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Joey Sontz talks ‘How Am I Supposed To Live Without You’ Laura Branigan tribute EP

Joey Sontz chatted with Digital Journal’s Markos Papadatos about his “How Am I Supposed To Live Without You” Laura Branigan tribute EP

Joey Sontz
Joey Sontz. Photo Credit: Cosimo Lizzi
Joey Sontz. Photo Credit: Cosimo Lizzi

Joey Sontz chatted with Digital Journal’s Markos Papadatos about his “How Am I Supposed To Live Without You” Laura Branigan tribute EP, which will be released on March 22, 2022, and the proceeds benefit Project Angel Food.

What was it like doing the Laura Branigan tribute project?

It really was a labor of love. I actually once met Laura Branigan back in the late 80’s while I was a young singer trying to make it in NYC. We met, in of all places, on an elevator as we were both heading to our respective voice lessons. She was studying with Carlo Menotti and I was studying with David Lewis in the same building in the West Seventies.

Laura was beautiful, gracious, and kind. She wished me “good luck” with my career and truly inspired me with her caring heart. Somehow, knowing that Laura Branigan was in my corner made all the difference in the world as I navigated the challenging world of showbiz. It was such an exciting and carefree time in my life.

After her untimely passing in 2004, I wanted to find a way to pay tribute to an artist who had such a profound effect on me. Therefore, when the opportunity to record one of her biggest hits, “How Am I Supposed to Live Without You “came along; it felt like the right moment.

The single has really taken on a life its own with well-known producer and DJ Austin Leeds from Miami, who has had hits on the Billboard Top 200, taking the song into new heights with a Dance and Ballad Remix. It went from being a one-track single to a five-track EP. The Austin Leeds Dance Remix is so much fun and really brings the song into the 21st Century with its “Make You Wanna Dance” beat. I knew from the beginning of this project that I wanted it to be for charity and asked Laura’s Legacy Management for an organization she supported in her own lifetime.

Project Angel Food in Los Angeles was her favorite charity and became the obvious choice for the EP. I always find working in the recording studio magical and knowing that this song could make a difference in the lives of others made it even more special for me.

You are doing this for Project Angel Food… why is that cause so important to you?

I love the mission of Project Angel Food, “Project Angel Food prepares and delivers healthy meals to feed people impacted by serious illness, bringing comfort and hope every day.” This was also Laura Branigan’s favorite charity which makes it extra special and seeing the work that they do I can understand why celebrities like Prince Harry, Meghan Markle, and even Barbara Streisand are among its supporters.

Project Angel Food also believes and supports “Food is Medicine” which is so true when one is facing a serious illness. I find the fact that they help so many people in their most challenging moments by brightening up the day with a good healthy meal truly inspiring. It breaks my heart that there is sickness and suffering in the world and anything we can do to make it better is truly a golden task.

What do you love most about Laura Branigan’s music?

Laura Branigan had an amazing ability to connect with her audiences through her emotional vocals and the raw energy that she brought to her recordings and live performances. This innate talent continues to inspire me to give each musical project that I work on an emotional and intensity level that can, hopefully, touch others.

My mom, who was an amazing singer in her own right, always told me to sing with feeling and the audience will respond. Laura sang with so much of herself and her music continues to touch people around the world.

What do your plans for the future include?

I wish to continue recording music that can make a difference. I have always wanted to work with Producer David Foster and continue to strive towards that. I hopefully will have that moment someday.

I love musical collaborations and recently co-wrote my first duet which I recorded this past September in Nashville, TN. The song is being released this spring and I am very excited about it. I am also hoping to go out on tour someday soon as I love live performances and connecting with an audience. The energy and passion that a live audience can provide truly takes music to new places.

What does the word success mean to you?

I believe success is not about fame or money, but it’s about the difference and change we can make in the world that really matters most. I always feel it is an honor and a privilege to have the opportunity to make music that can reach other’s hearts.

If I record or perform a song that connects with someone or can make his or her day a little better then I have done my job well. I have always felt that the right song at the right moment can be a lifesaver and in this case a fundraiser! I record and perform for my audience. I really hope that I can give back the love and support they give me.

What would you like to tell our readers about the Laura Branigan tribute project? (What’s the one thing you want them to get out of it)

I would like to tell your readers that we can all make a difference in the lives of others. Whether it is giving to a charity, helping the sick, lending a hand, or even just opening the door for someone in need. Each one of us can make a positive impact on the world.

Laura Branigan believed in helping others who were less fortunate with her caring spirit. If we all strive for her ideals of helping others to make a difference in the world, think of the possibilities we can achieve. Thank you for helping me honor her musical legacy and changing lives through song.

To learn more about Joey Sontz, check out his official website.

Markos Papadatos
Written By

Markos Papadatos is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for Music News. Papadatos is a Greek-American journalist and educator that has authored over 21,000 original articles over the past 18 years. He has interviewed some of the biggest names in music, entertainment, lifestyle, magic, and sports. He is a 16-time "Best of Long Island" winner, where for three consecutive years (2020, 2021, and 2022), he was honored as the "Best Long Island Personality" in Arts & Entertainment, an honor that has gone to Billy Joel six times.

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