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Read newspaper article from 1994
reflecting Deborah's early career capturing local audiences.

Sound of Music, Aroma of Pizza Crust
Karaoke Singer keeps her Day Job with City
By Ann Hennessey
The Press-Enterprise

Debe Abrams, a shy public works secretary by day, trades her dress pumps for a pair of flats and becomes a singer in a Temecula pizza parlor by night.

Abrams spends three nights a week behind the microphone leading karaoke  enthusiasts at Round Table Pizza. But she hasn't given up her day job in a Murrietta City Hall cubicle. " That's my bread & butter. This is my dessert", she said.

Some at City Hall are surprised that one of Murrieta's quietest employees takes to the stage at night. Even Abrams recognizes the irony. " This is very outgoing, but I'm kind of reserved and shy."

Abrams sings Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 7 to 10pm.news1.jpg She can't get enough of the sing along and says she isn't alone. " You have a lot of obsessive singers in Temecula-Murrieta.

As a UCLA theatre major, Abrams rode the bus to Hollywood and Vine to take private singing lessons. She dreamed of singing in a band someday. Yet, even theatre training didn't help her to overcome her shyness. Then she found karaoke.

She tried it one night - with knees knocking - when she was with friends at a Lake Elsinore restaurant. A karaoke machine played the music while she sang along. Abrams called the result a disaster, but it didn't stop her from singing again. The second time she sang along with a karaoke machine outside a mall, again in Lake Elsinore. She tried again and again, visiting establishments in the area that had karaoke machines.

Round Table owner Jacque Lovell heard Abrams sing and offered her a job. Now customers come back because of her, Lovell said.

At Round Table, Abrams' heels and business suits are exchanged for a black crocheted top and long, broomstick-pleated skirt. Abrams has sung karaoke in drinking establishments with friends, but she prefers the family atmosphere.

Instead of alcohol, she sips pink lemonade from a plastic glass as she loads laser disks in the machine. Corny videos flicker on the big screen television along with lyrics that turn green at precisely the moment they should be vocalized.

Abrams encourages nervous first timers and crooning children with friendly smiles, pep talks and lots of applause. During lulls, when others are leafing through the song book trying to choose a number, she launches into her own renditions of whatever catches her fancy. She knows 150 songs and continues trying out new ones, laughing if her voice cracks on faulty notes. " Sometimes I bomb really bad, but they don't care," Abrams said. "It's a safe environment."

It's safe enough for toddlers who don't necessarily know each other to join in a chorus of ' Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star'. Adults do the more serious stuff. Abrams lets them sit at their tables, hiding behind the pizza dishes, if they're too nervous to stand in front of a crowd.

Abrams sings a range of songs, but prefers Motown. During one gutsy rendition of " Heard it Through the Grapevine," Abrams had people dancing around their pizza tables. One young boy, dressed in a western shirt and cowboy boots and chewing baby blue bubble gum, clapped along.

" You have got to be able to get up and make a fool out of yourself " Abrams said. " If you're not, how are you ever going to find out what you can do well? And, this is the truth."




Copyright © 2004 Deborah Abrams

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