|Origin||New York City|
Roxanne Joy Seeman (born June 10, 1954 in New York City) is an American songwriter and lyricist. She is best known for her songs by Billie Hughes, Philip Bailey, The Jacksons, The Sisters of Mercy, Bette Midler, Earth, Wind & Fire, and Jacky Cheung.
Musical career and personal life
At the age of 10, Seeman pursued private piano lessons, learning chords and melody. She took up violin at the Saddle Rock Elementary School. Seeman picked up guitar at 16, while spending a summer in Ithaca, New York.
During Seeman's high school years, she was an avid fine artist. Seeman applied to Carnegie-Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with the intention of pursuing a career in art. In the practice rooms of Carnegie-Mellon, Seeman found a piano teacher and studied classical piano.
At Carnegie-Mellon, Seeman was on the School Activities Board, booking bands to perform on campus. With a passionate interest in both jazz and art, Seeman attended classes offered at the University of Pittsburgh (by reciprocal agreement between the two Universities) that would shape her career. One of these classes was taught by Dr. Nathan Davis, bebop jazz saxophonist and Director of Jazz Studios at the University of Pittsburgh. Seeman learned to play jazz classics such as "Giant Steps", "Moment's Notice", "Round Midnight", and others.
Wishing to learn Chinese calligraphy, Seeman attended a class in Chinese language where she learned to write Chinese characters. This motivated Seeman to apply as a transfer student to Columbia University in New York, where she would pursue Oriental Studies and be in the mix of the music world in New York City. Over the summers on Long Island, Seeman studied piano with Tony Aless, jazz pianist who played with Woody Herman, Charlie Parker, among others. Seeman also took several lessons from Sir Roland Hanna.
Seeman is a graduate of Columbia University, with a B.A. in Oriental Studies, Chinese Arts and Language. She studied Chinese, Japanese and Indian literature, art, and took a class on Chinese music from Professor Chou Wen-chung.
Seeman spent nights in New York jazz clubs while she worked as a temporary secretary at Atlantic Records and Warner Communication in NY. Seeman then began writing lyrics for jazz instrumentals. She developed a close friendship with David Lasley, famed session singer who toured with James Taylor. Seeman produced recorded demos of David Lasley singing her lyrics to the instrumentals.
Seeman relocated to Los Angeles when she was offered a position at ABC Records, soon to be sold to MCA Records. Seeman's career turned to professional songwriting when Dee Dee Bridgewater recorded the Ramsey Lewis instrumental "Tequila Mockingbird" with Seeman's lyrics. Larry Dunn of Earth, Wind & Fire wrote the tune and George Duke produced the record. This led to Roxanne's collaboration with Philip Bailey of Earth, Wind & Fire, with whom she wrote, along with Maurice White and Eduardo del Barrio, "Sailaway", for Earth, Wind & Fire's Faces album. During this time, Carmine Coppola and Italia Pennino asked Roxanne to collaborate with them in developing themes from Carmine's movie scores into songs. She co-wrote lyrics and produced song demos for the themes from The Black Stallion, The Outsiders, and Napoleon.
Seeman co-wrote original songs with David Lasley and then other co-writing partners, producing 24-track recordings at the ABC Recording Studios and other LA studios. Some of the singers and musicians that played for Seeman's recordings include David Lasley, David Benoit, Bobby Watson, Eduardo del Barrio, David Garibaldi, Doug Rodrigues, Terry Reid, Hubert Laws, Debra Laws, Eloise Laws, Sylvia St. James, Marty Walsh, Arnold McCuller and Charlotte Crossley. The early recordings were engineered by Al Schmidt, Jr. and Zoli Osaze. One day walking down the hallway at the ABC Studios looking to book time to mix a session, Seeman heard one of her songs coming out of the production room. She walked in to find Gerry Brown, a young recording engineer of 17, unbeknownst to her, had taken her 24-track 2" inch tape from the shelf over the weekend and mixed it. Brown was listening to it so enthusiastically, she told him he could mix all the others.
Working with Billie Hughes
Seeman's partnership with recording artist and songwriter/composer Billie Hughes, which began in 1983, marked the beginning of a long and successful career of recording, producing and songwriting. Their efforts achieved popularity in Japan in 1991; the couple wrote and produced Hughes' "Welcome to the Edge" #1 single and album. "Welcome to the Edge" remained on Billboard's Japan Top 10 chart for four months, selling 520,000 copies. Seeman and Hughes received #1 International Single of the Year at the NHK Japan Grand Prix Awards, the equivalent of the Grammys.
Seeman held the position of Executive Assistant to Scott Rudin the President of Production for 20th Century Fox. In 1987, she worked on location in Bangkok on the film Off Limits and is credited for Thai casting.
