Take my arm … 

Instead of hers.

Take my arm.
Instead of hers.
With each poke and prot
She winces, it burns.
TAKE MY ARM!
Instead of hers!
I feel her pain.
Literally.
Can it get worse?
I bow my head,
As a tear falls down.
I say a prayer.
I ask the Lord, why?
Why her?!
What did she do?
To deserve this misery.
To have this placed upon her.
What did she do …
you ask?
She raised two children.
On her own.
For the most part.
We had incredible grandparents.
Whom aided.
A lot.  Continue reading “Take my arm … “

Into The Deep …

Take me deep … Keep falling … Hold me!

**Good Morning Friends … I have submitted this piece to be a part of a bigger audience, next month. Please cross your fingers and toes, that I’m one of the lucky ones to be chosen to be featured with a Guest Submission on The Ink Owl’s Page … I’ve included the link to their page, so you can check them out, and or submit something of your own!**

The prompt, for the submission, from the page, is as follows:

” I would like submissions to contain an essence of fantasy as well as reflect this prompt”:
“Into the deep I plunge.”

I’ve included that, so my poem, makes more sense, as you read it.  Enjoy!  As always, constructive criticism, is more than welcome! ;o)

BLOG_IntoTheDeep1

Into the deep I plunge …
The deepest, darkest place
I can find … in my brain,
Yet … nowhere to be found.

The light, the one that once shone
From within, is beckoning to be heard ….
To be seen … to be loved.

BLOG_IntoTheDeep2

Into the deep I plunge,
Happily Ever After…
One step forward,
Sadly,
Two steps back.
I vowed FOREVER!
Is forever now?

BLOG_IntoTheDeep4

The deeper I plunge,
The further I fall …

… into GRACE?! …

A space forgotten by me,
Forgotten by all!

Shame on them, shame on me!

Take me deep …
Keep falling … Hold Me!
Let Me GO! … Take my hand,
Fall with me …..

BLOG_IntoTheDeep3

Into the deep I go …
Where? What? Why? …

… HOW?! …

How have I fallen…
This deep, without letting go?

Further … Slower … Clinching

TIGHTLY!

Oh … I see now … REJOICING!

You never let go …

BLOG_IntoTheDeep

Into the deep I plunge …
It’s warm … welcoming,
Inviting … I like it here …

Come with me … You’ll love it too.

Hold my hand, don’t let go! For …

Into the deep WE plunge ……….

BLOG_IntoTheDeep5

 

Meet Hakim …

Have you ever felt like you’re in the presence of a musical genius? Does music bring you to another level of “feeling”?  Do you remember the first concert you ever went to? What’s that one song you always turn on, when either you’re feeling blue, or happy as hell?  These are some things that people tend to never forget, and I recently had an interview, with someone I’ll surely never forget, and his name is Hakim Bell.

Now, I’m sure you have all heard about this “little” band from the 70’s/80’s, through today really, called Kool & The Gang.  Celebrate good times, c’mon!!!  Yeahhhh, you know who I mean!! Well, I had the honor, of meeting the son of Kool, from the band.  His name is Hakim Bell, some may know him as DJ Prince Hakim, as he’s known for spinnin’ in the clubs, parties, events … you name it!!

When I finally found my parking spot on Church Street, in Montclair, I breathed in a big breath, and I said to myself, “You got this!”.  I’m not gonna lie, I was nervous.  Once I found Hakim’s office, I really felt the jitter bugs, which is a good sign, because it meant that I was really excited with what was about to transpire! Here. Goes. Nothing … (knock knock)

Hakim immediately made me feel comfortable.  I could tell that he knew I was very new at this, and his patience and kindness will honestly, never be forgotten.  We took our respective seats, in his conference room.  We sat across from each other, me with my notes, recording device, and he with his computer, and phone not too far away (always working).  He was so chill, so cool, so ready to delve in, and just do it.  The sign of a true professional, yet so easy to speak with.

