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  • 5 Fun Places to Visit in New York City

    New York City is one of the most interesting cities to visit. Manhattan, one of its boroughs, boasts of many high end restaurants, musical theaters and other musical related places. In addition, Manhattan has a rich source of history and musical culture from Jazz to Rhythms and Blues. It is a musical mecca for visitors who wish to be entertained with beautiful music and have their palates seduced with rich-tasting cuisines from some of the top chefs in the country.

    Some of my favorite places to visit in New York include hot restaurant joints and places that play rich music. Personally, I love to visit establishments that are small and intimate whenever am looking for a place to eat or enjoy music. I find these 5 places quite relaxing and entertaining:

    Café Carlyle

    My first pick in Manhattan is Café Carlyle that is tucked away on the Upper East Side. This beautiful cabaret lounge first opened its doors in 1955 and sits a maximum of 90 people. It has excellent dinning and winning facilities as well as musical performances. In keeping up with an aura of Manhattan’s sophistication, Café Carlyle features classy wall murals all with musical themes. One can enjoy performances by Sutton Fosters, Judy Collins, Michael Feinstein, Eddy Davis and Woody Allen.

    St. Mazie

    St. Mazie cannot miss from my list of favorite places to visit in Manhattan, New York. This is because it offers a classical throwback to the late 30s and early 40s when it comes to musical programming, décor and even drinks. This musical gem is hidden away in Williamsburg. St. Mazie boasts of salvaged wood, a huge vintage refrigerator, subway tiles and a stage. Music played is mostly from the early 20th century and consists of jazz, blues, swing, flamenco and even ragtime.

    Joe’s Pub

    Joe’s Pub is found inside Manhattan’s Public Theater located on East Village. I find this musical joint amazing because it is a known downtown arts leader. What I find most interesting is the eclectic lineup of performances and musicians who perform daily. It was first opened in 1998 and boasts of an intimate space where revelers enjoy the mouthwatering menu of Andrew Carmellini, a celebrated chef. Performers include Broadway superstars like Sutton Foster, Kelli O’Hara and Audra McDonald. Others include cabaret legends like Justin Vivian Bond and Sandra Bernhard. Other notable performers who have graced the Joe’s Pub’s stage include Elvis Costello, David Byrne, Taylor Mac, Adele and Lady Gaga.

    The Lucky Bee

    This is a Southeast Asian café that offers fresh farm-to-table dishes including my favorite coconut-braised ribs and grilled whole shrimp.

    Pasquale Jones

    Pasquale Jones is a casual Italian restaurant that offers pizza, steaks, fish, game bird and roasted vegetables dishes. It also offers fritti and pastas as well as wines from Burgundy and Italy.

    Manhattan has a rich network of restaurants that offer an amazing musical experience coupled with delicious delicacies and cuisines prepared by top chefs. The restaurants include Asian establishments (Indian, Japanese, Chinese), European restaurants (Italian, French), American joints and even Mexican restaurants.

    April 30, 2016 • Personal • Views: 344

  • The Responsibility to Give Back to Your Community

    Being a musician is fun. Just think about this for a minute. You are a singer who has millions of loyal fans across the globe. You have won a number of awards already and this motivates you to work harder to please your fans. However, I can tell you that life is not a breeze. Success is an enormous responsibility in the sense that you are a role model. Many people look up to you and you cannot afford to fail them. In any case, one of the best things about being successful is that you have the resources to give back to the community.

    In my own case, I am blessed to be a successful Haitian musician but I am based in Miami, Florida. I perform all over Europe and North America and I get paid in US dollars and Euros for my efforts. Unfortunately, my native Haiti is not exactly the richest country in the world. Infant mortality is high, infrastructure is not as good as it should be and a devastating earthquake destroyed a large part of the country. There is no point in listing all the problems of Haiti here. The important thing is that there are things I can do to help my country and these are the things I want to talk about in this article.

    Mentoring

    The first thing I did in my mission to give back to the society was to mentor a number of young and less privileged members of my community. I bought musical instruments for these youths and enrolled them in a musical school where they were taught vocals, drums, key board, guitar and other instruments. Today, some of those young men are successful musicians in their own right.

    Unfortunately, this was like a drop of water in an arid desert. It was not enough even though it was a beginning. At this point, I realized that there is a limit to what one person (me) can do and I decided to partner with other like-minded people.

    Partnership with reputable organizations

    A tree can never make a forest and this saying is perfectly applicable to giving back to the community. In my own case, I recognized my limits and this is why I had to partner with reputable NGOs to help my people. One Organization had a scholarship scheme for economically disadvantaged but brilliant students. In this case, it was a pleasure to work with these smart children. Today, some of them are medical doctors, some are engineers and a few are successful business owners.

    Infrastructural development

    A number of Haitian bankers, soccer stars and musicians (including yours truly) pooled their resources together and provided boreholes and solar panels to a few communities in Haiti. Today, the people there have safe drinking water and solar-powered electricity.

    Final word

    As stated already, being a success is fun but it comes with a huge responsibility. The good thing is that you do not have to do it all alone. Recognize the needs of people in your community and meet some of those needs. Get other people involved and spread the word. Put a smile on the faces of people in your community. Altruism is great for your soul and great for your life and those around you!

