Brett Jolly’s Daily Thought (“Performing one of my favorite songs”)

I absolutely “love” music. I hope to keep performing until they “close the lid.” This tune has always felt special to me, and it was my pleasure to attempt this song. The Brett Jolly Experience was performing at Kelsey’s in Atlantic City, New Jersey last week and we had so much fun. We will be there again this Friday, July 7 (if you happen to be in the area I hope you come through). Here is a video clip of me singing lead on one of my favorite tunes. I hope you enjoy. Thank you 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 (My perspective on how a musician should play)

Someone asked me what it is like to be a professional musician. For the record, I know of “many” musicians who all have “different” perspectives of what music means. There are certain musicians who are really fantastic and talented. For instance, there are drummers who can do all kinds of intricate drum rolls, off beat rhythms and complex patterns. For some of them, they will introduce those patterns in the song (whether the song calls for them or not). That way they can show off their great drumming skills. The only problem with this is that a simple song can get “complicated and busy” real fast. For instance, a hit song that has one of the simplest drum beats to it is Michael Jackson’s song “Billie Jean.” The beat is so simple that just about anyone can play it. However, when a great drummer who wants to show off his skills plays the tune, then the drum beat might get altered because the drummer gets bored playing a “straight” beat. The same can be said for some lead guitar players, bass players and even keyboard players when playing certain songs. Sometimes great players start to play “solos” through songs. A solo is when you are “featured” and as a musician you get to “stretch out” on your own and showcase your abilities. VERY FEW popular songs call for solos, so if that is all a musician is concerned about then this can take away from the song. The real purpose of music is to gel and make it work as a “unit.” When musicians blend together, listen to each other and concentrate on the sound as “one unit” then that is music at its “best.” No one needs to turn up so loud that it makes the sound of the music offensive. I know several players that are “really into loudness.” They actually think that “loudness is better” and that is far from the truth. For me, I don’t necessarily need solos, because I love playing within the context of the song. The song doesn’t have to be played absolutely straight, but you can make everything blend real well through dynamics and “how” you play your notes. Some musicians stress the importance of being able to “read” music. That is when you look at a music chart and play the notes exactly as they are on the chart. Personally, I don’t read music, so for me everything is determined by “feel” and by “ear.” I remember one incident where I had to play for the New Jersey Symphony at NJPAC (New Jersey Performing Arts Center). They put a chart in front of me just before getting ready to perform a song in front of a sold out audience. I had “no” intentions of telling them that I couldn’t read music (I wanted to make sure I got paid) so I just waited for us to play the song and used my “ability to hear music” and picked it up “on the spot.” Amazingly, I got through the song and the other musicians said I did a “great” job. For the common listener, music is what sounds pleasing to the ear. Those people who don’t know about musician solos won’t necessarily focus on that aspect of a song. All in all, I can honestly say that music for me is NOT just what I hear, but rather what I “feel.” I am happiest when the sound “as a whole” is awesome and the crowd is enjoying it “collectively.” Thank you for allowing me to share my concept with you today, and I hope your day is a great one.

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Gary US Bonds and Brett Jolly in concert

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Brett Jolly’s Daily Thought (Topic: Moments in my music career)

