Jose Coutour Has His Feet On The Ground While Reaching For The Stars

Pursuing any career in entertainment can be a tough undertaking.  So many people try, get discouraged or lose themselves along the way.  From what I have seen over the past few years, the people who are most serious about it and continue to keep themselves grounded while taking steps to achieve their dreams are the ones who make it and have the best chance of keeping it.  Jose Coutour is one of those people who is working toward his ultimate dream but is also laying the foundation he needs for his future.

If you look at his twitter bio, it simply states, “ Music is what feelings sound like.”  I think that is such a great description of what music should be for all of us. I hope to be able to share some of his new music with you soon but I think you all should get to know him for now.  If you follow him on Twitter, you will find he is very engaging and takes the time to chat with each of his followers.

Q: When did you know you had a talent for singing?

A: Well as far as I remember since elementary school, when I first joined the school talent show and performed -I Will Always Love You by: Whitney Houston and won 1st place that year.

Q: What made you want to pursue performing as a career?

A: Being a show off and attention freak haha I was very hyper active back in elementary and middle school so I decided to join all talent shows and school plays to release some of that tension. So I started to take things a little more serious and Bam! here I am.

Q:  I know that you have worked in retail stores while you are also working on your recordings.  How is that for you? Do you think it helps to keep you grounded?

A:  Its challenging at times but helps keep me balanced on what life is, and its difficult times to get to where you want to be. But surely it does keep me grounded.

Q: You do perform at local bars, restaurants, and clubs.  Do you use that opportunity to try out new songs?

A: Yes I always use every opportunity I have to try new songs, even when its shower time.

Q: What advice would you give to others who are attempting the same career path as you?

A: You definitely have to have a passion to keep you motivated, and always be original & stay true to yourself.

Q: How has social media helped you? 

A: Wow its helped enormously I really enjoy making contact with different people around the world. They write to me as if they were family, not fans or unknown strangers; they make me feel comfortable and push me to go further in pursuing my career.

Q: Speaking of social media, where can we find you online?

A: I have several social media networks which include Facebook, MySpace, & twitter which is the best place to catch me at www.twitter.com/IAMJCOUTOUR My website is under construction for the time.

Q: What do you think of shows like American Idol, The Voice, and X Factor? Would you ever go on one of those shows yourself? 

A:  I think there amazing shows very influential and a great opportunity for everyone who has a passion for entertainment. I believe that when you have your mind set on a goal if you try you’ll achieve it. So if by any chance I’d have to start back on step 1 in my career I wouldn’t have any shame being part of the show.

Q: Who are some artists that influence you?

A:  I think they all do, each artist in the industry have there own taste and sense of style in a beautiful way. But favorites would definitely start with Taylor Swift, Bruno Mars, Nicki Minaj, One Direction, Rihanna, Ne-Yo, Chris Brown, Jamar Rogers.

Q: Who would you like to work with? Song writers? Performers?

A: Taylor Swift, I’m a big fanatic of her work, as goes for Bruno Mars as a song writer & Christina Aguilera for a collaboration. & I will stop myself now before the list goes on & on.

Q: Do you write your own music? If so, would you ever consider writing songs for someone else?

A: Yes I do. I think writing becomes part of your everyday life experiences, any sticky situation, bad relationship, old crush in high school, good times, bad times, if I say so myself I think writing songs is expressing yourself as a person and a professional.

Q: What’s up next for Jose Coutour?

A: Right now there is allot Going on from studio sessions to dance rehearsals, to fixing a team for negotiations with labels, and different production companies. I will keep everyone informed throughout the whole process. And I just want to give BIG thanks to all my fans, friends, & Family. You all have made it possible for me to be here today. Also my Manager Andrew Seijo, and my talent & vision agent Giselle Arias, not Forgetting Teeco 71 for being such a great and amazing website and supporting me through my successes.

