Google

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Four Fives For Tuesday; Thoughts on Art & Music





Here we are! Another day, minute, hour and second of life that we were not promised and are very fortunate to see. What a blessing!

I am still amazed that the year is going by so quickly, that the weather in NYC has been so cold lately and that Thanksgiving is not only next week but, we have a little over 50 days until 2018 makes its welcome into our lives. How crazy is that? But thank God, for blessing us to see these exciting times.

And just as any other day, writing seems to just flow out of me like blood from a wound. Mama Kat posts these cool prompts every week on her website and I felt like joining in because it was an interesting one and hopefully you will enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed populating the information in this post which is like an introduction of sorts to who I am. Maybe some of these things will be similar to the way that you think. 


Five Things That You Might Not Know About Me





1. I love Shakespeare and everything he writes. I have loved him ever since a high school professor of mine made us memorize and recite a monologue from his play “Hamlet.” I loved him so much that I started to notice his language; so much that one day when reading the King James Bible, I noticed how Elizabethan the language in it was and after doing research, came to find out that Shakespeare was one of the translators of it. 




I love "Romeo & Juliet," "Taming of the Shrew," still can recite the monologue from "Hamlet" word for word today and I consider his sonnets to be a template of how to write a song. The first 8 lines are the verse and the last two are the chorus. I love the way he wrote; beautiful works!  

2. Amel Larrieux has become my favorite singer. I love everything she sings and have every single one of her albums including from when she was in the group Groove Theory. I have seen her in concert four times and really enjoy the way she sings her songs. MY favorite song by her is “Even If” off of her first solo project Infinite Possibilties. There was a time when I would spend my evening singing all of her songs from every album to the four corners of my basement. Her sound is very unique and I love what she can do with her voice.




3. Aladdin is one of my favorite movies and though it is a cartoon movie, I can sit and watch it on any day or time, laugh, cry and sing along to every song that is featured in the movie. I never grow tired of it and watch it anytime it is on television and also have the DVD to it. Great classic animated film.


 


4. I was working as a choir director at Mt Moriah Baptist Church in Harlem, NY over the youth. It was interesting for me because I always wanted to work with kids and with music. The dilemma was reaching through to the kids. I came from a Roman Catholic background and I loved hymns. Still do. But, the kids did not like it so much. Every week I would come in with one of my favorite hymns and they said, “I don’t like that one miss Stephanie,” and every week I would leave crying. Then one week, I decided to no longer leave crying. I set a goal to create my own music to share with them and using Cakewalk Sonar software and my Korg Triton LE Music Workstation, I created my first ever collection of works of music. It was an album of Christian works featuring 14 tracks: intro, outro, two interludes and ten full length songs.



I Know is just one of them created for this project to teach the kids songs that I thought they’d like. Turned out that NYC bassist Ozzie Jones Jr liked my bass line on the song so much that he plugged into my system and did some live bass overdubs over it and the song was created. You can check out that tune here: https://soundcloud.com/stephanay-jnote/stephanay-jnotes-tracks-1





By the way, yes, I did meet my deadline and had a cd for every kid ready to give them with a bag of other goodies for Christmas. I worked night and day until the production was completed which was on Christmas eve of that year with cases, cd covers with photos, artwork on each cd and a track listing on the back. “I Know” is the only song I have shared publicly from it with anyone else.


5. I used to think that Miles Davis was mute because I saw this recording of a concert he did years ago and he did not speak to the crowd at all. He had his back turned to them most of the time. I didn’t understand his demeanor until when doing my college thesis and came across his autobiography where he spoke about being a student at Julliard and ideologies. I also read a few articles where he was interviewed and spoke about his views about society, jazz, racism and being accepted into segregated establishments only to provide a service.  Then I saw a video that was presented on Youtube of an interview where he actually had dialogue and that cleared up everything. I fell in love with who he was after reading his autobiography and he became one of my favorite jazz musicians of all times. I was excited to hear that there was a movie out about his life but decided not to see it because I was told that many of the aspects that I found interesting about him as an individual in this society that were featured in his autobiography were not included in the film and instead, the movie was based on the rumoresque side of his life.


