They Say: “You’ll Never Make It in this Business”
They Say: “You Need to Go to This School and have That Degree”
They Say: “Only 2% Succeed in Your Industry, So Don’t Bother”
They Say: “You Need The Right Connections”
They Say: “You Have to Dress Like This and Play Your Trumpet Like That or Forget It!”
They Say: “No One Is Going to Appreciate Your Style of Music!”
They Say: “You Have No Right to Take That Position”
They Say: “You Don’t Deserve to Receive Those Accolades!”
They Say: “It Will Never Work!”
They Say: “Don’t Expect Much, So You Won’t Be Disappointed!”
Yes, They Say a lot of Discouraging, Mean & Nasty Things, often without trying to be Mean, Nasty or Discouraging.
Somehow They forget that the Celebrated Icons They Themselves Honor, Revere & Adore were Told the Very Same Things, Did Not Have the Right Connections, Money, Resources or Attend an Institution of Select Pedigree.
Icons are Pioneers whom Forge their Own Identities, Sounds, Art & Creativity onto the Global Landscape without Asking Permission or Seeking Solace in the Status Quo.
These Ambassadors of Innovation Shift the Platform of Public Paradigms into New Realities of Consciousness that Shape the Future and Transcend Life As We Currently Understand It.
With Constant Obstacle, Hurdles, Detours and Encumbrances at Every Level, Vanguards Chase Away the Proverbial They as These Climb Higher Toward Their Own Thrones, Created Just for Them.
Go and Do Likewise…
We’ve all heard this truth before: “A Failure to Plan is a Plan for Failure.” Progressing toward Maximum Effectiveness Requires our Working Smart as We Go Hard. Proficiency on the Front End of this EntreMusicianal Journey helps Curry Focus and Divert Us from Gigs, Relationships & Situations which either Distract or Completely Derail us. Yes, It took Me a Minute, but after Bumping My Head (HARD) Multiple Times, I Created Five Foundations to Stay Grounded and Air Bound Simultaneously.
1) Maintain an Ultra Tight Schedule.
This is Almost Laughable for Many Artists, Musicians & Creatives who Live Our Lives on the Constant Cuff of Inspiration and Spur of the Moment Occurrences. Often these Occasions Give Birth to Our Greatest Work and Collaborations. Although We Should Never Write these Blessed Moments Off, EntreMusicians Understand that TIME is The Only Commodity We Cannot Produce nor Reproduce, So We Must Protect It. Even as we Attempt to Manage It, if we are not Extremely Careful, Time Slips Away.
My Go To Tool is Michael Hyatt’s “My Ideal Week,” which has locked me into the regiment of ‘Giving Every Day a Name‘ and Living Out the Daily Theme with all of My Being! Knowing Where I Should Be, What I Need to Be Doing, With Whom & for How Long, has Helped Me Conquer the Fear of Saying “No” and Keeping The Main Thang Just That. Keep Your Ideal Week Always Before You on Multiple Devices and Never Deviate Unless God Himself Intervenes…then You’d Better Flex!
2) Be Your Best YOU
Artists on the Grind Neglect Themselves the Most!
We Don’t Feed Our Spirits, Get Our Proper Rest, Exercise nor Eat Healthy (albeit too much!) Scheduling Time to Do Each of the Aforementioned Necessities MUST Not Be Ignored. The Work MUST & WILL Get Done, But Never at the Expense of Ruining the Only Body We’ve Been Given!
Additionally, We Tend to Neglect those Closest To Us! Many a Spouse, Parent or Child has Suffered the Loss of Our Presence. Broken Hearts, Bitterness & the Biting Sting of Rejection may make for a Great Lyric, but Living Beneath the Weight of such consequences may Create Scars that the Most Powerful Melodies Can’t Wash Away.
Be Proactive and Invest Quality, Uninterrupted Time with Your Significants. Especially If/When Your Career Appropriates a Place where You’re able to Give Expensive Gifts, They Will Never Replace Your Being With Them. Your Guitar Will Not Take Care of You, if You should become Too Ill to Play It! Nurture Relationship, Watch Love Grow!
3) Create a Killer Team
These Select Individuals May or May Not Be Musicians, but Their Primary Duty is to Make Sure All Business is Handled with Excellence!
