By chance, my producer, Nathanael Nicol, heard the charms of the magnificent man’s chords. Hearing this man, he immediately pulled out his voice memo recorder. In knowing me, he knew a special moment in time would be captured if he could get us both into the same room to do what we have done all our lives apart. Nathanael phoned me in the middle of a meeting with my manager on the Upper West Side. With a certain gratefulness to his voice he said, “Jullian, there’s something really special I want to share with you when you come in today, something we have been searching for this whole time!” Needless to say, I was very curious and thought to myself, “more magic? WOW!!!” I walked into Nightlife Studios a few hours later centered and ready for whatever news he had for me. On the contrary, it was never, ever what I could of imagined. He explained a little, pulled out his voice memo recorder, pressed play and my whole life instantaneously flashed before my eyes. His years, his pain, his knowledge, his passion flew like a cupids bow straight into my spirit. I dreamt of this man my whole life. I needed to be in his presence. I told Nathanael, “my life is about to change, please make this possible.” He responded by saying, “we’ll see buddy, I will do my best. It’s a very interesting situation. We already have the song. It’s complete, but this would take it to that magical place that we have been searching for.” A few days later, with time to brew on how to approach this amazing man with multiple names, Nathanael did it. He made it happen. I was about to experience something so important to my soul, something I truly needed to feel, something that would give me the strength to believe, and something that would just help me understand my sound. Honestly though, to just overall meet an angel was more than enough. What more could someone truly ask for? The morning of our meeting I shook, I was overwhelmed, I was scarce for words. I didn’t know how to feel or act. I didn’t know how to be. I was so grateful I couldn’t move… until I ran into him on the street. We were walking opposite directions. He was on his way to the studio barring a Yankees cap, an orange and black sweater, and a broken down cart carrying all the necessities to make a living down in the subway singing cover songs. It carried, from what I could tell, an old CD player, a big speaker, and an extra fluffy jacket. At first, I wasn’t sure exactly how to get his attention for he went by so many names, including Danny Smalls, Geechee Dan, The Singing Dragon, and The Subway Soul Singer so I just yelled out “DANNY SMALLS!” HAHA! He turned and smiled. I got the feeling it made him happy to hear his name. He has become such an internet success, he must carry around such a beautiful strength knowing people acknowledge this gift from God. I walked up and introduced myself. I felt like a child meeting his idol. All I could say was how grateful I was and what a blessing he was to me personally. I told him he was beautiful and that working with him on this tribute to Sam was more than I could have ever imagined. I’m pretty sure he was confused and didn’t understand why I was out of nowhere baring my soul, but I couldn’t help myself. Who could?… Boy oh boy, could The Dragon talk! He went on about this and that. Every word I soaked in. I asked him questions and was in awe of his responses. He had so much knowledge about the type of music I believed in, so much first hand experience with a lot of the artists that I look up to and most of them being from his time! He told me he talked to Michael Jackson coming out of the Apollo Theater when he was a part of the Jackson 5, a huge point in Michael’s career and in history. I guess they used to sing together backstage. He joked about how tall and big Michael’s afro was. He said, “It looked so heavy, I was surprised he wasn’t walking sideways.” He cracked himself up! Right before we made it up to the studio on 10th ave., he shared a dream with me. He said, “I would like to open for Aerosmith. Those guys make all the girls go crazy. They are so raw when they get on stage, they don’t give a damn about sounding pretty, they just lay it out,” and with that, we finally made it into the studio. When he first heard the tribute to Sam Cooke & his song “Bring It On Home To Me,” he was a little taken back and seemed a little hesitant. Then my producer said, “why don’t you guys just sing it together, see what happens, and remember nothing is written in stone.” Now there are times that you question fate. What is meant to be? Then there are times like these where there is no question, just blatant honesty and truth. Magic. When something happens that was always set to happen, there is a certain thickness in the air, a certain mood, and a certain “knowing” that goes on. It’s just “meant to be”. When we were done with our first round of soulful stature, Dragon said, “yahhh, I think I like it. It’s like an old Mississippi tune,” and from there he would just close his eyes, squeeze his brows together, and feel the music as if our voices were a drug circulating the room. We proceeded to make beautiful music in the booth together, laying our hearts out on that microphone like we were sharing the same exact story with the same meaning from two completely different worlds. He turned to me at one point, took his headphones off, and said, “oh it’s Aerosmith” and I started laughing, overwhelmed. I couldn’t believe he said that. I couldn’t believe this was happening. Nathanael captured this laugh on recording and said, “I’m keeping that in.” I thank this man. He has changed my life and he just doesn’t even know it. For the rest of my life, till the day I die, I know that I have met my idol and great gift of a man I call friend. When I asked him what he wanted to be called on the record, he said, “The Singing Dragon.” Thank you friend~
Please take a minute, and enjoy,
The Singing Dragon
How can I get one of his CDs he’s selling? He should be signed by a big record company and shared with all the world.He’s amazing! In fact there should be invented better words of praise for him. Amazing, wonderful, gorgeous are demeaning words for his voice.