DrMyers’s Blog

August 12, 2014

Depression is Real

Robin-WilliamsDepression is real.  As an artist, I live with it every day, and the operative word is “live.”  It is not easy, and at times it seems as if I have no problems with the  struggle.  There are times when I feel on top of the world…for a moment.  Then a tunnel surrounds me blocking out any affection or caring word I’ve ever heard from anyone else in my life.  It becomes me at my most isolated, not selfish, state where although people are surrounding me, they have been blocked from my vision.  

 

I remember hitting the bottom.  It was during lunch hour on a Thursday.  Homesick, pressured by the feeling of being inadequate, financial pressures and an overwhelming sense of anxiety had pushed me to my breaking point.  As I wondered on foot in downtown LA, I walked across an overpass and stopped at its peak.  I walked to the edge and grabbed the rail with my hands and watched hundreds of cars pass below.  I stood their frozen.

 

A short period of discomfort followed by an eternal rest seemed more appealing than the inner turmoil I was experiencing, moreover it was becoming like the right answer.  The sound of each car that passed below seemed to lull me deeper and deeper into a dark inner tunnel where death appeared to be the only solution.

 

 Hearing people passing behind me did not distract me and no one seemed to stop.  Maybe to them I did not appear to pose any danger, which as an entertainer, I was, and am, use to.  Making people smile and feel at ease while one is dying inside becomes a habit, and even a type of medication.  When I, and other artists, am on stage everything is ok.  There is no drug on the market that can compare to the gratifying feeling of a loving audience.  The show ends, people leave, they cut off the lights, and the artist is left alone.

 

As I became conscious of my breath, I felt the wind and began to smell the exhaust of the cars and slowly backed away from the edge.  I was lucky, but there are others who are not.
The death of Robin Williams, just as the death of others also involved in the arts, resonates with me in a personal way.  It takes a special person to channel all of the good in oneself to cheer or brighten someone else’s day while inside it seems like things are crumbling.  He was an inspiration to me and will continue to inspire many more to come.
Depression is not a “state of mind’ or a temporary “feeling”, it is an ever present disease.  If you, or someone you know, are coping with depression, seek help, encourage them to seek help, and do all you can to send as much positive energy  and prayers their way.
Again, I was lucky that time.  I am aware that there maybe a time in the future where I may not be so lucky.  That awareness is the daily burden I, and others in my position, carry.  Depression is real.

 

August 9, 2014

Jazz is Here to Stay

This blog was written in response to the opinion editorial “All that jazz isn’t all that great” written by Justin Moyer.

 

Jazz is (not) boring.

Jazz is (not) overrated.

Jazz is (not) washed up.

Anytime I see these words, without the added parentheses, starting off an opinion editorial, immediately I am reminded that our forefathers/mothers fought for the freedom of speech.  It is also my opinion that in there fighting, they would hope the generations that followed them would strive with even more ferver to have responsibility with this right.  Alas, I read the words chosen by Mr. Moyers as he begins a diatribe against a genre of music drenched in self expression…and I drop my head in shame.

The first Jazz album I heard came by accident.  While rummaging through some records at the home of my Grandparents, I stumbled upon a record that seemed different from the others.  It was thicker, visibly older, worn, and on one side simply read, “Gut Bucket Blues”  Little did I know, the sounds that I heard would evoke such emotion 70 years after it was first recorded, and leave such an impression on a 12 year old boy.

Since then my love of Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Jelly Roll Morton, Eubie Blake, Jack Teagrden has not only evolved, but aided me in my appreciation of musicians like Wynton Marsalis, Esperanza Spalding, Kris Bowers and Allyn Johnson.  Each person represents a snapshot of an era, and through their individual expression, a timeless, ageless story is told that transcends words and in some moments, demands change.

  1.  Jazz allows a story to be told in different forms

As a southerner, I appreciate a good story.  Some of the greatest stories I remember hearing were told over the Sunday dinner table.  Waiting in anticipation of a punch-line or a climax in a tale I had heard countless times from my Grandparents is still one of my fondest memories.  With that said, some of my soberest memories come from hearing the same tales, told by a family friend, my mother, or even when passing on the tale to other family members and friends for the first time.  Humans are unique, and even reading stories from a printed text, our voices, inflections, and tones differ adding a different flavor to the text.  Thus is Jazz.

