It's officially fall again! Quick update: EP is dropping soon so stay tuned, and I have some upcoming shows that you can view on the home page. For years I've always asked you faithful followers to "stay tuned," but just one more month and you'll finally hear what I've been given the tools to finally bring to fruition.
In New York City time flies way too fast. So fast, that I honestly cannot believe that I haven't posted in almost a year. In a way it feels like it has been only a month, and in a way it feels like three years. I never thought that I would have been away from my grind for so long. In the last year, I performed a couple more times, moved to another apartment, recorded a Christmas song (posted under the audio tab!), received a promotion, began to focus on managing, at one point stopped pursuing music all together, and pretty much had to figure out where my mind was at.
As of this spring, I've made some changes and have more time to focus on and pursue music. I've been back in the open mic game, and I'm pumped to get back at that and recording original material this summer. I know I've said this for years now, but stay tuned guys. I have new music being recorded. It may not be released as soon as this summer, but if you follow me on Instagram ( @dovi_j ) you'll not only see my open mic grind, but you'll see the new music that's in the works.
"SPIRIT LEAD ME WHERE MY TRUST IS WITHOUT BORDERS
It's indescribable to see the ways in which God is working. It's simply amazing to see His power in the church, in His community, and the way in which He opens our eyes. Since moving to New York City I've become stronger in my faith. I honestly did not think that would be the case, but it has been. God has shown in myself in too many ways to count and even more ways to try and remember.
There is much power in the name of Jesus, and I can't wait to see what God is doing.
As far as my original music has been going, I have been experiencing so much growth! To me, it's more about quality as opposed to quantity. In other words, I have five original songs that I have written on my loop pedal that I have been working on for the past couple of months. My goal for the next two years is to perfect these songs. Upon moving to New York, I thought that I would be writing and releasing songs by the bundles. Towards the beginning of this year, my mind started to take a different route. I concluded that I were to practice, record, mix, and master, only FIVE songs for the next two years, and put most of my attention into them, I can adequately give these songs everything that I have.
What's next for me as far as performing goes? Subway! Subway performances are next. I'm planning on playing in the mezzanine area at the 14th Street / Union Square subway station. I don't know how I will be received, but what better way to put yourself out there then to place yourself in the foot traffic of millions of people.
Happy Friday, Readers and Listeners
Last night I performed an open mic at Under St. Marks Theater. The stage is perfect for the sounds of my loop pedal. No feedback, and just enough natural reverb. After finishing up, I texted my friend Skyler (www.skychoicemusic.com) and told him how the open mic went. Here's a snapshot of the text, and a glimpse into how last night went:
I performed a new original "Waterfall" live, all the way through, loop, piano, verses, everything, and it went very well. I gave away business cards and my Instagram. I also received a beautiful introduction on the way up, and a gracious send off when I finished. Tonight God said to me "Just keep going. You're just now scratching the surface." Tonight was really nice encouragement for what I know will now be another stretch of quiet crowds, mediocre harmonies, and technical difficulties. It's nights like these where after stumbling five steps back, I take one giant stride forward. The stride doesn't bring me forward past the steps that I've stumbled, but that's not the point. The point is that a stride was made. And that's how we move forward.
I'm a firm believer in the idea that prayer changes things. Many times in life we come across situations where our first instinct is to judge. When I say "we," I am of course, implying myself. I have to be careful in jumping to conclusions about people even when everything appears as though it adds up. But what Jesus calls us to do is love and pray. I have to pray for others. I hope my brothers and sisters are praying for me too.
This life is a complicated one, because there are so many angles that it can be approached from:
Everybody has their own story
Everybody has their own distinct past
Everybody has their own skeletons, which in turn may affect how they act
Everybody has their own outlook on situations
Everybody has a side to a story
Everybody hears a story just a little bit differently
Everybody is the hero of their own story
I deeply believe that we're all trying to make it. We're all trying to feel loved. We're all trying to search for love. We want to connect and we want to feel appreciated.
As one of my favorite songs by Tasha Cobbs goes: "There's power in the name of Jesus to break every chain." What a powerful Name it is, and what a beautiful Name it is.
I'm working on loving my neighbors more, without any barriers. Unconditionally. Now, this mindset doesn't mean that you let people walk over you. Sometimes, "love" is correction, and/or rebuke. Love can take many forms, but I believe the root of it is God. In other words, I try to love my neighbor as God loves us. Of course God's love is immeasurable, but I believe that it is our duty to strive to imitate that. Man, I've spat in God's face so many times. And He still loves me. Unconditionally. Literally, without any conditions. That's how we should love others.
