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Saturday, December 2, 2017

Gift Ideas for Singer/Songwriters

The time has come when we start to think about getting the perfect gift for those musical people in our lives who concentrate their efforts on trying to conjure up creative lyrics and unforgettable melodies. 

I am particularly talking about the singer/songwriters; those familial stars in our loves who are all about progress to elevate their craft and touch us emotionally with the amazing riffs found in the music that they create. And so, being a singer/songwriter, I compiled a list of things that might ruffle the feathers of those talented skylarks that you know and love. 

Gift Ideas for Singer/Songwriters

Here are 12 gift ideas that might add some inspiration into those talented individuals in your life.

1. 2018 Standard Diary

Important dates are something that all people want to keep. For the singer/songwriter, it is important to write down dates for musical engagements as a way to make sure that you never double book by accident. Keeping a record of what is to come keeps your mind ready for what is important and this particular Standard Diary for 2018 is one I love.




I have been using it for years and every year I love it more for several reasons.  It has one lined page for each day of the year. Can't go wrong with a book that features lined pages for someone who enjoys writing. Not only can you write down engagements for particular dates but you have a lot of space to include a series of things that you might want to include (ex. dress code, musicians who will join you, address, fee). 

The front of the book has a small address book where you can include numbers of the important people, perhaps clients for whom you want to keep the number saved. And in the last few pages of this book, there is an area where you can keep a calculation of what you earned and spent which is always a good way to keep a record of your musical earnings and expenses for the year (ex. Gas, tolls, business meetings, supplies and equipment). Great book to have!



2. Songwriter’s Market 40th Edition: Where & How to Market Your Songs





There is a new Songwriter’s Market Book every year that is published and each year, there is updated information on places you can send your music, people who might be interested in listening to what you have got to offer, advice to spark more creativity and edge, publication information and websites that might be helpful to a songwriter’s career. This book is a great tool for any singer/songwriter in your life. The 2018 edition is the 40th edition of this book. 

3. Microphone Music Stand Tablet/Smartphone Holder Mount





There is no doubt about it; it is the computer age and sadly enough, we have our phones in our hands at least 75% of the day. So, when at a gig, nobody wants to see a phone in a musician’s hand; especially if it might be to read lyrics. The thing to consider though is where to put it? 

Here is an idea. Put your phone on the microphone stand right in front of you. There is a mount for that which you can add to your microphone stand to keep it safe and secure while you are wooing your crowd. Even better, if you need to carry your lyrics or music chart and want to save yourself the trouble of having to print them out on paper, add these documents to your Ipad or tablet, and mount that onto your mic stand and read off the tablet from there. It is an easy fix to keeping your hands free and also securing your devices during live performances.

 4. SanDisk 16GB 2.0 Flash Disk




We all have our music and maybe we also have show tracks that we can perform to if the day comes when your gig is a solo one without a band. Sadly not many computers have CD players anymore but you can never go wrong with a flash disk. 

Add your background music to this 16GB junk drive and have it ready to give to the DJ or to the facilitator of the event so that when it is your turn to perform, you can have it on hand and ready for usage.


 5. Bose L1 Compact With Carry Case and Speaker Bag

I feel like this story is important to share in order to make relevant the importance of this product to a performing singer/songwriter. 

I was supposed to do this gig on day and a musical individual I know told me that as long as I do gigs at this particular venue, I could use his sound system and he would keep it there. The day of the gig came and for some reason, every half hour, the musicians kept calling me and asking me if they wanted me to bring their sound system and I would say no because there was one at the venue. After about being called ten times with the same question, I contacted the musical individual who initially told me that I could use his sound system anytime and he told me that he took it out and further argued that it was his and he could do whatever he wanted with it

Thank God I had great musicians working with me who I consider friends. Never a bad idea to have your own though. And so, I invested in one and it was one of the best moves I have ever made because you never know if the venue will have one available to you.




This particular one I love because I am a female and I can carry this which is not so heavy on the train and have the ability to maneuver it without much effort. It works very well and amplifies my voice just the way that it should. I have used it for indoor gigs. I have used it for outdoor gigs and it provided sound just the way that it should. I love my Bose system and I would recommend it to anyone looking for a great amplification system.  


6. Pyle 3 Piece Professional Dynamic Microphone Kit with Carrying Case

As a singer/songwriter, sure a club should have everything there for you to use and perhaps you should just be able to walk in and blow away but, who has handled the microphone that is being provided? 

How often do they clean these mics that everybody and their mamas have sneezed into, spit into while singing and coughed into before it is your turn to use it? I say that because as singers, we get colds, laryngitis and other throat infections and may still sing while ailing.  At times, nothing will keep us from trying to do what we love and if are able, will do it even with just 10% of our strength available to us. But, who said that there is a mic available for you to use at all?




