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Photo by Monica Baer

An unrepentant baby boomer, Debra was strongly influenced by the music of her youth.

My career began in a way I believe is similar to most artists’ beginnings; that is, with the experience of being moved by someone else’s creation.

This awakening then becomes the source of inspiration to tell others something of one’s own heart. As enormously satisfying as it is to write and sing pure expressions of emotion; as one matures, there is a growing urgency to use the intensity of those feelings for some greater good. I guess that is why I think of my musical genre as “Songs for Cause & Just Because.”

My musical orientation was shaped largely by the singer-songwriters of the 1960s and 70s. Over the decades, I have performed folk, rock, jazz, and even disco. I’ve sung to classrooms and Hospice patients. The common denominator has always been a desire to connect so that others could feel music as I do; and from that experience, be able to make it their own.

My songwriting has turned towards making people more aware of social concerns. That is why my portfolio now includes songs about autism, drunk driving, cancer, child abuse, adoption, and a post-9/11 song of hope entitled, “One Heart at a Time.” Yet songs about love, children, even pets, are always appreciated as universal expressions of what we love and long for.

There is no vehicle quite like music to reach others. At the core, my message to my audience is to have hope: things can get better, and it is always worth the effort to try. I take much pride in continuing to create new avenues to reach those that wish to be entertained, encouraged, enlightened.

My first album, “A Spirited Mother” was born out of my experience of motherhood and my efforts to be a model of authenticity for my daughter.

The songs are meant to inspire, soothe and celebrate the fact that the best interests of our children are served only by being true to ourselves. In the few years between my first album and the second, “In Broad Daylight,” I was commissioned to write a song for a friend’s adopted daughter and was asked to write for charitable causes as well. She found that it fit her drive to express herself while simultaneously delivering a message. The second album reflects this discovery, while describing a personal journey that has aimed for the higher ground, but which sometimes has run her through the weeds. Yet as a songwriter she’s struggled to be faithful to what is true, even when the light of consciousness flashes painfully bright. “In Broad Daylight” connotes the place where we see most vividly and the finest hues brilliantly mirror the deepest truths, expressed through the beauty of music.

Causes

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The Children’s Place at Home Safe provides a loving home for the care and treatment of abused, abandoned, neglected, drug-exposed and HIV/AIDS infected infants, children & youth. The Children’s Place provides shelter care placement 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Their key objective is to provide comprehensive and coordinated services that enhance the lives of the children and their families.

Debra composed an original song called “Born of Light” for the Children’s Place at Home Safe. She performed her song at the 2003 Indian Spring Country Club in Boynton Beach fundraiser which raised $12,000 for the organization.

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In 2008, Debra supported the Connecticut chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving by performing “Light One Candle” and her song written specifically for MADD, “More Than Remember” at the Candlelight Vigil of Remembrance and Hope.

Founded by a mother whose daughter was killed by a drunk driver, Mothers Against Drunk Driving® (MADD) is the nation’s largest nonprofit working to protect families from drunk driving and underage drinking. MADD also supports drunk and drugged driving victims and survivors at no charge, serving one person every eight minutes through local MADD victim advocates and at 1-877-MADD-HELP.

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The Autism Society, the nation’s leading grassroots autism organization, exists to improve the lives of all affected by autism. We do this by increasing public awareness about the day-to-day issues faced by people on the spectrum, advocating for appropriate services for individuals across the lifespan, and providing the latest information regarding treatment, education, research and advocacy.

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American Cancer Society events are inspiring, uplifting, and great at bringing the fight against cancer directly into your community. From black-tie galas to full-length marathons, we have an event that will suit your interests and let you join in the spirit of camaraderie and compassion as we work together to save lives from cancer.

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The Autism Society of Connecticut is focused on three areas: serving as a statewide autism resource, providing grants to families who may need financial assistance, and raising awareness of autism. For over 25 years, the Autism Society of Connecticut (ASCONN) has worked with parents, educators, state government, and therapeutic and medical professionals to enhance the lives of those touched by Autism Spectrum Disorders. ASCONN serves the entire autism spectrum – across specific diagnosis, needs, challenges, and age ranges.

In October of 2009, Debra supported the Autism Society of Connecticut by performing at the “Light the Sky” Concert for Autism Awareness.

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The Connecticut Hospice inaugurated hospice care in America in 1974. Since then, it has been the beacon and teacher of the growing hospice movement throughout the nation, and beyond. The Connecticut Hospice addresses physical, spiritual, social, and emotional needs of patients with advanced irreversible illness, and their families. Such care is provided regardless of diagnosis and as long as the Hospice level of care is needed by the patients.

In 2005, Debra performed her original song “100 Blessings” at both the Spring and Fall Legacy of Hope events supporting the Connecticut Hospice, Inc.

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Founded in 1986, Habitat for Humanity of Greater New Haven (an affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the elimination of poverty housing through the creation of homeownership opportunities for low-income working families. Habitat builds and rehabilitates homes in the Greater New Haven area with the goal of creating safe, decent, affordable houses that add to the revitalization of New Haven’s neighborhoods. Habitat accomplishes its mission by partnering with individuals, religious and civic organizations, local business and corporations.

Debra proudly supported the Habitat for Humanity of Greater New Haven by performing at the 25th Anniversary Gala in 2011.

Debra performed jazz standards and “Decent Shelter,” the original Habitat song at the Owenego Inn and Beach Club in Branford CT in June, 2014.

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At Relay For Life events, communities across the globe come together to honor cancer survivors, remember loved ones lost, and fight back against a disease that has already taken too much. The funds you raise truly make a difference in the fight against cancer – just ask one of the nearly 14 million cancer survivors who will celebrate another birthday this year!

Debra performed her original song for cancer survivors at the American Cancer Society Relay for Life of North Branford at North Branford High School in 2008.

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