Brett Jolly’s Daily Thought (“Are we too busy to notice life?”)

If you notice, most of our lives are dedicated to accomplishing objectives each day. We wake up, we need to fix something to eat before we leave the house. We rush to get there on time, then we fulfill our obligations up to the point where it is time to take a break. Then we adhere to another time schedule to go back to our obligation until it is time to go back home. Then we have other things to do once we get back there. We are a people with so much to do that we can’t find time to “take in life.” Pressure mounts whenever we place emphasis on accomplishing something “by a certain time.” For many of us this is stress that is “self imposed.” For instance, are you one of those people who (whenever you are running late for something) always looks at your watch while trying to reach your destination? If you are already rushing to get there fast, then what purpose does it serve to continually check the time? Will taking note of the time help you to get there any faster? Of course not, but this is a prime example of how we add stress to our own lives. Do you find that you often worry about things that could possibly transpire “but have not happened yet?” When you always “ponder the worst” then you are contributing to your own anxiety or depression. While everyone goes through some type of stress at points in their lives, it is the “amount” of stress that can effect you and can even change you. For many people 9 to 5 jobs exhibit performance measures. In most of these occupations you have things you need to get done (and finish them by a certain time). Depending on the amount of work you do it could all have an effect on your health, your looks and your peace of mind. Whenever I am near an ocean, I love to just stand in front of the tide and just let my mind go. It relaxes me and it lets me know that there is more to this planet than just my responsibilities. I also get the same exuberance when I take a walk at night and gaze up into the stars. There is so much more to this universe but you will  never know if you don’t take a moment to breathe and take it all in. When you have a lot of responsibilities it will weigh in on you in one way of another. Take period moments to get out of your box and explore the things you never noticed before. Be at peace with yourself by not allowing your circumstances to get the best of you. Whenever I see faces of people in early morning rush hour traffic none of them looks happy. That’s because they have things to do and time deadlines to meet. Most of them don’t have time or desire to even smile. Make some time to marvel at life and bring an inner peace to yourself.. I honestly think in the long run you will be glad you did… 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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Harold Melvin’s Bluenotes (“Wake up everybody”) in concert with Brett Jolly on bass guitar


Brett Jolly’s Daily Thought (“Will they ever get Bill Cosby?”)

This past weekend Bill Cosby’s court ordeal ended up in a mistrial. The jurors couldn’t come together on a unanimous verdict over his innocence or guilt. For those of you who don’t know this story, Mr. Cosby was brought up on charges of drugging and sexually violating a woman (Andrea Constand) at his suburban home in 2004. There are over 60 other cases of different women claiming that Cosby did the same thing to them (however the statute of limitations ran out on the others so they can not prosecute). I talked to several people about this trial and found lots of different opinions. Let’s take a look at some points: First, if Cosby had actually done the things that she claimed he did, then “why on earth” would she revisit him and even remain friends with him after that? Just that fact alone has me scratching my head. Let me give you a similar scenario: If you put your hand in the lion’s cage and he bites it, that would be terrible. However, should it be the lion’s fault if you go back and do the exact same thing again? Please don’t think that I am taking up for Cosby, because I am not. However, this doesn’t make sense to me. Also the fact that she claimed to be sure of a lot of things in her testimony, but her current  testimony contradicted earlier testimonies. When you add in the fact that it took her so long to press charges it all adds up to “uncertainty” and most times in court uncertainty won’t cut it.  If she has problems remembering some things, then how will we know that she doesn’t have problems remembering “most” things? In a court of law, lawyers will “pounce” on uncertainty. If they can poke holes in your testimony then what you say may actually help their case. I don’t know if Cosby will be found guilty in a second trial or not, but I do know that he is a tremendously popular figure who has had a great positive image for most of his career. Also, he is rich and can afford the best lawyers to help him. However, none of this means that he is innocent, and people need to realize that there is a big difference between being innocent and “Not being proven guilty.” When you have no proof other than your own words then you need to be “very convincing” to get a conviction. Personally, if over 60 women all claimed that Cosby drugged and violated them then I myself would tend to believe that he is guilty. However, even if I thought that way I would still not convict him of anything without “absolute” proof (and that might be the weakest part of the prosecutor’s agenda). Obviously sex happened. The real question is whether it was voluntary or not. I don’t believe it was (and I doubt anyone else believes it either). If they try to retry this case they will need to do better in presenting facts and details. Right now with what they have it just doesn’t seem like it’s enough to convict him. I would not support anyone who abuses or violates women, but everyone is entitled to a fair trial based on the evidence against him or her. Should they retry Cosby? In my opinion I think this original trial was the best shot that they had. I just can’t imagine them doing any better in presenting their case a second time. It could happen, but unless some new evidence comes up I just can’t see it. Cosby’s positive image may now be tainted, but I just don’t think there is enough evidence to send him to jail.  That is just my opinion. 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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Freddie Jackson in concert with Brett Jolly on bass

