Cynthia's Musical Journey
Experience Cynthia’s Musical Journey in timeline form with photos and heartfelt excerpts, written by Cynthia herself! Learn how Cynthia started her love for music, how she happened upon fame, and of her success and many creations since then. We hope you enjoy Cynthia’s Musical Journey!
One of my first memories is playing the piano with my paternal grandmother, Moe.
Every time I went to Moe’s I would beg her to play the piano. I remember lifting my hands up past my shoulders playing the high notes while Moe was playing her honky-tonk Rhythm and blues.
I claim to be Moe’s legacy as an entertainer. They used to call Moe “the last of the red hot Mamas!” She could really Wow a crowd. I’ve never seen anyone like her! I once watched Moe play at the Eagles Club for over 2 hours. When she finally decided to take a break the whole place moaned. She was awesome!! I remember I was about 10 years old but I never forgot it. She was awesome!!
This is “Popu,” my mother’s dad. The day I was born he looked at my hands and said, “One day these little fingers will play the piano.” Unfortunately, Popu passed when I was 6. Although he never really saw me play in life, I somehow know he watches me from the heavenly realm, I would imagine he was with me when I recorded all of my piano CDs. It was real to me.
Tita, my grandmother, absolutely adored her husband. Because of what Popu said, Tita bought me my first piano and later, loaned me the money for my baby grand K.Kawai. I call my beautiful, piano my “soul sister.”
When I was little we had a Magnus chord organ I would play. It had 2 octaves and buttons that played chords. I begged my parents for piano lessons! Mom finally said, “yes” and I had my first piano lesson on June 1, 1964. I was so excited! The Skibas across the street let me practice on their piano since we didn't have one in the house. After a year of practicing every day, on my eleventh birthday, Tita gave me the piano I would learn on.
I picked up the guitar when I was 12 years old. I met a girl a little older than me who played and I thought it was cool. Although I loved playing the piano, it was not convenient when I wanted to play music outside of my home. I picked up the guitar and found that I could play many songs by simply learning the A, D and E chords.
I played at girl scouts, campfire girls and anywhere I could gather a group who liked to sing. I remember playing and singing with my family on long car trips. We were quite a musical family.
When I was 21, I had a job as a cocktail waitress at a restaurant in Torrance, California, called Ichabod Cranes. This was my uniform. It was the 70’s and Baby Boomers were partying at bars a lot.
Our restaurant was a hot spot in town. Every night at 11pm our bartenders would pour the staff a shot of Cuervo to take the edge off the job while serving a bunch of intoxicated patrons.
One night after work while I was waiting for my boyfriend to come over, I picked up my guitar and wrote "Jose Cuervo You Are a Friend of Mine" in about 10 minutes. First song I ever wrote. The rest is history. (Good thing my boyfriend was late that night.)
People always ask me how it happened. The story is in my book, Butterfly Moments along with many other stories. I would love for you to download the book as a gift. You can find it on the Sample Page.
After I wrote Jose Cuervo, I began working as a promotional representative for Heublein in Los Angeles as Miss Jose Cuervo. I was pretty much a walking billboard advertising Jose Cuervo tequila at the 2 man volleyball tournaments in Redondo Beach, CA. I thought my song could be used to promote their tequila. They ignored me and told me T-shirts were a better way to advertise.
I believed in the song simply because people loved it. I recorded a record with the help of my friend, George Anderson. When I took it to KLAC’s midnight trucking DJ, Larry Scott, the phone lit up like a Christmas Tree!
An executive from Warner Bros. signed the record, and in 1981 my version went #1 in Los Angeles. That same year Jose Cuervo tequila sales improved by 70% in southern California. In 1983, Shelly West recorded the song. That same year, USA Today reported a 14 million case increase nationwide. Heublein actually bought an island with the profits. That proves the absolute power of music.
At one time Al Gallico was one of the most powerful publishers in the music business. I had made a demo of Jose Cuervo and a friend of a friend arranged for me to play it for him.
When I showed up at his office on Sunset Boulevard, not far from the Roxy Theatre, Al was enjoying the fact he had a #1 hit that week with Lacy J Dalton. I remember as he was leaving his office that afternoon he was singing "Jose Cuervo You Are a Friend of Mine" as he walked out the door. Ultimately he published the song even though his partner, Billy Sherrill didn’t like it. That first week in May, 1983, I brought him a bottle of Jose to celebrate our #1 with Shelly West. It went on to be Billboard’s Country Music Song of the year.
After Shelly West’s version of Jose Cuervo went #1, Heublein put me on tour promoting Jose Cuervo in 28 cities from San Diego, CA to Fort Lauderdale, FL. My current husband, Dennis, was my manager at the time. My brother Mark went with me and my daughter Julie helped sell T-shirts when she could join us.
