Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Australia

















June 7th 2011 4:42pm
At first with the check in and visa and all of that, I really thought this was starting off as the trip from hell. But I eventually got things straight and now I'm having a beer and then I'll be on my way to the gate. Everybody says that Australia is an EXTREMELY long trip. I've never been, but I'm looking forward to it.

8:57pm
Can I share something with you? I'm on the plane by the way. In flight to my first layover, San Fran. I have to tell you, I've made some major decisions that will strongly affect the rest of my life. And I'm way too excited about it. At the same time, some of our people aren't going to like it. I've decided to do more than one type of music. Yes. It had to happen at some point. I've been doing house music for over 25 years. My first record was done in 85. Without being cocky or arrogant I realize that I can sing, write and play musical instruments. I even DJ. So why am I not rich? There must be more, right? I had to really look at this thing under a microscope. It's going to take a lot of work. But between myself, and the team of talent I have around me, it's going to happen! Soulful house music is something I need. It's music that feeds my soul. It's healing and tends to uplift ones spirits. It's spiritual. I won't ever stop doing it. However it DOES NOT pay bills like I need it to. And the minute a soulful artist changes the sound of what we're used to them doing, we turn our backs on them! Think about it... All of our clubs are small and low budget. And people still don't want to PROPERLY support them. We ask to be on the list when the charge is only $5. It's like church. Church is free but they still have to pay utility bills, but when they ask for an offering we get so tight with our wallets. I hardly go out, but when I do, I'm buying drinks, paying to get in, and supporting. So....... Having said all of that, I'm going to purchase some new toys and do some harder sounding songs and put them out on a new label that I'm starting!!!!!!!!!! Honeycomb is a labor of love that I will do for the rest of my life. Its going to be my organic soulful label. But this new label will feature the harder stuff. I haven't decided what the name of the new label will be.. Dawn told me I should at least have the name related to Honeycomb. Something like HoneyBee or Moneycomb. LOL!!!! Be clear, if you do the same things, you'll get the same results. David Cole(C+C Music Factory) told me this before he passed. At the time, I was more interested in not "selling out."
Today is a Brand New Day. I was working with David Morales and we nailed a song in less than a half hour together. And it was HOT! Dave had a few tools that I must purchase. Not to mention when Kenny Dope and I are working together. I have to pull up in my 98 Chevy Lumina and look at his Bentley in the driveway! LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
It's time I do something different. I'm on my way. Gloria is extremely supportive. She allows all of this chaos in her home without complaints of it being too loud or too much. I have an awesome label manager/brother in Adam Cruz. My booking agent Carolyn is true blue. I trust her completely. I'm going to need management soon. But right now with those three and my Honeycomb family(Dawn Tallman, Cinnamon Brown, ChinahBlac, Natasha Watts, Crystal Johnson and a few others) I plan to make a huge lifestyle change. I want that Panamera!! Only the chosen few know what that is. Who's wit me??????? World Domination!!!!!!!!!

9:34pm
Didn't mean to get all preachy.. My bad. Random thought, I wonder how is KYize is doing.. "STOMP Yeah that's the idea" remember that? And where's Adeva? Ahhhh... Life was much simpler then.

9:53pm
I just thought of something..
Lil Louis did one of the hottest Soulful House music albums I heard in years. Lyrics, Instrumentation and production was clever!! I absolutely loved it!! When is the last time you heard a DJ play something from his album? Do you even know what album I'm talking about?..... Exactly. LOL!!!!!!!!!! It's called Two Sides To Every Story. He did an R&B disc and a soulful house disc. And he wrote a book that goes with the project. True talent folks.

10:07pm
Check this out. When people are seated on a plane and decide to get up from their seats, they usually grab on to the seat in front of them. Not once thinking about the person sitting in that seat. LOL. It's so rude. They literally pull the persons head down for a second. People do it especially when they're walking down the aisle of a plane or getting into their own seat. They just naturally grab on to a persons seat for balance without considering the person in the seat. LOL. Am I being silly?? OK. I'm done.

11:31pm
Landed in San Fran. That was kinda painless. Thank God for good music, great Sony headphones, and Ipods!!!!

