Jami Jackson's Music Player

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Miss Black NY Monthly Mixer at Zanzibar

Last night, I went to a mixer with Quintina Austin to meet their special guests, learn about Beauty's Ink & the Miss Black New York USA pageant system and network. The special guests were Author of "Pretty Thoughts of a Hot Chick" & Editor-in-Chief of Jolie Magazine - Alicia Marie Rivers and Hip Hostess Bloggers/Event Planners - Amber Cleary & Brandi Lingo. It was at the Zanzibar, a trendy bar/lounge in Times Square. I had a great time! There were a lot of people there. I met a Chef that works at the Cheesecake Factory, I met a fashion stylist, and marketers. It was nice talking to new people and taking cards. I enjoyed talking with the chef in particular because I was asking him how to bake salmon and cook steak. He was telling me some good tips! He suggested that I sauteed the salmon first on top of the stove for 1 min on each side in olive oil and seasonings, then cook it for 15 min in the stove. He suggested for the steak, to leave it on the stove sauteed in seasonings for 5 minutes on each side until I have cooked it to a medium level. I am learning how to cook because it is so much cheaper than going out or even buying frozen dinners. I can cook the regular stuff, like chicken and rice and veggies, but I'm trying to get more fancy. I end up eating the same stuff every day and it gets boring! So I had a great time. I was mad tired though, I fell right into the bed afterwards. The event started at 8pm and I didn't leave until 10:30pm, and that was after having worked for 10 hours earlier that day.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter Sunday Service

Today I participated in the Easter Sunday service at my church. It was a really great service!! There were so many people! I actually saw Tyra Banks there as well! It was really cool to see her in the pews worshiping at our church. We actually ran out of wine during the communion and so some of the members had to go in the back and get more wine to pass out. I sang 2 solos during the service, the beginning of a song called, "Easter Gloria" and "Redeemer" by Nicole Mullen. Redeemer was a big hit!! A lot of people really enjoyed the song!! I was happy to be able to minister to such a large crowd. The service ran longer than usual, it was about 1.5 hours when usually it is a little over an hour. We ran through a lot of songs, in addition to the "Halelluyah" chorus by Handel. The only thing about today was that it was very cold outside! I had on a bright dress that I wore for Easter, but I didn't dress warm enough and I was just about freezing!

I had dinner with my boyfriend's family and his aunt was saying that during her church service, someone stole a fur coat of one of the members!! And this apparently wasn't the first time! They stole the coat right underneath the seat of the owner. I just couldn't believe someone would stoop so low to steal in a church, let alone on Easter Sunday. That goes to show you just how desperate people are nowadays. You really have to watch your belongings wherever you are. Nothing is safe anymore!

Friday, April 10, 2009

I had so much fun during the photo shoot on March 31st!! I never met Hosea Johnson before that day, but we instantly clicked. He is so down to earth and cool. We were talking about religion, he's a Buddhist, I'm a Christian. He knows someone that went to Columbia University who is also my friend, who also happens to be a Buddhist. We ended up pushing the photo shoot back from 10am to 11am because he was just getting in the night before from traveling from another shoot. I was rushing anyway so I was glad to not have to go in a 10am. I wanted to make sure that I had everything I needed: shoes, nails done, materials for the Lifebeat show after. I didn't get to do my nails though :( I was counting on a nail shop down the street from me, but it was closed! I was so shocked to see it closed on a Tuesday morning at 10am. Aren't nail salons open during the day? Hosea lives in Harlem, so I figured that I would go to a nail salon on 125th street, but I couldn't find one there either! Of all the places NOT to find a nail salon, it was on 125th street. Figures that would happen to me, something would not go right. I tried to pre-plan for the shoot and everything. I went and got my eyebrows done the week before by Eliza's Eyes because I really wanted my eyebrows to be on point. I did get to paint my nails that morning, so I was happy about that. I am a piano player, so I don't ever really wear tips on my nails because my nails have to be short to play. And I hate wearing tips because after about 2 weeks, my nails start to hurt and when I take them off, my natural nails are so weak and damaged. And my nails break enough as it is. So in the end, it's more natural for me to have painted nails, than to go to a salon and get tips. So I guess it worked out. But I was still upset!

