Beneath the white lab coat of Sarasota dermatologist Isaac Zamora beats the heart of a sensitive songwriter-poet who pens songs of love and heartbreak with lyrics that (it's hard to resist the pun) are more than skin-deep.

After 15 years of writing songs-"pop, soft rock, a little bit of jazz, a little bit of R&B"-on his home keyboard, Zamora last winter boldly flew to Nashville to cut a demo CD. There he met with record producer Phillip Wolfe, who formerly worked at Telstar Studio in Sarasota. Wolfe hired professional musicians and vocalists to record 15 of Zamora's 50-plus songs. He appropriately titled the resulting album Testing the Water. Among the cuts: Doin' Time, a plaintive tune with saxophone riffs and a lush string arrangement, and I Will Be There For You, with its jaunty rhythm and insistent drumbeat.

Zamora says he draws his inspiration "just from life situations, some of them real, some of them imagined. I totally love doing something outside of the realm of what I do for a living."

Two hundred copies of Testing the Water were produced and Zamora is now busy "sending them to various publishers, radio stations, everyone I can think of." He joined a couple of song pitching services with some success; Restless Heart played several times, for example, in April on a Fairfield, Conn., FM station. He also submitted Testing the Water to the International Songwriter Discovery Network, a songwriting contest that selects songs in 11 categories each month, then sends them to various record labels. In February, Doin' Time won in the adult contemporary category and Common Ground won best novelty song. And he sent some CDs to a Web site called CD Baby, where he hopes to sell a few.

"My main goal is to get a publishing deal," says Zamora. "That's the toughest part of the process. Making the CD is the fun part; the hardest part is pitching it. But they say never to give up, always keep pitching, pitching."

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