 



Five Things I Am Knowledgeable About

1. Video Editing
2. Cakewalk Sonar
3. Live Musical Stage Performing
4. The Culture of Jazz
5. Composing




Five Things I Know Nothing About

1. Snapchat
2. House of Cards
3. Playing a horn
4. Driving in NYC without getting an attitude
5. Iphone 7 and up




Five Things I Believe


1. Christmas is the best holiday of the year and the best season is autumn because of all the beautiful colors and fashion designs made for it. 


2. A broken language does not mean that a people bastardized though they were forced to learn it. It means that they used their intellect to be able to effectively communicate in a language that was never theirs to begin with


3. Every hour of the day is rush hour because everybody has become so impatient lately. It seems like the more electronic and fast processing information becomes, the attention span of people and their ability to wait even for a second is too long. I think soon all positions where humans interact with each other personally will dwindle down and everything will be online without any real human interaction


4. God is the source of all my strength and the strength of all my life. Without him I’d be nothing. I can lean on him and through his faith, I do not have to worry about too much because he always provides a way; even out of no way.


5. I have a great library of music featured on Spotify that you definitely should check out and add to your music playlists here: https://open.spotify.com/artist/6WUF7BBajYlCVnn4phqIeU






Your Turn

Care to share? I would love to know some things about you that might be similar or different. What are five things that would surprise people to know about you?

Thank you for reading my post and thank you for sharing your thoughts. God bless! 

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

100 Different Songs by 100 Different Artists and a Potpourri of Styles and Genres From All Around the Globe

The idea of finding 100 different songs, each from different artists was not an easy challenge; but I like challenges and so, I did it.

Music Choices

How do you know if you like an artist if you never listen to their music? And how do you know which song is your favorite from the artist if you only listen to one song?  


And how do you know that you will not enjoy the quality of sound just because it is not on vinyl? And how do you know if you will not enjoy a genre of music if you never give it a chance?



ION Profile LP Vinyl-to-MP3 Turntable

I know a good amount of indie artists and that made the challenge to finish this newly created playlist a little bit easier because I got a chance to finally and completely indulge in their sounds; some of them for the first time and that was a joy to hear. But then there were some artists that I had never heard of and just came across on some of the social media networks and it was like opening up another world into music and I just loved it. Took a while to get to 100 but finally; I did it! 

My Top 100



So here it is, my Top 100. The challenge got me into listening to more music that was not already in my music library which is my usual thing and that was cool because it forced me to break out of the force field of routine.  You can check it out on spotify here: https://open.spotify.com/user/22hsqdduuzk6igxvrtw5l6iiq/playlist/3FFUhnNn9IAK2x2YBBEHdg




If you are looking for some new sounds to check out, put this playlist on and just let it play out. You’ll hear 100 different songs by 100 different artists and a potpourri of different styles and genres from all around the globe.

Monday, November 6, 2017

A Jamboree of Songs for the NYC Marathon Runners That Moved Me

Sunday, November 5th, 2017 was the 47th annual TCS NYC Marathon since it started in 1970. This year’s theme was “It Will Move You” and I have to say that, if you were one of the millions of spectators who gathered together to cheer the runners on from the sideline, some of the things that you saw would have really moved you in so many ways.



A medley of over 51,000 world citizens chose to fight to the finish line of this 26.2-mile journey in the misty cool temperatures from the starting line at the foot of the Verrazano Bridge in Staten Island all the way to the end at West Drive in Central Park near Tavern on the Green in Manhattan.  


This year was my fourth year straight rooting from the sidelines with a jamboree of songs and encouragement. Some of the teams that ran past my group as we sang to the melody of their feet hitting the pavement were Strides NYC, Harlem Run, Latin Runners Club, Willpower Fitness, Team for Kids, Black Girls Run, Black Men Run, Italian American Running Club and Front Runners NY, just to name a few. What I noticed was that there were more runners this year than I had ever seen in the past. And what a medley of them where you saw all types of people; big and chunky, small and lanky, lean and young, thick and gray, black people, white people and all types of men and women from all over the world all exhilarated to run, walk or get through the stretch in the best way that they could.

