ION INDIE MAGAZINE September 2014, Volume 4 - Page 25

a band. I was so pleased to know that he had pursued music and was going to take the next step and start playing out. I was doing musical theater at the time…again, very different paths… By chance, I ran into Lee a few years later at Union Station in Chicago. It was like time had melted away and we caught up in the midst of the “hustle and bustle” of rush hour. He tells a great story about this chance meeting…and how it was a “Red Letter Day” for him--for which I again, take no credit. “I ran into Kiki at the train station in Chicago,” Lee recalls. “I’ve only been there three times in my life. We got into a conversation about how I gave up Rock ‘n Roll and was gonna work at a hotel. But when I got to my job at the hotel, TINA TURNER was checking in. She was appearing at THE PARK WEST and I mentioned that I used to work there. She asked, ‘So what are you doing in that penguin suit?’ I told her I couldn’t find music work. So her manager gave me GLADYS KNIGHT AND THE PIPS’ phone number—which got me back in the LIVE sound field…and I never looked back.” Fast-forward several decades. One day by chance, Lee and I reconnected on Facebook. Again, we were bonded by a commonality…only this time, it was illness. I was in the throes of a health battle that would leave me bed bound for eight years and suffering from a liver disease. Lee shared that he had just received a liver transplant and was celebrating his new lease on life. Life is funny that way--how we are sometimes brought full circle and find, although the roads we travelled pointed in different directions, our health battles were now the common denominator--instead of that old acoustic. And my friend Lee had soared past his 5 chord repertoire since our “lunchroom unplugged collaborations”. I had knowledge that he had made his mark in the music business, but his accomplishments were much farther reaching than I had dreamed. And through this reunion, I learned how Lee had evolved from that fresh-faced hometown boy that loved music passionately and sought to surround himself with like-minded people--whether for an impromptu “jam” or to chat about music trivia--to being the much in-demand industry professional that he is recognized as today. And now, sans industrial school lunchroom, this music journalist is honored to share the story of her cherished childhood friend, turned music mogul, Lee Popa…Producer, Engineer, Composer, Arranger, Mixer, Remixer…Visionary.