So there I was… Sitting in an Irish bar in NYC minutes after finishing my set at their weekly open mic.  I was talking to a good songwriter friend, St Eloise,  who happens to be struggling with the same frustrating issue all writers face at one time or another… writer’s block.

At one point she asked about my process & how I come up with song ideas.  Ironically I’ve been asked this same question on multiple occasions.   The answer is simple, yet vague… Inspiration happens for me when it’s least expected…

You get ideas from daydreaming. You get ideas from being bored. You get ideas all the time.
~ Neil Gaiman

My Inspiration

The Time:  5 years ago
The Place: Seattle WA

I was alone in my apartment… in bed…  texting… With someone who I was in a very significant romantic relationship with at the time, Amy.

It was around 10 PM & we were in the middle of saying our goodnights.  Needless to say our dialogue was full of the following type of messages…

“I love you!”
“I love you more!!”
“I miss you!”
“I wish you were here!” 

I’m sure you get the idea 😊 At this point I sent her a text that would change everything…

“Tonight, I’ll be holding you in my dreams”

Soon afterwards we finished saying good night & I drifted off to sleep.

The next morning when I awoke, my first thought was of Amy & our conversation from the night before.  I reached for my phone & read it again…

“Tonight, I’ll be holding you in my dreams”

Doesn’t that sound like a line from a cheesy 1980s power ballad? With a smile, I jumped out of bed, made some coffee, grabbed my guitar, pencil & paper… then began to write.

Within minutes the following words were written down…

Tonight, I’ll be holding you in my dreams
Tonight, you’re right here next to me
Although you are so far away, you’re closer than it seems
Distant doesn’t matter ‘cause I feel you next to me

Not a bad chorus & a great starting point!

Within the next half hour, 3 verses were added… the song was finished. It was by far the easiest song I ever wrote.

Amy’s Reaction

A week later Amy came down with a nasty cold & asked me to stop at the store to pick up a few supplies (cold medicine, soup, tissues, etc…).

I arrived at her place with the items on the list… plus a surprise of my own….

I took out my guitar & neatly laid out the lyrics on her coffee table. Avoiding eye contact I began playing my newest creation.

To this day I get extremely nervous when performing a song for the first time, especially for someone I care about deeply.

Finally towards the end of the song I allowed myself to look up… the first thing I saw… tears streaming down Amy’s beautiful face. She simply said…

“No one has ever done this for me before”

In that moment, words left me as I felt my own emotions start to take over. I could only reply…

“I love you”

And to think… all this started from a simple text conversation! Inspiration is anywhere, one just needs to look for it!

Recording Amy’s Song

Obviously the above song Amy’s song, “Next To Me” will be included on my upcoming album, Long Walk Home.

For a limited time only… You can pre-order the entire album… at a super huge discount… Click on the link below for details!

 

Long Walk Home Preorder

 

Plus I’ll also include my book Long Walk Home – The Stories Behind The Songs.

This book will include stories just like this one, diving deeper into the story behind each song on the album… including… the complete lyrics… pictures… and more! 

Reserve your copy today by going to the link below! 

Long Walk Home Preorder

 


P.S. Here is a picture of the original lyric sheet. I kept as a fond memory! Legible handwriting has never been my strength! What can I say… at least I can read it!! 😊

 

P.P.S.  A quick shout out to my good friend St Eloise (mentioned above)!  Her music is awesome & I’m sure her new material will be too!

Check out her music by clicking on the link below >>

St Eloise Music

Below are a few pictures from The Town Players of New Canaan’s production on John Loves Mary.

The set design, props & costumes were all designed & property of The Town Players of New Canaan

 

Taken outside the theatre before a dress rehearsal.  The hat & glasses were costume pieces for 1 of the 2 roles I played.
Our set. It was just like walking into a plush 1947 hotel room!
Taken from the stage before our opening night performance. 
The prop shelf. Our stage manager kept us so organized!
The dressing room.
Publicity photo. I’m in the red, however we ended up going with a different costume for actual the performances.
My favorite set piece! Who remembers rotary phones?!?!

