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Music

After releasing my first album in 2012 (The MessAge) I found myself stuck and not able to make any significant advances as an artist. Besides a few gigs and a few dozen albums sold, I was disheartened about my prospects… things were not getting better, I was getting nowhere. Although making the album was a great personal achievement, it was a commercial failure. The only support I had was my girlfriend Joana (now my wife) and two good friends that were playing live shows with me.  Without any money to invest in promotion, without a record deal, without a label, without management, without agent, without PR – things did not look bright.

 

Looking back, I had no idea what I was doing or what I was expecting it would happen… Even today, I am still trying to ‘find a way’.

 

I had to make a change. I needed to start making real money, and my music was far from being the provider. I decided to stop it and just focus on teaching and playing covers.

 

In the years that followed I grew my student’s numbers and managed to have some financial stability. On occasions I would do building work for a friend, and in 2013 I got into sales with a technology company in education. I was paid on commissions only, and it was a very challenging job. I had never done sales before and I had to learn a lot about the intricacies of the product I was selling as well as the education system. It took me a couple of years before I made my fist sale! This job was taking a lot of my time and effort – and not being financially rewarding. Suffice to say it was a very frustrating time – especially because I could see ways where the product and strategy could be improved – but I could not do anything about it. I would spend 70% of my time in this business, but it was the remaining 30% of my time teaching music, performing, and doing building works that provided the income I needed to live on. I had my ‘heart and soul’ in this business, I was determined to grow with it and make it my career – because the product was amazing! I also had placed immense trust in the people behind it, and I never doubted that it would eventually be a success. But, as it happens, there were many problems ‘behind the scenes’ which I was not aware of and eventually the whole business collapsed in the Spring of 2016. The company wasn’t making any money, and those leading it were adamant to make the necessary changes. This was unsustainable…

 

Although I made a handful of sale, my ‘return on investment’ was as low as it could be… I practically worked for free. But I am not bitter, because even though I had no financial reward, I gained many skills and learned a lot of business and life lessons. Experiencing failure on a daily basis, facing fears and resistances, and trying to make something work which is flawed by design can really change a person. To me, it made me hungry and eager to make ‘something work’.

When the business failed I found myself asking ‘ what am I going to do?’.

 

Three years earlier, I had to make the hard decision of having music as a hobby when I committed to a career with this company. I had to ‘kill’ the dream of becoming an artist. When the company collapsed, I got another emotional blow. Once again, I had to ‘kill’ yet another future and I life that I had imagined for myself.

 

‘What am I going to do?’

 

It took me a lot of introspective writing to be able to make a decision. This time, though, the question was not ‘what am I going to do’ – but rather, ‘Who am I?’

 

This was a question that my friend Bernard Poolman had asked me when I visited him in 2012. At the time he told me that I was ‘doing musician’ – I was not ‘BEING a musician’. He would ask me with a low pitched voice, as he puffed on a cigarette, ‘Who are you, João?’ – and I could not say ‘I am a musician’. There was something inside me that stopped me from saying ‘I am a musician’. In self-honesty, I could not say ‘I am a musician’.

 

Bernard said ‘you have the desire for success and the fear of failure coexisting inside you.’

I could not say ‘I am a musician’. And I asked him ‘why?’ He said ‘It’s a decision. You have to make a decision – and then prove it.’

 

The question always lingered within me… ‘Who are you?’

 

Four years later I am asking myself ‘Who am I?’ It took me a lot of written and spoken self-forgiveness before I could utter the words – and mean it. I had to look at the fears, the self-judgments, the resistances, the ‘what ifs’… There was a lot of shit blocking this decision. But I was finally able to make it and say:

 

‘I am a musician’.

 

 

In time, as the decision cemented, I started to be able to change it and specify it. ‘I am a musician’ turned into ‘I am an Artist‘. And in turn it became ‘I am a Heartist‘. This statement is very important to me because it is the foundation of what I do. I can play instruments, write songs, and perform. But there is more to my art – there is a ‘Heart’.

 
This ‘Heart’ is the ‘Earth’. The ‘Earth’ is the spring of Life.

 

Thus, my ‘art’ and my ‘heart’ are standing for Life. This has always been in my music – you can read it in the very first song I wrote when I was 15. That has always been ‘The MessAge’. That has always been the  ‘Higher Purpose’ of my music.

 

 

‘I am a Heartist – and I am going to make a new album.’

 

This was in May 2016.

 

 

 

 

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Music

‘Life is the purpose that I choose to realise’.

 

‘Higher Purpose’ is a collection of 19 songs that I have written between 2008 and 2016. After a period of five years without thinking too much of when I would make another album, circumstances in my life changed and I decided to dedicate myself to making music again – and this time with a more grounded vision and plan.

 

j jesus music reggae desteniContrary to my first album, Higher Purpose was finished in a record time of less than 4 months. I composed all the songs, recorded all the instruments, sang all the parts, mixed all the tracks, and mastered it too. Every songs – with exception to ‘I forgive Myself’ and ‘Equal Money’ – has a reggae feel to it. That is thanks to the bass lines influenced by Aston Barret (Bob Marley and the Wailers’ bass player) and the guitar, piano, and organ parts accenting the up beat. Some of the songs are, one can say, ‘straight up’ reggae – but many others fail a common definition… With elements of hip hop, blues, rock, soul, the songs are very distinct – and I am yet to find other music that sounds like it.