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So Hakim, growing up, who was your biggest inspiration, other than your father, of course?
“Oh, well RUN DMC, of course.  Then, I mean, it changes. As a teenager, it was Run DMC, LL (Cool J), New Edition.  I could go on and on.”

If you could eternally be stuck in one year musically, or decade, let’s say, which one?
“The seventies, the eighties were good too, but to be stuck, definitely the 70’s.  The music is so amazing.  The songs, the instruments … everything.”

What is one subgenre that, in your opinion, doesn’t get the attention it deserves?
“Oh. That’s an interesting question. Umm, I’d say Indie, that’s a good one.  The acoustic, the sound … A band called Haim, they are 3 sisters … They’re Indie and have a cool sound, they’re dope, actually.”

What is your opinion regarding old school DJ’ing, where you were spinning on real vinyl, versus today, where technology plays a HUGE part?
“There’s nothing like touching that piece of vinyl, and looking at the grooves, or the scratches in the record, that you make… when you play a record over and over, and you get those grooves…  It’s like this …  When you first buy a record, it’s nice, it’s shiny, it’s clean, but after you play on it for a year, you know what I mean, those things get nice and grooved.  Then looking at the artwork on the cover, flipping it over, and reading who produced it, etc.. Man, there’s just nothing like vinyl!  As a matter of fact, I’m giving DJ lessons, out of our Montclair office, on Church Street … Get in contact with me, if you want to learn how to rock the party!! All ages are welcome!!” (Information will be provided below)

Do you think it has hurt the exclusivity for DJ’s having a certain sound, by not using old school vinyl to scratch and tear it up on, versus the use of technology today?
“Ummm, not really, I know what you mean, but not really, because it’s really about what records you’re using in the mix, not the record, itself.  So it still comes down to your own vibe, and how you blend your song choice and how you scratch and mix these records in. So you still find your song on iTunes.  I think your sound can evolve even more now, because you have access to every song out there, when back then, you had to find the song you wanted, go buy it, etc.. So, I think your sound can evolve, for sure.”

What is one song, that never gets old, no matter how many times you’ve heard it?
“Ohhhh man … ummmm … Jungle Boogie.  Yeah, Jungle Boogie NEVER gets old. Master Jammin’ by Stevie Wonder, Off the Wall by Michael Jackson … MAN, we can go on forever.  Hall & Oates, I Can’t Go For That. So many, so many.”

When did you go from DJ’ing to Producing/Managing?
“So, while DJing, we were PLAYING the beats that other artists and rappers made.  So you start DJ’ing, and now, we want to MAKE the beats, you know, it’s just second nature. Now I want to make these beats, that I’ve been spinnin’, so alright, leave these turntables alone, for a little while, and start producing for the next 10-15 years. And that’s pretty much how I got into that. You know my uncle, co-founder of Kool & The Gang, Ronald Bell, he wrote Jungle Boogie & Celebration, he’s a producer. So, I used to be at his house, as a kid, you know with my cousins, and I would watch him produce. I grew up in the studio.”

Is it fair to say that producing and managing go hand in hand?
No. Management … man, I got into management, and I only manage one artist, Victoria Skie. I usually sign an artist, in the past, to my production company, meaning … I would take them, find their sound, produce their demo, at my own expense.  I would do artist development, meaning, teach them how to walk, how to sing, how to conduct an interview, you know, all that stuff, and put together their sound, identify their sound, put together a demo, all at my expense, that’s what a production company does. So, I left that alone, because we would get so close to getting these artists deals, and then something … either an attitude problem, or they decide not to do it anymore, or they just didn’t cut it for a record label.  You know, there was just something they were missing. So, you know, that’s a lot of time and money, so I kinda fell back from doing that, I kinda left messin’ with other artists alone.”

(And then there was Victoria, who in my own opinion, has the voice of an angel.)

