My name is Joseph Abrams! I’m a proud Michigander (that’s someone who’s from Michigan for those wondering) that has lived in Los Angeles since 2005. Born in Ann Arbor and raised by my mother there are two things I attribute to my experiences and the person I’ve become: the first, which I am very thankful for, is the home my mother made was uplifting, positive, and loving, and the second is, by the grace of the Powers greater than myself and life, I’ve always had something in my life that I’m passionate about. I’m not saying that I’m perfect and have all the answers - I’m human. But the point is that my early passions as a child are a big part of my life today. I just think putting these books together from my life experiences may be helpful to future adults, and that is my number one goal. To read more about these life experiences that have inspired the creation of the Kids Manifest concept...
From the time I was 5 years old (1983), I’ve always had something I was going to be, and it was then a friend and I realized we wanted to be pilots for Delta. At the time I remember it seemed so real set in our minds that when we grew up we were going to fly for Delta. Now looking back, I find it very interesting how I’ve always loved airplanes and how much time I’ve spent flying.
Fast forward to first grade, 1984, the first time I wrote a kids story! I would get a few pieces of blank paper, number the bottom corners, and write the words on the bottom half, drawing pictures above that went along with the story. When it was done I would put three staples down the side and there I had a book! Now looking back, it’s funny that I’ve actually published a children’s book!
Moving forward to 1985, it all changed when I caught wind of the great Walter Payton and the noise the 1985 Chicago Bears were making. It was football from then on. The Bears quarterback, Jim McMahon, was my guy because he handed the ball off to Walter, so naturally I wanted to be a quarterback. I played junior football into high school and what I got from that was a push that I needed in life, and to learn how to push myself. To be on a football team is to work and make big commitments.
It was around this time I saw John McEnroe screaming at the chair umpire during Wimbledon and it was the intensity of that match that drew me to tennis. Tennis ended up being crucial to my move to Los Angeles. That passion ended up allowing me to make a living for a couple years in tennis and the only reason I stopped was because music drew me away from it. Now I enjoy playing for fun with my wife and son.
All of these things became my passion, I just knew I would do one of them as a professional, I just had to pick. In my mind! It’s important to note I spent lots of time playing out scenarios of hitting a hole in one at Scarlett and Mitchell, a big field in Ann Arbor where we had a 4-hole course a couple of kids and myself made up, as well as doing the classic “3,2,1” count down pretending the buzzer goes off while throwing a touch down or shooting the basketball “eaahhhhhhhhhh.” So through football and tennis I was gaining tools that would help me manifest doing something I love later in life.
Fast-forward to around 1986 or 87, one night my mom was asleep and I put on Showtime or HBO, whatever one was running the movie Purple Rain at the time, and my life changed once again. When the opening scene hits with “dearly beloved” and the song “lets go crazy” comes in, all I can say is “WOW”! That started my passion for live music performance. I was always really into music, but seeing the live aspect really blew me back and I was immediately connected.
It was around this time I was introduced to Jimi Hendrix and that just added more fuel to the passion. From there I started renting any live concert I could at the video store. I rented “Jimi Hendrix Live at Berkley” a lot. There were only mom and pop video rental stores then, before Blockbuster and the chain movie rental stores. That’s also when I started collecting footage and audio of any live concert I could (Woodstock, Hendrix, Led Zeppelin the song remains the same, P-Funk)... I was my own YouTube!
When I was twelve I got a guitar and that’s when I started putting on a live concert at bedtime with headphones, imagining it was me playing. Later, when took up playing bass, I remember wanting to play for Janet Jackson. I did that through high school. It’s important to note that when I would do this, I would really feel it or try to feel what it would be like. I really put a lot of love and belief into those moments. From ages 12 to 18 or so, I did that many nights falling asleep. Moving forward to 19 years old, I was in a band playing a lot, learning a lot, and most important, honing something I love.
Now going to 2005. I always wanted to live in Los Angeles, California; in fact, I used to beg my mom to move there when I was a kid so I could play tennis and golf year round without the winters. Because of more opportunity, and to challenge myself, I decided to move to Los Angeles. It just so happed that I was getting back into playing tennis a lot and it hit me that I had plenty of knowledge of the game and technique to teach. At age 25 I became a certified USPTA teaching pro and off to Los Angeles I went with a few tennis rackets, a bass guitar, and 25 years of dreams.
I arrived in Los Angeles on June 12, 2005 with no job, $900, and a swanky apartment on Sunset and Vine that my stepfather so amazingly and graciously paid 2 months of rent for. From there I was pretty lucky (even though I was going straight to every head tennis pro like “I’m here, hire me”) to 4 days later falling into a temporary summer job at the Los Angeles Tennis Club that paid great and allowed me time to get on staff somewhere else while saving the money I was making that summer. Low and behold, I secured a staff spot at a club in San Marino, CA that I was able to sustain at.
During this early time in Los Angeles I remembered the children’s stories I wrote as a kid and thought “I want to do that some day,” but at that time I had no ideas for any books. In 2007 I was going to Pasadena City College, teaching tennis, and when I went home to Michigan for Christmas my mom introduced me to some metaphysics discussions that were sweeping the nation at the time. After spending the next few years exploring the power of thought, meditation and the metaphysics behind it, I began to see clearly as to how I have manifested my life.
As 2009 rolls around, my friend signed a record deal and asked me to play bass for his band. Naturally I said, “yep’s” and it’s been a whirlwind ever since. I’ve been so fortunate to play on late night TV like Letterman, Conan, Arsenio, and more, to some of the worlds most dreamed about venues, and ultimately make a living playing my bass. After reflecting on my childhood passions and seeing how its been a part of my adult life, everything kind of dawned on me and it was during this time on the road traveling and playing that I came up with Kids Manifest.
I hope I don’t come off as cheesy because I’m not saying all you have to do is close your eyes and believe, that's not it. It is a big part of it though, especially as children, because the emotion connected to children’s dreams and passions is very powerful. I feel like I’m an example of that and that is why I want to share this experience through these books.
Success is what YOU believe it is, and for me, just finding a passion and exploring it is success. When doing that I’ve found that more times than not, things will work in your favor.
Thank you for your time! Let’s Manifest! Peace and Love.