My Team Comprises Creative, Legal, Accounting & Technical.
The Optimal Situation is when the Entire Team Can Meet Together Every Other Month. The Total Vision, Purpose & Plan Can Be Discussed, Fleshed Out and Consistently Processed with Everyone Knowing their Roles & Assignments.
Less than Ideal, but still potent is Scheduling One on Ones with an Individual Team Member to Move the Needle Forward. In these Sessions, Spend Concentrated Time on Each Discipline, Zeroing in On the Mechanics Necessary to Complete the Project.
In Either Approach, It’s Essential to Maintain a Grip on the Overall Vision, Brand & Message. When Every Single Team Member is Clear about the Collective Expectations, their Execution will Reflect and Propel the Entire Ensemble Forward. Everyone Wins!
The Best Advice I Ever Heard (Although I Forget Where) is to ‘Work ON Your Business, Not IN It.’ While making this apply across the board to ALL Creatives is Counterproductive, EntreMusicians can utilize this technique in amazing ways.
Depending on the Structure of Your Band or Act, Commission Everyone (or at least those Willing) to Take On Extra Non Musical Duties. Someone Works closely with Sound & Lighting, Someone Else on Wardrobe, Choreography or Travel Arrangements, Booking, Gear Repair, Promotion or the Myriad of Other Responsibilities involved with keeping the Group Alive & Afloat.
At the very least, hire one of the guys/gals to be the MD. And make sure the rest of the band knows that they WILL Be Paid $$ more money because of their extra commitment. Having a legit Music Director will ensure that Rehearsals DON’T Become Practice Sessions, where the guys/gals spend (waste) time Learning & Practicing the Music in front of the Rest of the Band Members who’ve already done their Homework! The MD Preps & Sends the charts, works out difficult segues, runs the rehearsals and directs the performance. This Frees YOU to Do What You Do Best…Obviously, If this IS What You Do Best, Be Honest About What You Don’t Do Best and Delegate That!
5) Be Only Where You Need to Be, Socially
It’s Futile to Be On Absolutely Every Social Site. Especially if Your Fan Demographic is Not. Take Inventory of Where Your True Fans Are and Live There. While Your Personal Profile Posts help Followers Know More About You, When It’s Time to Talk Serious Music, Gigs, Releases or Merch, ALWAYS Point them to Your Band Page and Website for more Appropriate Engagement. Once They Land There, Make Sure You Engage Them!
When Necessary to Exist on Multiple Sites, Utilize Services Like Hootsuite or Others which let you Post to All At Once. Although FaceBook tends to stifle the visibility of such posts, Reschedule for maximum impact to ensure your message.
These Five Foundations Have Helped Me Gain Momentum & Get More Done! My Energy Level and Creativity are at Healthy Constants and My Wife & Family Love Me and Don’t Think I’m a Jerk (well there’s that one cousin..!) Overall, it’s a Balanced, Rewarding Life and I Hope These Five Foundations Help You. I Would Love To Know If You Have a Similar or Better List that Could Help Me & Others Who Read This. Feel Free to Share!
Download My Free E-Book “50 Engaging Ways to Turn Your Fans Into Family!”
Mastering the Art of Consistent Networking is Foundational & Essential if we are to Succeed as EntreMusicians. Advancement eludes us when we consider ourselves islands and isolate ourselves from community. Albeit, We bear the bulk of the Responsibility for our Careers, True Achievement is Not Created in a Vacuum.
Many EntreMusicians swallow the Myth of the “Self Made Artist,” who Writes Everything, Arranges, Produces & Plays Everything, but never ascends from his/her basement studio because they’ve eschewed human social skills and ignore establishing relationships with other bands, artists and creatives.
Even Musicians who’ve been fortunate enough to secure management, booking or some significant ‘deal’ which somewhat sets them apart from their contemporaries, find they have a much rougher ride and eventually hit a wall because they have set themselves (or allowed others to place them) above or outside the Collective Visibility of the Creative Culture. The Truth is that even at the Highest Level of Triumph, Connectivity Still Rules! So here are a Few Rules to Perfect the Practice of Networking at whatever Position You Currently Occupy.