I love music. I love writing it, recording it, and performing it. I had a request today to share some of my stories regarding my career in music, so I hope that you don’t mind. First, let me say that I never wanted to be a musician. I actually wanted to be a “professional basketball player.” For some reason, the more I played basketball the better I got at music. I started playing piano at 4 years of age (the morning after my parents brought a piano into the house). Since then, my storyline changed. In high school, I tore my ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) in my knee and I needed surgery. I was devastated to say the least. I had put so much time and energy into my game that I couldn’t believe it could all end in an “instant.” It took years for me to realize that my greatest tragedy turned out to be my greatest blessing. God didn’t give me what I wanted, but HE sure gave me what I “needed.” I turned my attention towards music and I have not looked back since. The first celebrity that I went on tour with was a lady by the name of Jean Carne. She had a number one song on the R&B charts entitled “Closer than Close.” I was so “gung ho” over traveling the world and hanging with other celebrities that I failed to realize my own limitations. During that time I had problems sleeping in any other environment other than my own home. When you add in the fact that we were doing 2 shows a night and I was getting to sleep each night somewhere between 2 and 3 in the morning and THEN having to wake up at 5 or 6 am each morning to catch a plane to the next city then it really started to wear me down. We were performing in Cincinatti, Ohio at the Riverbend theater opening up for George Benson when it finally “hit” me. I was actually playing for an “outside” event but I was literally “falling asleep” while standing up and playing my bass guitar onstage. I remember my head “bobbing up and down” while trying to perform the show. Needless to say after THAT night I got “instantly cured” when it came to getting rest whenever I could get it. Because I have something called  “perfect pitch” I have the ability to “listen to any song” and “learn it” without having to pick up my instrument to practice it. This enabled me to enhance my playing  and my career. After time passed I found myself playing for more “big” functions involving more big time celebrities. I remember playing behind the Stylistics and actually getting “goosebumps” onstage from hearing the lead singer’s voice so clear in my monitor. For those of you who ever followed them, the lead singer, Russel Thompkins” has a high pitched voice that is keenly unique, and I had grown up listening to it on radio. To play for him onstage was an “eye opener” for me. Next came a lot of different things, and unfortunately I cannot relay everything that I experienced in today’s Daily Thought (If I did, this would be a VERY long article today). However, let’s just say that besides the music, I have had GREAT times interacting with people like Jeffrey Osborne, Bonnie Raitt, Eddie Money, Lionel Hampton, Nina Simone, Teddy Pendergrass, Billy Paul, Celine Dion and the Whispers (to say the least). Celine admitted to me that she still gets nervous before each gig. Bonnie Raitt is really nice (She even sent me a birthday card) but she absolutely does NOT like for anyone to “take her picture.” Jeffrey Osborne and I had dinner together and we chatted about him doing a “remake” of Teddy’s song “Close the Door.” Eddie Money was nice enough to talk to my daughter on the phone after I asked him, even though he might have been just a “tad” bit inebriated (smile). Nina Simone was “highly opinionated” and after playing a tribute to her she came up to me and told me that I did a great job, because if I hadn’t she would surely have come to me and let me know about it. Lionel Hampton was the coolest. He and I hung together for a long while joking about everything. Billy Paul is the greatest one to tour with. He LOVES to talk and if you are on a 10 hour plane ride to a place like Brazil he will have stories and talk the WHOLE ENTIRE time. When he gets going, NOTHING will shut him up (smile). Teddy was a very private person, but he divulged a lot to me. After his accident, he considered himself a loner and he claimed that he didn’t have many friends. He laughed and joked with us onstage, though, and we all had some great times together. I miss him… Bill Withers was the most “impressionable.” His knowledge of music and his approach to the music scene was worthy to hear. He said he got out of music because of the “direction” it was turning in, and he didn’t want to be a part of that transition. He said that if he couldn’t put “good music” out anymore then he would leave the scene, and he did… There is a LOT that I am leaving out today, and for that I apologize. There are “far” too many stories for me to share today, but maybe over time I can do more. I thank you for allowing me this opportunity to present parts of my story with you today. If you would like to hear more, then just let me know. In the meantime, I hope you all have an absolutely “great” day. Thank you.

 

Got a topic? Contact me at Brettjolly@aol.com or Brett@Love-notes.co. You can also send me a friend request on Facebook or on Skype (username: Brettjolly1). Thank you and have a great day.

 

The Stylistics and Brett Jolly in concert

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Brett Jolly’s Daily Thought (Topic: Living without music)

Mr. Jolly, I have a friend who only likes talk radio. Whenever she rides with me I can not listen to any music. She just hates it. I  love music and while talk radio isn’t bad I love to hear a beat with some melody in my life. How can anyone be so out on real music?

It can happen. Music has a powerful effect on people, and some songs can bring back “bad” memories when you hear them (usually from something bad that probably happened during the time the song was popular). I remember being stuck in a Detroit airport one evening with the legendary singer Teddy Pendergrass, and he disclosed some things to me that I found “startling.” He told me that he didn’t like to listen to the radio at all and that he didn’t like to hear his own song in particular. He said that listening to his music only brought back memories of things that he didn’t want to re-visit. Considering the fact that his life changed so drastically after his auto accident, I found that I could understand why that would have such an effect on him. I am sure that for others who don’t like music there may be some type of “similar” story. The lyrics to a song can have a lasting impact on how you view life. I remember one astonishing song from years back from the Four Tops. The lyrics went as follows: It’s the same old song, but with a different meaning since you’ve been gone.” To me, that was a powerful statement, because it showed how a song can be the most positive thing and yet the most “devastating” thing based on your life circumstances. Some people don’t understand the “impact” and “strength” of music. People have actually killed from being under the influence of it. Whatever your friend’s rationale is for disliking music only she knows. You may want to try asking her about it. If she divulges it to you then I wouldn’t be surprised if she didn’t reveal an “intricate” part of her life to you as well. THAT is what music can do. I still can’t imagine anyone wanting to live is a “music-less” world, but I am sure it can happen. Just accept her for who (and what) she is. I do, however, believe that there is a “song out there” for everyone. Have a great day.

 

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Got a topic? Email me directly at Brettjolly@aol.com (or send me a friend request on Skype at brettjolly1) Thank you and have a great day.

