Friday, August 30, 2013

Warding Off The Evil Eye (As An Entertainer or Public Figure)

Do you believe in warding off evil spirits? Or do you think this kind of language is hocus-pocus? All I can say is that as an artist, I've been taking time out for myself lately to re-prioritize everything about my environment so that my art is coming from my higher, authentic self instead of from peer pressure to sell units by means of going against my true spirit.

It's a difficult balance to achieve. Sort of like the yin and yang. Where there is light, there are shadows and so we'd be foolish to ignore that instead of embracing and understanding it. If we are to appreciate a warm day, then we have to experience a cold day, therefore, embracing both sides of good and evil are necessary because both polarities exist in a world of duality. What does this have to do with being a successful artist? Everything.

There's a reason why they say, "What good is it for someone to gain the world and yet lose his soul in it?" At all times it is essential to stay grounded and level headed about who you are as a person. Popularity and fame can really get to ones head, which is why and how so many great artists experience hard losses and steep falls after making it to the top. To each their own, but I personally feel that one should never lose touch with their spiritual side (drowning out their intuitive & divine inner voice) to feed their impulses and adrenaline in the materialistic realm. How can our art, our music, our films, our work, and our messages lift up the human spirit & spark emotions to inspire if we "ourselves" are not in alignment with our higher self and the greater plan?

What's the greater plan, you might ask? No man is an island, although sometimes we forget that every decision we make is backed up by our actions which cause a ripple effect in the universe. What we do effects people around us - whether it's good or bad, great or horrible! Thus, because we are all connected to each other, it's important to be awake and conscious of what messages our art is sending, especially when artists (public figures) are influencing large audiences. Doesn't it make sense that if you we're created with a gift to "share" and grab the attention of an audience, then that must mean you are part of a greater plan? A plan to move people, to inspire people, to speak to people, to entertain people, to effect their mood and emotional well-being when your music is making them dance (if it's invigorating) or relax (if it's soothing). There is power in one person being able to command an audiences attention on stage - especially during a long concert!

With that being said, as we artists intract with the public by shaking hands, taking pictures after shows, being interviewed by journalists, and engaging with crowds during our performances, it's important to shield ourselves from possible negative energy because we don't know what people are releasing in those moments. (As I mentioned earlier, we'd be foolish to ignore the fact that light & darkness coexist in a world of duality) There are psychic debris whether we realize it or not. Thus, even us as artists are not perfect individuals either, and so we should be responsible with the kind of energy that we are giving off to the crowd. Are we suggesting that people beat each other up with our song lyrics, break families apart for one night of lust with the wrong person, or convince others that living selfishly according to our narcissistic egotistic lifestyles is cool? There's already enough music on the radio sending out messages with their strong, vibrational frequency, hypnotizing people under the influence of a good rhythm and catchy hook that when sung over and over, becomes as powerful as chanting. As I mentioned before, to each their own. But I'd like to think that as we tap into a higher power, pray often, and consider the fact that our decisions does effect others, that we use our talents to empower one another and truly make our mark in society as real artists that people respect.

Not every song or act may be conscious. Art is art. Therefore, part of what makes it special is that we don't censor the truth which sometimes isn't so positive. Sometimes we must purge and vent our frustrations through our music to make a point that something is disturbing or painful. Music and film has always been instrumental to revolutionary movements and even political or religious renaissance. Why stop now? I'm simply suggesting that it is more spiritually fulfilling to be a leader than a follower with your craft. Remember, it's your creation! That's why you are the artist. You are the painter, the composer, the director of your own image, career and destiny. So embrace all parts of yourself and stay authentic. Know that people will try to push and pull at you from all angels to make certain business decisions whether it's to market you according to their vision or sell units according to what they think will earn an immediate income. I say pray on all that you do, and make sure that you are proud of your work because after all, you were born (created) by something bigger than you & I with a purpose - which is part of a greater plan!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

No More Sugar Coating; Let's Be Real

How many times can one reinvent the self? Is it only at obvious, pivotal points such as after high school graduation, after thirty, after a divorce, after a recovery from an illness or major life crisis? Or is going through transformation a personal thing that is a unique experience for everyone?

For the most part, I know who I am and I'm comfortable in my own skin. I'm in my early thirties, I'm building a creative career that I love, I'm family oriented, I'm happily single and have amazing friends, and I love my apartment, including my pets! Mmmmm.... That sounds real nice, but it's not all true! Let the fun begin....