1. Reach Out!
Take the Initiative to Find Other Artists of Like Mind/Spirit/Heart whether within your musical genre or not. Arrange a Coffee or Jam Session or Gig that’s Mutually Beneficial. Without Becoming a Pest, Be the One Calling, Texting or Messaging Periodically to Let Them Know You’re Interested in Them and What’s Happening in Their Career.
2. Give Out!
EntreMusicians are Extremely Generous. Any Valuable Information, Resources or Viable Practicality which can be freely offered, Give It! Go Out of Your Way, Be On the Look Out and Intentionally Create Opportunities to Be A Blessing to Another. Is there any Old Gear hanging around that you’ll likely never fire up again? Don’t Pawn It, Find an Up & Coming Hopeful and Give The Thing(s) Away!
3. Help Out!
Everyone Needs Help at Some Point in Time. EVERYONE! Even & Especially National Recording Artists. Find Out How You Can Assist – Yes You! Graham Cochrane, an Engineer/Producer I Follow & Highly Respect once said that every time he attends NAMM or some other Industry Function, he abstains from strolling up to higher profile Artists/Producers/DJs with Business Card & CDs in Hand, asking THEM to either Listen to His Stuff, Get Him a Deal or “Hook Him Up” in whatever way. Instead, He ASKS How HE Can HELP Them!!
Chances are They will be playing his City soon (he asks) and perhaps there may be some assistance they might need when they arrive and/or before they depart that he may be essential in accomplishing on their behalf. He Never asks for anything in return and Graham’s (and now my own) methodology is 85% More Effective that the ‘Star’ will remember His Name…There are a Million Ways to Help – Find Yours!
4. Throw Out!
Discard ALL Negative Motives, Attitudes, Thoughts, Words & Actions!* Live By The Mantra that You NEVER Compete, NEVER Compare & NEVER Criticize!**
Throw Out ALL Feelings of Envy & Pride! Concentrate on Doing Your Best Work and Find Ways to Assist Your Peers in Doing Theirs. Hold The Door Open and Help Balance The Ladder for Other, Again Expecting (And Not Asking For) Anything In Return! Overtime You Will See, by Osmosis, the Law of Sowing & Reaping bearing Fruit and Your Life & Career Blessed because You have Blessed So Many Others!
I would Love to Hear How You Utilize Networking in Your EntreMusicianal Pursuits and the Profound Results. Leave Your Comments Below.
Download My Free E-Book “50 Engaging Ways to Transform Your Fans Into Family” and Subscribe at TheEntreMusician.com for More Ways to Engage, Encourage & Empower Each Other!
I was listening to Spyro Gyra’s “Incognito” on Vinyl while writing this post.
* &** Quotes of Bishop David L. Thomas
Just this past week I was in conversation with a young songwriter who said Yes to a project before he actually understood the expectations of the organization hiring him and was now mired in backtracking renegotiations. While consulting him on how to invoke a tardy “Win-Win,” I made a few notes for myself to follow and would like to share with you.
Before doing so, however, I need to acknowledge my inconsistency with these posts and apologize for any inconveniences I may have caused you. Over the past several months, I have had to take on Non Linear Employment to compensate for a Financial Shift in our Family. Now, by God’s Grace we are back at Ground Zero, and it is My Pleasure to Blog & Vlog regularly.
The First Challenge facing our Composer was a Failure to Know What He Was Willing to Offer. With respect to his capacity to do a great job, (he certainly has the chops), but he had no idea how to present himself as a professional who would provide A, B & C.
His second issue was that he didn’t want to say “No, Thank You!” Obviously grateful for the opportunity to have his music placed with this organization (or anywhere else for that matter) became a stronger emotion than whether or not he should look for a more appropriate advantage.
Thirdly, Once he Agreed, he simply didn’t ask The Right Questions to Gain Enough Insight Concerning their Assumptions. Compensation is Not Always the Most Important Question. There is the matter of Deadlines, Who Will Own the Composition once completed, how it will be distributed & marketed and the Exclusivity factor after the Agreement’s Term had expired. These and other questions were never addressed after he settled on “how much.”
