It’s The Journey

If you think about it, there really is no such thing as a destination. Every time we reach a point that we’ve previously dubbed a “destination”, it suddenly feels remarkably un-destination-like. As soon as we’re there, we immediately start to think, “What’s next?” and “Where to now?” and “Give me something more to do!” Each time we think we’ve arrived somewhere, it’s not long before we begin to get the itch to move on, be more, be different, challenge ourselves further. Our lives are a constant unfolding of one destination after another that ultimately becomes one long adventure, one journey. Destinations become more like land posts or markers that serve to show us what we are capable of, remind of how far we’ve come, and then present multiple paths to take next. Or heck, maybe we say “screw that” and go make a new path. Choices are beautiful things. And they are never in short supply.

Tonight I reached a land post on my journey. As some of you know, I’ve been practicing yoga for quite a while. About 5 months ago, I decided that I would do a headstand in Times Square at this year’s Solstice festival. I had never done a headstand before, and I practiced and practiced until I finally got it. And it surprisingly didn’t take long! Once I figured it out, it became easier and stronger until I got to the point when I didn’t even have to really think about it; these days I just go right on up! What was once a seemingly impossible challenge that made me supremely uncomfortable when I first started now seems like the most natural thing in the world.

I wanted to bring this up because it got me thinking about life; about goals and desires and destinations, past, present, and future. Setting a goal to do a headstand in Times Square may seem of little importance, but it taught me more about myself and introduced me to another part of me that I hadn’t previously known. It makes me wonder what other sides of myself I have yet to discover. And of course, now that I can easily do a headstand, I only want to do more! I want to keep trying new things. My next goal is a handstand. Duh.

Meeting this small challenge for myself probably won’t change the course of humanity and the planet at large, but I think it has changed my course ever so gently. Your own personal journey will continually surprise you. You will continue to surprise yourself with the things you will do and be that you didn’t before think you were capable of doing and being.

This experience, this small event in my life, has served to remind me that nothing is impossible. Truly.

You are meant to be here. Set as many goals for yourself as you want. The more, the merrier, in fact. It’s wonderful to keep striving and growing. But here’s the most important thing I’m learning: you are perfect and complete exactly as you are. Right here, right now. Recognize the land posts and markers when they come and be grateful for them. But don’t get scared if you’re walking for quite a while and there is no “destination” in sight. You will get there when you’re supposed to, often when you least expect it.

And in the meantime, pack some snacks and a few bottles of water (please recycle), rainboots, a jacket, a mix CD, and a camera. You will want to remember this one.

Anna Gannon (right), Me (middle), Mick Bleyer (left).

 

Recording, MMNY, & New Website Coming Soon!!

I have been super MIA on this blog lately! Oh well, here I am now. I have been flying around like crazy, trying to do it all, be my own version of Super Woman. I have to remind myself sometimes to breathe, take a step back, and live one day at a time. So that’s what I’m doing right at this moment.Or attempting to do.

I am VERY VERY excited to announce that I’m going to be recording with the amazing Alex Wong at Angelhouse Studios in August!!!! I can’t believe my good fortune in meeting him, and I can’t believe I actually now have the opportunity to bring my tunes to his studio. I’m sure I’m embarrassing the heck out of him by talking about him like he’s the best thing since sliced bread, but seriously, Alex is an absolutely brilliant producer and writer who has worked with some of my current favorite artists, i.e. Ari Hest, Amber Rubarth, Vienna Teng, the upcoming Delta Rae album…..I am thrilled to get the chance to work at his side as I begin this next big project. I don’t yet know how many total tracks I’ll be doing with Alex, since a lot of stuff is still up in the air at this point. But we’re going to start with one for now and see how we do together! I do know that it’s very common nowadays to work with multiple producers on an EP or album, and recording will continue into the fall, probably in various locations. But I think this is going to be an excellent start, and I’ll continue to keep you guys posted on my recording progress!! By the way, you can check Alex out at www.highceilingsmusic.com

In other news, this Thursday is the annual MAKE MUSIC NEW YORK Festival!! This is a city-wide festival that fills every club, restaurant, park, and street corner with music to make you tap your toes on your lunch break, coffee break, and during your commute! So here’s the low-down on where you can find me:

1:00pm: Simple Cafe, located at 346 Bedford Ave in Williamsburg.

3:00pm: The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, located at 1469 3rd Ave on the Upper East Side.

5:00pm: Books of Wonder, located at 18 W 18th St, in Gramercy-Flatiron.

I’ll also be performing with the amazing a cappella group The Lost Keys at the Battery Park Bosque that night at 8:00pm! This is going to be an awesome festival to celebrate music and happiness! I am thrilled to be part of it.

