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Do You Know Who You’re Voting For?

By | culture, Faith, politics | 6 Comments

I’ve spent alot of time in my car this month. Alot of time thinking, listening to the radio, and worrying about the future of the country. 14 days and 40 hours of driving in any normal circumstance usually brings clarity on life- personal problems, conversations gone wrong, or awkward moments that didn’t make sense at the time but now make total sense in hindsight…you get the point.

But I have no answers for you right now. No true clarity. Just opinions and thoughtful concerns that hopefully you’ll consider as we move towards November 8th.

Act justly. Love mercy. Walk humbly.

These very words have defined my year. Not just because I finished and released a song about it that took 4 years to write, not just because of the cool media coverage that came from the NPR Tiny Desk contest feature (if you wanna watch the original song and submission, you can check it out here). But more than anything I’ve found myself hanging my head lower and lower with each news report of a Philando Castile, a Flint, Michigan, or a Wells Fargo incident. Nothing surprises me anymore. If anything I’ve traded my surprise in for sadness (i hate to admit).

I remember sitting in a lecture at the Summit for Change in D.C. this past June listening to Bryan Stevenson break down the inequities of the criminal justice system. A rigged system with a disproportionate number of minorities involuntarily feeding a corrupt, money-making prison industry. I remember his words clearly:

We have a system of justice in this country that treats
you much better if you’re rich and guilty,
than if your’e poor and innocent.

It’s true.
Which brings us to November 8th. And for me, it all comes down to Bryan Stevenson’s words; because how we filter those words through our worldview determines exactly how we filter this ultimate truth of how we are to live:

Act justly, love mercy, walk humbly.

I’m not naive. I know most of the people reading this aren’t Christians and probably don’t recognize those words as Biblical text or an ultimate truth. I also realize there are alot of people who don’t hold justice, mercy, or humility as top priority…and I’m not faulting anyone for this. Some people are seriously just trying to pay their rent, put food on the table, raise kids who aren’t drug addicts, and keep their families together. Some people seriously aren’t thinking about saving the world or being Mother Teresa. And y’know I think that’s most of us  on most days – myself included.

But here’s the real problem.

The problem with America isn’t that we lack bankers who are competent with money, or people who know how to install lead-free pipes, or cops who can police fairly. It isn’t that our judicial systems are understaffed or filled with judges and lawyers who don’t know the law or how to use it properly. We don’t have a problem with under-educated college graduates who don’t know how to use their knowledge (at least I hope we don’t if we’re dropping 20k a year on tuition). No, the real problem with America is us. It’s our hearts. Corrupt hearts, love of money, love of self, pride, self preservation, turning a blind eye to injustice, living and maintaining our perfect little bubbles of normalcy and homogeny. Safe little bubbles where everyone looks like me, talks like me, and thinks like me. Give a sh–  only when I’m getting paid to, go to church so I can say I’m a good person, put in my time at work and get paid for doing the maximum when I only did the minimum, give to charity so I can feel better about myself, the list goes on and on.

If you want to know the measure of a man (man used in general terms here) don’t look at where he spends his money but how he spends his time. Who is he in public and, more importantly, in private. If you want to know the integrity of a man, listen to what others say about him. His reputation will precede him. Do you find trash or treasurer? If you want to know the character of a man, spend time on his history. Find out where he’s been, what he’s done, what he cares about and who he associates with.  If you want to know the heart of a man, listen to him talk. When he speaks does he encourage others, embody hope, admit fault, or tear down those around him and criticize others’ mistakes while diminishing his own?

By now (if you’re even still reading) I’m sure it’s no secret that I’m not a fan of Donald Trump.
As someone who often finds myself in the in-between about nearly everything, I’ve looked at this from every angle. I should also add that I do not consider myself a political person and literally left the room every time my sister would turn the news on for the first 8 months of this year. But eventually I gave in. And after giving in, and doing some listening, watching, and evaluating, I settled on something I’ve known for years:

Leadership has very little to do with competence and everything to do with character.