The Fourth Challenge was that he never expressed the Necessary Requirements needed to provide the proper arrangement his client imagined they would receive. Nor did he set proper boundaries once production began, which caused them to constantly reimagine a bigger arrangement than he conceived, so the goal post kept inching away from him.
Finally and Unforgivingly, the Agreement was Never Clarified in Writing, so the many conversations about what could and might be were reduced to conjecture with less than two weeks to go on the expected completion date. And that’s when he decides to call…
To Recap, Remember these Five Rules of Clarification:
1. Know In Advance What You Are Willing to Offer
2. Know When & If You Should Say No and Stick with Your Answer!
3. Ask The Right Questions! Compensation is Not The Most Important One…
4. Know Your Requirements and Set Appropriate Limitations.
5. Always In Writing. Laymen Terms, No Small Print, But In Writing!
Today I am Incredibly Transparent with You.
I Trust You’ll Appreciate My Confessions.
Far Too Often, I become Extremely Discouraged as an EntreMusician. Especially in the Neighborhood of Lost Opportunities. If & When I Miss a Shot at an Important Gig, Submission, Audition or Project that would have either Paid Handsomely or led to an even Greater Opp, I get really bummed. Within the grueling peripherals of this past week, due to personal family woes, I’ve been ridiculously behind and absolutely unproductive – in every area! In fact, I had to rigorously talk myself out of an impulse buy of Izotope’s Music Production Bundle 2, credit card in hand, just to pacify myself (although Ozone 7 remains on My List)!
I find that If I do not get a handle on my thoughts, I can easily slide into a“Comparisonism & Lack Mentality” mode which are Detrimental to every Artist & Musician.
Exhaustive Concentration on the Equipment, Skills, Connections, Resources, Looks, ___________, ___________ I Don’t Own Quickly Deteriorates My Perspective on the Attributes I Do Possess and seriously hinders my Flow & Output.
But, When that Ugly Shadow begins to Overwhelm, I’ve Learned to Employ a Consistent Series of Well Placed “F” Words, Complete with Fiery Enunciation and Spit! This is what helped me put my credit card down…
Firstly, My Faith is Foundational.
Knowing that I am Forever Forgiven for Former & Future Failures by My God through His Son, Jesus Christ provides an Eternal Outlook and Completely Minimizes My Temporal Blunders. My Prayers, submitted to His Purpose & Plan for Me Settles My Calling and Seals My Destiny.
My Family, Beginning with My Adorable Wife of 22 Years and our Three Amazing Daughters are my Treasures in Life and Help Fasten My Focus on What Really Matters Most. Lori & I have walked Hand in Hand through Joy, Tears & Tough Terrain and grow more in love with each other and our journey with each passing hour. What Else Does a Brother Need?
I Have Absolutely Awesome Friends who although Few are Completely True. They Simultaneously Encourage & Challenge Me to Grow & Go Further than I could Imagine. Real Friends See Into You & See Through You. They are Bold Enough to Call Out the Occasional Foolishness and Call Forward the Authenticity Inside.
Finally, I’m Blessed with the Favor of Funk, for this is the Songwriter, Producer & Musician I Am!
Irregardless of the Genre! Being able to Swing “The One” either a millisecond Before or After the Top of the Measure Matters. Forging a humility to Stay in the Pocket although I’ve not honed the same severity of thrillingly Sick Tricks my counterparts have has kept me working, for which I am truly thankful – for just being able to be me!
Perhaps You Thought I was going to Litter This Post with “F” Bombs, which might release steam in a moment of crisis, but do nothing to sow gratitude into our spirits.
I Wish You Joy, Love, Peace, Harmony & Rhythms of Grace!
I Am Listening to Azymuth’s “Light As A Feather” On Vinyl while writing this post.
Sure, The Old Adage still rings true: “It’s Who You Know!”
Certainly it’s great to have an uncle who is one of three main limo drivers for the soon to be Sir Eric Clapton and/or a cousin who roadies for Chaka Khan when she’s on the West Coast or perhaps you live around the corner from Bob James, but once the Introductions draw to an end, it’s What You Know & How Well You Know It That Will Make or Break you.
Your Performance on Stage or in the Studio transcends any Professional Reference.
Your Professionalism in the most Stress Filled Situations Speak Louder than Any ‘Good Word’ Someone Puts in For You.
