Brett Jolly’s Daily Thought (“My own experience with singer Stephanie Mills”)

First, let me say that as many singers get older, they lose a little bit of their vocal abilities. No one is immune from the effects of age, but if there ever was a singer that I thought could exceptionally defy it, it would have to be Stephanie Mills. At the age of 55 (or somewhere around there) the woman can still sing incredibly. I don’t know if that is from her exercise routine or from the fact that she still has a very “kid-like developed” body (Stephanie is not very tall at all…In fact, she doesn’t even reach 5 feet in height). She was a star in the musical “The Wiz” and she is one of the few who actually “dated” the “King of Pop Michael Jackson” at one point. I recently read an article that said she “refuses” to be featured on a television segment series entitled “Unsung.” This program talks about the careers on one time great artists and where they are now. I have been on the show myself (the one that features Teddy Pendergrass) and I can say that the show usually tries to portray the positives in most artists. I know for a “fact” that they could have “really beat down” on the  brothers from the Delfonics. They were kind and gentle with that episode, even though I know personally that there is a lot of war going on with them. Anyway, if you have not seen the article on Stephanie Mills, here is the link:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/29/stephanie-mills-rb-unsung_n_1552828.html

I have worked with Stephanie on several occasions, and there is a lot that I can say in regards to her. I will not put her on blast, but I will say that I have “personally witnessed her get upset and combative on several occasions. If there was a true definition of someone who seems to have “short person’s complex” I would have to say that in “my opinion” it would be her. From what I saw, it doesn’t take much to “set her off” and I have literally seen her try to fight people that were several feet taller than her (men and women). One time she opened up a program for us (We were doing the show with Teddy Pendergrass) and she just seemed to have this “major attitude” before the show. I asked Teddy if there was an some kind of problem with her, and he simply responded by saying “I don’t know what her f—–g problem is.” There are a lot of stories out there about her performing with her back to the audience, fighting over money and just being difficult to work with. I only know that I never had a problem with her. She personally told me that when she broke into stardom her road was a tough one. She said that the people who gave her a chance were rough on her all through her rise up. She believes in being the same way when it comes to her dealings with others. I think it is unfortunate that she doesn’t allow herself to be featured on “Unsung,” but she has every right to decline that show if she wants to. I can only say that it was a pleasure to work for her, and I sincerely hope she continues to bless all with her great vocal ability. I thank you for reading my Daily Thought and as always I wish the absolute best that life has to offer.

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Email: Brettjolly@aol.com

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Stephanie Mills and Brett Jolly

Stephanie Mills and Brett Jolly

Brett Jolly’s Daily Thought (“Is it right for ex spouses to get so much of a star’s money?”)

There was a hit television series out entitled “Empire,” and I have to admit that I am probably one of the “very few” who have not been able to watch an episode yet (I am usually playing on those nights). However, I have heard from people who practically “live and die” by the show. Since I don’t know a whole lot about it, I can at least talk about an article that I recently read in regards to it. My understanding is that the actor Terrance Howard is the star of the show. My other understanding is that his ex wife Michelle Howard, was awarded 21% of his earnings over 62 grand beyond her regular $5,800 she is due from  him each month. For those of you who would like the particulars, just check out this story link:

http://www.tmz.com/2015/03/30/terrence-howard-ex-wife-empire-salary-divorce-money-spousal-support/