 

Levi Kreis Is Finally Home and Ready For Anything

If you head over to Levi Kreis‘ website, you will find yourself quite impressed.  Levi had one of the TOP 3 most successful Kickstarter campaigns according to the August 2011 issue of Billboard Magazine, has won multiple awards, has been on Broadway, and has had his music featured on NBC, CBS, FX, AND The CW networks.  In fact, in 2010, Levi was presented with the Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a musical for his portrayal of Jerry Lee Lewis in the Broadway hit Million Dollar Quartet.  Follow Levi on Twitter or have a conversation with him and you find yourself equally impressed.  This is someone who is down to earth, honest, sometimes vulnerable, and admittedly, not perfect.  He is a combination of dreams, talent, and heart with the drive to go along with it.

I have wanted to interview Levi Kreis for a while now and have been a fan of his for even longer.  I believe in him so much that I am actually one of the backers of his Kickstarter project.  I am very proud to present you with this interview and I hope you take away lots from it.

Q: Were you always interested in Music and entertainment? How did you get your start in the business?

A:  Oh my.  It’s all that I remember.  I started performing for audiences by eight years of age.  My mother was very responsive to my talent.  She started taking me to songwriting seminars, industry functions, and music conferences at a very early age.  It’s really all I’ve ever known.

Q: Your list of people who have influenced you is so diverse. Luther Vandros, Chaka Khan, Michael Jackson, Janet Jackson, Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, Elton John, Patti LaBelle, Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, and The S.O.S. Band, just to name a few. Do you think this combination is what gives you that unique quality your fans seem to love you for?

A:  I have always admired artists that knew what it was about themselves and their product that appealed to audiences.  I, for one, have never had that gift of insight.  I think if I did, it may assist me in playing more intentionally into the elements that appeal to the broadest number of my fans.  I know my favorite artists have conveyed a remarkable vocal sensibility.  As I mature in my craft I find myself going more towards the R&B instincts that are so natural to me.  These vocalists continue to teach me how to give special attention to making a vocal performance unique, not just good.  Only now do I feel I’ve started to understand that and shape that for my own recordings.  It’s one thing I know will be immediately noticeable about my 2013 release.

Q: You won a Tony Award for your portrayal of Jerry Lee Lewis in the Broadway hit Million Dollar Quartet. What does Broadway mean to you?  Any plans to return to the stage?

A:  I never say never.  I never know what will attract me about a role.  By the way, the Broadway community is so inspiring: so many talented people.

Q:  You haven’t been shy about your struggles. What advice could you offer to someone who is going through a tough time and also to anyone who is watching a loved one go through those times?

A:  Yes, I have been open about many of my struggles.  There are some battle scars too fresh to discuss.  There are some I will never speak of.  After wearing my heart on my sleeve for six years, I’m learning the elegance of honoring my own privacy: another topic of discussion I suppose.  In regards to your question, I think I’m learning to not have judgements about peoples struggles or life situations.  Everyone has a right to experience life’s challenges the way they want to.  Some people fall apart, and some people find strength they never knew they had.  One is no “better” than the other.  It’s a choice, plain and simple.  That’s a hard pill to swallow.  People get it when they get it.  It’s egotistical for me to expect any more from others than what they are choosing for themselves.  Who am I to say?  It’s really none of my business.  I know sometimes I sound like that old grandpa whose been through so much that he’s intolerant of others inability to overcome painful situations.  But then again, to say I should learn sympathy is to say that I should see you for less than who you are.  Let me tell you my friend, YOU are the fullness of God right where you are, with infinite, limitless capabilities.  To offer sympathy is to support the illusion of your limitations.  Get up and know your power!  That’s what I want my friends to say to me!  As far as those of us watching a loved one go through pain, simply being present with them says so much more than we probably know.

Q: Your new CD is due out in 2013 but there is already lots of fan buzz.  You actually went to your fans for support on this one. I know the response was tremendous. How did that feel for you? Were you surprised at the reaction?

