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Take a Journey to… My Life in Chicago Music

Hey Y’all!

It’s Your Gyrl, Ms. Carmen aka Platinum Voice PR bringing another relevant topic to you!

This is something, deep and personal, that I wanted to share with you. You ask my position in the music industry?…Read and you will see.

My Life in Chicago Music

As I sit here at my computer wondering what to blog about, I thought Chicago Music! Chicago has been the capital of great music and artists going back to the early 1900’s. Although, I wasn’t present until the mid-60’s, I grew up around some GOOD Chicago music!

It all started with my Grandfather, Zono Sago, known as Papa Sago. See, I grew up around microphones, Congas, reel to reel tape machines, guitars and amps. These instruments took residence in my Grandmother’s (Big Mama) living room and I had the typical child curiosity. I never got in trouble for tapping on the large congas, but I surely got in trouble for the many guitars strings I broke. I had the greatest fascination for Chicago Music.  I wanted to know, how do these things work and if I could make them sound like how Papa Sago and his groups made them sound.

Papa Sago was the greatest Musician. He played every instrument, but exceptionally well in percussion. My Jamaican Papa had played since he was a child on an island not far from Kingston, Jamaica. He continued his passion in music in 1953 on J.O.B. Records as Allan Williams then later changed his name to Zono Sago. In 1954, Zono Sago and his Carribeans recorded the songs, Just with You and Havva Cuppa Coffee.

I’ve Got To Space

 Let’s Have Some Fun


The history that I know and love began with all of his members of Sagport and Savern Records based here in Chicago. Frankie Newsome(Coming On Strong, Staying Long), Dell Ingrid, Jodi Gales(Push and Pull), The Mod Singers(I’ve Got to Space), The Joneses, The Montegos, Mark V Unlimited, The Soul Invaders, Little Sherman, The Soul Makers Edwin Daugherty(Your Love Is Showing / Groovy Monday) and The Sensational Five were part of the team.

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 I remember the rehearsals in the living room that had me so excited; I couldn’t wait until it was over, so that I could sing “Mr. Thunder”. These ladies dressed in bell-bottomed hipsters, form-fitted turtlenecks and plat formed boots. I idolized “The Mod Singers” and I memorized every gyration, turn and note that they belted out in song.  The most highlighted moment of my life was the time I saw them on “Soul Train”. Yes, “Soooooul Train” was in Chicago back in the 70’s and broadcasted in “Black and White “on Channel 26, those were the days.

I didn’t grow up doing childhood things like summer camp and all of that. As a child, I spent my vacations on the road, starting going to Chess Records in Chicago, venturing in St. Louis and continuing on to Stax Records in Memphis, Tennessee. I remember sitting in the offices waiting for someone to talk to Papa Sago.  I was hoping I would see a star while we waited, that didn’t happened. My grandfather was so determined to get his music out to the masses, by any means necessary, he accomplished that task.


Growing tired of mimicking artists like Taste of Honey and Chaka Khan, I wanted to take this passion to another level. As a teenager, my passion for Chicago Music had grown into dedication. I joined a band that played on the Westside, the bass player; “Kenny” who was visiting relatives here relocated and to my surprise, joined the band, Midnight Star. I wanted to be where he was, on video, in the limelight.

In 1980, I joined another band and then another band seeking to find the right one. While fulfilling my dream, I met two talented gentlemen, Brad Watson, a former background singer for R. Kelly, Alfred Price, who joined Alexander O’Neal and Cherrelle’s Band as a Keyboardist and Band Manager. As of today, these two men are very dear to my heart because they showed me the game. Brad went on to make an album featuring his first single, “I’ll Be with You” which was in heavy rotation on then WBMX, known today as V103. Al moved to Atlanta to pursue his career and be closer to Alexander O’Neal and Cherrelle for tour purposes.

In 1986, I met a gentleman by the name of Percy Frye and he helped place my dream on tape. I quickly learned some of the studio and songwriting techniques. At this time, “Come Inside was born. I was so nervous about this; I had never been in a studio before. Miraculously, Brad came over to my house and helped me with the melodic structure and how to execute it.  I went into the studio the next day and I nailed it! I sent my track to WGCI’s DJ, Rick Party, to try to win a spot on the Radio. The winner of the “Chicago Idol” would be interviewed that following week. While patiently waiting, the phone rang and it was WGCI telling me that my song would be played the next day and prepare for a radio interview. When I heard my name, Carmen Rochelle, come out of the radio, I screamed to the highest octave. Knowing that Chicago was listening to me touched my heart deeper than my first love.

Listen to my first demo back in the late 80’s

Come Inside

Due to an unforeseen accident, I wasn’t able to perfect my craft and that ended my dreams as a singer.Sometimes, I cry because this dream was snatched away from me by the hands of another individual. This is why I know God appointed me to do what I’m doing now for Chicago Music artists.

So, why talk about Chicago Music? I’ve met some artists that are experiencing the very same let-downs and slam doors as I have.  I want to let you know that I understand YOU, I am YOU and I want YOU to make it. The music industry is a jungle out there and I see all of my babies working and doing it for themselves. I have been so blessed to shake many hands in the industry and I won’t even name them all. I can truly say, God kept me from that part of the business, so that my testimony can be heard to encourage those whom may have the same common goal.

People often question my credibility in the music industry, I say, Continue to question. My passion goes deeper than the eye can see. I possess 25 years of passion and dedication to the music game and my city. In closing, I want to say….”You’re Next!

You never know where I may be bringing you the events of Chicago, so make sure you follow this blog and Follow me on Twitter, @PlatinumVoicePR! If you need your name and craft to buzz out here, go to  Until next time, See ya later Babies!


(PlatinumVoicePR is the source for the events and has no legal bindings with associated parties)

(Music Videos and Links are for promotional use only)


One thought on “Take a Journey to… My Life in Chicago Music

  1. Pingback: Georgia Entertainment Awards Gala « This is #ChicagoMusic!

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