This set comes with three mics, the cables for the mics, the mic clips and a carrying case. You could never go wrong with at least having your own mic on deck just in case. 

7.  Cardinal Economy Round Ring View Binders, 4 Per Pack

For the singer/songwriter who also composes and has the ability to write out chords, this set of binders is perfect to provide to the musicians to easily read and play along with the scores that you add inside.




Makes it easy to simply add the charts in the order of the set and to neatly turn the pages inside of the binders for the next song at hand. 

8.  Vocal Yoga: The Joy of Breathing, Singing and Sounding

Maynard Ferguson once said that he gained the ability to hit all those high notes that he uses by doing yoga. Yoga is a great way to stretch out your muscles and I think it would be no different when it applies to the vocal chords.

 


What I like about yoga is that it also engages creativity and creates a nice flow of ideas to open up. Yoga teaches you how to breathe better and it is tremendous in helping to keep the wind instrument of the human voice healthy. Vocal Yoga provides awesome exercises in this book. 

9.  Music Theory for Singers



I have to say that music theory is a good way to increase the flow of creativity because it gives you an extra set of sounds and ideas to work with. Scales, intervals and minors all added to what we are able to hear, even with the process of writing a song. Knowing different chords can open up a songwriter’s ears to so many possibilities.


Music Theory for Singers is a great way to inspire those creative people in your life who continually try to seek ideas to spark their creativity and then prostitute their talent. This is a great gift to actively play the part of sparking new ideas into the life of the singer/songwriter you know and love.

10. Microphone Pendant Necklace




You can never go wrong with jewelry and I do not know about any other musician, but for me, anything that has music symbols on it, sparks my interest. And so, this necklace is something I would love.


It has a microphone, is .925 sterling and is an 18-inch necklace. Very stylish and cute for any musician who I think would actually love this gift.

 11. Lyrics Notebook

I love notebooks and am still someone who favors writing in a book then just on a page on a word document. I carry books around and am constantly scribbling down something that has inspired me that I use in a song, story, blog, poem or something else. And so, I am always looking for the prettiest notebook out there that can make me smile.



The lyric notebook makes me smile because it is musical. It is made particularly for a music lover, musician or songwriter. It has 104 pages and is a great journal to have to write down new song ideas that you may have. Great gift for any songwriter. 

12. Songwriter Big Cup of Awesome


 


I am always with a big cup of coffee, tea or water and you can find me up at all times of the night trying to apply the song ideas that I wrote to music. So what better idea than a cup that says it all. Yes I am a big cup of wonderful with a dash of personality and yes, I would love this cup.


Perfect for me or for any musician who loves things that are musical. The message is unique and lovable and shows support for what the singer/songwriter in your life presently loves to do and does. 

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of The Year

When it comes to getting gifts for my loved ones, I always look for ways to add a bit of joy to their lives and to get something that is unique and that they will love. Usually, I am done my Christmas shopping by now but I can admit that I did not even step outside to go to any store on Black Friday. 

But now with just a few weeks until the first day of Christmas arrives, I am left at liberty to truly think about what will make the people in my life smile. Hopefully these musical ideas might be something you will consider and perhaps will spark inspiration in the singer/songwriter in your life.

Disclosure

I am a consumer and a singer and songwriter who has had experience using many of these items and who thinks that these items would make great gifts. This is not a sponsored post. I have not been hired to write about any of the products mentioned for pay. These are my personal views on products that may interest another singer/writer. I however, am an Amazon affiliate and if you should choose to purchase any of these items by clicking on the links provided, I will recieve compensation.. 


Thursday, November 30, 2017

From An Upbeat Rock Tune to a Jazz Standard in the Key of G


I am going completely off the top here with a goal of finding the right words to let the excitement for this life I have lived and am living, roar out louder than a lion in the Sinharaja Jungle in Sri Lanka. I will go as far as saying that the wellsprings of integrating my norm with experience has given me just a bit more modes of expression to work with. I won’t be stretched too thin trying to translate my words into a language that you can understand. Instead, I will use this point in my scribing as a key moment to let my thoughts unravel in such a way that they manifest a response to the topic at hand; my getting old. Hopefully someday we will be hanging in a village together near you to discuss it in person, but for now, I will try to let the words flow in the best manner that I can.

Who I Am

Through education, exploratory work and support, I have been able to maneuver through life in the time frame that was set for me by the person who custom created me to do so. I wish I had a handful of photos to prove it, though I am known to keep momentum of my journeys by taking selfies to post on Instagram in these exotic places I have discovered the harmonic depths of, but most of my memories which stemmed from these personal adventures, stay frozen in time in my mind and so I have the intimate agony of trying to let them flow out into your capture as sweet as the Kelimutu Crater Lake in Indonesia.

