thank you for reading today’s gig. It was a fun (and stressful) time mixing in Whitney’s studio. There are a few more days of it coming up. I don’t know if another album is in my future but it sure is grand to look back at the three I created and feel the spirit of them in me.

  3. Beautiful Sally 🤲💖🎶💃
    Such a precious gift you are sharing to us all.
    What a lovely photo of you and Carly 💞👭💞
    How grateful I am to be apart of your gig sessions.
    Thankyou 😊🙏❤️

    1. Thanks SueAnn, I’ve already gotten started on your hat. It’s going to be so pretty on you.

  4. Hi Sally,

    Thank you again for sharing this fun memory with us! Does it seem like ~25+ years ago? The prices of things certainly seem like a long time ago! I seem to remember reading this is about what it cost your dad to record SBJ? You should ask him, and also your mom, for comparisons!

    I love all of the songs on Tomboy Bride, and it’s such a cool album title! I also looked at your musician list to make sure your dad didn’t charge you for his “signature JT picking” on Unsung Dance! (For me – that one with your beautiful voice – is sort of haunting!).

    I look forward to the next entry, and thanks again for inviting us to join you on this memory lane tour!

    1. Thanks Cindy. I’m so glad you’re enjoying the ride. And no, my pop played pro bono. Ha.

  5. Jeffrey Sidelsky February 9, 2024 at 9:46 pm

    I enjoyed seeing your performances for Tomboy Bride and the subsequent Apt 6S, which I believe was the actual place you resided on CPW. I believe your Mom revealed that 6S actually was “success” which is cool and imaginative and nothing less than what one might find in your gene pool! I loved watching you play at various gigs and the shout outs you gave me now & then. I hope U have an enchanted Valentine’s Day and it was always my honor to get to know you a little bit!
    Love, Jeffrey

    1. Hey Jeffrey,
      So good to hear from you my friend. Yes, you’re right, #6S = “Success.” But the story is a bit different (You’ll read about it later in the tour when I make the album, so there’s my teaser). Thank you for taking such great pictures of my band over the years. All my photos from my days on the road are mixed in a giant box also filled with glitter and I don’t know exactly who took what, so if you see one of your photos please let me know and I’ll give you credits in the liners. I’m always anxious I’ve forgotten to credit someone for their work. Have a great Valentines day and thanks for continuing on the journey with me.

  6. Hey Sally,

    Continuing to enjoy your musical journey and very impressed with how it’s being done. Even the budget and invoice, fortunately and unfortunately, I’m a numbers person by trade. I was waiting for Carly, mama, to appear. She’s my hero! What a beautiful letter you wrote and how lucky you both are to have each other. Always a fan of the Simon’s and Taylor’s, I love Carly’s music, Ben’s music and now your music and lyrics. I watched you sing with mom on the Queen Mary ll and on plenty of talk show appearance. Listened to mom’s first book during a painful time and to know she loves her children as much as she does made me not feel like an over the top mom. I don’t hear what she has to say as a mom very often and I feel very lucky she does, as I do. You are very very special and thanks for sharing.

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