Tuesday, February 28, 2012

2012 Chamber Music America Recipient

A few months ago Vita Muir, the Executive Director of Litchfield Performing Arts told me she was interested in applying for a Chamber Music America Grant. Of course, I was excited to take part of this journey but being that this was the first go at this illustrious grant, I felt that even if I wasn't selected the learning process would be a good lesson learned. It took almost a week of work, sitting down and discussing, writing, and of course...writing some more. We were confident and we sent it off with smiles and hopes. We new what we would present was a great project, but it was out of our hands. Vita believed in me and this project, and So did I.

Well a few months went by and here we are. A call came into the office (I happen to be in the office that day working on Jazz Camp) with the news. I was selected and was named a recipient for this year. I can't explain the joy I felt go through my body. I was calm yet felt euphoric.

What you guys need to understand is that I work so hard at this craft. It is no doubt my calling to be an artist. To write music and share it to the world, but this craft comes with a price. It's a daily struggle of figuring out who you are deep within, the day to day hustle of maintaining a career and with that the day to day expenses that come with living. Could I have been anything else in this world if I put my mind to it, Sure. I could have went to a great college, go on to get a degree in a field that may be a bit less stressful at times. But when you live the life I live, and understand how amazing it truly is and love what you do, I can't imagine "Working" a day in my life. I wake up excited and try to never let the stereotypes of what being a musician is affect the way I am as a person.

I submitted a number of years in a row before I was named an ASCAP Young Jazz Composers recipient. It was worth the effort, I represented the winners that year with a performance that I will never forget. Now being a recipient of Chamber Music America it simply continues to add fuel to the fire that is still a huge part of my life. The music I compose is from my mind and heart. It special to me because I am unique to this world. There is only one of me, and because there is only one of me, what I do in this world needs to be special. My goal is to leave a mark of positiveness in this world before I exit. It's just nice when other people give you props. It reminds you that what you and I are doing...is simply perfect to each his or her eyes.

I grew up as the Puerto Rican kid from the Bronx who was raised by a single mother. Their were never any excuses, never an easy way out, no money to help... She did her best the only way she knew how to and looking back that was amazing enough. Now that I'm the adult, It's simply my turn to continue....

Friday, February 17, 2012

So I was thinking..

I put a quote on Facebook early today. Sometimes people wonder if my status are just some witty quotes I read passingly or if it was something that came from me and my experiences. I try to take a bit from both...but in this case..it was all me.

"Don't let your past define you, in fact all you have to do is let your past do what it should do - Put things in perspective so you can see how much we have all grown"

In my life and my travels I've had the fortunate chance to meet so many people from so many different backgrounds. And of all the diverse stories that I have heard, 1 point stays true. Everyone has become the person that they are, based on what they have been through. Is that I bad thing? Absolutely not...but the moment that people never take the time to look back and see how it developed them, it can be a slippery ride without breaks.

You always have a choice, you chose to be sad, you chose to be happy. You chose to smile, to laugh, and to enjoy life. People often use their childhood, or negative past situations to define how the rest of their lives should be. And to me, that just might not be the right mindset. I remember as I stepped into my life as a 20 year old, things just clicked. I said to myself that no longer would I let my past define me. I would only allow it to be part of my story in the end of the day. That it would make my story that much better and more interesting for those who were fortunate to be in the know. That was it, it was a simple choice and I haven't looked back. It was like finding this lost secret that was so obvious, the smack that came from it left a mark...granted more mentally then physically.

I had every reason to use my past as an excuse. But do I? I sure hope not. I can't say that my past and all that I got out of it is tucked away in some magical volt that only spews out the good memories, but I was able to learn from it, like where I came from, the mistakes I made as a young adult, and now I'm able to fully appreciate what life has to offer. I wouldn't take back anything that I was a part of. No regrets, only memories I can grow from.

I am writing this is because I see so many people simply repeating a cycle that they already know the outcome for. Parents who had children at a young age seemingly repeats itself in future generations, relationships that people find themselves in that they know are no good, but because it's what they are use to they allow it to continue. We are all worth more then that. Don't you agree??

It takes a lot to let go, and start off new. Sometimes the best person to imitate to a certain degree is a newborn. They are experiencing everything for the first time, so even though its unrealistic to actually do so...why not just try. You never know..the second "first" time might just be exactly what you need to let the past do what it's meant to do. Let it be the past, so you can begin living again, for the present.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Nicki Minaj...The Modern Day Clown Show

I know I tend to stay on the positive side. Cause that what life is about. But every so often something comes out in this industry (music) that just shows a state of where music is in. I recently saw Nicki Minaj new music video "Stupid Hoe" It's a diss track to a fellow female rapper Lil Kim. Anyway, for those who listen to this stuff..here's my thoughts. The way I see it, the more the music gets on this pathetic level, the more of a chance that people will wake up and start listen to real music again! who knows..maybe jazz can be in the forefront once again! One can dream right?