Although I love getting older and wiser, in my profession, (an artist singer/songwriter) women are expected to lie about their true age by saying that their much younger. "Knock off at least five years when you reveal your age", they say. So if I'm 32, I should make people believe that I'm 27. How insulting!!! I think, anyway. In my opinion, telling people your age is like telling people your ethnicity to be accepted by some group or audience. What it suggests is that they need to see how they will market & sell you to a specific demographic, and so if you can't be fit into a box that guarantees an audience's attention, then it's too risky to work with you. In other words, they need guarantees. And with younger girls (singers), they have more time to experiment with them, they're easier to manipulate and follow direction, and they appear more attractive, therefore have more longevity in the sex appeal department. Nevertheless, I hate lying about my age so I tend to keep it a secret. Although I'm getting quite sick of repressing my true self when I should be proud to be healthy, happy, and fabulous in my early thirties. Why lie about that?

Secondly... I mentioned that I'm building a career that I love... Well, yes, that's true. I love being creative. But I don't love how people step on toes to get to where they want to be. It really takes time before a persons true colors show. And after all, business is business - so they say. In fact, the higher up the ladder one climbs, the more one must take their time before saying "Yes" to presenting opportunities because they get trickier and more deceptive. Not to mention, the political relationships that you must nurture because if you piss off the wrong person, the consequences have a ripple effect that can last for a very long time. What's sadder, is that you can be a 100%, absolutely right!!! But it doesn't matter if you're right, because people don't want to burn bridges with certain influential power players, (who although they may be manipulative, cut throat & greedy) they still want a relationship with them! A slave to the master, if you will.

Here's one of my favorites! I said that I'm family oriented. Oh yes... I definitely am. But there are certain relatives whom I ADORE TO THE CORE (heart & soul), but then there are those who have been so toxic to my spirit, that they've literally infected my well being with stress & trauma. I don't hate them because I understand some of the reasons behind their personal spiritual battles, but I learned a valuable lesson: you can't get sick enough to heal someone else... (Quote from Dr. Wayne W. Dyer) Therefore, remove yourself from toxic environments so that you can heal yourself, even if that means staying away from certain family members who bring you down. Abuse of any form is never acceptable. So connect only with the relatives that empower you and forget about the ones who don't. They have their own journey to take.

Okay... Then I mentioned how I'm happily single and have wonderful friends!!! I have to laugh out loud for this one! Hahahaha... There, I got it off my chest! That's it...

No, I'm kidding. There's more. I highly love the friends I've built relationships with, but is it just me, or is it easier to maintain friendships than romantic relationships? Gosh... They're so much work. And the older I get, the less patience I have to stick around. I bask in my freedom, I love my alone time, and I even get things done faster and more efficiently when I do them alone. Or have I just gotten so used to being single, that I'm scared to share my time with someone? I've even feared the worst: Am I becoming overly judge mental? How can I learn to truly love another human being in a romantic relationship if I'm not sure if whether my standards are too high or too low? Where do I draw the line of compromise? And how do I find balance between giving and receiving? (Don't wanna be a doormat, but don't wanna be selfish either) I'm so used to having long conversations with the ladies, drinking wine and eating out, that they have substituted my need for a companion. As in... The opposite sex companion. Is that okay? Or am I missing something?

Last but not least... I mentioned how I love my apartment & my pets. Well yes!!! I've painted the kitchen walls lavender, and the living room is a sandy beige. I have wall pictures of colorful & exotic flowers, I have a hanging plant, bamboo window shades, pretty vases and a book shelf with my favorite titles. So my home is definitely cozy and suits my personality. (And I never put on my living room light because I only use my floor lamp & candles for a dim effect) But I fear... That as much as I squeeze & kiss my cats all day long, that I am suffocating them with my love because I live alone. Lol... It sounds funny but I'm not sure if it is. Shit, even they have each other! Yep, I have two cats that I adopted with my ex-boyfriend in Los Angeles, CA five years ago. When we split up, I brought the cats back with me to New York because I'm their mother, and there was no way I was parting ways with them. Since then, I've spent many holidays with them, Christmas, New Years, my birthday, and even Valentines Day! And what's crazy, is that one of the first things I ask guys on a date is, "Are you allergic to cats?" Because if they are, we might have a problem. Since the kitties are a part of my package ;) So... What makes a house (or an apartment) a home? The answer is simple: Love - starting with self-love... and in my case, my love has overflowed into my cats which makes us a family.