A: I was extremely surprised, and I feel an overwhelming responsibility to not only give my best effort, but to use this opportunity to build a business structure that doesn’t have to rely on Kickstarter again.  That’s hella tricky, and requires a bit of administrative and financial planning that many artists don’t want to take time to figure out.  The entire Kickstarter budget went to the recording of the album; 100% of it.  I can say that every morning I got out of bed I gave my very best effort without fail.  Now, whether it speaks to people like other albums of mine, I cannot predict.  I’m horrible at predicting peoples responses and I don’t like to as it sends me down the rabbit hole of approval seeking.  I can only do my very best, and hope it translates to the heart.  I’m zeroing in on a release date.  I’m leaning towards April 2013, with the first release coming out this October (UK) and January (domestically).

Q:  Speaking of going to the fans for support, the music business has changed so much.  What do you think is the key to success today?

A:  I just moved to Chicago for many reasons, the main one being that it plants me right in the heart of my fan base.  It will significantly increase my touring schedule.  I think we all used to think that moving to L.A. or NYC was necessary to “get discovered” and break.  Today, you either do your music or you don’t.  There is no “waiting to be discovered”.  Labels aren’t interested in that.  They want artists who have a thriving fan base and a significant tour schedule.  I think this is great news because I don’t have to depend on anyone but my hard work to make a thriving business for myself.  If the industry discovers me eventually, that is wonderful.  I’m very much open to that.  But there are so many options for artists these days.  Our career really can look however we want it to if we are willing to persist and commit to the 24/7 work load that it requires.  Again, it’s an overwhelming amount of work for one person to do, and years of persistence is what success is made of.  My day starts at 5:30am and I work on my business until about 7pm.  I work most Saturdays and Sundays.  I don’t have a social life, and my interaction is mostly with my partner, one or two of my closest friends, and my fan base.  With that said, I think any entrepreneur should recognize when it’s time to expand.  I have no doubt that it’s time for a manager to enter the equation and capitalize on the success I’ve had over the last two years.  I am very clear that my forte is not managing myself.  I see that clearly, and while I’ll continue to do what occurs to me to do, I’m ready to trust an additional team member.

Q:  Social media plays a large role in today’s Entertainment business.  How do you balance that into your work?  Where can we find you online?

A: Ha!  I love that you ask this question as I just went through a good 3 month rebellion of everything social media!  I doubt many people heard a peep out of me over the summer except to promote a show.  I can’t begin to tell you how much I hate Facebook!  It’s a necessary evil to keep my friends and supporters informed, but I’m not sure how much it even does that anymore.   Pages act differently than they did when I was promoting my Kickstarter campaign.  Now that Facebook has gone public, I promise you it will get more costly for indie artists to reach their fan base.  (Can anyone say “promote a post”?)  Aside from that, I think social media can be a kiss of death too.  I fell prey to focusing 95% of my attention on social media rather than pitching myself to radio, podcasts, blogs, and wider spread efforts.  It can definitely keep an artist lazy and not thinking more constructively but as long as everyone else loves it, artists will have to have a presence there.  My favorite thing right now is instagram.  It’s not a big commitment, seems less saturated, and frankly, more personal.  People on facebook are more like voyeurs now anyway.  They read their friends posts like news updates with little or no interaction.

Q:  What artists would you like to work with in the future?

A:  Anastasia.  Please, Anastasia, make my dreams come true and do a duet with me!!  I have loved you for years!  My ideal career is described by describing yours.  Make a boys wish come true!  (Am I groveling enough?)  LOL.  I really do adore that woman!  Crazy talented!

Q:  Your song, “I Should Go”, was featured on the CW’s Vampire Diaries and you have had your music used on shows like Fox’s “Sons of Anarchy.”  Is that something you would like to continue doing?

A:  Always.  I have really enjoyed those opportunities!

Q:  What are some of your guilty pleasures? Reality TV? Sweets?

A:  I have been obsessed with working out and weight training for years.  Perhaps since I’m feeling less modest these days, maybe the ol publicity shots could use a little reveal of some hard work.  LOL.  T.V shows would be Big Brother, Million Dollar Listing, anything OWN, and Shark Tank.  I store them all on Tivo until I finally take a Sunday off and lay in front of the tv and catch up on everything I’ve missed. Oh…and anytime I’m flying, thats time for me to catch up on Merlin.  I LOVE that show!  Disco music.  I should have lived in the 70′s.  Deep down I’m secretly a Tom of Finland model, dawned in leather, mustache, and hanging out in some leather bar in New York City in 1979.   What I would give to have been there.  I love documentaries about the gay community in the 70′s, 80′s, and 90′s.  I love learning gay history in general. I think it’s something more LGBT kids should do.  Maybe they would have a greater sense of community if they did!