I was able to connect with cultures that were not exactly in my lane but I wanted to know more about what was beyond my picket fences. I Mean behind them was a great upbringing, quality education, culture, family and love. Beyond them was something quite different than what I had called home after I learned how to no longer crawl and walked right into the thing we call life. 

Some of my habits I encountered were as draining to them as theirs was to mine. Culture you call it. How can you extract someone out of their nature? Others will call ways that are different to them annoyances.  I wanted to experience life for myself anyway. I trusted my instincts and withstood the criticism while I tried my best to nip other people's  weirdnesses in the bud. I mean, I was having a good time, so why not?  I thought then that no one should ever wipe clean from their agenda, experiencing the vibrant hues of another cultural more if able to take in the goodness of it and allowing yourself to be exposed to other methods of getting through the days and nights. I have learned that with understanding comes tolerance and to let go of the blinding vision of just what I know and what I am told is important can be a good thing but then again, who said that other ways are better? Yet, you never know if you don't see for yourself.

As my age continues to rise to a climax, I look at all my striking features and see the past epochs of time deep in the abyss of my eyes. My smile shines like the brightness of heaven. I remember so many different events that made me transpose the version of me from who I was to who I have become. All the obstacles I had to overcome to get to this place makes the oasis in which I stand today, the most beautiful thing I have ever seen.

I know that the world keeps on turning no matter what earthquakes come to bring turbulence into my life. I have a foot wedged into the door of tomorrow and yet, my head sometimes still faces yesterday as I revive old mistakes from the days of my youth. At some point, I will eventually spare myself the headache of stressing over what could have, should have, would have been because I know it is pointless. What is, is what matters the most.

Who I Was

My life was once an upbeat rock tune that was way too darn hot, with mature language and rated R. I had exterior perfection but what’s it all mean if you do not have presence of quality mind? I didn’t look at the world I inhabit as ambitiously as I do now though the rhythm of life in that particular moment was totally gnarly. But nothing changes if guilt does not gnaw at you sometimes. And that is when I knew that it was time to adjust my sails and simmer down the beat.

My Song and dance started to change for the better. I had the desire to know more about how I could revise my being and to make better decisions. Even the smallest effort could result in a monstrously big change. I learned Jeet Kun Do under the guidance of Bruce Lee, kicked my old torrent in the bud, increased my knowledge which made me change in direction and thought and social situations, and now I am a jazz standard with horn and piano solos in the key of G.

My senses have reconvened after all these years. Everything along the path that lead me to this cakewalk has facilitated my current stance. Life has been a constant giving of myself and taking pieces of who I never thought I would be.  I guess you can say, attitude sometimes can be like a Broadway play for the enjoyment of many. I can admit that I have extrapolated from the strings of a Marionette in many instances. I mean, we have all done things that we wish we didn’t do in the past because we didn’t have discernment to choose what was right. Or maybe we did, but we took a detour and then suddenly, reality came gushing at an alarming speed and it forced a shift in focus.

And Now For the Feature: Who I Am Becoming

Who said that there was an appropriate age to craft a new strategy? Who said we couldn’t react to our own messes and decide to clean them up? And who said, we couldn’t create our day around planting new seeds in the garden to flourish into the sun?

What I can say is, I have seen and done a wealth of things. I have been through much wear and tear and now I am trying to simply stay proactive while getting by in this world.

I was once addicted to pain, not letting go and pivoting back to all the hurts that I never forgave myself for. I lived like a talebearer reprising stories in my mind and letting my heart shatter countless times. But knowing that experience sprung from blood, sweat and tears are the mere fabric of life. I see all these greys on my head and I know that I have lived. Now I use my past encounters as inspiration.

I stand in the mirror looking at all the unique foundational elements of the woman God created in me. I am a person of poise. I have pride and belief in my own heritage. Blessings fall fresh on me like the therapeutic waters of Montecatini. I know for a fact that I am a multidimensional, complex character and I am okay with that. And I look at all my wrinkles and realize that I have come a long way. And I look at all my scars and am grateful that I have won victory over numerous battles. And today, I weep with joy as I thrust into my birthday week with nothing but history in front of me, songs to sing about it and a voice to let them ring.

A new age and a new purpose is about to be mine and I know age is nothing but a number but, I am talking about 1,229,904,000 seconds of breathing in life. Time has moved along fast. When a parent says their child is 4 going on 20, they are not kidding. Time waits for no one and if you do not pay attention, you will let it pass you by without even flinching. Every anniversary of my birth date makes me a little depressed as I think about the years of experimentation and atmospheric turbulence that preceded my today, but then it makes me realize that there has been so much more of the insanely stylish positives to fashion around my heart and a promising future to think about. 



