Tracy Newman and the Reinforcements
BORN: Los Angeles, CA
RESIDES: Los Angeles, CA
PLAYING SINCE: 1960
I've discovered I like rewriting better than "writing." I like the fact that I can get a song to say exactly what I want it to, so that when I perform it, I know what I'm talking about. Sometimes the words happen easily without much rewrite, but most of the time, it's hard labor, and a huge sense of accomplishment when it's done... for a few minutes... until the whole process starts over with another song.
Tracy Newman grew up in Los Angeles. She started playing guitar at 14, usually sitting on the diving board of her family’s pool, strumming for hours each day. Back then she was mostly influenced by the Kingston Trio, because she could actually play some of their songs, especially “Tom Dooley” which had, and still has, only two chords. After high school, Tracy wanted to be a folksinger, but her parents insisted she go to college. She went to the U of A in Tucson and quickly discovered the “folk” community. She stopped attending college and began playing on street corners for money, otherwise known as “busking.” Understandably, this freaked out her mother who flew to Tucson and dragged Tracy back to LA for “help.” The therapist, an elderly man in a suit and tie, kept nodding off during the sessions. Apparently, he couldn’t relate to an upper middle class teenage girl who just wanted to be a folksinger. It’s taken Tracy a while to get back to her dream.
In the early 70s, she joined an improv class taught by Gary Austin, which soon became The Groundlings. Tracy is a founding member, and besides performing, she taught and directed. Her sister, Laraine Newman was the first Groundling to be discovered there by Lorne Michaels for Saturday Night Live. Some other Groundling alumni include: Will Ferrell, Kristen Wiig, Paul “Pee Wee Herman” Reubens and Kathy Griffin. It was at the Groundlings that Tracy met her future TV writing partner, Jonathan Stark. Their first staff job was on “Cheers,” followed by “Bob”(Bob Newhart), “The Nanny,” “Ellen”, “The Drew Carey Show” and the legendary “Hiller and Diller” (Richard Lewis and Kevin Nealon.) In 1997, Newman and Stark won an Emmy and Peabody Award for writing the groundbreaking “coming out” episode of “Ellen.” In 2001, they created the ABC comedy, “According to Jim,” which ran for eight seasons. Tracy had been writing songs all along, many of which were featured in TV shows.
Now she’s once again performing her music full-time. Her 2007 debut CD, “A Place in the Sun,” is still a favorite with young and old alike, for long car rides across the nation. The title track on her new CD, “I Just See You,” highlights the beauty of a long-term relationship. Tracy has just completed a CD/Coloring Book for children, created with her artist daughter, Charlotte Dean. It’s called “I Can Swing Forever.” You can purchase it here: icanswingforever.com.
A children's song about having fun forever. It's literally about being on a swing. Tracy Newman's lively tune along with Bob McClurg's lyrics describe that feeling to perfection: I can swing forever if I want to, back and forth without a care, (anytime,) lots of fluffly clouds for me to fly through, swinging way up in the air!
About a man who just likes the chase, and loses interest once he has what he wants.
A modern folk tale of a woman trying to hold on to her youth.
Tracy's song about her sister, Laraine Newman, who along with Chevy Chase, John Belushi, Danny Ackroyd, Jane Curtin, Gilda Radner and Garret Morris was one of the original SNL players.
A young girl sings a love song to her hard-working single mom on Christmas.
1: What artist would you most love to work with?
I don't like to leave anyone out, so... anyone who moves me. I love Shaun Cromwell. I also wouldn't mind meeting Bob Dylan. Jackson Browne?
2: What instrument brings you the most joy?
3: What was the worst advice?
I must have ignored it because I can't remember it.
4: What was your first concert?
I traveled in a show called Hootenanny '63 with 24 other folk artists. We played every major concert hall in the country twice, including Carnegie Hall! Very cool.
5: What/where is the best road food?
6: What’s the best music advice you ever got?
Practice and enunciate.
7: Who is your most surprising inspiration?