Misfire and I

[Word count: 627. Approximate read time: 2-3 minutes]

Diane Sawyer on failure:
“Sometimes, of course, it just teaches you that this is gonna be the funniest thing in the world… when it stops hurting.”

While recording original music, I got this brilliant idea to cover a song by my favorite artist Crystal Lewis. Although the original was mid-90’s CCM perfection, I was amazed how well my jazzy electronic cover turned out. So I did another, and another, eventually deciding I was gonna do a full album of Crystal Lewis covers and send it to her as a birthday gift! [Famous. Last. Words.]

If I had a time machine, I’d go back and talk myself out of it. I was so inspired though! Every song was a personal victory. I challenged myself to bend tempos, genres, phrasings, arrangements and pay tribute to the songs I felt most connected to. It was my best work as a producer, vocalist, and musician to date.

I was proud, but every time I neared her September 11th birthdate, I’d waffle. “It’s not good enough. I hate it.” Stop. Rework it ‘til you’re back in love again. Unfortunately, this went on for about 5 years. [Bang head against desk.] Continue reading

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People Get Ready… Chaka Is Coming

[Word count: 650. Approximate read time: 2-3 minutes]

Chaka Monochrome

I am a huge Chaka Khan fan. Really big. I’ve met a lot of the artists I respect, but Chaka has eluded me like a ghost for nearly 15 years.

Back when the internet was young, I built a comprehensive website called Chaka’s House. It attracted a core of fans and established an internet presence for the fiery-haired songstress during an important time. Her management team, headed by her sister Tammy, caught wind of it and contacted me. I was thrilled! I would’ve gladly turned the site over to them to carry forward, but Chaka did not want to commercialize it.

Ain’t nothin’ but a maybe

As a consolation prize, Tammy invited me to the video shoot for “Don’t Talk To Strangers.” This was before the age of cell phones, so I had them call me at work. In a comedy of errors, my bungling co-workers didn’t pass me her message until the day after the shoot happened.

So Tammy tried again. She scored me an invitation to a scientology benefit held by Kirstie Alley featuring Chaka as the mainstage entertainer. I received the invitation in the mail the day after the event happened.

Third time’s the charm, right? Tammy called to invite me to a Prince concert Chaka was opening at The Forum. I would have loved to meet them both; however, as a struggling college student, I couldn’t afford the tickets.

Pretty frustrating. I still love her though. Something about the frequencies and vibrations she generates stirs my soul in all the best ways, but I unofficially resigned that maybe it wasn’t meant for me to meet her.

Continue reading

In Case of Fire

[Word count: 2042. Approximate read time: 7-8 minutes]
DISCLAIMER: After nearly 9 months, I decided to uncensor this post on February 16, 2013. You’ll see indelicate language sitting right beside scripture. If this offends you, then my half-hearted grawlix probably weren’t going to appease you either way.

Amen, brothers and sisters. This morning, the text is coming from the book of Marvin Gaye in the 1,978th year of our Lord Jesus Christ. Turn your gatefold double LP to the first disc of Here, My Dear. Now, if one saint would volunteer to read “Anger”:

“Up and down my back
In my spine, in my brain
It injures me
Anger can make you old (yes, it can)

I said anger can make you sick, children
Anger will destroy your soul

Rage
There’s no room for rage in here
There’s no room for rage in here
Where is the place to go to be mad?”

May God add a blessing to the reading of Marvin’s lyrics. I know what that kind of anger feels like. It’s like the entirety of your being is on fire, a walking state of emergency. Your emotions, your coping mechanisms, the steadiness of your perception, all covered in heat from tip to toe. Malfunctioning. You can’t think about anything but finding the quickest way to put out the flames. So can anyone tell me what is the proper Christian way to be angry? Continue reading

Like a Child

[Word count: 620. Approximate read time: 2-3 minutes]

“Here’s my plea
I want to see your face, feel your warm embrace,
And lay here like a child
In your loving arms, where I’m safe from harm,
And the sorrow fades away.”
—Crystal Lewis, “Like a Child

Just woke up from a bad dream where I had to relive when my Papa told me he was dying. A friend suggested I re-read the blog I wrote about it. In that story I remember how, from a place of ignorance, God swept in and rescued me before calamity could crash in on top of me. That all took place when I was still 19.

I turn 33 on Tuesday. A lot changes in 13 years. I’m more skeptical than I was as a young adult, a little world weary in places. I believe less readily than I once did. My once-shiny faith is a little dog-eared and yellowish now. It’s like a sun-beaten rubber band, dried and showing cracks. I fear if I stretch it to believe, it may snap.

Continue reading