Meet Gail Kennedy. Gail is a fantastic vocalist… known to many in our community!
Q: Please tell us a little about what you’ve done since you’ve lived in the Verde Valley?
A: I’ve lived in the Verde Valley for 23 years. I’m originally from New York and then San Francisco before I discovered Sedona. When I first moved here, I volunteered at the Sedona Fire Department and the Verde Valley Hospital in Cottonwood. I’m also a singer.
Q: What type of music do you sing?
A: American Songbook. I sing your basic American music from the 30s. And I do not play any instruments.
Q: What keeps you motivated?
A: My very first paid singing gig was when I was 15 years old. I lived in Brooklyn, New York, and it was something I have always done. I was a single parent with four children, and I had to have a day job, and my singing was always an adjunct. I sang mostly on weekends in a Jazz club.
Q: Who is one of the most interesting people that you’ve met here in Sedona?
A: Terrie Frankel is one of them, and I haven’t known her that long. Shondra Jepperson, and the musician that plays for almost all of us- Steve Sandner. But the most exciting person I’ve met here was my friend Lyn Licky. I’m sorry to say she’s passed.
Q: Have you been to Africa?
A: It’s a ‘small world’ story. Ever since I’ve been a little kid, my biggest goal in life was to go to Africa. It’s an expensive trip, and I never had the money for the trip. An aunt died and left me money, and I said to my girlfriend, “Guess what I’m doing with this check?” and she said, “You’re going to Africa.” I said, “Absolutely,” and I did!
Q: How did you meet and become friends with Lyn Licky?
I was involved in a Unity Church here in Sedona, and I went to this couple’s house to pick up some music, and I noticed the African decor. I said to them, “Oh! You’re African people,” and they said, “that’s not ours; it’s the owners. We just rent the house part-time.” They told me the owner is Lyn Licki. One Sunday, I went to church, and Lyn was there that day. I introduced myself and was excited to talk to her about Africa. She mentioned William Molley, who worked for the Flamingo tours. I told her I knew him as well. It’s such a small world. Here I am, in a small church in a small town in Arizona, and I meet the one person who has been to Africa and knows the one person I know in Africa. From that point on, we were very good friends.
Q: What is something on your bucket list besides Africa?
A: I was lucky enough to take a trip every year, and I went to all the places I wanted to go. I want to go back to Africa again someday.
Q: What is your favorite music?
A: I like soul music and Adele, Billie Holiday, and my favorite female singer is Gladys Knight.
Q: How did you end up in Sedona?
A: I was living in San Francisco to help my daughter. I had a great job, a great apartment, and a great church that I belong to. I wanted to be in Black Gals Choir, and I managed to do it. But I couldn’t make that city work for me, and I was miserable there, so I looked for another place to live. I went on a trip with three of my friends, traveling around the Southwest, and on the last day of our 10-day trip, we came to Sedona. When we got back to San Francisco, I quit my job and moved here by myself 23 years ago.
Q: What is your favorite thing or something unique about Sedona or Verde Valley?
A: Obviously, the Red Rocks. I like Sedona, but I did move to Cottonwood a couple of years ago.
From the interview with Jonelle Klein.