Monthly Archives: September 2012

Look Ma, More Hands!!

It was my pleasure Tuesday to introduce you to a few friends in the industry who played very important roles in promoting my music and helping to establish the SounDoctrine Brand. Hopefully you took the initiative to introduce yourself, utilizing the principles I suggested in “Relationship Roundtable.” If so, I trust you will reach out to these wonderful folk as well.

Roger Harris – Owner of Charm City Jazz in Maryland. Because he has built his business through contacts within the Indie Community, Roger remains loyal to showcasing artists who need a solid platform to introduce their music to the public. SounDoctrine has greatly benefited from the exposure Roger has provided.

Chris Mann (UK) – Loves Jazz & Old School Funk!! He appreciates discovering new artists and writes heartfelt reviews that reveal the way he really feels about their music. Chris has a keen ability to understand the struggle facing most Entrepreneurial Musicians and thrives on giving their music generous airtime on his myriad of online stations. I am truly blessed to call Chris my Friend!

Theda Cain Indie Artist Radio. TMC (as she’s affectionately known) calls artists directly to let them know how she feels about the music they submit. Not only that – She advises them  on the best shows to submit to on her station. As if that’s not enough, Theda goes above and beyond  to hook you up with other artists in your particular genre. Most often she “feels in her heart” that you’d make a great connection with another artist and works to make it happen. I LOVE TMC!

John AndersonCoach’s Corner – An extraordinary gentleman I met through TMC. Early on, when we released “Perseverance,” John had a show on IAR and gave us plenty of spins. He also extended me the opp to record plenty of liners once he found I had a radio background. When he founded his sports program, I was blessed that he chose SD Music to use as theme and bumpers – and yes, more liners. John is an outstanding proponent of indies and digs about every genre out there!

Lord Litter (UK) – A wonderful programmer in Germany who promotes music on a myriad of online stations. He was the FIRST DJ to provide us international airplay and then we lost touch for a while. About six months ago, I emailed him to catch up, sent him more recent stuff and we got back on the block as if nothing ever happened – he is committed to indie music of all styles and sends a weekly playlist so you know where your songs are being played.

Cool Jazz Conversations – Not only is Joy Hall an incredible blessing, she is a Walking Miracle. She has taken a personal situation and transformed it into a vehicle which has opened up a door of success to others, while propelling those already in the spotlight to brighter horizons. It is a ‘Joy’ (pun intended) to know her and to have had her open doors for me through her great show.

Andre L Carter – This Brother has the heart and soul of an Entrepreneurial Leader. Not only is he totally accessible to provide advice and opportunity, but also to step up and ask assistance for his many essential projects. I respect and admire his transparency and I am thankful for what he means to my career. You can’t go wrong contacting him!

So I’ve presented another exciting list of people who truly care about EMs who bring the noise. I am foremost grateful for their personal friendship and that they’ve allowed me the opportunity to introduce them to you. Remember to contact me and let me know how you’re progressing along!

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A Hand UP!

Today, with their permission, I share with you a list of my industry friends, who are staunch supporters of Independent Artists. Their encouragement and assistance in promoting my music have helped me gain momentum and solidified my sense of purpose as an Entrepreneurial Musician.

You know that the creative person’s heart of hearts is when someone actually “Gets” their work. I have been truly blessed by these exceptional people whom I now introduce to you. I trust you will begin establishing your own flourishing experiences.
Please note that my primary musical genre is funk and jazz (with many cross pollinations), so you may not meet with the same level of engagement,  depending on your style. But, what I do promise is that if your music is GOOD, then it does not matter, these Friends will connect with you, or connect you with somebody who can better help you.
Joe Kelley – An incredible guy who appreciates life! His profound respect for music and artistry has propelled the indie market in many ways, as Joe frequently plays indie records alongside Major Artists on his show, “The Upper Room with Joe Kelley.” His frequent interviews with indies include invitations for them to perform live on the air.
Randy Allar  – Randy is that dude you meet and know you’ll be lifelong friends after the first 10 minutes. A genuine soul who engages you with his wealth of absolutely obscure fusion music from any era that he presents weekly on his wonderful show. He bends over backwards for indie musicians, not only airing their music, but, like Joe, providing opps for them to perform for his audience. Randy is a man you MUST get to know!
Trish Hennessey – My Sis in Arms. We have so many similarities and share the same faith and taste in music. Trish has migrated from terrestrial radio to being an outstanding host of her own “Hybrid Jazz” on Blog Talk Radio where she frequents the shows of the artist she interviews. I am blessed to sit in with her as an occasional sidekick.
Kevin Amos – a wonderful brother who is an advocate for all types of music on the fringe of mainstream. Kevin is a free lance writer for the New Pittsburgh Courier and is the founder and host of the “Each One, Reach One” annual media conference at Duquene University. Kevin is also the point man for Soul Patrol in Pittsburgh.
Bob Davis – Founder of Soul Patrol. Right off the bat, he got SounDoctrine and made it a point to reach out to me and let me know. His call began a dialogue that has helped me to connect with so many wonderful artists (many of whom guested on “Inspire“) and afforded us the opportunity to be the host band for the 2006 Soul Patrol Convention in Philly.
Robert Smoot – Founder of  Brencore Entertainment – With conversations that quickly blew past standard booking dates into our mutual love of life, faith & music – Smoot’s approach to putting together shows for the indie and lesser known national acts is in a class by himself. I’ve found him a man of his word who always does exactly what he says.
If you begin contacting these six great people, you are off to an excellent start. Let me know the rapport you establish with each…and I’ll be expecting a Giant “Thank You!”
On Saturday, I will share a few more!

The Purpose Girl!!

