The song was inspired by actor Will Smith; the pending death of my father; the things people do to project the appearance of success in Hollywood; as well as a series of other seemingly unrelated events. The song’s main theme, however, centers around the idea that cultivating self-worth, self-knowing, self-value, and self-esteem within the hearts and minds of children — ideally, during their formative years, before the age of six, but also thereafter — this is what encourages a child’s development into a wholesome, loving and successful adult, who is also a healthy contributor in society and the world at large.
It is my heart-felt belief that if you can consistently see your child’s eyes smiling, there is hope for his, hers, and humanity’s futures.
Click Here to Listen, or continue reading: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=07gJouy9NqQ&feature=youtu.be
In Hollywood, and most certainly other parts of the world, underground cultures exist, which are not spoken of in mass circles. These “cultures” consist of people who lead “double lives.” The duel existences consist of activities in which individuals partake “on the down low,” as they say — things people do that they do not want others, outside of the circle/culture, to know about. These activities are inclusive of things one does for money; other times things are done for notoriety, association and fame, and still other times, things are done, which one would not normally do, based on one’s values and moral character, for both money and fame. Either way, the objective is to maintain and project an image of success in the surreal mega-culture of the entertainment industry.
Rumors regarding these underground cultures circulate, often, viciously, among those on the outskirts of these cultures. Frequently, those on the outskirts have either not been presented the opportunity to join these “inner cultures of success,” or they have opted, for whatever reasons, to not participate. For them, the price is more than they are willing to pay to become, and maintain associations within these “inner circles.”
There was a time when I was, in essence, a member of a couple of these “underground cultures.” And during a specific period, I remember speaking to others within the circles, who were searching for meaning in their lives. They felt as if they had lost themselves; that they could no longer keep track of the reasons why thy began their journey towards becoming notable entertainment performance artists. Further, many felt as if they could not see a way out: it was as if they had dug themselves into these really deep wholes, and rescuing themselves would require abandoning all they had worked so very long and hard to develop and achieve.
I am a really sensitive person. Therefore, I could feel their pain, most likely because their pain was also my own.
On the morning of this one particular day, I spoke to my mom, who reported that my father was not faring well. He was dying, and I felt sick about it. I ventured into town from where I was living, in Malibu, California, stopping by my friend’s and former neighbor’s place near Venice, on my way to visit my parents.
This underground culture I mentioned was at the core of existence among the people I knew in Malibu — most of whom were writers, actors, models, and/or musicians in desperate need of breakthroughs, of any sort, that would yield notoriety and ultimate success.
As I ventured into Marina del Rey (a more modern, and, in some ways, overall more economically-superior neighbor to Venice. CA), these feelings of desperation transformed, yet they felt equal in intensity. These associates in the Marina were among those of the “outskirts” of the underground cultures. They had opted to not allow their creative urges to rule them, and had settled into “normal jobs and careers” that yielded them decent incomes and upper middle-class statures.
Yet, the massive amounts of drugs and alcohol they consumed, on a regular basis, seemed to bespeak of their own personal subconscious desperation, camouflaged under the guise of merely wanting to “have a good time.”
Yes, the Marina crowd had a bit more financial solvency than my artist friends, in Malibu. And yet, because I am extremely sensitive, by nature, I could literally, feel their desperation and pain as well, most likely because it, too, was also my own.
Later, nearby my parent’s apartment, in mid-town Los Angeles, I stopped to put gas in my car. The station was on the corner of Crenshaw and Adams Blvd. Intending to grab food on the way, I decided to walk to a nearby eatery. Because I grew up in this neighborhood, I initially did not think much of it, but as I walked, it dawned on me that I was no longer in Malibu: I was “back in the ‘hood.’
Again, my sensitivity kicked in, and I was aware that the energy was different from the suburban areas where I had been earlier. Because I was no longer at the beach, the temperature was decidedly hotter, and thereby, more harsh. There was the typical traffic noise found in major cities, but additionally, sounds specific within inner-city communities were present. These sounds consisted of urban music blaring from passing cars, as well as from the bar-b-que, and fish fry eateries. Car horns appeared to honk more frequently, as well.