John Loves Mary PictureAfter 5 weeks we are FINALLY there… the homestretch… In the words of the 1980s Swedish rock band Europe…

It’s the final countdown

The final week of John Loves Mary rehearsals have begun.  There’s only a few days left before we open this Friday 7/28! This week is better known as “Tech Week”… or “Hell Week” in the acting community.

Tech Week”… because all technical aspects of the show are added… most notably lighting/sound cues are added & set changes are rehearsed.

Hell Week”… because for the actors, director & stage manage it’s a week of late night rehearsals… waiting for technical issues to be resolved… and… of course wardrobe malfunctions (of varying degrees)!

Magic Week

Although it’s a LOT of work… it’s also the week during the rehearsal process I LOVE the most…. Because of 1 simple reason… it’s the week the magic happens!  The show suddenly comes alive… in a way that was unimaginable 5 short weeks ago when this all began.

While most call it “Tech Week”… and…  others call it “Hell Week”… I call this week “Magic Week”…

Welcome to the magic & wonder of live theatre!

Now…

Let The Countdown Begin…

The below video doesn’t have anything to do with John Loves Mary… but the title is strangely fitting…  and besides… I grew up in the 80s & kinda like the song

How time flies when you’re having a blast!  I can’t believe there’s only 2 weeks left until opening night on July 28th!

This means 1 major event is about to occur… a day during the rehearsal process actors simultaneously  love & dread… the infamous “Off-Book Day” (insert dramatic sound effect DUN DUN DUUUUN)!!

Starting on this day, actors are no longer allowed to rehearsal with their security blanket… better known as their scripts.  This is the one day during the 5 week rehearsal process that’s completely like a box of chocolates.  In the words of Forrest Gump

“You never know what you’re gonna get.”

In my words…

“You never know you’re off-book, until you’re off-book.”

In the past my typical off-book day experience has gone something like this… I know my lines backwards & forwards… I recite them while taking a shower… while doing dishes… even while cleaning the bathroom!  By the time off-book day arrives I’m totally prepared.

Feeling confident, I put down my script as I walk on stage for my first scene.  I look my scene partner in the eye as he/she gives me my cue.  Then it happens… my mind goes completely blank!  I have NO idea what I’m supposed to say next!   Feebly I call “line”… our stage manager helps me out by giving me my line… the scene goes on.  This continues throughout rehearsal as other cast members do the same.  Eventually we all get through the rehearsal… everyone is little bit humbled.

On a positive note, this is the day the “magic” really starts to happen.  There’s a theory among actors & directors that says characters really don’t start to emerge until an actor puts his script down.  It’s a theory I endorse 110%.

As in life… Sometimes we take 1 step back before taking 2 steps forward.

Has this ever happened to you?  Have you ever taken a step backwards in life, before taking 2 steps forward?

Weird question…. Have you ever had so much fun you didn’t know what to do with yourself?  Well…. I happen to be in that same situation right now!

John Loves Mary Update

We have officially reached the half way point in the rehearsal process of John Loves Mary.  Since we’re a little less than 3 weeks from opening night (July 28th), it’s time to start focusing on character development.

One of the things I LOVE most about acting & live theatre is how every role presents its own set of uniquely fun challenges. This show is no different.  In this case it’s the fact I was cast into two very different roles…

  • An Irish elevator operator
  • An American Red Cross officer

In the past… the best acting compliments I have ever received was from close friends who didn’t recognize me while on stage.

Now I’m faced with that same challenge… twice! I’ll have to reach deep down into my bag of tricks to pull this off!  This “bag” gets bigger with every show… now let the fun begin!!

Here’s a picture from my last show… how do you think I did?  Do you recognize me? 😊

Take Me Out Picture

 

I know it’s been a LONG time since my last blog post. I apologize for that ☹  “Life” has been a little hectic with projects & personal “life” stuff.   My mid-year resolution is to improve on keeping the lines of communication open.

That said… my goal going forward is to post a short update every week.   This is just another way to share my artistic journey & life story with you.

4th of July

Abbi & I went to see fireworks on Saturday night.  As a father, I always strive to have a lasting positive influence on my child.  Needless to say Saturday was a perfect time to make memories! Unfortunately the weather wasn’t the best, so I didn’t get many good pictures.  However here is a quick one I was able to capture on my phone!

