Brett Jolly’ Daily Thought (“My experiences with Ashford and Simpson”)

I always liked the music of Ashford and Simpson. They were a husband and wife team that seemed inseparable in their love for each other and their music. When I first started out playing, never did I dream that I would one day get the opportunity to work with them. During one summer I was performing with Teddy Pendergrass at an out door event in Westbury, New York. With Teddy I had my own microphone and on occasion would sing backup vocals while playing. Well, this one evening I was onstage doing my thing for Teddy when I got a small “tap” on my shoulder. My first inclination was “how in the world could anyone else even get onstage to tap me on my shoulder while performing? The tap came from Nicolas Ashford, who wanted to use my microphone to sing the background parts to Teddy’s song. There was NO way I was going to tell them “no” so I just stepped back and let them have it. Teddy was in a wheelchair, so he could not turn around at first to see that they were there. After he finished the song, we alerted him to his newly found background singers and he smiled and gladly welcomed them. On another occasion I have to play for some kind of awards show (I can’t remember the name of it right now) but I knew that Ashford and Simpson were one of the artists listed on the bill. For those of you who don’t know, the song “Ain’t no mountain high enough” was originally performed by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell, but the song was actually “written” by Ashford and Simpson. It was my pleasure to actually “perform” this song with them. Valerie Simpson played the piano and they both sang. It was so much fun. For those of you who have never seen them, at first glance they don’t appear as though they are the perfect couple “at all.” He was “way more glitzier” than she was. He was also very tall, while she was “quite short.” They were inseparable, though, and VERY friendly. We all had dinner together and the show came off “great.” I was saddened to hear that he died, and I have not heard much about Valerie Simpson since his death. I just know that this great songwriting duo left us a lot of great music for history. If you get the chance, I hope you can Google their music. I hope you don’t mind me sharing my experience with you today, and as always I wish you the very best that life has to offer.
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Ashford and Simpson and Brett Jolly in concert


Brett Jolly’s Daily Thought (“Don’t worry, be happy”)

In life we all are bound to encounter stressful situations. They can range from “small” to “huge.” I have noticed that some people will allow their stressful moments to alter their moods significantly. They frown, they worry, they complain, and then in most cases they fail. I am probably a little different, but my own definition of stress is “What we allow others to put on us.” You see, if you have any type of productive life then chances are you will encounter stress. The magnitude of it might be large, but how you handle it should be even larger. I had a gig the other day with a keyboard player who was stressing out. I had not played with this guy in years but I was asked to perform for this event with him. He kept worrying about whether or not I would know any of the songs he wanted to play. He had a chart book to help me play the songs, but I had to tell him that I “didn’t read music.” He get all hyped up and said,”Then how are you going to play these songs?” I simply told him to start playing and stop asking so many questions. He called out the titles and asked “Do you know these tunes?” I simply told him “No, but I am going to play them anyway.” He did not like that answer, but it was time to start so he began playing. I, in turn, began playing with him. You see, when you have something called “perfect pitch” it helps you to hear things much better than most other people. I simply “followed every piano chord he played” and then played the “entire show.” After the first set, he told me that I was “lucky.” I simply told him that I was “blessed.” The rest of the gig went pretty much the same way, and after it was over he was practically speechless. So was I, because I “already know I’m bad.” I am not trying to say that in the cocky sense, but when you feel secure about what you do, then in most situations there is no such a thing as “stress.” In fact, I actually “smiled a LOT while he was bugging out.” In just about any stage of life, we have the choices of being “worriers” or “doers.” If I know ahead of time what is expected of me then I can “calmly” execute my “plan of action.” I don’t look for excuses, because when you do you often “find” ways to fail. For example, if I am running late for an engagement I don’t bother looking at my watch. That’s because looking at my watch “won’t get me there any faster.” The only thing it does is “add more stress to what you are trying to accomplish.” Once I get to my destination, I feel more relaxed from “not” having watched the clock and my demeanor feels more productive to me. Everyone has their own formula for dealing with stress. I only hope that yours works for you as well as mine works for me. 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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Dionne Warwick and Brett Jolly in concert

dionne warwick

Brett Jolly’s Daily Thought (“Something I found that just sounded good to me”)

I saw this online and I liked it, so today I just wanted to share it with you. Hope it inspires someone.

