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Alexa Ray Joel: Stepping into her own spotlight

Alexa Ray Joel is following in her father's footsteps, choosing a smaller stage for her venue. The daughter of the "Piano Man" will be playing New York City's Cafe Carlyle this April. 

Evan Agostini/Invision/AP/File
This photo shows singer Alexa Ray Joel, daughter of Billy Joel and Christie Brinkley, at The New York Observer's 25th anniversary party in New York in March 2013. The Cafe Carlyle said Tuesday that Alexa Ray Joel will perform at the legendary spot from April 1-12.

Billy Joel’s daughter Alexa Ray Joel is playing in New York at the same time as her famous father Billy Joel, demonstrating that she can be daddy’s girl without being “the piano girl.”

 While Billy Joel plays Madison Square Garden, his daughter will be performing April 1-12 at the famed Cafe Carlyle in the Carlyle Hotel on Manhattan’s Upper East Side.

Of her musical style, Ms. Joel told WebProNews, “It’s a bit more soulful, more blues than my dad’s,” she said of her 2006 EP. “He’s more pop rock. And his piano playing is better than mine, but that’s okay. I don’t want to be the Piano Girl.”

My guess is that no matter what style she chose, Mr. Joel would tell her, “I love you just the way you are.”

In fact, as part of a new Gap advertisement, Joel performs her own rendition of her father’s famous song “Just the Way You Are.”

“I had to take it and rework it and kind of personalize it,” she told Katie Couric during a “Katie” interview.

I think that’s what we all hope our children will do with the lessons and life paths we share with them. We hope that rather than becoming carbon copies of us, they will internalize the message, rework it to fit their natures, and make these things their own.

Of course, that doesn’t stop parents from fretting and fussing when kids seem to have followed their own drummer to lands where we don’t feel at home.

In our family, my husband has tried for 20 years to get just one of our four sons to become a sailing nut like dear old dad. It’s been a spectacular bust for the most part, because he’s so zealous that the boys fear they will never meet with his approval on his home turf, and so they avoid it entirely.

However, the breathing room that comes with sending a kid to college recently showed us that a child can keep lessons learned from a parent on the inside for some time. Those lessons learned can jump out when we least expect them.

Two weeks ago, my oldest son, Zoltan, 20, a college crew team leader and national medalist – who has shunned sailing – came home from college for the weekend.

When my husband asked if he’d like to try sailing in a few races against him that afternoon at an event he’d organized, Zoltan shocked us all by hopping on a sailboat, joining the race, and giving his father a run for his money.

“I am so proud of him,” my husband said afterward. “He’s not like me, but he found his own way to his own boat and still can do what I do.”

In the case of the Joel family, Alexa Ray Joel says she isn’t the piano player her father is, “but that’s okay.”

While this is definitely a case of “like father, like daughter,” Alexa Ray Joel credits both her mother and father with her success and an emotional comeback after her 2009 suicide attempt after a relationship breakup, according to The Inquisitor.

“Dad always builds me up; he helped me get perspective back,” she told The Inquisitor. “My mom and I have more heart-to-hearts now… I’m in a Zen good place.”

All any of us really wants for our kids is for them to be in a “good place” emotionally, financially, physically, and spiritually.

Seeing Alexa Ray and Billy both performing in New York in their own shows is reassurance that we can find a harmonious balance with our kids.

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