I performed with house bands and talked on every Country Radio Station I could. Super fun but the road life can be harsh.
Later on, Snuff Garret brought the song to Shelly West’s recording session. Steve Dorff, who was producing Shelly, thought the song was too much of a novelty song. John Hobbs, who happened to be the piano player on my recording session, was also the piano player on Shelly’s session! He said, “Let’s do it. It’s a good song.”
John wrote a music chart in about 5 minutes. I believe it was a God thing! Jose Cuervo by Shelly West was the 1983 #1 Country music song of the Year in Billboard magazine.
Dennis and I now had a new, blended family. Dennis had 3 daughters - Stacey, Jessica and Kristi, and I had my daughter Julie who was 12 at the time.
I got pregnant on our honeymoon with our daughter, Denise. Fifteen months after her birthday, almost to the day, we had our son, Jordan.
Although I was still writing Country songs, I was about to embark on a new adventure - writing songs for children.
I created the Kids for Kids Choir and recorded 30 of my original songs with the group.
The Kids for Kids choir met once a week, and my kiddos all got to be a part of it. Once a month the kids sang at the Shriner’s Hospital in Shreveport. Sometimes we would even sing at churches, fairs and festivals.
While living in East Texas, I performed lots of country gigs and wrote country songs.
I recorded an album of original songs, "Cowboys, Cuervo, & Texas" that told the story of my life on the ranch with my favorite cowboys. Two of the songs were translated into Spanish. This album was never published, but is now part of the Secret Songs of Cynthia Jordan!
In 1997 we moved to Hendersonville. I was entering a new phase of my life as the kids were now in school and no longer little.
Something in my soul from ancestors past or even a past life inspired me to want to learn and write Celtic music. At the same time, I began writing instrumental pieces of music on the piano.
Jerry Webb was my "Magic Man" while recording all of my instrumental music and some of my demos. Jerry read me so well that he knew when I was just playing the music and not really feeling it.
I couldn’t find a piano that played as well as mine anywhere in Nashville, so Jerry brought his recording equipment to my house, found musicians, and mixed everything to perfection. We worked together like peas and carrots.
I recorded 11 CDs in twelve months for Page Music in my living room on my very own piano (that same K.Kawai my Tita bought me).
Jerry was so patient. Sometimes I could hear him snoring in my headphones. He said my music was too relaxing. He’d get on my exercise equipment between pieces to stay awake. Later we mixed the music at his studio.
After receiving so many letters and emails on how the Peaceful Journey Music helped with healing, insomnia and migraine headaches, I began speaking on the Power of Music. I received my DTM in Toastmasters and wrote my first book, Butterfly Moments.
In 2005, we moved to San Angelo, TX to be closer to oil (Dennis's field of work at the time).
I found the history of San Angelo to be very fascinating! The town was founded with saloons, gambling and bordellos. It was the Wild West at its best.
I started dressing up in saloon outfits and hosting 1920s events in honor of the city’s history. It was a hit!
Writing and singing old honky-tonk tunes like my grandmother Moe used to perform inspired me to write the musical Pearl. As I was developing the characters, the project grew into writing a historical fiction also called Pearl. Finding a new creative passion I wrote a sequel called Diamond and then Ruby to complete the trilogy I call, The Gem Series.
San Angelo is known for being the #2 time warp town in America. It has two main tourist attractions:
- Fort Concho was built after the Civil War to protect people moving west from the Comanche.
- The other is Miss Hattie’s Bordello.
Fascinated by the history and my love of this era, I began writing music, and then the novel Pearl, to tell San Angelo’s story. These works evolved into Pearl the musical.
There have been three readings of the musical, all of which received lots of laughter and standing ovations. Funny, charming and tender hearted, the musical is a combination of boogies, country, 1920s jazz and blues.
When I first moved to San Angelo I visited Paint Rock, which is only about a 45 minute drive from San Angelo.
There I heard the most incredible story of The Lady in Blue. She was a cloistered nun in Agreda, Spain who bilocated to the New World where she taught the Indigenous tribes Christianity.
I became obsessed to tell her fantastic story, and did so by writing a musical about her life.
The musical was performed as a musical ballet in San Angelo. The music was also used in a film called Needle and the Thread, a documentary of the story of Maria de Agreda.
Now, I am focused on taking all of my creative projects to a new level with my musicals, books, hundreds of songs, screenplays, mini series scripts, and more. Many of these are currently headed to a stage/screen/station near you!
I absolutely love what I do and hope to have the pleasure of having you in my audience one day! Thank you for coming along on my musical journey with me. I hope you enjoyed it!