Newest Acting Project

I was recently cast in a play called “John Loves Mary”.   The show originally ran on Broadway in the late 1940s & was later turned into a movie starring Ronald Regan & Patricia Neal.  In this production, I was double case in 2 of the supporting roles.  Getting double cast always presents itself with some uniquely fun challenges! Needless to say I’ve been super busy with rehearsals,  prep, running lines, etc.  The show opens the last weekend of July!

Website Changes

I’m in the process of making some new & exciting changes to my website. Stay tuned for a big announcement in the coming weeks!

That’s all folks! Remember… don’t be a stranger! Let me know how you’re doing!  I would love to hear about your 4th of July.  Send or post pictures to one of my social media accounts … as they say…. A picture is worth a 1,000 words!

Abbi “modeling” a hat from my last show “Take Me Out”

Last Monday was a big day for the Brandt Family… the day the thespian torch was officially passed from one generation to the next… the day my daughter, Abbi, attended her first acting class.

Since long before Abbi’s birth I’ve been an actor. Some of her earliest memories are of attending rehearsals, “modeling” various costume pieces & helping me run lines.

The Big Confession

As we drove to Monday’s class Abbi was unusually quit. Finally, she confessed “Daddy… I’m nervous!”

Immediately I pulled the car over and made a confession of my own. This is how it went…

Daddy: Abbi, I’m nervous every single time I take the stage… But… only for the first minute. Then I start to have fun & the nervousness goes away!
Abbi: Really?
Daddy: True Story
Abbi: Really??
Daddy: Cross my heart
Abbi: Cool

 

My Wait

2 hours later I waited outside the classroom. It was my turn to be nervous. I could hear the sounds of laughter coming from inside the room, but couldn’t identify Abbi’s voice.

Was she having fun?
Did she succumb to her nervousness & fear?
What the heck was going on behind that door?!?!

Eventually the door opened. Children I didn’t recognize came running out… Where was Abbi?

I wait…

Finally her blue eyes appeared as she skipped out of the room…. gave me a great big hug… and said…

Daddy, that was so much fun. I want to do it again!

That’s my girl!

Recently @WordsUnderStars on Twitter challenged me to expand my artistic horizons & explore an art form outside my comfort zone… haiku.

This very short form of Japanese poetry traditionally consists of 17 syllables, in three phrases of 5, 7, and 5 respectively.

As an artist who’s always looking to expand his proverbial box, I eagerly took her up on the challenge.

Anyway… here’s my first haiku >>>

Trust me, try to see
Open hearts, our melody
Now I long and dream

Thoughts? Now it’s your turn! Write your own & post it to twitter. Don’t forget to mention me in your Tweet by clicking here >> 

Today’s the big day… Father’s day… Today is the one day I can ask Abbi for anything I want… Anything!!

The tables are finally turned… Instead of all those insatiable demands made on me by a 10 year old…who happens to be who’s 100% convinced of a little known piece of trivia…. That money does in fact grow on trees!

Today it’s my turn to make demands on Abbi! But… what to ask for? The possibilities are endless.

Last Monday Abbi came up to me & asked the simple question:

“Daddy, what do you want for Father’s Day?”

This was the moment of truth. So many possibilities… the pressure was on…

Still recovering from the shock & horror of the Orlando shootings that took place less than 24 hours previously, I asked for the first thing that came to mind…

World Peace

Abbi calmly looked at me & replied, “But daddy that’s impossible”

We have finally gotten down to the heart of the problem.

Quoting the master Yoda… yes I’m going to quote Star Wars… Don’t judge… stay with me… there’s larger point…. I promise!

 

Luke: I don’t believe it.
Yoda: That is why you fail.

 

Yes… it’s a little silly, but there’s a thread of truth in the above exchange.

We as a society believe it’s an impossible dream… we wish for it… we get angry when it doesn’t happen…. But in the end we accept it as the way it is. It’s our world… it’s the same story of struggle humanity has endured since time began. It’s our reality.

But… change starts once we believe….once we know beyond doubt it can change… it WILL change.

Not only do I believe it can change… I KNOW it can change. So I ask for it…. I continue to ask for it every day. If enough people keep asking, things will change.