Freddie Jackson

Brett Jolly’s Daily Thought (“Father’s Day was yesterday”)

Father’s day is an annual tradition here in the US, and many of us paid homage to fathers. Just like the mothers, fathers should also be acknowledged for their contributions to raising children. However, what of those males who are not actively involved in their children’s lives? Should they also be acknowledged? To me the answer is simple: “Hell no!” Bringing a child into this world doesn’t make you a father. It makes you a donor. Being a father doesn’t just start with or end with birth. While the love of a mother is precious the strength of a father is so necessary for a child to proper in life. Many mothers have had to play the role of father due to absence in their child’s life and I think those women deserve to celebrate “Father’s day” as well. So why would any father “not” want to participate in his child’s life? I could think of a couple of things: “pressure, insecurity, abusive traits, common sense, lack of love and more.” None of these are acceptable. When a father lacks love for his child it is never a reflection on the child. It is a reflection on the parent. I personally know of a man who has 19 kids (most with different women). He claims to love his kids (and it is possible that he does love them) but he has put them in situations where he cannot provide anything for them. What can you say to a man who has 19 kids with no steady income and no means to provide? “Not much.” Father’s day should be about those who will contribute lovingly to the children they brought into the world. If you don’t love your child then there is something “seriously wrong with you.” We all know this world is not perfect.  There are people who don’t understand what life truly entails. They think of themselves and nothing more. Your child needs you. Excuses don’t cut it.  To all the fathers who express awesome love for their children (and to all those mothers out there who play both roles so well in raising their children) I hope you all had a prosperous  and well deserved “Father’s day.” For the rest of you “it isn’t too late.” It’s not about where you come from, but where you are headed that determines true value. Make up for lost time, and find a way to hug your child today. I thanked my own father (Elton Jolly) for all he has done for me. He stepped up. 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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Actress Holly Robinson-Peete and Brett Jolly


Brett Jolly’s Daily Thought (“Red bass guitar photo shoot with Kia”)

Kia is a singer who is looking to broaden her career. She needed some pictures done and we picked a great day for shooting. She had a fun time and hopefully we can do more sessions. Hope you enjoy her pictures. Thanks for checking out my Daily Thought and as always I wish you the very best that life has to offer.



Brett Jolly’s Daily Thought (“The masks of musicians/performers”)

As entertainers we are often expected to bring smiles to the faces of those who are there to see us. Often we ourselves have to smile no matter what we may feel or what we have been through in our own lives. There have been several times when things were not going well for me but yet I still had to act onstage as though all was perfect. Last night at my Wednesday night event “the show had to go on” despite the fact that one of our best patrons and supporters lost her battle to cancer. Renee Adams was a female bass player. She loved to come to our events and often I would  get a break every time she came up to play. She had cancer, and not too long ago she said that she felt pain free. She felt vibrant and energetic, and she was thankful for feeling as though she was beating the disease. Then her absence became more prominent. This was our indication that it had come back. We all wished the best for her and wanted her to get well. Yesterday morning she passed, and her family came out to our event last night. It was a touching moment. Normally we are always so upbeat whenever we have our events (and yesterday we were still upbeat, but the spirit just wasn’t the same). We played well. We inspired the crowd. However, when her husband brought her bass along with her guitar stand and placed it onstage with us it was a very heartfelt moment.  At the end of the night we performed her favorite song to play, and that was “Boogie Oogie Oogie” by “A Taste of Honey.” Yes, people loved last night. It was emotional but so successful. Another musician friend of ours was there last night, and he had narrowly escaped death when he was hit from behind on his motorcycle by someone traveling 60 miles per hour. His name was Cornell Tubbs. He lost an eye socket, his rib cage, usage of his leg and so many other damages that it was tough to count. He barely made it, but he did pull through (and he made it there last night). Us musicians/entertainers often have to wear “masks” for the public, but we are just as human as everyone else. We feel pain, and we experience tragedies. The good part about what we do is that many of us can escape the bad things we feel by performing onstage. Michael Jackson once said that it is the greatest feeling in the world. I think I would have to agree with him. It isn’t always easy to entertain others while your own world is feeling hurt, but that is what we have to do. Today’s Daily Thought is designed to enlighten you to the realness of what we do. 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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RIP Renee Adams


Brett Jolly’s Daily Thought (“What you think you may be hearing at some concerts”)