The question that might be on some minds today is, “Should it be right for her to take such a huge chunk of his money like that?” Well, legally, the answer to that question is “yes.” The court saw fit to examine his wages and made the appropriate adjustments to his movie career income. Actors, like musicians, usually have income that varies from gig to gig. Some gigs (or shows) may be bigger than others, and therefore the amount of income earned may be higher as well. I have no idea of the details that Terrence Howard went through with his divorce, but if a judge saw in his wife’s favor to grant her a significant portion of his earnings, then he needs to be happy with whatever money he is “allowed” to retain. A LOT of prominent  people have to give up huge portions of their salaries to ex wives. I think i remember a situation where Paul McCartney had to fork over “hefty sums” to his ex wife with their divorce settlement. Is there a moral to this? Unfortunately, that might be “several” morals to these types of situations. The first one is an old classic song by the late great Johnny Taylor. The song is simply entitled “It’s cheaper to keep her.” Google it! The next moral is to just “do right” by your lover. Usually a judge will award higher amounts in situations of impropriety. Finally, if you are going to “tie the knot” then make sure you “know that knot well” before you do. There are people (men and women) who will have the intentions of “using you” if they feel they can get away with it. In other words, their sole intention is to “get your money.” Just because you love someone tremendously doesn’t mean that they will love you back the same way. Before going to that next level I think it is advisable to just “make sure.” By the way, I am not saying that this is the situation with this case. I am sure Terrence Howard is happy to be getting major roles and getting paid for them. I am sure he would be happier if he got to “keep more of the money he makes.” In the end “something is always better than nothing.” As long as Mr. Howard’s popularity lasts, then he “and his ex wife” should be “getting paid.” I just hope that when his career (and his money) goes on the decline that the same percentages will be properly allocated for his sake.  Either way, I wish the best for the show, and thank you for checking out my Daily Thought today. As always, i wish you the very best that life has to offer. Please make it a great one.

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Email: Brettjolly@aol.com

Skype: Brettjolly1

Brett Jolly and Verdine White, one of the members of Earth, Wind and Fire

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Brett Jolly’s Daily Thought (“Red Bass guitar photo shoot of Mecca”)

Mecca is an accomplished vocalist and she currently has a single out. She is full of energy and was more than willing when approached about the concept of doing a photo shoot. This was shot in a horticultural center in March (before all the flowers come into bloom). She was great  and I hope you don’t mind me sharing the results with you today. As always I wish you the very best that life has to offer today. Please make it a great one.

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Brett Jolly’s Daily Thought (“Paying homage to my mother”)

Yesterday, March 25, started out as a very busy day for me. I had to wake up early to perform at a middle school (which I love to do… kids really enjoy seeing professional musicians do their thing). Early that morning I wrote my Daily Thought as I normally do, but I had completely forgotten that yesterday was the birthday of my late mother, Rowena Jolly. As soon as I got back from playing my school gig, I needed to take my family out to the cemetery to visit her grave site so that we all could pay our respects. Each year I like to tell her story, because I have nothing but love for her. The deep part about her was that she was not a “great” woman in her own right, but I am proud of the things that she managed to accomplish during her life time. At one point she smoked a LOT. She spent a lot of money on cigarettes and had no problem lighting them up. Then at one point she became an alcoholic. She drank a lot during my young teen years and often she would come close to driving us around and almost killing us with close crash encounters. We would hide the booze from her constantly, only to find that she would just go out and buy more. One day it reached the worst peak when we came home and found blood all over the house. That was when we realized that my mother had “shot herself” in an attempt to take her own life. My father “immediately enrolled her in AA (Alcohol Anonymous) and after her stay there she completely “kicked her addiction” and never went back. She took it even further and managed to quit smoking as well. Mom told jokes that no one would laugh at except herself, and she was fine with that. She was opinionated, but true to her heart. She told my father that he couldn’t sing, but yet Pop was “lighting them up in churches” and often coming home with lipstick on his collar from women who wanted to hug him after his performances. Towards the end I remember her having to  go to the hospital for some kind of complications. She spent months in there and the hospital couldn’t find anything wrong with her. They discharged her, but not long after that she went to “another hospital” to discover that she had “ovarian cancer” and it had spread. They gave her a year and a half to live. I often think about how the first hospital “misdiagnosed her” and while it makes me think that maybe my mother could have been saved it also makes me realize that God’s Will is unquestionable. I finally lost my mother in 2004. I realize that I have shared this story before, but when it comes to my mother I feel she is worth the yearly tribute. I thank you for checking out my Daily Thought today and as always I wish you the very best that life has to offer. Please make it a great one.

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Email: Brettjolly@aol.com

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Gary US Bonds (“I danced until a quarter to 3”) and Brett Jolly in concert

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Brett Jolly’s Daily Thought (“Are we really as smart as we think we are?”)

