From 1989 to 2004 Tracy Newman was a television writer and producer. She had a partner – Jonathan Stark. Their first staff writing job was on the 10th season of "Cheers." After that they were on staff at "Bob" (starring Bob Newhart,) "The Nanny," "Hiller and Diller" (Richard Lewis and Kevin Nealon,) "Ellen" (Ellen Degeneres,) and "The Drew Carey Show." In 1997, they won the Emmy for co-writing the ground-breaking “coming out” episode of Ellen. In 2001, they created the ABC comedy, "According to Jim," starring Jim Belushi. That show ran for 8 seasons.
Tracy left the Belushi show during the third season to return to songwriting and performing, which is what she had been doing before her TV career. She says, “I found it easier to make a living in television. In my years as a song writer I had one significant placement: In 1985, Mel Tillis and Nancy Sinatra did an album together. The single from it was a song I wrote called, I Would Fly. I bet to this date I’ve made a whopping $400 on that recording.”
This CD, Tracy’s first -- “A Place in Sun,” features Tracy and singers Gene Lippmann and Lorie Doswell, (www.loriedoswell.com) otherwise called “The Reinforcements.” Gene also plays guitar on the CD. The three of them met in Harriet Schock’s (www.harrietschock.com) songwriting class. Tracy started singing in coffee houses and clubs around town, and Lorie and Gene would show up and sit in front and harmonize with her. Soon Tracy invited them to join her on stage, and they’ve worked together off and on, for about two years.
About some of the songs:
"Laraine" – I wrote this about my sister, Laraine Newman from the original Saturday Night Live “Not-Ready-For-Prime-Time” Players which also included John Belushi, Danny Ackroyd, Gilda Radner, Chevy Chase, Jane Curtin and Garret Morris. If you’re one of Laraine’s many fans, and enjoy a bit of inside trivia, I think you’ll love this song.
"A Place in the Sun" – Written after a trip to Palm Springs. My boyfriend and I stayed at a bungalow-type resort located on a quiet little street called San Lorenzo. (www.aplaceinthesunhotel.com) This little jewel was named A Place in the Sun after the classic 1951 film starring Liz Taylor and Montgomery Clift. It was built to house the crew while they were shooting some of the scenes. As the song says, you can take your dogs there – each bungalow has a private little backyard.
"My Kisses are Your Kisses" – My boyfriend and I wrote this after a fight. He actually said some of these things to me, my favorite quote being, “Don’t flatter yourself...” I love singing this song. It is my fondest wish to have Merle Haggard cover it.
"Waffle Boy" – The first thing I did after I left the Belushi show was go to Nashville and hang out for a while. One Sunday morning I went to a Waffle House next door to my hotel, and pretty much saw this story play out in front of me. In 2006, this song was one of the top five winners in the novelty/holiday category of the Great American Song Contest.
"Mama, I Know You Ain’t Santa" – My friend, Lynne Stewart, came to me some years ago with most of these lyrics already written. (A little trivia about Lynne: She is “Miss Yvonne” – the most beautiful woman in Puppetland, from the amazing TV show, “Pee Wee’s Playhouse.”) In 2005, this song won 2nd place in the holiday category. We actually won $500! That was pretty exciting.
Some words about Tracy by others:
Her melodies have an inevitable, yet not predictable quality which makes them pleasing on first hearing and better each time and then you can’t get them out of your head. Her lyrics reflect a wry, unique and unusually refreshing viewpoint, a sense of irony that is present in great writing. And, of course, she’s very smart, droll and likeable on stage, which helps. I know that’s not a songwriting comment, but think back over all the performances you’ve sat through. The entire package of Tracy Newman is a delightful one. That’s why she keeps getting invited to perform. (Harriet Schock-2005)
Very few songwriters ever attain the sheer musicality and elegance in their writing that is the common thread throughout Tracy's catalog of songs. A gifted writer with an understated, captivating performing style, she gives the listener a glimpse into a simpler, better, world...one song at a time. (James Hurley-July 2005)
For more detailed information on Tracy’s career, or if you think you might have gone to school with her or something, go to www.tracynewman.com.