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Posts tagged “Hope

Graduation

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On Friday I graduated from my Masters degree in Music Performance.

I don’t do pride much, as those of you who read my blog about my single release and other ‘achievements’ will know. But as I look back over the last number of years, I do feel a touch of pride indeed. I am no academic, I am horrendous at academic writing. My writing style is colloquial to say the least, not the approach required for academic writing at all. I still remember thinking the Under Graduate degree was a trial. On beginning the Masters degree, I came to a new understanding of the word stress. So, despite being a tad disappointed with my final grade, I am very happy indeed to have gained my Masters qualification. In the years to come, I hope I can make my family and Kingston University proud.ย wpid-IMG-20140124-WA0003.jpg

My graduation weekend began with the ceremony itself on Friday 24 January at The Rose Theatre in Kingston. Eason Chan, a Cantopop megastar received an honorary PhD at the ceremony, which added a certain glamour to the whole event. And I must say, getting to talk to him afterwards and asking questions of him at his press conference just made the dayย even better.

Eason Chan & TJWith family and friends in attendance, the day was beyond amazing. From Eason’s speech, to the vote of thanks by a ‘mature’ student, and then being awarded my degree by Julius, a man I know and have a great deal of respect for. He actually plugged me at the press conference! It was an amazing day. ๐Ÿ™‚

With all the pressure I was under and the fear I wouldn’t complete the masters programme, I now ask myself if it was all worth it. My answer is yes, it most certainly was. Attending that ceremony did more than mark the end of of something. It helped to validate everything that I had to deal with over the last two years. My love for performance and for music, were the reasons I decided to extend my study in my field. Higher Education remains the way forward, no matter what certain papers may tell you. It is because of this value that it remains a bargaining piece in the political games that have been played over the last number of years in this country. And why the Liberal Democrats have much to worry about come the next general election. But, this isn’t a blog about politics. This is a blog about hope and belief. I will continue to advice others to study their passions. Seek to learn more about what you love. The PG course, as ardous as it can be, will question your understanding of your subject. It will make you question yourself and it will give you a better understanding of why you love what you love. So, it is important to know that the value of the degree isn’t in the money you have to pay for it. It is in what you get out of it. And I have always held the belief that if I want something badly enough there is nothing that will stop me from getting it. I am hardwired to try and keep trying until the final bell tolls.ย I worked two jobs to pay my way through my masters and didn’t get much by way of sleep. And once again, I ask, was it worth it? YES it most certainly was. Find out what you want, then go and get it. The first part of that is important. As once you know you want it, there’s no stopping you. In his speech, Eason Chan said that one should always have a kind heart. I’ve tried to keep with that motto. It’s harder to do at sometimes, but I still try. And will continue to do so.

I once told myself, when all seemed lost almost fifteen years ago, that I either fight or die, no middle ground. I’ve been fighting ever since. For me there has only ever been one option. And that is to win. And so I will, by nook or by crook. There are too many people to thank and continue thanking. I love you with all of me.

What’s next for me I hear you ask? Well, I’m currently working at Kingston International, with an amazing team of people. Will be there till the end of July. At this point I shall head to Italy to work till the end of Sept. Yesterday, I met with the MD (Musical Director) of the band I work with over there. Looking forward to working with them again. Afterwards, the next chapter in the adventure that is my life shall begin. To say I’m excited for the future doesn’t even begin to cover how I feel right now. ๐Ÿ™‚

My graduation weekend concludes today, with a performance with my newly formed band ‘TJ and Friends’ at the Rose Theatre. So, if you’re in and around Kingston Upon Thames today, head to the Rose Theatre, where the 1st Annual Kingston Arts Student Festival will be taking place. The day begins at 12pm, till about 6pm. I will be on stage at 4.30.

Look forward to seeing you there! ๐Ÿ™‚

And once again, thank you all for your support and your strength!

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Video

Rehearsal with band.

While I’m still yet to produce the finished song for the poem ‘I Let Go’ here’s a video of a rehearsal with the band. We’re working on a version of India Arie’s ‘Ready For Love’ We should be finished in Jan sometime.


My Dreams

I was taught a number of things when it comes to dreams. Here are but a few of them:-

1. Have dreams bigger than you

2. Write down your dreams.

3. Guard your dreams. Protect them, be very careful with whom you share them as not all you meet will aid you in bringing them to life.

