Body Jarvis...You have Transcended so far beyond the reach... you are now part of the light! True musician, true creative soul, true Producer...true...real...human...Beautifully human! So grateful my friend..teacher, you helped me reach, you put me on your shoulders, propped up my wings and helped me fly. I pray I conveyed it enough , I pray you truly knew, but I never forgot, never took it for granted. We got it done.may have been only one time but that was our mission together, it was divinely commissioned, I believe that 100%. That message... we did that!
You believed in the magic, you believed in me, and I believed in you, and always will. I love you forever Boyd.
My heart, and prayers go out to his beautiful family. I don't know what to say, so best I can do is what I always do, write from my heart and let it flow as it pops into my head. Sort it out and try to honor my friend in my own way. Word pictures, of memories and gratitude.
Some people come in to your life and change it simply by saying "Yes you can! And you will!" He was that for me when I couldn't catch a cold let alone catch a break to get a Demo done in NYC. But it worked out as it was meant to, I got to make my debut with a Legend! And in that connection I learned so much. I learned about the true nature of sound and recording, and how to let go lyrically and vocally. I came from a very disciplined performing Arts background. One where being able to almost mechanically reproduce the same vocal on command was a good thing, and expected. Boyd appreciated that for the sake of doubling up in the studio, but he also saw and heard how restrained I was. He was not having it! He gave me homework every time I left our sessions. But the thing is, the assignments weren't always about music, my voice etc. Many of those lessons were about the world, thinking outside the box...long before the word of the moment was "Woke" Boyd was schooling me on Woke things and reminding me to stay woke.
He pushed me, he taught me to nuance my vocals, be free in the music, not be afraid of mistakes on the mic and work thru it and work up to where I needed to go. I would beg him to drop the key, and he would look at me and say " Lets do it again". In other words, nope! LOL There was no easy route, so I worked my way up and that was that. Real Producers are music, and they know how to get the music that you are to do all of what it can do when needed. You can't direct others to do what you don't really know as well as, if not better than they do. Not everyone understands ,produces, or feels music on that level. Boyd was masterful in that way. I also learned patience working with him. He didn't do any microwave quick fix mess. He was serious about the sound being right. But he was a sound pro, technical titan so what else could one expect?
I remember us taking a dinner break during a session. It was brick outside, I was recovering from a back injury, I was a mess! It was also an especially difficult session for me as a family friend who was a Jazz musician had passed and I was rather down about it. Boyd's answer was essentially; since the lost loved one was a musical creature like us, the best way to tribute him was to lift my voice. SO I did, and boy did we werk!!! Anyway, we finally took a break for food, and we just talked and talked and talked while sitting in his living room eating some takeout Thai Food and drinking copious amounts of coffee...(Bruthaman could make a mean pot of coffee!). He showed me his old modeling pictures, pictures of his family, talked about how the business used to be, talked about his family, how I reminded him of his sister, we talked about music and more music and life. I was so young, and talking to him was like having conversations with my father or a really cool big brother, which I always wanted to have. So many pearls. Wow... I remember him having me stand in the closet to sing...a technique I use to this day.
Working with him was no joke! But I always left feeling better than when I arrived. Not just better as in "Ahh I feel better", but better as in a better writer and vocalist for having been pushed to be more, do more than I thought possible at the time. "I'm tired....my back is killing me (dude pulled a back brace out of nowhere so I could keep working comfortably)...I'm sad..." for him were calls to work smarter and harder. Everything for the work. I think another reason we vibed so well was because he's the only Producer I ever worked with who drank as much coffee as I did! I swear...there are some operatic vocal takes out there somewhere that only happened because I was hopped up on caffeine and Boyd was hyping me up in my headphones while I was recording.
Last time I saw him , too many years ago... I had attended a BBQ at his home, that his lovely lady Beverly threw for him. When it was time to say Goodnight I was directed to find Boyd where else, but his studio. My quick Goodnight turned into a mini jam session. A few other guests popped in and he started talking about "Reach", he pulled up some music, and I started singing and he nodded his head in approval, it was effortless. After all those years, it was so easy to get in sync ,like "wax on wax off" (if this 80's reference escapes you, look it up!). LOL He queued up the music, I sang on queue ... Here's the thing; for someone who had worked with so many bigger more established people than me, he always made me feel special, like I mattered as a human. I was a "no one, un-established" when he gave me a shot. But Boyd never talked down to me, never condescended, not even when we bumped heads...nuff respect always. And again for the record, He cut my first record EVER, period. REACH was my first real job, and Boyd put me on. I have been banging that truth drum for years...I wasn't discovered singing on a street corner or some other random situation (nevah that) or in church (Nope) I never trolled or begged for work, I don't do thirsty (again, Nevah that!). My husband (we weren't married yet) knew him and we requested a demo, that I intended to pay for, which I wanted to do for Songwriting work. When Boyd and I had our first sit down meeting, he put me on the spot to sing,cold...5 minutes in the door, no warm up. As soon as I finished he offered me something much better than a demo, he offered me a job, a shot, an opportunity. And then he proceeded to challenge me to do things vocally I never thought I could or would. That was almost 20 years ago.