 

Teddy Pendergrass and Brett Jolly in concert in Los Angeles

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Brett Jolly’s Daily Thought (Topic: Trying to make it in today’s music industry)

Dear Mr. Jolly. I am a singer who would like to go big time like Beyonce or Lady Gaga. I have recorded in the studio before but I didn’t like the outcome of the song. Since I have very little experience I was wondering if there was anything you could tell me to help me make it big time. I am eager and I think I am ready. Please tell me what I need to know and do. Thank you.

The first thing you need is a “package.” In other words, you would need music samples, videos, photos and possibly your own web page. Most new artists need a great deal of promotion just to get to that “next” level, and having these few items is a great start. Hiring an experienced agent/manager helps, but you need to make sure that this agent will have “time” for you (A lot of agents focus most of their efforts on their “already proven” money makers, while their other clients can sometimes become “tax write-offs”). Getting radio play would be a great plus but don’t “count on it.” The radio industry has changed a LOT over the past couple of years. With the new internet radio stations on the rise, regular radio stations (and all the commercials that come with them) seem to be losing their edge. Stations like Pandora and Satellite radio are rising fast in popularity. Most regular radio stations play the “same” artists throughout the country. You are guaranteed to hear artists like Beyonce, Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift, Bruno Mars, Kanye West, Rihanna and the regular cast. These radio stations will NOT play any new artists unless there is a “strong” financial backing behind them. You could try taking your CD down to your local radio station yourself, but if it is a ClearChannel or Radioone station, then chances are you will NOT get your music played (at least not for “free”). This is because the labels pay the stations “big” money to play only “their” artists, but that money is “also” to make sure that they “don’t” play “other” artists. Even if you slide them a little bit of cash, they will more than likely take your money and then play your song “once” around the 3:00 am to 4:00 am hour but then later on return the CD back to you and tell you that it is not “strong” enough to get played on their station. Of course, you need to keep in mind that a lot of the regular artists that they play now also have songs produced in “poor” quality. The only difference between their product and yours is the “money” factor. That’s why we are all getting “worn out” from hearing so much of Beyonce, Jay-Z, and the cast of regulars. They have strong financial backing behind them, and “that” is what gets your music played. More and more new artists are starting to recognize this (and refusing to deal with this), and that is also why these radio stations are starting to struggle financially now. No one wants to invest 5 figures with “no guarantee” that your song will remain in rotation. Even if the station takes your song off the air, you will NOT get your money back. Thus, the quality of music we hear has gotten worse and the artists of today are sorely lacking in talent when comparing them to the legends of the past. There are no more Luther Van Dross’s out there. No one has the electricity that Michael Jackson displayed onstage. I don’t want to discourage you, but it is important that you at least know what you are up against. If the industry was based on just talent alone, then everyone could have an equal chance. However, until a change takes place you might want to “forget” about radio play. However, if you have a nice tune, and you can make a “great video” with it, then you can have it broadcast throughout the world for “free.” Youtube is “global” and it has already helped many artists get “out there” where regular radio could not. Be creative, think from a business perspective, and “find” a way to market yourself. If you are successful, you might be able to get a “distribution deal” with an independent label (This is MUCH better than signing with a label directly) and that would be a great plus to “launching” your career. Good luck to you and please feel free to check back with me if you have any other questions. I have just been informed that the Phantom Poet would like to make his own contribution to this debate:

There are hidden factors to know about this music industry but I don’t intend to spoil it
But you really need to know the main reason why it is “headed down the toilet”
If you are wondering why you are having difficulty getting your music played
Well, it is NOT based on  your talent, but rather on the amount of money “PAID”
You might have a really great tune, and it might even be the very best
But when you take it to the radio station, they could really care less
The quality of music on radio is so bad these days that I hate to even listen
Even the DJ’s on the air cannot play the songs they like without “permission”
Beyonce and Jay-Z are played all the time, and this is the reason “why”
They don’t necessarily have the best music,  but the best that money can “buy”
The music industry suffers in the meantime, because when it comes to great music they are “bereft”
As Beyonce has put it, some of this new music should go in the trash can “To the left, to the left”
There is PLENTY of “great talent” out here, sometimes it seems so absurd
When it comes to public radio, most times this talent will never get heard
The stations make money off the advertisers, but for good music we keep waiting
But the radio stations can’t make any money without a good audience rating
So if you don’t like the quality of the music on the radio, there’s no need to scoff
Let the radio station know exactly how you feel by turning your radio OFF!
Then you can write your local station and let them know with the message you send
That you will gladly come back to listening when they start playing good music again
Then maybe they will start to get their act together, and the music can change at the next glance
And maybe THEN some of the great undiscovered talent out here can “finally” get a “chance”

“Sometimes change is needed… but only if we recognize it”… The Phantom Poet

 

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You can send me a friend request on Skype at Brettjolly1. Thank you and have a great day

New generation artist Dwele and Brett Jolly performing by the waterfront in Philly.

