imageJazz beyond Borders

I remember a particular line in Billy Strayhorn’s composition ‘Lushlife’, found  in the first eight bars of the verse. It goes like this, ‘I used to visit all the very gay places, those come what may places, where one relaxes on the axis of the wheel of life, to get the feel of life, from jazz and cocktails’. Many people stereotype jazz as the genre of the elite. People who were born with a silver spoon. Who are the elitists? According to my sources,  Elite, is a small group of powerful people in political and sociological theory, such as an oligarchy, that controls a disproportionate amount of wealth or political power in society. This group is given more privileges than ordinary people  in a society. They can be big time politicians,  big earners in fields of  business, law and  medical professions to cite examples. They are the people who have the currency to pay for anything they want. Branded clothings, limousine services, fine dining, private jets, go to an opera, a Broadway show, and once in a while, a jazz gig.

In a jazz venue, be it in the US where jazz found its grassroots or other countries that have a wide audience in jazz like Japan, Canada, or the Philippines, is it fair that only a person belonging to an elite class can have the opportunity to appreciate jazz?  Herbie Hancock, a renowned jazz pianist is one among others who spearheaded ‘International Jazz Day’. This special celebration was conceived in order to highlight jazz and its diplomatic role of uniting people in all corners of the globe. International Jazz Day brings together communities, schools, artists, historians, academics, and jazz enthusiasts all over the world to celebrate and learn about jazz and its roots, future and impact. To raise awareness of the need for intercultural dialogue and mutual understanding, to reinforce international cooperation and communication. Every  year on April 30, this international art form is recognized for promoting peace, dialogue among cultures, diversity, and respect for human rights and human dignity, eradicating racism, promoting freedom of expression, fostering gender equality, and reinforcing the role of youth in enacting social change.

The Philippines in one way or another joins this special event each year on the 30th of April. Small, cozy jazz venues hold their own events as a way of recognizing this art form and help find the country’s  own niche in the field of International Jazz. The question is, is it well funded? IJD organizers hands over a special plaque of appreciation to anybody who wants to join this event. By using social media like Livestream, Ustream, Facebook Live , et al,  jazz musicians of diverse culture and race can play, be heard and seen over the world.

I am a jazz artist based all over. Jazz musicians are like gypsies who never stop moving, and improving. The creativity process never stops in a particular gig or recorded performances. Who are the jazz artists? Moreover, what is Jazz music? Jazz spans a period of over a hundred years, encompassing a very wide range of music, making it difficult to define. Jazz makes heavy use of improvisation, polyrhythms, syncopation and the swing note. Although the foundation of jazz is deeply rooted within the black experience of the United States, different cultures have contributed their own experience and styles to the art form as well. Intellectuals around the world have hailed jazz as “one of America’s original art forms.

I recall my mother saying that Filipinos are eternally singing. Music runs in our DNAs for many special reasons. The Philippines was already in the groove way back before World War 1st. My grandfather for one was a member of a big band in Los Angeles while picking oranges in the morning. Is this what you call elite?  This country is gifted with very talented musicians but not given enough avenues and chances to learn music. Taking up Music courses in college is a fortune to begin with. There are foundations who give scholarships to talented and deserving students, unfortunately, these organizations are a handful. We have no access to buy better instruments unless we go to the US or online shopping like Amazon. Music students in the Philippines are not motivated enough to create more as parents would time and again remind their children that there is no money in music. That is not true. I will agree to the fact that the glory days where our leaders would concentrate on the art and the artists as well, has  gone to oblivion. Whatever happened to our love for music, for jazz, for freedom of expression?

The prestigious Kobe Jazz Vocal Queen held in Japan annually, had just concluded and I was fortunate enough to be one of the judges. I take pride to be chosen as part of the jury during the competition. This competition stems from the Seattle-Kobe Sister City Association (SKSCA), a volunteer-based non-profit association that helps promote and facilitate friendly relations between Seattle as sister city of Kobe, Japan. Founded in 1957, the Seattle-Kobe relationship was the first such partnership for both cities. The exchanges between these two cities are varied, ranging from cultural, educational, business and governmental. In addition to the official sister city relationship, there is also an official port relationship, as well as strong economic ties between many companies of these two regions. This is where the Kobe Jazz Vocal Queen comes in. I was there sitting as one of the judges and I said to myself, our country can do this. Our nation has an overload of talented vocalists who can focus on this genre given the right education, knowledge, skill, and right mentoring.