Funny thing the day I met Boyd for the first time... I was outside of Summer Stage in Central Park, near the main 5th Ave entrance. My husband and I were standing talking to people and we spotted Bjork, who I'm an uber admirer of. So much so, I couldn't move, so I never got to meet her. And as I was kicking myself, here came Boyd...."Hey Boyd!" Jody shouted out " I want you to meet someone..." That was our intro. After a few minutes of chat, me telling him about my frozen fangirl moment he said " Ok, call me, come by I'll give you a listen and see if we can do something" I got over not meeting Bjork and got geeked up about my possible audition. So on the day I didn't get to meet Bjork whose work inspired me to not let go of keeping music in my life (I was on a totally different life and career track back then), I got to meet Boyd who not only inspired me, but heard what could be in those inspired moments. Truly kicked me over the threshold from I think I want to write and maybe sing to...I write and I sing. At the time I had no ambitious designs on being in the community beyond being a fan of the music and supporter of the Artists and DJs, people with much talent who happened to be my friends. All I knew was, I could get get down with writing some songs, maybe sing one or two to get known as a Songwriter, get to put out at least one that could maybe move some folks. A lil sumthin funky and real to keep me balanced, but nothing that would interfere with my very serious Corporate grown up Job. So see, that day was a moment that kinda changed my course, if nothing else it was a part of a unexpected start on a new path. And it all started with a fangirl moment and a cool brutha saying "Let's see what we can do". I'll never forget...
The last time Boyd and I spoke was sooo surreal, in a great way! It was my birthday,a big one. BUT he didn't know it was my birthday, he just felt it to call on the random, and it was a blessed gift for me to sit and talk with him again. By this time I was no longer living in NY, and I just remember I was in the middle of beating my face for a big night out and everything stopped. We spent the time talking about life, my move south, and how we could figure out how to work on some new stuff. Sadly before I could even attempt to call in that offer to work; like most of us everyday human beings on this little blue marble, a lot of other life stuff happened. Time waits for no one and it flies by so fast. Needless to say we never got to connect again. BUT I will hold on to that last call for the rest of my days! I really believe it was a cosmic, blessed gift.
I'm far away now, out of the local NYC loop, out of sight out of mind for many. However, I stay inspired because I know what it feels like to take that feeling and create, its pure and its magical. When I get down about the state of music or the world today I go back to the beginning and remember, and in that I find my love for this, and peace. Peace is precious, and the work brings me that even if for no audience, no one but myself. When you create from your heart and soul the sound and vibe come thru, it heals, and its in the work I have found friendships that keep me going back to the work because even at a distance I find them, and my self there, in the work. Those I think of in that way do it, did it, for the Love first. Its not to be on trend,its not for instant ego gratification. Its for the love and its timeless. "Reach 4 The Light" was such a moment, project, blessing. Boyd released it Independently many moons after we recorded it. Time didn't matter, what mattered was no one else's hands touched it, and our message was set free!
Over the years, we had periods of silence, and periods of being in touch more frequently, and whenever we got to reconnect he was always quick to express pride in how I had come along, and love, he didn't hesitate to open his heart, even when we hadn't seen each other for long periods of time. After our catch ups,he would usually launch into a critique of my website demos and work I had done with others that had been released since the last time we had seen each other or had spoken. LOL"Why are you mic'ed like that? Nahhh, that's not right..etc" ( I am laughing out loud because he was always right about what wasn't right! And it was also his way of letting me know he was checking in on me along the way.) I still hear him ...a lot lately as I put my sound back together, so the teaching never stopped. Feels eeery yet right today. Bear with me...trying to be coherent. Over the years he had worked with other people as did I, he did some amazing work, stellar stuff. And no matter what else we didn't get to do, one thing that was,is for sure, I can honestly say, only one other person from my start had ever felt like Home to me in work and friendship, as a mentor, teacher, similarly as Boyd did, another Legend who transitioned some years back. And today that feeling is back... my heart is heavy again, my memories are flashing again, my ears are ringing with every word, every sound, every moment, hug, laugh, missed opportunity for that one last moment, hug, laugh...again.
I'm not on social media, haven't been for years (saw what was coming), so perhaps no one will read this. But this is about me not letting the sun set on this day of transition without paying homage beyond just saying a prayer and lighting a candle for his journey. I need to publicly say THANK YOU... and I LOVE YOU! I also thank his family for sharing him with us... the world, everyone he lifted with his music and words, his existence. To love and appreciate him is to love and appreciate you all whom he loved. For now, I'm just putting this out into the Universe because I know Boyd's spirit can hear and feel the intention. As he would say "That's love". Yes...I believe he has now taken his place in the great forever and is very much so a part of the very Light we spoke of reaching for all those years ago.
As I close this out I am left with this, still waters run deep. So I cast this message out to the Universe to my friend and teacher, critic, Producer, the last of my musical Godfathers...I won't weep in sorrow, I weep, and smile with gratitude, and celebration for you are free...
Amen, Ashe', Blessed Be, Godspeed,Peaceful Journey...