Whether shes performing with legendary rockers Joe Walsh and Kenny Loggins, singing at the SoHo in Santa Barbara CA, or at home playing on her Craig keyboard Lois Mahalia is always smiling.
B.Seed : Thanks for being on bright seed blog Lois, singer, humanitarian. You are a regular performer in Santa Barbara California at the Fourseasons Biltmore Ty Lounge and sometimes you perform at the Soho Restaurant & Music Club. You were there, I believe, New Years eve of 2012 doing a show with singer/songwriter/guitarist Kenny Loggins, entertainer and “interior designer to the stars” Dion Mial and others. how did it feel to perform for the crowd that night?
Lois : It was a beautiful high. A lot of my friends were in the audience and, that always makes me happy, not to mention having Kenny a long time friend and Dion both killing it. There was a lot of love in the air!
B.Seed : You’re on the internet, at loismahalia.com, where you have samples of your music, information about upcoming shows and the Friends Club where fans can get free songs, photos, special offers and more. Who is responsible for putting together your website?
Lois : A friend from Maine, Nick Hall we had lots of phone calls and decisions to make… Took some time, but I’m completely happy with the out come. His site http://artdesignfilmmarketingmedia.com/
B.Seed : The Website also says you will be at the Paramount in Huntington, New York in December to sing with Joe Walsh, legendary keyboardist and guitarist for the rock band “Eagles” — Walsh was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998. The Santa Barbara News Press says you’ll be on tour with Walsh. How long and where will your tour go?
Joe Walsh and singer songwriters Leslie Page and Lois Mahalia.
Lois : Well I’ve actually been touring off and on with Joe for two years now. We’ve traveled all over the US and Canada. This tour in December at the Paramount Theatre, is just a week-long show – joewalsh.com will have details. That’s all that’s planned at the moment, but there are rumors of more in the near future. I know Joe loves playing his solo stuff, and this is such a great group of people in the band. It’s a lot of fun.
B.Seed : Your bio says you’ve been on some TV shows – Jimmy Kimmel Live, Good Morning America and Crossroads on the Country Music Channel. Was this also with Joe Walsh?
Lois : Yes this was with Joe Walsh while we were promoting his first solo CD in 20yrs Analog Man. I Had the time of my life… and still am.
B.Seed : Charity is, i believe, important to you. You are active with organizations in the Santa Barbara area. Musical benefits with Girls Incorporated of greater Santa Barbara, a non-profit similar to the Boys Club I think. Is that right?
Lois : Yes I have been involved in many charities in town. Also Unity Shoppe, I’ve done quite a bit of singing with Kenny Loggins for this organization over the years, loved every minute of it. I will be on the Unity Teleton in December 13th around 7pm doing a couple of songs Live on TV Hill. Keyt chanel 3.
B.Seed : The Santa Barbara Youth Project, also a non-profit that provides alternative interventions for at-risk youth in our community. Their motto: “Horses help heal the hurt! … equine therapy is good for the hearts of children and adults.” You and a group of local entertainers recently had a fundraiser for them at Standing Sun Wines in the Santa Ynez Valley. How did it go? How did you become involved with SBYP?
Lois : The show was excellent! We had a full house and it’s a great venue. It’s always very inspiring for me to sing for an audience who are really listening to the music and taking in all we’re trying to say through song. I got involved with the organization about 8 yrs ago thru the founder Peter Claydon, we met when I was singing and we started collaborating on songs and he asked if I would be willing to help put together a fund-raiser for his organization…. and the rest is history.
B.Seed : I first heard you on YouTube singing a song called “Smile”, a lovely song — to go with your beautiful, engaging smile. Fast forward to now. You’re still smiling and loving all that you do. How do you keep so energetic and upbeat? lots of rest?
Lois : Great question. I did write that song with a very dear friend of mine Carl Herrgesell. And yes I love to smile. I like to keep positive in my life, so I am very sure that’s why I’m able to smile so much. Don’t get me wrong I can get frustrated like everyone else, but I try not to hold on to it for too long. I try to be truly happy whatever I’m doing, be it playing in a 100,000 seat arena with Joe or singing my originals for a hand full of people. Life is too precious to not enjoy what you are doing.
Lois participated in the “We Are The World For Haiti” YouTube video.
Windows 8 users may need to go to full screen to see the video.
