One of the joys of travel for me is meeting new and different people. On our recent European trip, the first half was with a tour group from Collette Tours. Colleen and I had never experienced traveling with a tour group, and now we’re hooked! We highly recommend Collette Tours and are looking to do a Scotland and Ireland trip next spring. We traveled throughout London and Paris with a group of amazing people spanning all generations and backgrounds.
On one of our outings in Paris, while standing under the Eiffel Tower waiting to go up to the restaurant, we were chatting with another couple. I asked the gentleman if he was connected to the music world because I noticed he took his guitar with him on most of our evening trips. “I’m guessing,” I said in jest, “you must be a rock star.”
Although the name on his name tag was Greg, he explained that his professional name is Gee Mack. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I soon learned I was in the presence of greatness. He had performed and toured artists such as Stevie Wonder, The Temptations, Jay Z, Tupac Shakur, Jamie Foxx, LL Cool J, Brandy, and Snoop Dogg, among many others. Also, he has written and produced songs for albums and movie soundtracks.
After dinner, I was still visiting with Greg and I asked him two questions. His answers to both surprised me. The first was who he believes is the greatest guitarist alive today. His response was “I am.” Ok, that’s his opinion and I liked his self-assuredness. My second question was what or who inspired him to rise from the ranks of being just another average musician to believing he was the best. He answered, “Eight years ago, I realized if I was going to survive in the music world, I had to not only become the best guitarist in the world, I needed to commit to becoming the best performing guitarist in the world. To do that, it could no longer be about me, but my audience.” I almost hugged him right on the spot in Paris under the Eiffel Tower. I had found a rock star who had the mindset of a servant leader. He went on to tell me the famous Jazz guitarist Grant Green continues to inspire him — almost 30 after his death in 1979 — as he listens to his guitar runs and music. So inspired was Gee Mack, in fact, that he recently released his own album with various guitar runs and music mixes. Long after he passes from this Earth, just as Grant Green inspires him, he will inspire new artists whom he will never meet. Another small example of what can happen when we make the mindset shift away from “me” and become truly other focused.
In what area of your life might you consider making the mindset shift to helping others that might produce amazing results just like Gee Mack? Send me a note and let me know. Let’s start a dialogue.