You can’t be a stone designer and not know Michelangelo’s quote: “I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.” This happened when master stone carvers Gerd and Patrick Dreher carved a piece of tourmaline into a gorgeous stone toad in Germany.
Passion for geological wonders has forced man to dig into the earth, searching for prehistoric treasures. We’re fueled by courage, guided by flickering light, and we’ll often risk it all to extract precious stones.
“You can have a lot of talent, but success will only be because of your mentors.”
I fondly remember what my mentor, Grammy Award winning Patti Austin, once told me. Before I found Patti, I was, almost unconsciously, searching for someone to guide me through life. My dreams weren’t something you could learn in a college classroom; they were things you would only learn by doing. I wanted to produce live shows. I wanted to manage talent. I wanted to learn from the best.
One of my top goals was to manage tours, and who better to learn from than Boston fashion icon, Yolanda Cellucci. I thought the innovative designer’s legendary fashion shows were outrageous and were the talk of the town. So what did I do? I hunkered down and studied the shows until I knew them like the back of my hand. I called and begged the designer for a job that could just help me get my foot in the door of the fashion industry. Any job was fine as long as I could gain experience in producing shows.
Words cannot explain the level of euphoria I felt the other night, when I heard the first live note of my favorite artist ever, Doyle Bramhall II. For the past 20 years, I have been waiting and cheering for Doyle to reemerge, refocus, and deliver a supersonic solo album that would launch a power packed tour of just him. And boy oh boy did he deliver!
Music is my salvation, and I have been lucky enough to work with one of the greatest jazz vocalists of all time, Patti Austin. Together, we founded a musical mentoring foundation called the Over My Shoulder Foundation. This experience has taken me on many tours, back stage at great concerts, and into the studios of incredibly talented artists. The other night it took me to a sleepy little town in New Hampshire, inside the Tupelo Music Hall. Here is where I listened to Doyle’s entire show. This same week, three of my songs appeared on my very first album with Jon Butcher, but nothing compared to seeing Doyle play live, celebrating “Rich Man.” His new album was more exciting to me than celebrating my own!
What caught my ‘Musical-Mentoring’ ear? It was an article by Andy Langer in the Austin Chronicle. “Along with D’Angelo, I think you’re the best contemporary artist I’ve heard in a decade,” Eric Clapton told Doyle. “I was wondering if you’d like to get together and maybe play a little guitar with me?”
Admittedly, I am not the world’s biggest sports fan, but I am a super fan of sports stories centering around mentoring. This year’s Super Bowl story is one of those award-winning greats, something capable of garnering Oscar nods. Nothing has touched my heart as much as the explosive win by the New England Patriots.
Was it the validation of proving the commissioner wrong? Was it the stunning moments of a mother to sick to travel but determined to support her son? Was it all the doubters (including a deflated Brady) at half time that thought there is no way they can win? Was it the power of music and the pixie dust of Lady Gaga, a great mentor who lives her life around mentoring about inclusion, integrity, and increasing your self-esteem, that released the winning spirit from the heavens?
As a stone designer at Cumar Marble and Granite, my amazing team and I have able to work in the homes of many well-known Boston athletes. My very first stone design project was for Drew Bledsoe, but these athletes were just clients to me. To the dismay of my fiancé, I did not watch football at all. During football season, while everyone was watching the game, I was off doing extra work and getting things done for the week.
So why did I even watch the Super Bowl?
“Wherever there is beauty, you will find a home,” those words, bestowed upon me by a close friend in my childhood, struck the depths of my soul. Hailing from a quaint home in Lincoln, MA, I developed a deep connection to nature in my ongoing effort to escape the emotional distress trapped inside those walls. As a child, I spent many of my days riding my horse, Mica, down a trail that ushered us towards absolute tranquility, otherwise known as Walden Pond. As I would reflect amidst the shore, I sat steps away from the simple home of the late Henry David Thoreau, the man who first spoke those words that I could carry with me for thirty some years.
On July 12th, Henry David Thoreau’s 200th birthday will be celebrated by all those who have been deeply mentored by his legacy. In his honor, I’ve been celebrating nature and mentor-ship while on vacation in Martha’s Vineyard.