The hair/make-up stylist, Trevis Lester, and fashion stylist, Debra Ginyard, were really seasoned professionals. I hadn't had a chance to see what the Debra had in store for me and she never measured me before. I had measured myself and gave her my measurements, but I wasn't sure if I did it right. So I was really happy to see that the clothes fit for the most part and that she had some cute stuff for me to wear. She also brought a lot of extra clothes which was good because some of the stuff she brought was definitely not a go for me. I also liked that she had a lot of assessories and brought extra shoes. So I was really happy with her. She has a way of putting together "cheap" and expensive items to make an outfit really look chic.

The Trevis was also really great. I loved all of the colors that he put on me. He really made my face pop out in the pictures and he made sure to match my clothes. He was very detailed with the application as well. He applied and re-applied and applied again make-up until it was just right. He also used his hands a lot to put the make-up onwhich was nice because it helped with the mixing. He just made a special effort to get it perfect. I wasn't sure what I wanted out of the make-up, but he definitely hit it on the nail. He would also apply make-up while I was waiting to take pictures and re-adjust my hair. Debra would do the same with the clothes. It was just fun being the center of attention!

It was hard for me though to actually take the pictures. Hosea would ask me to keep

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Sexting - Should Teens Be Prosecuted?

There is a fast-growing trend among teens called "Sexting" in which they send nude or semi-nude pictures or of themselves or say sexually explicit things to each other. All morals aside, these teens could be prosecuted for a crime because it is technically considered child pornography. Philip Alpert had just turned 18 when he sent a naked photo of his 16-year-old girlfriend to friends and family after an argument. Alpert was arrested and charged with sending child pornography and is now a registered felon and sex offender. Sexting is treated as child pornography in almost every state, yet many teens still send these pictures knowing the risk. However, to many people, it just seems like harmless fun. Many females send it to their boyfriends or to guys they like, and then the guys send them to their friends. These pictures can happen anywhere, even during a sleepover. Marissa Miller was 12 when she was in a sleepover with her friends and were taking pictures of themselves in training bras. The picture surfaced on a student's cellphone years later when the girl was 15. Her mom got a call from the District Attorney's office. The DA gave two options, participate in classes and write a report explaining why what she did was wrong or have charges filed against her. This I think is taking it too far. I can understand why teens sending naked pictures of friends or boyfriends to other people, especially as a way to "get back at them", is wrong. There is also a question of copyright and permission for photos. The person who takes the picture holds the copyright of that photo and can give permission for others to use. If the person didn't give permission, that could also be grounds against the sender. But I don't believe these teenagers should be charged as felons and sex offenders. I think more should be done to educate them about the dangers of a digital record. These days, we cannot do crazy things or act out of character because there is big chance that someone will take a picture or a video. We have to be very careful with what we say or do because it is easy for people to capture it and send it to everyone in the world, if they wanted. And these teens are so young, it would be unfortunate for their record to be affected for such a large part of their lives. A lot of these acts seem to be benign and are so quick and easy to do. I don't think teens realize what they are doing until it's too late and people are talking about it. Even if teens aren't sending explicit messages, they may be receiving explicit messages. Eventually, I think the legal system will catch up to these trends and charge teens who sext differently from adult pedofiles. Until then, we really have to talk to our youth. They are growing up too fast these days!!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Vermont Becomes the 4th State to Legalize Same-Sex Marriage

Today marks the day that Vermont legalizes gay marriage. It is the 4th state to do so and is joined by Connecticut, Massachusets, and Iowa. I am not a lesbian, but I believe all people should have equal rights. I believe that if two people love each other, they should be able to marry and enjoy all of the privileges of marriage. I feel that bans on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional because the constitution states that all people are created equal. It is our right to be able to marry. There are a lot of people who are proponents of civil-unions instead of marriage, but draws the distinction between a religious marriage and a government marriage. Many religious conservatives believe same-sex marriage goes against the word of the Bible. However, there are many religious people who are also homosexuals and I believe if they are free to practice their faith in God, they should be free to seal their marriage with God as well. I can't wait until every state in America legalizes gay marriage. It may take 10 years or more, but one day, it will happen! What do you think? Are you for civil unions or same-sex marriage? How long do you think it will take for state legalize same-sex marriage? Do you think it's possible?