    April 29, 2016 • Personal • Views: 401

  • 6 Must-Have Apps for Musicians

    Between studio sessions, gigs, trying to balance music with “real” life, as well as all of the inner-workings of business can be a real crap-shoot. Regardless of where I am in the world, I do my best to stay connected with my friends, family, and fans. The following are some of my favorite phone apps. These have helped to connect me with others, as well as to make life a little easier. I hope you get a lot of value out of it!

    Evernote

    Some of the best songs come to you at the most unexpected times… at the bar mid-curly-fries, in the gym mid-lift and on the sidewalk mid-step. Evernote makes it easy to jot down lyrics, chords and ideas on the go. The best part of Evernote is that there is a desktop and a mobile app. The two sync anytime you make an update, making this app one of the most seamless applications for keeping your creative on-the-go moments all in one clean space.

    Snapchat

    Twitter was the new Facebook. Snapchat is the new Instagram… I know – its confusing. Snapchat is so popular right now that you simply cannot afford to not be a part of it. Capitalizing on the next big thing is incredibly important, especially when you are catering to a young audience who is always on the lookout for fresh social platforms.

    Twitter

    Stay in touch with your fans, tweet new set list teasers and connect with other musicians with a Twitter account for yourself or your band. Some musicians are notorious for disliking social media. It takes too much time away from getting down to business. However, quick and effective, Twitter is the perfect app for the band who would rather be making music than stuck on social media for hours… 140 characters and you’re off. 10 seconds tops. For days when you want to keep it simple, post a pic with a few hashtags and you can go on about your day.

    Instagram

    If you are not utilizing Instagram yet, you are really missing out on a gold mine. Post photos of your underground gigs, or give fans a peek inside the studio. Showing fans those raw, midnight sessions that no one knows exist… A picture is worth a thousand words and this intimate look into your life will draw fans closer, helping them see a little glimpse as to what an average day is like.

    HootSuite

    HootSuite is an invaluable marketing tool and many well known publications have named it one of the best on the market. This app offers a convenient social media dashboard, allowing you to monitor activity, post updates and take measure of your social media tools. It is one of the few apps that allows you to schedule your Twitter, Facebook and Google+ posts all in one place. You will also find analytics here to keep up with followers, clicks and traffic to let you know how you are doing… best of all, you can do it all from bed, the passenger seat or on the go.

    iReach

    Press releases are a great way to get your next CD release noticed. However, putting out a press release can be pretty expensive – especially for smaller, local bands. For $179, iReach helps you to get your press release out to 1,000 websites, including PR News, a recognized industry authority.

    Keeping your career running smoothly behind the scenes does not have to be exhausting. There is plenty of apps on the market that can help managing it all just a little easier, helping you to focus less on how you’ll ever get it all done… and more on making music!

    April 29, 2016 • Personal • Views: 336

  • Tips for Good Health While on the Road

    As a touring musician, playing in different cities every night, it is not always easy to get to a gym and get in the required amount of exercise to stay in good physical shape. Still, this is no excuse to not exercise at all. There are lots of innovative ways to get in quick and effective workouts even when there is no gym in sight. I share some of my best tips below:

    Take the gym with you

    Exercise need not be expensive or cumbersome. There are so many other options to choose from. When on the go, portable exercise equipment such as yoga mats, skipping ropes and exercise bands can provide you with a challenging and effective workout while on the road. Jump ropes allow for a great cardio option right from the comfort of your hotel room for example, while your yoga mat and resistance band can provide strength and resistance training using efficient muscle toning and body sculpting exercises.

    Use the available technology resources

    With mobile devices being increasingly powerful, convenient and available, one can take exercise and fitness on the road with them. All that is needed is perhaps a data service or WiFi, your favorite mobile device (tablet or smartphone) to start. There are countless exercise videos on YouTube that one can use. Some videos are longer than others, and the kinds of exercises offered up varies greatly. As such, you can choose exercise videos that are perfectly suited to your tastes and the amount of time you have available.

    Another useful resource is that of apps. Like YouTube, there are lots of free and minimal cost fitness apps to choose from. One of my favorite apps offers up a 7-minute circuit workout that I love. The exercises are challenging and quick. If you want you can repeat the sequence to bump up your workout to about 14mins.

    Use the resources of you surroundings

    As a musician on the road, we often play gigs in cities where the surroundings are beautiful and conducive to getting in a quick workout. For example, there may be a nice park not too far from your hotel or place of accommodation, use it to go for a quick jog or brisk walk. If your hotel had a wellness center or gym (or one is nearby and it’s not too expensive), you may use this option too. Finally, even if you have none of the above available at your disposal (including suggestions 1 and 2), if there is ample space in your room, you can do a few reps of your favorite exercises – like push ups, crunches, jumping jack’s and so forth.

    Exercise and beyond

    Of course, exercise is not the only aspect of maintaining good health. Truth be told, eating well while on the road can be even harder than getting in the necessary exercise. Be sure to eat as well as you can on the road, carrying multivitamins with you and drinking lots of water. Avoid processes, sugary foods like sodas and snacks as much as possible.

    April 22, 2016 • Personal • Views: 403