Category

Uncategorized

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

#362 NOAH: a review

By | movies, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Let me first say that I was conflicted about seeing this movie for one and only one reason – I didnt want to waste my money on a movie that wouldn’t be worth a $12 ticket if it turned out to be a waste of my time. Secondly let me say that i have no problem watching movies that are deemed “unsafe” by Christian media critics and reviewers. But third and most importantly, I absolutely do not enjoy watching a movie that is inaccurately advertised and promoted as a means to make a quick buck off of its target audience despite the fact that it is lacking in quality and content. And this is how I start my review.

It’s hard to write this review from a completely unbaised perspective -after all I am a Christian who believes wholeheartedly in the sovereignty of God and the validity of the Bible. But I also wanted to watch the movie as someone who loves good art, is an avid movie-goer (and critic of sorts) and has a solid grasp (I feel) on the intersection of faith and culture.

There are two ways to approach this movie:

1.) from a strictly artistic point of view: Is the movie entertaining, well-made, and creative?
2.) from a Biblical perspective: Does the movie honor the text, reflect Biblical truths, and care to show context in order to give viewers a better understanding of the story it claims to be based off of?

Artistically, NOAH is “ok”. Just ok. I suppose if Russel Crowe agrees to star in a movie you can expect that there’s going to be some kind of standard. It looks great, has a good plot, has a good guy (Noah), a bad guy (the King of the land), great acting, mini subplots, and a little bit of action. I was however annoyed with the National Geographic-like stock footage used in certain parts that pulled you out of the movie and made it feel more 21st-century at moments. The movie also opened with about 15-20 minutes of back story that was completely unnecessary and distracting. In fact, I can barely remember what those first few minutes were about. I do however remember an incredibly cheesy start that made me feel like I was in the wrong theater and had perhaps signed on to watch a Flintstones movie. When the movie finally got into the crux of it, you might as well have arrived late. You wouldn’t have missed anything.

But as you’d expect, I have much more to say about the Biblical accuracy of the movie. Before heading into the theater I read the story of Noah (Genesisb 6-9) so it would be fresh in my mind, and then re-read it once again when I got home. I’m someone who thinks that creative license is absolutely necessary in order for a good movie to be great. Subplots, sideplots, extra characters, dialogue that may or may not have actually happened. All of that stuff is fair game.  But it’s really hard to appreciate a movie for its artistic liberties when you feel it takes advantage, misrepresents, and misinterprets the very story it claims to be about. And I felt this movie did the story of Noah a huge injustice. I would even go as far as saying that this movie is not the story of Noah – its just a movie about a flood and a highly dysfunctional family.

To me, the biggest surprise was the molten-rock Transformer like creatures who were introduced early in the story. They were described as fallen angels who lost favor with God and ultimately decided to help Noah build the ark in order to regain His favor.  The clunky rock creatures just don’t fit and introduce a sci-fi element into the movie that seriously makes you wonder if Shia Lebouf plans on making a guest appearance. At the end of the movie the rock giants explode in battle and return back to God.

The other huge surprise for me was the fact that the King of the land (don’t know his name) made it onto the Ark as a stow-away and while in hiding began eating the animals to regain strength so he could kill Noah. Ham, Noah’s son, was in on the plan and helped hide the King. Later on he does eventually try and kill Noah but fails and ultimately dies. But you know who doesn’t make it onto the Ark? Noah’s Daughters-in-law. Yup. Ham and Japheth do not have wives. In fact, Ham almost gets a girl but she gets stampeded by a crowd as they try and get on the ark. But if you did want to stretch your imagination you could technically say that their wives were on the ark – after all Shem (the oldest son’s wife) was pregnant with twin sisters (as we discover later).  So that could be considered creative liberty.

