Lily O'Brien

Music has always been my passion. I performed professionally in a variety of genres, but am now writing about it.

About Me

I grew up outside of New York City in a very creative and theatrical family, and it was clear to me at an early age that music was my talent and passion. I started with classical, and played and studied violin, guitar, piano and voice. I also was exposed to and loved jazz, folk and rock music.

I tried a career as a singer/songwriter in the 70s, with some success, but realized that it was just too hard a road. I also sang jazz and briefly had my own band.

I moved to the San Francisco Bay Area in California in 1976, and love it here.

For many years I worked as a legal secretary to pay the bills. Then I went back to school and got a Bachelor of Science Degree in Public Relations with a Music Minor, and I worked as a publicist for the performing arts. I soon discovered that it was not the right career for me, but that writing and journalism was my passion.

Recently my husband and I travelled around the world a few times (six and seven-month trips) and returned to the San Francisco Bay Area. Now that we have downsized, I can afford the career I always wanted. I now write music articles for various publications and have a freelance copy editing business. I continue to sing and perform in a few classical choirs. Life is good!

My Jazz Story

Published on: 2016-03-24

I grew up on jazz. My mother loved vocal jazz it, so I was exposed to jazz greats like Sarah Vaughn, Ella Fitzgerald, Nancy Wilson, Frank Sinatra and more. Growing up near New York City allowed me go and see many great jazz artists, plus, there were some great jazz radio stations too, which helped me get exposed to more and more talent. I attended the Berklee School of Music in Boston (briefly) and just continued to learn more and more about the greats. Some of my personal favorites were and are: Miles Davis, Chick Corea, Keith Jarrett, Mark Murphy, Carmen McCrae, Cassandra Wllson, Kurt Elling, John McLaughlin... the list goes on and on. I believe that jazz is the most creative and interesting form of music, because improv comes right from the heart.

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