While knowledge is important, it only requires a very small sacrifice of absorbing information and regurgitating it when necessary. Good character, however, cannot be manufactured overnight. It is a life-long pursuit that demands  Wisdom (experiential knowledge), Honesty (not to be confused with blunt cynicism), Respect (not just for those in the same tax bracket), and Inspiration – because the people you are appointed to serve and the people who work under you want to believe in you and to be proud of you. They actually want to see your face on TV and not loath you or have a visceral reaction every time you open your mouth. Believe it or not, your people actually want to like you.

So let me break it down.

Nobody likes Donald Trump. Nobody as in 95% of the population (don’t quote me on this. Just a random guess).  Alot of people, especially those voting for him would never admit that he might be sexist, racist, xenophobic, and a narcissist (which, believe it or not, is the hardest one for me to deal with).  The truth is though, most of the people voting for Donald Trump, are not actually voting for Donald Trump the man. They are voting for Donald Trump the place-holder for the Republican Party. Which means they’re voting for the platform, not the person. As someone who comes from a very conservative background, knows a lot of conservatives, and still holds many conservative opinions, I get it. You want a party that shares and enforces many of the convictions you hold. As someone who is unapologetically pro-life, I get it. I really do.

But here’s what I don’t get.

I don’t get the insults, the degradation, the humiliation, the hatred, the sheer disregard and lack of respect for others, the proud, unabashed responses to accusations of wrong-doing. I don’t understand a heart that refuses to show respect for those he vows to serve, or empathy (key word) for those he vows to advocate for.  Most of all, my heart breaks for a Church that wholeheartedly stands by in support. My heart breaks for a Church that has now embraced a double-standard in our country – quick to call out sin but just as quick to ignore it in the case of Donald Trump. Were he running as a Democrat, this would be a completely different story.

I also find it hilarious, but again not surprising, that a culture that so readily objectifies women through its mass media is so quick to point a finger at Donald Trump because it’s convenient. Let’s not forget the billion dollar industry of pornography that quietly runs through the veins of our country. And nobody’s talking about it. Nobody! A lot of double standards here. This is one big game of convenience and everyone is losing.

Back to the Church.

Forgiveness. As Christians it’s what we do (or try to do), but as believers the very call on our lives is to be Christ-like. What does that mean? It means you’re washing everyone’s crusty feet even though you’re the most important person in the room. It means you stop to feed 5000 people when they should be cooking you dinner. It means you might actually be God’s gift to mankind but still you sacrifice yourself b/c you’d rather be slaughtered than see your own people suffer. That’s leadership. 

If we are not a people who can be brought down to our knees in humility, who can be shaken by injustice and compelled to address it, who can extend a hand of grace and mercy to those in need, we are not truly the Church nor should we support those who opportunistically embrace conservative political views for the sake of winning a race.  Because that’s what going on here. Tell the truth ya’ll! 

Of course, Donald Trump does not represent all or most Christians. And neither do the major Christian media outlets. Also realize that those voting for Donald Trump aren’t ‘bad’ people or bad Christians and the ones voting for Hilary Clinton aren’t the ‘good’ Christians.

Hillary Clinton?

Again, I’m not naive. I know this woman has as many battle scars and badges of honor as she does bad moves, bad decisions, and bad judgement. She’s been in the game a long time and knows how to keep a poker face. There is alot of stuff in Hilary Clinton’s history that I don’t like. Maybe in another post and another time I will talk about Margaret Sanger, eugenics, compulsory sterilization in ethnic communities through the mid 80s, and the history behind what we now know as the pro-choice movement…because history is everything and there are alot of things we aren’t talking about. And maybe just maybe, even if you don’t agree with me, you’ll see where I’m coming from. If you want a head start, you can read one of Sanger’s speeches.

Like I said, until September, I managed to stay apathetic about election season. But when I did begin to pay attention I noticed two very different dialogues within each camp. One offered ambitions for racial justice, gun violence prevention, and tuition-free college, while the other camp repeatedly used its stage-time (and social media presence) to encourage violence, belittle women, condemn the competition, and literally offer no game plan.

The decision seems pretty clear, right? Yet even now and over the past two weeks, the words of 19th century theologian Charles Spurgeon have been ringing constantly in my ear:

Of two evils, chose neither.

