Thursday, June 22, 2017

Take Time to Enjoy the New Season of Summer


As the quiet hush of evening came on June 20th, it was safe to say that summer had arrived.

Let’s set the agenda for some cool things to do in the sun. If the essence of your work requires you to be indoors, take a break and enjoy the vitamin D outdoors because it is good for the heart. Don’t allow the only thing to raise your interest level be the commercials for upcoming episodes of “Kendra on Top.” Find places to escape where you can enjoy life and appreciate the new season that God has blessed us with and try your best to stay positive and keep your hopes as high as the rising sun.

Perhaps the summertime is a great time to break out of your comfort zone and try something you never have; like an outdoor yoga class or taking photographs of beautiful scenery in a place that is foreign to you where you have never been. 

If you were in a doubtful place during the winter and experienced a spring renewal, then the summertime seems like a great time to press through and reignite the flame of love with life and the world around you. Redefine the landscape of your reality and make life meaningful. The truth is, our lives may never truly fit into a box of perfection. But, so what. Stand firm in the fact that the best is yet to come and allow peace to freely flow like the summer breezes that blow through your hair while lying on the sand.




A smile makes a huge difference in any day. If anything has a representation of valuing the day, it is a smile because it shows that you have found something to be joyous about. This summer, fully commit yourself to finding simple reasons to humbly radiate. Let joy take residence in you and just "Smile". 


(A cover of Charlie Chaplin's "Smile" performed by Stephanie Jeannot
and the Dr Jazz Band at the Irkutsk Philharmonic in Siberia 

It is time to celebrate. It is the summertime. It is barbecue season. It is the season of family reunions and fun in the sun. It is time to be outside and having a good time with the young people in our lives playing basketball, hide and seek, kite flying, or other things that fit the season. It is time to go to the beach, lie on the sand and swim in the ocean. It is time to go to outdoor summer concerts and enjoy the beauty of the summer nights. It is time to enjoy ice cream with family and to sit outside enjoying the evening breezes. It is time to go on vacation and explore the world and see different things. It is time to take on those amusement parks and to spend time with the family doing good things. 

It is the summer time. Make sure that while you are doing all the work that is required in your busy schedule, that you are also taking time out to appreciate the season. Find joy in the beaming rays because once the joyous weather goes cruising by, you lose it. Remember to embrace the summer sun and to find reasons to smile.



Happy Summer!

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Dedicated to the Sweet Essence of a Father's Love! Happy Fathers Day!

Some things never leave you. 

Like, if you shoot me a wide smile, I might remember your face forever because you were my shelter from the wind when I needed refuge from the storm. It is like a flower in the rain that stands tall after all the others have lost its petals due to the heavy droplets from the sky; unforgettable! That simply is a gift of the moment. 

Dedicated to the Sweet Essence of a Father's Love!
Happy Fathers Day! 

But can you imagine how much of a froth of inspiration you could actually be to someone else? And then we have our fathers. 

Fathers Day Weekend


This weekend, fathers are being celebrated worldwide. We celebrate those that many of us call dad, who showcase their true strengths by being an active and caring poppa bear to us. 

Through the years, unmatchable friendships may have even blossomed between you two. You may have lived a troubled teenage life that was a bit distracting from the truth. But once you broke up with your childhood, you became even more aware of his importance when you were lured into the direction of adulting.

In truth, we face many responsibilities in life that are demanding yet, it feels good to take time out to celebrate even just one day when we can shower our fathers with accolades. Scatter seeds of kindness into his life so that while he is still here and able to smell the flowers, you can show him how much he is truly loved.

Pops Story

Me and my dad
There is a saying that goes father knows best. (Mon pere connais tou le chose.) My father probably embodies that when he is always giving me some kind of advice to showcase himself as a large influence in my life. He provides emotional strength to carry on and propel to the next level.  Honesty surges through his words when he shows concern for me and my actions that sometimes I would not even bother thinking about myself. He always seems to make an overwhelming effort to show that he cares. Even a thousand miles from home, his words sting and makes me think through things.

Like for instance; my father is always concerned with my physical being. I hardly sleep because I am always out doing something. And when I am home, my focus is entangled in something that keeps me from getting a good nights sleep. I admit that it is important to take some time to decompress but, I rather be whipping around in the sky, doing something beyond exciting.

