Erie doctor gives back with song
She has always tried living by her motto: “Dream big and dream in stereo. Make it LOUD.” Andrea Jeffress, M.D., of OB/GYN Associates of Erie, says she has reached her big dream of becoming a successful obstetrician-gynecologist. Now she can say she achieved a dream that is both in stereo — and loud — and can help inspire women all around the world.
On June 16, Warner Music Group released a song called “Women all over the World … It’s Your Time” through the company’s global digital distribution service. Jeffress acted as the song’s shepherd, paying production costs, and finding its arranger Mike Jones, the music teacher at the Community Country Day School.
She put so much effort into it because her mentor, Metashar Dillon, the founder of the Women’s Global Entrepreneur Competition and World Tour in Bristol, Conn., wrote the song. Dillon awarded Jeffress her first scholarship to Yale Medical School.
“My role was to pay for this to happen,” Jeffress said. “My mentor gave so much away. Here I am, a physician. I have resources now. It is my privilege to sow a seed back into her life. It’s my honor and my privilege to do that for her because of the powerful seed she had sown into my life.”
The two met in 1990 when Jeffress applied for Dillon’s Miss Black Connecticut Scholarship Pageant while she managed one of Yale’s medical labs before entering med school at age 19. She underwent six months of life-skills training with Dillon and won the contest. It resulted in a lifelong friendship between the two.
“We gravitated to each other with our passion for serving humanity,” Dillon said of her protégé. “She is no quitter and produces such excellent work. I knew from first meeting her that she would be a giant in her own right.”
They have worked together on another of Dillon’s nonprofit organizations for woman, Kingdom International Economic Development Corp., of which Jeffers is chief executive. About a year ago, though, the idea of an inspirational song began to germinate. The refrain, or “hook” for the song, came to Dillon in a dream.
“For months and months, Metashar (Dillon) would just bust out into the hook for this song,” Jeffress said.
The song’s creation moved forward when she met Jones, who had placed fifth in a nationwide jingle-writing contest for an auto insurance company, at a church musical performance in Erie.
“I told him about my nonprofit and how we needed to get our message out into the world. I wanted to know if (he) could talk to my mentor because she has this little hook and some lyrics, but we don’t have any music for it. She has a melody, but we want a song that can be played on the radio,” Jeffress recalled.
Jones worked with Dillon on polishing the lyrics and turned her catchy refrain into a song. Technology helped the song’s creators and performers who were in different states.
“We sent it (the arrangement) off to a musician in Rochester, N.Y., who recorded the music and sent the music and arrangement to Connecticut to (Dillon),” Jones said. “They went to a studio in New Jersey, where Monique Coward sang the song. Instead of having to fly somewhere, and meet with people, technology made it so much easier.”
Within months, they had an actual recorded track. It is a soulful and up-tempo dance song, infused with positive energy and uplifting lyrics. Dillon said it made her feel like weeping.
“It is truly a ‘Woman’s Anthem.’ I said to myself, ‘There is a new sound in the earth to cause women to rise up to a new place of leadership in the world.’ Little did I know that others would hear the same echo when first listening to the song,” Dillon said.
The song became an instant hit on Apple’s iTunes Store, reaching No. 8 for downloads on its day of release. Jeffress believes she was the first person to click the “$0.99 Buy” button on her computer at 12:01 a.m.
“When the song popped up, I screamed, scaring my husband half to death. He thought a burglar was in the house. I screamed so loud, ‘It’s there! It’s really there!’”
Though proud, Jeffress said she feels bittersweet about the accomplishment. Her father had recently passed away after an illness and never heard the completed song.
“It was a hard time, but he always believed in my dreams to effect change in the world. You want to take the time to grieve, but you also want to honor what he believed in you,” Jeffress said.
Jones also believes the song can effect change.
“People say they are not only inspired but motivated by the song. This particular song is speaking to women (letting them) know they don’t have to sit in the background. … It really is their time to do what they need to do,” Jones said.
After a CD launch party in May in Erie, Dillon is taking the song, and its message and that of her two nonprofit organizations, on a worldwide “Good Success” tour. She wants to recruit the best and the brightest young women and infuse them with an entrepreneurial and self-empowerment spirit. The competition ends in Dubai with the awarding of a $1 million business grant to the competition’s winner in 2015. LEL
Originally published at www.goerie.com on July 26, 2015.