And also, having completed my photo shoot with the fabulous Shervin Lainez (www.shervinfoto.com) the Blue Pie Design team is now at work on my new website! It will launch this summer, so stay tuned!

And in case you haven’t heard yet, my latest single “There Was” (feat. Matt Sucich) is now available on iTunes! So go grab it, and make sure you leave a review while you’re at it!! :-)

That’s it for now, kids! Party on.

By the way, I have become utterly obsessed with making Indian spiced Chai tea. Thank you, Ariel, for changing my life.

xoxoxo

May Day, New Song, & Joe’s Pub!

Waiting for my food to be delivered, and I’ve decided it’s a good time to write a new blog! I ordered Indian for dinner, in case you’re curious. But I just realized I forgot to order Nan with my meal. Such a bummer. Oh well.

Anywho, these past few weeks have been just fabulous! Busy, busy, busy, and loving every minute of it! I’m learning to savor the moments, all the little steps along the way, and realizing it’s the only way to really live. I feel very blessed these days to have so many wonderful, inspiring people surrounding me, and so many folks who believe in what I do. Many thanks go out to these amazing people!

So I just want to take a minute to throw some music updates at ya! Tomorrow is May Day, and in celebration I will be performing a little acoustic set in Bryant Park at 11:30am! The good people behind OWS have put together a day of art, music, dance, yoga, meditation, crafts, a free market, etc. It’s going to be an amazing day to celebrate arts and the creative potential that exists within each individual. I am honored to be part of this beautiful event! If you’re in NYC, please come to Bryant Park between 8am and 4pm to experience free art in the open! Join the festivities with us! www.call2create.org

One of the great things about being a musician in New York City is the fantastic community of other artists who are always up for writing and collaborative music projects. Last week I got another opportunity to record at NYU’s Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music, which is always such a joy to do. For something a little different, I decided to ask my friend and fellow singer/songwriter Matt Sucich (check him out at Bonnaroo this summer!!) to collaborate on a song I wrote and turn it into a duet for the recording session. He was totally up for it, and we ended up putting together something really special! Thanks to Matt for his wonderful talent and enthusiasm, to Michael McCoy for engineering the session, and to Devon Johnson for mixing and mastering the track. I LOVE how this came out, and as a treat I’m offering it up as a FREE download right now! The song is called “There Was”, and you can get it on my soundcloud page by going here: www.soundcloud.com/jessytomsko¬†¬† ….We’re hoping to do a video for this song as well, so stay tuned for that! Also, I pitched this track a few days ago at SPONY (Songwriter’s Pitch-a-thon of New York), and it was selected by all three panelists for possible licensing opportunities! I was really blown away by the warm reception to this brand new recording, and I hope you enjoy it too. :-)

BIG NEWS! I’m honored and flattered to be asked to sing with Amber Rubarth at her show at Joe’s Pub on May 14th! I’ll be lending my voice to the set with the NYC a cappella group The Lost Keys! Expect some truly awesome surprises at that show; you don’t want to miss it! I can’t wait to share the stage with Amber (who, incidentally, is an absolute darling) at such a spectacular theater. I’m absolutely amazed by this opportunity.

So I’ve got quite a few things in the works right now, and it’s really fun!! Also coming up is a spring photo shoot with the incredible Shervin Lainez (www.shervinfoto.com), which I couldn’t be happier about. And I’ve got a new album in pre-production right now!! Still finishing the writing for it and shopping around for a possible producer; and it feels like we’re getting close! So much to be jazzed about!

So that pretty much brings you up to speed on the happenings of Jessy Tomsko. Sometimes I feel so happy I could spontaneously combust! And with that, I will sign off because my dinner has arrived (thank you Grub Hub) and it smells amazing.

Keep on rockin’, kids. Do yo’ thang.

You Are Here

I achieved a goal over the weekend. And then I achieved it again today. I hope to achieve it again tonight…

My yogi headstand. :-) I got up and back down smoothly without the help of a spotter or the trusty wall behind me! I can’t even express what an accomplishment this is in my life. I’ve been doing yoga for years, but always operated under the belief that there are just certain postures I’m not capable of getting into; my body (and my mind) just wouldn’t cooperate. Headstand was one such posture. I’ve never done acrobatics or gymnastics or anything crazy like that which involves tossing my body around and contorting it into strange formations. Just the idea of turning upside-down and balancing on my head and forearms was such a ridiculous notion that I honestly never even bothered really trying. I gave it a few half-assed attempts in the past, but after not even being able to kick my feet over my head, I immediately gave up and instead watched in awe as other seemingly “normal” people rocked it out gracefully. “How do they make it look so easy??”, I wondered.

