Now and then some models like to be different. They will go to “extremes” just for the sake of getting a great picture. To me, there is nothing wrong with that. Khalia is a prime example. We had a photo shoot scheduled, and it started snowing (and it was majorly cold). I gave her the option of canceling or postponing, but she seemed to be even more excited about doing this in cold weather. I “love” doing unique things and creativity, so we set forth to do this in the snow. By the way, Khalia is a singer/rapper who goes by the code name “Trigga.” This is her photo shoot in the snow, and I hope you enjoy. As always, I wish you the very best that life has to offer. Hope you make the most of it. Have a great weekend.
I once played for this function/award show where we were doing a tribute to the 90’s group sensation “New Edition.” They had major hits like “Mr. Telephone Man, Boyz II Men, Count me out” and much more. i believe the event took place in Washington, DC (even though my memory might not be all that accurate). We had to perform medleys of New Edition tunes behind a young group called “the youngzters” featuring an artist that some of you “may have heard of.” That young artist just “happened” to be “Usher.” Yes, I performed with Usher while he sang a tribute to New Edition. I really had no idea what to expect, but I just handled it like I did for most gigs and just “prepared” for “anything.” When we did the sound check, everything went smoothly. The music sounded great and everyone seemed please. Then I got a tap on my shoulder from behind, and lo and behold, it was Usher. He asked me if I could come into the back green room with him to talk for a moment. He said that there was a certain part of a particular song that he wanted me to create a sound effect for. He then tried to “mouth” the sound and I knew immediately what he wanted. I responded by saying, “You must want a bass slide during that part.” He looked at me, smiled and said “Yeah, that’s it! A bass slide. Can you hook me up?” I just simply said “i got you covered” and went on my way. When it came time to perform the show, i noticed the group New Edition sitting together in the front row, but I noticed that Bobby Brown was at the other end of the row with a female who looked “very” familiar. He was sitting with Whitney Houston, his arms embraced around her knee. The funny part was that even though he had his arms all around Whitney, he kept looking down the aisles at the sexy legs of the other women on the row. Whitney looked “thin” and while we were playing I saw her head bob to the music. Then I had a revelation. Whitney’s hair “tilted” to an angle. I saw her take her two hands to the side of her face and “straighten” her hair up. That was when it dawned on me that “Whitney wore a wig.” Okay, maybe I am saying too much now (smile). Anyway, the evening went great and during intermission i got the chance to meet Bobby Brown and Johnny Gil. Bobby had a drink in his hand and said, “Man, you are awesome. If i can get a few more brews in me then I will be coming onstage to jam with you.” We just laughed, and I managed to take a picture with him and Johnny. All in all it was a special night, and one worth remembering. My only regret for this evening was that I never got the opportunity to take a picture with Usher. After the show he thanked me for hitting that special effect for him. I hope you don’t mind me sharing my stories with you and I thank you for checking out my Daily Thought today. As always, i wish you the very best that life has to offer. Please make the most of it.
Johnny Gil, Brett Jolly, and Bobby Brown
This us a story that actually warmed my heart. As most of you probably know. I am a professional musician who has been a “strong advocate” for “change” in the music industry. For “generations” artists who made famous recordings have been gypped of money that they should have received. Well, just recently I read this story involving Sly Stone (from Sly and the Family Stone). If you like you can check out the article by either clicking on or copying and pasting into your browser the link below:
Sly, who is now 71 years of age, won his suit against the people who ripped him off for his royalties. His ex manager and production company were the ones ordered to pay him $5 million dollars that they stole from him. For those of you who don’t know, Sly wrote some “major” hits back in the day, including classics like “Everyday people, Thankyoufalllettnmebemiceelf again, Dance to the Music, If you want me to stay, I want to take you Higher” and many, many more. A LOT of major recording artists got “chumped” for their money, and many of them even died “broke.” Some, like Billy Paul (“Me and Mrs. Jones”) sued for his money and actually won the case. Hopefully, this decision for Sly might open the door for “others” to follow suit. The entertainment industry is “not” an “angelic one,” and often when artists create great work they are exchanging their talents for “fame” and not necessarily “fortune.” The legendary group The Beatles never owned the rights to their own music. How sad is that? Even though Sly won this battle by “no means” does it signify that he won the war. It is one thing to win the money. It is another to make sure that the people who took it from him still even “have” it. Over the years I’m sure these people spent a “lot” of that money that was earned and while Sly may have a judgment, it doesn’t mean that he can collect anything, especially if the money is no longer there. However, you have to start wherever you can, and this should be a “good first step” for Sly. He had issues with drug usage during his career and he has been broke for the past several years. There are other stories out there just like Sly’s. Maybe with this court decision there is hope for them as well. Congratulations, Sylvester Stewart (Sly’s real name) and I hope that you have “finally” received vindication for the wrongs that have been committed against you. As for everyone checking out my Daily Thought today, I thank you for the bottom of my heart, and as always I wish you the very best that life has to offer.