36-year-old Shalane Flanagan came in first place being the first American woman since 1977 to have won the NYC marathon. And the first man to cross the finish line was 24-year-old man from Kenya, Geoffrey Kamworo. And then in the wheelchair division the first woman to cross the finish line was Manuela Schar and the 1st male to cross was Marcel Hug, both from Switzerland. But it wasn’t the fast runners with their collective energy that thrilled me the most, making me feel excited as we danced, sang, snapped selfies with some of the runners who stopped to thank us or give us a hi-five while encouraging the crowd of on viewers in Bay Ridge to make some noise for the runners.




It was the people who were in wheelchairs, those who were running with their trainers because they just got off of hip surgery but wanted to attempt the 26.2-mile run anyway, and the ones that were on crutches with one leg and still trying the run on for size anyway that made me feel overcome with emotion. As the slogan for this year said, I was really moved by them. I have walked 10.5 miles in about two and a half hours but that was it. I have never run 10 miles though. But these people who truly physically can't are thrusting through with  all the power God gave them to at least try and that is something. 




Sad to think of all the times that I complain about the little things like my train not stopping at my stop unexpectedly due to track repairs and having to walk a few extra blocks to get home with my two working legs and capable body, yet those without were able to put all their troubles aside to do something that seemed almost impossible without complaining and happy to take such a chance. Seeing them proved that nothing is impossible. I mean, in all honesty, would you attempt running a marathon after just one month of hip surgery? The courage it takes to be able to use the one working leg you have to run; I am amazed by that.

Check out a mini slideshow from where we were snuggly positioned from the sidelines in the Bay Ridge section of Brooklyn, NY. You can watch it here: https://youtu.be/gdNCcSY4U0Q 

Congratulations to all of the runners and thank you for all of the inspiration that each and every one of you provide. 

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Let's Talk About Driving Drowsy From Gigs

It’s nothing new under the sun that the tongue holds immense power. We speak and have the power to change people’s minds in either a positive or negative way. This week I want to use mine to talk about driving drowsy.

Driving drowsy is a passionate topic for me because a few years back, I happened to be driving drowsy. I had slept only but one hour the night before and spent the long day busy doing things, then went to a gig doing the very taxing thing of singing live only to drive home more exhausted than I should have been, and it took just one second of me closing my eyes while behind the wheel to have an accident that left bewildering hurt and altered my life in so many ways. How many times can I say that I have driven tired coming from late night gigs in the past with my eyes closing at traffic lights or stops and nothing as immense as this has ever happened. But it only takes one time and you just never know when it will be. 

I can’t even explain to you the mental calisthenics that I have been through ever since and though I survived it without a scratch on my body, I still muster sympathy for the fact that it happened. My car was nearly totaled but I was okay. If anything proved to me the power of faith and that God truly is love, it was the moment that I realized the precious cargo of the woman that he created in me's life was spared.




Thankful that God kept me and I’m still here to talk about my testimony. Unfortunately, it is not the same for many others.


“The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration conservatively estimates that 100,000 police reported crashes each year are caused primarily by drowsy driving and that such crashes result in more than 1,550 deaths, 71,000 injuries and $12.5 billion in monetary losses" (National Sleep Foundation). The numbers are quite alarming to me. I know that it is said that every 4th car on the road is under the influence but, who would have thought that this number would include being under the influence of tiredness? Be careful when coming home from gigs because after putting all that energy into giving a great performance or any job that requires lots of effort and energy, you just never know what the result could be while driving tired and with drowsiness. Please be safe on those roads. 


Driver fatigue drowsy driving Anti Sleep Alarm System

This week from November 5 to 12th celebrates Drowsy Driving Prevention Week and because this is a subject I am very passionate about, I will dedicate this week’s episode of my radio show Jazz on the JNote to discuss ways to prevent falling asleep behind the wheel while driving because there are many that can spare the lives of those busy people who have no choice but to drive under the influence of exhaustion. 

