A story that is worth sharing, a journey that is worth experiencing and a person who is worth loving. We have known Rose Duffy for a while now and we couldn’t be more proud of her accomplishments thus far; her dedication to family and friends is endless. She is a loving mother, a musician, and a friend to many.
Human Diaries was pleased to have the opportunity to interview Rose Duffy, and we’re thrilled to share her story with our readers:
Hi Rose! Most of us know you as a saxophone player with Armadillo Jump, but at Human Diaries we’re also interested in Rose, the person. Is there anything you’d like people to know about you?
A – Hello! First and foremost, I am a mother of three grown kids. I’m so proud of all three of them in so many ways. They’re all three working very hard towards their career goals. I was a stay-at-home mom for 16 years and feel that I have always poured myself into motherhood. I’m actually pretty proud of this.
I’ve been a musician all my life, but I didn’t begin to write songs until 2008. I went through a very painful divorce back in 2008. I started to write down my feelings and quickly realized that my feelings should be turned into songs. The first song that I wrote is called “All About to Change.” My co-writers on this song are the talented Todd Ernster and Kristy Jackson. Writing songs is very therapeutic for me, but I have also discovered that it has helped many other people as well. It is very rewarding when I hear from people from all over the world, saying how much my music has helped them.
Q – When you were going through the painful divorce, what kept you going, what motivated you, what sustained you?
A – I always told myself that I was going to turn a negative situation into a positive one. I also wanted to enjoy my kids’ youth, so I stayed positive and happy for all of us. My kids saw me cry through the hard times, but they also saw a lot of smiles on my face. I had to find a full-time job during this time after being away from office jobs for 16 years. My old law firm took a chance on me and hired me back even though my computer skills were lacking to say the least. Going back to work full-time was a challenge for me (everything from being away from my kids during the day to learning new computer skills to making enough money to live on).
The one thing that really got me past the toughest times is when I started to read “Starting Your Day Right” by Joyce Meyer. That’s when my faith really kicked in.
I must admit. Playing the sax is yet another big stress reliever and has literally helped me blow off some steam during the tough times. Of course, it still does at times. I guess that’s what The Blues is all about, right? I currently play in a rockin’ rhythm and blues band called “Armadillo Jump.” We have taken the music that we love and have cranked it up—big time. Not too long ago, Armadillo Jump won first place in “Famous Dave’s Battle of the Blues Bands.” It was pretty exciting for the band. Please check out our website: http://www.armadillojump.com
I also play in a fully charged dance band called “Big Bob and the High Rollers.” We play everything from “Fly Me to the Moon” to “Uptown Funk.” Company parties and wedding receptions are our specialty. Please check out our website: http://www.bigbobandthehighrollers.com
Q – It’s great to see how you transferred the negative part of your life to a positive thing through music; how did you break in to the music business?
A – When I was very young, I was a cocktail waitress at a place where they had live music. I always sang with the house band on my breaks. One night at closing time, I told the band members that I played the sax in high school. They told me to bring my sax in with me the following week. We decided on a song for me to play (which was “All of Me”). I practiced that song all week and brought my sax in the following weekend. They called me up to the stage and proceeded to ask me what I wanted to play. I said “All of Me,” and they said “Didn’t we tell you? We don’t know that song.” This forced me to do something that I never thought I could do: “Improvise.” From that night on, I was hooked and have played in bands ever since.
As far as songwriting goes, I have done a lot of networking with people from Nashville. “All About to Change” has gotten very close to being placed with an artist (but not close enough … yet). I still believe in this song … The music business is tough … but I’m tougher!
Then I wrote a song for my son when he graduated from high school called “Big Picture Window.” I created a picture montage to go with it and posted it on YouTube. I have met a lot of new friends (and the dots continue to be connected for me as a result of posting this song on YouTube). I have written songs for my other two kids as well. I still need and want to put a picture montage together for them.
Q – On your website: http://www.RoseDuffyMusic.com/ there is a mention about Etta James and Buddy Guy experiences. Could you please elaborate on those experiences?
A – When I was in my 20’s, I would religiously head down to Wilebski’s Blues Saloon every weekend to sit in with the Blues legends that performed at this club. I sat in with Blues greats, such as Buddy Guy, Koko Taylor, Matt Guitar Murphy, Luther Allison, etc. They all asked me to sit in with them again whenever they came back to town. One night, I received a call from the club owner, asking me if I’d like to perform at his club with Etta James. Now, that was a head-scratcher (Ha!) I performed two shows with Etta James. The band and I even got to go out for dinner with Etta after both shows. I’ll never forget this one moment at dinner: The jukebox was playing (which prompted me to get up and dance). Then I heard Etta laughing and pointing at me, saying “Would you take a look at Miss Rose over there, doing The Funky Chicken!” Etta James returned to the same club the following year and specifically asked for me to be her sax player again. What a compliment that was! Twenty years later, Etta James was performing at an outdoor show in Minneapolis. My friend who wrote for the newspaper had a back-stage pass for me. Etta James’ manager announced to the reporters that Etta was going to do the show, but she could not do any interviews, because she wasn’t feeling well. I politely said to her manager that I thought Etta would want to say a quick hello, since I played sax with her years ago. He said “Are you Rose? Come on back. She talks about you all the time.” Etta seemed genuinely happy to see me. I had my picture taken with her and started to leave. She called out my name and motioned for me to come back. She said “Rose, I want you to know that I receive your Christmas cards every year. I always look forward to receiving them, and I’m so sorry I never got one sent to you. In December of the year that Etta passed away, I was decorating my house for Christmas. I put on Etta’s Christmas CD. I looked out my “Big Picture Window,” and there was the most beautiful snowfall I had ever seen. I thought about the fact that I couldn’t send Etta a Christmas card anymore and I texted my feelings to my sister. The moment I texted “Christmas card,” Etta’s one-of-a-kind voice came shining through, singing “With every Christmas card I write. May your days be merry … and bright … and may all your Christmases be white.” I received my first Christmas card from Etta James … direct from Heaven …
Q – Any humorous stories you want to share with our readers?