So this Father’s Day (or any other day for that matter) ask your children… ask your parents… ask your siblings… ask your neighbor…. ask your coworkers… ask anybody who will listen…

Ask for peace

World Piece

Don’t forget to weigh in on the conversation… either through our Facebook group or on Twitter.  Links below:

timbrandt.com/friends

timbrandt.com/twitter

Sunday afternoon my last theatre project, the 2003 Tony Award winning play “Take Me Out”, officially closed with our cast party celebration… Officially making me a “free agent” again!

 

Take Me Out

Closing are always a mixed blessing… On one hand after 8 weeks of exploring the same character… telling the same story… at the same theater… with the same group of people… it’s nice to work on a new project.

But on the other hand… for 8 weeks this play… this show… these people… this theatre… became a family. The next question of course is…

“What’s next”?

Feast or Famine

I’ve always found acting to be a rather “feast or famine” pursuit. I’ve gone through dry spells with only 1 or 2 opportunities a year. Live theatre is a competitive world. Sometimes stars do not align… lighting does not strike…

I may audition well… but at the end of the day the “gate keepers” … aka directors… feel I’m not “right” for the part.

But it’s ok… Actors have thick skins… We have to… It’s a defensive mechanism against the rejection we face every day. It’s how we survive in this competitive business… We simply move on to the next audition…

Lightning Strikes

But every now & then… lighting does strike… I’m in the right place at the right time… I am “right” for the part…

I am allowed to work.

I am permitted to participate in the art form I know & love so much. I am humbled with gratitude every moment I’m allowed to take the stage with a fellow actor.

This is what I do…

The last 7 months have been a blessing. Since November I’ve found constant acting work… (a total of 3 shows back, to back, to back). It’s been one of the most productive periods of my 17 year acting career.

Historically summers are a slow time for live theatre. There are a few things I’ll audition for in the coming months… We’ll see… maybe lighting will strike again soon!

Going Back

If not, I’ll direct my focus back towards my roots… where this all began so many years ago…

My music…

My songwriting…

I have more than enough good songs written for another full length album… maybe this is the direction I’ll find myself heading.

I’ve had many request from friends who want to see more of my work posted online. Unfortunately, due to copywriter laws most live theatre shows are not recorded… including my last few shows

That said… I am able to post more of my original songs online, since I own their rights I can post them wherever I want! 🙂

Over the summer, I’ll be doing regular shows on Concert Window, a website that allows independent musicians to do interactive live streaming shows. This will also give me an opportunity to play & hone some of my newish material… as well as connect to some of the awesome friends I’ve been blessed to have met, both online & off… you know who you are!! 🙂

The first Concert Window show will be this Saturday (6/4) at 2PM EST

Stay tuned to the Facebook Group or Twitter (links below):

timbrandt.com/friends

timbrandt.com/twitter

Links to the show will be posted soon!

Thanks again for all the kind messages & words of support. It means more then you know!

The last few weeks I’ve been posting a lot on Twitter, Instagram & Facebook about my newest live theatre project, “Take Me Out”. Most notable for winning the 2003 Tony Award for Best Play, the plot of the show can best be summarized as follows:

Much of the play is set in the locker room of a professional baseball team, and as such has an all-male cast that explores themes of homophobia, racism, class, and masculinity in sports.

The play’s main character, Darren Lemming, is a popular and successful mixed-race baseball player at the peak of his career when he decides to come out. Several of his teammates react strongly (some supportive and accepting, and some not), and the drama plays out over the course of a baseball season with tragic consequences.

 

Source

You can read more about “Take Me Out” via the links below:

Take Me Out – Acting Edition

Take Me Out: A Play

Toddy Koovitz

I play the role of Toddy Koovitz. He’s one of Darrian’s teammates who is not supportive of the so called “coming out”. Toddy offers some levity & a little comic relief in a play with heavy themes & dialogue. Below is my description of Toddy I posted on Facebook last weekend:

Toddy Koovitz; Self-proclaimed ladies’ man, fair weather teammate & all around idiot.
His unconventional usage of the English language includes gems such as “rackled” and the timeless classic “Sancchewy”.

Sounds like someone only a mother can love… right?!?!

One of the things I absolutely love about acting, is totally “becoming” the character.  There are several techniques actors employ however sometimes something as simple as a different hair cut or a change in facial hair can do the trick….  Observe the following

 

Before                    After

Tim Brandt Headshot

20160508_152613

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In my own daughters words…

Daddy, you look freaky!!