Berry Gordy, Kool and the Gang, comedian Chris Tucker and Brett Jolly in concert
“The day after’.. I woke up this morning to assess the damage that was “predicted” for my area from the predicted snow storm. I was expecting to “barely” see the top of my car and I was imagining that my front door to my house would have problems opening due to the tall order of snow. Lo and behold, in some areas I could actually see huge patches of the street. The roads looked “very” passable, and at this moment I realized that we “avoided” a major storm. Even though it is “still” snowing outside, at the present time it looks as though we escaped this one. I walked my dog up the street and had absolutely “no problems” doing so. This kind of thing has happened in Philadelphia before on several occasions. The weather forecasters would “prepare us” for a “massive” system only to find out later that we either got just a “coating” or hardly anything at all. I have heard that other areas north of us got a couple feet of snow, and I wish the very best for them in trying to deal with it. I have experienced large snowfalls several times in my life, so I am no stranger to it by any means. It just feels good to know that at least on “this” day we were spared. This also lets me know that when it comes to forecasting the weather, there is only “one true” meteorologist, and I think we “all” know who that is. Schools are closed, and probably a lot of other places as well. I guess for today I will be closed as well. I just wanted to share my experience with you today, so I hope you don’t mind. As always, I wish you the very best that life has to offer, and please stay safe.
Singer/actor Tyrese Gibson and Brett Jolly
Last year here in Philadelphia we got hit with the “second worst” winter ever. It seemed as though every other day we got hit with a “major” snowstorm. This winter has not been that bad… “yet”… So far we haven’t gotten any “significant” amount of snowfall. However, all of that is due to change “today.” According to forecasters, we are scheduled to get hit with at least two (2) different weather systems that could possibly bring up to about “two feet” of snow (combined with high winds). Last year I had a “LOT” of gigs cancelled due to snow. If it comes down like they “say” it will then I shouldn’t lose much ground on anything. Even though I am a March baby I absolutely abhor the cold. It it could be summer weather all year long then I would not complain about it one bit (well, maybe a little bit at Christmas). Other than that, winter is “not” my thing. There are some good sides to it, though. The ambiance that often accompanies snow storms is “awesome” for writing new music. I often get my biggest inspirations knowing that I am trapped inside with my keyboard and software system ready to essentially “create art.” I have been so busy dealing with other things that I haven’t had the chance to do much. A snowstorm has a way of just “shutting things down and granting opportunity.” Of course, that is still no guarantee that I will create any masterpiece. I am often my own harshest critic, and if it doesn’t “feel” good to me, then chances are I will “scrap it.” Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to have a degree in music to be able to write it. You don’t even need to be a proficient musician to create a new song. All you really need is a “strong love in your heart for music.” Yes, we are about to “get hit” with a LOT of snow, but to me, that is just “God’s way.” Wherever you are, I hope today’s circumstances are “just suitable” for you. It doesn’t have to be a sunny day for you to have “sunny thoughts.” Please make the most of “whatever you have…” Thank you for checking out my Daily Thought today, and as always I wish you the very best that life has to offer.
Stevie Wonder and Brett Jolly
Two summers ago I met Sophia, a young singer who also plays basketball. I told her my game was probably better than hers, and then she went and did the same thing I did back during my basketball career. She injured her knee. Well, before all this happened, she consented to do a summer time photo shoot for me modeling my red bass guitar. I hope you don’t mind me sharing the results with you today. Thank you, and as always, I wish you the very best that life has to offer.