4. Let some people know about these dreams. those that will encourage you and drive you, push you never to let go of them. they will keep you on course.

With that in mind, last week I sat down and decided to finally write down these dreams of mine. Here are a few of them:

  • Sell my poetry. (Frames, on mugs, in cards etc)
  • Write a few more books.
  • Open a music venue, where known artists can come to perform, as well as promoting local talent.
  • Continue travelling to perform.
  • Nurture local talent, in local schools and other educational establishments and give them to opportunity to perform on stage at the venue. Thus improving on their performance technique and helping to further inspire them to keep with what they’re doing.
  • Motivational speaker
  • All of the above would be under the umbrella of MusicTJ, which I’ve begun to cultivate in the last year or so. One large organisation which will include a number of different facets/departments. Educational (dance, music, writing etc), Events, Performance, Poetry, Speaking etc.
  • Mentor/Consultant
  • And remain open to other opportunities that may come about.

The fortunate or unfortunate thing about having a lot in your ‘box of tricks’ is that it’s hard to pin down a single thing you want to do. I’ve therefore decided not to stick to a single one. The REALLY hard thing now, is deciding what to start with. One thing I know with absolute certainty right now is that I do not wish to remain in the UK. I’ve been here most of my life and it’s time to move elsewhere. What I now need to do, is put together a model that I can pick up and take with me wherever I go.

There are still a number of things I haven’t put on here. I haven’t mentioned anything about my music as yet. And you know I love my music. I’ve a lot in mind for that. My mind has always been exceptionally full of things, and for such a long time I never actually believed I could do any of it. In the last seven years especially, I come across people who seem to believe I could do absolutely anything I ever set my mind to. It’s absolutely amazing how liberating that is!

I could afford it, I would have bought the MusicTJ.com domain name by now, just to make sure it’s mine at least. I still need to get the MusicTJ logo designed. So much to do, so little time.

Do not tread on my dreams. If you do so, I promise you, I will tread on you.





	

Insanity

I crave insanity
Insanity born of purpose
I crave insanity
Insanity that promotes drive.

That insanity that ignites passions
And makes you relentless
That insanity that drives creativity
So you can never stop.

That insanity that is unreasonable
And won’t accept what is.
That insanity that is wonderful
And only sees the beauty in all.

That insanity that will look beyond
Beyond the veneer
And see the truth
See the beauty beneath.

Inject me with this insanity.
For the world is becoming far too sane.
We can no longer see things that really matter.
We live in the sanity of the material.
The sanity of what we can touch.

I’d rather have the insanity
of what I cannot see.
I cannot see the love,
that gently encapsulates my mind

I cannot see the inspiration
that causes me to write.
And yet I trust in both
Both push me to fight.

Our hearts no longer beat for each other.
Our hearts no longer beat for truth.
Our hearts just beat for ourselves.
We leave the rest to rust.

Please give me this insanity
That insane thirst for knowledge
I want the insanity of love
That stupid fleeting thing.

I want my insanity
That childhood glee
No thought of what should
And what should not be

Give me insanity
It is my fondest plea
Wrapped in a world
Ripe with possibility

The thing that causes
our hearts to flutter
Is insane it’s true.
But it draws me out of the gutter

So yes, give me insanity.
I need not your reasoning.
Give me insanity.
For it is the reason I’m still breathing.


Tomorrow

I don’t close my eyes to sadness.
I don’t turn my ear from cries.
Though I’ll turn my ears to gladness
And turn today’s truth to a lie.

I’ll reach into the ether
And pull out a new tomorrow.
I’ll plunge into my dreams.
So the future turns from sorrow.

Today may tell one thing.
But tomorrow’s yet to be born.
If you dwell in today’s darkness.
You’ll never see the light.

You don’t need to close your eyes to sadness.
To see the future gladness.
But you shouldn’t plunge into the tears
To live away from fear.

In that distant time,
In years yet to come.
Beyond the bridges burnt
Beyond the battles won.

The people who live there.
The people born from now.
Their hope is drawn from you.
They look to you for how.

If you would build tomorrow.
If you would make it bright.
Turn your heart away from sorrow.
Turn your heart to the sunrise.

For when the sun rises
And makes the night flee.
The demons that haunt at night
Will have to let you be.

As it warms your heart
And fills you with gladness
It will let fly your fears
And replace them with light.

