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

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 .

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!


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:

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. 

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!

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Q is for Quotes For Earth Day

Since, 1970, Earth day has been reserved as a calendar day to dedicate to thinking about protecting the planet, the environmental climate, global warming, clean air and drinking water, using biodegradable goods and about the blue marble, for the good of humanity.  

It is a day to consider the oil spill of 1969 in Santa Barbara, CA and Flint’s present day, unclean water. Though we may not all be able to participate in the march for science in Washington, D.C. or may not be able to add ourselves into the 500-mile human chain in France, we can all put our hands into making a difference to this social safari by thinking about Mother Earth  more, loving her just a little bit more and by reducing, reusing, and recycling.

Here are some ways 
you can celebrate Earth Day:

“Close your eyes and turn your face into the wind. Feel it sweep along your skin in an invisible ocean of exultation.” - Vera Nazarian

“Take a quiet walk with Mother Nature. It will nurture your mind, body and soul” – Anthony Douglas Williams

Enjoy the day! “Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished – Lao Tzu

Plant some flowers or a tree. “Trees are the earth’s endless effort to speak to the listening heaven” – Rabindranath Tagore

Sit in the park and enjoy the beauty of nature’s scenery. “Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better” – Albert Einstein

One man’s garbage is another’s treasure. Donate your old clothes to a church or the salvation army or, bring your old, no-longer beneficial to you, items to a swap meet. "You can tell how high a society is by how much of its garbage is recycled."
-- Dhyani Ywahoo

Instead of buying bottled water and throwing those plastic bottles in the trash, invest in a stainless steel tumbler and carry it around with you to keep refilling as needed. 

Some things 
to consider on Earth Day:

“The earth laughs in flowers” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s needs, but not every man’s greed” – Mahatma Gandhi

 “If you do not permit the earth to produce beauty and joy, it will in the end not produce food, either” – Joseph Wood Krutch

“The tress are our lungs, the rivers our circulation, the air our breath, and the earth our body” – Deepak Chopra

“The case for recycling is strong. The bottom line is clear. Recycling requires a trivial amount of our time. Recycling saves money and reduces pollution. Recycling creates more jobs than landfilling or incineration. And a largely ignored but very important consideration, recycling reduces our need to dump our garbage in someone else’s backyard.” – David Morris

 “For many of us, clean water is so plentiful and readily available that we rarely, if ever, pause to consider what life would be like without it.” – Marcus Samuelsson

“There's a lot to be said about what's happening to our ocean, big companies polluting it with their oil and all the raw garbage that's being spilled in there.” -  Lloyd Bridges

 “Nature is a numbers game. We need all the support we can get as our immune systems and health are under assault from pollution, stress, contaminated food and age-related diseases as our lifespans increase.” -  Paul Stamets

“Access by kids to the Internet should be like kids breathing clean air.”  - Nicholas Negroponte

 “The earth is a fine place and worth fighting for” – Ernest Hemingway

Happy Earth Day everyone! 
Here is a toast. 
The Earth is changing everyday.

Let's Change with the earth and as it turns and keeps on changing, change with it and make it a better place for the the here now and for future generations. 

Thursday, April 20, 2017

P is for Pardon My French . . .

Pardon my French but,
it feels good to know that
I am a troubadour of the world!

And so, I try to put my whole heart into every performance whether I am happy or with a broken spirit. The stage gives me a reason to feel optimistic. I can declutter my mind for a moment as I box out my troubles with a song.

I release infectious laughter at the end because the joy that took over made me feel really good. I may worry or climb over familiar hurdles every time before I take the stage but the music clamors for my attention and then my focus turns to the song, the lyrics, the notes, the key signature and the audience. And so my alter ego thrives in full immersion.

I am no longer who I was a second ago and the sound art breaks the cycle of who I was and I become who I am in the moment. The doubtful whispers cease and I feel as if the music and I, become one before a score of people.  

I guess this is why my heart rattles like thunder for it. I am psyched with each opportunity to release the passion within. Even on my worst of days or when I am completely exhausted, I get on stage and my day changes into a masterpiece. I get this energy that is unreal and I experience this maniacal grin because I still don’t quite understand it; you’d think exhaustion would pose as a challenge and instead, my alter ego reboots me and I’m with a full battery.