So when I was in Arkhangelsk, I said to myself, tonight I am going to get some sleep finally. It had been my 7th day in Russia and I felt that I really needed some of that heavenly relief. My father’s words stayed firmly planted in my heart and so I said I would soak in moments of REM when it got dark.

10PM during the white nights season in Arkhangelsk, Russia
As I completed a performance at an Arkhangelsk Pomorya region museum with the musical group, the Art Ensemble, my eyes bulged in astonishment when we walked outside into the 7 degrees Celsius weather at 10PM and the sun was still shining bright. Sure day fused into night but moments of darkness never came. The sun sets at about 11PM during the summer season, but there is a lasting gleam of light in the sky until the 2:30 AM sunrise.

A professor of mine told me about white nights but I had never considered that I would be someone who would experience it. Seeing it with my own eyes made me take on a new perspective of the world. How regal are the works of God when you delve a little deeper into his works and discover more and more, how amazing he is!

Luckily, the impact of the cold temperatures and the heat that the hotel I stayed in provided, helped me to cozy up and do just what my father told me I should. Believe me though, I had to muster the courage to not run outside and let the sun sparkle through my hair in the still of the night, because all I saw was daylight during the day and the fascinating midnight sun during the night. Who wants to sleep when there is sun to enjoy? 

White nights of Russia
Song for My Father

Who would have thought that seeing something like this could forge a measure of confidence in me? To think that while I pondered on the unlimited nature of time, while I dreamt the night away, the sun was pointing my dreams into the direction of possibility. And it made me figure out a few things about life. 

I guess it is always scary to let go of the hand of your father and to forge your own path. Panic wells inside of both you and your father. But there is also joy that sparks when you can say you are confident because he instilled a sense of faith in you. You are staying on the course because of the impact he made. You can move along paths with drive and intelligence because he helped you to develop tough skin. In truth, while he was nurturing and loving you, his eyes were always fixed on the long journey of future ahead.

Check out my live performance with the Tim Dorofeev Art Ensemble in Arkhangelsk, Russia as in the midst of the night, we did a cover of Horace Silver's "Song For My Father." The blending of American jazz and Russian folk made me consider my upbringing, my culture and all the wisdom my father shared with me. He told me that there is more to the world than just what we know. To see and be part of the sharing of art within another culture, as I blended a part of what I knew with what I came to know just a bit of, made what he said ring even more true in me. Thankful to have been able to duet in such a way with Russian folk singer Nadezda Mironova. 


Thank you, dad, for using your pillars to protect me from every blow that might have stymied me from resetting in a new set of 24. And thank you for being the cushion on this bumpy ride through all the phases of this life that I have lived and am living. And thank you for going to the extremes of standing by me even when I have my character flaws that are not very agreeable to yours. It is because of you that I maintain a certain degree of optimism. You deserve moments of celebration. You are the epitome of love and I love you very much! 

Dedicated to the Fathers


Check out the father's day special for my radio show Jazz on the JNote which will air this Sunday evening 6/18/2017 at 7PM EST and can be accessed by logging onto theenglishconnectionmedia.com or by going to MixLR using the following link: http://mixlr.com/the-english-connection-media/


Happy Fathers Day to all the loving and caring fathers out there. We love you! 

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

I Got Misty When I Found Out I Didn't Have Superpowers

Recently, I had the opportunity to go to Siberia and to sing in three different cities in that region of the world. Something happened to me though that I did not expect. 

The first night I was there, I performed at a philharmonic hall in the city of Irkutsk. I returned to my room and as I was gathering my things and trying to sort out my suitcase, I fell and hurt myself. 



I am clumsy on a normal day, but I had never fallen in such a way where I'd hit my head so hard that it left me bleeding and with a big knot on my forehead that left me in tears. If I had hit any lower, I would have broken my nose. 

No one ever expects these things to happen, though sometimes it is good to be prepared. Something as simple as a safety kit with bandages, cotton balls, alcohol pads and ibuprofen can benefit you when something like this occurs; especially when traveling. But for some reason, I did not have that with me. 