9 Things Successful People Do Right Before Bed
Your bedtime rituals affect your mood and energy levels the next day
Business Insider
Mar 2nd 2015 5:00AM

By Jacquelyn Smith

The very last thing you do before bed tends to have a significant impact on your mood and energy level the next day, as it often determines how well and how much you sleep.

Successful people understand that their success starts and ends with their mental and physical health, which is almost entirely dependent upon their getting enough sleep.

That is why bedtime routines are a key ritual for so many of them – and why the very last thing most successful people do before bed is read.

1. They read. Experts agree that reading is the very last thing most successful people do before going to sleep.

Michael Kerr, an international business speaker and author of “You Can’t Be Serious! Putting Humor to Work,” says he knows numerous business leaders who block off time just before bed for reading, going so far as to schedule it as a “non-negotiable item” on their calendar. “This isn’t necessarily reserved just for business reading or inspirational reading. Many successful people find value in being browsers of information from a variety of sources, believing it helps fuel greater creativity and passion in their lives.”

For example, while some successful people use this time catch up on news stories from the day, skim tech blogs, or browse Reddit and Twitter, others enjoy reading fiction novels and ancient philosophy just before bed.

2. They make a to-do list. “Clearing the mind for a good night sleep is critical for a lot of successful people,” Kerr says. “Often they will take this time to write down a list of any unattended items to address the following day, so these thoughts don’t end up invading their head space during the night.”

3. They spend time with family. Michael Woodward, Ph.D., organizational psychologist and author of “The YOU Plan,” says it’s important to make some time to chat with your partner, talk to your kids, or play with your dog.

Laura Vanderkam, author of “What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast,” says this is a common practice among the highly successful. “I realize not everyone can go to bed at the same time as his or her partner, but if you can, it’s a great way to connect and talk about your days.”

4. They reflect on the day. Kerr says many successful people take the time just before bed to reflect on, or to write down, three things they are appreciative of that happened that day. “Keeping a ‘gratitude journal’ also reminds people of the progress they made that day in any aspect of their life, which in turn serves as a key way to stay motivated, especially when going through a challenging period.”

Vanderkam adds: “Taking a few moments to think about what went right over the course of the day can put you in a positive, grateful mood.”

5. They meditate. Many successful people use the 10 minutes before bed to meditate. Dale Kurow, a New York-based executive coach, says it’s a great way to relax your body and quiet your mind.

6. They plan out sleep. “Much has been written around the dangers busy people face running chronic sleep deficits, so one habit I know several highly successful people do is to simply make it a priority to get enough sleep – which can be a challenge for workaholics or entrepreneurs,” Kerr says. One way to do that is to go to bed at a consistent time each evening, which is a key habit all sleep experts recommend to help ensure a healthy night’s sleep.

Vanderkam further suggests that you plan out when you’re going to wake up, count back however many hours you need to sleep, and then consider setting an alarm to remind yourself to get ready for bed. “The worst thing you can do is stay up late then hit snooze in the morning,” she says. “Humans have a limited amount of willpower. Why waste that willpower arguing with yourself over when to get up, and sleeping in miserable nine-minute increments?”

7. They unplug and disconnect from work. Truly successful people do anything but work right before bed, Kerr says. They don’t obsessively check their email, and they try not to dwell on work-related issues.

Woodward agrees, saying, “The last thing you need is to be lying in bed thinking about an email you just read from that overzealous boss who spends all their waking hours coming up with random requests driven by little more than a momentary impulse.” Give yourself a buffer period between the time you read your last email and the time you go to bed. The idea is to get your head out of work before you lie down to go to sleep.