B.Seed : Later you joined a Lisa Lavie production with Melissa Polinar, Blair Perkins, Lyne Sullivan, J. Rice, Luna Mae, Nick Pitera, Sheena Melwani, Dan Tavelski, and others to create a Youtube version of “We are the world” for relief of victims of the 2010 Haiti earthquake — to date more than 6 million views for that video. Are you still in touch with Lisa Lavie? the relief effort?
Lois : Yes I am still in touch with Lisa Lavie, she is one of my best friends. She is out touring with Yani and loving her life. I’ve not heard much lately about the relief effort, but I know at the time that video was a help bringing awareness to the earthquake and getting coverage on CNN and ABC World News. I’m honored to have been part of it.
B.Seed : You had a love for singing as a child in South America with your brothers, and you all came to America, you as a teen. You toured the US and Italy, singing — eventually you landed in Santa Barbara. How did the Italy trip come about? Do you recall your first trip to Santa Barbara? was it to sing?
Lois : The Italy trip was after I’d been living in Santa Barbara for years. I got an opportunity by an Italian friend to go to Italy and see if I could make some connections in the music industry. In the first week, I was already singing for thousands of people and aired on local television. It was an amazing experience and I hope to go back again. My first visit to Santa Barbara was in 1993 with my family to sing at a church in Carpinteria. We met a beautiful family that gave us a place to stay to get started, and the family has been living here ever since.
B.Seed : YouTube was a big part of your early singing career. You have uploaded a great number of recorded songs — both originals and some of your favorite tunes. One of the earliest videos was you on a Craig keyboard/piano singing a song by Adele, I believe called “Someone like you”. Do you recall that? Was this the first video you made? at home maybe?
Lois : I think that was my first home video yes… but that was about three years ago. I recently did a version of ‘Happy’ that’s really fun. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wVnAgzfgKvQ
Dion Mial, Kenny Loggins and Lois Mahalia at SOhO Restaurant Santa Barbara.
B.Seed : You also made a video dedicated to your friend Davide Zandona who passes away, I believe, in 2011. Can you tell us about it, what happen to him if possible?
Lois : Yes, he was like family to me. A kind soul. He was on his bike and got hit by a drunk driver. I think he was no more than 36yrs old.
B.Seed : Friends Of Woni Kenya International INC., since 2007 has been “working with local communities in Kenya to solve the fatalities from lack of clean drinking and dependable water”. You went to Kenya with the organization, met the people. How long did you stay? This had to be one of the great trips of your life right?
Lois : Yes Yes Yes. I got to meet the Masai Tribe and see how they live. Beautiful people inside and out. I spent two weeks. Got to go on Safaris, and feed a Rhino with my bare hands and Giraffe, so now it’s hard to go to the zoo. Changed my life for the better. I came back reminded of how blessed we are and how important it is to be grateful for what you have.
B.Seed : I see that you did a dinner show and dance at the Cabrillo Pavilion Arts Center in Santa Barbara with proceeds going to Friends Of Woni Kenya right? Are you doing/going to do other shows that help them? Founder Evalee I Treen, I see, spends a lot of time in Kenya. Will you be going back soon?
Lois : Yes, we have another show planned for next April 2015. And we are currently promoting a raffle that is currently in progress. If you purchase a ticket it is good for a couple to have the chance to win a trip to Kenya Africa to go on a Safari and have the experience of a life time. Details are on friendsofwoni.org or people can ask me.
B.Seed : So what’s are your plans for the start of 2015, anything special?
Lois : Well, I have a lot of plans and goals. First I’m ending 2014 with two concerts on Sunday, December 14th at the Center Stage Theater, a great venue at the Paseo Neuvo mall. Tickets are available at the box office at the mall or http://www.centerstagetheater.tix.com.
Lois and the Lois Mahalia Band will be in concert December 14th at the Center Stage Theater, Paseo Nuevo mall, Santa Barbara at 4pm and at 7pm
The early show at 4pm is a more traditional Christmas show with a kids choir plus I’ll be doing songs from my CD ‘Christmas Once Again’. The second show at 7:30pm is with my new band, and will be a mix of Jazz, R&B and originals. Both should be really fun!
This Spring, I’m looking forward to releasing a CD with the new band I’m working with. And I am planning on putting together a tour to support it. And maybe even a kickstarter to help get the record pressed.
B.Seed : Thanks for being here, anything you would like to say to our readers?
Lois : Thank you for having me. Thank you to your readers, I hope they are inspired and feel loved. Please sign up for my friend club at LoisMahalia.com. Keep smiling and have a Happy Holiday season!