After thinking about it for a minute, I actually pondered this question, “Just how smart are we… really?” When you think about it, our society has systematically been geared for people to go to school, get good grades, graduate and make a decent living. Yet how many “big named entertainment artists” have actually “followed” this formula to success? Did Jay-Z or Beyonce ever graduate from college? I honestly don’t know the answer to that question, but I do know that they are multi-millionaires whether they attended school or not. What about some of the others like Kanye or Rihanna? Brittney Spears? Will Smith? How many pro athletes only did “one year” of college only to leave early and become instant millionaires (and then never even go back to get their degrees)? LeBron James became a millionaire straight out of high school. We are charged astronomical fees to attend college just so that we can “start off broke” after we graduate and then try to find some way to pay off the “huge” student loan we took (just so we could graduate to make more money in the first place). How much sense does that really make? When it comes to capital punishment, we sentence murderers to “death” just to show them that killing is “wrong.” Yeah, THAT surely shows a high level of intelligence. On the other side, many of us are “Pro Life” when it comes to the sensitive subject of “abortion and killing unborn babies”, and yet those same people “rarely” intervene when it comes to those who are on death row (and about to be executed). I guess that must mean that we are only pro life when it comes to “certain lives.” And what about the babies that “do” actually make it into this world born to parents that are not properly equipped to raise them? Many of these kids grow up in a violent world only to comment violence against someone else whose parents raised him or her properly. The money that we could invest into better training and education seems to be spent more on “prisons.” The disease Ebola kills thousands of people in Africa but we wait until it strikes here in the United States before we actually find a way to “cure it.” On the social side, women will wear makeup, false hair, short tight skirts, push up bras with low cleavage, form fitting dresses, heels and sexy attire and then say later on they want a man to love them “for their minds.” Most men will take a woman out on a date, pay the bill and make sure that he “lets her know frequently how much the bill was” so that he can impress her with his money instead of his “great gentlemanly personality.” When a man frequents a lot of women he is often known as a “stud.” When a woman frequents a lot of men she if often known as a “ho.” Many of us get “married for life” just so we can divorce after 5 years or so. We claim to be more “civilized” than other animals on the planet and yet we kill off more of each other than they do. We go to war to kill people we don’t even know and never met before just because our government doesn’t like their government. In the United States, Republicans and Democrats claim they want the same things for the American Public, but yet none of them can ever agree “on anything.” How smart is that? Many of us actually hate the police… at least until we need them in an emergency. We don’t want people to speed in cars and yet we keep making them capable of doing speeds up to 120 miles per hour. Don’t get me wrong, we managed to receive radio waves and video signals over the air, construct automobiles and planes and even invented the internet. Those are great accomplishments, but in the process we are “killing” our climate with global warming (among other environmental disaster issues). We declare ourselves to be the superior form on life on this planet. Then why are we killing ourselves in this way? Yes, I would love to believe that our “intellect” places us above all other species on this planet. I I just can’t help but ponder that we might not be as intelligent as we think we are sometimes. Thank you for checking out my Daily Thought, and as always I wish you the very best that life has to offer.

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Email: Brettjolly@aol.com

Skype: Brettjolly1

Wayne Brady, Kenny Lattimore and Brett Jolly in concert

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Brett Jolly’s Daily Thought (“My experience with the Whispers”)