So let’s talk about what’s reaaaally going on here.

I believe writer Isaac Sharp described it best while writing in the voice of a C.S. Lewis character, Screwtape:

For those inclined toward great political concern, your task is slightly more nuanced. You must push them toward two important conclusions. You must first convince them that their preferred candidate is THE ONLY OPTION for true Christians, and that voting for any other candidate is not only wrong but also evil. They will see this binary model on display from the candidates themselves. The tendency away from moderation coupled with the seductive pull of extremism will prove too much for many Christian voters, and they will divide into opposing parties most naturally. Division is inherent in the system, and getting them to the furthest edges will be all too easy… And once they realize that voting is only one small and relatively minor way of bringing about their desired change we, my nephew, are more or less doomed. (The Screwtape Letters)

I am a firm believer that we live in two realities – what we see (with our eyes), and what we sense happening in the bigger picture. Macro level. The aeriel view. The Spiritual realm. You know what I mean – like that funky feeling you get when someone walks in a room and the whole atmosphere changes. That kind of stuff. 

You guys, this election has nothing to do with Hillary or Donald, Democrat or Republican, Liberal or Conservative, Black or White. This election has everything to do with chaos and confusion. The enemy, let’s call him Screwtape, is fostering an atmosphere of hatred discord, and distraction. The devil is in the details ya’ll, and he’s doing a really good job with them right now.

BUT, and I’ll speak directly to the Church, WAKE UP!!!  Vote for whoever you want…even if it’s no one (no seriously, you should go vote though). But wake up! We’ve lived in a nation where the Church has become a country club, existing for its members but largely irrelevant to those outside its 4 walls. And as the Church has sought to become more like the world with flashy stage lights, hipster-looking bearded preachers with lots of hair gel, saavy video-productions, digestible 75-minute services and its own Christian version of literally eeeeverything (especially music), it has lost its relevance. We can’t expect to stay at a comfortable distance, create our own subculture of music, books, and entertainment, and still aim to regulate the way others live through a political party.  I’m all for a more sacred lifestyle. I think we’ve lost something very special by removing prayer from schools and making Sundays yet another business day *lifts hands in guilt*. But our country is really changing, and while I’m not blaming the Church for its ‘demise’, I am saddened because the Church kind of forfeited its spot.

The days of complacency are so over.  I don’t want to be a good Christian. I want to be a Spirit-filled one! I want to walk in the truth and power of Jesus Christ. Take him everywhere I go. Live him out. Be the Gospel to those around me. Offer hope and healing, whether it be with my words or in my music. I don’t want to be a place-holder, warming the pew on Sunday morning, do my time and be on my way. I don’t want to go to the homeless shelter down the street, slap a serving of cream-of-corn on some old dude’s styrofoam plate and act like I did something for him.

If God is real. If Jesus is real, if I believe it, if I live it, then i take it out into the world every day and give Him to someone else. If I remember that my vote, while important, does not let me off the hook as an active world-changer, hope-bringer, ambassador for Christ, then I don’t ultimately place my hope in ‘my candidate’Instead I wake up in the morning and decide not to be apathetic or judgemental, or condemning. Instead I wake up ready to serve others. Instead I wake up and stop being so comfortable in my perfect little bubble.

This year has been craaazy, ya’ll! And we’re all tired. Tired of black men and cops dying, tired of hustling to find work, tired of ridiculous nightclub shootings, tired of uncertainty. Vote your convictions. Vote for good leadership. Dare I suggest that neither candidate has stellar character and maybe one of them just hides it better. I dunno. But one of them is going to be the President whether we like it or not. Oh yea…there’s that 3rd guy too.

At the end of the day, if we don’t realize we have sin in our own hearts and that we condemn others while begging for mercy in our own lives, how could we possible expect our leadership to be any different?

Act justly. Love mercy. Walk humbly.

p.s. i really wanted to use this photo up top b/c it looks like they’re singing a duet, but i was afraid you wouldn’t take this post seriously :)


Here are some lyrics from a Sara Groves song (Second Guess Girl) that helped me process
alot of these thoughts while driving in my car for countless hours thinking about all of the above…
 
Is it time for a speech or for silence
Are you calling for peace or defiance
Is this darkening counsel or wisdom
Are we all perpetrators or victims?