I am very weary of sharing problems with people. I rather share good information and seem happy than to admit that there may be something wrong. I rather appear as someone who is invincible than someone with truly human weaknesses, such as an injury that could leave you with tears in your eyes and confusion. But it did. 

Sadly, I came to a realization that being in the tight corner where I was, a million miles away from home and somewhat feeling helpless, I had to break down and confess it to someone who might be able to help me in my situation. And I did.

Being the strong and stubborn person that I am, that was hard for me. But, I found out that there are people who actually care about my position who will come to my aid if something is not so swell. I found out that even in my weakness, it took strength to call out and admit that I needed help. I found out that God is always there no matter what and his voice can move you in your desperation to take action and to change your situation. And he did? 

Though there was a minor salvaging to help correct what was wrong in the moment, I was left with a scar that I tried to hide with my bangs. I could see my own facial disfigurement and it was a little upsetting for me. However, I find that there is nothing like getting on stage in front of a crowd of people to change my mood.



I could be depleted of all my energy and inspiration but then once the mic is in my hand and I am on stage, I become a totally different person. 

So it was a great thing for me to be able to cry out my miseries the next night as the Doctor Jazz Band & I took route to the city of Angarsk in Siberia. We were set to perform that night at this beautiful theater that was decorated in blue and with its fascinating architecture that made me bubble inside. 



It took me a while to get into the soundcheck I'll admit. We were in the midst of rehearsing songs but my mind was in a distant place trying not to think so much about how I had hurt myself and to instead focus on the music. Even the band members seemed worried about me because I am usually a charge of energy but at that particular moment while rehearsing, I was not 100% there.

But then the performance came and everything changed. Somehow, the music and the crowd made me feel better. And what better way to alleviate your stresses than to cry out your woes by singing a song about being misty.  

I was too much in love with the idea of being super and not down. I had been misty about not being invincible. My mind was drifting on the unbelief of not having superhuman strength. But when you realize that you are only human and that things do happen while life is happening, it kind of settles in and humbles you just a little bit.

Please check out the live performance of Erroll Garner's "Misty" performed by me, vocalist Stephanie Jeannot and guitarist Sergey Rushkovskii during my concert with the Doctor Jazz Band at that beautiful theater in Angarsk, Russia. 




I think this excited me just a bit more because it reminded me of something that the late and wonderful Ella Fitzgerald might have done with Joe Pass. Made me feel just a little bit more enthused to somewhat experience the jazz culture in this meaningful way.

Thank you for reading my blogpost. Have a lovely day! 

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

I Love . . .

I Love . . .


Pretty notebooks where I can write a world within it of stories from things I have seen. I love to write songs based on my experiences and some not, but whatever I write, it has a bit of my life represented in it.




And I love . . .


going into the studio and laying my written words down onto a track and turning mere lyrics into a melodic tune that is singable with hopes to share it and perhaps perform it in the future.




And I love . . . 

This dress. I saw it and just knew I had to have it. It fits well. It is loose and comfortable on my body. The colors are energetic. I love how it falls on the shoulders. Perfect for an outdoor music festival. I am short and so, a long dress makes me look a little bit taller. And so, I love that it falls just below my ankles.  It was a nice day outside and perfect for a pretty spring time look. 





And I love . . .

My friends who are always there, having my back and lending their ears when I need to vent or when I want them to simply listen and give me feedback. And I love that they lend their voices and share stages with me. They are incredible singers and great friends.




And I love . . . 

JNote Band who from the beginning when I had my vision, stuck with me and were very patient with me trying to do my original music. To take the time to learn songs that you do not know that is not popular on the radio and is new content that the public may not have even heard yet is really beautiful and such a blessing. Thankful to have such decent and wonderful people in my corner. 



And I love . . . 

That I had experienced and seen things beyond my frontier to make me want to talk about love and the world and the importance of unity. It is more important to see the world with your own eyes than with someone else's description. It is more important to plant your feet on your own understanding of people than to judge them based on stigmas. It is important to remember that no two people were built the same and everybody comes with their own uniqueness that is worth taking at full value, even if you do not understand who they are or how they go about things and to love them without limits. We all have stories. We all have our own songs and dances. We all lived life in our own way, carry our own baggage, and strive in our own setting. 

