Thursday, December 17, 2015

COMING BACK TO LIFE




As this year of 2015 draws nearer to its close, I measure the days and the months and now the years since I was last on Facebook, in touch with so many who I regard as my friends from all around the world. 
How fortunate was I that I was able to travel overseas and get the life saving treatment I needed; I had sufficient to pay for the very expensive treatment, but not enough to pay for the travel there and back and it was my friends who made that happen.



The journeys both there and back were frightening and difficult.
I did not have the money to provide for Medical flights, so travelled on ordinary schedules, many of the flights on very small aircraft and passing through no less than 8 different airports and 6 different countries, some of them very basic indeed.  I fell several times, not being able to see properly and by now very wobbly and in urgent need of the surgery to remove the tumor next to my brain.  On the whole, people were kind, but I still had to  join the line for entry and exit visas, still had to try and  see what and where I was going in the glaring airport lights, still had to deal with the delays, and the underlying panic of being all alone, ill and far from anything familiar. I have  travelled extensively in the world, and enjoyed it all, but this was very much a nightmare.  Constant, blinding

pain didn’t help.

I returned home in a very weak state over a year ago, but that was not the end of my struggles by any means.  Complications arising from the treatment meant more surgery, but thankfully that could be done without going overseas, although the cost was immense and meant that I sold almost everything I owned to get through the whole process.  And of course it is not over yet, because after-effects linger, weakness prevails and many difficulties remain.

To a large extent, being a solitary person with NO family, living in a very remote spot and without a phone or even the funds to support a connection, have made this struggle much harder.  Being alone as I always have been, means that you are very self reliant but there is a limit to what you can deal with when you cannot see or are too weak to even make a meal for yourself or even able to stand up properly.  And when you live miles from the nearest store and can’t drive.  It’s hard and aid of any description
with day to day living is difficult to obtain and in any case very distant from me.  I have only praise for the Hospital where I have been a constant visitor/inpatient over the past year.

But I am as I said, very fortunate for many reasons:

One is that I have such amazing friends who I won’t name here
in detail as the list is very long and also they prefer that I don’t do that;

Two is that I am a very determined and relentless person in my optimistic view on life, despite all, and even when enforced to lay in the darkness, motionless for days
on end, still I could see the light in my mind’s eye.

Three is that I have the gift of music; it is my treasure, my refuge and my constant
companion and throughout all that has happened to me, I have continued to write
and create new music and new poetry, in my head, or when I could see even a little, scribbled on
tiny bits of paper. It never leaves me.

Only in the last couple of months have I started to be able to see anything properly at all  but Facebook with its bright white page is far too painful for me as yet.  In addition, I sold most of my equipment, along with my father’s collection of vintage vinyl records ( I had already sold his accordion and  my piano  a long way back), the last of my mother’s china and my means of making analog recordings of my music or being able to make my living
doing all those things musically or online which had been my
way of life.  I even sold my bed to try and keep going.

But still I count myself as fortunate.
I give thanks for every single day of my life, though I cannot as yet venture outside into the sunlight for that is too painful also.  But things  get better all the time and I’m alive, which so easily could not have been the case.

I was born with a rare genetic condition afflicting my eyesight and struggled a great deal as a child but was brought up to understand that I should overcome or at least try; and that mantra stays with me.  This condition is incurable, so all that has happened to me  more recently, although disconnected from that, is made much worse by the delicate state of my eyesight to start with, plus other associated problems. Even my hearing was affected at one crucial point and it is thanks to the expertise of surgeons and the help of one dear friend in particular that this came back to me. I don’t want to talk about my health problems because there are so many people with much worse than I and I prefer to concentrate on what I can do, not what I cannot do. There have been so many other struggles: having my identity
stolen the first time I went overseas for the first surgery that no
one knew about; coming home to find my bank account gone, my car gone and the very foundations of my life destroyed. It has taken time to get all of that back thanks to amazing efforts of friends during times I was incapable of dealing with it.


So for now, I need to get back to creating music, creating poetry, and , I hope, get back to recording and rebuilding my studio,
mentoring young people in music and  trying to help in the fight against child abuse and trafficking. I have to rebuild my life somehow and manage to reaquire the means I need to do all that.  
Thanks to amazingly good friends, my  radio shows have
continued throughout all my struggles, and being able to promote other musicians is a wonderful thing to me; we are all one after all.