I will stress that my show is not a talk show. It is jazz based and the music is non-stop. However I will discuss ways to stay alert on the road such as chewing gum, or using your hands free device to have a conversation with a friend among other ways to prevent drowsy driving, while playing songs that stress on these ideas. 

Please tune in this Sunday evening, November 5, 2017 at 7PM EST for Jazz on the Jnote. You can tune in by visiting http://www.theenglishconnectionmedia.com or http://mixlr.com/the-english-connection-media/ to tune in.

It’s not what you do but how it’s done and because we are rational by design, let’s weigh in the decision to drive safely and if you are tired, make the healthy decision of not getting behind the wheel. Have a blessed and wonderful week and please stay safe on the roads. Your life depends on it and so does everybody else who is on the road. 

Blessings! 

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Music is a Pastime for Hobbyists; True or False?

“The music stuff is just a hobby” (Tom Felton); true or false?

One of the strongest singers in the young small band that I work with today got a bit discouraged while rehearsing her song. She started doubting in her skill as a singer though she has one of the dopest voices you will hear from a young person.

It made me a little bit sad to see it and so, as we approached the topic of not using the disabling word “can’t” in my presence as far as her singing is concerned, I asked her if she wanted to pursue music in the future as a professional vocalist and she told me that  her dad said that music is just a hobby.

Ever since she told me that, it has been on my mind. Some people do music as a hobby.
They embrace music at home and every now and then, you may see them at an open mic jam or karaoke event or something but they do it as a form of pure satisfaction. It makes them happy and they are not tied to it as a thing they can't live without doing.  

Then there are some who take music a bit more seriously, practice every day and invest money and time in some type of education to better their skill. They also take their art, share it and are compensated for music as a service that is being provided. 

This post is dedicated to all the artists who invest in and gain almost as much knowledge as people pursuing vocations in any other professional atmosphere besides musical ones, work their asses off to do what they do as musicians, are always on time and present where they are committed to be and share their uniqueness as more than just a hobbyist but on a professional level, but who are seen as just having fun and not taken seriously.


Professionalism is a frame of mind not a paycheck” (Cecil Castle)
Hobbyist
Professional
What is a hobbyist?
What is a professional?

A hobbyist is a person who regularly or occasionally engages in an activity as a hobby or pastime rather than as a profession and free from the demands of work or duty


A professional is someone with specialized knowledge and often long and intensive academic preparation in the theories on a specific focus, who is seriously engaged or qualified to do what they do vocationally and with a businesslike manner in order to fulfill specific demands or duties as a service and for compensation
Music as a Pastime?
Music with a business-like ethic?

A professional is someone who can do his best work when he doesn’t feel like it
(Alistair Cooke).


 
Songwriter's Market 40th Edition
Pastime
Demands
What is a pastime?
What are demands?

A pastime is something that amuses and serves to make time pass more agreeably; like a hobby with no time constraints, commitments or obligation. A pastime is done on one’s free time.


Demands are the requirements of work or of the expenditure of a resource to fulfill obligatory tasks, conduct services or functions that arise from one’s positions, even on days when life has a way with you and you are committed to fulfilling a need for the service being offered; such as a performance engagement. Requires dedication and lots of prayer.

In other words a hobby is done for fun?
So you mean music as a profession requires devotion?

A hobby keeps the doldrums away” (Phyllis McGinley).


 
Pastime Paradise

Vocations are born in prayer and from prayer;
and only in prayer can they preserve and bear fruit” (Pope Francis).

Fun
Devoted
What is fun?
What is being devoted?

Something that provides amusement and personal pleasure without turning it into work or something that they cannot live without.


Seriously considering one’s art or music as a profession, making a big commitment to focus on the work and its demands by giving as much time and energy to it as is required with love for what is being done while continually pursuing professional development, promoting the work, pursuing profit, and confidently building on experience and integrity.

Oh, so a hobby is a creative passion?
Oh, so music as a profession is a combination of creativity, responsibility and professionalism?