In short, we pray for our neighbors, because we love our neighbors. We pray for our enemies, because we love our enemies.
Over the summer, before moving to New York, some of my friends and I decided to go cliff diving in a nearby valley. After hiking for a while through brush, the trees opened up to a wide expanse of green. It was breathtaking. Blades of grass periodically leaned side to side as the gentle breeze ran past them. The assemblage of rocks and boulders resembled that of a shallow fortress that we had had the pleasure of entering from above. Individually, we leaped from the top of the fortress into the ice-cold water below. When it was my turn to jump, I took off my clothes, and leaped into the water. Up until that point, I was never really one to take off my clothes, and I had also only cliff-dove once. But hey, what not take chances.
Taking chances in life is crucial. It's important to step outside of your comfort zone and take a leap of faith. For starters, it is a great way to grow. Secondly, it gives you practice on how to handle change.
Be confident today. Step outside of your comfort zone.
Say hello to someone.
Smile at them
Say "I appreciate you"
Go live on Facebook and stream one of your talents
Read your poetry out loud to friend
Read your poetry out loud to a crowd
Read your poetry out loud to yourself
Give yourself a high five
Laugh at your jokes
Clap when the clouds move and the sun comes back out
Believe you are worthy of God's love
I know I sound cliche,
But you might be stronger than you think
Give thanks at least 10 times today
Talk to your Creator
"By Your Grace I am Saved
By Your Power Set Free"
This past month, I have been on a journey of self-confidence and self-discovery. I lack confidence in many areas, and I've been hoping to change that. On Sunday, I went to Hillsong Church, and it was amazing. Usually I'm uneasy when it comes to "mega-churches," but pastor Carl really preached a good message. He spoke about confidence, and how, if we claim to believe in our all-powerful God, when we lack self-confidence we're actually lacking God-confidence. That nervousness can, in a way, be tied to selfishness because we think that everything's on our shoulders. In reality, it's all dependent on God's will, and I need to trust Him more. I need to be more confident in my music, relationships, and everything else, because I need to trust that God is working through me, with me, on me, and for me.
I'm also trying to become comfortable in my own skin. That in itself has been an ongoing struggle. I'm a very excitable, quirky person, and there are times when I really wish that I wasn't. Though I actively attempt to "tone it down" on a daily basis, my crazy side refuses to go to sleep. What I also gained from the message on Sunday was that God loves me. I know, it's sounds cliche. But goodness, guys. He loves me. He loves all of us. I'm trying to accept that, and become comfortable in who I am. I can't change my crazy, so I'm learning to accept it. In lieu of that, here's a video of me dancing and being goon. Being myself. Enjoy.
My parents showed me this video a little over a decade ago. It's a long video, but it's so powerful. During his speech, he correlates "wanting to be successful" with "wanting to breathe," and then mentions asthma. Having asthma myself, his anecdote really hits home for me. This is where I learned that Beyonce forgot to eat for 3 days once, because she was so focused on her music haha
"Let yourself be seen, deeply seen, vulnerably seen
Connection = It's why we're here.
If you have 15 minutes, take a look at Brene Brown's Ted Talk. Sure, it's a long YouTube video, but it really dives deep into the power of vulnerability and connection. This really speaks true to me.
She really dives into discomfort, and what may be the root of it. I do disagree on her point on religion though, because as a Christian I believe my faith to be Truth and not just "a possibility." Other than that, please take at least 3 minutes to watch the beginning.
Happy Humpday, and have a good week!
Well folks, I performed my first show while living in New York! I actually haven't played a show since December of 2015. It was so great to get out there and play a show again. The set consisted of piano pieces, vocal pieces, and acapella pieces on the loop pedal. Though there wasn't much of a crowd, I think that I performed well.
I performed at a new venue in the Lower East Village called The VNYL (Vintage New York Lifestyle) and I was so honored. Great food, great staff, and great cocktails. They have live music on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and I'm so blessed to have been able to perform last night.
Tonight, Wednesday the 11th, I'll be heading down to The Late Late bar off of 2nd Avenue to perform at their Wednesday Open Mic.
Cheers to performing!
Whoever you are, wherever you are, keep pushing. Keep striving. Take that resistance as inspiration.
Get to work.