How awesome it is to have heard Louis Armstrong’s version of “Stardust”!   You hear as he takes his trumpet and paints a picture for you with only tones from his instrument.  How equally touching is it to hear Mel Torme sing the lyrics of Stardust, in his twilight years, written by Hoagy Carmichael, some 60 years earlier.  Jazz gave freedom to artists of all genres to not be afraid to add their “flavor” to a song, not taking away any substance or meaning from the composer/lyricist.  If you don’t believe me, ask Aretha Franklin about her cover of “Respect” or Nikki Minaj about the work she put into her mixtapes.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VhLdBFGCkl4

         2. Improvisation encourages musicians to evolve

I am so thankful that the history of man did not stop with the discovery of fire.  With each generation, this concept was built upon.  Likewise it is with music.  When improvisation is captured, it allows other musicians to take one persons’ improvised expression, and to build upon it.

With improvisation, a new voice is given to the musician/composer to share his/her expression.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ecyHa_lktnI

        3. Jazz Continues to Evolve

In the legal definition of “evolve” one finds that it also includes “preserving the good characteristics” and that change can be “random, generationally slow, good, bad or deadly.”  Evolution takes on different tones, in different times, to different people.

The expression of Jazz at one time was only regulated to speakeasies, gin joints, and back rooms.  Then, only in Dance Halls.  Festivals captured Jazz for a while, and then it stayed in school auditoriums or during special performances by Jazz originators.  Now you find Jazz, again, in small clubs and intimate venues, but this time with the invention of new instruments and tools to, again, express Jazz in a different or an “evolved” manor.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_o2RS8WfcbY

        4.  Jazz is Radical

There were 8 recorded lynchings, not sure if there were others undocumented, in 1937 when the poem “Strange Fruit” was written.  When Billie Holiday recorded this with added music to the poem, the number of lynches had decreased to 3, but this terrible act was now introduced through the expression of Jazz to the world.  The honesty of the pain, disappointment and fear Holiday felt towards her country due to its lack of inaction and the continuation of the practice of lynching was, and is, overwhelming.  Her 1939 recording of this, in time, became her biggest selling record.

This courage has been adopted by other artists to use Jazz to speak up, out, and against injustice of people throughout the world.  “Mushy” is not the first or last word that comes to mind when I, and many others, try to describe Jazz.

 

       5.  Jazz is Re-emerging and Local

 

When I moved to Washington DC in 2008 I was surprised at the classic venues located here in the district that offered Jazz.  More venues have now opened their doors to Jazz.  The Capitol Jazz Festival now offers “Jazz in the Hood” showcasing the hundreds of local Jazz musicians in the District of Columbia.  You will find new festivals starting up every year across the country, and globe, to also showcase the growing number of jazz musicians, that bring with them the influence of their time along with new technology.

 

Trends  have been adopted and thrown away.  In the future we will view the fads and technology of today as we now view leisure suits, hoop-skirts, and the “View-Master”.  Jazz has not and shows no sign of being dead or on life support.  To borrow from Mark Twain, Rumors of its demise has been greatly exaggerated!

 

If you do not believe me, walk into a local restaurant or small venue and ask for their live music schedule.   You will be surprised just how “alive” Jazz is, and will continue to be!

 

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~Aaron Myers

Resident Artist

Black Fox Lounge

Washington DC

http://www.aaron2.me

@aaronmyers

June 10, 2014

1 year married 2 years Divorced, By Anttoni Lopez

Image

Anttoni Lopez

It is not often I run across a post on Facebook, or other social networks, that really captures my attention.  Today was a much different story!  As I scrolled through my newsfeed, I came across a post that not only captured my attention, but held my attention.  The story of self truth realized through a tough experience.  Letting his friends and followers into a personal journey that may be embarrassing for some to discuss, Actor, Best Selling Auther and founder of Natoni Cosmetics Anttoni Lopez shares the story of his personal relationship…and its end.