Q: You have called many places home, Chicago, NY, LA, and you are originally from East Tennessee.  Do you have a favorite place? A place where you truly feel most at home?

A:  I’m so grateful to discover how deadening Los Angeles is to my soul.  My time there has passed.  East Tennessee will always be where family resides.  NY will always be incredibly exciting to me, but Chicago is home.  I instantly felt at home the moment I moved back here.  I feel like I am able to flourish.  Something about it gives me a fresh, exhilarating creative spirit.  I feel like I will have my greatest successes from here.

Q:  Going back to the new CD, the 12 songs are very special. They are based on stories told to you by some of the fans who backed the project. What did you learn about them and about yourself during this process?

A:  I learned that our stories are all very different, but a spirit of resilience, the desire to love and be loved, and a dreamers heart are all things that connect us.  Whether I’m telling Lewis’s story, Janine’s story, Richard’s story, or so on and so forth, I”m telling my story as well.  I find me in them.  And as a songwriter, I hope they find themselves in me.  It was a one of a kind experience, and I have to thank everyone for taking that journey with me.  I can’t wait to share it with everyone.

Q:  We share a mutual friend, Jason Dottley. Any plans for the two of you to work together? :)

A:  Not in the foreseeable future.  Never say never.

Q:  Besides the move to Chicago and the album, what’s up next for Levi Kreis?

A:  Million Dollar Quartet in Japan!!  3 week run, and I’m leaving in one week.  Maybe I’ll get to unpack a few boxes between now and then?

Can’t Stay Hush about The HUSH

If you love great music like I do, you will really love The HUSH. The band seems to have a knack for incorporating everything that is good about music in one place.  The HUSH consists of vocalist and lyricist, Jazmine Giovanni, guitarists Lee Landrum and Greg Pajer, drummer Blake Paulson and bass player Andrew James.  Each one is a perfect combination of talent and heart that is so obviously expressed in their music.

Take a look at their video for Hold You Down and you will find classic Rock mixed with modern sounds lead by Jasmine’s powerful voice. Then be sure to run over to iTunes to get their EP “Scene of the Crime” and check out their new singles “Tip of the Tongue”.  If you are in the LA area be sure to catch them performing at venues like The Viper Room, Troubadour,  and House of Blues.

I was honored to have the privilege of speaking with Jasmine and Lee recently for a very honest conversation about the band, the music industry, and a few other interesting things.

Q: First, how did you all meet? Did the band come along because you were all friends or did you meet because of the band?

Lee: A combo of the two. I first met the guys (Andrew, Blake & Greg) about five years ago while working on another project. When I started this band, they were my first call.

Jazmine: I was introduced to the band through Blake. We went to college together and he called me in to audition for the gig.

Q: Tell me a little about each of you. Who is the most serious? Who is the class clown? Who is the most parental?

Jazmine: Haha. Blake is an interesting combo… definitely the most serious, and yet he is sharp as a tack and comes out with some pretty hilarious moments. Lee is our band leader but very laid back. He really allows everyone their own process. AJ is the resident pretty boy; he will cut you with that hair, affectionately known as The Peacock. Greg is a Leo. Need I say more? And me? I’m hard to pin down ;)

Q: This one is for Jazmine. How is it for you, being the only female member? Do the guys tend to look out for you? Any overprotective moments?

Jazmine: I feel really lucky in this department. I grew up around only females, so naturally I gravitated towards men as friends. In my adult life I’ve become the broad in every group of guys I hang with. It’s pretty great. I hear their stories, share in their jokes. They take me in as one of their own. The boys in the band are great to me.

Q: Your sound is not like the other bands out there. It really incorporates many different genres of music. Who are some artists/bands that influence you most?

