Monday, February 21, 2011

"Inner Peace" Goes Into The Film World

When you write music, especially for a record you always wonder who will end up listening, how far will it go, and of course, how people will receive it. Luckily my first record was well received. The critics said great things and above all the fans enjoyed it. But now with the second record available, would it live up to the hype and surpass it, or just be another record released.

I put my heart and soul in everything that I do. That includes the music I write, and I do my best so that it comes across that way when it's recorded. Cause then really never know who's listening.

A few weeks ago I was contact by Ben Crowe, a well respected, award winning film director based out of the U.K. He heard the title track of my latest record "Inner Peace" (Turnaround Records 2010) and wanted to use it for a scene for his upcoming film. I'm pleased and beyond words in telling all of you that it has come to fruition.

This is something I've always dreamed about happening and I feel this is only the beginning.  The films title is Verity's Summer and it's do out in a few months in a number of film festivals. I can't thank Ben and his producer Emma enough for wanting one of my compositions in the film.

See the thing about being positive and believing in yourself is that it has the power of opening doors that may not show itself until you do. Positive attracts positive. You yourself, generally are the only one holding yourself back. The biggest wall to climb, the excuses your mind can come up with, the countless reason why you shouldn't because that just might be easier. The moment you leave that mindset behind is the moment you begin to live.

A quote that I once read speaks volumes to me as I write to you. "It's not who you are that holds you back, it's who you think you're not" -Author Unknown

So though I am truly excited for this opportunity, the thoughts and dreams I have for the future excited me just as much. I won't stop just to be the norm, instead I will continue to reach my dreams regardless of peoples ideas of what is possible and impossible.

What will be next for the life of Albert Rivera, his music and his life? I can only imagine, but for now, I'll have a smile, and give myself a pat on the back for what I consider.. a job well done.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Some pictures for those eyes of yours

 Here are some pictures I have taken in the last year or so. Some were photoshoots and one of the shots are a performance shot from Small Jazz Club. Thank you Steve Sussman, RS Berkeley, Jason Goodman and Elizabeth Leitzell for the photos (list are bottom up)

Enjoy Everyone!
 Any photographers who would like to build their portfolio feel free to contact me!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

If life's randomness was so random, would you have still ended up here?

I was recently asked if I felt that life was a a whole bunch of random events that you help create and push forward, or was it carved in stone to be lived out like chapters in a book. My first reaction was simple and to the point "I make my own life, and I decide where it goes" I said, though in the back of my head a little voice said "really?" Though the conversation was a pleasant one, that went in many directions, it left me thinking about my life in its entirety from my earliest childhood memory to this very moment as I write and share my ideas with all of you. So it got me thinking..what if it's both? Random and scripted all at once...

All I have is my life to really dissect and to look back on, so I'll tell you a few things about me. See, if you would have told me that I would be a professional musician, traveling and living this kind of life when I was a child I would have laughed, and then probably got mad at you. Growing up wasn't the easiest thing to do, there were always issues with my family, whether it was close relatives or long distance ones. But being the youngest of 8, I just assumed that's how it would always be. But as Kanye West once said in a song of his "That's Family Business" So I just learned how to accept and adapt.

My mother raised me on her own, and though it was strict as a typical Puerto Rican household would normally be, she always made me take my studies seriously. I was never able to "hang out" in the neighborhood,  but instead I was home from school early, doing my homework with little playtime. Funny thing is now, when I look back, that was such an amazing thing she did for me and I'm so thankful.

I'm not sure why my mother raised me the way she did, maybe she just wanted things to be better for me when I grew up, or maybe it was just random and it was just her idea of what being a mother is. You see, I attended a public school in the Bronx, and after finishing the 3rd grade new zoning rules went into affect and they forced me to transfer. I found myself to be kinda quiet at the time, so changing didn't really make a difference to me. In fact, it was just another thing to deal with. But what I didn't know was that it probably changed my life. Before I left the first school I took a few citywide exams, and the interesting thing was I did pretty good. Actually, it was a perfect score.

When I went to the new school and they look at those scores,  they decided to put me into a program for what they called "gifted" children. Kids that excelled in all aspects. Through what ever randomness this world had put in motion for me, it allowed me to get accepted a special program for Junior High School. That's where music came in, it was meant to open my mind to expand my knowledge in my studies, but to me...I fell in love.

Because I went to that school, It paved the way for me to attend LaGuardia H.S for performing arts, which opened my ears to jazz music, which allowed me to attend the Litchfield Jazz Camp and meet some of my closest friends, which helped me get into a music conservatory, which allowed me to continually perfect my craft, which forced me to grow up and look at life different.

My outlook in life was so different 10+ years ago, I only saw the goodness and happiness every so often, but music and the last 10 years made my eyes and mind open. I learned to stop and look around and see the beauty of it all. To listen and respond, to help and to care for those I barely know. It was my mother who started the seed for all this, but it was the years of living, the individuals I met along the way that helped shape me. It was those people that made me realize success is all about a mindset, not a specific act. Every second of every minute of every hour of every day of every year made me who I am this very moment.

I can look back in life thus far and know that I'm happy. And there is nothing random about that. I made the decision to be happy, to live every day as it is meant to be lived, to pick up my horn and create music, to affect my fellow human beings in any positive way I can. The sadness from my past, the confusion of childhood, the search for a deeper meaning,  only makes my success in the present feel even more amazing.

It took me 27 years of trial and error to come to this point. So was it random, or was it scripted like a well written play? I say it again, it's a little bit of both. But unlike a play or a movie, I can't start from the beginning all over again whenever I deicide. But, what I can do is sketch out my next few chapters and see where it goes. I can see how clever "randomness" can be. Because it can always come to this.. "If life's randomness was so random, would I have still ended up here?"

Albert Rivera

"Creativity is the ability to introduce order into the randomness of nature." Eric Hoffer

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

It's February already!!! And a peak into the summer...

Wow! Where did the month go. It was just yesterday that I was sipping on some champagne ringing in the new year,  And now? It's the second month of the year, no major issues, things are moving well... In my book, that's plenty to be happy about.

With 2011 off and running, a lot of projects are in the mix. I got Latin Jazz Thursdays off and running with my buddy and B. Smith's Executive V.P Adam Caswell, and so far it's been cooking. I'm looking forward to next Thursday for the show! Well, that's saying I get back to NYC in time.
Front of Vita Muir's House(Executive Director- LPA)

As I sit down and type this I look out the window and I would guess there is about 4 feet of snow. The Front door or side doors can't open cause the snow is blocking it, and the driveway...well, you can only imagine.  I'm up here doing some work for Litchfield Performing Arts getting things situated for the summer school that kicks off July 10th. It takes tons of preparation, and I do love working for this company and for what there mission is. Bringing music to the people through education and performances.  Well, regardless of the snow it didn't stop me from making good progress. Just got confirmed that trumpeter Jean Caze (you may know him for being in Michael Buble's band) will be joining us for the full month of the Litchfield Jazz Camp. This is gonna be an amazing summer. Jean will be joining me on stage at the Jazz Festival which follows the school in the first weekend of August with my Organ Band. It's gonna be a live recording, so I am pumped! More info to follow! For more info on Jean or Michael Buble and touring click on their names.

It's amazing for things to be falling in great places, I've been feeling so inspired and I can't wait to grow some more so that I can continually positively effect others as well. I'm trying!

I'll end with a quote by the great Albert Einstein. "Try not to become a man of success, but a man of value" I will do my best Einstein and I will be my best.
Smiles from Connecticut