Thank you if you read this far!!  My friends will be posting this briefly on my FB page, but I really cannot be there as yet, and at this stage have no idea if and when I will return there, so if you would like to keep up with my progress,  please go and find this musicpage which is managed for me.   God blesses me and I ask that He blesses you all; I have thought of so many of you over the months of isolation and given thanks.

My music lives on almost of its own accord, keeping me at the Number one spot on Reverbnation for the 7th year and taking me to Number on in two charts on Number One Music.  You can find my released albums and some singles on CD Baby and also on Bandcamp where I have the song 'Friends Are Angels Too' dedicated to the angels in my life.

 


 I have nothing else to give.







I would particularly like to put my arms around some people: Jill Towers, Haych Storm, Audrey and Mike, Bert Gagnon, Gene Smith and the very special Cookie.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Learning to reach out

I'm Tommie Brewster and this is part of my story..........

                                          and the Appeal on my behalf is HERE




I was first diagnosed with an optic nerve glioma ( tumor) over 3 years ago and since that day, I have used all my resources of strength, faith and of course money to keep myself going. 

I am used to promoting my music and my radio shows online; living on the far edge of the world and wanting to be heard gave me only that one option - to go out there and introduce my music and myself to anyone who was inclined to listen.  And largely my efforts have been successful, doing all of the music, the radio, the promotion etc. entirely alone and I have connected with some wonderful, warm people all around the globe, some of whom have been kind enough to purchase my music and enable me to carry on with my dream.

All of this was not easy to do at first, but became easier.
What was not and is not easy is going out into the world and telling everyone my troubles. 

My life has been a hard struggle almost from day one, but I am not alone: we all have hardships and heartaches.  So for me, my mantra has been to present a happy face to the world, to help in any way I can, for as many as I can and to use my gift of music to do that.  I have given my energy, my love and music to the cause of children who are victims of abuse and/or trafficking. I care deeply about this evil in our world and thinking of only one child somewhere in the world, alone and abused, terrified and without hope, is enough to stop me from ever complaining.  So generally I don't complain.


Knowing that of me, you may appreciate that when I had to face the fact of having no money left, or nothing left to sell that would raise money to help save my life, and when I confided in only two special friends and they encouraged me to let them launch a public Appeal, I said no.  But then I realised as more and more close friends became aware of my situation that they wanted  to give, they wanted  to help and that my pride maybe was not allowing that to happen.  I have NO family so my close friends are my family and now I realise that my family is much larger than I thought.

So finally the Appeal to raise money was launched.  I find it embarrassing still to be there asking for financial help; I feel naked and I feel vulnerable.  But I also feel loved.  To have received the donations that have come to me so far and to have all the private messages, the love, the support has been a revelation to me.  Maybe I'm amazed!! Yes, amazed that people care for me so much. 

So big thankyou to all who have given, to all who have helped create the Appeal site, the Facebook 'event', to all who have shared it in so many places.  Thankyou.

My situation right now grows worse by the day.  You will I hope have read the short story on the Appeal site
and know that I have already had surgery for the first tumor, that I already had some Proton Beam therapy for a second one and that I am told now I need a final course of Proton Beam therapy to eradicate what is now seeking to kill me.  The tumor was classed as not malignant originally, but becomes classified as malignant as it grows to such a size as to impact on my brain.  I already lost a big piece of my sight as a result of the first surgery ( in effect a hole in my vision in one eye ) but now I am at risk of being first of all blinded, then lose my hearing, then my motor functions and ultimately my life.

I have been a careful person and have taken care to have private medical insurance for most of my life which has funded the hospitalisations needed, the huge costs of surgeons, anaesthetists, drugs, etc. etc. However, it does not cover the cost of flights to and from wherever I need to go to get treatment.

Here in New Zealand, we have an excellent state health scheme, but we are a small country with very limited resources and what I now need simply does not exist here.  New Zealand does not have Proton Beam equipment in any shape or form.  The apparatus alone costs over $20 million US dollars to build.  Our nearest neighbor, Australia, similarly does not have Proton Beam facilities.  The US has many centres for Proton Beam, so does Europe but my nearest point is South Korea.  I need to get there in order to save my life.  That's just how it is.