Your Character & Integrity Stands Taller than Your Résumé …in fact, Your Reputation Becomes Your Résumé
Your Choice to Integrate With Your Fellow Musicians and Play Your Lines Rather than the Role of the Superstar is What Gets You Called Back
Your Ability to Repeatedly “Bring It” On Demand Will Build a Far More Secure Stature Faster than Depending on Your Contact to Make a Connection.
No less than Quincy Jones quipped, “It’s Better that the Opportunity Never Come, than When It Does and You’re Not Prepared For It!”
So, It’s Cool, Go Ahead and Reach Out to Your Aunt Betty’s Friend of a Friend who golfs with Shawn Mendes, but at the End of the Day, It’s Still On You to Produce!
I was listening to Nathan East’s new “Reverence” on CD as I composed this Blog
One Year Ago Today, I was sitting on the Other Side of My Studio Office on the Other Computer listening to the Long Version of Prince’s “America” (21:46), on Vinyl, but at around 14:56 deemed it far too funky for me to continue my writing. The Groove Pulled Me Away So I Had to Pull It Off.
At 12:58 PM, from This Computer, My Eldest Daughter Called as she usually does most Thursdays, but I was on ‘a roll’ and texted if I could call her back. The Phone chirped back at 1:03 PM: “Prince is dead.” No More Writing. I Returned Her Call. We Mourned.
No, I didn’t know him personally, but since I was just 13 years old when he released “For You” and 52 now, I certainly knew all he had chosen to share. And like many, I had long considered myself the quintessential Prince fan. Yes, I did skip two days of my junior high school year to tear apart “1999” song by song. I had never heard anything like it. Thus began a six year obsessive idol worship until after “Lovesexy” was released and Holy Spirit thoroughly and completely convicted me of such nonsense. So I sold all of my CDs. By the time “Diamonds & Pearls” came out, I could still respect his genius from afar without becoming transfixed in all the hoopla.
Prince was a master musician and I felt a tremendous sense of loss. Like Most, The “How” gnawed and grated at me. I read everything I could to try to make some sense out of it. I listened to his music. I watched News Story and for the first time became modestly interested in the Illuminati Conspiracy Theories. Some Actually Made Sense. I Think The Simpsons hit it on the head, but others were like…
Then I began to see for myself the Telltale signs of Mayhem that lead me to believe that the Official Story ain’t all it was composed to be. My Mother Always Told Me that the Devil is too Proud to Hide His Work and If You Look Close Enough, You’ll See Him for Who & What He Is.
Let Me Very Clear Here to state that I Believe Prince May Have Died from the Fentanyl Overdose. But There Are Too Many Fuzzy Details that Continue to Bug Me. I am going to List Them Below without too much personal commentary. I am going to include links, especially those which point to Others Making Mad Money in the Aftermath:
1. Who in their Right Mind Would Leave Prince Alone Knowing that He Was Sick or Since He Had a Serious Drug Problem that had worried some of his Team?
2. What Do You Mean PRINCE DID NOT HAVE A WILL?
3. From the Autopsy Room to the Crematorium.
5.‘They’ Turned Paisley Park into a Museum within Six (6) Months of His Death. Without a Will.
6. Tyka. Too Many Links of Really Weird Interviews to Pick Just The Right One. Google Her.
7. Universal Music Acquires Prince’s Entire Publishing Catalog from his ‘Estate‘ Within Seven (7) Months. Without A Will.
8. Warner Brothers Announces the Re-Release of “Purple Rain,” Others…dare I say it again, Without a Will?
9. Warners Makes Prince Music Available for Streaming. Something We All Know He Fought Against. Now You Say It…
10. Perhaps this is a long shot, but the deafening silence of his bandmates, previous and former, who may have performed and co-written some of his unreleased material. Wouldn’t YOU Say, “Excuse Me Judge, but that bridge to the chorus that I received a 15% credit on…”??
On A Brighter Note, I Am Very Happy to Hear that Prince’s Estate, whomever they may be has sued to stop the release of “Deliverance” by Ian Boxhill and there are further reports that Universal Music may try to Nullify their Publishing Deal with the Prince Estate – i.e. they won’t be making as much money as they greedily thought they would.
