Rae Sigman, Carl's strong-willed mother, was proud of her son's ability to navigate Beethoven sonatas and improvise pop tunes at the piano. But when he turned 21 and declared his intention to make a living as a songwriter, Rae gave him two choices: doctor or lawyer. Blood nauseated him, so dutiful son that he was, he earned a law degree from NYU and passed the New York State Bar Exam.
In lieu of practicing law, Carl practiced songwriting. Before long he'd composed a trunkload of tunes and set out to play them for anyone who'd listen.