I need money to get me to where I need to be.  And I don't have it.  The Appeal stands today at about $3500 and the minimum I need is $7800.  The target is shown as $10,000 because my friends hoped to achieve enough to help me survive after the therapy when obviously I will be unable to work.

I have sold just about everything possible to sell, I live frugally on very little and my life savings are gone. Two very special people came along and helped me along the way, more than I could ever have expected, but now I am obliged to reach out further and that is what I am doing.  Time is of the essence, for if I cannot get to South Korea very very soon, I will miss my place in the surgical schedule and by the time the next space is available, it will be too late for me.

I weaken daily, but keep going.  Music has been my life for all of my life and I create music every day. Now I am finding even that very hard but I won't give in.  I carry on with my radio shows - taking blues and the music of fellow artists to as many places in the world as I can.  I haven't given in yet.  

People suggest to me that I approach the many charities around the world.  All that has been investigated.  If I receive any funds from an organised charity, then the money paid out by my insurer will be reduced accordingly so I will be no further forward financially.  My only hope is voluntary donations and I stand here before you asking for help. I have nothing left to lose after all.

I love life and I love people and I'm really not ready to leave either just yet. 


my love to everyone
Tommie















































Friday, July 13, 2012

Further along the Yellow Brick Road

Life does seem to move on incredibly quickly-and progress along the Yellow Brick Road of my life has been breathtaking the last six months of this year; so much so that I'm amazed to find that my last update was as long ago as January!!

There have been a lot of hurdles to overcome in that time and some serious determination needed - even more than usual - to keep looking ahead further down the road, holding tight to the music and a dream I had a long time ago.  Music has indeed been my companion through all of it and always will be.  And there have been Angels also along the way.

I am soon approaching FOUR consecutive years at Number One blues artist for New Zealand on Reverbnation.  Four years since I put out my first ever release and went all the way up that chart.  And each week I gain more fans on there, musicians from all around the world of all sorts of styles of music.  It's a great pleasure to go listen to them and I still think despite criticisms of Reverbnation, that it is the best music site for Indies on the net.  I don't and never have and never will pay to obtain 'likes' or employ inhouse street teamers; my music takes its chances out there and I believe it is more important to have real fans who avidly support your music than just numbers and names that you
have purchased in order to go up the chart.  Surely music is what matters and the quality and integrity of that music?


However.........it's a huge cause for celebration for me to have achieved that.  I'm also very proud to have got 4 of my original songs into the permanent directory of radio play on Song Vault where they already made me a 'Certified Member' which means my music is up there with the big names in Blues and other genres too.  The song 'Earthcry' which is my view of the planet and all its troubles, has been at Number One in the New Age chart there for weeks now.


And just as important are all the great people at Mixposure who of course honored me by making me Artist of the Month last December, but who consistently support me.  Not only that, but it's a great place to be and talk music!!!




In addition to all that, I'm very fortunate to have lots of lovely people in radio who play my music and who tell me that they are eagerly awaiting my next - my second - album.  This work has been ready to go for a long time, but the success of my first album 'In The Making' encouraged me to delay putting out more whilst people were being kind enough to download the album tracks.  But now, the time is almost here - just a case of picking the right time and as always, I go with my gut feelings on this!!

In fact, prior to releasing the album ( self produced as with the first one), I intend a single release of a song that has been waiting in the wings for a loooooong time, together with a video.  It's not blues, it's not jazz, it's not rock, it's just, well, just what it is so hope you'll like it when it hits the internet shortly!!

And of course, music and spoken word goes on all the time in my world; I write or record music just about every day of my life and now have around 240 copyrighted songs, only 45 of which have yet been released.  Yes, it is indeed a way of life.
You can find my music AND my spoken word on my main website which is HERE



                                                There have been very recent events in my world that are quite wonderful - as you will see from this 'Network Star of the Month for July' Feature on the Regina Swarn sites!!!  And also Regina created  'In Honor of Tommie Brewster' - so many people came and joined this group so thank you to them also. 
                                                 And to put icing on a cake that was already great, my video of 'Red Red Rose' was voted Video of the Month for June.  I love the poem of course and am proud my arrangement and performance was liked by so many people.