Be not afeared
of that which is to come.
For that distant horizon
Holds a bright world, not yet born.

New battles to be won.
New challenges to face.
And a wondrous new adventure
A path you’re yet to grace.

Tomorrow can be bright
If that is what you are.
Tomorrow can be a thrill
If you but have the will.

Tomorrow lies in you
And it’s just beyond your view
Tomorrow holds your prize
If you would just own it too.

So don’t close your eyes to sadness.
And don’t turn your ear from cries.
But turn your ears to gladness
And turn today’s truth to a lie.


The end of one Chapter! (So what’s next?)

I’m coming out of what has been a very stressful time. I just handed in my Masters dissertation. This sees the end of a two year journey of stress and more stress.

So of course, now is the perfect time to start thinking about what comes next and write a blog!

At the start of February 2003 I began working for Vodafone UK Ltd. After 18months of being unemployed, I received a job offer from Vodafone for a customer services position.I had turned down a number of sales jobs, as I felt none of them offered what I was looking for in terms of progression, and the traits required for selling were not the ones I wanted to necessarily develop. I wanted to be a part of an organisation where I had the chance for upward movement. So VF was the perfect place for me at the time. I spent two years there and in that time I was stretched, pushed, squashed, twisted and challenged in so many different ways. I was made to grow in ways I never thought I could or would. And definitely in much more ways that I grew during 5 years of working at the Birmingham City Council. I grew exceptionally loyal to the place, as it taught me that my future was much brighter than I had previously hoped. So when I left there, it was truly with a heavy heart. But, not a single regret.

10 years ago I never though I’d have a single degree. Today I finish my second. Ecstatic doesn’t even cover it!

The future looms ahead of me. And at 35 I am so full of life and energy. I cannot wait to see what’s next.

There are tooooooo many people to thank for the last 7 or so years. Institutions and individuals. Cultures and countries. Colours and continents have been opened up for me thanks to all of you.

My achievements, my worth, my everything is dedicated to you wonderful people in my life. The encouragement and in some cases the discouragement have driven me to strive beyond what people or even I thought I could achieve.

Let’s see what comes next!


Dream Big

Ever must we dream.
Ever must we live.
We must build our dreams stone by stone.
We must dream big.

For what is the point in small dreams?
They serve no purpose.
They challenge none.
They mark the status quo.
They mark the daily trudge of the un-attaining ones
You are not such.

Ever must we dream.
Ever must we live.
We must build our dreams stone by stone.
We must dream big.

Build dreams that scare you.
Build dreams that task you.
Build dreams that take you beyond that which you already know.

Ever must we dream.
Ever must we live.
We must build our dreams stone by stone.
We must dream big.

Build dreams that make you.
Build dreams that wake you.
Build dreams that wake you to the wonders of this world.

That make you the one you would become.
That take you to the place you finally belong.
That break you and remake you into one to shape a world.

Ever must we dream.
Ever must we live.
We must build our dreams stone by stone.
We must dream big.

For hopes and dreams are marvelous things.
They open your eyes, when closing is easier.
They make you move when sitting is simple.
They make you run when walking is preferred.

Build dreams that shake you.
Your dreams won’t forsake you.
Build dreams that take you to the very ends of the world.
Build dreams that take you beyond past sorrow.
For your dreams are your passport to a brighter tomorrow.

Build dreams that push you.
Build dreams that stress you
Build dreams that make the simple unacceptable.

Reach for the improbable
Make a lie of the impossible.
Reach beyond and grasp the unobtainable

For, ever must we dream.
Ever must we live.
We must build our dreams stone by stone.
We must dream big.


Journey

Still working in Italy. Meeting lots of new people. Handing out my business card left and right. You never know, maybe one day something will come out of this.

Anyway, earlier today I emailed my dissertation to my supervisor, which means I have some time on my hands with nothing to do till she replies telling me all I’ve done wrong and asking that I rewrite the whole thing.

I found this little unfinished poem. Generally when I come across unfinished pieces, I try to see if I can finish them. But not quite happening this time. In truth, I can’y quite connect with where I was when i wrote it, so I cannot possibly be true to it and as a result all that would happen would be that it becomes somewhat disjointed if I were to force the issue. Maybe when I come back to it next time, I’ll have a resolution for it.