Most notable, however, was a continual underlying humming noise that could be heard as well as sensed. The source of the “humming sound” seemed to be the electrical telephone wires, overhead, stringing from every corner.
The smells were also different: they were more pronounced; more harsh to the senses, and consisted of a combination of… God knows what… food? car fumes and gas? smells from the sewers? It was hard to pinpoint, exactly, but the sensation was definite.
Finally, the visual images were unequivocally more depressed. Whereas, the anguish was present in the previous “west-side/beach” locations, the beautiful scenery was a pleasurable distraction that enabled one to momentarily forget one’s looming problems.
This was not the case in ‘the hood,’ where everything seemed older, more grey or brown in hue, and more closely woven together to the point of feeling congested.
As I crossed the street, walking, in route to acquire nourishment, I became keenly aware of a pulsating feeling all around me, seemingly in the air. It literally felt as if an intense pulse was beating, which I now also felt coming from underground, now that I was on foot.
The pulsations gave off a discomforting energetic: it was not wholesome; it was not nourishing; it did not evoke joy, but rather an uncertainty and an uneasiness, as if one did not know exactly what to anticipate next, and therefore, had to remain on one’s guard at all times.
The sensation felt as if the voice of the community was screaming for relief. The voice was screaming for opportunities, acknowledgement, and financial liquidity. There was also an urgency in the air. Nothing, nor no one appeared relaxed, but extremely severe, and the vibration screamed “hustle,” an activity which did not appear to be a matter of choice, but rather, a matter of survival.
I consciously compared these inner-city pulsations with the feelings of silent despair I sensed in the more economically well-off areas of town.
It soon occurred to me that while the affections were different, the misery was all the same. All arenas consisted of a silent, or low vibratory hum that was screaming for relief and freedom.
In all cases, the soul appeared to be crying out for grace, mercy, acceptance, and love. I made a mental note of these things as I continued to grieve the pending loss of my father.
The one time I met actor Will Smith was when I worked as staff writer for Hollywood teen entertainment magazines — my first full-time writing job. A still extremely beautiful Whitney Houston was there, alongside good pal Eddie Murphy, and several other power celebs in Hollywood. In strolled Will Smith, looking and acting as if he owned the place, in spite of others present, who equaled, and perhaps even surpassed him in stature and notoriety at the time.
Later, when recalling the event, I noted that I was most impressed by the air of confidence that Smith possessed, more so than many of the other stars in the room who had reached and maintained superstar status prior to, and longer than him.
“Where does his air of confidence come from,” I thought to myself. This was followed by the responsive afterthought: “He was affirmed as a child. Someone affirmed Will Smith, at a very young age. Therefore, he grew up believing in himself and his abilities, so much so, that his confidence does not appear to lessen in the midst of others who could, or might be deemed ‘more important’ than him.”
I later mused over the idea that others, too, could probably develop a similar air of confidence, and reach peak levels of performance, notoriety and success in their lives and their chosen professions if they, too, are affirmed in a similar way as Smith.
Thus, when my writing partner and me began writing “Smiling Children’s Eyes,” our intent was to express an idea that would address the notion of nurturing children to the degree that they will avoid leading “double lives” of private desperation, as is referenced in the initial examples shared in these notes.
Listen Here, “Smiling Children’s Eyes”
“Smiling Children’s Eyes”
Each day when I see my way through motion, to and fro,’
Which way should I turn? Tell me for I do not know.
I reach the end of the pathway,
There are mountains, horizons clear.
I can feel so lonely, yet I know your love is oh, so near.
Smiling Children’s Eyes can heal the future. (4x’s)
I need to feel your touch; sounds are piercing in my ear.
I feel the pulse of the people’s pain, cries of yearning, silent fear.
Every time I turn around something seems so out of line.
No matter what I do, or where I go, the voice inside me cries!
Smiling Children’s Eyes can heal the future. (4x’s)
Each and every day of life your future can shine bright!
Open up your heart it feels so right,
Watching smiling children’s eyes!
Recorded at Universal Music Studios, Universal City, CA.
©2001 ASCAP Publishing