This picture was taken on a camping trip when I was in college. Playing my guitar around a campfire was so beautiful for me!

This picture was taken on a camping trip when I was in college. Playing my guitar around a campfire was so beautiful for me!

In February of 2009, my 84-year-old mother was released from a hospital and into a nursing facility. She had been on a respirator for two months and it was a miracle she recovered.

This blog is a fabulous record of the fairytale my life became as a result of my musical rediscovery.


I started writing my blog a week after that and my journey of insight began. For my very first entry, I shared how giddy I was that I would soon be meeting a producer in the music business. My childhood friend, Joni, had arranged this appointment with Jud Friedman. Here is a paragraph from his website:


6-Time Oscar, Grammy and Golden Globe Nominated Hit Songwriter

I have had multiple nominations for Oscars, Grammies and Golden Globes and hits with songs such as “Run To You” by Whitney Houston, “I Don’t Have The Heart” by James Ingram and “For The First Time” by Kenny Loggins. I’ve written for and worked with artists ranging from Barbra Streisand to Rod Stewart to Ray Charles to, most recently, Charice and Toni Braxton.


I really had no idea where it would lead. I definitely thought the experience would be fun to write about on my new blog.

So I began practicing my guitar again, and I tried to remember some of the original songs I had written as a teenager. It certainly seemed like such a strange thing for me to be doing at the age of 50!

Prior to my wedding in 1981, I was dancing the cancan in the dressing room with all of my bridesmaids. My childhood friend, Joni, was the most glamorous bridesmaid and everyone mentioned that she was absolutely gorgeous on that day.

Prior to my wedding in 1981, I was dancing the can-can in the dressing room with all of my bridesmaids. My childhood friend, Joni, was the most glamorous bridesmaid and everyone mentioned how absolutely gorgeous she looked on that day.

I decided to go back to find my emails with Joni about this appointment. Here they are!


February 7, 2010

Judy, I spoke with Jud and he can see you for an hour this coming Friday in the morning at his home. Can you make it? If so, you can meet me at my home and we can both go over together. Or if you would prefer, you can meet him solo. Bring your demo, or guitar or both, whichever you would like. Looking forward to your reply!

Love, Joni


Dear Joni,

I feel my heart palpitating already – OMG. Okay, I’m taking deep breaths. A whole hour? Wow! I think I have about ten songs I could play. That much time is very, very generous of him. Thank you so much for putting this together, Joni! It has added so much excitement to my world!


Is he really hard to get in to see? Because I wouldn’t mind if we met instead the following week, so that I could be more “practiced.” My fingers are so sore, and I hope I’ll be up to speed by Thursday – oh whatever, it’s just exciting to dream.

Love, Judy

P.s.  My heart is pounding, I’ve got to try to be calm about all this!


I wrote about the experience on these posts:




When my journey began

Joni and I grew up as playmates. We lived in a coop in North Hollywood from infancy until college. I moved back to that same coop six months ago. My father had died and I needed to sell it. But then, I realized it was an affordable place for me to live when I ended my marriage.

Joni still lived in the same neighborhood with her husband and four children, less than half a mile away. I was always amazed at how many memories both of us carried from our childhood; it was such a beautiful thing to have her as my friend.


After meeting Jud, I was completely inspired. Suddenly, I found myself drawn to playing my guitar again and my journey began!

Judy and Joni at a party

Currently, two of my children live with me in my coop. One of the biggest reasons that I decided to move back to it was because my 16-year-old son would be attending a new high school that was two blocks away. His school represented a new beginning for him. He would still see his father and older brother on the weekends.

Once again, this all led to another amazing coincidence in my life.

Judy and Judd 2

I actually ran into Jud, the music producer while at a school meeting for my son. There he was sitting near me! Jud certainly remembered me because only a few months earlier, I met with him for a second time to share my musical progress. He was very impressed to see what I had accomplished two years later and once again, he was very generous with his time and knowledge.

Now all of this ended up becoming even more interesting!

Last week, my teenage son called me to pick him up after socializing with some friends. They had walked from a bowling alley to a nearby coffee shop.

