It all started (again) with this: Brian and I met online in late 2008 and in 2009 he sent me a song he had written on piano and invited me to record an acoustic guitar. “Think simple acoustic”, was the creative direction that came with the file :-) So I asked a friend, if I could borrow his acoustic guitar for a while, since I didn’t own one any more, not to mention played one in decades and actually needed to learn it again to some extent. While doing so, I was tossing ideas around in my head and racked my brian as to how to best approach this. Ultimately and after probably a hundred takes, none of which I was comfortable sending back, I did another recording session at a nearby music store. (They let me have their sales booth for 3 hours with tape around the door so people wouldn’t come in. Wow… thanks to Justmusic Munich for that!).
And you know what? In the end, a blend of the first few takes made the cut and I sent it back with a note reading “That’s the best I can do. Feel free to throw it out, if it doesn’t work for you.”
The rest is recent history: Brian made a video by living among the homeless in Detroit for two weeks (!), invited me to record some video snippets in my neck of the woods, edited them, uploaded it to YouTube, got views and likes and generously shared the response he got with me and my Facebook wall, but most importantly: This project must have inspired him to do more than raise attention. I guess, from looking at it today, you might say he has been a DOer all along – and went there and founded the DO Foundation, who have saved hundreds, if not thousands of lives by now by finding abandoned homes, buying, refurbishing and furnishing them and getting families and individuals off the streets, thus giving them a chance to lead a self-sustained life at some point again. Because to apply for a job, you need to have an address somewhere and an infrastructure to actually be ready for any kind of job.
For his and his teams’ continued efforts, Brian received the Wayman Tisdale Humanitarian Award of the Year in 2010, awared to him by no other than the late Wayman Tisdale’s wife Regina Tisdale and Bernie Scott of the American Smooth Jazz Awards 2010. Nationwide broadcasting TV and radio stations caught wind of his project and have been supporting him in his efforts to attract more public attention to his endeavour and thus have a steady flow of donations come in, which are being used directly on behalf of the needs of the homeless. Brian’s latest record “Dreams in Color” will hopefully make him a household name all across the U.S. and beyond, so that his publicity might benefit all the great work him and his supporters have been doing all along. And for me, my teenage dream came true: All I ever wanted to achieve was finding my name in the liner notes of a major album production – and it came true with my modest contribution to this record! I couldn’t be more honored than finding myself among all this great music talent that Brian brought together on this album and on top of it all – in the name of a humanitarian cause that addresses one of the terrible downsides of the system we all live in, which has no place for anyone who ever hits a rough patch of the road and for whatever reason may not find themselves able to perform at 200% for 24/7 all of a sudden. Anyone might find themselves losing a job for a multitude of reasons at any given times in their lives. After that, the downward spiral begins spinning real fast and one might find themselves facing a “life” in the streets sooner than not. I don’t wish this to happen to anyone and I can’t even begin to ponder the incredible strength and resilience it takes to simply survive out there. I guess, some of these thoughts and feelings found their way into Brian’s song “I Wanna Be a Hero“, featuring Monica Notaro on lead vocals. Because the homeless living face- and nameless amongst us, walking the streets, overlooked, forgotten, ridiculed or even ruthlessly attacked, that’s what they are in my book, too: Heroes. Heroes of survival, of keeping their dignity in circumstances that have me shudder with horror from only imagining them.
If so inclined, please consider purchasing a copy of Brian’s latest CD directly from his website, so him and his teams get to continue doing the great work they’ve been doing over the past years. Thank you.