Now... Back to this spiritual transformational thingy. Since lately I've been a little unsatisfied with certain things in my life, I'm beginning to yearn for a change. An inner change. And I don't quite know how I'm going to embark on this adventure, but I do believe it starts with facing some of my fears and doing things that might make me feel a little uncomfortable. Isn't that a part of growth? First off, believe it or not, revealing my age in this blog was a little uncomfortable for me, partly because I don't work by myself and other people may have wanted me to keep my age a secret. Yes, the decisions I make effect other people too. But for Christ's sake!!! Why should a woman have to be ashamed of her age when it should be a celebration? And secondly, I've learned that the power of forgiveness is miraculous however, it takes two to forgive. So when it comes to dealing with relatives, if there are certain family members (1 or more) who are still holding grudges or haven't changed their ways, I no longer take full responsibility in trying to fix or heal a situation single handedly on my own. The only person I am responsible for is myself because I can't choose for other people. The choice is up to the individual. And my home... Well, lets just say that sometimes moving into a new neighborhood, a new city, or even with a new person can make all the difference in the world. I think I feel a change coming... And I think day by day, the universe is preparing me for it. What about you?

Monday, August 26, 2013

When our childhood has unfinished business

Watching Disney movies as a kid made me believe that perfect families existed. Or at least it gave me hope of what a healthy relationship looked like between relatives, friends, and companions. But today, as a single woman living in NYC, I've been learning that there is truly a thin line between living a perfect (fantasy) life, and embracing the life you naturally have, just perfectly (and realistically) fine.

I grew up an only child until my mother remarried and had my sister when I was thirteen. Before then, I lived in a house where I sat alone in my bed, listening to my parents argue on the floor below me. Most couples argue, which is nothing new. And by the time my parents sat me down to tell me that they were splitting, (I was 9 years old) a part of me was mature enough to accept it and adjust quickly to the change.

A few years later, after she remarried and had another baby, I grew extremely attached to my little sister who idolized me and yearned for my big sister affection. Having such a big age difference, I became somewhat of a second mother since I fed her bottles, changed her diapers, and gave her cute bubble baths when I was about fifteen. Nevertheless, although I had a ball with my kid sis - taking cute baby pictures, dancing in the living room together, and watching (YES!) watching Disney Cartoons with her when I'd baby sit, I always had this inner feeling of an overwhelming amount of responsibility. With my stepfather's relatives coming over for family dinners and holidays, I had subconsciously felt like an outsider who was living in my mothers house with her family, never really feeling like it was my home. I felt more like a string-along who had to fit into my mothers world, while I visited my real father & his family, (and even my mothers family) on my own time - separately.

Fast forward to today... I know plenty of adults who live perfectly normal, healthy, and rewarding lives that come from divorcees. But sometimes, I honestly can't help but wonder if my growing up the way I did has influenced why I'm still single. Maybe... Maybe not... As an artist, I love building a career that's creatively & emotionally charged, although I'm getting a little tired of thinking that its a "singles" career. Artists have such a spontaneous lifestyle - constantly meeting different faces whether its a fan or a potential business opportunity, doing shows for different audiences in different places, recording music or writing song lyrics at all times of the night, that the nature of show business can be pretty freedom-loving. It's very rare that you see power couples who stand the test of time, but there are a FEW! One of the most popular ones are Will & Jada Pinkett Smith; also Emilio & Gloria Estefan. Lord knows that I'd love to pick their brain about how they've remained glued together for all these years.

And for the single people who are artists, (or whatever profession their in) who have built a beautiful life, I wonder what their definition of home is? By no means am I suggesting a co-dependent relationship because there's absolutely nothing wrong with being single! (We should all be comfortable with being our own best friend; self love is divine) but isn't it true that everyone needs a support system? Call it a family if you will, or a team... Or a circle of friends. But everyone needs a group of people that they can depend on. No?

I definitely have a nice circle of professional team members who I've formed a beautiful bond with. Certain music producers, photographers, editors, fashion stylists, jewelry designers, video directors and so on who I work with but also trust, confide in, and share special moments with such as birthday celebrations and so on... But I'm just hoping that I don't remain too chicken shit for too long when it comes to matters of the heart. One thing I vowed is to never go through a divorce. Some people have no problem jumping into marriage because they don't wanna live with regret. So they'd rather try and fail then to never try at all. Well, I can't see myself treating marriage as a test. But I also don't wanna think that living in a bubble (by myself) is easier, safer, and more fulfilling. Although relationships are not perfect (Thanks Disney!) I wouldn't trade creating a love nest for a life of playing it safe, single. I also won't rush such a sacred commitment like marriage for the sake of tying the knot. In fact, perhaps becoming perfectly fine with the life I already have will attract the right companion (who doesn't need a title, or an obligation, or an expected result to come from it), because a little bit of love can go a long way...