Is this childlike simple rote history
Is it complex deciphering mystery
Is this blessing or ill gotten wealth
Am I speaking for God or myself?

Is this confidence born of a calling
Is this ego and pride before falling
Are we standing to fight for what’s right
Are we angry and hopelessly blind?

Are we companions of Job or prophets of God
Are we not of this world or just painfully odd
Is it time for free grace or tough love
Or a little of all the above?

Sooner or later we’ll know more about it
Sooner or later we’ll understand why
We’ll understand why

It’s a hard world for a second guess girl
With one hand and another
I try to take it in and it leaves me spinning
Trying to love my sister and brother
It’s a hard hard world for a second guess girl
Trying to love my sister, love my brother

listen to audio

Imperfect

By | just do it, little epiphanies, music, performance, the pursuit | 4 Comments

 

Over the years Ive had a weird and unhealthy relationship with performing. I always felt like i never chose this life. It chose me. And because I ‘didnt have a choice’ I felt unqualified to make music b/c I hadnt been trained traditionally. My biggest fear was (and is) playing in front of other musicians b/c it was the one place people would listen to me with critical ears and I would ultimately be exposed for being an imposter – someone who has no idea whether shes playing a Gsus or G7 or Gwhatever. Someone who is faking it until she makes it.

Its a weird feeling thinking of all the doors that have opened up over the past year – wondering how it happened and worrying whether or not I will mess it up. These days I have learned to ask myself a very important question when I get off stage after a bad set: “What do I think happened and what actually happened?“ Reality and perception are two very different things, and often we confuse them and make them the same. This question has really helped to steer me away from those moments when all I wanna do is rip myself apart and say “YOU SUCK! You shouldnt be here. They only clapped b/c thats what theyre supposed to do“. If there is one thing I know now, its that musicians make mistakes…all the time. They just get better at hiding them :) If there is anything else I know, its that the more you practice, the better you get. These are two facts that I wish the 21-year old version of me knew 11 years ago, although to be honest, Im not sure it would have saved me from any of my episodes of self-deprecation.

Ive also begun to tell myself one other thing (this time before I get on stage): “this show is not about you. you are simply the messenger delivering the message. Someone needs to be encouraged. Someone else needs to access a buried emotion. Someone else just really needs to have a good time tonight. Help them do that with your music.“ Reminding myself of this keeps me from wallowing in self pity, constantly apologizing on stage for my imperfections, and making awkward comments to distract people from the fact that I’m very uncomfortable. Over the years, I’ve frozen up on stage out of the fear that I wouldn’t perform flawlessly (ironic), I’ve kept to myself b/c I felt I wasn’t good enough to associate with certain people of a higher musical caliber, I’ve made one apology after another after another.

So you played a song and you hit a wrong note…or two…or three. It’s ok. Now they all know you’re human.  When it comes down to it, music makes people happy, it enriches their lives. And it’s your gift to give to the world. Don’t hoard it. Everybody already knows you’re not perfect, but it finally becomes fun when you accept it.

Why We Don’t Give

By | Faith, food, questions, world | No Comments

hands photo

After a brief talk I did about Food for the Hungry at my show this weekend, I had a really great conversation with a friend about the actual, real, possibility of ending poverty worldwide. It sounds absolutely impossible, absolutely daunting, and absolutely foolish to think that it’s possible. But it is.

I think sometimes we don’t give b/c we are afraid we will run out of money or that we won’t be able to take care of our own needs. But we live in a culture of wastefulness. We take more than we can finish, and waste more than we can afford to. We spend more than we have and we complain about not having the things we don’t need. Giving isn’t something we should do to make ourselves feel better or more generous. Giving should be a lifestyle. We should give because it comes naturally…not because someone guilt-tripped us with the photo of an exploited, starving, homeless kid sitting in the middle of dirt road. We should give because we have more than we need and because it would be absolutely silly to keep it for ourselves when we see others struggling. We should give because we’ve been given so much.