I love . . . "Love No Limit" and hope you might find the time to check it out and maybe, you'll love it too. https://youtu.be/TewqxBCx-Dg



So what do you love? Share some of the favorite thigns that you love? 

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Despite your Circumstances, Smile And Enjoy Life

Do what you’re made for, yes, but then get better and better;
eradicate weakness, yes, but only within strength
Jim Collins



I am infamous for allowing vivid memories of the past, be the thicket of briers that I keep falling into and getting bruised all over again for something that is way beyond the current time restraint that I am in. Imagine being someone who is keeled over exhaustion from running backwards into sobering reminders of yesterday.

So what? I was tattered and torn. Darn scars! So what? I fell victim of my own mistakes. Darn detours! So what? The events of the moment that don’t seem so great stimulate thoughts that can mask a smile. Darn Debby downers! So What? Finances are climbing. Darn bills! So What? The driver next to me just cut me off two seconds off of getting snipped. Darn Road Rage! It has become alarmingly obvious to me that these things are a part of life and you just have to deal with it; plus there have been more good days than bad and the good needs to be acknowledged just as much as the bad! Maybe celebrated even more. 


Today’s clouds can never deny yesterday’s beautiful sunset.
The inconvenience of today’s storms can never turn us from tomorrow’s harvest
Nikki Giovanni



I had the opportunity to perform my original tune, “Enjoy Life” live with the JNote Band and it was a great experience to come before the masses and to do it for the first time and share my story in a song. Sometime it takes encouraging yourself to come to the reality of a situation. Check It out here: https://youtu.be/yW9t5G82i68




I have found out that it is more important to thrive and to grow from these things. I have discovered that falling allows you the wings to fly higher than any bird in the sky. I have come to realize that your thoughts about your own self hold magnitude. It is better to think good about who you are and the possibilities than to stack your plate at the negativity buffet. 

Better to set out with confidence and greet each new day with a welcoming smile. The sun itself is pleasing to the eye and it is easier to take on the world with a measure of confidence and to enjoy life. For what is life without a little spice? A smile might just be that pinch of spice to make your life that much sweeter. 

Saturday, May 6, 2017

In My Nature

Right now, in this moment in time, singing is one of my favorite things to do. it is my nature to want to get into the nitty gritty of music and to turn the light switch on to using my voice to sound art.

When I think about finding my infinity, I can honestly say that it might be singing. I have loved it since I was a toddler, running around the house and listening to my parents listening to song selections that they enjoyed. My father would sing along with his deep timbre and my mother would just start singing a song while she was in the kitchen putting her foot into the best home cooked meal that anybody could make.

Hearing them made me want to sing and so, I’d echo sounds to the four walls of my room, to my neighbors and then to the congregation at our home church. I sang in the choir with purpose, as if I had to set the caged bird free in order to live happy.  

Years and years and years and years later, I can’t go throughout one day without singing something; even if it is just one song.


I remember the first time I ever got on the stage by myself. I have a pretty huge repertoire and sadly, know more lyrics to tunes than French words to have meaningful dialogue with my family members that live in Canada. So I thought I would be able to just fly through a song and do well. I didn’t even think I would have butterflies in my stomach, but when I got on the stage, I started shaking like the 1989 earthquake that occurred while the Dodgers were ready to kick some butt at the Major League Baseball World Series. The song came next. I started singing and strike two; the lyrics slipped my mind. I was so embarrassed that I left the stage crying, didn’t finish the song and swore that I would never sing again. But thank God that I did not let my own worries, step on my own toes.

I sing and I am in my nature. I get on the stage and for me it is as refreshing as sitting at the bank of the Caribbean Sea on a scorching hot day. And when there is a band billowing in the background, even better. It enables me to reflect individuality. I get wholeheartedly inspired by the musicians and their light seems to somehow illuminate me as if their energy was up for grabs and I simply absorb it. Music fills me with the right amount of stimulation to tend to my nature. I am even more convinced now that when I am a supercentenarian and I look back at my living history, I will still make a joyful noise for all the tender moments singing brought into my life.