A – Sure why not? One night, I was out with my friends singing karaoke. I picked out the song that I wanted to sing and brought it up to the guy who was running the show. I patiently waited for my turn and listened to several other singers. I decided to use the ladies’ room (only it didn’t have the typical “Women” sign on the door. I accidentally went into the men’s room. A lady saw this (and thought it was hilarious) and proceeded to tell single person in the bar about this. That’s when the guy running the show called me up to sing. My pre-selected song just happened to be “Where the Boys Are.” It was pretty tough to get through that song!
Q – Are you satisfied with what you have accomplished thus far?
A – “Yes” and “no” … I love the fact that I have helped a lot of people. When I find that I’ve helped others with my music, it completely fills my soul. I wrote a song called “Carry On” with my good friend, Gene Skaggs. “Carry On” is a healing and uplifting song for those who have lost loved ones. I shared the incredible back-story as to how “Carry On” came about on YouTube (which led me to more new friends). I’ve made custom-made videos for people whom I’ve never even met over our song, “Carry On” … It feels right … and I know that I have a purpose. So am I satisfied with what I’ve accomplished thus far? Thus far, yes … but I’m chomping at the bits for my music to reach even more people, you know? I’d be thrilled if your readers could click on the iTunes links to my songs, which are provided in this article and to consider purchasing certain songs which may speak to them personally. I’m not greedy by any means … but it would help me to be able to afford to record more songs. I have so many messages to share. People have often asked me “When do you sleep, Rose? You are constantly coming up with new ideas.” Well, I take the bus every day to and from work. There’s really not much more to do on the 40-minute bus ride (each way), other than to come up with new lyrics, ideas, etc.
Q – What are some of your current projects?
A – “Today I Get a Name” was recently written by Linda Greseth and me. Linda is a very talented lyricist. Our friendship and writing styles make for an ideal team. Through this song, we found a caring and inspiring way to bring about healing for many parents who have had the misfortune of losing a baby through miscarriage, or whatever their circumstance is and/or was. This song instills in our hearts and minds that there will be a glorious reunion one day … in God’s time.
I also wrote “Sisters Forever” recently with Linda Greseth. This song celebrates “Sisterhood.” This song will make you smile, will bring about happy tears … and will make you want to call your sister. Many people have friends who are like sisters. This song will resonate with them as well. It is our hope that “Sisters Forever” will be played at wedding receptions across the country as a loving toast to a sister who has just gotten married. This will be something new, fresh and very meaningful for wedding celebrations. “Sisters Forever” is a great song to add to our playlists as well. In this busy life that we live in, we think it will aid in connecting sisters together a little more often.
Please watch for new YouTube videos for “Today I Get a Name” and “Sisters Forever” on my RoseDuffyMusic website and Facebook page. I’d love for your readers to “like” these two sites, and also, to follow me on Twitter and Instagram: @RoseDuffyMusic
I also have an up-and-coming show on Sunday, October 25th (5:00 – 9:00) with the one-and-only Connie Lee. Connie has graciously invited me to perform with Connie Lee and Friends at The Tennessee Roadhouse in Alexandria, Minnesota. Connie is kind enough to let me perform some of my original tunes with her band. The show will be broadcast on KOOL TV, a local station out of Alexandria, and it will also be broadcast on the radio on Bob FM 106. The show will be available on demand on KOOL TV’s website a couple weeks after the show.
Q – What plans do you have for the future?
A – I have been blessed with having a very creative side. This includes finding unique ways to promote my music. For example, I put together a video for “All About to Change” which was filmed in St. Paul, Minneapolis and in Nashville. Watch for the fun Mary Tyler Moore ending. One of my all-time favorite celebrities is Ellen DeGeneres. I just posted my “All About to Change” video on Ellen’s new “EllenTube” site in hopes of grabbing Ellen’s attention. My biggest dream is to have a well-known Country artist record this song … I think Ellen is the ticket in helping me find the perfect artist to record this song … I would also love to have the chance to dance with Ellen to “All About to Change” on her show.
Q – What do you think of Human Diaries?
A – Human Diaries has really taken off (as it should). I’ve read some remarkable stories, and I feel very honored to be a part of this. I have so much to be thankful for. One of my biggest gifts has been meeting John through my music. I earlier spoke about helping others whom I’ve never met. This is what John lives and breathes. He has a heart of gold and selflessly helps so many people, including myself. It is incredibly refreshing … Thank you so much to John and his Human Diaries staff … Because of you, I feel like it’s “All About to Change.” I guarantee that your kindness will not go unnoticed. And remember … “Love makes the world go ’round.”