As far as feeling like the outcast when I was younger goes... (and I left a lot of stuff out) Family has more to do with unity and togetherness, trust and love, understanding and forgiveness, then it has to do with blood - or having a document ie. marriage certificate. Because real love can be found in the rarest of places with the people you least expect, over time, with memories built, and when spontaneity (the magic of life) is let in.

Does art imitate life, or does life imitate art? What would family guy say? Lol

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

BEAUTY (Inside/Out)

 How Our Inner Beauty Manifests Into Our Outer World

Singer/Songwriter Jasmine Clemente (Gown by Fjc Designs)
Beauty is pleasing to the eye; however, if what's inside the image you see before you is rotten, then it is only a matter of time before its stench and ugliness will be revealed.

Everything that's hidden in darkness will eventually be brought to light.

True beauty is mostly found in rare places. For example, even super models have imperfections, and yet those imperfections are their trade marks! Such as one model having a gap in between her front teeth that sets her apart from the rest, or having a noticeable mole on her cheek that stands out, or freckles, a long nose, thick eyebrows, the list goes on! On the outer realm, it is those unique features on a person that is most attractive to photographers, potential companions, and the world. It's always been that way so don't be fooled by a false perception of perfection.

The issue is that after the make-up, hair, and wardrobe is on, we see such a stunning creature that the long nose or big ears are no longer the center of attraction because the woman is so fixed up. (The same goes for men) So what I'm trying to say is... instead of trying to hide something that you might believe to be a "Flaw", embrace it! 

Movie actresses, Politicians, Models, and all kinds of high profile public figures have been categorized in society as an elite class because of their widely recognized publicized accomplishments, but I assure you - they are not better or more beautiful than anyone else. Though it might appear that way with smoke & mirrors, they, us, we, are of the same human species. 

Here's a small back drop of my story growing up. In my culture, (Puerto Rican) Latinos tend to be more attracted to voluptuous women with fairly thick thighs, a nice rump, curvy waste, and big breasts. (Different from the European culture that like pencil stick, thin women) Well, guess what? Growing up, I was that pencil stick, thin girl who got teased for being bony, like a skeleton! I tried to eat a little more so I could gain weight and fill out in certain places, but it wasn't the way my body was proportioned. On top of that, I had big ears, curly eyebrows, and crooked teeth. That's right! I was the ugly duckling who grew up to be a swan. But take notice, I didn't shrink the size of my earlobes, or change my body shape. I did however, tease and shape my eyebrows at the beauty salon as most women do, plus, the braces that my father paid for worked wonders after straightening out my smile! Lord knows how much I love to laugh!

The point I'm trying to make out of all this is to embrace your outer beauty by highlighting and enhancing it. I don't use cosmetics to cover up my face, I use it to enhance my natural beauty - the key word here is beauty! You are beautiful. We all are. But what separates us from the fabulous and the not-so-fabulous, is the way we OWN IT! Do you feel that only skinny women are gorgeous? If so, look at how beautiful Oprah Winfrey & Jill Scott are. Those women have such a vibrant glow about them that it'd be impossible to deny their attractiveness. They are successful, optimistic, stylish, confident, talented, warm hearted, and influential women! And yes, it shows in the way they dress, walk, talk, and look. Do you think that taller women are sexier? If so, check out Gloria Estefan  and Paula Abdul who's only five foot, one inch height. They''re absolute beauties for more reasons than one! Image is important; it always has been. The thing that's even more important however, is the beauty you possess inside - because it will show!!! More than you know!!!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

A Woman & Her Hair

I wish I had the discipline for daily blogging, but sometimes projects come up and I get pushed back a few days. Don't we all!? Better late then never. Two days ago, my friend & hairstylist, Nicholas James Rivera-Miller, (A.K.A. Nico) invited me to the salon, DRY BAR, in Murray Hill NYC to blow out my naturally curly hair straight. Not only was the location beautiful - with top notch service, offering me a choice of wine, sparking water, coffee or tea - but Nico did an amazing job! 

