Yesterday I came across some guys that I played basketball with growing up. I had not seen them in many years and they looked as though they matured a “great” deal. When I saw them, they informed me that they had just left the funeral of one “other” guy that I played ball with back in the day. Then I remembered that recently (within the past 5 months) 2 MORE basketball buddies of mine had passed away (both from diabetes). One was the same age as me and the other one was even younger. This particular incident helped me to realize that I am actually getting “older.” My buddies who died previously were in “great” basketball shape during our day (just like I was) and it was difficult for me to imagine them no longer being that way. The friends I saw yesterday had a lot of gray in their hair and it made me think that I am actually “getting” old. Life is a cycle we go through, and some have shorter cycles than others. I miss my friends, but I also realize that life has to go on. There is no telling how many more of my basketball buddies will have much longer on this earth. There is no guarantee for me as well. The deep part about all of this is that as I enter this phase I begin to realize the vulnerability of life. No matter how much you take care of yourself, no one escapes the final outcome. Doctors will tell you how to exercise, eat, drink and sleep, but even they cannot live forever. During life we often take things for granted and hardly ever face the fact that one day our bodies will break down. I began to think about all the things I still want to accomplish in life. I am thankful that I woke up this morning, so for me that means I have yet “another chance.” Your quality of life is what you make it, and what you make “of” it. If I want my life to have meaning, then I have to “give it” meaning. God is not finished with me yet, and if you are able to read this, then God is not finished with you either. You can either let the day slip away, or you can live life like there’s “no tomorrow.” Now if you’ll excuse me, I have “work” to do… Have a great day….
Brett Jolly, DJ Patty Jackson, and Norman Connors (“You are my Starship”)
A New Year is on the horizon for most of us, and while many will choose to reflect on the things that already transpired, I am one of those who likes to look forward. On a global scale I would love to see nations that have previously exhibited hatred and animosity towards each other reach out in efforts of unification. Hey, if Iran and the United States can work on mending fences, then maybe it is possible for other nations to do the same. I would like to take a lyric from an old popular Marvin Gaye song when saying, “War is not the answer, for only love can conquer hate.” If all we do is focus on past atrocities then how can we ever possibly see a future of peace? In a world where we all have to depend on each other for survival it is amazing how much hatred we often display towards each other. I pray that leaders of nations will be able to see the real benefits of peace. I hope that the legend of Nelson Mandela will show others that no matter how badly you have been mistreated by others, two wrongs will “NEVER” make a right. I hope that instead of nations spying on each other we can all work together with each other and share in technology that will help make the world safer, and not find newer ways to bring about more destruction. In some cases, it takes more strength to back down from a fight than it does to escalate one. Human beings are supposed to be the most intelligent forms of life, and yet there are times when we can be more barbaric than even the most savage of animals. As for me personally, I hope to continue to grow, and at some point lead “by example.” If I should become a big enough “success story” then maybe someone else will find the resolve to “emulate” my story. The true value of life should not be based on where you came from, but rather where you are headed. Suicide bombers, terrorists, and random shooters are people “with cause” who see no other alternative but to inflict devastation. They are so engrossed in ending life that we rarely even get to hear their story. Why not tell your story as opposed to killing innocent people? Maybe there is someone out there who will sympathize and maybe even offer assistance. There are people out there who need help, and it is up to us to “recognize” it and reach out to them. If we can change the path trajectory of at least “one” individual bent on destruction, then it is “more than worth the effort.” I hope that 2014 can somehow be the “Year of Peace.” It is a long shot, but it “can” happen. Thank you all for your support, and for you I wish the very best that this New Year has to offer.