Barbra Streisand recorded Seeman's "Let's Start Right Now", a Brazilian song with her original English lyric. "Let's Start Right Now" appeared as a bonus CD single in a limited edition of Streisand's A Love Like Ours album.
In collaboration with Sarah Brightman and Frank Peterson, Seeman wrote "Harem", new original English lyrics for "Cancao do Mar", a Portuguese fado made famous by Amalia Rodrigues. Sarah Brightman's Harem album stayed in the Billboard Top 10 Crossover Classical chart for over 80 weeks.
In December 2008, Daniel Lindstrom released the single "Caught In That Feeling" in Sweden, written by Seeman, Lindstrom, and Samsson.
In March 2009, Seeman met Philipp Steinke, from Berlin, while he was staying in Los Angeles, and began a writing collaboration. Seeman and Steinke wrote "Amor En Suspenso (Crocodile Tears)" which was recorded by Alejandra Guzmán, Mexico's "Queen Of Rock", for Guzman's Unico album, released by EMI Latin. Guzman wrote the Spanish lyrics with Fernando Osorio. Seeman and Steinke continued to write songs for Jacky Cheung and Lin Yu Chun.
In 2012, Austrian blues-rock singer Saint Lu released "Falling For Your Love", written by Saint Lu, Seeman, and Messer, as part of her Warner Germany album "2".
In 2009, Seeman began writing for Jacky Cheung, known as one of the "Four Heavenly Kings" of Canto-Pop. Cheung, nicknamed "God of Songs", has been awarded "Top Asian Pop Artist" by Billboard multiple times. From Seeman's travels to Asia, she was familiar with Cheung and soon developed a close collaborative relationship with Cheung's producer, Andrew Tuason, along with Jacky Cheung.
Cheung wanted to try a different style, jazz, for his new album which he called Private Corner, because Cheung says it is a personal expression, something he wanted to do for himself. The first song, "Everyday Is Christmas", Seeman co-wrote with Philipp Steinke. Cheung liked "Everyday Is Christmas" so much, he asked Seeman and Steinke to write another song and they composed "Which Way, Robert Frost". Seeman continued to write songs for Cheung in the new "Canto-jazz" style, a phrase Cheung coined to describe the music of his Private Corner album. "不只有緣 (Lucky In Love)", "Double Trouble", "Let It Go", "Which Way, Robert Frost", and "Everyday Is Christmas", were co-written with European collaborators and all of the songs were adapted into Cantonese, except "Everyday Is Christmas". Cheung said he tried having the lyrics for "Everyday Is Christmas" adapted into Cantonese, but he liked the meaning of the lyrics in English so much that he decided to record it in English. Nokia’s music download service website (Ovi.com) announced that ‘Everyday is Christmas’ was the 10th most downloaded Christmas song in the world in 2010, joining classic hits such as Wham’s ‘Last Christmas’ and Mariah Carey’s "All I Want for Christmas is You". Jacky is the only Chinese language singer to make it into the Top Ten.
In 2009, the newly formed South Korean girl group 4Minute with Kim Hyun-Ah of The Wonder Girls, recorded "Tick Tock". When 4 Minute did not release "Tick Tock", it was recorded by Rainie Yang (Sony Taiwan) in Mandarin. "Tick Tock" by Rainie Yang was featured in the hit Taiwanese TV drama Hi My Sweetheart starring Rainie Yang and Show Luo. "Tick Tock" is co-written with Kine L. Fossheim and Olav Fossheim.
Seeman returned to Asia in August 2009 for five weeks. Since then, her songs have been recorded and released including "All Pumped Up" by Evan Yo (Sony Taiwan), "Cha Cha Cha" by Linda Chung (Star Entertainment Hong Kong), When You Hear This Song" by Allen Su (Sony Beijing), "Arrest Me" by Amber Kuo (Warner Taiwan), "No One Knows" by Stephy Tang (Gold Typhoon), and "Hui Bu Hui (Will We)" by Yang Kun. Music Videos include Jacky Cheung "Double Trouble", Rainie Yang "Tick Tock", and Stephy Tang "No One Knows".
On New Year's Eve 2010, Jacky Cheung embarked on the Jacky Cheung 1/2 Century Tour, with 25 musicians and 18 dancers, opening at the Mercedes Benz Arena, Shanghai, China. "Double Trouble" is a highlight song in Cheung's stadium world tour. "Double Trouble" is co-written with Kine L. Fossheim and Olav Fossheim.
In 2011, Yang Kun recorded Seeman's "Hui Bu Hui (Will We)", co-written with Fredrik Samsson and Tobias Forsberg. It was produced by Zhang Yadong. It is the theme song and promo music video for the Mainland China hit thriller "Lost In Panic Cruise".
