Soul and the City #4 - "Cold Industry"
Autumn is one of the most beautiful seasons to be traveling the East Coast of the United States. The leaves start to change colors, the weather goes from warm to cold and back again, but more importantly it is the beginning of warm comfort food and hot chocolate!
For the past ten days, I have been touring some of the southern states with my band Mood Control. Road tours can be quite expensive so I decided to take a smaller version of the band…Joe Scott on keyboards, Biti Strauchn on vocals, and a new percussionist, Kahlil Kwame Bell. Being on the road means spending a lot of time with the same group of people and this particular group made the time easy and a lot of fun.
We left New York on Monday November 3rd heading for Durham, North Carolina, where we spent the night. Then we made our way to Atlanta where most of our performances took place, traveled farther south to Montgomery, Alabama, back to Durham and we will end the tour in Baltimore, Maryland before heading home.
Music set the stage for great conversation as we traveled up and down the highway. At great length we spoke about the music business and being an artist trying to create in an industry where the dollar reigns supreme. As Donnie's "Beautiful Me" takes us deeper south along highway I-85, I posed this question to the head-bopping posse…"In an industry that's so cold, what do you do to keep your heart from freezing?"
Joe Scott, a calm cool brutha nods and ponders the question. His answer flows warm, rich and complex just like the beautiful chords he plays on the keys…"I try to surround myself with people whose music evokes a vibe of openness, depth, and meaning. I want to be around like-minded people who challenge me and I them. I want to be able to express myself in the music and be able to hang with these same people after the gig."
It was great hanging with Joe cuz the brutha has a great sense of humor, ya know the kind that sneaks up on ya when ya least expect it. He also was there to make sure things were smooth on the gig, and I 'm tellin ya the brutha can play!
Biti and I (the early risers) always met each morning for ginger tea and great conversation, so what better time to hear her response…"Ya know, I try to remember why I started doing music in the first place. It wasn't to be famous or to make lots of money. I was a little girl discovering songs on the piano and singing. That is what brought me joy, made me happy. But ya know ya can get caught up, ya know ya start making money and people start telling you how wonderful you are, and ya start believing all of that. So the reason that you do music now is about the result-money and fame, and the peace music used to bring to you now becomes your piece - ya know just like a pimp-hoe relationship. You start pimping your music to make that dollar, not caring because the money becomes the most important thing, and you get caught out there wondering why you are not happy. I try to make sure that the peace I find in music is always there"
I sip my ginger tea taking in what this beautiful sistah has just shared and I realize just how special Biti is.
On this road trip I really got to see what a complete musician Kahlil Kwame Bell is, and he is a real intense brutha so when he shared his thoughts I wasn't surprised at all…"My children are a great source of comfort and inspiration for me. I realize just how important they are. I also pray and meditate cuz that helps a lot. It keeps me focused cuz there is a lot of other stuff going on outside of the music. I let the music take me to a place that calms me and then I can deal with all the rest. Yeah I would say my children and prayer is where I get my peace."
And so it is peace that I have sought out this morning here in the hotel lobby as I write. The sun shines upon the falling leaves but I am not fooled, for I know there is a chill in the air waiting to bid me a new day. Yes the time of sweaters, hats, scarves, and overcoats quickly approaches and I will dress accordingly, but more importantly in this biz of music I must remember to always keep my heart warm…Peace
Soul and the city #1 - Stand clear of the closing doors
Soul and the city #2 - The Turkey adventure
Soul and the city #3 - Mr. In Between
Soul and the city #4 - Cold Industry
Soul and the city #5 - Reminiscence
Soul and the city #6 - Big Ole Nap
Soul and the city #7 - The Good Life
Soul and the city #8 - Tortured Soul
Soul and the city #9 - A Change Is Gonna Come
Soul and the city #10 - Spring In NYC
Soul and the City #11 - "Luther"
More info about special crew member Marlon Saunders:
SaveOurSoul interview with Marlon Saunders
Jazzhole SaveOurSoul artist of the Month
Copyright © 2003, SaveOurSoul, Marlon Saunders