Each Sunday morning I play in church. It is the one part of my music world where most members just know me as a regular church musician. They rarely get to see me do my other gigs that do not involve Gospel music. This past Sunday I was setting up before service when this young teenage boy came up to me. He asked me, “Are you Brett Jolly?” When I told him yes he immediately said that he was “honored” to meet me. At first I didn’t quite understand where he was coming from, but then his mother came over to speak to me. She said that her son had found me “online” and was “immediately impressed” with my accomplishments. She said that he never wanted to come to church, but when she told him that I perform there each Sunday he automatically volunteered to come just so he could meet me. I was sincerely flattered, and to be honest, I have NEVER considered myself to be a celebrity of any kind (and I mean that), but I did thank the boy for the compliment. This young 14 year old boy was an aspiring singer, and he said he would be so happy if I could check out how well he sings. We exchanged numbers and we have a meeting date set up for us to do exactly that. I mentioned this today for a simple reason: I feel it is ALWAYS important for adults to “give back” to those young kids who are trying to follow in the same footsteps. To me, it didn’t matter whether he believed I was famous or not. He reached out to me, and I felt it was my “responsibility” to help him in whatever way I could. A lot of times grown folks don’t even want to be bothered with kids. Even though my schedule can be extremely busy at times, I knew it was imperative that I make room for this kid. If my involvement helps him become a “seasoned professional” then it would all be worth it for me. On this earth, we are ALL dependent on each other in life. No newborn baby can “fend for itself” and that is how we learn how to interact with others. Involvement in someone’s life doesn’t have to “stop at a certain age.” As long as we live, we all can still learn. If I can be an inspiration to “one” child in my life, then as far as I am concerned that has “meaning” to me. I only hope that others will feel the same way. A child’s ambition is a terrible thing to waste… If you know of a young person who needs direction in his or her life, then by all means I hope you can find a way to provide some. Children need activity in their lives, and often if we can”t provide them with it, then they will go and “create their OWN activity (and that is not always guaranteed to be a positive thing). I would rather my tax dollars go towards supporting them through school as opposed to supporting them through jail. I hope you can feel where I’m coming from on this today. We ALL need someone… Thank you and I hope you have an awesome day.
Wayne Brady and Brett Jolly in concert
Mr. Jolly, I like to read your daily topics and I wanted to offer one of my own to you today. I realize that this might be a little vague, but do you think there is a purpose to life and if so, what is it? We are here on a planet with other life forms and yet no one seems to know why we even exist. Aside from the Biblical context, do you think there actually is a purpose to life?
While there are many different opinions on this matter (including the Biblical ones) I am not sure if there is one “solid concrete” answer to this question. Just about “every life form” needs “something to do” and most times we all figure it out one way or another. For instance, when turtles hatch from their eggs they seem to “instinctively know to navigate towards the water.” When you put a bottle in a baby’s mouth it is instinctive for the infant to properly know how to use it’s mouth to feed itself. Considering the fact that there are a number of elements that can end our lives in an instant I would think that the number one purpose of life would be to “survive.” Of course, this sounds a little vague as well, but you have to admit that we are all stationed on a planet where we not only have to depend on each other but we also have to defend ourselves against each other. We can be our best source for survival (because no baby can fend for itself without the help of another human being) and yet there are those of us who will harm others. No one is born with equal circumstances and we all have to make the most of the life cards that are dealt to us. Since each life circumstance is different, then it is quite possible that each “life purpose” can be different as well. Your topic is truly an interesting one, but I think I may have an answer that just might make some sense. Life is what you make it. You can be satisfied just being in the position you are in, or you can attempt to change your circumstances for the better. If you opt for the latter, then you are “in essence giving your life purpose.” There will always be goals in life that need to be accomplished, and if you are the kind of person who looks to achieve your goals, then your purpose is to “improve.” I say keep on overcoming goals until one day you manage to end “all world hunger.” Thank you for submitting this topic today, and I sincerely hope I was helpful in some way. Have a great one.
Paul Shafer (from the David Letterman show band) and Brett Jolly in concert
This past weekend I played for an event at an outside concert theater for something called “Recovery Idol.” It was modeled after the popular show “American Idol” but the difference in this show was that the contestants were “former drug addicts.” They sang and performed onstage in a big concert setting while celebrating their “freedom from dependence” on drugs. As part of the band I had to play certain songs for the contestants and also had to play for the major headliner for the event, which was Billy Paul. He is the one who sang one of the biggest hits in history entitled “Me and Mrs. Jones.” The great thing about this is that Billy Paul also recovered from his bout with drugs, so he could easily relate to the crowd. I know that recovering from a drug addiction is “not” an easy thing to do for anyone, so I applaud this idea to help “celebrate” by promoting a concert of this kind. “You never know how long and how hard a man’s journey is until you try to walk it in his shoes.” Today I would like to applaud any and all programs that help those in need, and I only hope that the rest of us can help support this as well. It is not where you come from, but where you are headed that counts. Today is a holiday in the United States. It is Labor Day, Whatever this day brings for you, I sincerely hope it is “filled” with blessings. Have a great day.
Got a topic? Feel free to contact me via email at Brettjolly@aol.com or send me a friend request on Skype at Brettjolly1. Thank you and have a great day.