So for now here it is:

Journey

I am to tell you of laughter.
I am to tell you of light.
I am to sing not of destitution
Nor of fright.

Levity is gone, I cannot find thee here.
Seek me out will you?
In this time,
“give me something to sing about”
This was the refrain, was it not?

I have much to sing on.
Though not of joyous rhyme.
I have much to speak on.
I daresay you will not speak in time.

In this season,
In this time.
This is my reason for this rhyme.
My heart remains heavy.
My mind remains weary


Back In Italy

I’m back in Italy for a short while, working with the band Six In The City. Some amazing musicians to say the least. We’re the house band at the insanely expensive Forte Village Resort in Sardegna. I was fortunate enough that this was my first proper professional singing gig in 2011. This doesn’t count all the stuff I did with the University. I somehow view those a tad differently.

Performing at the ForteVillage resort is a huge deal for me, as the quality is immensely high and it was quite intimidating indeed. Having spent four months working here in 2011, it is almost impossible to explain how valuable the experience was to my musical career. And the confidence it builds is quite something. I’ve been lucky in that I’ve been put in roles where I’ve had to stand way outside of my comfort zone and still had to perform with confidence. There’s nothing quite like being forced to do your best. Those sink or swim situations can often make or break us.

I’ve not been on stage with a band in quite some time and I truly couldn’t wait to hop on stage again. There is always a lot of pressure to be more than good, and to do so every night. This does make me rather nervous, but despite that I couldn’t wait to hit the stage.

The one big thing about performing here is that it pushes me to improve all the time. And when I’m done here, if I’ve done well, I will feel like there is nothing I cannot accomplish. By the time I write my next blog, I will have been on stage every night for a week. I wonder if I will still have the same excitement.

(Written after the show) Ok, so the above was written before I’d gone on stage, in anticipation of tonight. The plan was simply to click “publish” once I got in. Well, I got off stage about an hour and a half ago and in reading the above, I do feel it was a tad optimistic. I’m currently rather disappointed with myself. I finished off tonight’s show, by singing ‘I Believe I Can Fly’ and I was not at all happy with how I performed. I asked the others in the band and I was told twice “You are crazy” for thinking I did badly. The bit of feedback I got for the whole night was that I just need more confidence, which comes with simply more time on this stage. Apparently I hardly put a foot wrong all night. Go figure! I still remember my very first time on stage with this band two years ago. The was an almost tangible fear emanating from me! I have been told that my voice is much better than it was then. Apparently then I had a good voice, while now it’s better. I do love that in my two years away, I’ve been able to bring something new to the group.

It’s now the afternoon of the day after and my head is a tad clearer, I think! I’m still disappointed with myself but, I quite glad to be working with people who continue to push me to do better. And I love that I’m working around people who believe I’m better than I think I am. It means they force me to be even more ambitious about my voice than I already am. I still remember many years ago when I hadn’t been singing long, being told many a time to stick to what I was good at. Stick to dancing I was told. If I had done that, I do wonder what I would be doing now that I am no longer able to dance and teach as I used to.

My aim from here on end is to keep moving in circles of people that push me to reach my potential and encourage me to do whatever it is I find I want to do. Right now I feel if I told a few of my friends that I wanted to become an astronaut, they would say, “You’re TJ, of course you can do it!” And you haven’t a clue just how liberating that is. Some of them would even start working with me to find a means of making it happen! So, no matter how stressed I currently am and no matter how much pressure I find I’m under, I know that I am incredibly blessed to have these people around me. Thanks to you all, I have done things in the last 7 years I never would have thought possible. And thanks to you, I intend to do much much more yet. I believe someone said the world was my oyster. i plan to take over the world. ๐Ÿ˜‰

I just finished a rehearsal and I was told that I shall be singing ‘We Are The World’ along with 9 other singers on Sunday. You cannot imagine how excited I am about this. I absolutely love that song. If it’s recorded, I’ll see if I can provide a link for you guys.

Until next time, thanks for reading. Ciao tutti!


Give Me Something Precious To Lean On

Give me something precious to lean on.

So I don’t fall apart when it’s dark for too long.

Give me something precious to lean on.

So my heart doesn’t seal, close and hide away from the world.

Give me something precious to lean on.

So when the darkness closes in I’m not found wanting.

Give me something precious to lean on.

My island is gone, submerged beneath the sea.

So please.

Give me something precious to lean on.