Inasmuch as the above storyline changes are deal-breakers for me, they pale in comparison to the biggest deal breaker for me – the underlying message that God does not love people or care about them. Now, as a Christian the story of Noah (the version that you read in the Bible) is a tough one. God makes man, God sees the corruptness of man due to the entrance of sin, God annihilates man so he can start over with a clean slate. No matter which way you cut it, its hard to be ok with thousands of people dying. Its just hard. But If I were God (and I’m not), and I remembered the beauty and perfectness created in the Garden of Eden and my hopes and dreams for a race of people who had no knowledge of corruption, murder, pain, or sin of any kind…if I were working off of that premise, starting over would surely be easier for me to wrap my head around.

In any case, there is a running theme through the movie that God has no interest in the affairs of man and that man must take his destiny into his own hands. In fact, Noah decides not to find wives for his younger sons because he strongly believes God doesn’t want that. He later “hears” from God that he must kill Shem’s twin daughters in order to ensure that the human race dies off and is discontinued forever. The movie never once addressed God’s holiness and his desire for man to also live holy. In fact, if I were to give my two cents, I’d say God was actually the real “bad guy” in this movie.

Like I said earlier, every movie, even those based off true stories, has the right to exercise creative license. But like I also said, there’s nothing I hate more than false advertising – especially if it involves making a quick buck off of a specific demographic. And when Paramount puts this disclaimer at the end of its radio promotions, “we believe that this film is true to the essence, values and integrity of a story that is a cornerstone of faith for millions of people worldwide I expect to go to the movies and see a film that stays true to the essesence, values, and integrity of the story of Noah. BUT this did not happen and I’m pissed off. But they got what they wanted – they got my $12 and I’m not getting that back.  

 

 

#360 The 3 Most Influential Independent Artists in My Life

By | beauty, music, Uncategorized | No Comments

Well, even though its not quite over, im kinda already mourning the end of this blog.  I’m on post #360 of 365 Days of All or Nothing. And while I’ll continue to blog occasionally, I do feel like I only have 6 posts left that really count. So today I was thinking about things that I really want to share in the next 6 days. And this post was one of them.

Given that the blog is is all about sharing original ideas and people who are doing their own thing unapologetically, it only makes sense to share the 3 artists who have impacted me the most (in no particular order). No doubt i have already referenced each of them at least once over the last year.

Josh Garrels

There are certain voices that sound like they’ve been lived in – like they’ve been through something  and lived to tell the story. And for me that’s Josh Garrels. I dont listen to Josh Garrels just because I like his lyrics or his music. I listen to him because his music actually puts me in a completely different place. To me his music is like a life-long voyage on a ship. I often envision myself staring into a huge sea and daydreaming about the life I’ve left behind and where I’m going. His music for me is nostalgic and reminds me of past loves. I think listening to his stuff makes me feel like im still connected to those past things.

B.Reith

It might sound funny to say that, of these 3, I identify most with the hip-hop artist. But it’s true. I’ve been following B.Reith for what feels like a very long time. His story is one of trial an error,  big doors and even bigger dissapointments, hope, dreams, and the whole nine yards.  And he shares it all in his music.  I love B.Reith because of his honesty. His music is an open door into the life of pursuing your passion and I have listened to his music and often been overwhelmed by the beauty of a genre I dont often indulge in. There isnt any other artist I think about and pray more for than B.Reith because I know his voice is absolutely important to my generation. And I am just asking God to pour out more and more into his life so he can continue to share his beauty with the world. Here’s my favorite song of his.

Brooke Waggoner

From her very first album, Fresh Pair of Eyes, Brooke Waggoner had me hooked! She was one of the first artist I truly attached myself to and “studied” to learn how to craft a beautiful song. The thing that mesmerizes me most about her music is how equally simple and complex her music is. The core of her songs are seemingly uneventful but they lay a solid foundation and build so beautifully with her swooning vocals, lush string arrangements, and intricate piano solos. It’s so beautifully cinematic! Brooke Waggoner’s music is what made me fall in love with strings and I’m certain I can blame her for heavily contributing to who I am as an artist today :) It was hard to pick my favorite of hers, so I thought I should choose the first song I ever fell in love with.

