EPISODE 20: If We Could Only Talk—a chat with singer- songwriter, a cappella arranger N’Namdi O. Bryant

When you know what you do best, sticking to your guns—as singer-songwriter PJ Morton writes and sings—is how to get your life’s work done.

Today’s podcast guest is N’Namdi Olufemi Bryant, a singer-songwriter and host of the podcast “For the Love of A Cappella.” We get into some themes of his latest album during this episode. It’s titled “If We Could Only Talk.” 

So N’Namdi and I had been talking about doing a podcast together for MONTHS, but as usual, life takes on its own plans. We were going to have him on before an album release earlier this year, then tech difficulties took over his project.

But the idea was still in both of our orbits. So—lookie here—I saw on Instagram that N’Namdi was in Washington, D.C. I said to myself—GIRL…..let’s make this happen! If you don’t ask him if he’ll have time for an interview—it’s an automatic no!

I asked if he had an time to chat. He said yes, and here it is! It all worked out.

So we met up at the Mansion on O Street. It’s a tourist destination located just off the bustling Dupont Circle, and has a fascinating trove of history tied to it. It’s also where N’Namdi sometimes performs.

There are so many themes to this podcast, and to preserve the integrity of the conversation flow, I tried not to do too much lifting and pasting of interview parts. We talk about negative self-talk, and what N’Namdi does to overcome that hurdle. Also—a discussion on imperfection and about the different ways he stretched his vocal range.

During our talk I learned some things I didn’t know in the decades since we last saw each other.

So let’s get right to the conversation, where we start talking about his podcast “For the Love of A Capella,”and where he got the idea for his program.

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07:55-Why it took him more than 10 years to complete one particular song arrangement

11:05—The makings and stories behind his current project “If We Could Only Talk”

21:30—How Kermit the Frog came up in our conversation

26:06—The road to vocal range

31:51—The time we talked about skylines and smog

33:39—Homeless in Huntsville, Ala. and Nashville

49:59—The part about albums, hilarious singing telegram and touching ride-share driver stories


That was N’Namdi Bryant…singer, songwriter, musical arranger…lover of a cappella! His new project “If We Could Only Talk” and his other albums are available on various online platforms–including iTunes.

Learn more about his projects on his website—The Acappellian.
You can also connect with him via social media:
Facebook
Instagram

Remember to also follow Planet Noun on Social Media, and to subscribe on your favorite podcast platform and please rate the show.

Thanks again for stopping by Planet Noun. Until next time, take care!

From breakup pining to thriving with “I Ain’t Thinking About You”

Whew! This book may be fewer than 60 pages, and it’s an enjoyable read—but a dense one. By that I mean there’s lots to reflect on… And reflect some more. This book is a workshop! 

Based on the title, I imagined a sassy, finger snapping read. That’s in here—along with research-based recommendations. I love when sass and humor meet academic research. I really relate to the tone of this book.

I also love the humor! Plenty of that in here, too…along with hope. That’s what I really, really like—all the steps are meant to get folks to hope.

My favorite parts include Chapter 4 and practical ways to get to acceptance—radical acceptance—and no longer blaming ourselves when someone we’re dating “ain’t actin’ right.”

Oh, and the necessity of forgiveness to get to a place of healing, and looking ahead to what we want life to look like after we’ve fully moved on.

I also love the humor! Plenty of that in here, too...along with hope. That’s what I really, really like—all the steps are meant to get folks to hope. Click To Tweet

There are 13 chapters total in the book, eight which outline the path leading to and including The Breakup Funeral™. Each chapter will ask you to do some thought work that involves accessing your deepest emotions surrounding the breakup (or breakups–plural– if it applies?) and any past influences that may impact your dating choices today. There are writing prompts that provide an outlet for all of that self-exploration and excavation.

Lenina Mortimer, the book’s author, recommends going through the eight steps in order because each step is builds up to the recovery culmination—The Breakup Funeral™.

Lookie here, seriously consider (then get) this book if you’re grappling with a recent breakup. Heck, you may want to check it out even if a relationship ended a while ago, but you’re still grappling with some residual grief. Even if your emotions and your mind ‘been known’ the person ain’t coming back, even if you don’t WANT them back—but you haven’t found it in you to start the path forward to thriving again… This book is also for you.