I have a dream that soon, the greatness of our country will again be known through Jazz music. As  Susan Rice  (U.S. National Security Advisor) would say , and I quote “Like democracy itself, jazz has structure, but within it you can say almost anything.” Join me in realizing this endeavor.

 

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In Loving Memory of my Dad

  • imageImpeccable and Undying Love for Mama Mary.

This is my debut to write something for the  Senatus Bulletin. The subject, my beloved father, Bro. Diony Cifra Jr. My dad Dionisio Cifra Jr, endeared by his peers and co-legionaries as Bro. Diony which later became Tatay Diony, would read to me an article, opinion and insights on his literary works and I would endlessly listen to them all. Every word he utters or writes is a matter of priority that I had to get ready with my pen and paper to take notes. I remember I would ask him to speak slowly so I can write and mark his vocabulary and his language would forever be implanted on my brain. If my mother is the walking dictionary, my father would be the editor. I read all their literary works be it a book, an essay or just tidbits of their written thoughts.

On that note, how can I write about my father and at the same time organize my thoughts when I am terribly missing him? Yet, being brought up to always say yes to the call of God , i am writing this and you all get the chance to know him more, not only as a father but also a Legionary. I have been away from the country and what I can only remember is , my dad as the Senatus President of the Legion of Mary,  reelected time and again until he figured out himself that though his spirit is still willing , his flesh is not. Just as he was my number one fan in all my endeavor, he is the biggest fan of Mama Mary. Mama Mary comes first before my first communion, birthday, Bienvenido parties and what not, although he would arrive at a later time. We are his second priority and we don’t really mind. Legionary is my dad’s  nickname.
My respect for my him goes beyond as a daughter. He was my mentor and spiritual adviser. The kind of father any child would be lucky to have. Strict but loving. Firm but doting. He calls me sweetheart, my brother ‘son’ and my daughter ‘sugar’. I’m holding on to my tears now. He loved the entire family of legionaries in the Philippines and the whole world. He made sure that we know the handbook, the tessera, the rosary and of course the Senatus Bulletin and sees to it that God is always in the center of our lives. While he did a great job as a legionary and Mama Mary can attest to that, he was a doting father. All he wanted was to have a family who loves Mama Mary the way he does. He would eternally tell us, ‘if you pray the rosary and pray to Jesus through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, your prayers will be answered’. He was right.
His love for the Legion of Mary is impeccable just as his love for his family is. The greatest man I’ve ever met in my life. A leader, a Christian warrior, a prolific writer (I’m his biggest fan) being a journalist, editor – in- chief as such during his younger days in Davao City.  In lighter moments, he’s a Frank Sinatra or a Tony Bennett wannabe and a musician. Where else can my brother Pipo, get his musical genius?
The legionaries miss you a lot Dad and I am dying to see you, though not so soon. You are an Icon of the Legion and what an honor and a privilege to be your daughter, I can not thank the Lord enough.

R.I.P. To 44 Fallen Commandos

  • image I wrote this blog on the 30th of January after the massacre of the 44 members of SAF that horribly took place in Mindanao. I did not post this because during those days, the issue was very controversial and my dad advised me to not meddle with my already troubled country. It would be like adding insult to injury. Now that Noynoy Aquino will soon be our ex president, I thought this is the right time to say my piece. This is how some political analysts would look at Pnoy (President Noynoy Aquino of the Philippines) as the Commander in Chief. While his right hand is busy with the finality of the Bansamoro Basic Law, to which the population of Maguindanao consists of mainly MILF members (who are allegedly the people behind the massacre), him trying to be the gentleman and the diplomat, rubbing elbows with the leader , which I find ‘incredibly ridiculous’, (knowing that these are the same people who were involved in the number of massacres that occurred several years back) fervently hoping that they will finally surrender their arms and embrace peace with the government, Pnoy’s left hand is persistently persuading the Senate to have this BBL implemented until at least before his term ends. So what happens now? Not everybody agrees with the BBL, trust is of the essence and as far as the MILF is concerned, my instinct tells me that they are not worthy of that. The BBL has a long way to go. It still needs a lot of reading,interpolations, discussions, amendments and a hundred percent consensus by the Senate and even more, a referendum for the entire nation. It can not just be implemented, not now or more so not ever. The MILF has been consistently defending themselves that they are  not the culprit of these tragic massacres but in reality, they seemingly are. If only we have an extraordinarily observant leader, with strong political will, conviction and discernment, he should be smart enough to be able to read between the lines. History shows that MILF do not follow the rules of ceasefire and the leaders should not be too assuming that after BBL, the whole country will at last live in peace and harmony. Harboring international terrorists is unforgivable and unacceptable. The person rooting for the BBL was the same person who gave the go signal to attack without vigorous planning. Pnoy wanted to take the credit and show the world that he has a legacy to leave before his term ends, but at the expense of SAF and innocent civilians and individuals? Unfortunately, the mission failed and the massacre goes on and on till the present. BBL will never be the solution or if at all there will be a solution. Long and tedious planning , then maybe, just maybe peace will be achieved only if people, Christians and Muslims alike will realize the meaning of human respect and compassion. I condemn this tragic event and I have no words to the wives , children and family of the SAF fallen commandos. War is stupid and the people perpetuating it is even more stupid. And I quote Miriam Santiago’s line, ‘Life is Hard but it’s Harder when you are stupid.’ Filipinos killing Filipinos. Is not that a humongous act of stupidity?

