Austin Songwriter’s Symposium

Me with Grammy nominated singer/songwriter James Slater
Me with Grammy nominated singer/songwriter James Slater

Jan 14th – Jan 18th, 2015 was the Annual Austin Songwriters Group symposium held at the Holiday Inn Midtown. I can’t begin to tell you how much fun and how inspiring the weekend was! I met or reconnected with some great songwriters and performers. I learned so many great creative and promotional tips. I especially enjoyed the songwriting master class led by Grammy nominated singer/songwriter James Slater. He written some amazing songs for Tim McGraw, Martina McBride among many others. He also performed a full show and brought down the house. He had the entire audience dancing, including yours truly.

I also stayed late into the night in song circles all weekend. It was like a free concert every night! I share this town with some great singer/songwriters. I was lucky enough to hear so much great music all weekend long!





This Day In History: My Parents Anniversary

L-R Antonio Dutra, Filomena Dutra, Maria Lacerda, Jose Lacerda, Albertina Dutra, Felisberto Dutra
L-R Antonio Dutra, Filomena Dutra, Maria Lacerda, Jose Lacerda, Albertina Dutra, Felisberto Dutra

Today is my parents 57th Anniversary. They were both born on the Island of Faial, in the Azores Archipelago, which is a part of Portugal. They grew up in the same small village of Cedros and my mother Albertina (pictured above on the right) moved to Brooklyn with her family in 1947.

Felisberto and Albertina Dutra in Brooklyn, NY
Felisberto and Albertina Dutra in Brooklyn, NY

When she was 21, she went back for an extended visit and fell in love with my father Felisberto (pictured above on the right). At the same time, her sister Filomena fell in love with my father’s brother Antonio (both pictured above left). They had a double wedding and moved back to the Brooklyn, NY.

At the time of their wedding, the island of Faial was experiencing a volcanic eruption, which created an new section of the island. You can see and Newsday article about their wedding and pictures of the two couples at the site of the eruption from 1957 and again in 2007, their 50th Anniversary, below.

Since then, my uncle Tony has passed and my mom has been fighting cancer, and winning! My husband Steve and I are planning to go back to Faial with my parents and my sister Tina this August. I just called to wish them a very happy Anniversary with many more to come!

Several years ago, I wrote a song for my parents and did a quick recording on my laptop. It’s a bit syrupy but I hope you enjoy it. It’s called “Mother and Father”.

Mom and Dad enjoying Portuguese food for their 57th Anniversary
Mom and Dad enjoying Portuguese food for their 57th Anniversary
Click on the photo to see the full size.
Click on the photo to see the full size version

Recording update

I have been in the studio recording some new songs. I’ve started with “Lucky” and “Sycamore”. I will release them digitally and, eventually, I will release a 4-5 song EP. I’m recording at Cedar Fever Studios just outside of Austin, TX. It’s located on a farm and has the best energy. Guitarist extraordinaire Daniel David is co-producing with me, as well as playing guitar and bass. The great Kevin hall is playing some of the best drum tracks I’ve heard and I am singing lead and background vocals. Rich Maus is also doing a great job engineering the project. Plus, we’ve have Keyboardist Jamie Hilboldt sending  us some great Keyboard and synth sounds.

I will send out an announcement when they are released.

photo 5
Cedar Fever Studios


recording at cedar fever studios
Guitarist Daniel David (Left) and Drummer Kevin Hall
Selfie at Cedar Fever Studios
(L-R) Daniel David, Phil Dutra, Rich Maus


Recording Lead Vocals
Recording Vocals for “Lucky”


Engineer Rich Maus mixing "Lucky"
Engineer Rich Maus mixing “Lucky”

Here are a few Video clips in the Studio:

Daniel David recording acoustic guitar

Yes, this is a video “Selfie” :-)

Mixing down “Lucky”

New Demo “I Wish I Could Save Her” By Phil Dutra

This song is about 20 years old. I wrote it when I lived in Atlanta and never performed or recorded it. Here it is for the first time.

After my Macbook crashed and I was dumb enough to have not backed it up since October of 2013, I lost lots of information. Among that lost data was the first version of this song. I got to record it twice, which actually allowed more time to think about the arrangement and, hopefully, improve it. I will let you be the judge.

I’m kind of a big deal in Walgreens, and Kroger…and a store called Meijer!

There is a great website, based in Amsterdam, called Tribe of Noise. They are, first and foremost, about the music and the music community that they have created. They have also been very successful at in store placement for their artists throughout the world. I have been lucky to have some of my songs placed through this service. Also, here in the U.S., CDBaby has placed my songs in hundreds of retail shops all over the country. It is a great way to get my music heard, since terrestrial radio play is nearly impossible for an unsigned artist to get.

What has been great about this is the feedback I’ve been getting on my youtube channel. People who hear the songs, especially “She Walks Away,” have been searching for it online and finding it on youtube. They are leaving the best comments! Here are a few of them:

LeAnna Otis

“Found it!!! This plays at work (Walgreens) all the time, and I wanted to find it. Finally did! We all love the song, and bust out singing whenever it comes on. Customers and all!! Great song :)”


“aye this song is deep! I swear i wait on this to come on when i’m at work yo GREAT WORK LOVE IT”

Bob Chomos

“They play this song on the Safeway music network overnights and I had to find out who sang it. I love it! I’ll have to check out more songs from you!”


“Another Kroger employee here. We actually play a lot of good music there, evidently. May not be the kind of fame you want, but hey, you got fans.”

So, Thanks to Tribe Of Noise and to CDBaby for getting the songs heard by people who would have never known to look for them and a big thanks to the people who are taking the time to find the songs and leave such great comments! Every time I get one, it makes my day!!