“I Ain’t Thinking About You” gets 5 out of 5 planets!

Amazon’s new music streaming tier for students costs less than laundry load

Observation: Amazon’s new student streaming price tier costs less than a single load of laundry. (Graphic: Business Wire)

Amazon announced today that all current and new Prime Student members can subscribe for access to the premium tier Amazon Music Unlimited for an extra $0.99 a month. This comes just ahead of the new academic year as students are preparing to head to campus.

Students who subscribe to the add-on service will have ad-free access to more than 50 million on-demand songs and curated playlists, and be able to tell Alexa what to play via the Amazon Music App for iOS or Android, and all devices where Alexa’s digital spirit lives.

Read more here.

EPISODE 19—Wrangling financial loose ends before the inevitable end—with Attorney Suren G. Adams

So…who likes to talk about death?
Put your hands up.
Yeah, I don’t know many people who love the topic, especially when they’re the subject.
But death’s a certainty. You won’t have a thing to worry about after you transition from this life, but your stuff isn’t going with you. What about the things you leave behind?

Well, that’s what attorney Suren G. Adams specializes in—helping folks get their final wishes in order before death ushers them to the exit—stage left.

“This is general information from an attorney and estate planner…For detailed information on your specific situation—please seek out the advice of a reputable estate planner,” Adams tells Planet Noun.

Let’s start with her pathway to helping folks wrangle up their loose ends BEFORE the end.

Even if you don’t possess a trove of dollars, jewels, land or vacation homes, Adams recommends that anyone age 18 or over have an estate plan in place.

Adams is based in Maryland, but she recommends the websites Wealth Counsel or Elder Counsel  to help find reputable estate planners across the United States. Adams is a member of both, and recommends out of state callers to these sites.

“It usually means the person who is listed on that website is somebody that is getting very good education, because they put on really good continuing legal education courses, so that’s who I recommend to clients who call from another state that we don’t handle in terms of our licensing. We usually refer them to [those websites], because I can trust that the people on that website are, at least, getting good education, so they should be preparing a good estate plan,” Adams says.

Adams also refers clients to her book, “Leaving a Legacy Instead of a Mess.”

(As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.)

EPISODE 18—When your name helps pave the pathway to greatness

In this episode of Planet Noun, a chat with an up-and-coming…award-winning jazz musician Jazmin Ghent.

When she learned she won the 2019 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Jazz Album, Ghent was in the midst of a trip to Australia.

“So I was absolutely shocked, so shocked, and I feel like it changed the dynamic of that whole trip in Australia. I just know it’s no one but God, and I’m beyond thankful, and I don’t take it lightly. You know, I’m representing women, African American women in music, in Jazz music, so I’m beyond thankful and grateful.”

When she’s not belting smooth tunes from her saxophone, she’s in the classroom teaching music to children in Polk County, Florida.

We talk about her pathway to jazz music, the saxophone, and how names and other language used with children can affect the trajectory of their lives.

She also talks about how words from musicians she looks up to helped guide her path.

“I did this Show Your Talent competition. The judges were Marcus Miller, Brian Culbertson and Boney James… It was surreal to be in front of these people I grew up listening to,” Ghent said.

“I was so nervous before I played, and Brian Culbertson came up to me and said ‘you know what, just have fun. And if you have fun, everyone else will have fun, too.’ That was the moment where I was like—maybe I could do this and record, and write and make this a career. That would be a defining moment.”

Ghent says she is on a constant path of self-improvement when it comes to her musical gifts.

“I feel like there’s this unattainable goal that I have for myself that I’m constantly working towards. I just know I had a love for music and it’s what I wanted to pursue. I can’t see myself doing anything else. So that’s what turned it into a career…”

Planet Noun is all about the People, Places, Things and Ideas that teach us, prompt us to make a difference and do more with what life presents. That’s exactly what Ghent is doing with her teaching and her music.

Listen to the entire interview —featuring Jazmin Ghent, winner of the 2019 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Jazz Album.

Learn more about Ghent’s music on her website.

You can also follow her on social media:

Facebook

Twitter

YouTube

SoundCloud

Instagram

Episode 17: Warming up for the glow up with confidence, featuring Patrick Fenison

WARNING: This episode contains cussing. And it’s not all bleeped out. So govern yourselves accordingly with earbuds and such.