Lee: Between the five of us you can list just about any band and most genres as influences. I most admire the guitar based bands. Rock and roll, classic and new — from Van Halen to Muse it all inspires me. Now and then my inner Flamenco comes pouring out of my acoustic, I have no idea where that comes from.

Jazmine: I grew up singing jazz and pop music. Whitney Houston, Chaka Khan, Freddy Mercury. These are the voices that shaped my passion as a singer.

Q: What artists/producers/musicians would you like to work with?

Lee: I think working with Red Hot Chili Peppers would be fun. I like their energy. I dream about the perfect producer…and I hope to meet that person some day.

Jazmine: I’d kill to do a record with Trent Reznor.

Q: The music industry has been changing so much. How do you keep going and adapting to the changes?

Lee: For indie bands. the changes in the industry are good. The old system spiraled downward quite a few years ago making the music business full of more DYI opportunities than ever before. Label deals are few and far between and while I would like this band to be signed one day, we don’t necessarily need that to keep moving forward.

Q: Social Media has become HUGE for anyone in any part of entertainment. How do you think it helps or is used best by artists/bands?

Lee: Social Media is the best way for us to personally connect with our fans. It started for us in ’09 on MySpace.  Our first songs went on MySpace first and the response was great.  We got tons of feedback from strangers, they are more honest than friends and family. Then came facebook, not as easy to talk with fans there but we keep it up to date with info, pics and more. Twitter is a favorite, the quick connections every day are fun. For the past three years we have had incredible conversations with people all over the world, it’s been amazing. From a war torn civilian in Croatia to a rock-and-roll bus driver’s daughter from TN, we’ve met and connected with some great people. Some fans fly across the country to go to our shows. That’s HUGE!

Q: Speaking of Social Media, where can we find you online?

Lee: Our website has links to most our social pages, iTunes, cdbaby and you can watch our ‘Hold You Down’ video there, too: www.THEHUSHrockband.com
We talk on twitter daily – @THEHUSHband – and most days check into facebook – /THEHUSHband – join us!

Q: There is always a catch 22 when it comes to being booked. You need to have a certain number of bookings to be taken seriously but you can’t always get those first bookings so easily. What advice could you offer to those who are just starting out? Lessons you have learned along the way?

Lee: If a new band can get a local residency they not only have the chance to build an audience but work on their stage performance along the way. You have to come in the first night and kill it to come back the next week but with each show the act gets better and better while the audience grows. Most clubs really only care about how many people you bring in, some don’t even match-up the line-up very well. We’ve shared the stage with rap, country, punk and even a comedian one time. Make sure to find out who else is in the line-up if you can. Your fans will appreciate a solid night of good music and come back to see you again.

Q: What is the craziest thing that has happened to you so far while touring or performing? Any over zealous fans out there?

Lee: I made the mistake of giving out my phone number to a few people early on. After getting three calls a day for a week from one of them I had to change the phone number.

Jazmine: Many zealous fans. It comes with the territory but it’s always slightly unnerving. I’d rather not get into specifics but… yeah.

Q: At the end of the day, music is a business but how do you continue to have fun while making sure your business is in order?

Jazmine: Separate the two. There’s a beauty to both. We tackle each with a gratitude to be involved in such an ever-changing and prolific industry. This is the soundtrack of people’s lives and what moves us all.

Lee: Most of the fun happens on-stage when we connect with the audience and each other. As soon as I pack up my guitar and get home its back to work. Though, have to say, turning your passion into your day job is the only way to live.

Q: What are some of your favorite songs to perform? Yours as well as covers from others?

Jazmine: I’ve become attached to our cover of Bowie’s ‘Afraid of Americans.’ I’d love to record it.

Lee: A piece of my soul goes into each original so those will always be my favorite. Our version of ‘Americans’ is really strong. Fire by Hendrix and Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me by U2 are also fun to play on-stage.

Q: Who would you have liked to work with that is no longer with us?

Lee: Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughan, of course. Would have also like to work with John Bonham. Those guys are all legends.

Q: What’s up next for The HUSH?

Lee: We have another single to release, ‘Hanging by a Thread’ and might do a video with that song. There are few shows in the works, one across the country, and we are back in writing mode. The new material is coming along great, I really look forward to our next recording session.

