June 6, 2016 groovacious

Find The Absolute Rhythm

IMG_8425aI recently visited a spiritual seminar and sat deeply immersed in the speech, when I was jolted by the following words by the guest speaker:


As the words sank in, they struck me in the chest – and began to make my heart beat faster.

Because of what happened to me over the last 10 years, I hear it like this today:

“Shed all the excess weight that inhibits your wings from unfolding — and set a brave foot forward in your most beloved endeavor”

When I came to the U.S. in 1991 I wanted nothing more than to emulate the big american sound of pop, jazz, R&B and Soul. Take 6, Earth Wind & Fire, Stevie Wonder – these were a few of my many gods and I followed them diligently.

I was deeply invested in building music tracks that were supposed to sound as good as David Foster’s productions – or making string arrangement that rivaled Jeremy Lubbock’s phenomenal work.

It took the implosion of the music industry to convince me that it was time to stop imitating others

There is nothing wrong with learning the tools of the trade. I am a big proponent of learning from the Masters and adapt / adopt some of the tools they use.

The trick is to realize that if I stay in that modus permanently, I lose the rhythm of my heart.

There is nothing wrong with doing a job to pay the bills.
Does it mean I have to sacrifice what might be potentially my strongest asset?  Jettison my own art?

This challenge provided me with the right mindset and background for my Brazilian endeavor named HeartBeat Brazil and my brand-new release “Applauding The Sunset”.

Had God not led me to this juncture, I would have likely never encountered a friend who is equally free–spirited and open to musical inspiration without commercial convention as my creative brother Jason Gould.

We are about to conclude a major music project called “Dangerous Man”,  which was created under the loving tutelage of the great Quincy Jones, who is co-producing and supporting this project.

Some of you know that I worked in a music store in germany in 1980 which I did it gratefully — and I got quite good at retail – but there were angels who kept telling me to press on and find the origin of the sound and rhythm that really moved me.

Q_JAY_STEF_WEBSITE2Had anyone told me back then that one day I would sit in a studio with “Q” and have Vinnie Colaiuta, Gregg Phillinganes, Paul Jackson Jr., Paulinho Da Costa and so many other royalties of music pass through and deliver their brilliant gift – I would have declared them insane.

I can’t stress this enough:  When you love something more than the power of fear would have you pull back, you will most likely get really good at it and get some deserved recognition. Just don’t let the fears throttle the love factor down too much! Remember, this whole journey is about finding and realizing who we really are.

“What lies before us and what lies behind us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us

Ralph Waldo Emerson

(The complete sentence that gave birth to this statement was: “As I watched the seagulls, I thought: That’s the road to take; find the absolute rhythm and follow it with absolute trust.”
Nikos Kazantzakis, from “Zorba the Greek”)

Stephan Oberhoff