 

I took that as a compliment!

 

Get Your Mustache

To pay homage to the new mustache I grew for this show… and mustache lovers everywhere….I’m offering the following mustache kit for FREE. Just pay a small shipping charge & I’ll send to you.
Be sure to post a selfie picture in the Facebook Group or Twitter after you get it. I would love to see if your mustache looks as cool as mine! Be proud of your stash

 

Click On Image Below

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My daughter & I had a fabulous time Sunday watching the Stamford UBS 2015 Parade.  Seeing the balloons up close brought back fund memories of my time with the Northern Lebanon High School band when we marched in the 1985 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.  Has it really been 30 years?!?!

Stamford UBS 2015 Parade – A Stamford Tradition

The 22nd annual event will feature 14 “colossal helium balloons,” among them Big Bird, Elmo, Paddington Bear, Clifford the Big Red Dog, Scooby-Doo and The Very Hungry Caterpillar — some reaching 60-feet high. Providing “care and guidance” for these creatures will be 1,000 or more volunteers walking with their charges along the parade route.

Sourcehttp://ctpost.com

It’s one of the largest balloon parades in the country, and tens of thousands of residents from across Fairfield County flock to Stamford to watch volunteers pull 14 giant helium balloons down city streets. Each year, as many as 200,000 spectators come to Stamford, according to festival organizers.

Sourcehttp://stamford.dailyvoice.com/

 

Kung Fu Panda

Our biggest surprise was when  Kung Fu Panda turned the corner!

This year, a balloon of Kung Fu Panda made its debut, kicking off a new tradition in the event. This was the 22nd year the parade stepped off, with the giant balloons winding through the city’s downtown.

Source: http://stamford.dailyvoice.com

Stamford Balloons Soar To New Heights, Kick Off Holiday Season

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo Via: http://stamford.dailyvoice.com

 

 Twitter Reacts

Below are some of the site & sounds via Twitter:

Muppets Rule

How can you not love Animal… or any of the other Muppets for that matter? 🙂

 

stamford ubs 2015 parade Animal

Family Fun

My daughter expresses her joy as the parade comes to a close.

Stamford UBS 2015 Parade

Needless to say Abbi & I can’t wait until next year!

Many thanks to Susan Newmeyer for turning me onto her nephew’s band, Footwork

Footwerk’s Music

footwerk

Besides providing an intense, high energy performance; this Washington D.C. based 6 piece band describes themselves as

A ‘blind date’ for first timers or a ‘booty call’ to an experienced audience member.

Source

I thought blind dates are supposed to be weird & awkward?!?! Not this time, I loved the music & hope for a second date 🙂

More information on Footwerk & there music can be found via the links below:

footwerkband.com

twitter.com/footwerkband

facebook.com/FootWerkBand

Sometimes it takes just 1 line to capture interest in a new band. The other day one of my twitter followers, Samuel Patrick Fink suggested I check out New York City’s own Rexford.

rexford music

The ‘line’ in question actually came from an interview they did for riffyou.com who claimed they were…

Like a planet of pop, with orbiting moons of soul and indie

Source

Wow… With such an interesting description how could I NOT investigate?!?! Needless to say I was pleasantly surprised.

You can listen to more of Rexford’s music by following the links below:

rexfordmusic.com

twitter.com/FromRexford

facebook.com/rexfordmusic

Here’s another special thanks to one of my newest Twitter friends: Mike Hummell for introducing me to Trevor Hall.

Trevor Hall Music

The thing I love about Trevor is the close relationship he has with his grandmother. Here’s what Trevor has to say…

 

… my grandmother said to me …

“Isn’t time such a wonderful gift?”