Like for instance, a year ago this week, I was on my way to an exciting performance that I was supposed to do. My friend William Rivers invited me and my band to be on his television show, “Showcased Talent.” And so, I got all dressed up, into my car and was driving on the highway. The highway had a crazy merge from about 10 lanes to one and while merging, a coach bus hit my car. I had to sit waiting for cops to come and attend to us for two hours just to tell my side of the story and fill out a report. I was late to the television studio and still wanted to go do the performance though I was not under the best condition, being stressed and waiting out in the cold for all that time. I still can’t believe I did not cancel after all of that but, it was one of those experiences I will never forget. Check out one of the many songs JNote Band and I did that night together here:

I try to maintain a thankful spirit. It's no easy street to be a singer with an instrument inside the body that you need to preserve through weather and sickness and drama-filled days and emotions and tiredness. But singing is one of the most delightful things that I do and I am happy with each opportunity to face the toil of what is required to simply vocalize. I have genuine affection for the work because I genuinely love to do it.

Pardon my French but,
it feels good to know that
I am a troubadour of the world!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

N is for Navigating Through Life

“As you navigate through the rest of your life, be open to collaboration.
Other people and other people's ideas are often better than your own.
Find a group of people who challenge and inspire you,
spend a lot of time with them, and it will change your life.”
-       Amy Poehler

Something I learned this week, though we are only halfway through it. You have your
ideas on how things should go and others have theirs. But no opinion is wrong. Sometimes, other people's views might enhance you and make the situation and experience better, so it is important to keep an open mind and to not invalidate what someone else might have to offer. 

Just because you have always done something in a specific way does not mean that it is always the right way. But just because someone else interjects their thoughts does not make it wrong either.

Navigate through life with an opinion because it is valid and important. Don't let anyone ever make it seem like your thoughts are invalid. Believe in what you have to say or contribute because it is equally important and may influence minds. But also don't be closed-minded about trying something different. Change is good and the only thing in the world that remains the same, besides the silence of mind if you could meditatively achieve it. Change happens and sometimes you just have to flow with it and entertain the idea of it!

New Music Coming Soon!

Sunday, April 16, 2017

M is for Moved by the Spirit

All I could say was the spirit in the room moved me. Every word that Dorinada Clark-Cole delivered seemed to resonate with me in such a spectacular way that it lead me to take out my notebook to start writing. And that’s what lead to me writing the song, “Leaning On His Everlasting Arm.”

"Leaning On His Everlasting Arms" is a up-tempo Gospel tune about holding on to God's unchanging hand because despite all the things we have been through, he kept us. This song was inspired by a sermon delivered by Dorinda Clark-Cole. Lyrics by Stephanie Jeannot. Music by Mike LeShore. Check it out here:

Saturday, April 15, 2017

L is For Lady Sings the Blues

L is for . . . 

Ladies that sing the blues
Like Lena Horne and Lady Day
Like it’s golden
And in their own lucid way
Locked in the groove
Locked in the flow
Love to listen to

Them rock and roll

L is for . . . 

Loving what matters
And looking for things that
Makes you smile wider
Despite the things that sadden you up
And living your life
One day at a time
And loving yourself
despite your falls
And your scrapes
And the errors you make
As the days move on by

L is for . . . 

Longing for cures
Longing to be sure
Looking for solutions
Longing for better conclusions
To the problems knocking on the door
To the issues that seem more
Like they tie knots in our gut
And make ushave the blues
Longing for unity
And Longing for love to be
The thing that changes the world
And longing for better ways day and night
And for different ways of life
And for all To live like a kid story
Ever after happily

L is for . . . 

Life could be better
But to remember that we have endured
And lived and fell and to be sure
That there is so much more to see
And so many reasons to love and let it free
Because despite our different dances and songs
We've lasted strong 
And until this moment we stand
We rise and try again
To see the things we want
Letting passion be the force
The booster up the rungs to see
That drives love to home court
And the inner joys to present themselves
L is for the blues music that tend to bring us some sanity

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

I is for Instrumental Voice

Most of the time, when people are speaking of musicians, they rarely consider a vocalist one. Why, because they don’t carry big amps and set up a physical instrument? I sis because they do not play a man-made stringed, wind, or percussive instrument that they have to load in the car and set-up hours before a musical engagement?

When a jazz event is being spoken of, it often says quartet, excluding the singer which if included would be a quintet.  So why isn’t the singer considered a musician when a singer actually is one?

The vocal cords are the only hand-made by God instrument on this earth. It is internal and is carried around inside of the human body.

The vocal cords are “a pair of folds of tissue that extend across the inside of the larynx and that produce the voice when air exhaled from the lungs causes them to tighten and vibrate” (Merriam Webster).  They are primarily responsible for voice production.

“The vocal cords are shorter and thinner in women and children, accounting in part for their higher-pitched voices” (Britannica). In men, the vocal cord is the size of a nickel and in woman, the vocal cord is the size of a dime.

The human voice is one of the most powerful instruments. It produces speech and enables communication. If you have a voice to speak, you have power to create change. If you have the ability to use your voice in other ways like singing, you have the ability to affect the ears of listeners with your word usage and the outpouring of emotion that you release when you free your voice.

