“Great Artist Suffer For the People” – Marvin Gaye

don’t think this song can be anymore relevant than it is now.
At times, I have my doubt & insecurities about my decision of pursuing music and becoming some sort of a recognized singer. But it’s times like these that make me feel the pursuit, struggle, and hurt is all worth it. hope ya’ll find as much inspiration in this song as I do. at the end of the day, it is good music that truly moves the soul. much love. x Lo

Professional Surfer Bethany Hamilton: Soul Surfer (2011) & Unstoppable (2019)

Such an amazing movie that showcases the power of determination, trust, and faith regardless of any size of tribulation that comes in one’s way.

For those who are unfamiliar, Soul Surfer was released in 2011. Soul Surfer is based on a true story autobiography in which a young girl named Bethany Hamilton whose love for surfing would lead her back to the ocean after a tragic incident. At the age of 13, Hamilton was bitten by a tiger shark that left her with only one arm. In spite of this tragedy, Hamilton continued to follow her passion for surfing and returned to professional surfing. At the age of 24, Hamilton won the Pipeline, on the North Shore of Oahu. Though she faced plenty of doubt and rejection as well as her share of losses, Hamilton continued to persevere with the guidance and grace of His blessing and God. Instead of falling victim to her accident, Hamilton blocked the outside noises that tried to penetrate her psyche and instead turned the accident into a lifelong mission of redemption and resolution. While I may not have the same passion of surfing as Hamilton does, I know that I have many passions inside me that I can not wait to share with the world. While watching the movie, I couldn’t help but feel both the pain and joy Bethany felt as someone who lost her physical part of herself that she initially felt hindered her growth as a surfer. And so this is the moment where I guess I share with you guys my personal story as an aspiring singer to help you understand why I felt I had a personal connection to the movie.

When I was 13, I was diagnosed with a hyperthyroidism, with a visible benign tumor growing in my throat, and as result had to undergo a partial thyroidectomy. While I was concerned for my health, I was also just as concerned with my voice– a concern I couldn’t exactly understand myself at the time. All I knew was I loved singing and if I were to lose any slight part or sound of my voice, I as a person and individual would not be the same. I was worried my voice will not be the same after surgery. After being reassured by my doctor that my voice will remain the same and untouched, I still felt a hinge of doubt but continued with surgery as I felt I had no other real choice. After surgery, my voice was not the same and I felt a difference in my timbre (which I would later learn) and quality in my voice. I was devastated and completely abandoned my childhood dream of becoming a singer. Almost 10 years later, I am upset with my child self for not believing and preserving but also know that I would not have it any other way because I also know that if the love for singing is real, it will not leave. And it never has. It was 3 years ago and when I had somewhat of a spiritual awakening, when I knew music will always remain in me and somehow be very much related in my future. Three years later, and I still very much believe so as I feel my journey has only begun and I have much much more to accomplish in this lifetime.

As a creative and self-identified artist, my love for the music, blogging, travel, arts, social justice, and life has brought me to this very moment where I am completely and entirely grateful for all my gains and losses in life. This is why I created this blog thehighsnlows, so that I can share with you the gems of inspiration& wisdom along with the abundance of love and joy I find in my hobbies, interests, and passions. With that being said, believe in yourself so the world believes in you.

Below are some of my favorite quotes from Unstoppable (2019), Bethany Hamilton’s newest release, is now on Netflix. Unstoppable is a documentary of Bethany Hamilton’s journey of tribulation & success. Another great watch I highly recommend for those experiencing growing pains like myself.

“When it comes to accomplishing dreams & goals [there are] so many key ingredients passion, drive, dedication, commitment & support from people around you.” – Unstoppable

“It takes that certain thing of understanding you have a potential & knowing that potential inside of you & wanting to fulfill it to the maximum. Most people who are like that are really hard on themselves.” – Unstoppable

“It takes a lot of determination, strength, and willpower to let go and be patient with yourself and go through a hundred failures & get that one success.” – Unstoppable

“Her journey is not what all her friends’ journey are. She’s in rare air, she’s in a place that no one’s been.” – Unstoppable, friend Bethany Hamilton

Year of 2020: Time of Self-Reflection

As you may read from my previous posts, I have been looking inwards through contemplation & self-reflection.