Source

He continues by explaining how his grandmother’s wisdom helped open his mind. Time was no longer a curse (like many of us experience) but a blessing! Sometimes all it takes is a different perspective to change everything! Thanks grandma 🙂

You can find out more about Trevor Hall & his music by following the links below:

trevorhall.virb.com

twitter.com/trevorhallmusic

facebook.com/trevorhall

The Airborne Toxic Event

Here’s a band one of my newest Twitter friends recommended… The Airborne Toxic Event. Thanks PartyBearLA for the awesome tip! 🙂

What I love most is what can be found on their Facebook page. Mikel Jollett (vocalist & guitar) say’s

 

I made a decision to change my whole approach to music. I just wanted to be joyful about it. I wasn’t going to worry anymore. For the first three records, I thought mostly like writer. My mindset changed. It was about inventing a musical logic that was unabashedly catchy and rhythmic, but way weirder than anything we’ve done in the past.

Source 

Sometimes the lightbulb just comes on! Here’s a rally cry to every artists out there…. Stop worrying, have fun, follow your instincts & just do it!!!

More info on this inspiring band can be found below:

theairbornetoxicevent.com

twitter.com/airborne_toxic

facebook.com/TheAirborneToxicEvent

Here’s a huge shout-out to one of my newest Twitter friends,  davidpolanx who introduced me to Sam King, singer/songwriter from New York, NY… a town so nice they named it twice!  (HAHAHAHA Sorry I couldn’t resist.  I love that joke 🙂 )

Sam King Music

Sam’s had the blessing of traveling the world doing what he loves… play music!!

He describes his journey as the following….

It’s a dream come true to get to do what I love for a living (or at least to try). Music and I have had a powerful relationship since I was a child, and no matter what I do, it will always be a part of me.

Source samkingtv.com

We need more dreamers like you Sam!  Thank you for the inspiration 🙂

To connect with Sam & his music please check out the links below:

samkingtv.com

twitter.com/SamKingTV

facebook.com/SamKingTV

Many, many thanks to PoopRainbowMama for recommending the music of Mumford & Sons, this British rock band out of London, England defines hard work.

Mumford & Sons

In their own words

The band who once told an interviewer that if they didn’t play live they weren’t a band at all

Source mumfordandsons.com

That’s exactly what I love to hear, hard work that pays off!

Connect with them via the links below:

mumfordandsons.com

twitter.com/mumfordandsons

facebook.com/mumfordandsons

House concerts are the wave of the future & one of the most effective ways for an artist to connect to his/her audience.   Why?

The subtle warmth that smacks your fuzzy feelings

Mothlight House Concert Series

There’s some exciting stuff coming out of Montreal Canada, with their new “Mothlight House Concert Series” which showcases local talent in an intimate setting.  This is EXACLY why my goal for 2015 is to starting booking a LOT of house concerts!   Daniela says it best:

“Music is so beautiful when you really get to pay attention to the idea of the artist, or their perception of their project. It’s so much more than just a noisy bar,” says Daniela Madrid, who started the event in November with her boyfriend Siavash Kolaei.

Source cultmontreal.com

Who else LOVES 80s music?!?!  Some even call it the era of radio magic!   There’s a new documentary coming out that’s a MUST see for anyone who loves music.

Per Redbull.com

Revolutions on Air: The Golden Era of New York Radio 1980-1988. Featuring interviews with many major players and those they influenced, such as Stretch Armstrong, the documentary will premiere on April 22 on Red Bull TV.

Ironically this coincides with the Red Bull Music Academy Festival NY. Good, music, good times & good memories!!

revolutions

This is a HUGE development for Independent musicians!

Stockhouse.com reports that:

Over 50% of independently produced music videos have been accepted for airing by major national music video networks in the U.S.

The tides are starting to turn… we are the media! Soon the day will come where records won’t be needed.  The internet is changing the world for artists everywhere!

Who else thinks major record labels are evil?!?

British Hollywood actor Idris Elba who also doubles as a music artiste and DJ has confirmed that he has been dropped by his record label Parlophone.

Here’s the reason in Elba’s own words:

It was not commercial enough.
 (source)

Idris ElbaWhen since should commercialism & art go hand in hand? Mozart died penniless however he’s arguably the greatest composer who ever lived! It’s time to do away with the “old guard” belief that record labels should be in control of a musician’s artistic journey.  Support independent music now!!!

Now here’s soi-prevailmeone who completely “gets it”… Through 100% focus & determination, Brian Burkheiser’s hard work is finally paying off. His band, I Prevail, redid the Taylor Swift song “Blank Space” & it went viral:

The cover, released in December, reached No. 1 on the iTunes rock charts for a straight week followed by I Prevail’s whole album hitting No. 1 of the iTunes rock charts for five days.