It definitely is “the Way” that I am loved so different in my nature, that keeps me with an open heart and mind for singing. 

Speaking of music, I have some original songs on mine on Spotify. Here are a few songs to consider adding to your playlist for this rainy weekend. 




Have a great one, be safe and enjoy to the fullest. 
Thank you for reading my blogpost. 

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Chronicles of an Angry Driver in New York City

Everything is so fast paced in New York City, so it is a pleasure at night when it is you and the road and the skyline and you can just ride without the heavy rush of the never sleeping town.

May Photo Challenge 2017: Skyline
The difference is that during the daytime, you are driving, stop at a red light and don’t let a second of green catch you standing behind it because you will be met with a chorus of beeps. So you start to move as you were prompted to by the cars behind you, and a person wearing all black clothes starts to cross the street in front of you. The latter example is even worse at nighttime when you can hardly see them at all. 

When I took my defensive driving class, the instructor told the class that every 3rd person on the road is under the influence of something. Whether it is alcohol, drugs, makeup or Snapchat that you decide to stream live while behind the wheel that has your attention, the driver might not see that camouflaged to the color of the pavement walker, or that crazy bicyclist who decides that no traffic law pertains to them. Yeah! I said makeup. Haven't you ever seen someone applying mascara and eyeliner while behind the wheel or using nail polish remover to take an old coat of polish off the nails? 


But then you have the city skyline to provide some extra needed comfort to that vision-zero spot you are in. All those lights keep you abreast and aware; unless you start gazing at the sparkle and decide that at that moment, patience to just enjoy life is more important than rushing through it. As that thought skates through your mind, may I invite you to "Enjoy Life" and sing along with me? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=alV2ULnr9z8



How could you not see the draped in all black pedestrian when the neon lights kind of color them in as they cross the middle of the street that you might not have seen if it were in a different area? And how could you not stop to simply let them pass without road rage getting the best of you and leading you to want to curse them out because you are in a rush? And how could you not feel like stopping just to appreciate the beauty and to capture the essence of it? Just looking at the skyline transforms a driver and leaves them feeling good. 

Thank God for those lights. Here is hoping for more patience as we cruise on down the thoroughfares of life. 

Monday, May 1, 2017

Filter Out the Past and Keep Moving Onward to the Future

NuuViziun Photography

Doesn’t it feel good to know
that while playing a balancing act
of juggling the world and our passions
on our paths

we are living champions of life?
We are strong. We are fierce.
We are warriors
And our feet are spears.

Life has challenges.
It deals some cards
 that might force us to renig
and it goes to the heart
while we are looking back

Nuu Viziun Photography

because we envisioned a hand
that we didn’t really have.
Some things we were able to move on from
and some that we never get past.

And here we are in the present moment,
with all this knowledge of how strong we are
as people, thriving to fight
for what is in our hearts.

And so, all those things that held us prisoners to the past,
let them go like passing gas
And all those things that keep us bothered by our yesters
Shit them out and become a quality ply of toilet tissue invester
And all those things that no longer satisfy
Regurgitate them out of your life.



Tell the sorrows goodbye and let the sunshine in
Don’t allow the small shit to keep you dim.
It’s okay to live. It’s okay to love.
It’s okay to trust. Know that you are enough.
And eff all those who don’t believe in who you are.
If you believe in yourself, you are half way there.

As you look onward to the future.  

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Happy May!

One of the most tragic things I know about human nature
is that all of us tend to put off living. We are all dreaming
of some magical rose garden over the horizon
instead of enjoying the roses that are blooming
outside our windows today.”
- Dale Carnegie 


May Photo Challenge: Windows
Photo by Willie Tillman



Happy May! Enjoy the flowers, the sun, the outdoors, the warmer weather, 
the ragtime music playing from the ice cream trucks, the smell of barbecue, 
the outdoor music festivals,
the kids playing outside more,  each moment of it, and maybe 
some of my music blaring out of your car's booming system. 


Saturday, April 29, 2017

Y is for Youtube.com/sj1and0

As we cluster together, I want to invite you to see me in my essence. With my feet firmly planted on earth, I come to you in hope that you might take the time to water my seed of destiny a bit. May I invite you to drift into the arms of my video feed on Youtube to watch at least one video+, and hopefully subscribe to my channel at http://www.youtube.com/sj1and0 .