                                      


                                       


The story with my radio show Tommie Talks Music is equally as exciting and the show is now aired on 20 radio networks around the world, in the USA, the UK, Europe and of course New Zealand. 
As of today Tommie Talks Music on Reverbnation is the Number One radio show for Auckland NZ so a big thank you to all the radio networks, the listeners and of course my guests!!

 You can find all the details of the radio stations and the times of broadcasts on my dedicated website and I'd like to say a big, big thank you to all the radio stations for their support and enthusiasm for my shows.  I LOVE doing the interviews and have now added an hour of blues to some of the shows, which as I'm proud to be an Ambassador for the Blues at the USA Blues Hall of Fame is only as it should be!!   On other stations, I do a mixture of World Music and also now Classical - which also is very important to me.



                                               
                                                   I recently did an online interview with a German magazine and the last question was 'what advice would you give to someone intending to get into the music business as an Independent artist'.............my reply was:

                         You have to be prepared to get hurt, disillusioned, let down, betrayed,
                         disappointed, and hungry.

                         Believe in your dream and believe in your music.

                        Keep it real so that you are proud of every single thing you release.

                        Help others; promoting other Indies is important.


                                       And I truly believe all of that; at least that's how it has been for me.  But the creation of music for me overrides any disappointments or heartbreaks; I make music because I can do no other, because it is there screaming to get out, all day every day, because it quite simply is my life and I would have it no other way.

                          Thank you to everyone who took the time to read this latest update and most of all, if you actually purchased a download or CD, then you are helping me make my dream come true.............




                     
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Sunday, January 22, 2012

The Yellow Brick Road moves on again........


TOMMIE TALKS MUSIC moves up a gear!!!

Once upon a time in a place faraway, I had an idea to do an interview show on radio where I could talk to people from all over the world about the passions in their lives, the things that drive them, the causes they work tirelessly for and the story behind the name and the face.
This was to be about people, not just musicians, but music is a big part of it - the music that people choose to be in the shows says a lot about them and their journeys so far. It's not necessarily about musicians, nor about promoting the latest CD, it's about much more than that, at least I hope so.
And so Tommie Talks Music was born and has never stopped moving forward. I love to talk with people and everyone has a story; everyone has something to share.
I'm a musician as you will all know maybe - and proud to be #1 blues NZ on Reverbnation for over 3 years now, proud to have been invited to be an Ambassador for the USA Blues Hall of Fame, proud to have got my self produced first album In The Making to #4 in the USA Blues/Roots chart late last year amongst some of the greats of blues and just recently to have had yet another of my song promoted to the permanent directory playlist on Song Vault.
 
Tommie Talks Music is of course quite separate from all that, and yet it is still part of my musical kaleidoscope, my yellow brick road that I travel down every day, listening to the music that drives me on from inside myself.
The show is now syndicated on 17 different networks in the USA, UK and NZ and I thank all those radio stations for their mega support. I also thank all my past guests - now all friends who keep in touch - and to all who take the time to listen and tell me how much they enjoy the 'chat'!!

Just before Christmas I was stunned to see that Google gave Tommie Talks Music 131,000,000 mentions and it was obvious to me that this now has a life of its own and deserved its own website - so I made one ! Click here to visit!!
And now I have also a Reverbnation page - here !! - which in only just over a week has gone to #1 on the 'dj' chart for Auckland where I live. I'm not a dj however in the true sense, the stars of my show are my guests telling their stories.
I have a group on here dedicated to Tommie Talks Music so please come and join me there - or join me on the Reverbnation page. Or just tune in sometime and listen - be pleased to have your company!
xxxxx
Tommie Brewster



Sunday, November 13, 2011

Is It Really Someone Else's Problem????


I'm very proud indeed to be an Ambassador for the UK Charity Act Against Injustice
which exists to fight the horror that is Trafficking and Abuse of Children worldwide
and to bring awareness to everyone of the extent of this multi million dollar business resulting in the disappearance of 2.4 million children each year.