Now there is nothing wrong with someone having an opinion because if we all thought exactly the same way, life would be a bit bland, but there is something you should know about those who do pursue music on a serious and professional level.  

We are musicians and yes, we bleed, breathe and live like music is the heartbeat inside of our bodies. We pursue music with love both as a love and as a professional thing and it is something quite like oxygen that makes our lives complete. 


We take our music seriously and it is not just a thing of fun for us. It is something we value as a serious life work, many of us and, without music, as they say, life would be like a room without a window. 

What are your thoughts on this? 

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Pulchritudinous Poetry

Today is Poetry Tuesday and I am certainly in the mood for poetry for two reasons.

First.The writing prompt for today said to write a poem based on the first thing you see when you read this prompt.


The Second: I would lie to you if I did not think about sharing some poetry today after hearing the doorbell ring this morning and receiving a box which had my first published book with my name on it. 

It's a book of poetry and I am excited. I have been writing poems since I was in the fifth grade and this has always been a goal of mine. The book is entitled Pulchritudinous: The Poetry Collection by Stephanie Jeannot. I started writing these poems in my final year at college and I said that I would stop when I reached 10000 words. I reached that goal and finally, I got it published. 


 
It is available on Amazon here: 
Amazon.com


And so, with the heart for poetry in mind and also with the spirit of Halloween taking over my life today, here are a few poems that I would like to share. These are not found in the book as I wanted to share something different to get you into the mood of poetry. If you like them, maybe you would like my book too.



The Candy Queen


Halloween
Me the Queen
Trampling Leaves
Orange, brown, green;
Could you please
Candy steam
My basket please
For Candy Queen.

And up my sleeve
You’ve probably seen
My crown, my dream
Heaven’s pennies;
My dynasty
Door to door treats
Halloween Queen
Of the Candies



The Colors of Fall



I love the colors of the fall season
The beauty around is my smiling reason
As the trees grow bold and the streets get cluttered
And the cooler nights under thick blankets I slumber
I love the fall fashion long sleeves and boots
I always enjoy the young folks in Halloween suits
And the days fly by and Thanksgiving comes along
Black Friday shopping and malls play Christmas songs
But don’t get me wrong because this is about the colors
As I march down the aisles and the leaves start to flutter
So beautiful the nature of it and my why for loving fall
My heart beats for it faster than runners in NYC’s marathon




Thriller




Thriller, thriller night
Monster mash and orange lights
Haunted houses that make me feel fright
Nightmares rerunning in my mind through twilight

Ghost town and the pumpkin fest
Kids dressed as ghosts and in their Halloween best
Trick o’ treaters knock the dressed up doors right there
Even the house that looks abandoned that puts everyone in fear

Here comes the midnight and Michael Jackson’s song that rings
Zombies take the streets and start one-two-stepping
And the baskets full of candy that rot the teeth a plenty
Thriller night and goblins run the streets a fancy



Time Machine to the 1940s


I took a time machine back in time to the days
Where Ella took the stage and sang so unafraid
And I wore the best of threads with a rose in my hair
And there were dancers jitterbugging almost everywhere
And the jazz orchestra played a tune so sweet
That Ella’s scatting got me onto my feet
And my dress s swayed as I lindy hopped around
And the petals in my hair just kept tumbling down
And Dizzy played a mean solo on his trumpet there
And Bird did his thing as his sound charmed ears
And there I was back in time enjoying the music
And suddenly in walked Bud when I got the news that
If I didn’t get to the time machine in the next five minutes
I’d be stuck there forever and my time was to its limit
And though I didn’t want to part Ella blowing the crowd away
It was time for me to walk on out of there back to today
And I took the sound and let it linger while in the contraption
Back to where I started but with new satisfaction
I saw them live and true it felt like a dream
But what a beautiful culture with mine own eyes to have seen


(Speaking of Time Machines, I also have a tune entitled “Time Machine” off of my first album Finally JNote 
which I hope you’ll check out. 
You can find it on CDbaby here: http://bit.ly/2z1VVVD )



Have a fantastic day!