So many breakthroughs and so much to be thankful for in this life that did not break me because God has always been there interceding for me. I am so loved and very thankful to sit in this iron throne of age coming to grace my life. 

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Photos Singing "I'll Be There," Please Be There!





For him and his brother, he now knew, 
that music was real. 
Because all you had to do, really, 
was be willing to use your imagination. 
And listen.” 
(Holly Goldberg Sloan)







http://www.facebook.com/jnotemusic




















PLEASE BE THERE . . .





































Sunday, November 19, 2017

God is Love! Give Thanks! This is the day!

When I was a choir director over the young generation back in my history, every Saturday when we would rehearse and before we started, I would ask the young people for a scripture to start off our practice session together. Most kids would say, “Jesus wept.” Then there were ones who knew not what to say and I would whisper in their ears “God is Love,” (1 John 4:8).


That scripture always remained a part of me. I mean, when you think about it, every day that we awaken to see a brand-new day that we were not promised but that God provides to us anyway shows a generous helping of unconditional and limitless love. Despite our struggles, he is there. There is never a moment that we cannot count on him and I have found that leaning on him is the best thing that I can do to make the load this life bears, a bit easier to carry.




Custom Creations


Each person is a unique individual, possessing the mental, 
emotional and spiritual consciousness of out creator 
and the capacity to have a personal relationship with him” 
(Our Daily Bread)



I frequently listen to Podcasts, most of them business oriented to help to inspire my creativity and my work. One of them I frequently listen to is Success Magazine’sSuccess Insider Podcast” hosted by the editor-in-chief of Success Magazine, Josh Ellis and Shelby Skrhak. Every week they have an interesting discussion. One of them that I listened to featured Bishop TD Jakes. 



Success Magazine : What Achievers Read


I spoke about this particular episode in a previous blogpost I entitled, “Excellent Book Worth Reading: TD Jake’s ‘When Power Meets Potential.’” You can check out that blogpost here: http://jnotemusic.blogspot.com/2017/07/when-power-meets-potential.html



And if you are interested in listening to the podcast, you can find it here: https://www.success.com/podcast/ep-67-boost-self-belief-with-these-10-steps







In the Podcast where Jakes was interviewed by Ellis and Skrhak, Jakes said something that resonated with me ever since that June 2017 episode. He said, “You were hand-created and custom created by a perfect creator” (TD Jakes). Both the scripture and Jakes’ quote inspired a song, and what better way to have executed a song of Thanksgiving than to use two voices I truly admire. 




Singing of the Mercies




One is the voice of Mikelle Fuller who was one of the young singers from the Young Generation choir I spoke of earlier in this post. She was 8-years old back then when I started working with her when she was this shy little beautiful young lady who would pretend that her voice was not as big as it is. But when she would let her voice out, I heard nothing but beauty. 

Now at the age of 20, her voice is fully loaded and more beautiful than ever. Expect some awesome things from her in the future. I mean, her timbre is incredible and her voice is just beautiful! 

The other is Jazz-E-Matt. His voice is powerful and full of emotion. I enjoyed listening to his voice ever since we sang together in a community choir where we met years ago and became cool because we discovered that we appreciated many of the same artists. 


Years later, his voice shines with even more confidence as he lets it rip with more faith in
God than I have seen in anybody else yet. He has a dope project that is soon to be released, so please stay tuned for how he is about to change lives with his music.

Our Strengths Combined


I always had an idea of bringing these two voices together ever since Jazz E Matt once choreographed a praise dance for these kids to perform as part of a Christmas play that I wrote while still in my choir director role. And so glad that even though years have passed by and we have all grown much older, we have finally found the opportunity. 

When I say grown, I am not joking; grown to the point that the young lady in Mikelle who used to once call me Miss Stephanie, is now old enough to sit across the table from me and have a mature dinner and conversation with me, and is a lil too grown to still call me Miss Stephanie though she says she considers me as her second mother. Can't tell you how much it means to me. I love that! 

The song is entitled, “God is Love” by Stephanie Jeannot (featuring Jazz E Matt and Mikelle Fuller). It is a contemporary Christian tune with lyrics and music of praise & worship that plays at just under five minutes. Lyrics and composition by Stephanie Jeannot. Vocal arrangement by Stephanie Jeannot and Jazz E Matt. Produced by Stephanie Jeannot. Co-produced by Jazz E Matt. Please check out this tune of Thanksgiving which is now on CDBaby for the first time here: https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/stephaniejeannot5




Here is wishing to you and to your family a wonderful, 
beautiful and joyful Thanksgiving celebration. 
Be safe, enjoy and God bless!