1 year married 2 years Divorced

By Anttoni Lopez

1 year married 2 years Divorced Written by Anttoni Lopez As I held the divorce papers in my hand all I could say was Did I fail? Did I try enough? Was it me? What happen? These are the questions I ask myself still till this day. This pain is a pain I never felt before. A feeling like your locked in a room and there is no way out. We started off dating March of 2011 I remember that day because that was the day you made your self known. You looked so handsome in your outfit and everytime I looked over my shoulder you was there. We didn’t exchange numbers that night, but I knew I would see you again.

Two weeks later we met at a mutual friends gathering and we hit it off. We talked for hours and forget everyone was there. We didn’t care because at that point we knew it was gonna be us. Before I left you that night you said to me “You know I’m going to marry you?” I laughed and said yea ok. By the 3rd week of March 2011 we officially became a couple. For the next 6 months everything was good and then we were selected to get married on the day the Same-Sex marriage bill was passed here in New York 7-24-11.

That day changed my life forever. All I ever dreamed about was being married, having a great career, and having my very own family. That changed! We would argue about anything and everything. At times it was just to much. Then 1 year later we had a big fall out and he packed his bags and moved out of our apartment. I was stuck and lost. I mean there was no cheating or lies on my part so why leave? For the next 4 months I tried everything and anything to win him back. I went to counseling and even tried to get marriage counseling for the both of us and it didn’t work. We went to one session and you told me I can’t do this no more.

I cried for so long because my life was falling apart. My career wasn’t going anywhere, my money was running low, my marriage was over, I lost friends I mean I didn’t have anyone. All I could do was turn to GOD and pray. What made it worst was that he was doing interviews and writing about me and our marriage calling it toxic and poisonous and I never mentioned anything about our marriage until now. I had to read all this from the man I say I do to and that made me feel like shit. It took me until March of 2014 to file for the divorce. I had to make the choice for me and my life.

The email I got from you after you got summoned for court was priceless. The part that hit me was this “THANK YOU for finally taking an initiative to resolve this broken union. I will be handling expeditiously. I am happy to be able to finally move on with my personal life and dedicate time to the person who has been by my side through this meandering transition of severing ties with you. If not for you, I would not have found my new relationship and real anchor in this journey of life.” Damn so you are still married and in a committed relationship? Sounds to me like adultery! Doesn’t it?

“I am very happy for you and your new found love” was what I said and it will be easier now for you to sign the divorce papers and for us to move on. In the past 2 years I have launched my own cosmetics line called Na~Toni cosmetics, I am working on my second book, and have been cast for some upcoming new films and projects, booking more photo shoots and fashion shows. Life couldn’t be better and I thank you for leaving me because I found a new me. All it took was 1 year of marriage and 2 years divorce for me to open my eyes.

 

What an amazing admission of self truth!  I do hope you too will find strength in this personal story shared with us.  It goes to prove that time stops for no person, and you determine what will be made of the time we all have left.

To learn more about Anttoni Lopez find him on Instagram @Anttoni_lopez / Twitter @Anttonilopez / Facebook Anttoni Lopez –  Www.natonicosmetics.com

 

 

 

May 13, 2014

Yevvo, Jazz & Radio

For Immediate Release

 

 

Yevvo, Jazz & Radio

 

(Jazz Artist Aaron Myers introduces technology to the DC Jazz Community)

 

logo-yevvo

Washington, DC, May 13, 2014 – Jazz/Neo Soul Recording Artist Aaron Myers will perform his live Jazz show Friday, May 16th, 2014 at the Black Fox Lounge in the Dupont area of Washington DC from 9:30pm – 12:30am.  For the last 4 years, he has given over 100 performances as Resident Artist, singing familiar Jazz standards and originals songs from his last album “Leo Rising” to a full audience; it is this full audience that adds to the feel of the days of old when people flocked to an intimate venue to experience the spontaneous creativity of live jazz.  This week, he will introduce new technology to the old standards!