In my very short life, the one thing I have noticed is that the people who are most giving are the people who are always taken care of. They don’t trip over not having enough, don’t stress about running out, and are always willing to welcome others into the fold and share what they have, even if it’s not a lot. I am reminded of a verse in the Bible that says, ”Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” (Phillipians 2:3-4). Doing ‘nothing out of selfish ambition’ is a very tall order. In fact, the whole chapter is really challenging, and very counter-culture b/c in many ways, its more human to be selfish than to be giving. It’s more human to operate in survival mode – to wake up asking ourselves, ”ok, how can i make it through today without dying, or killing someone, or thinking about killing someone”. No one really wakes up saying, ”ok how do I make someone else happy? How do I help someone else make it through the day?” And if you do operate that way, most people think it’s a front…and sometimes it is. Because that type of thinking doesn’t come naturally…at least not to me.

So how does it become second nature? In a culture where our cups are perpetually overflowing, is it possible for a shift in mentality to take place? Because that is the real question. The question isn’t can we end world hunger or poverty as a whole. The question is: can we be less selfish?

Marry Me! (Part 3)

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

I’ve been licensing my song through The Music Bed for the last few years and every once in a while (during Valentine`s day and Wedding Season) I like to compile a handful of my favorite videos that have been created using a love song from All or Nothing – my most recent album.  I love, most of all, that a song can be used to tell the story of two people on different sides of the world – people I`ve never met and probably will never met. Still, I am so happy that these songs can play a part in telling their story :)  Here are some of my absolute favorites on this go-around. You can also check out Marry Me (Part 1) + Marry Me (Part 2) for past videos.

(beginning at 2:30)

chair-in-everywhere-1394061

A Gift

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

Today I wrote a new song. And when i finished it i felt this overwhelming sense of gratefulness for being given the words and music. For me the song came quickly – about 2 hours…in comparison to the average song that normally takes me 5 – 12 months to write.

This song is simple and true. And i think it’s usually the simplest songs that are the truest. Anyhow, i feel like I didnt write it – like instead I was given the song. It feels like a gift. I dunno if this song is as great as I think it is. It feels great…right now. But that’s because it’s new. Hopefully I feel the same tomorrow.

Doesn’t really matter though because it feels like a gift. And i love gifts :)

Marry Me! (part 2)

By | Uncategorized | One Comment

Over the last 2 years I have been working with The Music Bed to license my original content in small films and various types of projects by videographers across the world. In honor of Valentine’s Day (or month, hehe), I thought I would search the internet and dig up the latest videos that have been made using songs from my All or Nothing album.  I ended up watching a few hours worth of footage and settled on these as my favorites. I have to say that I totally geek out when I watch these videos and I consider it an absolute honor to be part of these couples’ stories – if only to tie a bow on their special day with a song that explains it all. You can watch the first installment of videos posted back in 2013 –Marry Me (Part 1). Thank you for watching. Enjoy :)

https://vimeo.com/83528731

http://vimeo.com/113557190

https://vimeo.com/97804799

http://vimeo.com/101044742

http://vimeo.com/92088782

http://vimeo.com/74865292

http://vimeo.com/103570280

http://vimeo.com/108571726

The 5 Things I Am Most Thankful For

By | Faith, life, quotes, Uncategorized | No Comments

 

grateful

In every day life, it is not happiness that makes us grateful,
but gratefulness that makes us happy.

 

1. My family

You wouldn’t believe the stories if i told you. It has been a trying 2014. With some near-fatal stuff that wasn’t trivial enough to stick on Facebook, I am most thankful for my family and the gift of their lives. God is so good! We are like blades of grass, blown by the wind. Life is so fleeting and we walk around every day thinking we are invincible. Praise God for every day He gives you – good or bad!!! Amen!

2. A Place to Lay My Head

I am forever grateful for the people and families who have opened their homes to me this year (and the last several), fed me, given me a spare bedroom for a night, and given of themselves more than is required. It’s like I never cease to be amazed by the kindness in people’s hearts – their desire to give in the form of a meal, a care package, or just a home away from home. And they never want anything in return. I feel so absolutely blessed by these brief, yet profound encounters; and forever changed by the friendships that have developed by the many families that have welcomed repeated visits.

