My last name is "Seskin" - it's not a common name, but it perplexes me that it's so hard for people to spell! People spell my first name wrong often (it's with an "f", not a "ph"). According to songwriter Steve of the same last name, we're not related. I wonder if people misspell is with him, too! I am related, on my mother's side, to Fred Skerritt, who played with Machito's Orchestra, and Bruce Skerrit, a jazz pianist based in Canada.

Songwriting is a flash that hits me, sometimes harder than others, sometimes, frustratingly, not at all. A flash of what, I don't know - could be memory, feelings of the moment, influences, inspiration, collective unconscious. I don't know the origin of the content, just the form of a song's arrival. A song idea nearly always comes to me like a flash, whether it's lyrics, lyrics and music, just music, or just one line.

I've always considered myself a songwriter, first and foremost. Everything else comes second - flute, sax and I was quite good at bass guitar at one point, and recorded a CD with Bill Popp and The Tapes. I also am a producer, and a decent engineer and enjoy recording other artists in addition to blue number nine.

As a songwriter, people often ask, "Who are your influences." Websites ask for this, writers, fans...well, I honestly must say that I've been influenced to write and make music by so many sources, which really have nothing to do with music. And really, I don't like the question because it's hard to answer! But here goes anyway: As far as the music I've listened to, my parents had a diverse music collection, so between them, my sister Sue (she's 12 years older than I am) and television, I don't know what has infiltrated its way into my soul, my life, my experiences and the way I look at the world, which of course all influence my writing. My jobs and work itself, my friends, love, anger, frustration and religion are some of my influences. Also depression - that's a biggie. And unfair stuff. That alone gives me plenty of inspiration.

- check out this great cartoon!


Here's a list, as chronological as possible, of artists that were played in my home. If you want to call them my "influences", feel free:

Sly & The Family Stone, The Beatles, Carole King, War, Cat Stevens, The Jackson Five (I had all their records), Smokey Robinson, Crosby, Stills Nash & Young, Blood Sweat & Tears, The Doors, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Seals & Crofts (loved that flute solo in "Diamond Girl") David Bowie (one of Sue's favorites), Handel, Bach, Telemann, Pachelbel, The Brothers Johnson, YES, Genesis, Jethro Tull (during the YES, Genesis, Tull phase, my sister & my best friend Kathy and her sister and I used to hang out and play air instruments along with music. I usually was the drummer, of all things!)..... Talking Heads, The Police, Elvis Costello, The Cars, George Clinton, Tom Tom Club, The Clash, The Dead Kennedys, The Sex Pistols, The Cramps, Blondie, The Pretenders, Tom Jobim (very little), Prince, Kid Creole & The Coconuts, Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, UB40, Aswad, Nina Hagen, Neville Brothers, Dana Dane, Run DMC, Roxy Music, Babyface, Enya, Kitaro, David Byrne (solo - I went through a Brazilian phase and liked his Rei Momo album, though it didn't do very well), soca music in general, the lyrics to all the country songs I had to type at a former day job, and this is not even a complete list. So if you can't put your finger on blue number nine's style, maybe this will help you understand why!


HOMETOWN: Jersey City, NJ BIRTHDAY: March 1 (Pisces) INTERESTING TIDBIT: Tutors high schoolers to take the verbal portion of the SAT

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jersey city, nj 07307

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