I have only to think of one child in misery somewhere in the world to be inspired to do more - and more - and more - as much as I can do to help promote the charity and maybe help raise funds for their projects.



Earlier this year, I released a song 'Let There Be Light' which I donated to Act Against Injustice and which I'm pleased to say has raised funds which I have specifically designated into the 'Safehouse Fund'. We are aiming to build safehouses in various places around the world, the first one in Nepal where we have helped to rescue several children from slave labor.


Download link for Let There Be Light



In January 2012, there will be a live 'Awareness' Concert in New York, with artists giving their time to perform and we hope this will put more money in the Safehouse Fund. In the Fall of 2012, there will be another concert - on a much larger scale - in Florida with some very well known stars joining us to make this a very high profile event. All very exciting.



Several people in radio in the USA and the UK are kindly helping me to promote the work of AAI by inviting me to be a guest on their shows - and to preview a new song that I'm releasing for the benefit of the charity.



The first such interview was with Diana Broomfield of WDBQ on November 12 - Diana is a great supporter of my music and also my spoken word and I was delighted that she should be the first person to broadcast my song 'Someone Else's Problem' which I was inspired to write simply by thinking of the plight of children around the world.






Reverbnation Store link for download


Children in every country need our care; what could be more important than a child? I am honored to have the opportunity to try and help - my mission is
to be The Voice of The Children - for the missing children cannot speak for themselves.



The song will also be downloadable on the Act Against Injustice website at their
music store link which I gave above.  Only 1$ and you will be helping.

In addition to thanking Diana Broomfield  I'd also like to say a big thankyou
to Mary Laluna at Artsees Diner magazine for this lovely update about my
previous song 'Let There Be Light'.
And........to Haych Storm of IMGlobal Independent Musicians Global for help in
promoting this project.

I hope you'll help me to help the children!!


thank you everyone........
xxxxx
Tommie

There has to be an ongoing PS to this blog - so many people in broadcasting have come forward and supported me and helped with promotion, including Jim Rustemeyer of Mixposure Radio, Brendan Gaffney of All Irish Radio, Bob Birch of Bob Birch Radio , Bert Gagnon of Musictogousa, David Mobley, Cheryl Scott, Wendy Rudin, and so many more..........thank you, thank you, thank you.........





Sunday, October 30, 2011

Number One Three Times all at once................

Recently I celebrated three years of being the Number One blues artist for New Zealand on Reverbnation -
three whole years since I put out my first release on there and went to number one and stayed and stayed
and stayed..........http://www.reverbnation.com/tommiesingah



The track I released - against a huge amount of advice that it was 'too long' a track - was
'Can't Leave You Alone' and that song is the first on my self produced album In The Making
which I finally got on to CD Baby a couple of months ago and has been featured there.
http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/tommiebrewster




This album took me to Number Four in the USA RootsMusicReport Blues chart amongst some of
the great names of blues and so far as I am aware, as the only non-American in there at the time.
I stayed there for some weeks and then disappeared, but last week returned and the album is
back in there at Number 8.
http://www.rootsmusicreport.com/index.php?page=charts&name=int_blues




Coincidentally, the song 'Can't Leave You Alone' is the one chosen on the USA site Song Vault
to be in their blues finals charts and I'm proud to say that it is now in its 5th week at Number One
thanks to people who have voted it there.
http://songvault.fm/artists.htm?id=8209

And today I discovered that I am now Number One blues vocalist on the Australian site
MP3.au.com - which for a New Zealander I can assure you is quite an achievement.  I see
that I am also rated at Number 11 on that same site for the general blues category.
http://www.mp3.com.au/TommieBrewster

                                                                                   

All of this comes about through great support from those who find my music connects with them
in some way and that means everything to me.  So many difficulties, huge mountains to climb
and creating, performing and producing my music in my own way all on my own to find that
it is received so so so well, definitely puts a big smile on my face.

I just Google my name and got 22,000,000, mentions - although that actually is nowhere
as large as my interview show Tommie Talks Music - but that's another story!



Thank you to all my friends, fellow musicians and all of you who purchased my music or
are playing it on radio.  And now - the next album is waiting for me...............

                                                            http://www.tommiebrewster.com/