Trevor Page: Someone You Should Know

I am super excited to introduce you to Trevor Page. He is such a multidimensional human being, an amazing artist, and quite the smart guy. His sound encompasses so many genres and yet has a uniqueness that is refreshing in a time where music seems to have taken on a formulated feel to it.

Trevor has worked with Gabe Lopez, who I interviewed a few months ago so I decided to ask Gabe for a quote about working with Trevor (but Trevor doesn’t know I asked…..yet :) )  Being another extremely generous soul, he had this to say about Trevor:

“Trevor has become such a great pop singer/songwriter and producer.  He has great production instincts – he’s very savvy about his use of synths and sound effects.  And his lyrics – such a great combo of personal, heartfelt words and catchy  hooks.  He’s great live, too.  A very solid singer – complete with range and runs. I have a blast working with him.  He’s the real deal.”

When I first became aware of Trevor, through my interview with Gabe, I immediately looked him up and began to experience his music.  I say experienced because in special cases, you don’t just listen to music, you experience the art of it.  I was extra pleased to discover he is such an approachable and generous person.

Please enjoy this interview as much as I have enjoyed working on it:

Q: Have you always known you had such an amazing talent?  Your voice is very unique and so mature for someone your age.

A: First off thank YOU. Finding myself as an artist wasn’t a completely smooth ride. I was very shy. I always new I loved to sing and loved music but growing up in a small town in Florida wasn’t the most encouraging atmosphere. My parents are very supportive but having this big dream was a bit scary for my mom when I was younger. She never really encouraged me to sing. She is very business minded and always wanted me to have a plan for success doing something a little more solid… and to an extent understandably so. There are NO guarantees in the entertainment business. It wasn’t until I was around 17 or 18 that I started seriously writing music and I didn’t perform any of it until I was 20 or so. It was when I started doing music with Ricky Diamond that I really started to come into my own. The duo was fun and it taught me a lot. So no, it has been a tough, bumpy path but I am far from done.

Q:  I read that you are a child of a multi-racial marriage. Was that challenging for you growing up?  Do you have any advice for people who may be teased and/or bullied for being different than others?

A: I honestly never knew that I was different until I’d be told or reminded by other people but I have been blessed with absolutely the best family anyone could ask for.  Like i said, it was a small town and sometimes tolerance for being different is a little skewed out of fear. I really just try to take that as a learning experience too. Things have gotten better and better but we still have work to do to spread education and love. As far as advice for anyone being bullied… Hmm.. Its so much easier said than done especially if its your family who may be the negative influence. But in the case of racial issues, our race is something we have no control over. So being oppressed over something like that can be detrimental in learning or having negative experiences . Try to surround yourself with positive people. There are wonderful things about ALL of us. Look for positive role models that you can relate to because you are not the only one. Don’t stay silent. Tell a counselor, your parents or a friends parents. Continue reading “Trevor Page: Someone You Should Know” »

Teeco71′s Musings: You Have to Know Your Own Strength

Recent events have sparked many conversations and have me thinking about so many things we could change.   Whitney Houston lived a complicated, contradicting life.  On one hand, she had success, a good family, a firm foundation, and lots of love.  On the other, she had self-doubt, addiction, bad decisions, horrible influences, and struggles.  Debates are ongoing as to whether or not we should feel sorry for her.  Did she bring it on herself? Was she too weak to fight temptation and outside influences?  Can you blame others for your own falls?

I feel sorry for her because she obviously had a tough time dealing with something(s) in her life.  Was fame her demon? Was it shame? Did she allow her relationships to get the best of her?  Possibly, but yes, I do believe she shared the blame and that doesn’t mean I blame her completely.  We all tend to rely on crutches of some form or another in our lives. Some lean on people a little too hard, some hit the bottle, some choose drugs, while others choose food.  Anything can become an addiction given the right circumstances.  Even something as natural and beautiful as sex can become horrible if you are seeking something you are missing from these “connections.”

