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Thursday, March 30, 2017

Day Dreaming and I'm Thinking Of School Daze

Yesterday still rattles like thunder in my heart; this throwback like a stroke of paint from the masterpiece still being wonderfully created in me.

Those were the good old days when life was simple and we didn’t have to worry about anything but the things we would learn in the classrooms, our friends, the fun and games we
would play and the cartoons and shows that resonated with us and were on the television air waves back then like "Family Matters," "Alvin & The Chipmunks" and "Video Music Box."

Those were the good old days when I would sit in the classroom, with my notebook out, writing poetry instead of taking in what my professor was lecturing about. Those were the times when I would daydream about being older and doing what I wanted to do.

And now I’m older and sometimes wish I could go back and relive the simple life where I didn’t have to worry about my steps, work, bills, etc; I guess you can say still in a daydream in a sense but realistic enough to know that each moment, regardless of if we see it in the moment or not, is a blessing from God. It is a true and perfect gift that deserves acknowledgement and to be received with gratitude.



And so, the 1947 popular song, Daydream by John La Touche, Billy Strayhorne and Duke Ellington was an appropriate tune for me to love and to sing at Eric Frazier’s 2017 Winter Fort Greene Jazz Festival. 





“Each day is a present from my father” – Sarah Young

Thankful for each opportunity to sing because the idea of doing it was once also a daydream, and now each time I take the stage, it is as if I am entering into that castle in the sky I once dreamed about being a royal part of. 

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

One Skein At A Time

The art and love of crocheting took root in my heart and grew into love about a decade ago when I was sick and in bed with the mumps. I didn’t want to accept the truth that my perfect attendance record was going to be tarnished suddenly because I was caught up in the fire of an ailment. But it was becoming evident all around me that the contagious thing that took over me, was going to leave me bed-ridden and home until it withered away.  

What was an over-active lady supposed to do when so many tasks were clamoring for my attention while I was forced to be in hearty accord with my bed? The answer; rest.

I tried. I slept. I lied in bed with the television on. But I couldn’t alleviate this attachment to the opinion that I needed to be doing something other than. And so, I found something to do to keep me active. 

One Skein At A Time

I took out a crochet needle and started making hats. I saw an old coworker of mine getting crafty with a needle one day and the idea of gauging and skeining gained enormous influence over me. And so, she showed me the basics and thank God she did because as time kept stealing past me as I lied feeling defeated by my sickness, I crocheted and crocheted some more. The art of it enabled me to be at peace with where I was at that moment in time.

Changing the Needle 

Finally I got back on my feet and wanted to test what I made amongst my friends and co-workers. Who knew that I would sell so many of my hats that day that it would leave me convinced that I was supposed to be making hats. I started to enjoy the fruits of my labors even more when I started vending my crafts at street fairs.

At one particular street fair, a man approached me and told me that he wanted some hats for his store located in Greenwich village. It was a beautiful Sunday afternoon in Brooklyn. He told me he wanted fifty hats. I said that I could have them for him in a week or so. He told me he wanted them by Friday. 

For the next five days until the time of our meeting, I sat up day and night, through my lunch breaks, on the buses and trains and during every free moment I could find, and I crocheted. Friday came and about an hour before our meeting time, I accomplished the fifty, only for him to ask me for fifty more for the following Friday, which provided me with additional time to adjust my sails and do what I was tasked to do and add signature tags to the new set of fifty that would hang in the Greenwich store's window display on West 8th Street.

I don’t crochet as much as I used to anymore, though when the rain and snows take over the New York landscape, I find myself on my couch skeining away. 

I’ve made hats. I've made bags. I've made baby booties. I've made bibs. I once made a queen-sized granny square blanket as a gift for my loved ones. I’ve made ornaments in bulk for baby showers and bridal showers. I have crocheted scarves and dresses and even teddy bears. 

But now with my same heavy hand that I write, it seems as if carpel tunnel is somewhat taking over it with the pain my wrist is anchoring to. But crocheting was a love of mine and still is which is why, I always did it with this joy in my heart that turned into love.

Crocheting Love Songs

Artwork by Ricardo Ricky Jean
When I write songs, I often use my experiences to tumble into the meat of the work. Crocheting was a passion and so it became the subject of a love song I wrote.

The title of the song is “Crocheted” and I moved through every stanza unrestrictedly over the music of Derrick Smith,  with all the aspects of the art of crocheting in mind and turned it into a love song; one skein at a time. 

Please check out my song and video here:  https://youtu.be/kjkGWjqJDvM



P.S.

Check out the website that features  some other things that I have crocheted here: http://melodiaz.0catch.com/hand-made.html

Happy to have vibed with you all. Thank you for reading my blog post. 