Monday, April 6, 2009

Buying Music Versus Streaming Music

There is more and more data out there that is showing that people are buying less and less CDs (of course) as well as musical downloads and and are streaming more music. Contrary to popular belief, pirated downloads are down as well. Do you find yourself streaming music more than buying music? I know when I am at work, I can't hardly do a thing without first opening up Pandora and listening. Pandora has opened me up to so many new artists and that I wouldn't have been exposed to had I not used it. The only thing is, I wish I had more control over what music I hear instead of it being like a radio station. There are other services out there which give control, like choosing the song, playing it repeatedly, etc, but then that would require me to purchase a subscription (which I may look into doing since a music subscription can be cheaper than actually buying individual songs). Rhapsody is one example of this. The only reason why I am slow at using a music subscription service is that the music is mostly streamable from an internet connection of a computer. It hasn't always been an on-the-go service, like IPods are. Rhapsody offers music downloads to an mp3 player, but not to an IPod. I dont listen to streams on my cellphone, but there are more applications that allow this, like the Pandora app. However, to combine the use of mobile music streams for on-the-go music, one would have to pay for the internet service and the music subscription service, which can be expensive. Blackberry phone internet services starts around $40 a month! Rhapsody offers a mobile application, but is only in radio format, so it hasn't caught up to the computer-based service yet. There is so much music out there that one would really not need to actually own music anymore, if we can stream it anywhere. As long as I could stream it on my phone anywhere I go, I would not need an IPod. This could also help combat piracy because those people who pirate may pay to stream music from their phone. If you are hosting a party, you could create a playlist from the music subscription service instead of from your mp3 player. What do you think? Do you think you will miss having an actual "download" to your mp3 player or better yet, the physical CD? What about DJs of clubs, would they use a playlist online too, eventually? What situations would cause you to really need the actual mp3 player instead of a phone? Do you need that tangible product of a CD, or less tangible product of a download? Or is the experience of listening to the music anywhere more satisfying? Having music from a cell phone could make the mp3 player one less thing to carry around. Our generation these days is all about having the lightest, smallest, most efficient product.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Video Recording for Keep Walkin' On

I finally finished recording the video for "Keep Walkin' On"!! I originally planned to record last Sunday, but it was rainy and cloudy and I really wanted to be outside where it is sunny and bright. I had also planned to have a friend record me singing and walking, but those plans fell through. This weekend seemed to be a travelling weekend for a lot of people! So, I ended up recording by myself. Today was such a sunny and cloud-free Sunday. And it was warm for a change! I didn't want to pass this opportunity up. So I recorded in my neighborhood in Hamilton Heights. I live near the George Washington Bridge that overlooks the Hudson River. You can also see the skyline of New Jersey. I always loved walking over there because of the view, so I thought it would be perfect for the song. I wore one of my favorite dresses for the shoot and just had a good time singing to myself in the camera! I also did a shot of me sitting in the park. I live near the Riverside Park where there is a basketball court, pool, and other recreational activities. Riverside Park is so beautiful and has a lot of space. So I just set up my video camera in front of me and sang to the music. My plan for the video would be to combine shots of me singing to actual footage from past AIDS walks. I have already received permission from the AIDS walk organizers to use their footage online. I really wanted to have a creative and high quality video, but still be inexpensive.
While I was recording, there were so many onlookers! One person took a picture of me and tried to talk to me, but I was in the middle of the song. I was singing outloud, so people could hear me. I was trying really hard to ignore the stares, though, because it would have really distracted me from my performance. One person in particular started talking to me (I think he wanted to holla :)). He said he was also a videographer and a producer and wanted to work with me. I was polite to him, but I eventually told him that I had to get back to what I needed to do. I don't like to work with people who first start talking to me because they were attracted to me, then start talking about all of what they can do for me later. Right then and there I know there is no real relationship that will come out of it because they will be mixing business with pleasure. I prefer to work with people who were referred to me or who I seek out first. So that was a no! His films are on Youtube, though, Dream2films, if you want to check him out!
I also ran into someone that recognized me from the BET documentary! She knew all about me, that I went to Columbia, that I sing, etc. I was so shocked that she still remembered me and my story, especially since the show was 4 months ago! She said that she really enjoyed the show and that she didn't guess the status of each person correctly. I'm just so glad that she wanted the show and it made an impact on her. And it is nice to be recognized from TV!! People like her help me to keep doing what I do because I know that I am making a difference.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Binghamton, NY Shoot-out