 

#359 12 Rules to Live By

By | life, Uncategorized | No Comments

Since i just created 10 Rules to Live By for the Independent Artist on my Grassrootsy blog, i thought I’d do one for this blog. It seems pretty fitting given that this 365 Days of All or Nothing blog is nearing its end. Anyhow, these have become some of the major things I’ve taken away from this past year.

Don’t Settle

No matter what! Don’t settle with a job that you “like” but don’t “love”. Don’t settle for a guy or girl who isn’t “the one”. Don’t settle for anything.

Be Adventurous

Takes risks. Life is meant to be lived fully. If you try to stay safe all the time, you’re not really living. The glory of God is man fully alive!

Enjoy your food!

Food is so yummy! Try new things…especially when you’re in new places. And most importantly, eat with other people. It only makes the experience better.

Speak Softly and carry a big stick!

Careful what you say. Careful how you say it. Speak in love. But make sure they hear you. That’s where the big stick comes in :)

Be Yourself

It takes a lot of effort trying to be someone else. That’s why you’re you. Stop trying so hard.

You Don’t Have to be Perfect

When we live in a culture where image is everything, its easy to forget that no one is perfect. The grass is hardly ever greener on the other side.

Integrity

Let your principles and morals govern your success. Not the other way around.  And let your reputation precede you.

People are more important than goals

This is always true. If you start to step on people on the way to your top, it will be lonely when you get there.

Less talking is always better

Stop talking so much.  You might be in love with you own voice but no-one else is.

Know who you can trust

Be careful who you share personal information with. If your friend is gossiping to you about someone else. You can be sure she’s also gossiping about you to other people.

Go to bed with a clear conscience

If you think you messed up or hurt someone, apologize. Guilt sucks.

Treat Everyone with respect

The golden rule basically solves every problem on the face of the earth. It’s a shame that the simplest principle is the hardest to live by.

 

 

#356 Magda Giannikou + Snarky Puppy

By | music, Uncategorized | No Comments

Hey, it’s Music Friday!

Since i’m spending the day in NYC I thought it was only fitting to share a video from NYC-based artist Magda Giannikou (and Snarky Puppy). A friend of mine passed this video on to me several weeks ago and it blew me away! The kind of music people create never ceases to amaze me and this video is so awesome – everything from the arrangement, to the charisma of the musicians, to the perfectly flawless vocals. Just lovely!

 

 

#355 Music +Film

By | art, beauty, Uncategorized | No Comments

So I’ve been licensing my songs through The Music Bed for about a year now.  The last time i shared videos, they were specifically wedding videos. Most filmographers used my song “Time” b/c its a love song and the arrangement was fitting for wedding footage. You can see those videos here. I also shared the Brazil video that I am still most excited about to-date. The videographer used Promised Land for that one. You can see that here.

Well today…I came across a handful of new projects by videographers from across the Ocean! I found some cool footage of nature and architecture and wanted to share it with you. I think its awesome how music can somehow finish the story and help to tell it more fully. And I’m glad that each author of the below pieces decided to make my music part of what they captured. Im also excited by the fact that the music is being paired with projects that are filmed in other countries. For me, visuals fully complete the songs and give viewers the once unseen half of my music

And lastly, I also thought it was quite a coincidence that each of these videos’ creator was testing out new technology – Canon, Nikon, GoPro…etc. Pretty cool!

The Pantheon in Italy

An Underwater Exploration off the coast of Spain (my song starting at 0:52)

A hike up Peak Vihren in Bulgaria

Out in the Woods

#354 Sympathy & The Lion

By | beauty, music, Uncategorized | No Comments

It’s Music Friday! The only thing I appreciate more than a solitary singer/songwriter and their instrument is a duo with flawless harmonies. Today I’m sharing a band that I stumbled upon last week – a group whose music I have fallen in love with.

Sympathy & The Lion’s music is sentimental, contemplative, and soothing. It reminds me of Saturday mornings in a brightly lit kitchen with a cup of tea in hand.  Here is a video shot by the folks at Kettle Pot Tracks. Hopefully this will be the most beautiful thing you hear (and see) this week. Enjoy :)