Laurie Lee Lewis ~ A Northwest Washington singing farmer...
Well howdy. Thank you for stopping in. Depending what time you are reading this, I may be out on my tractor, trimming hooves of my miniature horses, feeding chickens, mowing, planting, harvesting, canning, getting a donation ready for the food bank, making bouquets, building arbors or writing/recording songs and/or trying to raise awareness and money for Northwest Harvest, who FEEDS Washington's HUNGRY. WHEW! Run-on sentences, right? YUP! I am a run-on soul. What I have experienced in life so far, tells me, we are here to LIVE, LAUGH, LOVE, LEARN and repeat daily til we take our last breath. And, while we are at it, "get our egos out of the way, and help another".
Man, when you been on earth 5 decades it is hard to squish it down to fit here. But was told I should try to share my musical works. Here it goes:
Born, shy Laurie Little, in NW Washington. Protective to the "new kids or disabled " on the school bus, I was scrappy and willing to punch it out with bullies, to set things right! Growing up on a farm, I'd stay up many a night to keep baby calves alive when pneumonia would hit our barn. I 'spose my biggest expressions of an early "giving heart" was around 5, at Christmas parties, when I realized the elderly did not have gifts. It broke my heart so I'd wrap up my toys for them to open. To see their faces was all I needed. I think this set the stage for my life's purpose.
Being a very shy little girl with a big voice and having parents that both sang country music, and a mom who was friends with Loretta Lynn, kinda put me on the spot. At around 11, backstage with Loretta, she kissed me on the cheek and told me I could be a singer too! As we left the theater my tooth fell out. I was sure she was an angel. So I did what she told me! I sang! LOL!
From first grade throughout high school, I sang in everything. Not always wanting to. Terrified. Little by little "this Little" realized my gift was music. I had to fight the fear. Songwriting followed in mom's foot steps, and lyrics began to pile up.
1980, I became Laurie Haynes, marrying soon out of high school. A photographer took an interest in me at a wedding in that same year, that sent me into a modeling/tv commercial career part-time over the next 15 years. Mostly in the Northwest.
In 1997, word got out in Seattle the "the model could sing too" and was hired by a couple studios in to record some radio jingles. I got bit with the recording bug!
In 1998 I raised the capital to co-produced/recorded her first album on my own little label, Old Fashion Love. Modest US airplay. Followed by Ride My Blues Away two years later, recorded in Vancouver, BC. This album got the attention of a concert promoter who wanted to manage an art. To convince me that he was for real, I got to sing with legendary great FERLIN HUSKY in front of 16,000 people at the Tacoma Dome, New Year's eve. 90-91. He then put me on tour as an opening act for Lacy J Dalton, Mel McDaniel and Bill Anderson. We were set to tour with Reba Mc Entire in the spring '91 but the tragic plane crash killed her entire band. I did not trust this manager completely. Opted out of our contract with a bad gut feeling. I was suppose to open for Garth Brooks in Canada that May. It was so hard to walk away from that. But, my gut feeling was right... the manager took the concert money and split the country that night. And I was not involved. How's that for almost success! If anyone ever hears of a guy named Rick Austin, Linear Productions... I think the law wants to know!
Suddenly back to lil' ol' me - promoting -lil' ol' me again. Hearing about theaters in Branson, MO, I moved there for 9 months after to sing at the Johnny Cash theater - after auditioning and getting a part. The theater never opened. Went bankrupt. Man, I was so disappointed. Still in MO. wondering what to do next, in Jan. 1993, ...I had a dream that Audrey Hepburn hugged me and said We CAN make a difference, and showed me a burning candle. I got up at 2 AM and wrote a Unity song called ONE LIGHT. The next day, I learned miss Audrey had passed away that night. I returned to WA state, formed a non-profit called ONE LIGHT. This was the beginning. It shifted my music style and direction to a humanitarian focus. I began raising money for local charities.
Somewhere in here, I formed a great band called HEART STRINGS. We performed country, bluegrass, old rock and my country-mix. What a hoot!
I remarried in 1997 and became Lewis. (got my "L" back like Loretta Lynn!) Became a mama to Callie and opted out of the music biz until... 911. 3 days before the terrorist attack, we went camping and I wrote PEACE BEGINS WITH ME and told Callie's daddy, Wes, that I felt something terrible was going to happen. With such loss, I decided I wanted to do my part. There was already a bluegrass singer named Laurie Lewis in CA. So, I decided to change my name to Summer Lee. Since my b'day is June 21st. Peace Begins With Me was recorded, released and raised money for 3 charities. A WOMAN'S SHELTER. AN ANIMAL SHELTER AND A CHILDREN'S CHARITY. The title song was performed at 911 vigils and churches. This ignited my writing and a year later I recorded Harness The Wind. My 5th CD. Which raised money for a local children's charity.