I think I have flourished a lot since I put up my first video and it is great to see my own growth and transformation. 

I have original videos on there. I have cover songs performed in a live setting on there and lots of other things. I have band videos on there.

Maybe I can get your undivided attention for at least one minute and maybe you can take me at full value and check me out.  My Youtube channel is sj1and0 and I not only post but also watch lots of cool videos as well. Let’s vibe, if you don’t mind.


So! Are you on Youtube? I’d love to catch a glimpse of who you are. What is your Youtube channel? Can we follow each other? Hope so! Drop me your handle.


Alright then, hope that this post invokes good thoughts that knock on the doorstep of your mind. Have a great day. Peace and love everybody! 

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

U is for Unbelievable How Time Flies

Six months ago today, Ufa, Russia was deposited into my love bank and left me feeling richer because of the experience of traveling and seeing a world beyond my own backyard and also, sharing my gifts on their music platforms. 

At Ufa Jazz Club in Ufa, Russia

It was an opportunity to embrace who I am in a different and unfamiliar setting and it had lingering effects that still empower me in so many ways.

What I learned 


By the White River in Ufa, Russia
You never know how strong you are until you let your wings get you off the ground to soar through the skies. You will never have a change of mindset if you do not clear the clutter of doubt to let possibility in.

We push hard every day. We owe it to ourselves to take chances on our pursuit to greatness. We ought to inhabit each moment while working hard and experiment with it. We deserve to expand our dreams and to marry our passions to life.  

To have been well received on the stage as I sang with the musicians, stays stored in my mind’s inventory. It was a wonderful experience that I will never forget. It was just the melodic change that my song and dance deserved as experiencing the soft winds of Ufa, was the vamp to end the incredible experience that being in Russia was.







  




 Looking back at these moments still feels pretty darn good.


T is for Thank you

The blessings of the Lord bring wealth 
without painful toil for it” 
(Proverbs 10:22)


David A Powell Photography


Blessings overflow in my life too numerous to describe. This life has been a journey and though I know that God is not through with me yet, I want to take the time to say thank you to each and every one of you for being patient with me. 

David A Powell Photography

Thank you for indulging in all that I share about my life, music and musical directing, reading my posts about my radio show, songs and traveling episodes. Thank you for commenting with more than just the word "interesting."  Thank you for watching my live performance and original music videos, listening to my songs and for simply embracing who I am. 

It is never easy to embrace somebody else's ego when we have our own. It is not that simple to give yourself fully to someone else's thoughts and interest that might not be your own. You don't know how you bless someone else when you decide that it is okay to try to embrace someone else's writing that might be different from the way that you may word something. And thank you for  being open-minded. Again, I say that we all have our own songs and dances. Our experiences and journeys may be different but we share the idea that we all have our own paths and stories and are all striving in our own way, the same, but different. 

Blessings continue to fall and I am grateful. 
Thankful for it all! God bless!

P.S.

Let's Connect

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Tuesday, April 25, 2017

S is for Singing My Song

I had an opportunity to get on the stage with JNote Band at Shrine World Music Venue to do a concert featuring all original music. 


It is not often that I get to do something like this and so when the opportunity arose, it felt really good to focus on lyrics that I brought to life in a song. One of the many songs I sang was "I Am The One" which is the first of seven tracks on the album Finally JNote with lyrics by Stephanie Jeannot and music by Mike LeShore. 

I hope that you will take the time to check out the live performance of the song here: https://youtu.be/7PV_yItyIZA



Hope you enjoyed watching the live rendition of the song with JNote Band. It was a fun night of music and just being able to express myself and to share my songwriting with people willing to listen makes a difference for me and I am grateful for it. 

NYIAS
Ironically, it was an eventful day the whole entire day. I had just left Girls Night Out at the New York International Auto Show at the Jacob Javits Convention Center and that event set the tone for my drive on the stage.



Anything to keep the wheels turning and to put my energy into full gear. If you liked the song, check out the original song on CDBaby, and maybe it will resonate with you enough to want to download it. 




Thank you for checking out my blogpost!