Rob Rodell

I spent some time with the fabulous Cindy Alter yesterday. Cindy was the lead singer of Clout, a girl group from South Africa in the 70s. They had a huge hit with a song called "Substitute," but because of their shady manager they never made much money. In 1990 Cindy decided to move to Los Angeles, where for many years she worked to get her career moving forward, making huge sacrifices. While in LA, she got cancer, and she decided to move back to Johannesburg once she felt a little better, to recover, to heal, to rest, to contemplate, to work. She was able to do music full-time in SA, which meant she was able to follow her dream. "Ever since I was a little girl I wanted to sing," she told me yesterday. We've had her back in Jozi since 2005, but she may be on her way back to the States, this time to Nashville, with her new band, Alter Irving. Cindy is one of my mentors. Her years of experience, her pain and her joy, the heights that she has achieved and the lows into which she has sunk, have both sobered me and inspired me. Our 90-minute consult reminded me that I am just trying to be who I am by living my music dream, by following my heart and my passion - because, like her, as a little boy, I also always wanted to sing. Cindy is the coolest rock chick on the planet. Having her in my life has helped me see my own dream that much more clearly... Thank you, Ms. Alter.