The Glow Up. Been hearing a lot about that lately. First of all—what the F is that? Well, intuitively, I know what it is…but I had to consult a reputable source…

So…the Urban Dictionary tells me the Glow Up is when you go from wack-looking to gorgeous… another definition is to rise to the top from the bottom of whatever aspirational ladder a person is climbing. The Free Dictionary’s idioms section says something similar—Basically, it’s a fantastic transformation—that’s very real.

Who doesn’t want the Glow Up? I mean, who isn’t fascinated by someone’s rise from out of nowhere?

Thing is—I’ve learned—it’s hardly EVER from nowhere. The folks you love and adore today—famous folks or maybe other folks—have likely been working their tails off for YEARS in order to get the results that are now visible to lots of people.

A lot of more time-established shows and podcasts interview folks AFTER their glow has started, and there’s everything RIGHT with that.

But what about the folks who are somewhere in the middle, folks who are not quite at the top or at the bottom, but somewhere in between?

Well, today’s guest took time off of his grind to talk to me.

His name is Patrick Fenison. He’s one of many people committed to meeting their aspirations.

We start our conversation with the time Pat started recognizing his glimmer—when he KNEW he was born to be a performer.

3:45—When Pat knew performing was for him
5:42—Pat ain’t got no sense! His path to becoming a comedian
8:10—I’m going for it!
14:09—Creating a fanbase, then a move upsets hometown momentum
23:43—Everyone’s not going to believe in you; the importance of guarding curating your energy spaces with like-minded people
34:13—A story behind his video “Drop It”
46:30—Where to find Pat on social media

Find Patrick on Facebook and Instagram

Episode 16: Putting smarts to your money with Jason Thomas

Do you wish your money were more intelligent?

Well, that’s what Jason Thomas specializes in—making money work smarter for his clients to enable them to meet their financial goals.

Thomas is co-founder and president of The PILL Method, a financial counseling company that uses education and technology to show their clients ways to more astutely use their dollars and cents to move toward their financial goals and debt freedom.

“It can begin with simply having a checking and a savings account,” He told Planet Noun. “It does not require you to go get [a] loan, it doesn’t require anything else. What we can basically really show you—how to make your money smarter.”

Thomas joined Planet Noun for a conversation from his home in Jamaica, that’s where he and his wife Carmen and two sons moved recently from the United States.  

The couple also provides financial coaching through Future Family Finance.

Episode 16, featuring Jason Thomas, dives right in with no breaks.

The conversation begins with information about his family and partner-run companies and flows from there.

1:03—More about the PILL Method. What it is, how it got started, and how it works.

2:26—Interest rate vs. interest cost. What’s the difference?

28:17—How Thomas got into financial counseling/what led him to become passionate about helping people get out of debt.

32:16—Why some folks leave his seminars angry

38:05—Thomas conducts free seminars to introduce folks to The PILL Method. So how does he make money?

Connect with Jason and learn more about The PILL Method

Twitter

Facebook

YouTube

EPISODE 15: Crafting characters that can step from a book’s pages and walk down the street

Any day is a good day to profess affection… so—I admit—I’m in love. With books written by today’s guest! So, there’s this character named Elouise Norton who has captured my heart! Why? Because she’s so human… It’s like I know her.

I’m stoked that I got to interview her creator during a visit to Los Angeles!

Critically acclaimed crime fiction writer Rachel Howzell Hall is the author of several books, including the Lou Norton series, and another title They All Fall Down, which will be released on April 9.

We discuss a range of things from her origins as a writer, how she can explores through her characters, the dualities and unexpected realities of her page people—her characters, and more!

Take a listen to Rachel Howzell Hall on Planet Noun Episode 15!

Part 1—00:00-08:10
Where it all started

Part 1a—08:16-17:07 How a character, Detective Elouise Norton, was a tutor to Howzell Hall

Part 2—17:04-29:02
Characters you don’t expect… dualities and unexpected realities.