10:11pm(San Fran back 3 hours)
Sooooo I almost didn't get an exit row seat for this 20 hour flight. But they hooked it up. Something interesting happened. An Asian couple was putting their bags away in the overhead compartments. Their bags touched a gentlemans bag and he was acting like he was offended that their bags were in the same compartment as his!!! Can you believe that?!?!?! Wow!

June 8th. 8:35am Cali time
Still on the plane..... What the???

9:02am
I'm sitting in an exit row. Right in front of me are the special seats for the flight attendants. We had some turbulence and they sat down facing me. As they spoke to each other, the woman covers her face with a magazine to avoid me from seeing or hearing what she's saying. How terribly rude is that?? She didn't keep the mgazine there, she put it there only when she spoke. The other attendant spoke openly. LOL!!!!!!! People are so stupid sometimes.

9:57am
Watched "Country Strong" and nearly cried. I hate emotional movies. I'm from Brooklyn! I have to keep my edge.. WHAT WHAT!!!!!! LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!

10:17am
Gwyneth Paltrow can really sing. Wow! She just did a riff. I'm amazed.

10:27am
OK that's it. I'm officially a country music fan. I'm so serious. The lyrics are just too good. And by the way, that wasn't Gwyneth. It was Lee Ann Womack.

10:35am
Are you kidding me?? I'm still on the friggin plane!!

11:05am
Am I wrong for loving the comedy of Jerry Seinfeld? ....OK. I have to get off of this plane. I'm privately losing my mind. LOL.

12:24pm
Guess where I am? ON THE PLANE!

June 9th 5:47am(12:48pm yesterday Cali time)
I'M STILL ON THE PLANE!!!!!!!!!! Ugggggghhhhhhh! Why this is bad is because I have a connecting flight to Melbourne! But honestly, I thank God for income. I know artist that aren't working. So God is good. Things could be a whole lot worse.

12:32pm
Been here for about 2 hours and Melbourne is beautiful Mike Steva is a beautiful brother. Very very young man. My daughters age. He's extremely mature. I like this kid. He has a spirit of humility and service. I felt honored and respected immediately. This is going to be a great trip. We got to the hotel and this guy got me a Suite! It was beautiful. I needed this after the long flight. I'm going to sleep... Random thought, I can't wait to shoot my "Your Body" video.... Yay!!!!! And another thing. Why didn't anybody tell me that this time of the year is considered WINTER?!?!?!?!? I'm wearing my Jean shorts a t-shirt, and crocs on my feet!

8:04pm
I think I've slept enough. I'm up ready to meet Mike. We're going to get some eats and check Ron Carroll out later. It's going to be nice to see that brother. It's my birthday and I'm afraid it will pass by unnoticed. My family loves me and would surely celebrate with me, but I'm in Australia. I surely could not afford to not take this gig.... So here I am. Celebrating my 42nd without my family or anyone I even know.... Wow. That hurt.

11:37pm
OK. Mike and his friend Bob took me to this really expensive Japanese restaurant. $90 a person not including drinks. Now that's expensive even if you're rich. They kept buying drinks until we couldn't take anymore. Now I'm at a bar where a few of their friends have met us for more drinks. One guy is an Australian actor. Really nice guy. And they're talking about going to the Sangria spot after this!!! Mike friend Bob is a 22 year old party man. He told me that he is the dark side. Anything I want just see him and he'll take care of it. I don't smoke weed but the offer was so sweet. I found him to be the sweetest, genuine, young brother I've met in a long time. The hype is really up about tomorrows show. I'm excited. While I'm talking and mingling, guys are taking pictures and everything. Wow. You'd think I was Jay-Z. LOL!!!!! Anyway there is a live band at the next spot. Woo Hoo.

