I can say as a musician, that sometimes you get so caught up in music and your career that you don't realize how time is slipping by. You don't realize the things that are happening around you and you don't think of the possibilities.. The possibilities of losing a loved one or something happening around you or to you because you're not paying close enough attention.
In the past year, all of that came to light in my life. I lost a lot of people that were close to me in different ways. My cousin was killed in a motorcycle accident two days after I was with him at a surprise birthday party for my Mother, my Father (who I hadn't talked to in years) passed away suddenly, and relationships with others ended drastically, catching me on my blindside and totally knocking me off kilter. All causing an extremely traumatic, painful year that I still feel as though I'm recovering from.
From these experiences, I've learned to to be thankful for life. Thankful to have another chance everyday I wake up. Thankful for the people that are in my life that are truly genuine, sincere, and care. Those that aren't selfish and that I don't have to question in ANY way. My Mother being beyond a PERFECT example of that. I've also learned to pay more attention to my surroundings and to follow what my heart and gut tell me, because they almost NEVER lie. In the past year I've learned so much about the words respect, trust, and integrity.... Three words that everyone should look up from time to time.
I've also learned what music means in my LIFE. How it affects it and how I should pay more attention to my life for the direction of my music. Charlie Parker said "If you don't live it, it wont come out of your horn". Although, I don't want to go through the things that have happened to me in the past year again, my eyes are wide open now and I certainly get it. Practicing everyday is one thing. Actually having a story to tell is another.
So to those of you that are artists and those of you that are not... I'd like to say.. be true. Honesty and sincerity always come through in music and are eventually revealed in life. The reason our heros like Lester Young, Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker, John Coltrane, Thelonious Monk, Billie Holiday, Charles Mingus, and Wayne Shorter were able to penetrate our souls was because they were sincere and honest in who they were. They didn't hide it in their personalities or their music. It was all one. Live life to the fullest and cherish the people that are TRUE to you, support you, and LOVE YOU. The ones that are always around, always there for you and you don't have to seek. They don't HAVE to be there and may not be there forever.