Per Julie White: “Homelessness is real. This song is pure.”



(1) Julie White – Homelessness is real. This song is pure. Brian….

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!).
recording at justmusic, Munich
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.


Brian ONeal – Purchase the “Dreams In Color” CD or MP3 downloads…

Brian and I met online on Myspace some time around 2008 and later connected on Facebook as well. In 2009, an impromptu online collaboration came from that, which resulted in Brian’s video “Dreams in Color”

Little did I know beforehand that Brian would actually go at such lengths and live among the homeless for two weeks instead of just holding a camera to the faces of our less fortunate, downtrodden and – unjustified so – often ridiculed, marginalized and overlooked fellow brothers and sisters. I ran the gamut of emotions upon realizing how serious Brian was about this project.

So serious in fact that not too long after having completed the video he founded the DO Foundation (named after his late Grandmother Daisy O‘Neal), who have been rescuing countless individuals and families from having to live in their cars or in abandoned buildings and have placed them in homes they purchased from donations. In addition to that, they organize reach out street campaigns, where they directly go to the homeless and provide them with some basic essentials in order to alleviate some of the brutal challenges associated with surviving the “urban desert”.

In his capacity of a consummate professional artist, who has been touring and performing with a huge list of music celebrities – and that list keeps growing as we type -, Brian not only managed to divide his time between his many dates as a sideman as well as leader of his own projects, he also somehow made time to finish his fourth CD with his own original music – all this between being a dad, a grandfather, a partner, a friend to many and a community member with a heart the size of a continent.

If so inclined, please consider supporting Brian and his team(s) of volunteers in making a difference – by changing one ear at a time, one heart at a time, and the lives of many for the better. All you have to do is click the link below and purchase Brian’s latest effort “Dreams in Color”, featuring a host of new talent, who will become or already are major artists in their own right.

Click here and follow the instructions in your browser window: Brian ONeal – Purchase the “Dreams In Color” CD or MP3 downloads….

Instant Gratification? Anyone?

Wouldn’t it be great, if doing something good gave you instant gratification? The good news is: Instant gratification is a given for your heart and ears, if you decide to Help make Dreams In Color a reality. | Indiegogo. Brian O’Neal whom many of you already know as musician, composer, humanitarian and founder of the DO Foundation is in the finishing stretches of his next big project: The Dreams in Color CD and following “Dreams in Color”-US tour! By choosing to support Brian’s Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign, not only are you making sure that the CD will comply with pristine sonic and overall quality standards, you are also helping to launch a nationwide tour, which is going to generate funds in order for the DO Foundation to set up branch offices in other major cities in the USA, where homelessness meets the helping minds, hearts and hands of Humans helping Humans. You want to be a part of that? Simply click this link, take a minute to listen to Brian giving you more details on the project and what all this is about and then choose for one of the perks in the rightmost nagivation area. Perks start at 15$ which entitle you to download MP3 files of the complete album upon release. Can’t wait and want something more personal? Like e.g. listening to what’s cooking now and an additional signed copy of the CD upon completion? The “Insignia” package at 25$ might be a suitable choice for you then. Ever wondered what’s going on behind the scenes and how songs evolve through different versions and iterations until one final version is selected to go into the final mix? Find out by choosing the “Ultimate Dreamer” perk at 50$ (Yes! You’ll get an exclusive behind-the-scenes-peek for about two thirds of a regular concert ticket. Feels like a backstage seat right there, doesn’t it?)

But there’s more and we best not give everything away now. Treat yourself to learn more about this exciting project by following this link. And while you’re at it – even a single dollar goes for miles and miles. Feel free to share this message and invite your friends and fellow music lovers with a heart for people!

