When I was in 4th grade in Plainview, NY, I signed up for the band program. I wanted to learn to play the cello, but was inexplicably assigned the flute. My parents rented me an instrument, but I couldn’t make heads or tails of it. After a month of frustration, the band director sent me home with a note to my parents: “Please return the flute to the music store. I am dropping Stacy from the band program, as he exhibits no musical ability whatsoever.” A few months later, my father picked up an old upright piano which he put in the basement. One day, my 14 year-old cousin, a classical piano prodigy, was visiting with my aunt. He sat at the old piano playing Chopin, and I was enthralled. Seeing my interest, he said, “Let’s see if I can teach you something.” Using a Schaum method book, we went through the first ten weeks of lessons in an hour. He excitedly told my parents to get me lessons. So began a much more productive relationship than the one I had with the flute, and also a deep mistrust of academic music programs.
By age 15, I was in Local 802 of the AF of M, and was playing clubs and the club date circuit on Long Island. By 19, I was writing music for a small studio in Stamford, CT, quit college at 20, and decided that my emphasis should be on composing. I landed my first national TV theme at 24. It was for “The Richard Simmons Show,” which became a hit, prompting a move to Los Angeles the next year. I did more daytime TV themes, and eventually some prime-time shows. But I couldn’t get an agent. Finally, I scored a UCLA graduate film called “Chicken Thing.” It was a huge success, eventually winning thirty awards around the world. The director got picked up by CAA, and I signed with Triad Artists. Along the way, I met this actor named Patrick Swayze. It turned out we lived around the block from each other, and we became friends. He said he had an idea for a song, and would I work on it with him. That’s how we wrote “She’s Like The Wind,” which a couple of years later was licensed for a little low-budget film called “Dirty Dancing.”
I had nineteen productive years in Los Angeles, scoring some films and a lot of television shows. I had a major hit song from a massive soundtrack album, picked up an Emmy nomination, and wound up living in Malibu with views of the ocean and the mountains. In my last two years there, a producer friend recommended I start going to Nashville to write songs. “Nashville? I don’t know anyone in Nashville,” I said. He said I’ll meet people quickly, and I did. I began to enjoy the collaborative atmosphere, and the respect for the creators. In September of 2000, a real estate agent rang my doorbell, asking me if I wanted to sell the house in Malibu. Five days later it was sold, I bought a house in Oak Hill, TN, and seven weeks later I was driving out of LA to a new life.
...to the future...
I’ve taken unexpected and fascinating paths here in Nashville - music has certainly been a big part of that, but I got involved in the arts community. I’ve served as board president of Nashville Film Festival, ALIAS Chamber Ensemble, Leadership Music, and Nashville Opera. I ran for office, and I’m currently a Commissioner in the City of Oak Hill. Then a few years ago I bought a good camera for a trip to Tuscany, started taking black and white photos, and with the encouragement of professionals continued my photography on subsequent trips to Cuba, Washington, DC, New Orleans, then back to Italy. This has culminated in getting a show and artist representation at The Arts Company on 5th Ave. It’s a new and exciting chapter for me, and I don’t know where it’ll take me. But then, I never knew where any of my journeys would take me. I just went.
Stacy Widelitz Official Biography
Read my official biography here