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Brett Jolly’s Daily Thought (My favorite music choices)

Someone asked me about who my musical influences are, such as my favorite artists, songs etc. I hope you don’t mind, but today I figured I would share them with you (even though my tastes in music would probably differ from most others). You see, I love to listen to all types of music and my favorites are not always guaranteed to be the most “popular” songs. For instance, my favorite singing groups of all time are the Temptations, the Emotions and the Dells. My favorite male solo artists of all time are Bill Withers, Paul McCartney, Eddie Kendricks and Stevie Wonder. My favorite female solo artists are Aretha Franklin, Barbara Striesand, Whitney Houston and Beyonce ( I have to give her credit… she can sing). My favorite country group is the Oak Ridge Boys (my mother loved them as well), and my favorite jazz group of all time is the jazz Crusaders. My favorite album/cd is Michael Jackson’s “Got to be there” and Bill Withers “Menagerie” and Marvin Gaye’s “What’s going on.” My favorite video is Peter Gabriel’s “Sledgehammer.” My favorite rap artists of all time are Heavy D, Chub Rock, and Salt N’ Peppa. The artists that I wish I had played for are Paul McCartney, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder (I met him, but never played for him) and Prince. My favorite people that I HAVE played for are Teddy Pendergrass, Paul Shafer, the Emotions, Ashford and Simpson, Usher, Freddie Jackson, and Natalie Cole. My favorite funk groups of all time are Tower of Power, The Brothers Johnson and Graham Central Station. My most exciting concerts to watch were Michael Jackson, Prince, Graham Central Station and James Brown. My favorite love style music artists are Michael Franks and Bobby Caldwell. Bob Marley is my favorite reggae artist. My favorite songs of all time are “Alone again” by Gilbert O’ Sullivan, “Tell her love has felt the need” by Eddie Kendricks, “Jamaica” by Bobby Caldwell and “I want to spend the night” by Bill Withers. I am positive that there are many more out there who deserve consideration but for some reason I just cannot think of them now. Just note that I love music that has artistry and creativity. I don’t see a lot in today’s music that captures my attention, and I am not sure if that is due to the fact that the music is getting worse or I am just “getting older.” The content seems to be lacking, the creativity is gone in much of it and even the quality of it is disappointing to me. Internet radio seems to be on the rise (because there are not as many commercials and they can play whatever they like, NOT just what they are “paid” to play). I don’t want to turn today‘s Daily Thought into a bashing of radio stations. In time people will make their “own” choices. However, I am a big fan of “quality music.” I would love to see it come back. Thank you for checking out my Daily Thought today, and I hope that all is well in your world. Here is that “tone deaf” lyricist, the Phantom Poet:

When it comes to my favorite music then to some it can be a mystery
That‘s because one man’s music can often be another man’s misery
It isn’t because of the character or even the quality of the voice
This is just music that I like, and yes, this is “my” choice
Some choices you may disagree with and some will be “debaters”
but if you don’t like my music then there’s no need to be “haters”
Because I can see people wanting to contest me with “music wars”
Well, if you respect my choices then I promise to respect “yours”
Music is my world to me, and in saying this I need to make a small confession
My definition of music may vary, but to me good music is “expression”
Everyone has a unique form of music that to them has a certain appeal
To me great music is not something you hear, but rather something you “feel”
If there is a great artist that I omitted then please accept my apology
You can do a great tribute to that artist by going out and buying their “anthology
It is tough for me to hear the good music I like on regular radio but I don’t intend to “slight”
I can still hear some really great choices when I subscribe to “satellite”
Because to me music has to have a certain flavor, a certain identity and a certain tone
So if I can’t hear on in my car, I will just wait for my gigs, and play it on my “own”….

We jammin’… and I hope you like jammin’ too“… The Phantom Poet

 

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If you have a topic that you would like to feature on my Daily Thought, please feel free to email me at Brettjolly@aol.com or Brett@love-notes.co (You can also send me a friend request on Skype at Brettjolly1) Thank you and have a great day.

 

Paul Shafer from the Dave Letterman Band and Brett Jolly in concert

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“Beyond”

People have asked me to post one of my songs, so today I hope you don’t mind me introducing you to a song that I wrote, arranged, videoed, directed, edited and performed. The title of the song is “Beyond” and it mostly features me and my bass guitar (with a light percussion track). Let me know if you like the song, and please have a great weekend.

Brett Jolly