Did you ever buy a red car? or maybe a yellow car? You felt it represented your uniqueness, your personality, and who you are, you were proud of the car and the color suited you so well. A day or two after you started driving it you suddenly noticed your car, your color everywhere, wow, you had no idea there were this many yellow cars in existence, even in your own town!
But.......they were there all along, you were just not dialed in, your attention was not on yellow cars because they were not even in the lexicon of your own thinking until you decided that you had to own one, suddenly the thought of a yellow car moved front and center!
So it is with Gratitude, what is it? why an album title? what does it do for you, me, anyone? Let's rewind for a moment, I put out an album in 2014 titled "Geography of the Soul" immediately after releasing that project I had started writing the next record that was ultimately going to be called Gratitude, I can't remember exactly why but most of it came together very quickly, I was about 70% finished writing the record when I did a complete stop! It felt too self-serving, I was not feeling grateful enough!
Enter dHarmic Evolution, a podcast designed to serve others, now I was starting to feel better, I had to shelve the "Gratitude" album even though I was so close to finishing, we had mixed and mastered 5 or 6 tracks and had 3 out of the remaining 10 or 12 already recorded, but it just was not the right season. God does this to you, you only need to listen. So my Gratitude was returning, I was feeling better about my place in the world, and more "Connected" to my purpose.
I remember when I started the dHarmic Evolution, I started all wrong, that's how I do almost everything, I just do it! Not advisable, you make too many mistakes that way, the good news is you "get it out there" I started by interviewing everybody and anybody, you should start with a very tight niche, then expand later. I did the opposite, I live in opposite day almost every day. What was intriguing to me, was the fact that my audience eventually told me what the show was supposed to be about, I was feeling grateful.
Two years and 161 shows later and now in 71 countries, we are still finding new audiences to put our fabulous roster of Indie artists in front of to learn about their music. You should really check them out, every single one is on the dHarmic Evolution website and you can check out their blog, their show, their songs and show notes all on the site www.dharmicevolution.com now I was really feeling grateful.
In between Geography of the Soul, Gratitude, and dHarmic Evolution, I also started an entertainment agency, "The James O'Connor Agency", and, simultaneously, became the co-writer and lead singer for a Christian Rock band called "Mercy" with my dear friend and co-conspirator Christine Mercy Johnson, (more on all of this for another time,) but needless to say my steps were being guided deep into the entertainment field and I was feeling even more grateful.
Last summer, in the middle of all that was going on and many trips to Nashville for all the musical projects that had been happening, I found myself back in the studio recording a new song via the James O'Connor Agency for client and now friend, Virginia Tech alumni Professor Scott Geller, it was a custom song written by Christine Mercy and myself for Scott's brand, "Actively caring for people", http://www.activelycaringpeople.org/ The title "Here to Share and Care", its one of the specialties we have at the agency which is writing and producing big amazing songs for Authors, Speakers, and Thought leaders, I was now brimming with Gratitude!
While the Gratitude album was on hold, and during the inception of "Mercy" and the Agency (JOCA) I had one of my vetting and songwriting sessions with Christine and asked the Lord if I could finish the "Gratitude" album (I don't like anything left incomplete) he said through Christine (she hears his voice very clearly) "no, not this year, you won't have time, you can however put out a few singles". Ok that was good enough for me. I was grateful.
Then as if the ball was dropping in Times Square on New years Eve, I get a call out of the blue last fall, it was Christine, "James the Lord gave me your album cover this morning" I said of course "What!! &*%$@0>??" She then described in perfect detail what he wanted to on the cover of the "Gratitude" album, "he wants your hands holding the dove" so my friend Gregory Egan and Lucinda Miller did the hand shoot, we finished the album cover, a few more trips back to Nashville to record, mix, and master, and behold "Gratitude" was born and released on January 15th 2018. I am really, really, Grateful!! You can download a copy today here! https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/jameskevinoconnor7
You can also follow a far more elaborate verison of this story on the dHarmic Evolution podcast DE162 the storyteller series, click the link below and hear the entire story!