8. They lie down on a positive note. It’s easy to fall into the trap of replaying negative situations from the day that you wish you had handled differently. Regardless of how badly the day went, successful people typically manage to avoid that pessimistic spiral of negative self-talk because they know it will only create more stress.

“Remember to take some time to reflect on the positive moments of the day and celebrate the successes, even if they were few and far between,” Woodward says.

9. They picture tomorrow’s success. Many successful people take a few minutes before bed to envision a positive outcome unfolding for the projects they’re working on, says Lynn Taylor, a national workplace expert and author of “Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant: How to Manage Childish Boss Behavior and Thrive in Your Job.” “For most, this is not a task or exercise; they’re wired with a gift of solid resolution skills that come naturally.”
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The Whispers and Brett Jolly in concert


Brett Jolly’s Daily Thought (“If women and men could see the world through each other’s eyes for a day”)

Someone had an interesting thought for me over the weekend, and I thought I would share it with you today. “What if women and men could actually trade places with each other for one day?” In other words, men would have to see the world through a woman’s eyes and body and vice versa for women. Would it help to make them understand each other any better? Would a man understand the “emotional” aspect of women better if he actually lived and operated through her body for a full day? Would women learn just how much a man values his penis if they could just switch bodies with them for 24 hours? The reason I ask this is because I have heard so many different stories of how men and women actually “view relationships.” I often ask if they even “see the same things” when forming one. Most men are more “visual” when it comes to relationships. Looks are important to them, especially when starting out. However, what happens when those physical aspects start to change? Can men have the substance to just “love the personality that’s left?” A lot of women want to see how well a man can provide for himself or for them both. I can’t imagine many women who would voluntarily want a bum on a park bench. The man might have all the love in the world for the woman, but if he has “nothing to offer” then that might be a burden that most women would not want to take on. Do you think that would change if the woman could “trade places” with the bum just to see “how much” he really loves her? “Trading places” for a day might offer a different outlook (if it can be done). The question is “How can this possibly happen?” Well, I think I might have an answer. If you really want to know how your woman feels (and what makes her feel that way), then simply “talk” to her. While you may not be able to experience what she goes through “physically” you can at least get a better understanding through “proper communication.” Women can do the same things when it comes to men. You see, it shouldn’t have to take a “physical transformation” to switch places. Our problem is that we just don’t “communicate like we should.” By the way, “shouting” does “not” equate to communicating. When you shout, you are expressing emotion, but rarely are you listening to anyone. Men and women need each other to survive. If we all took that thought into consideration, then maybe we could treat each other better. NO man should ever “beat or hit” a woman… period. As long as he is able to “outrun” her, then he will always have the advantage. I hope that women will be able to understand that even though men like to be perceived as strong on the outside, we “all” have flaws. Some flaws are worse than others. If you take the time to fully “understand” your man then that will also help to make for a better relationship. ALL of this can be accomplished if both parties just “sit down and talk.” Yes, please do so “before” engaging in any sex, thank you… I thought this would be an interesting topic for today, so I hope you don’t mind me sharing it. 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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Olivia Newton John, Brett Jolly and musical director Amy Skyy

Olivia Newton John and Brett Jolly

Brett Jolly’s Daily Thought (“Red Bass Guitar photo shoot with Racheal”)

Racheal is a true “free spirit.” She has big dreams and would love to pursue a career in entertainment. She said that this was her very first modeling shoot ever. She was very easy to work with and hopefully we will be able to schedule more in the near future. 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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Brett Jolly’s Daily Thought (“A snippet of a past live performance”)

Just having a lazy day today, but I found this segment online of my brother and me performing for an outside venue at Penn’s Landing in Philadelphia. The quality of the video is not that great, but hopefully it is good enough for you to be able to determine the song. My brother, Bill Jolly, is leading the song and this is a popular James Brown classic. The video is shaky and not very clear, and for that I apologize. Of course, I am the one with the orange shirt and playing the red bass guitar. Thank you for checking out my Daily Thought today, and as always I wish you the very best that life has to offer. Here is Bill Jolly’s Hard Drive band.

