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I was born in the rural Midwestern town of Terre Haute, famous simply for being the 'cross-roads of America', where highways 40 and 41 intersect running from east and west, north and south across the United States. My mother taught dance and art and my father worked in the aluminium industry. We were avid 'church goers' and the gospel influences are probably apparent in some of my music today.
When I started primary school I had a very strong speech impediment. I was speaking out of the side of my mouth, like Looney Tune's 'Sylvester the Cat', and had a stammer that made communicating in class more or less impossible. This, combined with the fact I had to wear corrective shoes and leg braces, made me similar to a female version of the young 'Forest Gump'.
After being introduced to a speech therapist I spent a couple of hours a week learning to speak through various methods of communication, including singing. My speech teacher asked me to go home and write poems that I would then have to sing. This was the birthing place of songwriting for me.
During this period in my life my grandfather had a stroke and my father had a car accident. My mother had a lot on her plate keeping an eye on my three brothers, my grandfather and my dad. I therefore kept busy by teaching myself to play my grandmother's old upright piano by ear and pretending to be a singer.
Before I knew what hit me I was getting roles in school plays and church musicals and I became known as 'the little girl who sings'. Children in the playground would ask me to sing radio hits for them. Ironically, the same kids that had been throwing rocks and making fun of my lisp just years earlier!
By the time I reached secondary school I had picked up a few other instruments. I learned the trumpet and flute and had a go at the organ and keyboards. This period of my life was what I call my 'music tinkering' period. I was saving my lunch money for school every day to buy the new 45' single of the week and spent my church money betting on what would be the top three hits of the week in the charts. At the time, big artists like Aretha Franklin, Lionel Richie, Don Henley, Phil Collins, Cindy Lauper, Elton John, Prince, later U2 and eventually Nirvana really made a huge impact on me.
Between the ages of 12 and 16 I wrote hundreds of tunes which I recorded onto a Panasonic tape deck. A friend of mine had a reel-to-reel and we would cut tapes together and also play around with radio songs pretending to be 'mixers'. My eldest brother was attending Bible College in Tennessee, readily preparing to devote his life to the Ministry. My second eldest brother was doing religious seminars entitled "Rock-n-Roll revelation" – A didactic outcry against sex, drugs and rock-n-roll. In the meantime I was at home bombarding my mother with questions about life, death and God as the onset of adolescence gave reign to a rather naive yet philosophical Indiana Gregg.
Woman in progress
All was fine until I met my future German husband during my last term at University where I committed the ultimate sin . . . I fell pregnant! Suddenly, my life became jumbled and I moved to Europe. I hardly knew my new husband and we naively set up house in the south of France.
Within a year we began a chain of moves throughout Europe from Nice to Helsinki, Nurnberg to Stuttgart, Manchester and back to the French Riviera. I passed through a multitude of European cities and cultures over a period of five years. In every city we would set up house, I would learn the language, and somehow integrate with musicians in the local scene.
Aware that I had young children, I restricted rehearsals to mostly day-time hours while the children were at nursery. Because I was entering into adulthood and was a parent, I reverted to what I had found in bible-belt America and joined an international church where old gospel influences from my youth resurfaced. I formed a new band with gospel/R&B and rock influences and started to revisit some religious territory, basically trying to work out what life was all about.
In 2003, I went through a rough patch in my personal life. My husband had been working abroad a lot and eventually left me and my three children for his secretary. Shattered, shocked and disillusioned, I found solace in my music.
Shortly after the separation I was invited to do a record on the Kool & the Gang album "The Hits Reloaded". Getting my confidence back through music helped me give my children the stability they needed. They were a huge inspiration to me during this period as our creativity bounced off each other, and a real sense of joy came out of something that could have broken our spirits.
Woman at work
I wrote a load of new songs based on 10 jam-packed years of life experience. I found myself retrieving my childhood memories of when I was "the strange girl who speaks funny and wears leg braces". I had magically fallen back in love with songs and all the confidence it had brought me from those years in speech therapy. It was as if I'd put my dancing shoes back on again, only this time I had a palette of colorful life experiences behind me. I guess life was bringing me back to my first love and my first source of confidence.
The songs became a diary again. As I looked through them and listened to them, I started to recognize who I was and where I wanted to be. This learning curve and new experiences of the music business inspired me to title my debut album (at 35 years of age) "Woman at Work" – the culmination of juggling three children, recording and producing a new album, jumping through hoops, and finally landing a deal.
I have millions of aspirations, but I enjoy the "route" a lot more than the "destination". So much of who we are comes from where we've been and who we've hung around with. I may not be able to tell you where I'll be in the future, but, I can tell you that I'll enjoy every minute getting there!
xx Indiana Gregg
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Hi ya! Thanks for dropping in on my life! This site is a visual biography that will take you through my journey as a "Woman At Work".
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Here's wishing "Sweet Things" for you and yours! :)
xx Indiana Gregg