Seeman returned to Hong Kong in May 2012 for the finale concerts of Jacky Cheung's 1/2 Century Tour. From there Seeman went to Suzhou to meet Han Xue, who recorded "Lonely Kiss" for her Gold Typhoon Mainland China release. She continued to Shanghai, Beijing, where she met Ai Dai, also recording Seeman's songs, and Tokyo.
The English version of "不只有緣 (Lucky In Love)" was later re-recorded by Paolo Onesa, Top 8 contestant from the first season of The Voice of the Philippines. It was released digitally as a single on September 23, 2013 by MCA Music, as part of The Voice complitation album. Onesa went on to include the song along with "Which Way, Robert Frost" on his debut album, Pop Goes Standards, released February 14, 2014.
Film & television
Seeman's works have been incorporated in film, television, video and records. Her "So Hard To Know" was written by request for Chet Baker. It appears in the Oscar-nominated documentary Let's Get Lost, Bruce Weber's tribute to Chet Baker's life and music, which was re-released in 2008.
The February 19, 1994, The Jackson Family Honors live ABC telecast from Las Vegas at the MGM Grand Hotel featured Seeman, Hughes and Jermaine Jackson's song "If You'd Only Believe" thematically, with a finale performance including Michael Jackson, guest artists Celine Dion and others.
"Welcome to the Edge" received an Emmy nomination for Best Original Song in the TV drama Santa Barbara in 1991. In 1994, Seeman and Hughes received a second Emmy nomination for Best Original Song for "Dreamlove" in the TV drama Another World. In 1996, Seeman received Special Recognition for Musical Contribution, Daytime Drama Guiding Light, for her work with, and the Emmy awarded to, Music Director, Jonathan Firstenberg.
With Earth, Wind & Fire, Seeman co-wrote "Cruisin'" for Spike Lee's Get On The Bus. A collaboration with Eric Levi of ERA and Philip Bailey of Earth, Wind & Fire resulted in "People And Places", the end-title song of the French film La Vengeance d'Une Blonde.
From William Ross' theme for The Young Black Stallion, Roxanne and Gavin Greenaway developed and produced the song "Born To Ride" sung by Biana Tamimi, the 11-year-old actress from the film, for the DVD release December 2004.
Seeman co-wrote "不只有緣 (Lucky In Love)" with Daniel Nitt for Jacky Cheung. "不只有緣 (Lucky In Love)" appears over the end-credits of Crossing Hennessy, a Hong Kong movie produced by William Kong. "Crossing Hennessy", starring Tang Wei (Lust, Caution) and Jacky Cheung, premiered as the opening night film for the 34th Hong Kong International Film Festival March 21.
For Arif Mardin's All My Friends Are Here album and The Greatest Ears in Town: The Arif Mardin Story companion documentary, Seeman wrote lyrics for Mardin's composition "So Blue". "So Blue" features Chaka Khan and David Sanborn. The Greatest Ears In Town was screened during the 29th International Istanbul Film Festival in April 2010. All My Friends Are Here was released on June 15, 2010. The Greatest Ears in Town: The Arif Mardin Story was nominated for a Grammy in 2011 for Best Long Form Video.
"Hui Bu Hui (Will We)", recorded by Mainland China recording artist and actor Yang Kun, appears as the theme song of Lost In Panic Cruise, the sequel to Lost In Panic Room. The movie premiered on Mainland China October 27, 2011. Yangkun, actor and singer, appears in the movie and the music video.
Seeman's songs have been appearing in the Nickelodeon television series Hollywood Heights since June 20, 2012.
Roxanne Seeman and Riccardo Cocciante wrote "When Love Calls Your Name" for The Voice of Italy finalist Elhaida Dani. A videoclip of the recording session for "When Love Calls Your Name" by Elhaida Dani with Riccardo Cocciante, "Coach" (Judge") and producer, was posted at the Rai Television site, and the song was made available at iTunes Italy for voters. During the May 30, 2013 finale show of The Voice of Italy, Elhaida Dani performed "When Love Calls Your Name". When it was announced that Elhaida Dani wins as The Voice of Italy, Riccardo Cocciante joins Dani on stage and she sings, with Riccardo Cocciante alongside, an emotional reprise performance of "When Love Calls Your Name".
- "MTV Top 10 Christmas Songs 2010"
- "Ovi Music Trends Top 10 Downloaded Festive Songs"
- The Greatest Ears in Town: The Arif Mardin Story on IMDB.com
- Grammy nominees
- "Arif Mardin's Son Talks Grammy" Hollywood Reporter
- Crossing Hennessy (2010) on IMDB.com
- "Arif Mardin" on AllMyFriendsAreHere.com