Yes, I am a big fan of the “good old days” when all vocals were performed live onstage. When it comes to the current usage of tape and voice samples it cheapens the authenticity of the show for me. However, I do know that promoters lose money if they have to cancel shows (and the human voice is a fragile instrument… It can wear out from over usage). Background vocals are important, but often they are difficult to match up EQ-wise with the recorded versions of the song. When you hear a recording certain effects are placed on vocals to give it that spice. Trying to add them for live background parts and then trying to subtract them when one of the background singers switches to the lead part can be exasperating for a sound engineer. So welcome to the world of “tape.” As long as the audience cannot tell then “no harm no foul.” Let’s look at an example:

On this particular song ALL lead parts are sung live. You can tell because of the differences and imperfections of some notes. However, the background parts “sound way too perfect” and that is because the backgrounds are “canned.” It may not be very noticeable at first but when you get to the 2 minute 7 second portion of the song you will hear background parts that sound “way too great.” That isn’t because they are singing them that way. That’s because they are lip syncing (or singing along with the track). If these guys tried to actually sing those parts live while moving like that they would probably be close to passing out. A prime example is at the end of the song when they take a bow. They start to bow before the very last note is sung and yet you can still hear the notes “supposedly through the microphones.” Your head can’t be down and yet still be heard perfectly through the microphones. One thing I didn’t like about this song rendition is Michael Bivins’ performance with the guys (He is the one doing the rap in the song). He is talking over the other vocals through certain key parts of the song and to me that is a distraction. Bivins is the one who actually discovered the group (He is from the group New Edition). I am happy for the group’s fame. They have done well and I don’t want to cast any negativity on their show. By no means are they the only group using voice samples. I only used them as an example today because it was easier for me to show what was going on. I have been on programs with these guys before and they “can” sing, so please don’t get the wrong impression from 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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The late Gerald LeVert in concert with Brett Jolly on bass guitar


Brett Jolly’s Daily Thought (“Advice for young artists looking to start their own careers”)

On occasion young artists will come to me and ask me how they can get their careers started. Yesterday a young lady sent me her video for me to critique and then give advice. I told her that she did the right thing in making the video, but the most important part of what she was trying to accomplish had to do with her marketing concept.  You might have a great song. You might even have a great video. However, if no one knows about you then all your efforts will be wasted. Getting a deal with a record label will probably not help out much. Labels have a ton of artists already signed to them, but they only promote a small number of the ones they have, thereby using the other signed artists as tax write-offs. I remember years ago talking to a lady who had a couple of hit songs on the R&B charts. Her name was Vesta Williams and she was a “great” singer. We were all riding together in a bus headed to a gig and she and I talked about her career. She mentioned that she was signed to the same label as Janet Jackson. She was a little heavy (but she was very curvy and carried her weight well). She said that she could “out sing” Janet easily (and she was right… She had a tremendously powerful voice that would rattle the monitors onstage). At one point in her life she was a background singer for Chaka Khan. During our conversation she told me that she planned on losing some weight so that she could get some of that “slim girl money” they were paying Janet. She knew the label was investing all of their money behind promoting Janet and she felt that she was a much better singer. However, the issue wasn’t really about singing. Janet already came from a very well known family music name. She was a Jackson, and the Jackson 5 (along with big time brother Michael) was already famous. Janet’s family name was very influential in helping to promote her career. Needless to say, Vesta “did” lose the weight but eventually she still got dropped from her label. Janet eventually got dropped too, but much later down the line after she had already generated millions of dollars from her career. I am mentioning this because too many young up and coming artists feel that their product is all they need to make it big. Young rappers think that just because their lyrics are great that they don’t need much more to achieve fame on a global level. Right now the music industry is struggling. Years ago artists could sell millions in CD and record sales, but with the rise of the internet (and people sharing music files for free) those days seem to be long gone. While it is a bad time to start a record label it is a good time to be an up and coming new artist looking to venture out. Right now a new artist will have much more control (and will be able to make more off the sales of their music) than if they were signed to a label. Labels have taken advantage of many artists over the years. That is why most of them have now disappeared from existence. As an artist you can promote yourself and be responsible for your own success. That is why it is “imperative” for young artists to concentrate on the marketing concept as well as the music. If no one knows about your music then no one will be able to purchase it. No artist will make it on just “talent alone.” Once you become a businessperson then you are on the right road to building your career. Labels are businesses. They are looking to make money. They are not looking to be fair to anyone. Be fair to yourself. If you can’t get radio play then find OTHER ways to promote your career. Think beyond the limitations of the box, and make it all work… 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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Janet Jackson onstage with Brett Jolly