Part 3—29:05-36:20
Rachel’s journey toward crime fiction

Part 4—36:28-42:37
Reconciling characters and subject matter with a churchy upbringing

Part 5—42:40-end
Most gratifying moments as an author, and maximizing her time as an author who also has a family and a full time job

Links to stories mentioned in episode:

Torrance bowling alley shooting

Rachel’s social media links:

Instagram

Twitter

Website 

Episode 14: Repackaging life and a museum—with George O. Davis, CAAM Executive Director

February is Black History Month in the United States…a time to focus on the contributions and achievements of African Americans not only in the past, but to hear stories of those who are still with us, still writing their stories.  George O. Davis is such a person. Part of his work involves helping  to expose museum visitors to the stories of others.

Part 1:

00:43—Davis’s Pathway to CAAM
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Part 2:

22:23—Rundown of the museum’s features and a few current exhibits.  By the time this episode drops, a couple of those will be on their last days. Here is a link list that includes information on the artists mentioned in this episode and exhibit dates:

An exhibit on the Los Angeles Freedom Rally. This took place in May of 1963. 

Robert Pruitt—Devotion — This exhibit ends on February 17, 2019.  Here’s what the Los Angeles Times says about his work.

One of the past art exhibits at CAAM featured Nina Chanel Abney.

African American artists Davis mentions who are being featured at other museums in the city. 

Los Angeles County Museum of Art—Charles White: A Retrospective

Bruce’s Beach in Manhattan Beach, Calif. was talked about in this episode.  More on its history along with another area black beachgoers used to frequent in the Santa Monica area called The Inkwell.

Part 3: 

24:56—Davis talks about:

  • The importance of expanding the knowledge of black history among and beyond black folks
  • Museums as a way to increase that knowledge
  • Visiting such Places with an open mind
  • Taking in the Things—the exhibits, information, art, the facts and Ideas they convey
  • Acknowledging the facts of history and reckoning with that information to grow beyond our country’s ills…past and present. 

Other links related to this episode:

History of CAAM

More on George Davis’ s appointment as CAAM executive director

CAAM Social Media:

Instagram

Facebook

Twitter

YouTube

Bruce’s Beach in Manhattan Beach, Calif. was talked about in this episode.  More on its history along with another area black beachgoers used to frequent in the Santa Monica area called The Inkwell.

Other mentions in Episode 14:

The Broad 

Davis also talks about a multi-million dollar painting purchased by Sean Combs (After all these years, I still instinctively call him Puff Daddy. Well, looks like he’s Art Daddy now!)

Episode 13: Meditation to yoga and lots in between—with Stephanie Gaines-Bryant

Stephanie Gaines-Bryant, owner/operator of Radio Yogi Health and Fitness

Have you ever spoken to someone at work and you knew there was something more intriguing to their story?

That’s what I started finding out after one co-worker and I got to talking and I found out she has a yoga business. After starting this podcast, I asked her to be on the show to talk about the benefits of yoga.

It’s a New Year and, no doubt, you might be reviewing resolutions to be fitter, healthier, and/or vowing for better self care this year.

What better way to do so than to get your yoga on?

I’ve done so sporadically through the years and quickly noticed I was one of a few faces that looked like mine among the student population. I definitely didn’t notice any black instructors.

But now I know one! Yes, only one.  I’m certain there are more out there, but she’s the only one I know of.

Meet Stephanie Gaines-Bryant. She’s a news anchor at a 24-hour radio news station in Washington, D.C. She’s also owner and operator of Radio Yogi Health and Fitness in Bowie, Md.  

Listen up to find out more!

Planet Noun is all about the People, Places, Things and Ideas that teach us, prompt us to make a difference and do more with what life presents. Episode 13 guest is Stephanie Gaines-Bryant–radio news anchor and owner-operator of Radio Yogi Health and Fitness.

Part 1

01:30 — What Radio Yogi is all about
02:38—Stephanie’s journey to meditation; then yoga practice and instruction
16:41—Thoughts about Christians and yoga practice

Part 2
21:10—Stephanie’s advice on starting a new habit this new year—whether it’s yoga or something else.

Part 3
• 39:44—In addition to being on the radio and running her yoga business, Stephanie also runs a non-profit—Sisters for Fitness, and talks about the concerns that led her to start the organization. This segues into a discussion about mental illness in the African American and some Christian church communities. If Jesus can fix it, why can’t that fixin’ be accomplished via a therapist?

Read more about Stephanie at Radio Yogi Health and Fitness website and Sisters 4 Fitness by clicking the links. You’ll also find more on Facebook and Twitter.

People, Places, Things, Ideas!

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