 

I listen to very little music. Truth be told, most music is vain an without any sort of substance. There are great singers, musicians, and producers, that is certain, but the music they make is rather poor. Consider the simple fact that people have been consuming music heavily since the first radio stations started transmitting – and nowadays music is really everywhere: radio, TV, on your desktop computer and phone. Yet, with so many words repeating again and again, heard by billions of people everyday, the world has failed to change for the better. How can this music be any good if it does not better the lives of people? This is why I seldom put on some music. Also, the pleasure of creating a song – putting all of the pieces together – is much greater than simply listen to one. I am certain that in those 4 months or recording, mixing, and mastering the album I have heard more music (my own, while making it) than in the last 3 years. This might be why I find it hard to define the genre of most songs. When I am making a song I am not trying to copy anyone or anything, but rather trying to find the sounds, melodies, and rhythms that I like at that particular time – all within my knowledge and capabilities, but at the same time daring myself to create something new.

 

I made these songs for myself first. They were not written to express an emotion, but rather to express Principles for Living – Principles that I strive to apply on a daily basis. That’s why I say that I made these songs for myself first. Knowing how they help me, I am certain that, if you allow yourself to become the words, they will help you too.

 

LIFE is the Higher Purpose. Virtually everyone is this world is pursuing their own personal interests – things that satisfy their own egos. In this pursuit they miss their potential to Live a Life truly magnificent. It is obvious that the world is full of pitiful souls with meaningless life – a real waste of potential. I am not saying this for any other reason than simply stating a fact. I too was once on a path of pointlessness – but I was sensible enough to, for a moment, put my ego aside and give (forGIVE) myself the opportunity to change. I have seen within me the great potential that exists within each one of us. This album is my commitment to create a world where we all are able to express that potential. My commitment is to create a world where all Life is honoured and respected; where we stand as Equals, as One. Making music with messages that bring me and others closer to this goal is my Purpose; my mission. I also commit myself to do it with blogs and vlogs – and, especially, within my living application.

 

Creating a world Best For All is the Purpose that moves me. This is my Higher Purpose.

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Music

Real art is seldom found, for there are very few artists in the world – and both the system and public fail to recognise the value. This is so by design.
Real art comes from the artists that has at heart a commitment for creating a better world. The common people call him a ‘dreamer’ – but he knows it is the others that are perpetuating the nightmare. 427662_317130228339114_1671117248_n-1

The heart is the symbol of Life – not love. The Earth is the giver of Life. Earth and Heart are the same: see the letters? You find ‘art’ in ‘heart‘ and in ‘earth’. Therefore, if an artists does not have at heart that which matters – as the matter of Earth, the giver of Life – then it is not real art…. It is just skill and, more often than not, a desire to be famous.

 

Having skill but failing at having the interest of what is best for all Life at heart will stop real art from ever being born. This is why there are so many ‘hit songs’: they hit the customer with the skill that they are accustomed to and, as soon as it arrived, it is killed and forgotten.

 

The ‘hit single’: hits one single time and dies. There is no art, just skill.

 

Singing or playing an instrument with emotion is also not art. The ‘devil’ is the king of emotions, for ‘he’ has deceived ‘Eve’ with emotion – and now all the sons and daughters of ‘Eve’ believe that emotions are what ‘makes us humans’, and that emotions are the great reason for living. This is not true. Life exists beyond emotions. ‘Emotion’ is just the motion of energy between a positive and a negative polarity. Energy is not Life. Energy is a Life fragmented, broken – and that is why, in a world where energy is ‘God’, the world is utterly broken, as everyone is moving between happy states (positive) and sad states (negative) – represented by the money system, where people move between cycles of ‘credit’ (positive) and ‘debt’ (negative). This system is unsustainable, and it will eventually collapse once the ‘energy’ has run out. In this reality of finite resources, we cannot endlessly consume. Emotions are not sustainable for the same reasons – and do not make us ‘humans’, it makes us zombies.  When will we stop to see and realise the lie that we exists as?

 

Real art is Expression. Real art is Expressive – not emotive. The motive, or purpose, is not the ego of man that drowns in emotion – but rather the expression of Life; the expression of what Life on this Earth can be – if only we wake up from our delusional existence.

 

The real Artist will, therefore, express Life – not only within his art but also within his living application: who he is within his thought, word, and deed. The real Artists transforms his living into art: the Art of Living as Life. Lao Tzu was an artist. Jesus was an artist.

 

Making music, painting, sculpting… This just takes skill and it does not make an Artist. The real artist is a force for change – a force for a world that is best for all. He will think, will speak, will write, and will do whatever it takes to turn this planet into a heaven for all. This is what the real Artist has at heart: an Earth that is a Piece of Art, for All.

 

I am a Heartist.

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