June 11 12:44am
I'm leaving the 3rd bar of the night!!!!! These kids drink!!!!!!!!! I'm having a great time. It's beautiful here. These young people are definitely into SOUL!!! I'm talking classics, lyrics, vocals, overall true soul. This 22 year old is asking me about a song I did in 97!! The band thats performing are also performing on this Sunday. I won't be here but they told me that they sing ChinahBlacs "Till you Go Home." I've never imagined that a band would be covering one of our records. Freaky! Wow. They were excellent. Two funky stylish guys leading and the keyboard player and drummer sang backup. It was Hot. There were singing Musiq Soulchild-Bill Withers. I'm a huge Bill Withers fan.

3:57am
I'm now in my room. Didn't get to see Ron Carroll I spent the last 2 & a half hours responding and reading my birthday wishes on Facebook. Ya know God is good. He knows what we need. I thought that my birthday would go unnoticed but there were people from nearly every continent wishing me a happy birthday. Only God can make that happen. Some people were telling me things like my music has inspired them or helped them. Even my friends that I know really well were saying things like that. It was heart warming. Everyone loves appreciation. Well I'm off to bed. But Im going to get on my knees and pray first. Now that's something Ive gotten away from. I pray at least 6 times daily including prayer over meals. But to submit to God on my knees and thank Him... I'm out of practice. But I can't think of anything more appropriate to do on my birthday than to say thank you to the only one who made my being 42 possible. And there goes the first tear.. I'm such a crybaby at times.

June 10th 8:45am
Goodmorning. I'm in the hotel restaurant for breakfast. It's called "Purple." I love that name. I was thinking of names to call the new label last night. I like what Dawn said as far as keeping the names related. But it isn't necessary. I was thinking Deep Honey Music. Or Honeydeep... I don't know, but it has to sound amazing and non-urban. And also, it must sound effortless like Columbia or Sony. This is the sister label that will, financially, change the lives of my staff and myself.

9:16am
I've been working on my solo project and it's coming along nicely. I'm thinking of going to a major label for distribution. Honeycomb is a small label. We're the very little guy. But Clive Davis has the power to set us up in circles that are not familiar to me. I need change!!!!!! I guess you get the picture. LOL!!!! I did a few cover songs that I'm proud of. The thing is I must be careful. Music gets leaked so easily now. I have to make a Sampler that has talking over it or something so that it's of no value if it gets into the wrong hands. Sad but necessary.

9:14pm
Let me be perfectly honest. I'm Nervous!!
The sound check was cool but I was losing my voice. I think I'd better stay on stage near the speaker so I can hear myself. I've rested all day. Why was I losing my voice? That makes me feel slightly uncomfortable.... We'll see what happens.

12:06am
I'm here at the club and there's expectation in the air!!! Oh My God!!! I haven't felt like this in a while. The club is NOT packed but there's enough people to make me weak at the knees!!
Ah well. I've been through worse. But boy am I nervous! People are having fun, laughing out loud and dancing!!! Which makes my job even harder because I have to stop their fun and try to take them even higher. Oh boy....

12:25am
I ask for a dressing room. Only because tonight I'm singing. I didn't want to do too much talking. So they take me up to this little room. It's dark. There's these guys there. One of them shakes my hand so hard he damn near broke it. He told me he was a rugby player. So check this out, they commence to snort a few lines of COKE!! Hey, I'm no judge, but I remember a time when cocaine was done in private. LOL!! People smoke weed openly. But Coke? And then they were insisting that I have some!!!!!!! Holy Whitney Houston!!!!!!!! I suddenly felt uneasy. But I smiled and declined. In my heart I felt like a little girl crying for her mommy!!! LOL!!! I got punked!!! I mean it. This guy was steroid big. And he was kinda slow. And there's this stare that he has. Man am I a punk or what?!? While I'm typing this he walks over to me and wants to talk. OH MY GOD!!!!!! Heeeeeeelp!! LOL!!!!!!
He wants me to see his injuries. So I'm all scared right... And he says "What's your name big guy?" and I reply "Lillian.." LOL!!!!!! Just kidding. So he says "Josh! Put your f___ing hand on my shoulder!" I didn't understand what he said at first. So he grabbed my hand and placed it on his shoulder. It was kinda dislocated. But it felt like a boulder. And he made me feel his broken knee. FYI, rugby is like American football without helmets and padding.

