Growing up, singer, songwriter, and "Man In The Mirror" co-writer Siedah Garrett occasionally was a guest singer at churches, but it wasn't until she was in junior high school that she knew she had to be a singer. A guitarist at her school wanted to participate in a talent show, so he asked her to sing while he played. She says the next day she received rave reviews and praise for her performance.
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In her 20s Siedah worked as a backup singer for Sergio Mendes, but got her big break at an open audition for producer Quincy Jones. In a room full of producers and songwriters, she sang the demos from several songwriters. Siedah joined one of Quincy's bands as a singer and went on to become one of his songwriters.
Tasked with finishing Michael Jackson's album, Quincy asked his songwriters to come up with new songs for Michael. Siedah says her songwriting partner Glen Ballard started playing a chord progression, and the phrase "man in the mirror" just "jumped off the page." A couple days later, they demoed the song and sent it to Quincy. "Two days later," Siedah explains, "Quincy said, 'Siedah, we are in the studio, recording your ol' piece of song."
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In addition to co-writing "Man In The Mirror," Siedah also sang with Michael Jackson on "I Just Can't Stop Loving You." Siedah says she walked into the room where there were two music stands with two sheets of music, one for her and one for Michael. "It was in that moment that I realized, 'Oh my God, I'm duetting with the King of Pop,'" she exclaims. Siedah continued working with Michael on his "Dangerous" tour.
Since then, she's been nominated for Grammy and Academy Awards for her songwriting, and recently released an album of her own songs. "Quincy Jones told me that the best songwriters are re-writers," says Siedah. "I think that's a lesson I use in other parts in my life, too. I don't just settle for my first try." She advises the more you do something, the better you get at it. The opportunities will come. "Every opportunity that you're presented with or confronted with in life," she explains, "is put in your life, put in your sphere, to sort of guide you in the direction you're ultimately supposed to be."
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