Then one day, about 2 months ago, my lovely friend Anna (who was at the time training to be a yoga teacher) asked if I wanted to try it with her help. Nervously I agreed to have her spot me. And by “spot me”, what I really mean is she basically flipped my legs up for me. The sensation was at first terrifying and unsteady, and I wanted to get down as fast as possible; let gravity take me back to earth. But then once I was back down, I realized that it actually had been quite thrilling! Suddenly I knew I had to do it. I became absolutely determined to meet the challenge. I started practicing my headstand every day, working on getting stronger and more confident. I fell a lot. I still fall a lot. I remember the first time I was able to pull my feet away from the wall and balance for about three to five seconds; I was so excited! The feeling was just so unique, so unlike anything else.

It’s refreshing to turn the world upside-down. It can provide a much needed shift in perspective that we don’t usually get to experience. It’s nice to shake things up a little, even just for a few breaths, a few moments. I think getting past the fear is the hardest part. What’s going on in your mind is probably scarier than the actual doing. Once you move beyond that, what you usually find is pretty exciting. Whether you’re learning how to do a headstand, fly a plane, start a new job, move to a new city, ride a bike, swim in the ocean, ski down a mountain, or ask someone you like to go out with you….the same applies. I guess there’s a lot of wisdom in that old adage that tells us to do something every day that scares us. Facing what you’re afraid of sets you free.

Sometimes we just need a little push. Maybe someone to point us in the right direction. Someone to spot us, or even turn us upside-down because we’re afraid to do it ourselves.

Find your inner coach, your motivator, who speaks much louder than the fear, if you really listen. Be brave. Whatever it is that you’re doing, allow yourself to BE HERE NOW and really live it. Everything only ever happens NOW; life is made of moments. Collect beautiful memories, but don’t live in them. Dream fantastic dreams of the things you’ll do and be, but don’t live in those either. Because right now, YOU ARE HERE (insert little red arrow pointing at you on the map of life).

And if you need someone to spot you, I’ll be here too. Oh, Hey!

Get Down, Get Groovy

I woke up at about 7:30 this morning with Simon & Garfunkel’s “The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin’ Groovy)” in my head. The sun was shining brightly into my bedroom, the birds were singing, and with such music playing in my mind I just couldn’t stay in bed one minute more. There’s so much to do and see, so much life to live, how can I possibly sleep through it?! As I brushed my teeth, made breakfast, drank my coffee, the lyrics of that iconic song played across my brain over and over, and I realized it’s the perfect anthem, the perfect soundtrack to life as I know it.

The dictionary says the word “groove” derives from a Middle English word meaning “a mining shaft, a pit, a ditch.” Over the centuries the word evolved and came to mean “a pattern, a rut” as well as “a long narrow cut or indentation in a surface.” Hence after the invention of recorded sound and phonograph records, the tracks for the needle became known as “record grooves.” When musicians are playing well together and really feeling it, it’s said they’re “in the groove.” In the 60’s, saying something or a situation was “groovy” meant that it was pretty awesome, highly enjoyable. And still today, if you find yourself in a good groove, it means you’re just kinda surfing the wave of life, enjoying the ride.

So I’d like to make a case for the re-integration of the word “groovy” into modern day English slang. Think about it: when was the last time you heard someone say “groovy” with a straight face and actually mean it? And yet it carries so much meaning with it; so much more than a word like “cool” or “sweet.” Isn’t it way more fun to go through your day feeling groovy? It’s carefree and silly, it’s relaxed and hopeful, it’s smooth sailing baby.

I’m feeling groovy these days. It’s one of those times in life when everything seems to be moving right along exactly as it should be. Nothing ahead but a bright, big horizon. It’s best to stay in the groove at times like this. Stop waiting for the other shoe to drop, stop expecting something to go wrong. In my experience, when you expect a storm, it almost always finds you.

“Slow down, you move too fast, You got to make the morning last, Just kickin’ down the cobblestones, Lookin’ for fun and feelin’ groovy.”

Mmmm, just makes you wanna get out into the sunshine, doesn’t it?

When you’re feeling groovy, you’re in the moment. There’s nothing else you want or need because it’s already complete. It’s already perfect. “Hello lamp post, what cha knowin’? I’ve come to watch your flowers growin’.” If you’ve ever taken a stroll just for the hell of it, you know exactly what he’s talking about.

So go groove like no one’s watching. There’s nothing stopping you. And if your path crosses with mine, then hopefully we’ll stop for a moment and groove together.

“Life, I love you, All is groovy.”