1:53am
Just got off stage and man did we have FUN!!!!!!! God blessed. The people enjoyed. And I was in good voice. Thank God for his mercy.

4:40am
Yoooooooooooo!!!!! Im still DJing!!!!!!!!!!!!!

5:51am
OK! It's official. This is my longest set ever!!!!

6:21am
Oh My God!!! I'm rocking!!!!!!

6:36am
It's official. I'm a DJ!!!!!!!!! LOL!!!!!!!

7:02am
Last record!!!!!!!!!!! I'm going to be so sore!

8:02am
I'm having breakfast before going to my room. These people are simply beautiful. I have new little brothers and sisters. Wow. I'm feeling so extremely good right now. I love my life.

9:46am
Goodnight.

11:53pm
Went out and met for dinner with friends at a nice Korean place. Good company and laughs. That's my thing from now on. Afterwards we stopped to check out some friends who were performing. So........ Guess what song they performed? No really. Take a guess. "Your Body"!!!!!!!!! Can you believe it??? Out of the 27 years I've been doing music, NEVER has a band performed my song in front of me. And then they called me on stage. Now I have a sore throat. But I hate it when singers say no. So we sang together and had a ball. Those guys are the offspring of the legendary R&B group Tavares. They're so good. And I'm soooo old. LOL. Now we're having cups of tea at a pub. Such fun. I miss my people at home. My brother Moses would love this...

June 12 2:53am
Well I must say. This trip was absolutely amazing. I made some great friends. Great connections. Had some great laughs, and great food. Mike spared no expense. He kept saying "No worries man." Just an overall lovely experience. Gotta get up in just a few hours to do it all over again in Sydney.
Mike is going also. Some of the people here in Melbourne are interested in coming! Ain't that sweet? Melbourne to Sydney is maybe as far as D.C from NYC. Mike is flying.. Anyway......
I am one to embrace my age(42) and I must admit to myself that I just can't hang with young people anymore. These kids would have still had me out if I had not asked to go back. Sheesh!!! I wish I had that kind of energy. But I have a sore throat that isn't going anywhere. And I have to sing tomorrow night. So......... Goodnight.
Oh wait...... I came up with a name for the harder music label. It's called...... Maybe I shouldn't tell so quick. Yes... I'd better wait. Goodnight.

7:57am
Had a great breakfast. There is this bacon that taste exactly like American pork bacon. But this bacon isn't cut in strips. It's more like Canadian bacon but better. I don't even eat red meat like that. I'm not sure why I choose to eat it but it was delicious. Anyway. I'm looking forward to being home. After all is said and done, all one really has is his family. My sister violently threatens me at least twice a week but I miss her. I miss getting on Glorias nerves when she's trying to sleep and I wanna talk. LOL!!!! I love doing that!!!!!! That's crazy because if she does the same exact thing to me, I get so angry!! Why are men so twisted? We want to be in control only when we want and not when it's time. We want to enjoy selective manhood... Well anyway, I have so much work to do when I get home. Louie is finishing the Elements Of LIfe album. It's sounding amazing. My solo project is just about done. We're doing a project on Dawn Tallman. Natasha Watts and Dawn are singing a duet together and I may do another single on Natasha. Cinnamon Brown wrote a scorcher that's a little down tempo that needs to be finished. ChinahBlac's new single is almost ready. And Kimara Lovelace and I have been talking about a song. This all sounds great but I'm going to start doing mostly projects instead of singles. Singles are great. But everybody is doing singles. I want to drop albums/cd's/full length projects or whatever you choose to call them. I recently had to turn someone away because their talent level was basic. This person had a very 90's house music voice. And that was all they had. I'm interested in going GLOBAL! House music is more than a pentatonic scale and a 4 to the floor kick drum. Listen to "Clouds" by Chaka Khan. That's where we should be trying to be as vocal stylist and people that arrange vocals. Remember "Hit And Run" by Loleatta Holloway? You know when the vamp of the song comes and she tears the ad lib up? "When It Comes To Loving You...... I Know What To Do...." that woman sang her head off. She screamed, she whispered, she moaned, and she laughed on that song! Effortlessly! A lot of people that sing house forget about all of those dynamics and just start screaming. There's no story in it. Just screaming and wailing and riffs. I'm really not a critic but I just miss the days of Lolleata, Chaka, Rochelle Fleming, Belita Woods(Brainstorm), Teddy Pendergrass, Phillipe Wynn(the Spinners), and Lenny White.. All of which have done Dance Classics in the 70's that we still listen to today. But ironically we as vocalist have learned very little from them. Even speaking of myself, I'm still a student of Al Green and Donny Hathaway. I don't have the range to sing high notes, or ad lib like these guys, but I listen and take notes regularly. I'm not even going to talk about lyrical content. Ohhh let's talk about something else before I get depressed. LOL.