2020 is such an odd year, isn’t it? There is so much going on in the world that I have no where else to look but inward.
Judge if you may but as I was reflecting, I played with the idea & came to the realization that the back to back occurrence with Corona Virus & the BLM movement might just be a direct message (if you will) from the high power above to all humans regardless of your skin, hair, and eyes. Why else would this happen in such a timely manner? Can we simply call this a coincidence? Maybe this is a wakeup call for us to grow in understanding & solidarity, check our individual & cultural privilege, so that we better understand ourselves as human beings & as a society. Because in the end, we are not meant to be pitted against each other, only to help. It’s a phenomenon that I think is long over due but ultimately a moment of social & global change.. speaking to all non-black races, how can we change the world when we don’t change ourselves?

That’s why I thought it was so important that I use this time to dig deeper into the person I am underneath the facade, societal pressures, etc. Who am I without the fancy car? Who am without the constant pressure of outside noise? without my job? without my friends & family? without my bank account? What speaks to my soul? Why am I here? And I’ve realized, that you if you don’t value yourself enough to become you, by simply doing more of what you love & what gives you life than how can you come to wholeheartedly & genuinely accept & give life to someone else? for long-term support? Not gonna lie, these moments of deep reflection isn’t easy. For me, I have felt moments of pure weakness, existential crisis, & disempowerment. I understand for you it may be a difficult idea to sit with & even more uncomfortable process to ponder, but one that is so very necessary to undergo. And I am telling you now, it’s gonna get harder, but you’ve got to go through it to get through it. No one said anything worthwhile is going to be easy. I am still going through it.

I really suggest that for those who find themselves overwhelmed, distressed, or saddened by these times, I hope for ya’ll to spend this critical time to look within yourself first before committing to change outside yourself. Because with today’ social media, it is much easier to post than act. to say than do. and I do not buy the ‘allyship’ some of these people claim. But I am grateful to say that now that the BLM Movement has become one supported by protestors in countries outside the U.S. such as the Portugal, Brazil, United Kingdom, Australia etc., it is not one that can no longer be shoved under the rug, but instead forced to discuss. While I wholeheartedly acknowledge & appreciate the space of the Black Lives Movement, I also respect the value of yours as well. To make change on a macro level, we must start with ourselves.

much love x Lo

Miss Universe 2018: Catriona Gray on Philippines & Poverty

Lately I have been on a binge with Miss Universe 2018.. She is so admirable in many ways. In the video she share her experience as a young adolescent, who like myself & many others, was lost in her early years of adulthood. So she turned to volunteer work to seek inspiration. She volunteered in a poverish area in the Philippines working alongside an organization called Young Focus Philippines. where she found children with potential who didn’t have opportunity or any guidance. She shares that “there are 7/10 filipino children don’t have dream & the number one reason is that no one believed in them.. poverty is fourth, it’s actually lack of support system”. As someone who grew up in a family with no support or guidance myself, I found this quite relatable and astonishing. I only hope to emulate in her footsteps and make an impact in whichever way or size that may be.. Anyhow, I admire that she is using the platform of pageantry to address these concerns and be an inspiration to those reading for their dreams. So down to earth. True Miss Universe in my book.

Amazon Affiliate Program & A Big Thank You

aah, it’s crazy what hard work & pure passion can get you.

When I started this blog in 2016, I initially wanted to create content & simply spread my love for music. And that is very much still the goal and has not changed since. Fast forward 4 years later, and I’ve dreamed of making my blog a full time job so that I can be here to offer you joy & happiness through the discovery of new music, arts, & simply inspiration.

Though I do not intend to be a sell out, I would love to in some way monetize my blog any way I can to pursue making this a full-time thing for you guys. So that I can continue doing what I love and that is, simply creating. Whether that means creating content, music, art, photography, promoting a happy/ healthy lifestyle. that’s what I truly want to do. And so, I have signed up with Amazon Affiliate.

