#Shutyamouthandpray Power Within

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Did it all happen quickly? Minutes turned into hours? Time never cooperates with your expectations. Are you frustrated?  Are you staying the same and your surroundings are changing?

Yea.

What are you doing about it?

Find an accountability partner and put your ass in gear. It doesn’t matter if its perfect. It matters that it’s done and you aren’t wasting your time and talents.

Father:
Help us push and push harder than we ever have. Help us dig into undiscovered parts of our potential. Help us not to gauge our success by the success of others. Help us to have self esteem that is only controlled by ourselves and not weighed by others opinions of us. Help us to see passed the selfishness and sometimes oblivion of our loved ones. Help us stay strong enough to fight the fight even if it means shadowboxing with ourselves and slap boxing with Jesus. God please stay with us and strengthen us when we feel weak.
Amen

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You Are Only As Good As Your Last Performance

You are only as good as your last performance…

Thats what my old vocal coach used to say.

I fondly remember performing at the International Festival at Bayside High School my sophomore year. I sang the Kelly Price rendition of “I Know Who Holds Tomorrow. ” This sharp dressed Sisqo loving Junior came up to me after seeing the rundown for the show and he said, “If you’re good enough to sing THAT song then you’re good enough to sing with me!” I loved the boldness and accepted the challenge.

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No limitations

The night of the International Festival we performed “We Can’t Be Friends” by Deborah Cox and RL. If I do say so myself,  we sounded AMAZING! The vocals, the riffs, the range, the strength and the talent was undeniable.  I remember my navy blue velvet form fitting dress.  I felt so confident.  When we were done, the accolades never stopped.  When I got to chorus that Monday,  my friend Tareaphe (who is now a music engineer) said, “Do the talent show.  No doubt you’d win!” I appreciated the vote of confidence.  I accepted the challenge.

I went to the auditions and I sang some Barbara Streisand song my mother made me do. No one knew it but they didn’t care. I guess it was an advantage because they didn’t know I messed up either. It sounded good so I made it through!  I was so excited. A senior on the football team whispered, “Yo, you’re going to beat the main broad this year.”

Ha! I can laugh at that now. Who was the “main broad”?! The main broad I’ll leave nameless but we can just say her voice was strong and even though she was no Whitney Houston. . .she was CONFIDENT!

So I went to the talent show determined to beat the “main broad. ” I sang “Nobody’s Supposed to be Here” by Deborah Cox.  I stood there effortlessly singing my heart out and then I got to the climax in the song.

” No no no no no/ no no no no no/ no ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh …

Everyone in the auditorium stood up! All the air in the room when straight to my head! People were screaming my name. So I took the subliminal vote of confidence and I went up another octave. 

“Oooooooooooo ohhhhhhhhhh yea oh yea…”

My left ear popped. Couldn’t hear the music. I went temporarily tone deaf. I couldn’t get back on track. Everyone who was standing started to slowly and awkwardly sit down. I was instantly alone and mortified. 

Well  needless to say, the “main broad” won and my god brother took me to dinner to cheer me up but it didn’t work.

I share this with you because it is a lesson I am still learning.  Stay humble.  Be prepared.  Be smart. Remember that fans are not necessarily friends and they may desert you during those awkward moments when it isn’t cool to cheer for the loser. When you hit the high note but you feel low remember you need to be your own biggest motivator. Just like my couple of days of “stardom”, consistency is important. In this world where moral challenges are prevalent and the unemployment rates are fluctuating YOU have to be able to dig yourself out of temporary funks.  There will always be disparaging remarks but you are only as good as your last performance. 

The world is your stage!

By: Shaun Nickens

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Broken Woman

She sat on a press and tile floor, Indian style, with the soles of her bare feet dusty from the filth of the floor. She used her old metro card to pick the scabs of the wounds left by those who abandoned her and slashed her self esteem with selfishness. Suicidal thoughts swarmed her mind and hovered over her daily like vultures waiting for it’s next meal to draw it’s last breath. She avoided mirrors, unable to hide from their brutal honesty. To call her pathetic would have been a compliment too great for her to accept and believe. Misery encapsulated her existence but only here on this press and tile floor.