If  I could remember all the names of the people I want to thank, this would take forever to read.  But here are my shoutouts: The Edivans, The Kazarians, The Haydens, The Bazers, The Oguntemein family, The Annis’, The Azure Family, Obehi and her roommates, The Baldanza Family, Charlene Chow, The Bustards, The Scobies, Nancy Deckant, Canyon, Ito Osaigbovo, Heather Lloyd, Nicholas Denham, Lola’s cousins, The Aspers, The Olsons, The Kenyons, The Cunninghams, Crystal McGee, The Socrates’, The Colemans, The Adewales, Eliza Hechmer, Alaina Kleinbeck, The Brackbills…and I’ve barely scratched the surface.

3. Life!

How can we possible see everything, go everywhere, know everyone?  We can’t!  But we sure can try!!! I am so thankful for the ability to experience this thing we call life. To explore, to feel, to encounter new faces at the turn of every corner, and to learn something new each day. While tuned into an NPR interview last week, I heard the Interviewer ask his guest if he felt he was missing out on the life he ”could” have had. The guest responded saying Every day is an adventure. There is no such thing as missing out. You pick what you want to do and you do it. Once you finish that, you pick something else and do that. Life is an adventure ya*ll!  Dont miss out, just do!

4. Hope

It has been a discouraging year in world news. It would seem, based on reports, that evil is winning. But it’s not. Evil NEVER wins!  Justice is always served and death cannot and will not prevail!

So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. ~ 2 Corinthians 4:16-18  

Wow, that verse couldn’t be any more true. In the midst of trial, man continues to rise, trust, and hope for better! Evil never wins. Evil tries, but it keeps trying and it’s growing tired. Hope believes in things it cannot see. That is the VERY definition of hope!! Hope doesnt believe in what is. Hope is all about seeing potential – trusting and knowing that what IS can be better! This is why hope deferred makes the heart sick. ~ Proverbs 13:12

So my call to action for anyone reading this is to HOPE! Don’t lose heart. Don’t let your heart grow sick.

5. The Things We Cannot Touch

As I sat down to write this, I wasn’t sure what #5 would be. But isn’t it funny that the most beautiful things in life are the things we cannot touch. I think God did this very strategically. After re-reading #1-4, it’s an eye-opener when we realize that what matters most can’t even be touched – faith, hope, love, health, freedom, gratitude, joy. During this season of thankfulness (my favorite holiday of the year, by the way), I am asking to be reminded of this every day!!!

Happy Thanksgiving to You All!!!

-Joy

When You Don’t Know Anybody and Nobody Knows You

By | just do it, year of no fear | No Comments

Week 2, Open Mic 1. The goal was to visit 1 Open Mic every day (Monday thru Thursday) for a month to begin learning the music scene in Philly. But I already know I won’t be accomplishing this because I’m on the road for 1/2 of this month and because I really just don’t want to go to an open mic every single night. when I’m in town. That gets tiring.

As soon as I walked into Second State Lounge (formerly Lickety Split) I nearly walked out. I hate going places by myself…even though that’s essentially what i do for a living. But there’s nothing more sucky than sitting in the back of a bar by yourself drinking a glass of water ( i don’t drink) and then talking to no one…and also avoiding your phone because there is 1% battery left and you wouldn’t be doing anything on it anyhow except pretending that you don’t care you’re by yourself! Haha!

BUT tonight was successful! In hindsight Id like to think of it as an exercise in extrovertism (#fakeword). Hehe. Upon arriving I found a chick named Lisa who hosted the night. I got there signed up for a slot, which was originally for 12:15. Did I really want to sit for 2 hours by myself just to play 3 songs after midnight? No. But I drove a long way. Well…it wasnt really a long way, but it felt like it because there was traffic – ridiculous amounts of traffic on the way and the trip took near 40 minutes when it should have only been 20 (my disapproval of Philly traffic is another rant for another time).  But just as I was signing up, another songwriter came up, said she was leaving, and scratched her name off the list. I got her 11pm slot thus reducing my 2-hours of angsty aloneness to only 1!!! :)

The set went well. Just a few songs that i normally play at shows.  But playing on stage is funny because its sort of the time when you’re allowed to be an extrovert…even if you’re not one. Rules of the game, I guess. And it opens the door for holding conversations after you get off stage. So i basically talked about coming to Philly, being new, being shy, and wanting to know of places to play. After my set I got a chance to talk to alot of people, pass out a few business cards, book an Open Mic featured spot, and learn about a few locals that i should get in contact with. Thanks to Lisa who was sooooo nice and made the night better. I’m telling you – its all about the host. They always set the tone of the night and Lisa did a great job!

