What I Learned From Dry January
What Is Relationship “Popcorning” And Am I Guilty?
The Fifty-First Official Friday Night BeerBlog
The Seventy-Fourth Official Friday Night BeerBlog
What’s With The Friday Night BeerBlog (FNBB) Anyway?
The Seventy-Second Official Friday Night BeerBlog
Married 26 Years Last Month – The McShane Secrets To A Successful (ish) Marriage.
You’re a Savage. Classy. Bougie. Ratchet.
The Eighty-Third Official Friday Night BeerBlog
The Eighth Official Friday Night BeerBlog
I Can See Clearly Now The Dirt Is Gone
The Twenty-Third Official Friday Night BeerBlog
Natural Born Talent
September 18, 2020 – The thirteenth blog of the RestorationAge
We see them all the time and they amaze us; people that just seem to be born to do what they are doing. It just comes so naturally. Of course Steven Spielberg is a film director. Of course Van Gogh was a painter. Of course Martin Luther King was a preacher and civil rights leader. Of course Meryl Streep is an actress. Of course Chloe Dygert is a cyclist. Who has ever doubted these things, cause it seems none of them ever doubted what they would be or accomplish. Some still in the hunt (Go get your Olympic Gold, Chloe!)
I am currently doing research for a film that will be in the Roots Theater of the future National Museum of African-American Music in Nashville, TN. It has been an amazing experience to be engrossed within some of the most amazing history and talent. I have been buried in the birth of jazz, bebop & swing, blues, soul, and hip-hop – all under the influence of gospel music, which has it’s American roots in slavery, but really comes from even earlier African beats, rhythm, dance, and call and response.
In every success story, it’s amazing what clarity of vision history has. All the pieces just fall together, one thing led to another, the right people were in the right place at the right time to make some of the most amazing things happen.
Take hip-hop. The bronx 1973. A wasteland of brick and rubble after the Cross Bronx Expressway was built through the borough. Landlords were setting their buildings on fire to collect insurance money. Gangs and crime ruled. A middle school girl wanted to have a party to earn money and asked her brother Kool Herc to play music. They held the first “Back to School Jam” in their apartment building on Sedgwick Avenue. He had a knack of using a turntable to extend the beat-break in the music over and over while the crowd danced. Then Grandmaster Flash, who was as much an engineer as musician, bought a second turntable and developed the backspin technique where he played the beat-break on one turntable then mixed to the exact section on the other turntable and switched his mixer, creating an indefinite loop. At the same time, Grand Wizzard Theodore was practicing with stereo equipment in his basement when his mother yelled at him and he accidentally moved the needle back and forth on the record – and scratching was born. Add to these events, Afrikka Bombaataa experimenting with tracks from Kraftwerks, B-Boys developing a new way of dancing, and artists expression exploding in the form of street and subway graffiti and who wouldn’t have wanted to be in the Bronx at that time. It was lightning in a bottle.
Then there’s the birth of Southern Soul at Stax Recording Studio in the 60s. In the era of segregation and civil rights, especially in Memphis, TN, all that entered Stax, white or black, that had something to share, were invited and welcome. The amount of talent in that area and of the kids that entered that place was astounding. Carla Thomas, Isaac Hayes, David Porter… Booker T and the MGs were the house band and were 2 black and 2 white guys playing together – unheard of at the time. Otis Redding showed up one day with a friend. He arrived carrying the equipment and talked Steve Cropper of the MGs into listening to him sing. When the words “These arms of mine…” came out of his mouth, everyone knew immediately that this was it. Otis found what he was meant to do, when he was meant to do it, at exactly where he was supposed to do it. More lightening in a bottle. Who wouldn’t have wanted to be in that hanging out in that studio at that moment during that time?
There are so many stories like this – the formation of Motown or the artists of Beale Street in the 1950s and 1960s and so on. But just because these artists ended up where they were supposed to be in that moment, their success was not without struggle, hard work, fear, all the things that every single person faces. Talent is only part of the equation. The rest is up to us. They believed. They knew there was something inside that had to get out or they wouldn’t be complete.
I believe we all have something inside like that. That there is something that we were born to do. It doesn’t have to be art related; it could be that you a naturally talented caregiver, or a natural negotiator, or clever entrepreneur. You might be an engaging leader or speaker. You could even be an Admin Queen! There are endless ways to be talented and not every person is talented in the same way. Each of us is different, like snowflakes, which means there is a place for all of us to express our talents.
What I have read and heard over and over in this research is that these artists don’t write, sing and perform for themselves; they do it for others. They do it because they have to share what is inside of them. It’s their gift to the rest of us. The message is “share your talent and gifts”, whether they make you famous or not. Gifts are meant to be given away; and then be prepared to receive all the wonderful gifts that others want to share with you. In the end looking back, you’ll be amazed at what history had in store for you all along.
And, while all of this is going on, I encourage you to explore your Spotify, Pandora, iTunes, or local record store and dig out some old and amazing music to inspire your talent sharing. I have been through many a musical phase in my life, truly, but throughout this research I can honestly say I’ve been more than moved by Shirley Horn, Otis Redding, Sam and Dave (songs written by Porter and Hughes), Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Miles Davis, and some good ole fashioned late 70s and 80s Hip Hop. (But especially Shirley Horn). Your ears will thank me.
Happy Weekend Y’all! Cheers. And remember – Music Is Life Itself.
Post-Note: Since getting this post ready, I’ve heard that RGB has transitioned from this Earth. God Speed Ruth. Blessed be the fact she worked so hard in life and was willing to share her talents and gifts, instilling so much inspiration. Follow her lead. It’s on us now.