ENCINITAS — Lee and Sharisse Coulter, and 4-year-old son Kai, will pull into the parking lot of the Encinitas Library the evening of June 27 for a hometown concert and book signing that marks the final stop of their 55-city A Novel Music Tour.
The event begins at 6:30 p.m. and includes a slideshow of their trip and performance by Lee Coulter and his musical friends. “We are going to turn the Encinitas Library into the Belly Up for an hour and have a lot of fun!” he promised.
For five months the Coulter family crisscrossed the nation in their 35-foot RV, greeting fans from San Diego to Washington, D.C.; Roswell, N.M. to Nashville, Tenn.; and Lubbock, Tex. to New York City. Joining the Coulters was singer Kate Vincent, who assumed additional responsibilities as an assistant and babysitter.
The tour had two goals: Voted Sirius XM Coffee House “singer/songwriter discovery of 2011,” Lee Coulter said it was his way of solidifying his fan base, also generated by the popularity of his “Mr. Positivity” album, while Sharisse promoted her debut novel, “Rock My World.”
Sharisse credited the Encinitas Library with providing the perfect environment to write her book, which she did in two-hour increments while her husband and son hung out at nearby Cottonwood Creek Park.
“It is my favorite library in the world, hands down,” she said. “It has the perfect blend of coffee from the cart, which you can take inside. It also has the right vibe for writing with just enough noise so that it’s not too quiet.”
Believing that successful authors write about what they know, Sharisse drew on her own experience by addressing issues of love, family and the music industry.
“The book is about a woman who had everything handed to her as the daughter of a rock legend, wife of a rock star and mother of a teenage girl whose world is turned upside down causing her to redefine herself,” she explained. “I read a lot of women’s contemporary fiction and got frustrated that the smart, capable woman was always being rescued by a handsome, rich man — and I don’t think a woman always has to be rescued by a man.”
Sharisse proved to be a strong individualist herself. After high school she forfeited a soccer scholarship to Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Wash., to study anthropology at the American University in Paris — even though she didn’t speak French.
“I knew I loved to travel and figured, ‘Why not study while traveling?’” she recalled. After earning her degree she moved to Brisbane, Australia, to complete her master’s degree.
Lee had a journalism degree and was working as a copywriter for a radio station. The two were neighbors and began dating. They returned to the United States and got married. Kai was born at Scripps Hospital in 2009.
Lee supported the family with “bread and butter gigs” at wine bars, golf resorts and corporate events. What he really loved was showcasing his self-described “lyrically-based, uplifting, fun, acoustic soul music” at Lestat’s Coffee House and the Belly Up.
During the trip, Lee said his favorite stops were at book stores where he would do 30-minute sets while Sharisse signed books. He was surprised to find that his message of positivity seemed to transcend cultural beliefs and political persuasions.
“I kept finding good people and it felt like one country,” he recalled. “A man wearing a confederate hat said he liked my voice and my singing — I didn’t expect that and it was awesome!”
Sharisse said they’d find new friends in the most ordinary of places including RV parks where they’d hold impromptu concerts.
“People would knock on the door of our bus and say, ‘We just want to tell you that we admire you for living the dream,’” she remembered. “At the heart, everyone is the same: they love music and they want the best for their family. They were just as excited and happy to talk as us and we were to meet them.”
The Encinitas Library is located at 540 Cornish Drive. For more information, call (760) 753-7376.
For information about the Coulters, visit facebook.com/leecoultermusic or leecoulter.com. “Mr. Positivity” can be downloaded on iTunes. “Rock My World” can be purchased on Amazon.com.