For those not familiar, that means I would have to reach a quota every month to stay on the program & monetize my blog. And so I am asking if you guys would contribute by making purchases through my blog posts. I am asking if you guys make purchases only on the items that serve you and bring you joy, because that’s only what I ever want to offer on my blog here. If there is any music download, equipment, material, book, etc. whatever it is that may make a small difference in your life and somehow inspire change in your life through my blog posts, I please ask if you can make your purchase on the links provided on my posts. (They will be in parenthesis & bolded so difficult to miss as so). As a shopper myself, I ensure to find the best prices for you guys with the best deals. I only hope I get to the stage where I can provided discounts for you guys, because I don’t ever want to feel as though I am scamming or skimping you out, and I think that’s what you all deserve.

Anyhow, know that I am fully & entirely grateful for the outpour of support & loyalty shown to me on this blog that I’ve received from you all. I know I always say this, but I do mean it. My blog wouldn’t be where it is without you guys. I only felt I needed to make an proper post for this because it will be a new practice of mine on my blog. Thank you again love ya’ll & much much love!

I have left amazon links on a few my previous if you get a chance to check them out.
‘Til next time.

x Lo

Jazz Singer: Dinah Washington

So I’ve decided that because I love sharing my knowledge of music that comes from my passion of music, I thought I would start somewhat of a new ‘series’ where I will be sharing with you guys a new Jazz artist I’ve learned about every week. I have a whole list that I’ve made to hear new music & styles from these Jazz artists posted on my To-Do lists, just starting at me, waiting to be shared & passed on.

Dinah Washington

Today is going to be about Dinah Washington. Washington’s birth name was Ruth Lee Jones and she was born August 29, 1924 – December 14, 1963. She was an American singer and pianist, who has been cited as “the most popular black female recording artist of the ’50s”. Some of her popular music include “What A Diff’rence A Day Made” (1959) & “Mad About The Boy” (1952) which I will share audio down below. Not sure about you, but it’s refreshing to hear new music especially when it comes from the older days. Great way to appreciate good music nowadays.

(click here to purchase The Best of Dinah Washington – 20th Century Masters: Millennium Collection)

Anyhow, be sure to check em out below.

Art Page Update

Greetings!

As someone who has a great appreciation for the arts (more specifically realism drawing), I was adamant about creating an art to go along with my site as well. On my art page, you’ll find a collection of various art pieces (mostly sketches) I created either out of pure inspiration or on the whim. I am sad to say that I don’t dedicate the amount of time I know I need to for my art, which is why I am so grateful during this time of COVID 19.. to really hone in on my talents and skills.

Feel free to check out my art page here, along with my other passions on my site.
Quite frankly, my head space has been filled with so much anxiety and I feel overwhelmed because of all the ideas and creativity I have floating in it.. there’s so much I want to do and know that needs to get done that I am taking it day by day. And while art is my priority, it is just as much my escape (along with music of course).

I also thought that I share some tips & tricks with you guys in regards to my art.
As I have taken my share of art lessons throughout school, I do not have formal education behind my art.
However, it is one of my greatest joys in life as I continue to improve and grow my skillset in art.

Please expect more content soon.

Anyhow, hope ya’ll enjoy

x Lo

“(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” (1967)

“(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” Sung by Aretha Franklin, was initially written by the great Carole King. I was sitting in class during my MUSIC 290 class when I learned this. Til this very day, I am so very grateful I took a couple music courses as my electives during my last year of college. Those courses changed the trajectory of my life, as it inspired my dreams of exploring and pursuing the music realm. And was in the part, the reason behind the creation of this blog that I still very much believe in 2/3 years later. I want to spread and pass on the knowledge that was taught to me and the knowledge I’ve acquired over the years to you guys.

“A Natural Woman” was one of the songs that inspired me as an artist. Both the vocals and the lyrics/ message is so empowering, it spoke to me. And for me, it’s only a reminder of how powerful and impactful good music is after years and years since it’s birth. Years later, it has become the song that inspired a generation of soul singers today. Below is the audio and performance by Franklin (2015), if you would like to take a listen. Along with Carole King’s 1972 performance.

revamped my site may ’20

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sorry to bombard ya’ll feeds tonight, but I just got this ‘zoomie’ of energy, creativity, and inspiration couldn’t help it!

Anyhow, did a total reconstruction on my blog site. I worked really hard on it (almost all night) & would love for ya’ll to check it out! You know I love to keep you guys updated & in the loop in terms of new content that I post– whether it be on my blog, my instagram(s), yt channel, etc.. I always make sure I feel that the content I post is of some quality and/or value for ya’ll or for me as an artist/ individual or I wouldn’t be posting it!

