I have no memory of it, but I'm certain the first thing I ever heard was the sound of my mother's heart, a sure and unrelenting rhythm that was both life sustaining and calming. As I grew into what I am, that heart music did not disappear. Before I walk onto any stage, I know that inside me there is this masterly invention so brilliantly simple in tempo and so beautifully complex in purpose that if I listen to it intently, it will ignite a million scats, a zillion interesting cadences. And when I stop and pay attention to great artists like Billie Holiday (deep, soulful colors), Bobby McFerrin (amazing rhythms, brilliant timing), Prince (masterly lyricism, instrumentation), I know that their music comes from within them, too. As a musician, I am a limitless universe filled with the beat inside the bang. I hear a symphony in the click-clack of heels on pavement, the rat-tat-tat in the conversation of friends, the wind at my ears and children at play. I listen, combine and release something that, to me, rejoices in the gift of living. When the sounds of the world connect with the heartbeat inside me, I hear music so very clearly, and I am inspired.