Here’s how he did it:

Burkheiser said he worked 40 hours a week at a pizza shop in order to pay for the music gear and recording time.

“You have to go right home from work and just work on the music though; don’t (mess) around and play video games, just put everything into the music.”

That’s right “no messing” around! There’s no secret to success. All you need is laser focus, a plan & 100 commitment!!  Read more about it here

The roots of my musical journey can be traced back to my time with the Northern Lebanon High School band! Yes I was a band geek & proud of it!! I was extremely fortunate to attend a school featuring a very good music program. One of the highlights of my time there was the year NLHS was selected to march in the 1985 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Fast forward a few decades….Yesterday Stamford held there annual UBS Holiday Parade, which (I recently learned) is used as “dress rehearsal” for the big Macy’s show on Thursday! As luck would have it the parade route was only a short walk from my apartment. I took this opportunity to take my camera and go on a stroll down memory lane. There’s nothing like merging the memories of the past into the realities of the present! Below are a few of the pictures from the event!

Scooby Dooby Doo

Super Grover

Kermit The Frog

Scooby Dooby Doo Scooby Dooby Doo

Rubik's Cube LadyScooby Dooby Doo

– Tim Brandt

Creatively Witty & Artistically Sweet

For more information, music, news and updates, please visit:

Facebook.com/TimBrandt

Twitter.com/TimBrandt

Youtube.com/TimBrandt

Pinterest.com/TimBrandt

They say laughter is the best medicine…. personally am not afraid to laugh at myself! It tends to make life interesting! I came across the following list of actor jokes the other day… many of which made me laugh out loud!!

How many actors does it take to change a lightbulb?
Funniest Memes want to be an actor1) One. They hate to share the spotlight.
2) One to change it, and 99 to stand there saying, ‘I could have done it better.’
3) Just one. He stands there, and the world revolves around him.
4) That depends on what the script says.
5) He just holds it, and the world revolves around him.
6) Doesn’t the stage manager do that?
7) Well, first I have to know the lightbulb’s motivation…
8) How many STRAIGHT actors does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
Both of them.
**************
A director and an agent are walking down the street and a beautiful woman crosses their path. The director says: ‘Boy, I’d like to screw her.’
The agent says: ‘Yeah? Out of what?’

**************

Question: What’s the difference between an actor and a mutual fund?

Answer: Mutual funds eventually mature and make money.

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Actor comes home one day to find his home ransacked… Just trashed…
As he stands in the rubble, stunned, he hears moaning from the upstairs bedroom. He races upstairs to find his wife, obviously beaten and taken advantage of. Through his tears he asks ‘Who did this?’ His wife whispers ‘Your agent.’
The man brightens… ‘My Agent? He came to the house? Wow!

– Tim Brandt

Creatively Witty & Artistically Sweet

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Robyn Bonucchi MarriottI’ve always been a huge fan of Reverbnation.com. For the independent musician it gives a free platform to promote their work, and for the music lover it’s an excellent place to discover new & interesting artists. Needless to say, since I fall into both categories I visit Reverbnation.com quite a bit.

One day a few years ago I came across Robyn Bonucchi Marriott’s page. The thing that struck me most was the 80s influence. Being a child of the 1980s I was naturally drawn to it. Over the years we’ve communicated a few times, first through Reverbnation.com and eventually via Facebook. Recently I caught back up with Robyn to discuss the challenges facing indie musicians. Read the highlights below:

Q: Describe your music. What are your influences?
A: The music from my first and second CD is a combination of melodic rock/pop and some acoustic style songs. The music can probably be compared to Pat Benatar, Heart or Journey. The type of music I’m aiming to write moving forward is more of the acoustic rock/country sound. I would say it’s more influenced by the sounds of Sheryl Crow, Melissa Etheridge and Miranda Lambert.

Q: What is the next step in your music career?
A: The next step would be writing on my own or collaborating with one person. I wrote the lyrics and developed some melodies for my first two albums, but I handed them over and someone developed the songs from there. I want a hands on part in writing the next time.