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Respect for the March-Born Singers That Influence My Life

Most of my favorite singer’s birthdays seem to be in the month of March.



Their music like verdant landscapes inspiring me with floral essences of sun soaking life and so, I always approached what they had to give with enthusiasm and joy. 

Their songs have growing influence on the world and continue to have lingering effects on my life as a singer, writer and musician.


Recently deceased, Al Jarreau’s was on the 12th of March and I loved the way that he could do almost anything with his voice, and the fact that he would do it with a smile. The smile definitely makes a difference for me.  

Guitarist, songwriter and vocalist George Benson celebrated his on the 22nd of March. Chaka Khan’s birthday was on the 23rd of March. I used to once have a repertoire of songs to sing with my band that consisted of about ten Chaka songs. Her voice is definitely one worth listening to because she sings with attitude and very jazzy, which are two qualities I really love. 

My two favorite singers in the world celebrate their birthday on the same day which is on March 27th; Sarah Vaughan and Mariah Carey which are ironically exactly three months and three weeks away from my birthday. Three is a love number. They both are my biggest influence s in music and I love them dearly. 

Billy Grant, bass player and wonderful singer and friend celebrates his birthday on the 9th of March. The voice that comes out of his mouth is like a stream of silkiness that you would just love. But then out his on a bass and your jaw will drop. He is amazing. Another great friend of mine and fellow singer, Dalthannette Munlin, who has one of the prettiest whistle tones today, celebrates her birthday on the 16th of March. And today is the birthday of Aretha Franklin.

Happy birthday to the fierce and ambitious singer and staple of the music culture, Aretha franklin who created bops for the ages with the most versatile voice and a hinge of royal personality. She is the Queen of soul; nobility without question. I speak of her with candor because she impacted my world in so many ways. Confidence with her voice gesturing with emotion, was her strength. The charming and enchanting sounds of her music are definitely an inspiration.

The following is a cover of the 1967 tune “Respect” which was popularized by the Queen of 


soul, Aretha Franklin. The song was written 

by singer/songwriter Otis Redding and first 

ever sung by Otis Redding in 1965. 


A cover of the popular tune was performed 

live by the Bartlett Contemporaries which 

featured Randall Burney on vocals, Charles Bartlett on trumpet, Carl Bartlett Jr on 

saxophone,  Devorah Evans on vocals, Billy Grant on bass, Stephanie Jeannot on 

vocals, Tony Lewis on drums, Robert Meeks on keys, Robert Stringer on trombone and Arty White on guitar and I want to dedicate it to Aretha Franklin and to all the March-Born Singers that influenced my life.   Check out our performance here: 

https://youtu.be/GgiJHQAcD6Y





Thank you for checking out my blog post. 

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Going Around Under an Umbrella

“Going around under an umbrella interferes with one's looking up at the sky.”

– Jerzy Kosinski



Speaking of going around under an umbrella, check out a cover of Arthur Johnston and Johnny Burke's 1936 popular song "Pennies From Heaven" by Eric Frazier and Friends featuring me, Stephanie Jeannot on vocals, the cool tap dancing of Eric Frazier and also soem outstanding musicians including Danny Mixon on keys, Sax-E on saxophone,  Dwayne "Cook" Broadnazx on drums, Paul Beaudry on bass and Eric Frazier on congas.

Together, we performed this jazz tune live at the Roosevelt Public Library in Roosevelt, NY.






Thank you for checking out my blog post. 

Today is World Water Day, which  is a great time to reflect on how fortunate those of us that have clean, safe, drinking water really are. Much of the world is not so lucky so it is critically important that we think about how we care for our precious, "Pennies from Heaven."

Have an amazing day! 

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Poettues: World Day of Poetry

It is World Day of Poetry and also Poetry Tuesday and so today, I share with you a poem. Hope you enjoy what you read. This poem is entitled World Day of Poetry.



I am an able-bodied woman of Haitian descent
who has shaken off fear and now able to present
genuine affection for the world which I toil free;
I unfold for World Day of Poetry.




Here I am; the tiger burning bright.
I’ve lived under the thinnest of moonlight.
Stains of ragged footprints of time that changed the lamb.
The fuel that keeps me alive like that of William Blake’s hand.

Learning from every conundrum, abuse and stains left on my skin.
Reason bursts like a volcanic eruption and here we go overthinking.
Google maps can’t look inside my heart to see the lava.
The lively Shakespearean madness in me, some consider all drama.

But my past however does not encapsulate my individualizing.
Creativity and Poe-ish passion make this caged bird sing.
An early morning dream; lit torches that unearth a laugh.
Necessary maintenance help me grow on this writing path.