Is Victoria your only client, and how did you find her?
So, I was here, in my office, and I got a call from Joann Smalls, who is the head of Montclair Center Stage, she said, “Hakim, you have to come hear this girl sing”, and I was like “Ohhhhhh, c’mon, what, why”, and she was like, “You HAVE to come hear her!” You know, you hear it allll the time, this trash, lol. So she finally convinced me.. I’m walking down the street, right here on Church Street, and I’m hearing this girl sing, and I get up there and I sat there the whole time (in awe), like WOW! This girl’s got something. So from there, I talked to her parents, and I said, “We need to meet NOW!” So, Joanne told them who I was, and we had a meeting, THAT DAY, and the rest is history …  you know, we made a deal, and now I manage her, and of course, it’s based on a couple things, cause I don’t like to promise anybody, anything. I know people think I’m crazy, but I’ll put together a deal, where, look, I’ll say, let’s put together an agreement, XYZ, and it doesn’t go into full effect, unless I deliver on my goal, but I want a certain amount of time to do that.  I mean, I’m getting her some major things right now, an interview with you, she sings at BB King’s, I have her booked at the State Fair, etc … So I am doing a lot of managerial stuff, but we’re not makin’ a lot of money, YET!! 🙂  Let’s keep it real, surrounding her with the best team, getting a record deal, and yes, making money … that’s the bottom line.  For me personally, it’s to be a part of an artist’s’ career that can be a major star in the world and influence culture, and I believe she can.  So, yeah, that’s why I got into the management side of it.  You know, I’m not looking to manage a bunch of artists.  I’ll be fine with just Victoria, and myself, for now.”

What does it take, to make it in today’s industry? How do you KNOW, when someone has that “IT” factor?
“I just know.  I just know.  Well, I think I know.  You can just tell.  It’s good to have a great sounding demo, you know, a great sounding recording, but if you’re talented, a seasoned manager or executive, should be able to recognize great talent, just from a voice recording of you singing your songs.  A seasoned executive will recognize that talent right away, and then take that talent, and put it where it needs to be.  So, there’s really no excuse.  If you’ve got talent, and you’re taking the time to upload your stuff, persistently, they’ll find you, as long as you keep marketing yourself.”

Other than being “sellable or marketable”, meaning the way the artist just looks on the outside, what do you feel are other elements an artist needs, in order to be successful?
“Great body language, great songs, catchy commercial songs … I think you need to be a great songwriter, it’s very important to me, AND it’s YOU, you should want to tell your story.  So like the fabulous “Rhianna’s”, or the amazing “Beyonce’s” out there, they may not write their songs, now they may co-write, but they might not fully write them. I think for a true artist, you know, someone like Lady Gaga, or even Victoria, you want to tell your story.  Like if something happened to Lady Gaga last night, she’ll write about it today, get on her piano, and write a song about it. Now that’s dope.”

Hakim, your stage name is DJ Prince Hakim, where can we find you?
“I’m gonna start MC’ing … hosting events, and stuff.  For right now, it’s DJ’ing, and I also tour with my dad.  I used to do about 40 shows with them a year, ‘cause they do about 80, but now I do about 5 – 10 with them.”

I still can’t believe that, after all these years, they are doing 80 shows per year!!
“Yeah, man … you should see their list, and you know, they have guys that have been with them since the 70’s, they have some new guys with them, as well, they have good talent, and you know, my dad is just sitting there on bass, chillin’ in the pocket, he’s not out front spinning and dancing. Sometimes people think that he’s the singer, but ‘Kool’ is actually the bass player, and my uncle, is the original horn player. So, yeah, but even at that, with the planes, and the travel, it’s a lot, but they still look great, and they’re still kickin’ it, man.”  🙂

As a person, who just started my journey in the blog world at 41 years young, THIS motivates me more than ANYTHING, to never stop believing in myself, or my dreams.  I hope this is just as motivating for you all.  Anything can happen! Anything.

