Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Road to hell...

I've heard that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Well for me, the further down the rabbit whole I travel, the more this shit is true. Ask me how? Because since I was a child, I've dreamt of becoming the type of singer whose lyrics would touch and inspire audiences, but within these past few years as I've set out to do just that, I've encountered more drug users then I ever could've imagined in the entertainment industry.

Sex, drugs and rock & roll is definitely not the path I wanted to take. In fact, I'm not a huge fan of rock & roll but I don't despise it either. Music is music and it consists of the right to exercise our freedom of expression. However... My god... I'm floored by how many drug users seem to be in the club, at the concerts, and even in the big studios when you're trying to record an album! And the most challenging part for me is not even when the audience members do what they do, but it's when the industry professionals you network with try to lure you into their circle of influence by saying, "Everyone does it."

Are you kidding me? Is this an after-school special where the most popular kids are trying to peer pressure me into being cool? It's one thing to use drug substances at your own private discretion, but when you start inviting others to join in on a dangerous activity that has the potential for self-destruction, then you're not adding value to someone else's life, you're taking away. But some people don't see it that way. When you have high fashion models snorting lines of cocaine, DJ's doing the same inside of booths, Promoters, Artists, Managers and Booking Agents (you name them cause the list goes on) all getting down, you begin to question what the hell you've gotten yourself into?

Now I'm not an angel. I drink. In fact I love to do what they call social-drinking. As a matter of fact, I even drink a bottle of wine when I'm in a studio booth recording music - usually dimming the lights low to get me in the mood. So I get it. People have different ways of calming down or staying up, like drinking coffee because of the caffeine. But shit... Really? Cocaine is that damn popular in show business? Due to my willingness to not mess with that stuff, I've had to walk away from working with certain individuals. But it wasn't easy. People are not robotic machines that you can just turn off when you feel like saying goodbye. People have feelings and emotions, they make mistakes, they fall and they get back up. But as a professional, the truth is that sometimes we have to be cold and straight forward. The same way that a TV Show Director would fire an Actor for messing up on set or an Artist would fire their manager for mishandling their career, is the same way I feel about working with people using drugs. And that's my prerogative! But go figure - Bobby Brown made a hit song called "My Prerogative" and yet became one of the biggest coke heads in Hollywood, even dragging the mega super star Whitney Houston down the tubes with him. (So much for his choice in free will) In fact... That's a perfect example. Only it's heartbreaking that someone else had to suffer in order for us to realize how badly drugs can effect an Artist's performance, reputation, peace of mind, spiritual and mental health. At this point, after all of the information that's out there on this subject, drugs just shouldn't be an option.

My purpose for this blog entry today is because I want readers to know that if you happen to be walking through hell, then keep going! And when you see your brothers and sisters abusing these toxic substances as if it's just another normal thing to do, know that it's not normal even if the biggest names in Hollywood are doing it. (And we've all heard horror stories from Artists such as Hector Lavoe, Natalie Cole and Whitney Houston, etc.) So really, don't be foolish enough to follow the crowd. Lead it.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


I read a controversial yet sweet poem to a crowd of Brooklynites just a few nights ago on Saturday, September 10th at an open mic called VIBES TO TOUCH held at the TBD lounge in Greenpoint, BK. Although the hosts, Wiseguy and Gaston Thomas, introduced me as a Performing Artist / House Singer because that's what I am, I've never recited one of my poems before - which for me, was exploring new territory.

House Singer & Spoken Word Artist, Jasmine Clemente
The first spoken word poet to go up was, Versatile, who shared a dark, urban tale in a poetic fashion, expressing raw emotion with passion and pain. Immediately after her is when I was called to the stage. (Well, not a real stage; it was the center of the lounge area complete with a tall, evergreen floor plant) All eyes were on me as I began reading the first few lines of my poem centered around the magic of Children. (And since it was a grown & sexy crowd, I knew there had to be a few parents in the room.) I don't know how, but somehow I'd managed to gain everyone's attention, and through the silence in the atmosphere, I could feel the audience hanging onto my every word until I had left them with a cliff hanger - perhaps for them to either fly away with a new perspective on how we view our children, or fall back into the reality they might've known prior to hearing my words. The purpose of my piece was to inspire people even more than they already are by our precious little jewels who hold the future in their hands.

In addition to the many other poets who were featured after me, there was also an acoustic guitar singer named, Joshua Torrez, who rocked a great performance, especially after singing, "It's A Man's World", by James Brown. He got everyone's attention after rocking that jam, not to mention the females who jumped out of their seats while singing along, "But it would be nothing,  nothing, without a woman or a girl." Of course! I clapped and whistled!

Art Work Created By Michelle Marin
Art work was also displayed all over the lounge, adding an extra flare of creative zest to the scene. Above is a picture of one of my favorite features of the night which was created by Michelle Marin. If you look closely, beside the bird is a message embedded inside of the heart: LOOK STRAIGHT. NOT DOWN AND NEVER BACK.