8:27am
Mike will be here to take me to the airport in a half hour. I'm almost a little sad that I'm leaving. These people showed me so much kindness. I had a beautiful experience. Only God can make things like this happen.
Random thought.... Are Kangaroos really just overgrown rodents? I really don't like rodents.

8:33am
Random thought. Do I have any friends that would physically fight with and for me without knowing why we're fighting? I can think of two. I'm blessed. As soon as I get home I'm going to call them both and tell them how much I love them.

9:06am
I knew this was too good to be true! I'm watching the news waiting on Mike and there is a volcanic explosion that are causing flights to cancel. OH BOY!
I'll keep you posted.

9:31am
Mike is late!!! Ooooohhhhh boy.

9:51am
It's getting a little too late. I'm calling a cab. Isn't it crazy how when it rains it pours? Man. Well I still had a great time. I wonder if Mike is ok. Somehow, I'm not pissed. I hope my flight isn't cancelled.

10:18am
I'm definitely going to miss this plane. But I'm being cool. I'm sure there's an explanation for this. Right?

10:40am
In the cab nearing the airport, but the cab drivers gas light is flashing!!! If we run out of gas I just may snap. LOL!!!!!!

11:15am
I checked in all right. I'm at the gate. I'm catching the very next flight which is only an hour later. My Ipod has some Johnnie Taylor blues and classic R&B songs in it. It's so good to have music for every mood.

11:44am
I'm on the plane. Whew. Right before I got on I saw Mike and Bob. They were all sweaty and nervous. I kinda figured Mike overslept. But hey, things happen.
The cab got me there just fine and I'm only delayed by an hour. No need to get all crazy. Everything is fine. I know some artist that would be totally out of control right now. But I've learned to be selective with my battles. And my relationship with Mike and my new Australian crew is in tact.

11:27pm
This is the final leg of my little Australian tour. It's been a real Blast. I'm in Sydney. One of the promotors name is Michael. He's 23!! LOL. These guys are getting younger! Well they have treated me so kind. Michael has a whole crew of people that he works with and they all took me out to this fancy steak place. These people know how to do it. My voice is still a bit rusty. So much so that I'm nervous. I did extemely well in Melbourne. But I think I've come down with a cold. I have cold medicine and throat lozenges. I've been drinking tea all day. So I'm very dry and my throat is extremely dry. There's a song I sing called "Your Body." When I get to the part that says "I'm A Man, Sensitive. And Tenderness Comes From Pain" I sing really high for the rest of the song. I'M WORRIED!!! Can I do it tonight? Is this my cold or my age? Am I tripping?LOL!!!!!!!! I'll be singing my first note in an hour. Oh man. The pressure is intense. They kept saying, "we sold out of tickets." God please don't let me suck in front of these people.....

11:42pm
I just tried a few notes here in my room and I'm way dry!!!!!! I need to pry and ask God for assistance. My nerves are not helping this situation.

June 13th 5:48am
I sang at a B+ level. The people enjoyed themselves. That's always good. The people of Sydney were just as soulful as the people of Melbourne. I can feel my confidence in DJing at an all time high. We allhad a ball. My voice was blessed by God. I'm really pleased.
Having some burger king and then sleep.
I feel connected to these people. I actually took my shirt off both nights and nobody laughed at my fat. LOL!!!!!!!!!

