Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything. ”

— Plato

My Musical Adventure

Jay Daniels

 

I have recently begun experimenting with new styles of music including country, blues, and rock. 

When I reached twenty one years old music was still the number one priority in my life. My brother Paul and I would spend hours recording cover songs for a demo to hopefully send off and get a contract on a cruise ship. All this work led to some pretty extreme reclusiveness and as a result I lost friends and girlfriends. My brother and I were not really financially stable at that time and would find different ways to record including using keyboard drums and recording from tape to tape in a home stereo. In mid 1998 my brother began not to feel well with a sharp pain in his back, still we pressed on hoping to leave Semmes, Alabama and soon. Then, around the fall of that year it happened. An agent called and offered us a contract to work on a cruise ship out of San Juan, Puerto Rico. Our dreams were becoming reality. Then it happened, after a visit with the Doctor they diagnosed my brother with cancer and just like that our dreams had turned to nightmares, but only this one we could not wake up. My brother began a rigorous chemo treatment and we continued to talk and make plans about a cruise ship gig. After three months my brother had lost nearly one hundred lbs and was down to 120lbs, bald & frail. We hired a drummer in the hospital with hopes of still getting this gig. Then it happened, we received another contract and two weeks after his last chemo treatment we were on a cruise ship. My brother was totally cured and against all odds we did it. 

Working on eight different cruise ships opened my eyes. It opened my eyes to not just the world but to myself. It's funny how you will begin to perceive things differently when you are outside of your own bubble. I met many great people on the ships and made some awesome friends and heard some tragic stories of war and ways of life. Back in the beginning days of working on cruise ships I had long hair (yes, I did once have hair) and on one of these ships I went in for a trim. I had no idea this trim would change my life forever. After all, it's just a haircut, how could it? When I walked in a young lady from Wales named Donna was waiting for me with clippers in her hand waiting to give me a "man's" haircut. I had to let her know politely it was just a trim and when I say trim I meant one to two inches, just the dead ends. This moment changed my life because this young lady would become my wife and today we have been married nearly 15 wonderful years. 

Donna packed her entire life into one small suitcase and moved from Wales, Great Britain to live and be with me in a small town in Alabama. That is some kind of sacrifice moving away from your family and all you know, and for that I had to be serious. Donna, being an immigrant, had to get a green card and work visas and I had to make a certain amount of money for her to be here and so I had to get the dreaded 9-5 job. Not because she made me or I owed her but because I loved her. She is the one thing I love more than my music. I gave up the cruise ships and did odd and end jobs from lawn maintenance to house construction clean ups, all the while still writing and recording music in my room. My brother and I would play around town with our band but nothing to big. One day in the dead of summer I was cleaning out a million dollar house that was being built and I realized, this was no life. This wasn't for me or Donna and so I got in gear and went back to school. I studied computer graphics. I was at the top of my class until the real work started like math and math and more math. Needless to say I never finished my last year regretfully. I still had dreams and ambitions and over time discovered new ones. After Sept 11, 2001 I wanted to figure out how to edit video to make a video tribute to that day for myself, friends and family. I downloaded some software and began teaching myself. Over time I became pretty good and eventually landed a position at a television station as an editor. This led to me gaining interest in shooting video for tv and like everything else I worked hard and learned from others and teaching myself. After a year as an editor I was promoted to news photographer all the while still playing and writing music. Being a news photographer brought a bit of shock with it because of the things that I saw. It's hard to describe such scenes to people when they ask and it's a reality check. I would see bodies laying in the road, people run over by a train, people shot in the head in the street, little girls and boys left for dead or killed and left in a dump. I can remember interviewing parents while they stood in there child's blood. Just being witness to the pain that you see on a daily basis would change anyone and I am no different. 

I write music as it comes to me. Usually for most of my songs I write them and record them in less than a day, it's just my style of doing things. Usually the more time I spend on a song writing it the worse it becomes. I will say I have a tremendous amount of inspiration at times due to the circumstances of my job. One song may be slow and sad while another may be political, hard and fast. I am on the verge of 40 years old, today just like when I was 14, music is my everything and I will not give up on this dream. Success is measured in many ways and as far as I'm concerned I haven't fallen so far in any endeavor that I couldn't land on my own two feet and try again. Music in many ways is a story of a moment in time in a persons life. This is my story, my story to tell, my story share and most of all my story to sing. 

I hope you enjoy. 
With best regards and to never giving up. 

Sincerely 
Jay Daniels

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