BLOG_Hakim1Tell me what else you have going on…
“So, some things I’m excited about this summer are:  Booking more shows for Victoria, and putting the finishing touches on her record. Finding the right company to partner up with for her EP.  I’ll also be DJ’ing on the 4th of July at Liberty State Park in Jersey City.  I’ll also be making my Hampton debut, DJ’ing at the Surf Lodge, and I’ll be making my return Dj’ing at the  popular speakeasy, called La Esquina in Soho. Of course, I also offer the DJ lessons, as well.”

Well, Hakim, I think you’re dope!  I greatly appreciate you taking time out of your busy schedule to sit, and have a wonderful conversation with me.  I’m a huge fan of the arts, music especially… and opportunities that are being presented to me, are like a dream come true.  I joke a lot about my “age”, and being “old”, but at the end of the day, there is no age to inspiration.  I have been inspired beyond words, after this conversation.  I am on cloud 9, pursuing my dream, my passion … there’s just nothing more “dope”, if you will!! 😉

Please do yourself a favor, and check out DJ Prince Hakim this summer.  Whether it be at a Kool & The Gang Show, in the clubs, or taking some DJ lessons, you won’t be disappointed, that’s for damn sure!!

You can find more information on his website at www.djprincehakim.com, and in the words of Hakim, himself, “DON’T FORGET TO CELEBRATE LIFE!” Peace.

Let’s Rock For Character!

“Be respectful .. be loving ..  be happy.”

What’s your passion?  Do you have one?

For me, it’s writing.  This is my passion.  Spreading inspiration, creating imagery with words, taking your head to another place, even if for a little while … THAT’S my passion, with four kids, a husband, 6 chickens, 2 bunnies, a dog and a cat … That’s about as passionate as I get, these days … wink wink!!

Recently, I sat with Rocco Costanza, who is a 24-year-old ROCK STAR … well, at least locally, he is, but I promise you, please remember his name, because his talents are certainly going to pay off … maybe sooner than expected.  Rocco walked into my house, very confident with his dark Ray Ban Aviators on, his very cool, very stylish ripped jeans, hat on backwards, guitar in hand … ready to sit down and chit-chat.  I couldn’t help but to wonder … Was I that confident at 24?!

HELL NO!

Immediately, I admired him.  Was it the confidence I admired?  Yes, but that’s not all.  He was polite, respectful, talked to my youngest child as if he knew her forever … a rock star, but better!!

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In an earlier blog, I mentioned The Anti-Bully Squad, which was started by a friend of mine and my husband, Tom Peterson, along side Brandon McManus, from the Denver Broncos.  Well, Tommy also started another campaign back in 2000, along with an old buddy of his, Kyle Poyer, (small world) who is also from the area, but now resides in Anderson, IN.  Together, they have formed something called Rock For Character, and I’m on a mission, to be their voice, so they are heard!!

This campaign is AHHHMAZING! I’m a lover of writing first, but music is a very, very close second place!  For me, it’s my get-a-way from LIFE.  If I’m in a bad mood, I’m cranking up the tunes, because I know, that at some point while listening, my mood will change.  It’s magical.  Why is it magical?  WHO CARES WHY?! It just is, and that’s all that should matter, because I know that I’m not the only person this happens to.

Me:       “What was your favorite elective in elementary school?”
Rocco:  “It was music, and gym.”

For me, it was music.  I love to sing.  I’m a freaking rock star every day in my shower.  It’s an AMAZING show, too bad my family are the only ones to have the privilege of listening to SUCH awesomeness! wink wink!

Me:       “Why is it important to keep music in schools?”
Rocco:  “If music wasn’t in school when I was younger, I wouldn’t have had the desire to sing, and make music.”

He also went on to say that it was his MUSIC TEACHER, who taught him how to play the piano … in school … for free.  Did you hear me?! FOR FREE!! Yet, another, rather PHENOMENAL reason, to  PLEASE keep music in the schools!

What does this organization do?