Friday, I heard the dreadful news of 13 killed by a suspected gunman named Jiverly Wong. The 13 worked at the American Civic Association, an immigration services organization. Jiverly Wong then turned the gun on himself and died. When I first heard about the incident, I thought it might have been a hate crime. However, the story is exactly the opposite. Jiverly Wong was from Vietnam and had been taking English classes at the organization. Apparently, he changed his last name to Woong and was upset that people were picking at his inability to speak English. The workers at the organization said it wasn't a total shock that he did this crime, which tells me that he must have had erratic or suspicious behavior before. My question is, did they try to get him help? Did they report him? I was a Psychology major in school and I was interested in even attending medical school to study psychiatry. It really interests me to understand people. However, time and time again, people do not take psychiatric illnesses seriously. People just say that someone is "crazy" and just goes on with their lives and not deal with the problem more. A lot of people do not pay attention to the tell-tell signs of mental illnesses. Instead, we get the stories after the fact of these people killing other innocent people. Then all of a sudden it's a shock to everyone. No one would think that person could "do that". I really wish that our mental system could be updated to help people report unstable people. If someone is unstable or shows signs of violent, irrational behavior, others should be alerted about it. I don't know how logistical it would be, but more definitely has to be done with our mental system. I am reading more and more stories of people killing people. I read a story in NC where a former worker killed like 4 people at a nursing home. That person was unstable. Violent, mentally ill people do not need to have guns, but they do because of our gun laws. More really needs to be done about this. Especially now when people are losing their jobs, their homes, not able to take care of their families, people who may have had a few issues now have magnified issues. Stressors can really put people over the edge and do crazy things.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Free Downloads in China - Is It Fair?

So, it's the moment we have all been waiting for....FREE and LEGAL DOWNLOADS!!! But wait, it's only happening in China, darn it! Well, that is true folks, the music industry has ekked out a deal with Google to offer free, legal music downloads in China, but China alone. How have they been able to do this? Isn't the music industry the first industry to fight this kind of deal? I mean, look at PRS and Germany....Youtube had to pull videos of their website that is related to PRS and Germany because they haven't been able to negotiate the rates. Ruckus and other ad-supported models have failed because the cost to stream outweighs the ad revenue. But now we see that the music industry will take what they can get. In China, 99% of music is pirated. 99%! Can you believe that? Less that 1% of the population actually buy music. And China's legitimate music market accounts less that 1% of the global market. Not only will the music be free, but it will be of higher quality. China has a illegitimate download service already with a search engine called China Baidu but the music wasn't high quality. Google's market share in China as a search engine is much smaller than China Baidu. China Baidu has 60% of the market share in China. This partnership will help Google as well because Google will become more of a dominant force in China, as it is in the rest of the world. I just find it interesting because the music industry always seems to stress the importance of pay per stream models and royalties, yet, it will take ad-revenue money from free downloads in China. I also think that the more sales begin to decline in other parts of the world, the more the industry will begin to make deals like this one elsewhere. It won't happen in the US for awhile because our legitimate music market is much larger, but it may happen eventually if the market share gets smaller and smaller. Do you think this is fair though? Why should Americans be expected to pay when there is a deal such as this in China? Even me, as an artist, I believe artists should be compensated, but I also understand the consumer's needs as well. And I am reasonable when it comes to these kinds of things. I just find it very interesting that this model is out there. I think we will see more of this in the future.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Time or Lack Thereof

Time is of the essence. I don't know how often people think about time and whether or not they are using it efficiently, but I think about it everyday. I think about whether or not I am wasting time when I sleep an extra hour. I think about whether or not I am wasting time by not reading on the train on my way to work. I think about my time when I decide whether or not I should cook because cooking takes away 2 hours out of my day (preparation, cooking, eating, then clean-up). Time is really important to me because I juggle so many different things at once. I juggle a full-time job as well as performing, singing, songwriting, playing the piano, marketing, the list goes on and on. I am always kicking myself when I don't do something, like practice playing the piano when I should, or practice singing when I should. But then I try to congratulate myself when I do accomplish big tasks, like an 8 hour photo shoot in Harlem during the day, then going straight from the shoot to a show in the Lower East Side with no vocal warm-up, no practice whatsover, and giving it my all for an hour, while singing power songs like "I will always love you", "Greatest love of all", "Nobody's supposed to be here", etc. I try to give myself a pat on my back and say "Good job Jami!" because I have to appreciate what I do accomplish. But I never feel like I am doing enough. How do other people manage their time wisely? I try to organize myself with my Blackberry, but then my calendar gets muddled with 30 15 minute appointments everyday that I definitely can't accomplish all at once. I try to do at least 1 thing, so that I can say I did something. But the time just keeps marching on. Do you feel like you are using your time wisely? As the saying goes, life is short. It's important to try to take advantage of it while we can.