11:05am
I'm in the lobby about to head to the airport. This has been superb. Australia has the potential to be another South Africa for House music artist. These people loved soulful music. Even when I DJ'ed they didn't react as much to the more harder stuff. They loved vocals. I was thoroughly impressed. They were singing the lyrics and just FEELING the music. I should remind you that we're talking about 20 something year olds!
That means that there's hope for soulful music. I'm feeling pretty good right now although I have a cold. I can't wait to talk with my label manager about our future. Some pleasant changes will be made and some additions must be put in place

12:18am
At the airport. I'm watching these two grown men saying farewell to one another. They're both crying their eyes out. It's beautiful to see true love between friends without it being diluted with any sick perversions. These two guys are really friends. That's so rare in our American culture.

12:44pm
Ran into my man Ron Carroll. And this brother is doing exactly what I mentioned earlier. There is hardly any money in Soulful dance music. It's not that we don't love it. I devoted most of my life to it. But it simply can not sustain my needs. Ron changed his style and started doing a harder sound. I think I will use an alias. Josh Milan will be the name i use when I do what I have been doing. But the new name..... I'll come up with something.

2:15pm
I'm in my seat ready to take it down on some nice Toots Theilemans playing "Somewhere Over The Rainbow".
Talk about the perfect song. I've always had a love for instruments that need human breath to work. Toots plays a Chromatic Harmonica. It's not your typical bluesy styled harmonica. This is more like if John Coltrane played harmonica. Just beautiful.
I'm fading.... What a trip..!

2:22pm
Just as I was about to take it down, I asked this flight attendant for water because I have a cold and wasn't feeling well. So she got really nasty!! She's an Asian woman around 50 or so. She said "How sick are you, because we can't take you on this flight if you're that sick." I told her I'll be fine, the water and my meds would take care of any issues I may have. So she's going on and on about me not being able to assist in the emergency exit row. Then she starts talking loud. Now I feel myself losing my cool because all of this authoritative attitude isn't necessary. And she was getting loud! I wish my sister Nadine was here because none of that would have went down. Some people are very condescending and shouldn't work in service.

2:52pm
OK. I'm over it. LOL. Funny thing. I noticed when she talked to the flight attendant who happened to be a woman of color, she gave her an unpleasant look. But when she spoke to white people on the plane she was all fun and jokes. Making gags. NEWSFLASH my Asian stewardess!! If america was to go back to slavery, you'd be a slave!!! LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I wish you could see her making a fuss over serving them wine. I asked for water and she wants to read me my rights...... OK. I'm really over it now.

9:38am(Still June 13th Cali time)
We're landing soon. Ron Carroll and I just had a conversation about his switch to a harder sound. And after talking with him I congratulate him on having the courage to make a move like that. He full out spent money on a soulful project and told me that nobody wanted it. He couldn't even give it away. He lost more than 10 grand! That would be devastating for me. He continued to give me some heavy points and I'm definitely going to follow those instructions. It makes sense financially. I'm excited. The House "Heads" will not get neglected. I promise to continue to hold up the soulful banner strongly with Honeycomb. But I'd better start doing the other music also if I want to keep doing Soulful music. You feel me?

9:53am
Isn't funny how God speaks? During this whole trip I've been saying that I have to do something different musically. And Ron Carroll shows up! I came all the way from Pennsylvania, and came from Chicago, to meet in Australia!!!!!!!! I know GOD's voice people. That kinda stuff is no coincidence. Only God can affirm things so strategically. I mean God tailored this whole thing perfectly. Ron and I come from the same gospel background. We both did Soulful house for more than 20 years. We both wanted more. Now Ron happens to be on the same plane with me going home from Australia???? If you talk to God, HE WILL TALK TO YOU? But you have to listen!!!!!!

6:35pm
Carolyn(my agent) picked me up from the airport. My layover is maybe 10 hours or more. So we ate and she treated me to a massage. The place was called Kubuki. The sauna and showers alone were insane. But the massage was perfect. Absolutely what I needed!!!!!!!
After that we met up with the San Fran crew and had grilled Japanese food and Hot Sake. Fun fun!!!!

June 14th 6:00am
In Newark finally!!!! Thanks for hanging with me.