Hospital's Freddie 'D' offers
romantic, soulful sounds

Freddie Foley is a true believer in inspiration. When Foley was asked to write a song in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. for the hospital's celebration of King Day last month, he was somewhat apprehensive.

"I didn't know where to begin," said Foley, who works in Emory Hospital's Food and Nutrition Services Department. "So I prayed and asked God for help in writing the music. Later on, as I was getting ready for church one Sunday, this music started humming around inside of my head. I didn't want to forget it, so I went and put it down on the computer. Then I went back to the bathroom to continue getting ready for church, and the words to the music just came to me out of the air. Before I left that house, I had the whole song down."

By the time King Day rolled around, Foley had written two songs for the event: "Let Freedom Ring" and "Amazing Love."

A lifetime of
music making
Music has been an integral part of Foley's life since childhood. He began playing trombone in elementary school, then switched to flute in the seventh grade because "it's a passionate instrument," he said. While still living in his native New Orleans, Foley formed a vocal group called The Miraculous Four, which toured with B.B. King, Aaron Neville and many others. He later moved to California and studied music at Los Angeles City College where in addition to studying flute, tenor sax and piano, he also took courses in orchestration, arranging and ear training.

Despite his love for music, Foley went through a period of about five years when he didn't play at all. When he decided to start playing again, it was not simply a matter of picking up the instrument and practicing with dedication. After returning to New Orleans, Foley severely injured one of his fingers and lost all feeling in it. Consequently, learning to play the flute again, as well as taking up the acoustic guitar, required him to go through an arduous process of rehabilitating his finger. All that work, Foley says, has been well worth the effort.

Today, Foley performs at various venues around Atlanta as Freddie "D" and he is backed by Fred Thomas on guitar and vocals and Johnny Pierce on keyboards, alto/tenor saxophone and background vocals. Foley describes his repertoire as quality music that varies from jazz and rhythm and blues to '60s, '70s and '80s popular music. Foley uses computers equipped with digital keyboards, sound effects and keyboard modules (keyboards without the keys, he calls them).

"I'm really a balladeer," Foley said, "and I like to sing a lot of love songs. I also write love songs. Some of my up tempo songs are love songs. It's very relaxing, soothing music."

On Valentine's Day, Foley played for a large dinner dance at Temptations Cafe in Gwinnett County. He is scheduled to perform March 8 and 22 at Catfish Station across from City Hall East on Ponce de Leon Avenue. He also plays frequently at Hairston's in Stone Mountain and at private events at churches and other venues such as weddings, parties and cocktail receptions.

Artists whose work Foley enjoys playing include: Marvin Gaye, The Temptations, Al Green, Smokey Robinson, Ray Charles, Ben E. King, Johnny Gill, the Whispers, James Brown, David Sanborn and George Benson.

Foley also has released a CD titled "Here I Am" featuring four of his most romantic tunes. The CD is not available in stores, but Foley has some copies for sale. With the demand for his work increasing, Foley is planning to meet with music store owners soon about the possibility of carrying his music.

Catered affairs
During the daytime hours, Foley puts away his flute and concentrates on his work at Emory Hospital's Food and Nutrition Services Department. Foley coordinates catered events at Asbury Court cafeteria, including the Lullwater and Oxford meeting rooms located in the cafeteria. He also assists with menu planning for catered events.

In addition to Asbury Court, Foley works closely with the Hospital's clinical nutritionists in compiling reports on how many patients the nutritionists see, how many meals per day are being served and the nutritional value of those meals.

Foley first came to Emory Hospital in 1994 as a temporary employee, but was soon hired as a permanent staff member. Although he loves his work, Foley still dreams of hitting the big time in the music business. "I would love to have that kind of opportunity," he said. "But I understand that the music business takes some consistency and just being ready. I have found that success happens when preparation and opportunity meet."

-Dan Treadaway

Editor's note: To purchase a copy of Foley's CD or for
information on booking him for an event, call (404) 294-5464.

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