Thursday, December 23, 2010
Your Perfect Life
It is the end of 2010, with only two days left until Christmas and as I started my day and friend asked the question, "are you happy with this past year?" I have pondered this questions all morning and as we look back over the past year lets ask ourselves this question. Are you happy with 2010? If not, what's standing in the way of your growth? Is it inspiration, knowledge, connections?
This is the season of giving and nothing feels better than giving. No, I don't mean always in a tangible way because the tangible fades away. Yes, it may feel good to get something beautiful and special from a loved one but does that feeling last? Does it take us to the next level?
In 2011 I want to give the gift of inspiration. Here's a sneak peek into what I hope can take us all to the next level! Since it's the holiday season I think the lesson of "Blessing" is very important to pass along.
Have a great holiday season and continue to push forward in making the life you dream of.
Always Dream Big
Smokey Robinson - Blessings
I have no complaints about my life. It’s a blessing. I have been through some real crises, but so what? I’ve had many peaks and valleys in my life, and the valleys have always made me appreciate the peaks.
I am living a life that I absolutely love. If, on the day before I was born, the Lord had come to me and said, “Hey, I want you to fill out this questionnaire as to what you want your life to be,” I would have filled out what I’m living right now! I am living my dream. I can’t beat that. I never dared to believe that this would actually be my life. I wanted it to be so bad, but I just wouldn’t let myself get my hopes up. So when it happened, I felt so blessed. Not everybody gets a chance to do what I’ve done. And I always look at it like that. I have no complaints about my life. It’s a blessing. I have been through some real crises, but so what? I’ve had many peaks and valleys in my life, and the valleys have always made me appreciate the peaks.
I think that writing was the Lord’s calling for me because I’ve been writing songs ever since I can remember. I wrote my first song when I was about six. I’ll never forget this because I was in the first grade. We were having a school play at Dwyer Elementary School in Detroit. At the beginning of the program, my teacher had written this melody at the piano. I asked her if I could write some words for it. She agreed so that’s what I did, and I sang it in the play. That was the first time I ever wrote a song. I’ve been writing ever since.
When I was younger, I thought I might be an electrical engineer or that I wold be a baseball player because I was pretty good, but singing, which was my first dream, just seemed too far-fetched to me, man. It just seemed too far away. Too impossible. Then one day I went to see Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers at the Broadway Capital Theater. All of a sudden the dream didn’t seem that far. I said, “Well, golly, if these guys can do it, maybe I can do it!” But I still wasn’t sure.
I grew up in one of those Detroit neighborhoods where a lot of people became famous in show business, like Diana Ross and Aretha Franklin. I lived near the Four Tops. I’ve known the Temptations since high school. We used to have song battles where all the groups would get together and compete. I believe that in every town, in every city, in the whole world, there is a bunch of talented young people. It’s just that they have no outlets. But in Detroit, we had Berry Gordy. He was a young Black man who had a dream, and he had the instinct and inner ability to pull it off. It took a lot of doing.
I was singing with a group called the Miracles, and I was in college studying electrical engineering when I met Berry in August of 1957. He was writing these hit songs for Jackie
Wilson at the time, and Jackie Wilson was my number-one singing idol. I was sixteen or seventeen when we auditioned for Jackie Wilson’s managers. They told us, “Hey, there’s already the Platters, and you’re got a guys singing high and a girl in the group, and you’ll never make it because you’re got to change your format and blah, blah, blah.” The whole time there was this young guy sitting over in the corner. I thought he was waiting to audition next because he looked like he was about seventeen, nineteen at the most. When we walked out after they had rejected us, we were very dejected. This guy came out and said, “Hey, man, where’d you get those songs you sang?” I told him, “Well, I wrote them.” He said, “Yeah? A couple of them I liked.” I’m thinking to myself that he wants to sing a couple of them for his audition. Then he said, “I’m Berry Gordy.” I said, “Berry Gordy who writes the songs for Jackie Wilson?” My mouth dropped open. I could not believe that this cat right here was Berry Gordy. I had always loved his song-writing. So I said, “Oh man!” He said, “Got any more song?” I had a loose-leaf notebook, man, filled with about one hundred songs. I sang about twenty songs for Berry that day. Even though we went to that audition and got rejected, I guess it was my fate. The Lord had planned this for me because Berry Gordy just happened to be there. I hooked up with him, and about a year or so after that, we started Motown. It was meant to be.
I’ve learned that you are first and foremost a human being. You get into this, and it’s a lifestyle. But I think we all make the world go around. People see being a garbage-man as one of the lowliest jobs. But what if three was no guy who wanted to pick up the garbage? The wold would be in trouble. I think the world could certainly do without a bunch of people in show business more so than it could do without a bunch of guys who pick up the garbage. So how can a person in show business think that they’re so high and mighty and think that the garbage-man or a cab driver or a grocer or the butcher is below them? If it weren’t for those people having your records and supporting your work, then what you are doing wouldn’t matter anyway. I know that for a fact. In show business, you are what the public allows you to be. If it weren’t for them, you wouldn’t be whoever it is you think you are. You can never forget that. This is my job. I hope I can do it well, and I hope that when I go somewhere and perform I can make somebody happy.
The love of writing itself is what inspires me to do it. I know that it’s a gift, and that’s how I look at it because very seldom does a day ever go by that a part of a song doesn’t come to me-a melody or a phrase or some words. I don’t really need some sort of special inspiration to do it. I don’t have to be sad to write a sad song or happy to write a happy song. I don’t have to take some time off and go to the mountains so I can write. No, I can write on the toilet. On the bus. In the plane. Wherever it hits me. I’m blessed. It’s a gift. If you are going to be a songwriter, make sure that your songs have continuity, structure, and meaning. Make sure they tell a story. You have also got to be a strong person. You have to be a person who can tolerate setbacks. Because that's what show business is. It is very fickle. Show business is “Okay, you’re riding high today, but you’re down tomorrow.” You have to be somebody who can tolerate being slapped down and then get back up and keep on steppin’.
Love is the never-ending subject. Love is forever, I hope. I hope that as long as there are two people on the Earth, in the world, that there will be love. Now I have written a couple of songs about political things and dances. Never about a car that I can remember, but people do write song’s about cars-the ‘57 Chevy and the “this” and the “that.” But all of those things become passe, you see. The political situation of that day is passe tomorrow. The car of that day is passé tomorrow. The dance of that day is passe tomorrow. But love is never passe. Love is constantly here. Constantly turning itself over. Constantly becoming a different thing to the same person. When I write a song, I want it to be a song that would have been significant if I had written it a hundred years earlier or that will be significant a hundred years from the day that I write it. So, I write about love. I love love.
The most important thing in my life is being happy and making those around me happy. it’s important for me to be positive. I work hard to focus on hte best things about my life. I don’t dwell on what has gone wrong in the past or what is going wrong at the time. I always remember that I’m very, very, very blessed. I try to take care of myself because I want to do what I’m doing for the rest of my life. I love my life. I’m going to live it to the fullest.