First they ignore you,
Praise the Lord that I made it another year :)
Exactly one year ago, I posted a blog update. Part of it read:
"Knowing myself, I can see myself looking back at this post as 2017 rolls around. Will I have come leaps and strides from when I made this post? Will I have begun to grow into the artist that I believe I could be? In roughly 365 days I could either be viewing this post as a depressant (due to my comfortability and lack of effort over the upcoming year), or I could be viewing it saying, "That.....that is where I began. That is where it all started."
I could never thank the Lord enough for what he for me this year.
1.) This time last year I hadn't even thought of using a loop pedal
2.) This time last year I hadn't thought of the name "Dovi J"
3.) This time last year I was trying to graduate college
4.) I had no clue that I would be moving to New York City
5.) I had no clue that I would have business cards
The list can go on and on, but I would just start talking in circles. I'm blessed to have met all of my co-workers. I'm blessed to have made a musician friend here. I'm blessed to be in a financial state where I can load up on Cliff Bars weekly and pass them off to the homeless.
Who knows what 2017 will hold? As long as my God is the pilot, it will be something beautiful.
At my on-campus job during the summer of 2014, my boss was not only a pretty chill person, but is a fountain of knowledge. He speaks the kind of messages that could probably change the viewpoint of an entire nation, but our scatterbrained society would not only be inable to harbor the patience to hear said words, but wouldn't even have the willpower to sit still for five minutes straight. Every now and again I would record him speaking. We could be on a job, cleaning an apartment with the crew, or just walking, and he would just start giving us insight on something. Here is one of the recordings that stood out to me:
I asked, "Taylor, if you were to have kids, what three lessons would you teach them?" He said, "Easy. Integrity, Self Respect, and Living Each Day Like it is Truly Your Last"
"Integrity. You mess up, you need to step up and man up to it. Nobody’s going to bail you out and nobody should be expected to bail you out. You have to man up. That’s number one. When you have that integrity, the rest of life is worth living because you won’t make bad decisions, knowing that you’re the only one accountable for it. My parents did drugs when they were young, my mom stole a car, etc. They did not forbid me to do things when I was young, and did not forbid me to make bad decisions. They told me, “You alone are responsible for anything you do. If you end up in jail, call for pizza for your cellmates because we’re not getting you out.”
The second thing, is that you have to respect yourself. I mean seriously, you have to respect yourself. If you don’t’ respect yourself, then you’re not going to respect anyone around you. If you have self-loathing, then you are going to hate other people around you, no matter what. If you don't like yourself, you won’t like the things about yourself that you see in other people. So you have to respect yourself.
Nobody is guaranteed tomorrow. You can die of a heart attack, you can die of carbon monoxide poisoning, or you could have an aneurism tonight and die. Have you lived your life to the fullest every day? I’m not talking about being risky or being stupid because you’re living like every day is your last, but if you put something off with the idea of “later”, that “later” becomes “never”, the older you get. You need to live your life every day like it is the last day, and make it fulfilling. Think about it, little things. My apartment is always clean, because if I died, I wouldn’t want to have somebody have to come in and clean up my mess. My finances are always sorted because I don’t’ want someone to have to come in and pay for me after I die. I live every day to the fullest I can, within my means. I don’t take off every day to travel the world, because it would cost a fortune, and that turns into somebody else’s burden if I die. But I don’t deny myself things that I want. If you have a passion to do something, don’t put it off; do it. If you want to do something and put it off, and wake up the next day still wanting the same thing, then it needs to be done."
Happy first day of winter, readers and listeners!
Here is a very intriguing video that I stumbled upon. In this video, author Laura Doyle tells the audience her view on 'Accepting a Compliment.' Admittedly, one of my weaknesses is truly accepting compiliments, but I'm working on it!
Good afternoon, readers and listeners! What does success mean to you? To me, success is doing what you love. To me, success is not even "making it" to where you strive to be, but is found in the active pursuit of your goal. I think we can find success in many things. Our work, our schooling, our relationships, or our dreams and aspirations. For me in my life, success is following God's plan, being able to support myself fiscally while performing and writing music, and somehow helping the orphaned children of this world. Usually I feel like I am successful in my pursuit, but each day is different. Sometimes I wonder why I'm even pursuing music, and some days I feel like there is nothing I can do BUT keep going.
Success can mean many things . . . just know that as long as you are actively working toward it, you love it, and aren't stepping on anybody's toes while doing it, you're a success :)