The whole night I was thinking of a post I just put up on my Music Marketing blog this week. It was a contributed post by my friend Jerzy Jung. She says this:

My ultimate goal involves success, but lately I’m thinking that my small goals every day should all involve feeling scared and unsure and sucky. But breathlessly, thrillingly sucky, because at least I had the balls to move, to act, and to do my part to create the momentum I want.

I would rather feel scared and unsure and sucky while making an effort to reach my crazy goals than feel accomplished because I did the same old safe thing that will get me absolutely nowhere.  [read Jerzys whole post here]

I love her words because it made me think about how Open Mic in and of itself is arguably a waste of time. But every good thing must start small and in order to make the progress you want you have to start from the ground up – which means going to Open Mic after Open Mic, meeting people, learning how things works, and taking the time to invest in the future by preparing for it now.

Anyhow, Ill be hitting up 2 other open mics this week and I’m looking forward to meeting more people and connecting with the scene a bit more! Maybe another blog will come out of it :)

the end.

 

 

 

Great Big World

By | children, food, touring, world | No Comments

This week I have been thinking a lot about the remaining 28 kids on my merch table. To be honest, I’m a goal-setter and I sometimes trivialize important things and make them all about achieving a goal…and I’ve been kind of doing that with my FH kids. Goal: get 5 kids sponsored on this tour. Current sponsorships: 1.

This week has been a long one. So far Ive played 8 shows in 8 days, traveled well over 1500 miles, and had so much to keep track of touring with a band while still trying to fill open dates in my August tour down south. Im feeling incredibly exhausted, a bit sleepy (its nearly 5am and I should probably just go to bed), but mostly discouraged. Discouraged because 290 people disappeared into thin air just 2 days ago – lost their lives…like they never even existed! Just gone. And I’m like WHAT??? How does that even happen? How is that even allowed to happen??? Who’s getting away with this kind of stuff!!? These questions, and the anger that comes with them, weigh me down.

I was sitting in the back of the Theater at our Creative Alliance show on Thursday (Baltimore) and LEA (incredible songwriter) was singing this song that almost made me cry like a baby. I think it was called Great Big World. She sang about how dark the world has gotten and how hopeless it can seem, and how easy it is to be distracted by all the sadness and evil; but how beautiful it is to look into the eyes of a child and see hope through their innocence. The song was so good…and on our drive from Baltimore to Central PA all I could think of was these kids! I’ve got 28 of them and to everyone (myself included sometimes) they are ’’just faces’’. There’s no personal attachment. We don’t know them, they don’t know us, they just sit on my table. And if no one sponsors them, then they don’t get sponsored. And if they don’t get help, they continue living in poverty. And because it’s a great big world, it ’’doesn’t really matter’’ to most of us because they’re so far away, it doesn’t directly affect us, and ’’we’ll never meet them anyhow’’…right? And so I have been very sad about this these past two days because 290 people being bombed out of the sky should never be allowed to happen. And children going hungry should actually be illegal! And we shouldn’t become so apathetic that we accept both and simply go on with our lives.

The Food for the Hungry station at my table doesn’t exist so that I can feel better about myself and convince myself that I am making the world a better place, It’s there so that, with the help of you all, the hundreds of people who come to shows every month, kids who are living in poverty can live in freedom. I believe there is nothing more dangerous in this world than a child with no hope left in their eyes…because that’s all we got!

If you want to sponsor a child, you can do that right here on my FH page: www.joyike.com/fh. Sponsorship is $35 a month and that’s really not much. If you want to ask me question, please shoot me an email: [email protected]

In love,
Joy

 

Be My Guest

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