Q: What is your biggest challenge as an independent musician and how do you hope to overcome that challenge?
A: Well, I would say is getting exposure. But, I get through it by talking to other musicians and realizing we all struggle. And also by remembering I don’t sing in the hopes of making millions of dollars one day. I sing because it full-fills me. It’s who I am. Also, knowing people like you Tim, people who want to help and support other artists helps to overcome this challenge.

Q: Where can people check out your music?
A: Everything is available at www.robynmusic.org, cdbaby.com/robyn and on all the digital download sites too. They can also check out my facebook page under “Robyn’s Music

Q: Anything else you would like to tell the world?
A: The reason I sing is to hopefully touch people. Perhaps I can say something they can’t find the words to say. If I can put a smile on someone’s face, I feel like I’ve done what I’m meant to do.

– Tim Brandt

Creatively Witty & Artistically Sweet

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The 7th & final day of my Gratitude Challenge!

1. Angles: In my experience I’ve come to understand angles in fact are everywhere, they exist in many forms & appear when least expected. It can be meeting a random stranger that leads to bigger & better opportunity, a song that comes across the radio at exactly the right moment or overhearing a casual inspirational conversation…. God is always talking to you… the question is “Are you listening?” These “angles” come to me when I need them most!

autumn leaves 2. Autumn: For as long as I can remember fall has been my favorite time of year. Maybe it’s the fact my birthday is in November, football season or the color of the changing leaves I observed as a boy growing up in Pennsylvania. It’s like fire coming down from the sky…. In other words imagine the most beautiful, colorful sunset words can describe… orange, yellow, red, purple & everything in between, and for 2 weeks straight it’s right outside your door… 24-7

More than anything else fall has come to signify the season of change. The only thing that’s constant is change! I’ve learned to embrace uncertainty not as a scary thing but a blessing. Change is how we learn, grow & become well rounded individuals.

3. Disappointment: My last grateful point of the 7 days ironically ties into #1 for today & was inspired by one of those random conversations I alluded to. At one time or another we’ve all faced challenging times or great disappointments. I can say without a doubt every personal disappointment I’ve faced weather a loss of a job, end of a relationship or not getting cast in a role I know I would be perfect for has (1) opened up other opportunities where none existed before and (2) made me a stronger & more open mined individual. There is no doubt in my mind the person I am today has been shaped largely by the great disappointments that occurred throughout my life.

– Tim Brandt

Creatively Witty & Artistically Sweet

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Day #6 of my Gratitude Challenge!

1) My best friend from Seattle Adam! You’ve been a constant supporter of my creative endeavors for well over 15 years. Positive reinforcement is perhaps the single biggest thing artists need. Thanks for the years of encouragement!

Dart 133 out

2) My Seattle dart clan; Paul, Bill, Jim, Steve, Eugene, Glen & Richard. In Seattle darts became my major activity outside family, work & theatre. Not to mention a valuable support network.

3) I’m thankful for the roof over my head & food in my belly. Although I’ve never been the wealthiest man in the world, I’ve always been blessed with always having enough to survive. Every time I walk past someone who’s sleeping on the street I’m reminded how blessed I truly am.

– Tim Brandt

Creatively Witty & Artistically Sweet

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Day #5 of my Gratitude Challenge!

New Horizons

1) Coffee: I have never been a morning person. This is in part because I’ve suffered from mild forms of insomnia my entire life. A hot cup or 2 of black coffee has been a morning ritual for as long as I can remember. However it’s not all about the caffeine, I also love the smell. For me the smell of fresh coffee brewing first thing in the morning is indentified with hope, possibility & new horizons. Every day is a fresh start to do something wonderful, learn or simply enjoy the gift of life.

2) Northwest Actors Studio (NWAS): Sadly my acting alma mater is no longer in existence. However those 2 years changed my life… as an actor as well as a person. I can easy provide several listings for my time at NWAS however I’ll dedicate this one to the class of 2006. Thanks to Shobhit, Amy & Glynis. It was an honor & privilege to work/learn with you guys. We started with 11 & only 4 saw it through to the end!

3) Neale Donald Walsch: Although many may consider the “Conversations With God” book series controversial, it has personally inspired me & changed the way I view this world and our place in it.

– Tim Brandt

Creatively Witty & Artistically Sweet

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