I've always loved working with him because he talks to his clients like a best friend, dishing out all that girl talk while I sit in the chair venting, sharing, and having a good laugh. Nico's styled my hair before for previous photo shoots as well as for my previous video release party for "Everything You Need". I highly recommend Nico to women with all textures/types of hair because he knows what he's doing. Till next time ladies; stay beautifully blessed! (Inside & Out) 

(Dry Bar NYC)

Friday, August 9, 2013

The Uncategorized Artist


Singer / Jasmine Clemente
Everyone's heard of conscious artists, rock artists, hip hop artists, local artists, mainstream artists, etc. There seems to be a category that artists are expected to fit into so that marketers know which demographic audience to target sales. Business as usual.

So... which artist are you?

Well, let me start first by saying what type of artist I am: I'm true to myself.

I'm the type of artist who understands that there is a formula that works, however, I implement my own unique ideas into the business structure of selling units. For example, if a catchy hook has been proven to generate more revenue because it's easier for people to remember, then I'll keep that in mind for some songs, but I still write my own lyrics, still create my own concept, and still put my own spin on things.

I don't always use catchy hooks either. In fact, I have 2 unique songs that don't have hooks at all. A little unheard of, right? They're "Soul Mate" and "Unresolved". Then of course, I have plenty of songs with catchy hooks like "So In Love" and "Wanting More". I must admit, catchy hooks work for a reason! But enough about chorus's & hooks... This entry is more about why it's important for an artist to refill their creative well so that they're creative juices never run dry. 

There will be times that audiences will love your music (or art) and there will be times they won't. They'll also be times when investors and record labels will be dying to take you under their wing, and they'll also be times when you'll get nothing but rejection. Yet the point is to remain true to yourself. The minute you start altering your craft to fit into a certain category or stay signed to a certain record label to please others, you'll lose your spark, your magic! That stuff that all artist have - uniqueness. 

The trick is to balance both worlds of business and creativity. Remember that the best art usually comes from the deepest places of your soul, and often times it's not even recognized or appreciated until after the originator dies or gets old. Life is weird that way.

Therefore, sometimes it's not you who needs to change. But it's the rest of the world that needs to catch up to your vision! (Notice, I used the word vision) Usually when one person comes up with an idea, sound, or yes - vision, their not the only one with this concept because great minds think alike. It's like there's a magnetic wavelength that falls from the heavens and blankets the earth. The ones who are clear, optimistic, and open to receiving this energy usually get inspired - as if a light bulb went off in their head. And though they may be far & few, there still are... A FEW. 

So if you have some great ideas, or some gut feeling about doing something crazy with your art that takes you out of the box, don't be afraid to create it out of fear that you won't make money or that people won't understand. It takes time for evolution to occur. And as we all know, artists have a reputation for being innovators who influence society and future generations with their courage to be different.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Lyrics to Rattle the Soul "SOUL MATE" (South Africa)

So much music; it's over saturated. Millions or billions, perhaps even trillions - (no exaggeration), of music to find on line. What separates you from the rest? For me, it's not a competition but let's be realistic: We want to sell records. Artists, that is. And with a simple, catchy hook that rings repeatedly inside of someone's mind, you got yourself a winner - hooking your listeners in! 

However, I wrote a song that doesn't have the conventional hook that we're all used to hearing. If you google & listen to my single, "Soul Mate", you'll know what I mean. It's a song that I recorded with South African producers, Maqabe & Mbali, on Qabecity Records. 

From across the globe to NYC, I'm performing this song that I took a risk with - writing lyrics that don't have the normal, catchy hook because instead I chose to write lyrical metaphors that intertwine worldwide traveling with how far a soul mate's radar can actually reach. Meaning... that whether you live near the equator (In South America), or by Niagra Falls (In Canada), or by the Red Sea (In Israel), you're soul mate can feel you from distances away because that's how strong the connection is. 

I wrote the song wanting to give people something to think about while dancing to it. I could've wrote very simple lyrics, but the internet is already over saturated with mindless music just as much as TV is over saturated with mindless reality shows. Thus, for me it's not solely about making popular music to be famous or sell top chart records - as much as it's about making real music with real substance.

Nevertheless, last month in July I performed, "Soul Mate", at Babble In The Bronx's 3 year anniversary amongst a great line up of Spoken Word Poets, Singers, and MC's who appreciate real content over commercialized tunes. Now, I'm not putting down commercial tunes because I'd be lying if I say that I don't dance to them in night clubs or during fun celebrations, but I believe that every artist has a certain crowd (audience/demographic) to tap into. At Babble, you're going to get the type of crowd that wants to hear something authentic, straight from the gut that will provoke deeper thoughts, challenge the mind, touch the heart, and rattle the soul.