Unthinkable Shiver

Freezing cold on the 29th of wintry December morning 2014, I took my flight back to Manila to behold the beautiful face of my beloved mother on her wake. The last time I would talk to her, face to face although I knew it would be a one way conversation. She can no longer agree or disagree with me, nod her head in awe when she hears good news about my career and family, utter words to remind me how proud she is that I’m her daughter, constantly motivate me to be better in whatever I do, boost my moral before a big performance, pacify me when I’m hysterical, listens to me when I tell her how lonely it is to lose a husband, and a lot more. She even becomes the mother to my daughter when I’m not around. I could go on and on and on. I was not on her bedside when she was fading away but technology helped me to tell her everything while she can still hear me.
Excruciatingly painful. That’s how my mother would phrase it when she wants to describe a feeling where pain is gravely intolerable, or when a situation is unbearably distressing or when someone is in intense suffering.
I was speaking to her over the phone while my heart is in excruciating pain. All I can do is make myself strong by controlling my tears while I bid her goodbye. As I speak to her, I realized that I will not be able to give her the tightest hug I can give. There’s no reason for me to drop by the duty free to buy a new lipstick, perfume or a new bag for my beloved mother. I will not have someone to call on to when I need a recipe for a certain menu I want to cook. ( She knows I don’t really cook though) still she would teach me how to. She said I need to learn how to cook, at least for my husband.
My mother is my best mentor in life. She was strict (specially in academics ) but kind. Having a boyfriend at a young age is totally unacceptable. Her ultimate goal for me is to get a good college education. She would endlessly tell me that getting a good education means finding eventually a decent husband. There are so many adjectives by which I can describe my first teacher. She was the love and the light of our family and I am just about to enter the door to her wake.
I was ok as the car was taking me from Ninoy Aquino International Airport to St. John The Baptist Loyola in Taytay. A little jet lagged but generally ok. When the car stopped and the driver informed me that it was time for me to get off, I started to shiver. I never felt that in my entire life. Not even on my husband’s passing away. I was shaking uncontrollably. My brother hugged me very tight and instructed me not to see my mother until I’m feeling better. It took me an hour at least before I can go to her casket and behold her timeless beauty. It was excruciatingly painful but for some reason, all my body could do was to shiver. I never shivered in my life even in a minus 10 degree temperature of a cold winter season. Strength and tolerance are just some of the famous nicknames I have I guess. My mother’s wake gave me an unthinkable shiver.
She is now eternally resting in peace with the Lord. When I pray to her, I ask her, ‘Mom, where you hugging me when I was at the footsteps of your wake?’ I felt a sudden gush of a cold wind chill devoured me upon entering the room. I would answer the question myself and say yes. She was present and telling me through my unthinkable shiver that everything will be alright. That’s my mom. And just like the song of Kenny Loggins…
‘In the mornin’ when I rise
Bringing tears of joy to my eyes
And tell me everything’s gonna be all right’ ”People smile and tell me I’m the lucky one’…