I have struggled with my weight through my life. Right now I am winning big time and very proud to say I have taken so much control.  At the same time, I know others who are not as in control of their vices.  I hear all the excuses, “Its okay, I only do it once in a while.”  ”I’m not as bad as so-and-so.”  ”I do it because I enjoy it.”  I call BULL.  If anything (drugs, alcohol, etc) cause you to change your personality so drastically that you do things out of character or they bring out the worst in you, you have a pretty big problem.  If you can’t put them down and stay away from them, you have a problem.  If you need them to enjoy life… bingo… you have a problem.

That being said, if I look deep enough at the people in question, I do see demons.  Self doubt, even self hatred.  None of those things will be alleviated by the numbing effects of addiction.  The only way to solve our problems would be to face them.  If you can’t face them alone, seek out friends, family, anyone who cares about you. They are there, even if they are angry at you for your actions, they will come around when you show you are ready to try to get help.

Our entire society has become so convoluted.  We accept alcoholism, drug use (especially prescription drugs) and we make it okay.  I wonder why more doctors don’t question patients that are abusing their prescriptions? Is it money? Do our consciences have a price? I remember when I was younger, my Grandfather was diagnosed with diabetes.  At first, the doctors gave him a diet to follow.  They wanted to see if his sugar levels would come down with proper eating habits.  When that didn’t work, although I suspect he really wasn’t following his diet, they prescribed meds.

Today, I see doctors so willing to prescribe drugs without first attempting a more natural remedy.  Have we become so desensitized to drug use? When did we stop questioning things? When did we relinquish control of our own bodies? When did we give up trying?

Is your life or the life of another worth fighting for? I think it is.  As long as the other person is willing to get help and realizes that they cannot be permitted to bring you down in the process, they deserve a chance.  If you are the one who is fighting demons, YOU have to be honest with yourself.  Identify the problem and then seek help from whomever you can.  Your life is something to be experienced fully, to feel every emotion, enjoy every triumph, and yes, even endure the pain.

In her song, ‘I Didn’t Know My Own Strength,’ Whitney sang about losing touch with her soul, losing sight of her dream, and forgetting how strong she was.  At that time, she seemed to be coming around but unfortunately she didn’t fully hear the affirmations in her own music.  I leave you with the lyrics to the song that has been playing in my head for weeks now and the task of examining the people around you or yourself to see who and where you can help or need help.

Was fame the beginning of Whitney’s end? Perhaps and I suspect that her family would have preferred her to be just a normal girl and live well past the age of 48 rather than share her talent with the world as they did.  Maybe some people were just not meant to be famous or ultra successful because they just can’t handle it?

No more excuses, no more allowances.  Take responsibility, make them take responsibility.  Fight like your life, or theirs, depends on it….. because it does.  And for God’s sake, realize your own strength!!!!!

I Didn’t Know My Own Strength 

Warren, Diane

Lost touch with my soul
I had nowhere to turn, I had nowhere to go
Lost sight of my dream
Thought it would be the end of me

I, I thought I’d never make it through
I had no hope to hold on to
I, I thought I would break

I didn’t know my own strength
And I crashed down and I tumbled, but I did not crumble
I got through all the pain
I didn’t know my own strength

Survived my darkest hour, my faith kept me alive
I picked myself back up, hold my head up high
I was not built to break
I didn’t know my own strength

Found hope in my heart
I found the light to life my way out of the dark
Found all that I need here inside of me

Oh, I thought I’d never find my way
I thought I’d never lift that weight
I thought I would break

I didn’t know my own strength
And I crashed down and I tumbled, but I did not crumble
I got through all the pain
I didn’t know my own strength

Survived my darkest hour, my faith kept me alive
I picked myself back up, hold my head up high
I was not built to break
I didn’t know my own strength

There were so many times
I wondered how I’d get through the night
I thought I took all that I could take

I didn’t know my own strength
And I crashed down and I tumbled, but I did not crumble
I got through all the pain
Oh, I didn’t know my own strength

My faith kept me alive
I picked myself back up, I hold my head up high
I was not built to break
I didn’t know my own strength

I was not built to break, no, no
I got to know my own strength