“We experimented with this technology at my last show as a practice round”, said Myers;  “…this week I believe the viewing audience will experience the same feeling of intimacy the actual patrons feel in the room”.  This technology is a new app called YEVVO.

 

YEVVO is an iPhone platform (which is also available for android users) app that works much like a social network; you get followers and you follow your friends. At the slide of a finger you can “go live” and your followers get notified to tune into this one of-a-kind live broadcast.  The broadcasts are not saved, so much like seeing a live Jazz show, the audience gets the once in a lifetime experience with what they see and hear.

“I’ve found this platform to be a great way to expand ones fan base, but also a great way to introduce Jazz to a brand new audience all over the world.” Myers stated.  Experimenting with the app at his last show, he performed to a live audience of 80 people at the Black Fox Lounge, while also live streaming his music and performance to 977 active viewers, who were also able to interact with him during the show.

 

The Black Fox Lounge is a well-thought-out repose located two blocks north of Dupont Circle, in the Northwest section of Washington DC.  Opened in 2009, the Black Fox Lounge now offers live entertainment 7 days a week.  This is not the first time technology has entered the realm of the Black Fox Lounge.  Myers held its first live recording there in 2010, testing to see if the venue would support a good marketable product and was successful.  “It is my hope that people across the world will be able to experience the Jazz Scene in real time, and see all the talent that is right here within the District of Columbia!”

 

In addition to his shows at the Black Fox Lounge every first and third Friday of the month (No Cover), you can also catch Mr. Myers on WPFW 89.3 “Live @ 5”, Wednesday, May 14th at 5pm EST.

 

Contact Information:
Black Fox Lounge

1723 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington DC 20009

(202) 483-1723

www.blackfoxlounge.com

 

Information about Aaron Myers

www.aaron2.me

info@aaron2.me

January 27, 2012

Maureen Mullaney and Aaron Myers: Together at Last!

It was confirmed this morning that Aaron Myers will be sharing the stage with Singer/Songwriter Maureen Mullaney at the Black Fox Lounge Friday night January 27th.  Both, while being long time staples at the venue, have always dropped by and teased audiences at each others shows with their energy, playfulness and talent.  For a rare treat, they will finally join their musical efforts in a single performance that will no doubt electrify their audience.

Check out the Black Fox Lounge (1723 Connecticut Ave NW) Friday January 27 from 9:30pm – 12:30am for a Free Live Jazz Concert given by two staples in the DC Jazz Scene, Maureen Mullaney and Aaron Myers!

December 15, 2011

Two Year Anniversary at the Black Fox!

ImageTwo years ago, I walked in by chance into the Black Fox Lounge as a customer.  On Friday December 16th from 9:45pm – 12:45am I will walk in as the Resident Artist celebrating 2 years at the Venue. Over the course of these two years, I have been excited to participate in the Jazz Community here in the DC area, opening doors for me to provide music for special and private events but also very public events such as the 50th Peace Corps Anniversary Celebration and NALDA 100th Anniversary. 

 
As I celebrate this Anniversary on Friday, I will also be donating a portion of the revenue from the night to the Future of Music Coalition, a cause I believe in whole-heartedly. This organization works to ensure a diverse musical culture where artists flourish, are compensated fairly for their work, and where fans can find the music they want.  
 
Please join me at the Black Fox Lounge 1723 Connecticut Ave NW, DC for this Free Event on Friday December 16th from 9:30pm – 12:30am and help me celebrate my Second Anniversary in the tradition of the fantastic jazz musicians of old…swinging.

June 29, 2011

July Jazz Night with Aaron Myers at the Black Fox Lounge FREE

To start off the July 4th holiday weekend, Jazz Enthusiasts are flocking to The Black Fox Lounge in DuPont Circle on Friday July1 to hear Aaron Myers (recently featured in the DC Jazz Festival) and his Black Fox Ensemble. Recently named the Artist in Residency at the Black Fox Lounge, attendees can enjoy his jazz styling which ranges from Louis Armstrong to Lauryn Hill. The most outstanding part of this offer is that The Black Fox Lounge has managed to keep this event free. So, on Friday July1 from 9:30pm to 12:30am, kick off the July 4th holiday celebrating Americas own original music…..JAZZ!