When I arrived to pick him up, he came out with another boy. Then he asked me if I could give his friend a ride home.

It turned out it was Jud’s son!

For twenty minutes, the two of us had an animated conversation. I told him how wonderful Jud was and how his father had inspired me to begin writing songs again. Jud’s son was beaming and enthusiastic as he spoke about his father and the amazing experience he had attending the Academy Awards as his dad’s guest. It was beautiful to hear about it.

This is a picture of Joni with two of her children. This picture was taken at one of Jason’s birthday parties over twenty years ago.

This is a picture of Joni with two of her children at one of Jason’s birthday parties over twenty years ago.

My journey began with Joni’s suggestion. Joni knew Jud because her son was dating his daughter at that time. Then once again, y journey went in a new and wonderful direction with another one of her suggestions!

Three months ago, she said to me, “Jude, my daughter has a boyfriend and he’s a musical genius. If you are looking for someone who knows a lot about music, I’m certain he could help you.” 

I had mentioned to her that I wanted to learn more about music programming and mixing. She texted me his phone number.

Who would have thought my good friend’s children and their dating partners could lead to such amazing things?


I spoke to her daughter’s boyfriend; his name was Darrin Kohavi.


Darrin was an avid songwriter, composer and singer. He played classical piano and worked in the music industry. He came from a musical family and certainly knew a great deal about recording music.


I introduced myself to him and he was very friendly on the phone. I found out later that Joni had already shared my blog with him.

I told Darrin I was having difficulty recording in my coop. It was complicated and noisy. Also, my teenagers hated my singing and I was inhibited.


Darrin gave me a perfect solution. He said there was recording studio less than half a mile from my coop. He explained that it was at his parents’ home. He didn’t live there, but he could meet me there to record vocals. We set up an appointment that week.


Right away, I was elated. Darrin’s recording area was almost sound proof, and he had an excellent pre-amp. We did some test recordings and they were beautiful. He was willing to accommodate me for half hour sessions at a reasonable price.

I was delighted and ready to start recording vocals. We began working together.


Darrin was a soft-spoken and relaxed young man. He had long locks of curly black hair and a sweet smile. Whenever I sang, he always gave me gentle encouragement. It turned out, he was quite experienced from recording his own vocals; he understood so much about what I was doing.

Recording Joy 2

Here are examples of our exchanges:


Judy: (After singing a song five times) I sound raspy, don’t I?

Darrin: Yes, but the vibe is great.

Judy: Have you ever had your voice get raspy like that?

Darrin: Oh, sure!


Judy: Those mouth clicks are driving me crazy! Do you get those, too?

Darrin: All the time!


Judy: Everything was sounding great until my foot squeaked. Has that happened to you?

Darrin: It sure has and you have to watch those things!


Judy: It’s hard to sing when I cry – sorry!

Darrin: Don’t worry; you have lots of other takes to work with.


Judy: Not bad for my first take?

Darrin: Warm up!


Judy: How did that one sound?

Darrin: I liked that one a lot.


I realize that going through a divorce, having eyesight issues and living in close quarters with two teenagers has been challenging. My mother’s continued decline is also quite difficult.

But the joy that I receive from singing is my blessing!

Today, I brought a camera along to my recording session to add pictures to my story.


Darrin’s parents are wonderful and if his mother or father had been home, they would have taken a picture of us together. Instead, I captured him at his computer with his dog and he snapped pictures of me at the microphone.

Darrin and Ginger

© 2013 by Judy Unger and Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Judy Unger with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

About Judy

I'm an illustrator by profession. At this juncture in my life, I am pursuing my dream of writing and composing music. Every day of my life is precious!
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  1. Joni lautman says:

    Hi Judy,

    This was great. It’s so wonderful being important in your life; you have always meant the world to me.

    I’m going to forward this blog to my family.

    I look forward to getting together with you soon, we have much to catch up on.

    Love, Joni


  2. kastreet says:

    Please accept this amazing award. BEST MOMENT AWARD I nominated you because you have touched my life through your blogging on WordPress. XOXO -Krystal


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