It uses air to release sound, so like a horn, the human voice is a wind instrument. It can run scales in different keys of the solfege or other musical scales like a piano, so it can also be considered a stringed instrument. And there are times when the human voice makes you feel all warm and tingly inside, producing that thump that drives your heartbeat, which can make the human voice percussive.

Now here is a big difference between a physical instrument and the vocals. If dust falls in between each key of a piano or one of the keys go out of tune, you either spray it with dust remover or get it retuned and it is fine. Pull a string on a guitar or bass, and you simply unplug and restring it. Should a piece of dust get on the vocal chords, now you have limited usage of your voice because you now have an upper respiratory infection. Should you pull a string on your vocal cords, you may have to consult an ENT physician and consider surgery to remove nodes on your cords.

So though, the vocal cords might very well be inside of a human body, it is very much an instrument which makes a vocalist a musician. The human voice is the only instrument that God made by hand. It is the most powerful instrument in the world. And it is the one easiest to let a message out musically that can affect thought.  

Perhaps my song, “Breakthrough” which was originally written and produced by Stephanie Jeannot and Armand Collins, will affect your day positively. It is an inspirational tune and it was performed live at Resorts World Casinos in Queens, NY. Here is the link:

Friday, April 7, 2017

Hashtag IG Live

I guess we all tend to change with the times. I mean, who wouldn’t when we are all devoted to being our own personal best which may come with going with the trends that are currently #hashtag making noise. 

So the new form of communication seems to be going live and letting the social world into the moment so they can live the story with you. You can serve elaborate affairs, up-close-and -personal, with the world so they can understand your implication of truth more than just seeing a picturesque landscape of it.

I hesitated using it or to even watch the live feeds for a while 
because I didn’t want the idea to take over my mind. But I decided to try it while at a band rehearsal and it was not as bad as I thought it would be. 

actually was once encouraged to start a Youtube Vlog series which I  entitled The Rehearsal Mode of JNote,
showing different aspects of how I practiced my vocals and rehearsed in a sort of television sitcom type of way with scenes and commercials and everything. At that time, I had recorded, edited and published 15 episodes with the first being three minutes long and the 15th being about 
15 minutes long and it was fun to do.  But today, I shook the 
rehearsal mode thing up a bit and was softened into trying the live thing on Instagram for myself.

Here is what I found out…

So you get an hour of time to record live and share it with whomever is willing to watch on Instagram. I am used to having rehearsals with different bands I work with when nobody is watching but today, in spite of the burning questions I have about the live thing that instantly disappears after you are done recording, I took the risk and I did it.

Could a person actually affect another person by doing something differently and allowing those interested to be a part of it? Could you actually rock the world by being live? What if you stumble and fall when people across continents are there as a witness, virtually watching?

I found out that people are generally interested and actually took the time to see what was going on. Some liked. Some commented. I put my whole heart into the rehearsal mode that we were in and folks complimented the band, the sound, my singing, the music and it was interesting. 

I will call this a flowering of my strengths over my fears because I mustered the courage to do it. But my question is, while I am making these big, brave strides, what happens to the video? Is it really erased after it is shared and commented and liked and watched, like a snapchat photo? Perhaps it lands upon the moon. Or maybe it slides down a rainbow into a garden full of four leafed clovers. Can someone please tell me the cold, relentless truth about Instagram Live? 

Are you on instagram?  Join me! My username is musiqal1 and I would love to IG with you

Thursday, April 6, 2017

E is for Enjoy Life

Each day is a present from my father
Sarah Young

Embrace it!

Enjoy it!

Experience each day whole-heartedly because we only have today. If you are doubting, you are living in yesterday. If you are anxious, you are living in tomorrow. Enter into today, and keep your mind focused on making the moments of time you will never have again when they are gone, good.

Instead of a life cluttered with anxiety
pray about everything and let God’s peace
guard your hearts and minds in Christ
– Anonymous

A good elixir is to remember that despite our songs and dances, all the work, responsibilities, pressures, baggage, goal crunching, we still have today and can still enjoy life by simply appreciating the day God made and finding reasons to smile in it.

Express joy in it!

Make each day your masterpiece and empower yourself to make an effort to give your best while life is still happening. Especially since, worrying about tomorrow is somewhat of a conundrum considering that tomorrow is not promised and may not even come. Despite what we might have been through, being here today means that you survived it. Expressing gratitude for how much of a powerful individual you are, is more empowering than anything you could do. Celebrate your accomplishments. Pat yourself on your own back when you are able to complete tasks. Find a way to celebrate you everyday!