- Posted January 22, 2014 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Tell us the Good Stuff!
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Sondra Dixon: The Woman Who Love's The Joy of Music!!!!
Some say, Music will ease the pain, heal the mood, and turn a frown upside down, but for Sondra Dixon, music is her joy of life. Everything in life can be associated to a song and for her, she sings the lyrics so well. This Chicago native, knows too well the true meaning of following your dreams, never giving up, and overcoming many obstacles to become successful. But with faith, music, and support she worked for and with some of America’s most honorable, legendary, and noble people within the music industry.
SONDRA DIXON was told as a child by doctors that she would not live beyond the age of 30 years old, due to being diagnosed with sickle cell anemia. Imagine the joy of living to celebrate her 50th year this December 2, 2012. Dixon says, “It’s truly a celebration!” Dixon began her music career with the late Dick Griffey's SOLAR Records and song publishing companies and went on to music publishing success at Warner/Chappell Music and later EMI Music Special Markets. It was at SOLAR Records that she worked with The Whispers, Shalamar, Lakeside, Klymaxx, Dynasty and The Deele with LA and Babyface. From there she received the call to go to work at Motown, a dream come true. At Motown she worked under the late CEO Jheryl Busby. At Motown Chapter II (post Berry Gordy), Busby allowed her to produce special events, while working as his executive assistant. Her efforts produced tribute dinners to not only Busby, but Soul Train creator Don Cornelius. Her Super Bowl ring she says is when she produced and coordinated a tribute dinner to Berry Gordy in which he received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Black Business Association.
Her journey includes working with superstar Stevie Wonder, handling marketing projects with him and accompanying Wonder to a special ceremony with former President William Jefferson Clinton at the White House where Wonder received the Key to the City in Washington, D.C. as well as the Duke Ellington School. To round out her career, Dixon has produced and coordinated tribute dinners that included legendary icons Muhammad Ali, the late Rosa Parks, and many more. Although she has many, Dixon’s favorite group is Kool & The Gang.
So as you can see, Ms. Dixon has her music cut out for her, and the joy of life continues to surround her. But I was able to talk to her further about her journey, her new life as an author, and the joy of life.
You worked for some of America’s legendary record companies, Motown, Solar, Quincy Jones etc. how was that experience and who were your favorite artist to walk through the door.
ALL OF THEM. How can I chose? I mean on any given day at SOLAR Records for the Whispers, Shalamar, Lakeside, Dynasty, Klymaxx, The Deele w/ LA & Babyface and producer Leon Sylvers to walk into our doors in the heart of Hollywood was just ballistic - truly being in another galaxy. And at Motown, my heart stopped when the legends would walk through the door. My first encounter was with Melvin Franklin from the Temptations. I heard this loud, booming voice coming down the hall toward me and it was this gentle, giant of a teddy bear Melvin! He just grabbed me and hugged me. At Motown, it was like that. We were all family -- never strangers. When Rick James was released from prison, he came straight to Motown and we embraced him like he had never left. He kicked off his shoes and was back at "home" in an instant. And it's a wonder we got any work done when Stevie Wonder would come into the office. He would bring so much joy and laughter into the offices. And then when Stevie would go to the piano and play we would have our own concert right there, with songs that the public has yet to hear even today.
Growing up around music, working in the music industry, how do you compare the music from back then to now?
No comparison. The songs of yesterday had meaning. The lyrics were beautiful. A man talked about how much you meant to him through his lyrics (Oh Girl....I'd be in trouble if you left me now). Or Stevie Wonder singing: "There's a ribbon in the sky for our love". If there was a breakup the Manhattans sang "Let's just kiss and say goodbye".... my mother and her sisters would be playing music and just crying. Not many artists can bring out that emotion in me today. It's very different.
Now you are from Chicago, what made you relocate to California and do you ever think you will go back to Chi-Town?
I love Chicago, but I don't love the cold weather. Chicago holds very special memories for me because of all of my family, but no -- my heart is in California where the sun is shining and keeping me warmed up 75% of the year. Right now we're experiencing 80 degree weather -- and I have no complaints. But I have been planning to go back and visit Chuck Barksdale of the Dells. I promised him when the weather warmed up, I would go and visit him. I can't wait.
With everything you have done in you r life, name 3 events that you are the most fondest of and why?
Of course experiencing the joy of delivering a beautiful baby girl that I named Jasmin. Second, fulfilling my dream of working for Motown - it was like a dream come true - Motown (like Disneyland) the greatest place on earth and third, actually creating and producing a lifetime achievement award ceremony for Berry Gordy via the Black Business Association. Mr. Gordy received a thunderous five minute standing ovation and I stood there beaming as I looked around the room as Stevie Wonder cheered him on and the entire room of fans.
Now you are an author, what made you tell your Joy in story form? And how is that going for you?
The story had to be told. There's a story in all of us. There's joy and pain in all of our stories. I had to communicate that all that glitters is not gold. Even though I love the business of entertainment, it has not always loved me. Smiling Faces is one of my favorite songs. The name speaks for itself. I am a very genuine person, but sometimes the people in our business are not always honest. But, with my trust in God, I have endured many hardships -- and I'm still standing. My book is a must read because it talks about the songs in our lives that carry us through various periods of our lives. I have had reviewers tell me that they laughed, they cried, and in the end of the book, they experienced my "super joy".
The book, Love the Joy of Music, can be purchased at:
If a child came up to you and asked you for your advice regarding living out their dream, what would you tell them?
Follow your heart. Be bold, courageous and fearless about your dream. As motivator Les Brown says, let no one turn you around. If it is your passion, no one can take it away from you. Be determined, yet enjoy every step of the way because life is such a gift, isn't it?