Brian ONeal: Dreams In Color | Indiegogo

I had the pleasure and honor of sitting in for the first version of this song. But this project is about an entire album of great, great music by my friend Brian O’Neal. I’m sure, many of you know him through his excellent music, as the man on the keys for KEM as well as the founder and mastermind behind the DO Foundation. Please show the love, as the saying goes, for Brian’s latest (music) project by sharing this and ideally making a contribution. The cost of producing a CD encompasses – amongst other things – renting a studio plus engineer, hiring and paying studio musicians (even when you’re a multiinstrumentalist as Brian is), possibly renting equipment, paying graphic design artists for the cover art, hiring a photographer and having a photo session, hiring a videographer and shooting several music videos, renting a location for the CD release party and fronting the expense for that including all marketing – next to other line items – that goes into that. I could go on and on and on and it might easily take an entire page of listing items the artist has to cover up front prior to making any money or just getting to expect a reasonable return on investment. This is why so-called ‘crowdfunding’ platforms like have become so popular: You’ll get what you pay for and all involved parties win! And I am convinced beyond a doubt that Brian’s upcoming CD is going to be first class quality (sssshh…. I am not supposed to say, but I think I’m safe to say I know so… :))

Show the love and spread the word! 😉 Thank you!

Advocating the Fallen – Why the DO Foundation’s Work Matters

I’ve been there. On the other side, where the mainstream of people live: In a career that conveniently pays the bills and if you’re lucky, has some personal reward in it for you, too. You take care of your responsibilities, drive a car or two, pay back a mortgage, pay insurance, pay taxes, feed your family and go with the flow. Every now and then there’s a little extra that keeps you from wondering too hard, whether any of this makes an awful lot of sense. But you keep at it, because your parents did, your peers do and ultimately, it’s the right thing to do. Right? And since you’re following the rules, you feel safe and sound and don’t pay too much attention to the eventual worry that might pop in on occasion. I’ve been there and done it, too, for more than 20 years, thinking I’d be alright.

Then, out of the blue, something out of the ordinary happens. For example, a short hospitalization that takes you away from home for a few days. You might get a neighbour to water the plants or check in here and there, but if you live alone, like most elderly do, your place is pretty much deserted for a short while. Now picture yourself coming back to your place, the cab pulls away from the curb, your suitcase or bag is placed next to you. And here you are, in front of the building, where you live, pulling out the key, looking forward to home, sweet home, you open up and – the place is empty! In your mind, you might immediately go “burglary!” and think of the next steps to take, only to eventually find out that you’ve been placed in the streets despite having paid your rent on time! You might go “crazy!”, but that’s exactly what happened to this elderly woman, who now lives in a nearby park (meanwhile she’s placed in a new home thanks to Paul Hughes and the DO Foundation’s efforts).

I myself got within an inch of this very situation in the winter of 2010. Ever since, former friends and companions have gradually receded from me or flat out told me to leave them alone (in all fairness: Some stay in touch with me, but I often can’t respond to invitiations). I always had a job since High School, played by the rules, stayed out of trouble during a period of playing music professionally, where trouble came knocking left and right. You could say I’ve held my nose above water in all these years, despite having carried a number of burdens I occasionally allude to here on this blog or on Facebook. At some point, the burden plus the pressures exceeded my strength and had me burn out from fighting 24/7, 365. Even former close friends and family never fully understood, what I was and am still going through. And now I’m a ghost, whose only way of socializing is through the social media. I don’t have allies or lobbies to vouch for me. And employing the instruments available through the legal system, I have to find that the system fights me whereever possible. If you haven’t been there, you can’t imagine the extent of despair, loneliness and plain brutal fear staring you in the face the minute you open your eyes until the minute you try to close them at night. That is, if you found a place at last semi-safe to fall asleep in.

That is why the work of a humanitarian like Brian’s and his entire team of volunteers matters so much! They give those a voice, shelter and hope, whom society at large doesn’t care about and in some cases probably doesn’t want to speak out. Humans helping humans is the last resort for many, who have run out of options, which in many, probably most cases aren’t the results of their own choices, but choices imposed on them by others. Where former friends or even family might close their doors in front of them, they got one last door to knock on: The DO Foundation headquarters in Detroit. This is why their work matters so much. If you want them to continue their work, here’s how you can support them.