Well that’s enough of me talking, go check out my new site! go go go!

The Dramatics “Whatcha See is Whatcha Get”

Who else loves stumbling across great music? I know I do!

In the midst of editing my first youtube video (which you guys should check out! & pls cut me some slack I was kinda nervous if you couldn’t tell LOL), I came across just the right song I needed for an reference in my video. If ya’ll been following me for a while, you would know how much I love old-school classic soul music, which is what I found. I couldn’t wait to present it in my Saturday Shazam Series (where I collect all the greatest songs I’ve found & share em all with you here) so I thought I’d make a separate one here.

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Okay, enough of my rambling it is Thee Dramatics “Whatcha See is Whatcha Get”. Never heard it in my life but so glad I came across them! Feel free to groove to it and check it out here.

much love,

x Lo

Netflix Documentary: Amy (2015)

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Just finished another documentary, Amy (2015), and hadn’t realize how much of a true talent Amy Winehouse is. To provide some context, Winehouse is an English singer- songwriter. She was known for her deep, expressive contralto vocals and her eclectic mix of musical genres, including soul, rhythm and blues and jazz. Before watching the film, I had absolutely no idea that Winehouse was mostly influenced by jazz singers such as Dinah Washington, Sarah Vaughn, and Tony Bennett. It makes so much sense now. Her songwriting ability and vocal gift only has inspired my own creativity an artistry. (For those new to my site, I currently work at KJazz 88.1FM & am always excited when hearing about new jazz music). Anyhow, when I first heard Valerie by Amy Winehouse I fell instantly in love with her sound.

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To see how her life ended with such tragedy through the highs & lows of her career, battling alcohol & drug addition, was absolutely heartbreaking to me. The film showed the dangers of fame combined with pressures from the media and world watching you. It is not for the faint of heart. It does sadden me that her addictions weren’t taken as seriously as they should’ve and were overlooked by those who managed her career; and that those who did reach out to her couldn’t get to her. It also really shows how powerful music can be in transcending individuals from a dark place, giving light to those listening. However, I feel that Winehouse has blessed the globe with her talent and music, leaving her mark to inspire following generations.

I hate to give out all the details, and totally recommend ya’ll give the film a shot on Netflix.

Netflix Show: Glow Up (2019) Review

Soo, as you know I always love to share my suggestions with you whether it be in the arts, music, or, in this case, films. Only now, however, I just realized that in sharing these suggestions with you, that they somehow evolve into reviews. So I guess this is a start of new series on my blog that I will be calling such pieces “reviews”. Sit back, grab ya popcorn, & read on ya’ll.

I would like to start off by saying that I hope everyone is well & safe, and that you have spent this time either finding some peace or maybe even channeling your energy into productivity during this time.

I have spent the last couple weeks since my return from Georgia watching documentary films/ series as I have discussed in my last post “Netflix Documentary: Quincy (2018)”, which you can read here.

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This time I would like share with you a new series that I just finished called Glow Up.  I only watched the first season (aired March 2019) since it’s still fairly new. The second season was expected sometime last month, but unfortunately due to current circumstances it has been postponed till further notice (which is the case for all entertainment).

Anyhow, though it may not be a documentary, I find the series just as inspiring. In short, this series is based on a reality competition among aspiring make up artists fighting to earn the “Next Make-Up Star” title. The show is filmed in London, where all the people seem so well-mannered and polite totally different from LA but that’s beside the point, haha. (focus Lorraine) Though I do not identify as being a make-up artist, I do identify as an artist, and witnessing the amount of passion, love, and sheer resilience these contestants had throughout the competition was so inspiring that a lit a fire in me that needed to be lit. Easily, there were contestants that I wanted to be befriend only because I felt the desperation that they had (and excuse my language) to win the damn thing; they poured their heart & soul into every brush stroke, creating a work of art that brought them immense joy. Every art piece, most importantly, told a story. They fought every fight they could, and when faced with rejection they left with humility & even a stronger passion to be pursue their dreams. And there is nothing, at least for me, more noble than that.

