In the early hours this past Monday, a very special & unique person left this earth for his forever home. My blog today is in his honor…
The last few days I’ve been thinking about you… A LOT!!! Your death this week forced me to have quite a few introspection moments. You see, I’ve only known you since May 2012…when I joined the Sound Connection band. At that time, you had been with the band for about twelve years. When I learned that, I was kind of in awe of you. I mean, I know how fickle band life can be; how musicians often jump from band to band. That info alone really impressed me about you. That level of loyalty said a lot about your character.
Following that, I actually heard you play your bass. I was blown away. I actually remember thinking, “Were you born with that bass in your hand?” But I never actually said anything. I just quietly sat in awe. Somehow, even playing covers which didn’t allow a lot of creative wiggle-room, you personalized those songs, put your own twist on them, & made them super hot!
As the newest member of this award-winning party band, I was wrapping my head around all the talent, learning a vast list of songs I didn’t know, and performing on a stellar level in order to maintain the spot I had earned…I felt intense pressure from you. There were moments when I didn’t feel that you considered me good enough for the band. You remember that one time when you told me I was holding back on my vocals and singing too far from the mic, like I was scared? lol. I didn’t know how to receive your criticisms and because of your happy-go-lucky personality, I couldn’t even tell when you were being completely serious or stern with me. I would reassure you that I was doing my best but that I understood the areas you wanted me to improve upon.
That same year, I was asked to return back overseas to gig with another band for three months. I took the job for financial reasons; not knowing how it would affect my position with our band. I remember you told me, “We all have to make decisions that are best for our families. You go overseas and you get back to us in one piece. I’m pulling for you to keep your spot in this band after you return because your presence in this band has been a gift to us. I stay on you because I can see what you are capable of vocally and performance-wise, even if you don’t fully see it yet.”
I never told you this, but after you said that to me, a burden lifted from me…a burden I wasn’t even sure I had before that moment; vocal insecurities. I promise you, I have been a different singer since that day. My mindset regarding my voice has altered in such a positive way. I’m less hard on myself about mistakes and sing from a very organic place now. I let go of the over-analyzing and just sing like I know I’m able to sing whatever song I’m asked…trusting in the gift God gave me, regardless of if it cracks sometimes.
I’ve been vocal coached by the best; I’ve practiced; I’ve memorized my favorite artists riffs and runs; I’ve visited Ear Nose & Throat Doctors…I’ve done it all. But there was a peace I got after that conversation with you. God used your words to encourage and motivate me. You didn’t dislike me at all. You loved my gift and wanted me to stretch it and to believe that I could and to GO FOR IT!!! For this, I’ll be forever grateful to you. I apologize for not telling you this while you were alive.
I appreciate you Bernie…everything you stood for, which to me, was:
1) Laughter. Being happy, even if the moment didn’t necessarily agree with it.
2) Transparency. Being open about your struggles in life and being able to say, “Yep, I did that and am not proud of it, but I’m glad I went through it because without it, I would not be this man I am today…full of perspective and gratefulness.”
3) Honesty. The truth is ALWAYS VALUABLE…no matter who is or isn’t able to handle it.
4) Stand out! Don’t be afraid to let your light shine. Your gifts come from above. Although you cultivate them, God gave them to you, which means you are purposed to be a blessing to someone with them. You can’t do that over in a corner, second-guessing yourself.
5) The intention of a person’s heart may not always match up with their approach towards you. If you take the time to get to know a person’s character & personality, you can eliminate misunderstandings.
I’m praying for your family and friends at this time because I know that if you made such an indelible impression on me in two-years, that those you’ve known longer and for a lifetime are going to miss you more than I can imagine. Your presence was felt and will be missed. Psalms 30:5 — Weeping may endure the night, but joy comes in the morning.
Jocelyn “iNDIGO” Saunders
*Wednesdays with INDIGO* ~To contribute to his burial fund, please click the following link — http://www.gofundme.com/79bvjs