The puzzle pieces of my life are coming together. I find life to be amazing. I don’t think I fully appreciated my life before now. Life slaps us right and left and often knocks us down. It’s up to us to pick ourselves up or complain about how difficult it is and give up. Especially when we’re older. We think it’s too late to begin again and settle for watching other people’s lives on TV. (I threw mine away 25 years ago)
It has taken a lot of work, time and patience. Earlier in my music career there was no “online”. If you weren’t signed, you couldn’t get your music out to the public except through live gigs. I became sick with an undiagnosed disease called Hep C. Eventually It put me down. I developed liver cancer, end stage liver disease, severe osteoporosis which caused bones to break and a few other illnesses.
I came very close to dying. I got a liver transplant and had a few body parts removed in the nick of time. After 2 years bedridden and an even longer climb to as much normalcy as possible I began writing the blog My Name is Jamie for a prison inmate who is also the father of one grandson. I beganto write music again and put it on blog posts. I then began writing a book, “Inside the Forbidden Outside” ( In second draft ) I knew if I wanted to help him when he gets out it would be through this book and music – promoted as a soundtrack to read by. I also started the newsletter ITFO NEWS also can’t survive on a disability check for the rest of my life. Working a regular job would be difficult because of pain from what osteoporis did to my vertibrea.
Music was always my love. For many years I played piano bars, worked in bands and taught piano. Now no one can afford to pay me for lessons in the small Pa town I live in that was close to the transplant hospital. So I made the decision to resurrect my music career and play again. I’ve been recording and working hard to create an online presence. My music is now on several websites
Piano Improv Music of Sonni Quick – artist facebook page
Online stats will make or break a musician today. Becoming a “fan”, leaving comments and sharing will make a big difference on my finding a booking agent. Other people listen to music they see others have liked. Next week I have a photo shoot lined up. I’m not the young woman in the picture anymore. I’m 63. I no longer sing. Too many years of 5 nighters in smokey bars took care of that. But I also no longer do cover material. My ability to create piano improv pictures in your mind surpasses my piano playing of It comes from a deep emotional place. It is who I became instead of playing someone else’s creation.
Today I classify my music as “Stories Without Words” which is the title of an album I am coming out with shortly. When the book is ready, another album will be released with the same cover and promoted together. If I do a good job and if it is promoted right, when Jamie gets out of prison I will have a business put together that will also include lecturing on the negative issues of prison that need to be changed. What he has been through opened my eyes to something I had never given a thought to. He can use his story to help others.
Those who have read my blogs have seen the progress. On many early posts you will many piano pieces – and poetry. ln Over 3 years this went from being just a dream and a desire to help a man who deserves a second chance. We’ve been writing since 2006, helping each other through tough times. As a black man he was put through some awful things no person should have gone through. It is why mass incarceration and the destruction of black lives is so much in the media. It needs to change. We can’t just look the other way and wait for someone else to fix it.
I want my life to count for something. I want to help make this country – and the world – a better place. I don’t want to go out with a whimper. So I push myself – past my doubt and fears. I push myself beyond my physical limitations. I wake up excited every day and start spinning my seven plates in the air to keep them moving forward. I don’t ask myself if I can do it – I just do it.
My music is haunting, peaceful with beautiful melodies. At the end of a stressful day, put on head phones, close your eyes and let it be the soundtrack of your dreams, too. Never give up. Do what makes you happy. Do something different. We all have had dreams of something we wanted to do but perhaps life pulled us in a different direction. We don’t have to settle for that. No matter how old you are or how young you are, life is for living and no one else can live it for you.
Jamie Life in Prison Facebook page with parts focusing on injustice everywhere and blog posts