Brett Jolly’s Daily Thought (“The OTHER side to being a successful musician”)

So someone asked me the other day to post about the “other” side of being a musician. I know that I have posted all kinds of things about the positives, but I was actually asked to say something about those “OTHER experiences” I have had with people that are just “fans” of musicians. Actually, I was first asked if I had any “groupies.” Groupies are people that adore you so much they follow you “everywhere” you perform musically (and even places you may NOT be performing). For the record, as far as I know I don’t have ANY groupies. Yes, some people will show up at some shows but that doesn’t necessarily elevate them to “groupie” status. There “is” a difference. I was also asked to list some of the “off the wall” propositions I have had during my career. I am leery of this because I really don’t’ want anyone to think the wrong impression of me. I cannot help what other people do nor how they act, but I can tell you that I have not managed to live this long being “reckless.” There is already a strong negative stereotype about musicians and my parents raised me well enough to make sure I don’t get caught up in that kind of stigma.That being said, I can honestly say that I have been “groped, grabbed and flashed” on several occasions as a musician. There are people who (for some reason) feel they need the attention, so they will sometimes stop at nothing to get it. In Vegas, some lady who I never met before rushed onstage to grab my arm. I just looked down at her and said. “Baby, you REALLY need to let go of my arm.” Security approached cautiously because they didn’t want to hurt me in the process, but they eventually had to “pry” her from off of me (and no, I didn’t miss a note in the process). In Brazil a lady wanted my autograph, but she didn’t have “any” paper at all for me to write on (I will let your imagination wander on just how this was accomplished). In London after a show, this beautiful model came up to me and without even telling me her name asked to get upstairs to my dressing room so she could kick it with me. This felt suspicious from the very start and I politely declined her offer. That was a good thing, because right after that she went straight to the other musicians in the band and asked the same thing. For the record, we ALL declined her. Also, when on the road, I have had knocks on my hotel room door at night from women who wanted to crash with me for the night (I never told anyone other than band members where my hotel rooms were). I could just envision waking up in the morning to find her AND my wallet gone, so she was declined as well. At one of my gigs I actually had 2 women that I had never met before fight over me in the parking lot. The police actually had to arrive to break it up and I had no idea until I found out later. One of the ladies asked me if we could go out, blood streaming out of her nose. For some reason, that didn’t look very sexy to me (smile). I really couldn’t understand that one. I have a lot of stories, but I will leave you with this last one for now. At one of my outside gigs this woman really loved the way I played, so she told me that if I sang this one song entitled “I shot the sheriff” that she would have a big surprise for me. Well, I sang the song, and she went over to the bushes where only the band and I could see her, lifted up her shirt and started “pleasuring herself” to our song. Even I had to admit that she looked awesome. They guys in the band just kept saying “Whatever you do, don’t STOP!” ¬†After the song was over, this guy who was with her flipped a coin and asked me to call it. I said “Heads” and it came up “tails.” He then said to me, “This just ain’t your lucky day, and then left with the woman.” I mentioned all of these things today only because I was asked to. I promise you I have no ego and I am not saying any of this for any bragging rights. i usually conduct myself properly whenever I do shows and just because other people may sometimes get out of hand doesn’t mean that I have to stoop to their levels. I do not drink, smoke, or get high. I also don’t do any wild parties. Yes, being a musician will often have a wild side to it, but if your head is on straight then you don’t have to give in to temptation. I have way too much to live for to get caught up in a really “stupid moment.” I hope I didn’t offend anyone with this post. I was only trying to be real. That being said, I 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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Brett Jolly and Kathy Sledge, who sang the hit song “We are Family” from Sister Sledge

Kathy Sledge and Brett