Billy Paul, my good friend Doug Lyons, and Brett Jolly
Today I would like to spotlight my own personal involvement with a “great” artist whom I had the pleasure of working with. When I was younger I marveled at his songs (and to this date I still consider one of his albums to be one of the best of all time, and that album is the one entitled “Menagerie”). I was imagining in my head what he would look like when I saw him, because the only pictures I could recall of him were back during his prime, and of course, he would be much older now. As soon as I walked into the room I witnessed a white haired gentleman from the back. I could not see the front of him, but instantaneously, I “knew.” I moved around to the front of him, smiled and said, “You MUST be Bill Withers.” He said it was a pleasure to meet me and reached out his hand to shake. I would have been completely satisfied with that, but then he and I talked more, and that was something I had not anticipated. I asked him what happened, and why did he disappear from the music scene. He said that when the music started to go sour he could no longer take it. When the substance of music started changing for the worse, he said that he could no longer be a part of it. He “retired” a long time ago, and he said that he has no desire to come back. Bill is well into his 70’s now and the zest that he once had for music seems to have evaporated. He said that his label wanted to portray him as a great guitar player, but the truth of the matter is that he didn’t know how to play one. The label decided to bring someone in to teach him a couple of cords to make him at least “look” the part. Well, Bill took the 3 cords he knew and decided to write one of his best tunes and that was a song entitled “Hello like before.” For those of you who are not familiar with Mr. Withers, he had hits like “Ain’t no Sunshine, Grandma’s hands, and Lean on me.” He also had a great collaboration with jazz saxophonist Grover Washington entitled “Just the two of us.” The one thing I admired about my new friend Bill was that he was “no pretense.” He said that if he “can no longer feel it” then that means it’s time to “get out.” For this particular event, we were doing a tribute to him, but Bill didn’t even want to sing any of his own tunes. He had us bring in a new era vocalist by the name of Anthony Hamilton to sing some of the tunes, and then he had his daughter sing some as well. We were not disheartened, though, because even through all that, Bill DID sing, and even at this stage of his career it was an honor to back him up onstage. Periodically I would like to share some of my “music stories” with you, so hopefully today you don’t mind this particular one today. As much as I enjoyed playing for him, I think I enjoyed more just chatting with him. Thank you for checking out my Daily Thought today, and I hope your day is an awesome one.
Got a topic? Feel free to reach out to me by email at Brettjolly@aol.com of send me a friend request on Skype at Brettjolly1. Thank you and have a great day.
Bill Withers (far left), his daughter, Anthony Hamilton and Brett Jolly at PIR studios
Mr. Jolly, what is your take on the performance of Miley Cyrus during the VMA’s? People are talking about the stint she pulled with Robin Thicke onstage where she bent over in front of him and simulated a sex act. Many are blasting her over this. What is your take on her performance?
When it comes to the music industry, nothing much really surprises me anymore. This is an industry where “sex” sells and so does “controversy.” Rihanna is hardly “ever” dressed on her CD covers and videos. Lady Gaga is also someone who is willing to strip at a moment’s notice. Britney Spears is also just as shocking. Let’s not forget the men, because some of them promote controversy in other ways. Justin Bieber has had more than his share of crazy news lately. Kanye West is “nothing but” controversy. Chris Brown seems to get “angry” at the drop of a hat. When you compare the performance of Miley Cyrus to these people (and don’t forget Eryka Badu’s naked romp through downtown Dallas and Janet Jackson’s Superbowl performance) what she did seems to “pale in comparison.” A great bass playing friend of mine by the name of Victor Bailey was playing for Maddona, a lady who is “no stranger” to shock events and controversy. I asked him, “Why does Madonna do all these crazy shocking things?” and his answer kind of set the tone. He said that most people don’t realize this but Madonna is one of the smartest people in the music business. She knows that every time she does something controversial it only promotes her name and image more and it means “more money” down the road. When thinking of that, I had to admit that he was right. When she did something shocking everyone talked about her, and in essence that talk amounted to free advertising. Today’s artists are only using that same “business logic” to sell CD’s. Considering the dismal state of the music economy artists have to do something to sell more product. For people like Rihanna, it means she has to go “shirtless” a couple of times. Miley Cyrus may have been clothed for that particular performance, but “barely.” If this stint helps to make her even “more” popular, then don’t be surprised if you see “more and more” up and coming performers following suit. Welcome to the new age of singing. The days of “just being a great singer” are gone. Let’s hope for our sake they can at least find a way to bring back some “quality music.” Thank you for for submitting this topic.
Got a topic? Please feel free to contact me via email at Brettjolly@aol.com or send me a friend request on Skype at Brettjolly1. Thank you and have a great day.
Janet Jackson and Brett Jolly