For more information please contact:

Black Fox Lounge

1723 Connecticut Ave NW WDC 20009

www.blackfoxlounge.com


February 9, 2011

Are you a Professional? Are you Single? Are you in the DMV? Check this out!

If there’s anything the Beltway is not short of, it is the amount of Single Professionals (some have even mastered the art of being Professional Singles).  In 2009, Forbes rated Washington DC #5 on its list of Best Cities for Singles and if you just wait till 5:00pm in Metro Center (The subway transfer point for 3 major lines) you will see the hoards of “Professionals” equipped with Ipods, Blackberry’s and books to read while enduring the commute to and from the workplace.

With Valentine’s Day rapidly approaching, Professional Singles are asked to put down the books and embrace  an alternative that has been offered.  On Friday February 11th,  Sauciety an American Grill is offering a Professional Singles Mixer.  This is not like your every day networking events, that we all hate and dread going to!  This event is targeting a specific group of people, and could possibly change the lives of a few singles in the future!

For $40 patrons can enjoy; Signature Drinks, the Debut of their new menu, a Dessert Dipping Station, and to top this all off live music by CaShandra J.  a performing artist who is singing all over Washington DC.

But most of all…these Single Professionals will get an opportunity network, lay foundations with, and potentially meet other Single Professionals that might lead to future long lasting relationships.

Doors open at  7pm and by using the promotional code AMyers you will receive an extra $5 off and if you purchase more than 5 tickets, the price drops by $9 dollars! For reservations call 240-766-3640.

PUT DOWN THE BOOK and join us at this event!!!

January 28, 2011

Truck Driving Company stiffing Truckers during recession. R. D. Miller Trucking.

This blog just received news of a horrible occurrence.  Troy Nance, a 15 year truck driving veteran, was overjoyed when he learned in January he could finally join the workforce again after being unemployed over 6 months.  He was looking forward to driving with R. D. Miller Trucking in Blooming Grove, Texas, located in a Rural Community.  In a county where the median income is $31,268 and 18.20% of the population below the poverty level, Mr. Nance was eager to start driving again, unaware of what was to come.

After hitting the road, R.D. Miller Trucking instructed Nance to start delivering his loads, which took him to North Dakota, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Chicago, Louisiana, and Houston Texas.  All of this between January 1st and 25th.  His employer even validated that all the loads arrived on time.

When Mr. Nance went to get his paycheck, he was undoubtedly shocked to find his check $1800 short, only receiving $150, and was asked, by the company, not to file a wage claim.  He was even given the excuse that the owners wife ran away with the money, lastly being told not to call the offices again.

Truck driving is one of the most respected professions, and is the backbone of our country.  Beware of trucking companies, such as R.D. Miller Trucking in Blooming Grove, Texas who has opted not to pay for an honest days work. Please  report any other companies that you know of who have burdened hard-working Americans during a hard long recession.

January 26, 2011

DuPont Circle Snow Ball Fight and the Black Fox Lounge

Tonight at 8pm, Washington DC will be awaiting the start of what has grown to become a tradition in the District.  With the snow still falling, members of the community will gather in the historic Dupont Circle, and kick off a massive Snow Ball Fight!  Many can remember the hoards of people who joined in with the fun last year with the massive amount of snow that was available.  Come ready to rumble! There is also rumored to be scores to settle from last year between Georgetown and St. Johns!  Regardless of, it promises to be a FUN TIME!

After the Snowball Fight, many people will be heading over to the Black Fox Lounge for Complimentary Chicken Soup to warm up after what will promise to be a fun but chilling experience.  Warming up at the Black Fox Lounge (1723 Connecticut Ave NW www.blackfoxlounge.com) serves two purposes.  1st – To warm up after being covered in snow and 2nd – to dodge the massive wait for the metro!  Plus…it’s Complimentary *Free!  Things you should remember: Socks CAN substitute as gloves, but make sure they’re clean; Don’t trust anyone…it’s anyone’s ball game out there; If you get too cold, beat everyone else to the chicken soup at the Black Fox Lounge!

 

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