For vendor Joey S., the loss of his brother leads to a loving musical tribute.
Joey Shumpert remembers clearly the last time he visited with his brother, Josh.
It was January 2016, and Josh, only 27, was in Vanderbilt Hospital with brain cancer. But, he was having a good day, laughing and blowing kisses to his young daughter. “Josh was goofy and funny — he was always laughing,” says Joey, a soft spoken man who looks younger than his 42 years.
But, not long after Joey left the hospital, Josh passed away. The memory of that day left an understandably strong impression on Joey, and he shot a video of the experience. A singer-songwriter with roots in Christian music, Joey wrote a song about the day, “Blowing Kisses to Sage.”
“Do you think he’s blowing kisses / from way up in those clouds? /You know daddy never misses / I can almost see him now," reads the first lines of the chorus.
“And I asked Jesus to tell him / I'm being good every single day / and if he hugs my daddy / tell him this one is from Sage / Blowing Kisses to Sage / Blowing Kisses to Sage,” it finishes.
Like many before him, Joey, an Arkansas native, moved to Nashville to pursue a career in music. He cites TobyMac and Casting Crowns as his influences, and while he hasn’t gotten a big break yet, Nashville has been good to him since he arrived about a year ago.
He was turned on to working for The Contributor by another vendor, Shawn Lesley (featured in the April 30 issue) and has been a vendor for a few months. When he’s not selling the magazine, Joey holds down a job at the Regal Cinemas Hollywood 27 at 100 Oaks. Even with two jobs, Joey still must stay at the Nashville Union Rescue Mission most nights, and looks forward to earning enough money to find his own place.
The lessons he learned from the loss of his brother were simple but powerful: “You never know when it’s going to be someone’s last moment, so don’t take any time for granted.