They go into the schools. All schools. Elementary through college, and any event you can think of in between. They deliver a VERY clear message, by using music, and singing, to get the attention of the students, and staff.  Everyone loves music, or at the very least, they can appreciate good music.  Rock For Character, takes a young artist, guitarist, drummer, etc., and they start off by singing an inspirational song, more than likely a cover of a popular song, they already know … so this automatically engages the students.  When that song is done, the artist reaches out to the students, and speaks to them in a language they understand. I watched a video of this program.  I was instantly inspired.  They go on to sing another song, maybe a little riff on the guitar. They inspire some more, by speaking their language.  I was so inspired personally, that I have offered to help in ANY way I can, to “relay” this message, the best that I can.  So, I’m starting with this blog …

I’m sad to learn that it’s hard to get this program into OUR NJ Schools … I’m actually not sad, I’m freaking mad! Rock For Character (RFC), has no problem booking schools in PA, OH, CT, parts of NY State, and IN.  I’m not understanding what the problem is in OUR NJ Schools?!  To me, this is a no brainer!!!  RFC, has a motto, Keep your character in tune, one string at a time.  They also incorporate this six letter acronym (like a guitar has six strings) into their message, P.A.R.T.T.Y., however, not in the way you may think!

P=Passion, A=Attitude, R=Respect, T=Trust, T=Thoughtfulness,  Y=You

Rocco said, “It starts with you, and ends with you.”  It starts with your passion, your want and desire to do whatever you want, be whoever you want. They speak about attitude, respect, trust, all things that are very self explanatory.  Here’s where they tie in the Anti-Bully Squad, through THOUGHTFULNESS.  It makes sense, right?  Again, I’m echoing my sentiments in my previous blog, but bullying is getting out of hand, and it seems these children are getting younger and younger, and parents are fighting with schools for help with their depressed kid, and NO ONE IS DOING ANYTHING!!! WTF?!

PLEASE!! Let this organization into our schools!  It could save a life.  Not only has it been proven that this type of campaign can help to stop bullying, it can also help reach a kid who is thinking about dropping out, smoking tobacco, alcohol and drug abuse, teen pregnancy, violence, and other destructive behaviors or decisions.

Me:       “Rocco, what message is it that you, personally, want to convey to the younger audience?”
Rocco:   “Be respectful .. be loving ..  be happy.”

Hmmm .. Sounds a little familiar to me.  Again, echoing the sentiments of my previous blog, be anything, but MEAN!

You can all have the pleasure of seeing Rocco perform, this FRIDAY, JUNE 23rd, at a fundraising event, that a FIFTEEN YEAR OLD freshman, has put together for a classmate, whose family lost their house to a fire last month.  It’s being held at Horseshoe Lake, in Roxbury.  You can find more info here.  Please make sure to also stop by the Rock for Character website to check them out, along with the Anti-Bully Squad.

Everyone here is just trying to do the right thing, and spread the message.  Thank you to Tommy Peterson, and Rocco Costanza for swinging by, and having this conversation with me! I appreciate everything you guys are doing!

Me:       “Rocco, how important is it to be an honest, thoughtful person?”
Rocco:  “HONESTY is huge … from the fans, from the critics … It’s great to be honest, you don’t have to be mean.”

 

 

 

 

 

Serendipity.


I wasn’t looking ..
for someone like you;
I wasn’t looking ..
for anyone at all.
You came into my life ..
out of the blue;
And did something I thought ..
no one could do.
Like a vortex tornado ..
you shattered my wall;
A wall raised by me ..
for protection from all.
You are so different ..
I sense your loyalty;
Don’t ever give up ..
for it’s called, Serendipity!


 

Wow.

This is the man, I hunger to be mine.

I awake each morning,
With no one to hold.
For a day in New York City,
Has captured my soul.
Like fireworks that go off,
In the dark night time sky,
In an instant I knew,
I desired this guy.
A quick passing time,
Was all that we had,
I miss him, I want him,
It’s making me sad.
Astounding to me, impressive to him,
What hours of conversation had done.
For two unattached hearts,
Suddenly fluttering, as one. Continue reading “Wow.”