Passport and Family

It’s a beautiful Christmasy morning this 22nd of December 2014. For the first time in so many years, I won’t be home for Christmas because of so many things that transpired which I thought won’t allow me to book a flight before Christmas. My passport is expiring within 6 months and international aviation law says that a person whose passport is expiring in 6 months will not be allowed to travel. I was advised by Immigration to renew my passport as soon as I can. I wish it was that easy. I hold a Philippine passport even if I don’t basically live in my own country. I did not know that renewing means getting your new passport after 45 working days. I renewed it first week of October and considering the bureaucratic system and red tape in our government, 45 days is not a guarantee. That would mean I might not be home for Christmas if I don’t get my passport at least by first week of December. I was right. My passport arrived on the first week of December , the same week when my mother was rushed to the hospital due to pneumonia. She was critical. Since my passport was not on my hands yet, I had to make a decision to book my flight to Manila after Christmas just to be sure. As of this moment while I’m writing this, my mom is at the ICU and we are hoping that she recovers. The delay of the arrival of my passport is the biggest reason why I decided not to spend Christmas with my family. Plans have been made and much as I badly want to be home to see my mother, I won’t be able to.
I’m not blaming my country or anybody for my life’s turn out of events. I realize now that we can’t control things all the time. The world owns us. The entire universe owns us. We don’t even own our passports. I wish there were other ways to make life more manageable but then again, I guess it will always be a struggle. Even to renew your own passport..

80 years and it’s a Bonus?

As I start writing this, I look back at the first time I understood what my mother meant when she told me that giving birth to me is like finally having someone to call your own. I became my mother’s best friend cum daughter since then. The moment her gynecologist announced that ‘it’s a baby girl’ ,
she heard the song ‘Silent Night’ being played all over the hospital rooms. I was born in the month of October, the month where Christians and non-Christians as well, feel that Christmas is just around the corner, what with the Christmas songs already being played by all radio stations. I was my mother’s best Christmas gift ever.
It’s the 21st of December today and anytime from now, she is about to leave us, our family, to rest into eternal life. This is my worst Christmas gift ever. I love Christmas season. As the song says, it’s the most wonderful time of the year. Well I guess not for everybody. Not only because my mother is fading away but because of so many reasons. War, hunger, poverty, selfishness, hatred, greed, corruption, heinous crimes, injustice, etc. etc.
In other words, life is not fair. Life is a struggle between choosing to be happy or choosing to be sad amidst all the chaotic realities that we are facing. My parents brought me up generally to be God-fearing and to be a happy person no matter what. As I go through life’s journey, I realized that there are issues on the other side of the coin. To be happy and to accept whatever life serves me on the table is one and the other is to face and accept a passing away of a loved one head-strong. The second one is tedious. I am very lonely that my mother is traveling on a journey where she’s not returning to us and that is unacceptable.
My friends consoled me, spoken words of wisdom so that I would feel better and just move on and face a new chapter in my life. That my mother lived long enough , 80 years to set it right, and lived a full life therefore I should be happy. That 80 years is a bonus considering that the average life span of a person goes around 70 to 75. I’m grateful for having friends who care but I am not convinced. NO.
A bonus is being with my mother 20 more years. That I go first before her, that I don’t see her anguish in pain while all the other parts of her body are failing. Is it hard for the universe to just make my mother comfortable sans pain and be with us longer? Acceptance?
To not question that her physicians did their best to extend my mother’s life? Am I looking for chivalry from my God or from the experts to make her strong and be with us again?
Chivalry is gone these days. Life is a struggle.
There is no bonus. When someone grows up to be with a loving family, it’s hard to let go. Yes, I still choose to be happy but for now, I ask the universe to let me be. 80 years is not enough. There is a Forever which is intangible.
Love. And only now that I start realizing that. I continue to pray for a miracle as I write this….