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As an aspiring singer, myself, I can only imagine similar feelings & emotions I will experience if (and when) I do join a vocal competition. It’s as if their work of art was their oxygen and they could not go on & live if it did not appease their very souls. Oh yeah & I can totally relate to the perfectionist syndrome. Lol. Not to mention, the works some of these artists created was absolutely mind-blowing (as seen above). Just absolutely iconic. Ding Dong! (if you will). It only made me wish that I could create something so touching & beautiful.

All in all, I totally recommend the series to those reading who are aspiring MUA or simply aspiring artists. Art is art, and one artist’s experience does not differ from another– only because the passion is passion, and it’s either there or it’s not. And it was very much evident that the passion burned in the souls of these contestants..

Anyhow, don’t want to spoil the film for ya’ll, watch the series for your dose of inspiration (and also to get my references in this post hehe). That’s enough of me rambling! Go on now dahling, & get ya Netflix on!

 

 

Netflix Documentary: Quincy (2018)

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Quincy Jones

So, I was ecstatic (faced with a tinge of self-disappointment for being late) when I was mindlessly scrolling through my Netflix dashboard and came across a documentary film about the great Quincy Jones. Not hesitating to click the film, I watched the whole thing entirely. in one sitting & no breaks. By the end of the film, I had absolutely no regrets.

For those who aren’t familiar with Mr. Jones.. first off, shame on you. I’m kidding, but how can you live your life blissfully without knowing this man? Not to sound dramatic or anything, but not entirely sure if you have experienced life. All jokes aside, Mr. Jones is a game changer. He is an American record producer, multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, composer, arranger, and film and television producer who began his career in the 1950’s. He started off as a conductor— working with jazz ensembles and orchestration by learning alongside some of the greats in the game. Decades into his career and he learned all the trades he can, he worked for Mercury Records as executive president in which he mastered his hand behind music production. With a knack for film scoring, Jones also then got into film which proved to be a pivotal moment in his career as he became the mentor who birthed the biggest name in the industry— the great Michael Jackson.

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Some of his biggest works include: =The Color Purple (Oprah Winfrey), The WizThriller & “We Are The World” by Michael Jackson, to name a few. Almost 80 years later, and he remains a driving force in the world of entertainment.

I found this film enlightening because I found his personal struggles (both personally and professionally) very inspiring. Jones came from a broken home and was haunted by a broken relationship with his mother much throughout his life that influenced and bled into his professional career. However, he used this void and hurt to drive his creation and vision, ultimately bringing him to high levels of success and accomplishments. For me personally, I found resonance in his story that feels almost identical in my own personal journey as well. But I may save that story for another time.

In the beginning scene of the film, Jones sits with his daughter Rashida Jones in the back of the limousine. She asks him what he has learned about art & work. And Jones’ response not only put me in a place of peace, but also brought me great reassurance in my own journey. He responds, “be humble about your creativity and gracious about your success”.  Later in the video he emphasis the importance of nuturing one’s own skills & abilities in their own artistic craft. He shares that his father would tell him, “Once a task has begun, never leave it til its done. Be the labor great or small do it well, or not at all”.

To say the least, the film was very much informative and inspiring in the same token and would recommend up next for your watchlist if you may be a music fanatic as myself. As I always like to say, thank you to those for reading up til this point. much love. Feel free to check out the trailer which you can find below.

Update: KJazz Mobile & August Newsletter

Hey ya’ll,

So we’re currently in the process figuring out the logistics for the KJazz Mobile so that the event remains accessible and safe for all attendees. The KJazz Mobile is a series of events that will include bands of of at least 3-4 musicians and the exciting part is that they will be performing on an open trailer in parks throughout the city of Los Angeles. The concerts will be free and open to the public.

I am thrilled for those who are interested and will be participating in this amazing event. In the meanwhile, I am curating the upcoming August newsletter and had a chance to sit down and talk with KJazz DJ Host Bubba Jackson. It was a refreshing talk about the music industry at that one, and  one where I was completely at awe of all his incredible insight, knowledge, and wisdom. He was even kind enough to recommend me some material to check out, which I also plan to share with ya’ll once I do. I am sure they are the hidden gems as he had explained. I will be sharing more detail of this experience in the near future. For KJazz 88.1FM listeners, I will also be sharing the newsletter on here as well.

Stayed tuned,

L. x