And the special circumstances that make me focus on my lot.
Each person’s song and dance; the work that makes their hearts stop.
I sing of the world I see around me like Emily Dickenson wrote her logs.
It’s world poetry day, so here is a poetic throb.

Some may have been hoping to see rants of politic trump.
Some may have wanted to read a movie thumb.
“Sing”, yes I loved it! “Get out” was a great view.
Some of Langston Hughes works still read to me as brand new.

Nikki Giovanni and Wheatley pieces bring peace to me too
like a long island iced tea over ice soothes.
But here I am with this song and dance echoing nothing but music
and then I see a firetruck in the ocean that brought on some amusement;




trying to put out the fire that was burning inside of me;
trying to extinguish the passions that make me breathe.
Trying to rescue me from the icy pond on which I walked
Trying to stop me in my path from lyrical talk. 

Now the spring is here and my journal is out
and I'm writing about the world, love and the boycotting of winter a lot.
I’m sizzling still and world poetry day just added to the furnace.
I’m a poetess and any form of writing gives me purpose.


About writing


When I write songs, I write it somewhat like a poem, counting syllables and trying to make words rhyme to make it fit. Shakespeare made me love to write. Hughes made me love to read. Music gives me wings to fly. I sing because I’m happy and free. I wrote songs because my poetry gained flight and became a butterfly. 

“You Loved Me” is one of those songs. Lyrics by Stephanie Jeannot and music by Mike LeShore. Check it out here: https://soundcloud.com/stephanay-jnote/stephanay-jnotes-tracks-1


Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Poettues: Sometimes You

Sometimes you have to step into your power
and be the woman that you were born to be.
Sometimes you have to swim with the sharks
and be not afraid of your own vibrancy.



Sometimes you have to make your mark on the world
With in the moment experiences.
Sometimes you have to take a chance
And unravel your wings with good intentions


Sometimes you have to carry more than just a suitcase of pain
‘But also a truck load of confidence.
Sometime in the grip of emotion
You might spiral into success.
And then there are times you celebrate
And rave about something good.


Beer, chardonnay, a cup half full.
A mustard seed is finally understood.
Cheers to the moment and the memory.
Hooray for the knots that didn’t jail me.
Thanks to the wishing on shooting stars.

Thanks to you, Wherever You Are.



If you liked the song, the full length original track is available on CD BABY here:
You can doenload it for $.99 at http://bit.ly/2mpdIMh

Monday, March 13, 2017

Tickle Me Blizzard

I have been grappling with something that doesn’t seem to part ways with my heart. 

Perhaps you can say that I have been under construction trying to figure it all out. But, this dire feeling has lived with me from the beginning of this year until this day. I’m howling with laughter at the idea of getting up to two feet of snow from a March blizzard in New York. 

Flowers are already blooming. Green grass has already started to let its vapors out into the atmosphere. I have already enjoyed the tenderness of seventy degrees weather and was growing comfortable with not wearing a heavy jacket and gloves and here we are; mid-March after the time has lept forward and a few days away from the new season of spring, getting ready to dive deep into another bad winter storm that has already caused the city to close schools for the day.

Now with everyone about to be home for a day due to this oncoming wintry mess that is
about to embrace us, and hopefully off the roads driving like race car drivers on the slippery pavements, here are a few things we can do inside to keep us stoked for the rest of the journey.

1. Use a big pot or slow cooker to make some hot soup that can be enjoyed by everyone all day. It is  cold outside. After shoveling, the soup is perfect for bringing the temperature
in our bodies back up.


2. Pray for the homeless, that they might find a warm place to stay and be safe from the freezing temperatures.

3. Check on the elderly. Call them and make sure that they are alright and safe.

4. Keep your mind engaged by checking and responding to overdue emails, reading a good book, watching a nice family movie, check out some great documentaries on Youtube, crochet or do a nice puzzle that will intrigue your mind and keep you busy.

5. Don’t spend your entire day on your computer or with your face in your phone. Since everybody is home, what a great time to have some meaningful, heartfelt conversations and to enjoy spending time together as a team.

6. Start that spring cleaning by decluttering and putting away things that are no longer useful to you and donate them to a swap meet or to someone else who might you’re your junk useful.


7. Exercise at home. 

Put some dance music on and just let the good feeling take over your body and work it out. 

Here is a song that might work. It is called All Night Long by Stephanie Jeannot and Derrick Smith and was performed live by the JNote Band at Silvanas in Harlem, NY.  https://youtu.be/hkM6ZIcnETo






March Madness might pertain to sports but I think it applies with this winter. 
Whatever it is that you do, please be safe! God bless you and your loved ones! 