Aquino on Standing Against Time

Becoming a President of a country that had nothing but a zero balance in its’ monetary reserves, a country ruled and governed by (if not all) a lot of corrupt and dishonest officials, bureaucracy, old school political traditions, a very ill-disciplined citizenry, a country where most of the people do nothing but whine, bicker and complain except do what is good and moral; is not a joke. I agree with the writer’s take that with a lot of struggle in the president’s leadership: the international community, world bank, foreign investors are obviously still attracted with the rebirth of our nation. Foreign retailers are starting to open and if I may mention some, Japan’s Uniqlo, Yoshinoya, and now Family Mart are now being seen in major cities of the Philippines, USA’s Forever 21, H&M retail store, not to mention the addition of more Starbucks franchise, Macdonald’s , TGIF and so on and so forth.
Government transparency is the bottomline. Reality check, any investor will be attracted to a government where everything can be openly investigated. President Aquino’s government advocacy is Transparency. And this is shown in their SALEN or Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net worth which means disclosure of the officials’ assets, thus gradually solving the problem of corruption. It is too open that people who see any thoughts, ideas, opinions in social media, minus the newspaper, television and radio take those insights subjectively and can easily impeach the incumbent President if the citizens want to. Honestly, I don’t see another EDSA revolution coming. Filipinos believe that our present leader is equated to honesty.
Granting that President Aquino makes wrong decisions in choosing his constituents and dumping officials that to some people are the Presidents’ victims of bullying, I can still forecast progress. I live abroad and I look at the country from the outside. I see international news never been heard in Philippine television, read articles never been read by a local, heard opinions by my co-workers who are all foreigners saying only one thing, the value of the peso is going up against the dollar, the yen and all other monetary units.
This only explains that we have earned the trust of the international community , less intimidation to OFWs, less racism, less stereotyping that our country is hopeless. I overhear people of other races saying that the Philippines is a country to reckon with. A country that needs constant monitoring because one day these foreigners on the other hand would want to seek greener pastures in the Philippines. Who knows? The world is round.
Indeed, Aquino government’s worst enemy is time considering that his term is about to end in no less than 3 years. I will start to question our country’s plight when we elect our next president. For now, I am not complaining. To the future president, I wonder, would he be able to continue the legacy of progress or would he pull down our country back to the deep well? I hope not.
On this note, I’d like to finish this with the the words of the late US President JFK, ‘Ask not, what your country can do to you, but ask, what you can do to your country.’ Let’s look at ourselves in the mirror and perhaps make some more reflections.

Rappler’s article, Philippine President Aquino’s reality check

Becoming a President of a country that had nothing but a zero balance in its’ monetary reserves, a country ruled and governed by (if not all), a lot of corrupt and dishonest officials, bureaucracy, old school political traditions, a very ill-disciplined citizenry, a country where most of the people do nothing but whine, bicker and complain except do the moral thing, IS NOT a joke. I agree with the writer’s take that with a lot of struggle in the president’s leadership, the international community, world bank, foreign investors are indeed still attracted to the rebirth of our nation. Government transparency is the bottomline. It is too open that people who see any thoughts, ideas, opinions on social media minus the newspapers, television and radio, take those insights subjectively. Granting that Pinoy makes wrong choices in choosing his constituents, dumping officials that some people think are just being bullied by the president, I can still see that there is progress. I live abroad and I look at our country from the outside. I hear international news never been heard on Philippine television, read articles never been read by a regular pinoy, opinions uttered by my co-workers who are all foreigners saying only one thing; the value of the dollar against the peso is going down, the yen, and all other monetary units. This only explains that we have earned the trust of the international community, less intimidation to OFW, less racism, less stereotyping that our country is hopeless. I overhear foreigners speaking that the Philippines is a country to watch out for. Indeed, President Aquino’s worst enemy is time considering that his term is about to end in no less than 3 years. I will start to question when we elect our next president. Would he continue the legacy of progress or pull down our country back to the deep well? I always quote the late US President JFK, “Ask not what your country can do to you but ask what you can do to your country”. Much as President Aquino needs reality check, the citizens need it more. Let’s take a look at our reflections in the mirror one more time and do some reality check ourselves.

10 Ways Journaling Makes You a Better Writer

This is a an inspiration for writers and would be writers.. After reading this, you wouldn’t want to see an empty monitor anymore. Your fingers will itch to start typing off your thoughts!

Live to Write - Write to Live

Journaling is a self-indulgent, narcissistic waste of time. It’s nothing more than self-administered therapy – the writer simultaneously on the couch and in the psychiatrist’s chair, endlessly picking apart the minutiae of her life to no good end. Time would be better spent alphabetizing the spice cupboard.

I disagree.

I have kept journals on and off since I was seven years old. My entries have ranged from copies of Shakespeare’s poems to what I did today to philosophical musings to documentation of the soap opera antics of the teenage years. I have professed love, eschewed love, and pined after lost love. I have envisioned my future, questioned my past, and reveled in my present. I have railed against the world and explored the dark and sparkling caves of my inner self. I have written letters that were never sent and scrawled meaningless sentences of disconnected prose just to keep my…

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Racism in Jazz

Jazz trio and the writer.. In a jazz gig.
Jazz trio and the writer.. In a jazz gig.

