Happening in Kansas City
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For some, music is more than a song, it’s life. This is the case for Kansas-City based R&B singer-songwriter, Stephonne.
Since birth, music has been a driving force in his life. Starting off singing in the adult choir at his church at age six, to writing songs by the age of 10, and even going into recording studios with his own money at 14.
“Music was and has always been my whole life and I’ve never wanted to do anything else,” Stephonne said.
Having parents with the love of music they had, music filled every space in some way. Growing up with radio, hundreds of cassettes, vinyl and CDs, music was always playing. Watching shows like Showtime at the Apollo, Soul Train and other music award shows would instantly turn into a family event.
“My dad taped a Micheal Jackson performance that he would play all of the time and he wore that tape out,” Stephonne laughed.
With the likes of R&B artists such as Luther Vandross, The Isley Brothers, D’Angelo, Phylis Hyman, Michel’le, Mary J. Blige and many more, Stephonne was exposed to other genres as well.
“The great thing was that we also had Barbra Streisand, Beatles records,” Stephonne stated. “My dad would rave about getting to party with Parliament Funkadelic one time, and my mom loved her some LSG and Keith Sweat.”
With a broad musical background, one could expect being influenced by these artists to a degree. For Stephonne, some of his biggest influences are Prince and Billie Holiday. After watching Lady Sings The Blues, Stephonne looked for everything Billie he could find.
“This feeling came over me seeing her story and hearing her voice,” he explained. “It was like I knew her and she knew me. The pain, the feeling... everything resonated with me from age seven and will until my last day on this Earth.”
His love of Prince was very similar. Seeing Prince be himself fully and the brilliance of the album Purple Rain let him know this was what he wanted to do.
Prince wasn’t a prisoner to gender, sexuality, orientation or genre. When I looked at and heard him, I felt freedom and I felt seen. I am a brutally honest, fiercely emotional, unapologetic and inimitable love child of Prince and Billie Holiday.Stephonne
Other unconventional influences were love and survival. Feeling like love was elusive until recently, Stephonne’s journey to self-love, the feeling of unworthiness, racist reception in the conservative Midwest and what he thought was a need to be loved by someone was the bulk of his material.
“It was kind of my stuck point with writing and music, being lovesick,” he stated. “But there’s so much more to life than that. When I started loving myself, I was able to see that. So now, even if the songs talk about my relationship with my own strength, confidence in the discovery of living instead of just surviving.”
Stephonne’s new single The King’s Gambit, set to be released July 28, takes you on a journey feeling a new flame and the maze of emotions that sometimes comes with it.
“This song was written about feeling those butterflies in my stomach again but being scared to death about communicating my feelings,” Stephonne said. “Heartbreak wasn’t something I thought I could take at the moment so I just wondered if he felt the same way and I relished this fever dream.”
Stephonne recalls dreaming about this song and waking quickly to record the melody and started writing down the lyrics. Even though he says it took forever to find the chord progression, he did and felt a sense of relief and peace in the end.
“I used to live a very heady life where I held myself prisoner with possibility,” he explained. “Hypervigilance, anxiety and imposter syndrome have all had homes in my love life because of trauma.”
It felt like he was playing a game of chess while being head over heels about someone and ultimately he decided he didn’t want to play anymore. Through therapy and a deal of self-work, Stephonne realized cloudiness and confusion had no place there.
“I wanted reality and clear communication so I read the signs and receipts and bounced,” Stephonne said. “It was always your move and you can’t control anyone else’s so make the move that is best for you. That is what I learned. Choose you. Choose clarity. Choose what you really see instead of what you want to see.”
After the release of The King’s Gambit, Stephonne will be working on SIS (Summing Insatiable Spirits): Side B EP and then plans on releasing his sophomore album SIS in January of 2022. In the future he has dreams of collaborating with the likes of Beck, St. Vincent, Janelle Monae’s Wondaland Arts Society, Thundercat, Questlove, Missy Elliot, Linda Perry and many more.
This album for Stephonne is him being set free and finally letting himself be truly heard. He believes that authenticity is your superpower and that following trends and being digestible enough for everyone will drive a person crazy.
“Create things that you are proud of, that tell your truth and make it so you can live with yourself and sleep at night,” stated Stephonne. “Your audience will find you. Choose happiness. Choose to be you because there is some kid out there like me when I saw Prince waiting and needing to see themselves in the world. Someone needs to see you and hear you.”
After the last 2 years of dealing with the pandemic and packing on those COVID pounds here are some motivational quotes that can be the spark plugs to our wellness engines. You can have a full tank of gas, a clean carburetor, all the fluids topped off, and 300 horsepower of Detroit’s finest under the hood, but you’re going nowhere without that initial spark. In your quest for well-being, you need a catalyst to move you from idle to ideal. Here are some motivational jolts to inspire you to get your health and fitness vehicle moving.
Make time for exercise each dayPhoto by Victor Freitas on Unsplash
Thomas Paine said, “The harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.” You will have conflicts with making time for exercise each day. The treadmill will conflict with your enjoyment of the living-room couch and its fluffy pillows. Your body will engage in conflict with dumbbells and exercise balls as it seeks better health. Embrace these conflicts with excitement, and walk through the smoke and fire. Triumph is waiting on the other side.
Marathon runnersPhoto by Miguel A. Amutio on Unsplash
John F. Kennedy said, “Things do not happen. Things are made to happen.” The firefighter’s 55-pound weight loss did not just happen one day on a call. The computer programmer’s success in the Chicago Marathon did not just happen on a Sunday in October. The 4th grade teacher’s significant drop in cholesterol level did not just happen the day before spring break. These people made things happen…and it took time.