In 2008, life shifted. Living in the North end of WA on a farm, I thumped my head. Big time. Big concussion. Shifted me. For 6 months I was changed. No music. No inspiration. Very hard time. But something happened. Just before Christmas, very sad to be without melody... (I have no memory of this) I apparently went in my studio and recorded a new song from a few words scratched on paper. (attempting to write again) 2 weeks later, I walked in, turned on my 24-track and found the song ONE TO ONE. Complete with guitar, lead and harmony! It brought me back. I wrote 15 more songs and made my 6th CD for 5 charities. One song included 19 languages from our county all saying the same thing, WE ARE ONE. This project helped, raise money and awareness for animals, children, global water, Cancer research and Veterans of War housing.
Two years later, dang it, I whopped my noggin' again. And again! SHEESH! Once again had to heal. So scary.We had horses at the time, the neurologist begged me not to ride, at least for 6 months. Insisting one more whop could kill me). Remembering how the music helped me before, I decided to focus on one of my big passions: horses. Instead of riding, I started writing! Soon, I had 24 songs all about horses and their people! Holy Schmolies! I recorded my 7th and 8th CDs A HORSE LOVIN' HEART and HORSIN' AROUND and raised money for a horse rescue Org.
Finally all good. Healing. Family good. Farming Good. 2013 July 7th. Life changed again.
My neighbor Jerry, a hermit in an old dilapidated house, cut his arm 95% off in a chainsaw accident. Rushed to ER, no family available, I went too. As he was being loaded in Medivac to Harborview, I promised I would take care of his dogs and cat. My daughter and I went to his home to feed and discovered that Jerry's caving in house was char-coaled from the inside out. Blown out windows, card-barded up, busted taped pipes, holes in ceiling. His old stove had caught fire 2 winters prior and burned his home. But he never told anyone. The next 6 months, I became an advocate/spokesperson to build a home for Jerry. With the incredible sacrifice of the whole summer and fall, my family, neighbors and volunteers... via fundraising... media... and the words LOVE THY NEIGHBOR, that I sharpied onto a stone and placed in his busted window - inspired us all to help with this daunting task to build Jerry a new, safe little home.. I wrote a song called Love Thy Neighbor and we raised the last needed $6000 via a concert of talent. Incredible. Jerry's arm was saved and he got a new home. His story touch many lives. whew! KING and KOMO TV both asked me to share the experience of opening the door and finding Jerry's house. This, was to date, the hardest, biggest project I have ever been part of.
A year later, life shifted again. I became a single mom. Holidays were rough. Money was tight. But decided to do something good. So my daughter and I recorded an all accapella CD and donated the funds to the local Humane Society. 9th CD. THIS WAS FANTASTIC! Just what the heart needed!
2016, one busy farm girl. Growing flowers, produce, little farm stand, donating to the food banks and writing songs. Suddenly, my brain says TIME TO FINISH THE CD you have been working on for 2 years. Knowing I would want to align with a charity again, this time it completely was clear. FOOD. FEED THE HUNGRY. My 10TH cd, 17 HEART SONGS, THE GARDEN OF MY SOUL was grown on the farm. Ready to serve. and money for Northwest Harvest. Org to feed the hungry in Washington.
The ol' noggin' still gives me massive migraines from time to time, and balance can be a little wonky, but to me, it has taught me to be MINDFUL of my mind! What I think. What I do. And try to remember... The journey IS the journey... to take time to breathe in life... it is a GIFT!
As Audrey whispered to me: We CAN make a difference. SHINE YOUR LIGHT!
Live, laugh, love and learn!
Laurie's charitible involvement and/or donations to: voice of Kylie's project KVOS, American Cancer Society, Cancer Research Fund, The V Foundation Cancer research, 2 local Food banks, Song for Amercian Cancer Society Relay for life kick off, "HOPE", Veteran's Assn., Water For People, IFAW for animals via song IT's Our World Too, Humane Society, Save The Children, Children Worldwide, Home For Jerry, Hurricane Katrina fundraiser, 911 relief, and current involvement: Feeding Washington's Hungry via Northwest Harvest.Org