Music is and always be my life. After finishing my Communication Arts degree in a prestigious university, I had my practicum or as others would say apprenticeship on television stations and radio stations doing jobs as director’s assistant or scriptwriter’s assistant, everybody’s assistant, doing voice over jobs, forever the assistant, forever the voice over and never the real deal. I could have been a director, a scriptwriter, a television or a radio announcer. I could have had a career in Journalism. Much as I love to sing, writing is also my passion. In other words, I have a degree in Communication Arts and I can’t use it. I guess I really never wanted to be behind the camera. I remember telling my mom after six months of training on television, and I quote myself “mom, I don’t think I want to be behind the camera forever, I want to be in front. During the training, I had an encounter with a very good singer who later became the Kim of the Musical Ms. Saigon , she was amazing but I thought to myself, I can do that too, and perhaps become even better. I was in a hurry to be in her position, in front of the camera. So there I go. After several day jobs, I got bored and impatient, I quit! There were a lot of auditions being held then as hotel vocalists, band vocalist or wedding singer. With a lot of practice and guts, I auditioned. The rest is history.
From my country, I went hopping from one country to another as a singer, armed with a degree in Communication Arts In English, a lot of piano and guitar lessons, vocal lessons, and jazz workshop sessions. To date, I still attend jazz cliniques much as I give my own jazz clinics too. But that’s already water under the bridge.
This is the first time that I am going to express myself in writing as far as being ‘Asian’ is concerned, specially in the world of jazz. I have long been wanted to be heard and after I read an article in Cosmopolitan magazine regarding Asians being stereotyped as the following : chinky eyes, almond shaped eyes, noodles, chopsticks, yellow or brown skin, straight black hair and most of all non English speakers, I said to myself, enough of those craps! I’ve had it and let it be known that some people are either uneducated or plainly idiots or racists. Why?
In my travels as a jazzer, being in the business for almost 2 decades, having recorded 5 CDs , having to perform in front of an audience almost everyday of my life, dealing with bosses from different parts of the globe, I can absolutely conclude that I am pretty much doing a good job if not great.
I am not writing this to bad-mouth people who do not have any knowledge in world history or world geography or human behavior. I’ve just had enough.
These are the phrases I would hear or expected to hear? And I quote ‘oh, you’re Asian, and you speak good English.’ Or as how the immigration officers of the US Consular Office interrogated me when I was applying for my 01 visa or legally defined as an alien of extraordinary ability, and I quote again, ‘what’s with the English?’ Either he wants to intimidate me or he’s being sarcastic because he’s a racist. I may sound too sensitive on this subject but no. I’ve just been trying so hard to bear these unbearable assumptions.
I remember my friend telling me, and he’s a very good speaker of English as well, somebody irrationally told him, ‘so you’re Filipino, why do you speak very good english?’ He wanted to give that guy a right hook as strong as Manny Pacquiao’s  to shut him up, I’m glad he didn’t. And yes, my friend is an American law-abiding citizen, with a decent job , pays taxes and has a car registration most Americans wouldn’t have.
This kind of story doesn’t happen only in the US. It happens everywhere, Japan for one. It’s a beautiful country with very polite citizenry and has a wide audience in jazz. Even a non English speaker country like Japan stereotypes other Asians as people who have a native tongue and that’s not english. To the japanese; americans, canadians, australians, and all the other countries colonized by the Queen , are the only ones acceptable to be a jazz vocalist. Why can’t people just accept that a talent is a talent regardless of race, beliefs and gender? Is it hard to appreciate real talent? Does one have to be white or black to be validated? Who are they to judge? I’m blessed to have intelligent and level- headed parents, who are tirelessly telling me that I shouldn’t let anybody bully me or deprive me of my freedom to showcase what I can do, and still maintain humility. I can only take so much. I have no excuse for being Asian, educated, talented, speaks 3 languages fluently including English for that matter. People can either accept it or not, it doesn’t matter anymore.
My advice to aspiring jazz vocalists, pursue your goal! Go for your dream. It doesn’t matter if you’re not black or white. What matters is that you can deliver and you deliver well! Sorry racists, it’s time for a shoutout!
I’m not sour-graping, i’m just saying. No more racism in jazz , after all, music is a universal language.