May Our Brother Rest Peacefully, though his Transition is Shrouded in Mystery.
Guess What I’ll be Listening to Today?
EntreMusicians are Excellent Planners & Keen Executioners. We are Faithful at Follow Up and Process our Visions to the Nth Degree. We Face Forward and Effortlessly Advance to our Next Scheduled Items without Losing the Groove.
All Good, but…
EntreMusicians are also challenged with an Acute Inability to Pause and Review our Work. We fail to Properly Index our Calendars to Scrutinize our Previous Performances & Projects and Ascertain their Effectiveness.
While most of us maintain the habit of waiting until the Final Week of December to sit with our Old & Shiny New Planners, the Wiser Move is to Consistently Schedule Weekly, Monthly & Quarterly Reviews (the More Obsessive EMs Implement Dailies) to Appropriate Our Goals, Sharpening Our Saws as We Meticulously Slice Away.
As We Approach this Fifth Month of the Year (already!) let’s take a day or two to Glance Back at the Rear View to Make Sure We’re Not Adrift of the Course we launched in January.
I was listening to Herbie Hancock’s “Mr. Hands” on Vinyl while composing this blog.
The Copyright in Sound Recording (SR) serves as a Blanket of Sorts for Your Created Work. And by ‘Work’ I mean Your Song, Poem, Speech, Rap, Spoken Word or Audio Book.
If Your Song is Original and You Created The Music, Lyrics, Melody, Arrangement AND Also Recorded these Elements, You are Eligible to File an SR which covers Your Song in Its Entirety, as opposed to having to separately file a Performance Arts (PA) to Cover the Music & Lyrics.
If You have Covered Someone Else’s song and Plan to Release It to the Public in some format, you’d do well to file for an SR copyright of Your Version beforehand. Just make sure you have appropriately secured licensing from the original copyright owner, either through Harry Fox or EZ Song Licensing.
The SR secures ownership of the fixed instrumentation and sounds irregardless of the Original Author’s contribution to Music and/or Lyrics. I Just completed an SR for My Production of Eric Tyus‘ version of the Sounds of Blackness‘ classic”Everything Is Gonna Be Alright.”
These days it’s important for the EntreMusician to know the subtle nuances of the SR Copyright on their Original Work. This obviously includes Poets, Motivational Speakers, Preachers, Teachers, Rappers, etc., where so much of our public work is subject to being recorded, sampled, set to music, imported into video, remixed and released to Sound Cloud and Other Apps often without our knowledge.
If You were to Give a Speech or Recite Your Poetry on a College Campus or in front of an Audience and the University or Someone were to Record It on their System, Mobile or other device, that person (or the University) would be Entitled to Ownership through the Library of Congress by filing an SR unless Forbidden to do so by Prior Written Agreement. Undoubtedly, the same holds true for EntreMusicians at their Gigs and Concerts – which is why most people utter firm expletives when “NO RECORDING” signs are posted at Shows, but proceed to record anyway…
Both the Grateful Dead and Dave Matthews Band encouraged Mass Audience Recording & Reproduction of their Concerts and found them to be Excellent Promotional Tools which help Spread their Music like dandelions across a deserted field and many other artists followed suit, some opting to release their own “Official Bootlegs” to boost their fan base.
Plenty still choose to Protect the Dignity of their Live Presentations by Forbidding any Unauthorized Recording, Duplication and Sales of their Appearances in any form. But Everyone knows that Technology Stampedes Sacred Rights and bolsters the Mantra of Free Music for All! This has lead to Intense Conversation which suggests that the Ultimate Role of Copyright is Null & Void, since Everything Everywhere is Available to Everyone within a few clicks.
I Would Love to Know Your Opinion, Especially if You are a Content Creator of any Creative Classification. Are You of the Mindset that Your Conceptions should enjoy the Protection Copyright Provides or that from now on All things Should Be Out on Open Source?
Please Leave a Comment, I’d Love to Explore this Conversation Deeper. If You Have Not Already Done So, Download My Free E-Book, “50 Ways to Transform Your Fans into Family.”
I Was Not Listening to Any Music while Composing & Posting This Piece, but all kinds of Random Songs are running through my head..