Ralph Marston of The Daily Motivator website, wrote, “What you do today can improve all your tomorrows.” Let today be the first day in 28 years without a cigarette. Stay an extra five minutes on the recumbent bike at the gym today. Start training today for the three-day breast cancer walk that is scheduled for the fall. Tomorrow is always waiting to see what you put in your piggy bank today. Invest wisely and watch the dividends grow.
Full MoonPhoto by CHUTTERSNAP on Unsplash
Jill McLemore once said, “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you will land amongst the stars.” Set that goal to trim 75 pounds from your body. Only losing 42 pounds puts you way out there with the North Star. Aim to run 750 miles this year. Coming up 68 miles short will still put you past that former planet Pluto and on your way to the Orion constellation. Dropping eight waist sizes by Christmas instead of the projected 10 will let you glow with the luminescence of several brilliant wonders in the sky. By the way, I think there’s a full moon tonight!
Zig Ziglar stated, “You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.” Tom Cruise was another aspiring pretty face in Hollywood about 30 years ago before starting to audition for parts in TV shows. Jared Fogle was a morbidly obese college student at Indiana University in the 1990s before beginning his Subway diet. Mark Zuckerberg was just another starry-eyed Ivy Leaguer until he began to implement a social network idea. They all have that common bond: They started something.
These motivational quotes should help get your wellness engine running and once your car is started there’s no telling where your health and fitness can go. Don't forget to end me a postcard when you get there!
This health and fitness article is brought to you by that guy who’s sneaky like a black hole and bright like a nebula. My name is Ron Blake and I can be found playing with my telescope at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Curative has announced that it is currently providing COVID-19 no-cost testing in your area at Metropolitan Community College.
Stay safe and get tested!
You can schedule COVID-19 Test at curative.com, and receive results in 24-48 hours.
Curative is the leading provider of COVID-19 testing in the United States. Curative’s mission is to end the COVID-19 pandemic by providing simple-to-use and painless testing at scale to produce reliable data for patients and health officials. We know that broad access to testing, robust contact tracing, and a vaccine are necessary to end the pandemic.
Is there any cost?
Regarding the tests, there is no out of pocket cost to the individual. Through the CARES act, all individuals with health insurance will be covered for a COVID-19 test. No one is ever charged a copay or deductible.
For uninsured individuals, they are covered under the HRSA fund under the CARES act. Curative will never send a bill to any individual getting a COVID-19 test through any of our testing sites.
How soon do I get the results?
Curative provides results within 24 hours of arrival at our lab (if not sooner). We pride ourselves on our ability to distribute tests rapidly, test patients easily, and send them their results quickly. Other highlights include:
· Non-invasive cheek swab (video) that is more accurate (~90%) than a nasopharyngeal test (~80%)
· Can be self-collected under supervision by lightly-trained individuals (so no onsite medical professional required)
· Results within 24 hours of receipt at our lab
· Lab capacity to process tens of thousands of additional tests
· Manufacturing capacity to meet any order size
· Minimal PPE requirement due to the test’s self-collected method
Please visit curative.com to schedule your no-cost appointment TODAY at a site nearest to you. Together we can end this pandemic!
Curative believes that communal well-being is fundamental to individual health.
Curative is building infrastructure to make essential health services easier to access for everyone. Their infrastructure is designed to change as the world does—offering nearby access, affordable services, and science-based guidance.
Their efforts are supported by the optimism and ambition we share with communities across the US, and together we’re imagining new ways to help more people stay safe, healthy, and informed wherever they are.
“I wish I could work out, too, but I just don’t have the motivation!”
Give me a dollar for every time I’ve heard that and I’d be in Cabo San Lucas with an umbrella drink right now. Let’s identify a few of your motivations to get you on the right path. They are there … you just need to realize them so you can make it a great 2022.
How about getting healthy so you can be at that Christmas celebration in 30 years with all the family gathered around and exchanging presents? There will be nieces, nephews, brothers, sisters, children and maybe some grandchildren, all enjoying the sounds and sights of the season. That would be amazing!
How about being healthy so you can watch the first man land on Mars in 2030? You hear all the talk about preparing for a mission to Mars, but it will be a long time in coming. Just think if you were alive and well to see it happen!
How about being healthy so you can attend that 60-year class reunion? It might even be nice to walk into the function with a spring in your step and a glow of health about you! Many of your classmates will have walked past St. Peter and those pearly gates by that time, but you can give yourself a chance to stay here with some proactive measures.
How about being healthy so you can spend more time being relaxed and retired? It would be awesome to just not have to do anything you didn’t want to do! Get up every day and use that watch they gave you as a fashion accessory only. With a healthy body, you can spend ample time in the lap of leisure well into your 90s.
How about being healthy so you can walk your dog with your grandkids or great-nephews after that Thanksgiving meal many years down the road? It will be so cool to have that turkey dinner with all the relatives, but it’ll be even more fun to be able to move around without having to catch your breath between steps.
How about being healthy so you can continue to enjoy vibrant sunsets, thrilling football games, colorful leaves in the fall, summer barbecues, or birthday cards in the mail?
Everyone can find the motivation to work out! You just have to identify which motivation will get you to your starting line each day and which will help you get to your daily finish line.
There are plenty of great things to enjoy in life. Find your motivation and start earning your frequent flyer miles for your healthy life. Then soar into the future with excitement about what will be!
This article of motivation is brought to you by a guy who knows a good thing when he sees it. That guy of good vision is Ron Blake, and he can be spotted on that bright horizon at email@example.com.