FYC: Jody Quine & the Big Mr. C: Got My Eye On You, Santa

FYC: Jody Quine & the Big Mr. C: Got My Eye On You, Santa

    FYC: Pop Duo Group Song
    Jody Quine & the Big Mr. C (Dan Berggren): Got My Eye On You Santa
    (Optimistic Kitty Records, Christmas 2017 release)


Thank you for your consideration of GOT MY EYE ON YOU SANTA by Jody Quine & the Big Mr. C (Dan Berggren).

I feel blessed by the Gift of Santa. Growing this song has been empowering, as it was the first professional production I created from start to finish. It has become a Cinderella story for a variety of people, including me–the cute woman, who believes “love is our power.”

Once upon a time, on a hot day after work in Paramus, NJ, Nirvana was alive and on the charts. When I was alone, I’d sing hairband music, even though we covered grunge in a monthly rock mag, Hit Parader. As I walked alongside the highway, I played with my own melodies, often forgettable. One day, a melody with a “Winchester Cathedral” kind of energy made sense to me. When I got to the bus, I was thinking deeply, rhyming “mantra” with “Santa.”

I transferred from the bus to the subway, and kept singing the song, and carving lyrics. 90 minutes later, at home, in the kitchen of our Bronx rooming house, I sang it into a tape recorder. I made a dub on my multi-purpose ghetto blaster for my friend–keyboardist/singer Priscilla Hairriett (who had a band with Tommy Keifer and Eric Brittingham before they joined Cinderella). She improved the lyrics with the verse about “homemade cookies,” and finished some melodic sentences from the original demo. Her recording had too much echo. My songwriting teacher, a blind woman in Pawling, NY, said, “You have a hit song,” she said, “Get that to blah-blah-blah.”

I tried every so often, but got busy with publicity, artist development, writing screenplays that got lots of critiques… When I had time, I didn’t have money. When I had money, I had no time, but I honored everyone I worked with. I learned a lot.

I went to college, and graduated. I helped innovative artists whose careers needed innovative help including one that gave me a broken heart. The best healing is to gift yourself, which my songwriting guru reminded me that I had the power to do. I know this SANTA song is a hit; I can build it.

(Producing SANTA was also done for a practical purpose. Every songwriter needs to create one Christmas song, so their children and pets can lavishly live off the royalties, as Hugh Grant did in the movie, ABOUT A BOY.)

I had the worst demo, but was growing a successful poetry career including appearing on a Grammy-Nominated album, HEALTHY FOOD FOR THOUGHT, which got me a book deal with Ken Cowle’s SOUL ASYLUM PUBLICITY. The book, THE LEIGHTON EXPLOSION made enough of a profit that I could pay the musicians. We recorded the instrumental tracks in Paramus, less than a mile from where the song was originally found. Like an inner Rod McKuen, my “Olivers” were keyboardist & music director Roberta Piket (Winner of the 2018 Downbeat Critics Poll in the “Rising Star – Organ” category), drummer Mick Oakleaf, the recording engineer/studio owner Chris Sulit, performers Jody Quine & Dan Berggren. For the mixing and mastering, I invested extra money from work I’ve earned in music services. Mixer: David Bendeth, and his stupendous assistants: Mitch Milan and Brian Robbins. Mastered by Fred Kevorkian.

I chose Jody and Dan for their voices and their self-awareness. Both of them fit the folk music genre–Dan writing traditional-sounding songs about the Adirondacks, and Jody creating songs about her quests in life. Vocally, I heard great range–touches of Beverly Bivens from the We Five and Shirley from the Shirelles. Dan was my radio teacher in college; I loved his rich bass voice, and remembered how–one day in class–he roared his voice like a ’60s top 40 radio host. He is great at following instructions, and I knew he could give a Barry White vibe for Santa!

Phoebe Legere signed the recording to her Optimistic Kitten label, and we promoted to military radio, plus reached out for syncs, publishing— you name it. 18 months later I got an offer from a great publisher for both syncs and publishing. (As per the Universe, it turned out to be the same company as my artist friend that once broke my heart; it’s like the Rupert Holmes song, “Escape,” about “Pina Colada.”)

At first I thought I could market my songs. Reality hit. After all these years of not being able to place my songs, the biggest publisher on the continent of Africa wanted to market my songwriting. “Oh! This is an opportunity for me to finish the songs I started, and work on new ones. What a gift.”

It’s a great feeling to know that somebody can speak up for my work. I am grateful to have a partner that is organizing my songs in a way that they will have an opportunity to be in the marketplace long after I’m gone.

Thank you, music friends, colleagues, and Santa.

GOT MY EYE ON YOU SANTA
written by Anne Leighton, Priscilla Harriett, Roberta Piket

I got my eye on you Santa
that beard and that red suit drive me wild
I got my eye on you Santa
repeating my mantra, santa, santa, santa, santa,
I got my eye on you now

I’ll be waiting by the chimney with homemade cookies
and a smile that is sparkling so white
Santa Santa, you make me happy
I got my eye on you Santa
Thanks for the diamonds gold and pearls
I got my eye on you Santa
can I sit on your lap now
can’t I, Santa, Santa,
let’s fly around this whole world

The elves are busy in the ole workshop
for all the happy little girls and boys
and the reindeer are ready
to visit every house and give each one a treat

I’ve got my eye on you santa
I’ve been good all this year long,
honest Santa
I got my eye on you Santa
I’d like to dance with you,
santa, santa, I got my eye on you now
 
The elves are busy in the ole workshop
for all the happy little girls and boys
and the reindeer are ready
to visit every house on Christmas
I got my eye on you Santa
that beard and that red suit drive me wild
I got my eye on you Santa
repeating my mantra, santa, santa, santa, santa,
I got my eye on you now

© 2016, by Anne Leighton, Priscilla Hairriett, Roberta Piket, All Rights Reserved
CONTACT: Anne Leighton: 718-881-8183, LeightonMedia@aol.com, Anne@AnneLeighton.com

These folks worked on “GOT MY EYE ON YOU, SANTA.”
Drummer: Mick Oakleaf
All Keyboards, Music Director, scratch vocals, co-writer, co-arranger: Roberta Piket
co-writer: Priscilla Hairriett
Recording Studio Engineer: Chris Sulit
Lead Vocals, Vocal harmony co-arranger: Jody Quine
Studio for vocalist: Vik Levak
Santa vocals: Dan Berggren
Mixer: David Bendeth
David’s backup for mixing: Brian Robbins
Assistant Mix Engineer: Mitch Milan
Mastering: Fred Kevorkian
Cover art: Rachel Petrovicz
Producer/arranger/co-writer: Anne Leighton

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