Friday, March 3, 2017

Unlimited Love for Singing My Originals

As artists, we sometimes default to singing cover tunes because we have grown accustomed to loving the artists who we look up to so much, that their songs linger in our hearts and we want to sing them. 



It becomes second nature to get knocked into a groove of a familiar tune rather than to splash our own color into the singing experience and to sing something that came from our own pen. I will admit, it is still an ocean of fun for me and very inspiring at that, whenever I get on stage and share a song with an engaging audience, whether it is a cover tune or an original; and I have had many inspiring moments.

I flashback to exactly three years ago today when a fellow musician, Lenny Underwood, blessed me with the opportunity to join him on stage with the legendary Jennifer Holliday, and I was asked to perform a duet with her before the Jackie Robinson Foundation award recipients at the Waldorf Astoria.  That moment was unforgettable and still bedazzles me every time a Facebook “on this date” shows up and reminds me that this event actually took place in my life.  

Other inspiring moments include, performing live at the Great Adventures Theme Park, releasing my musical project Finally JNote, traveling to Russia and singing at a music festival in Krasnodar, creating original video content for a visual component to my lyrics, 
and just recently something generated the most positive emotion in me that I have ever had. 

For the first time ever in my life, I performed before my peers, a concert of all original music and it felt as good as being a shoe-aholic in a shoe store on a shopping spree.  I was able to share the tone of my existence with a live audience. I shared the frame of my culture through sound and vision. I shared a piece of who I am like I never had in my experience and it felt great to finally do it with the personalized touch of my own lyrics and melodies.

I have sung my original tunes live prior to that moment, but always wedged in between a cover tune. I was able to grab the attention of my entire audience with my own, creative works. I had been building up for a moment like that all my life and finally, that moment came. All I can say is, I cannot wait to do it again with the JNote Band. Looking forward to the next time.   



My favorite moment of the night was for the first time ever,  performing my song Love No Limit,  written about the experience of seeing the world with your own eyes to separate myth from facts when it comes to loving a people. It was mostly inspired by research I conducted when first starting my college thesis and seeking information on language and different dialects  of so-called "bastardized languages," Latin American Literature (more so the concepts of magical realism), and my most recent international trip which was to Russia. Check it out here: https://youtu.be/Ehbsut02E_g




The lyrics are by me, Stephanie Jeannot and the music is by Paul Garrod. Singing this song mostly felt great because I was able to do it on a platform with the JNote Band, in a flow of all original music and that is what made the night memorable for me. Only God!  

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Giving Something Up to Experience Little Breakthroughs

There is no middle ground when you make a decision.”
David Hooper

It is Lent. It is a time to give up those things that do not serve us. 

I will give up candy. I am a jolly rancher freak and I have a new piece every ten minutes. I will no longer surrender to the sweetness of the taste, even on three-hour long car rides or when a bicyclist cuts me off short of taking his life because he didn’t care about the traffic laws. I will fight off my urges to have those teeth killers. I also will dedicate more time to myself and give up stressing over the weight on my shoulders and instead find more reasons to live in a joyful way.

I have decided to live my life with great attention and care. I have decided to hold on to kernels of hope and take on the boiling froth of life’s many demands confidently. I have decided to maintain order in my mind even when challenges prevail.

I will take the steering wheel and drive my response to life in positive ways. I will no longer obsess over the things that are out of my reach. I will no longer validate negativity and let it dwell within. I will acknowledge the beauty that surrounds me as I take on demanding tasks.

I will stand tall and not let doubt fog over my intellectual curiosity. I will go the extra mile to emerge with happiness. I will be conscious of my efforts and celebrate my own self. I will no longer allow deep sadness to be the hat that I wear.

I will learn from my mistakes and no longer dwell in yesterday’s eclipses. I will walk on through the wind and through the rain. I will recognize my being as something special. I will let the streams of faith run through me. I will enjoy the basic, necessity of rest. I will no longer allow stress to overtake my joy and I will smile more. And I will be with joy not because someone else creates it but because I will fight for the joy I deserve. I will experience my breakthrough. https://soundcloud.com/stephanay-jnote/breakthrough


I will acknowledge that I was not built to break but to stand tall and to experience little victories. I am a warrior. I am fully aware of my strength and I will use it to the best of my ability.

So, what are you giving up for Lent? I once gave up adding sugar to my coffee and tea and until this day, I do not add anything to those beverages. I can’t even fathom the taste of a Macchiato because it is too sweet for me. Some things last, some don’t but for the most part, trying makes a big difference.