Today I would love to do a “musical spotlight” on a new tune by an artist that I still consider to be “a baby” even though his career has already been established and seems to be heading towards the next plateau. As a performer, I started liking Bruno Mars when I first saw his performance at the Super Bowl. I had no idea what this young kid could do, but I saw flashes of Prince, Michael Jackson, and even a little James Brown in him. In this new generation of artists, it is “rare” to see “anyone” who will even “sing live” to begin with. Bruno has a voice and he has showmanship and above all, “he performs.” When I heard his new single “Uptown Funk,” I waited to see what would happen with it before making a judgment. You see, since I am from “another era” I didn’t want to show any favoritism to this track. After all, the last time I heard any reference to “funk” during a “current radio played tune” was many years ago. I even once wrote a song entitled “If I could bring funk back.” Well, lo and behold, Bruno Mars has done it. I love the tune, but my first thought was “This doesn’t fit the mold of today’s current music. It sounds too live recorded. It sounds too creative. It wasn’t bland enough to fit today’s style of music.” Needless to say, people are loving the tune, and I may even consider covering it myself. The beat of the song is strong even though I would have loved even “more” instrumentation to go with this mostly vocal and drums song (and even featuring horns…can you imagine that?). Some of the lyrics are a “tad” bit corny to me, but that doesn’t stop it from being a great song. At this point I am waiting to see how the “rest” of the industry “reacts.” With the music industry, there is usually a lot of “follow the leader” going on, because if one artist comes up with a relatively new style of hit, then everyone else usually takes notice and starts to emulate the same formula. That is why I got tired of hearing all these artists come out with songs that sound like they are either sleep or drunk after Beyonce released “Drunk in Love.” If you have not heard Bruno’s new song, I invite you to check out the video. I love the way that was done as well. I realize that I am from a whole “other” generation so I didn’t want to sound “grandfatherly” in my assessment of tunes. Considering the quality of the music that I have been hearing, it is refreshing to me to hear this song getting airplay. I “only hope” that it is a huge success and that some of these other “lame ducks” step up their game to be “equally as exciting” with their music. I already know that the industry is more about “marketing” than they are “talent” but I am pleasantly shocked and surprised to see Bruno pull this song out of his hat. Stay tuned to see what happens next. Thank you for checking out my Daily Thought, and as always, I wish you the very best that life has to offer.
Brett Jolly with Estelle in the background (“American Boy”) at sound check
Someone asked me an interesting question the other day. The question was, “If you already knew that someone had a scrupulous, evil and slick nature, would you still engage in a “legal and safe contract deal with him or her?’ I had to pause for a moment, because on the surface this sounds like something that “no one” should ever want to do. However, after a little meditation over the subject, I came up with the realization that “many” of us already conduct business transactions with people who we really have “no way” of knowing whether they are crooked or not. That can go for just about anyone. When you go to a car mechanic, who is to say that they won’t charge you a lot of money for something that is not that difficult to fix? When you deal with your own bank, have you ever checked your statement and found “some crazy fee” they charged you that seemed to make no sense to you at all? Hey, we won’t even “talk” about cable television. Car dealers may be the worst of this bunch when it comes to trying to “pad on” to your payment. They offer warranties that seem really necessary at the time but whenever you need to have something fixed later on you find that they don’t cover “anything.” The truth of the matter is that we cannot control what “other people do” even when it comes to a “very legal” business transaction. I think the best you can do is just make sure that everything on “your end” is straight up and “by the book.” As long as there is no impropriety on your part then whenever someone investigates they will have nothing that they can pin on you. There have been crooked politicians, policemen, and even church clergy. These are people we “want” to be able to trust, but when you look at it, they are no more human than the rest of us. The biggest problem should be when you absolutely “know” these people want to conduct a crooked business deal with you and they end up causing you to engage in illegal activities as well. Then, you are just as bad as the person you are doing business with. No one is perfect, and to some point we “all” come across “temptation.” While I prefer to deal with “people I trust” I cannot escape the fact that they may have their own ulterior motives as well. I just say “Do what’s best for you” and never put yourself in an uncompromising position. That way when your surroundings burn and start to crumble around you, you can feel safe knowing that your area is “very much secure.” Thank you for checking out my Daily Thought today and as always, I wish you the very best that life has to offer.
Brett Jolly and Kathy Sledge (Lead vocalist on the hit song “We are Family”)