I was playing for some event called “The R&B Awards” a couple years back. On this program there were a LOT of stars that I had to play for, and some of them we had absolutely “no rehearsal with whatsoever.” Jean Knight, the lady who had the classic hit titled “Mr. Big Stuff” actually met us for the first time when it was time to actually perform the song onstage. We didn’t even get the chance to say “hello.” They announced her and then she came out from the right stage entrance and began singing right after we started playing the song. The same thing happened for Dionne Warwick and several others for this program. I remember one group that we actually “did” get the opportunity to rehearse with and the name of that group was “The Whispers.” This group has been around for over 50 years, and I remember years ago being part of their tour when I was with Jean Carne. I remember being backstage and watching women go in and out of their dressing rooms like water. They were full of energy going in, and they were “very lethargic” coming out. At this point I am sure you can imagine what I was thinking at that time. Needless to say, now I actually had my opportunity to play for these guys. We were only doing one song, and that song was a nice classic entitled “Chocolate girl.” Everything went well as we rehearsed the song, until the very last note that they had to sing. The last not was one that the group was to sing in harmony (the last 2 lyrics of the song which actually were the words “chocolate girl.” Well, somehow the harmony didn’t turn out right. I looked around and asked the fellas if they were okay. Nicolas looked back at me and said “We normally have voice samples that hit that harmony for us, but we didn’t bring them.” Well, that told me a lot about their show. Nevertheless, it was a great chance for me to play for them. By the way, they DID manage to get that harmony together for the actual performance of the song. I also had a chance to talk to them in length and of course, I DID ask them about the women that I saw coming in and out of their dressing rooms years ago. Needless to say, I will NOT comment on that today. I hope you don’t mind me sharing my story with you today, and as always, I wish you the very best that life has to offer.

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Email: Brettjolly@aol.com

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The Whispers and Brett Jolly in concert

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Brett Jolly’s Daily Thought (“Should a preacher be entitled to a private jet?”)

I had a recent discussion about a preacher who (at that time) wanted his followers to donate money to him so that he could obtain a “$65 million dollar private jet.” As far as I know, the preacher was well known and well respected and NOT known as a sham preacher. However, he has since “rescinded” his bid for those donations and decided to take commercial flights to the places he wants to go. The question is, “With all the people who are in need in the world, should he have even had the nerve to ask for it in the first place, and would it have been right for the people to actually “donate” that money to him for that purpose?” For those of you who don’t know the story, here is the article link:

http://fox2now.com/2015/03/19/megachurch-pastor-stops-seeking-donations-for-private-jet/

“Faith” is important to a LOT of people, and rightfully so. Many people seek a closer relationship to God (or Allah, or whatever name He is called in different places) but a lot of those people seek the interpretation of God’s Word through the definitions of “man,” most known as preachers. When preachers relay the Word, they give what “they” believe is the “true meaning” behind what God says and what they believe God wants. The biggest problem with this is that all preachers are just as “human, fallible and subject to temptation” as the rest of us. I am NOT trying to insinuate that any pastors are fakes. However, there have been some “notable” legendary pastors who were found faulty in their own judgments even though these people had “large numbers” in their congregations. Jimmy Swaggart, Jim Bakker, Henry Lyons and more have stories that people need to read about. One lady who declared to me that she was “truly religious” said that “Some of the BIGGEST devils can actually be found IN the church.” With that being said, Should this pastor’s followers have donated that much money to him for the purpose of his “private jet?” Please keep in mind that I am not passing judgment, but actually asking what I believe to be a legitimate question. Granted, he originally stated that he would have used the jet to travel to places around the world to spread his ministry, but if he could have received $65 million couldn’t that money have been “better managed” to actually “help those in need?” I honestly don’t know the cost for most planes, but I would imagine that the amenities in a plane of that nature and price would have had to be “somewhat exorbitant.” I would love to know what most “other” preachers feel about this. At this juncture the concept is “off the table.” I can’t help but think that maybe this pastor “thought about it” and then realized that what he was asking for was not “God’s true Wish” and then decided to curtail his endeavors for this plane. Whatever the reason, I only hope that if this pastor truly “has the power” to solicit this amount of money from his followers that he uses that money to help “heal the world.” Maybe obtaining a private jet would do so, but for some reason I just cannot “feel” that. For me, the true saint isn’t measured by the “size of his plane,” but rather the “size of his heart.” As always, I welcome any and all opinions on this, and I thank you for checking out my Daily Thought today. I wish you the very best that life has to offer. Please make it a great one.

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Email: Brettjolly@aol.com

Skype: Brettjolly1

TV host Robin Roberts and Brett Jolly

Robin Roberts and Brett Jolly