Fifteen years ago today, I became a father for the second time. The first time around I was a 17 year old kid who knew nothing at all about life, but quickly learned how to be a dad, by just being there. I am grateful that my eldest daughter Tejai is incredible in every way and completing her Ph.D program.

My daughter Nia, came at a very different stage in my journey. At age 32, I was married, a home owner, steady job, my faith intact, enrolled in Bible College and what I thought I knew about life began to change upon her arrival.
Nia, who’s name means purpose, has always had a way of making me see almost everything through a different light. I believe God has taught me a lot about His Love, Provision and Protection as a Father through my relationship with her.
From the earliest, she was not afraid to speak her mind and share her perspective from ABC’s to why she should have the new iPhone! Her magnetic personality, engaging compassion, leadership skills (and unremitting stubbornness) has helped to sharpen my wife and I into being more focused toward living ‘On Purpose.’
Nia has a smile that would disarm a politician, is quick-witted, firm in her faith, provides a willing ear and advice to her friends and is a keen observer who, although maintains a vibrant love of music does-not-like-jazz (Complete Dismay!)
Lori & I can’t believe how fast the time has flown by. It was not so long ago we were announcing that we were expectant parents and now we’re discussing a Drivers Permit (and rising car insurance costs!) Nia, along with her sisters, Tejai & Ayana are the Apples of our Eyes and we’re grateful to celebrate 15 years of an incredible life as parents to Nia Joi!
Happy Birthday Sweetheart!!
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Relationships 201

But Her New CD "Evolve"On Tuesday, I discussed the need to build meaningful relationships with an emphasis on your initiating the solution to others, prior to getting what you want. Today I’m providing another example of  how this approach has helped me  progress along. But before I do, I should clarify a few things.

Firstly – and most importantly, I am talking about building (and growing) genuine relationships with people – not “pimping” them to get what you want on the backend. My examples are with people who I can call right now and discuss our families, favorite foods and the upcoming election woes. What may have begun as business prospects morphed into incredible friendships that we both took the time to build.

Secondly, because we are interacting with people, it doesn’t always work out so beautifully. After initializing what I thought would be win-wins, I’ve gotten beat to a pulp by those whose only goal in life were to take advantage of others. In other instances I’ve lost money, time and teardrops (well, I am a musician!) But those experiences have never overwhelmed me to the point where I wasn’t willing to begin again and enjoy a great new opportunity. Like this one:

My Band, SounDoctrine were finalists at the Capital Jazz Fest in Maryland. Among the prestigious judges in the competition were one of my favorite artists, Kirk Whalum. We played our hearts out, but lost out to the incredibly talented flutist, Ragan Whiteside, whose band SMOKED!!

Upon returning to Ohio, I recounted the experience in our newsletter, linked to her website and gave her a huge “congrats” on the front page of ours and kept movin. About four months later, Kim Hines (more on my friend later), who had hooked up the TRW situation, suggested we get jazz legend Bob Baldwin, whom Kim had been running FOH for, to redo one of our songs and promptly introduced us.

Conversations led to Keith McKelley & I driving to New York to meet Bob who agreed to remix Jim Coucehnour‘s “Smallmouth Bass” to make it more palatable for airplay. When we pulled up to the address, a lanky, smiling 6’3 something dude begins to yell out my name, “Jere B! Brother!! Much Love Bro!” Now I’ve been to NY several times, but this time, I thought I was being “Punk’d” or worse.  And Bob was no where in sight.

We parked and Dennis Johnson introduced himself as Bob’s engineer and invited us into the studio. While situating, he also explained that he was Ragan’s fiance’ and how thankful they were to me on the way we treated them after the CJF.

Huh?

It turned out that the other artists and bands in the competition all dissed Ragan publicly on their websites & social networks while SounDoctrine gave props. Bob came in, who we had not previously known was Ragan’s producer, recounted the story and did our entire session ‘gratis’. “Smallmouth” gained exceptional airplay, including The Weather Channel and all of us remain friends to this day! And as if that was not enough, Ragan agreed to appear on our “Inspire” album. She is featured on the tune, “Marriage.” Speaking of which, she and Dennis are now happily married and living in the south! She just released her new CD, “Evolve” which you can buy today!!

Do You have a similar story? Please Share It!

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Relationship Roundtable

I know I may sound like a kindly old grandfather during our time together today, but it’s important to drive home the point that as an Entrepreneurial Musician, your number one goal – perhaps even numbers 1 through 21 – is to develop and maintain excellent relationships at every level of your career.

You’ve heard it before, personal and professional achievement progresses based upon “who you know.” But it’s my experience that simply knowing someone has no real means of moving you forward. The key to building great relationships is based upon what you can do for them and not the other way around.
Huh?
That’s right. Getting that next major gig, free studio time, deep discounts on new gear, fill in the blank______________,whatever you’re going after is all about your willingness to make a friend and in the process, help them find solutions or resources they need. You’ll be surprised how quickly meaningful relationships develop!
One example happened very early in my career when I was introduced to filmmaker Art Byrd who was looking for original music for one of his projects. I had absolute zero experience in composing for film, including the inability to synch my gear to video, but I wanted the shot. I offered my services – for free – and quickly went to work. Art loved the music and provided me the resources to be able to sync what I was writing.
In addition, he began coming to a few SounDoctrine shows and filming them. One thing led to another and he began compiling his footage into a documentary, which became a finalist at the Hollywood Black Film Festival in LA and we all flew down together for the premiere. The film received great reviews, I made some outstanding contacts that exist to this day and Art & I continue to collaborate. That one offer to help him has paid off in ways I could never have imagined.
Another such example is when we were writing the Endurance album and our percussionist, Kim Hines was a graduate of The Recording Workshop received a call for us to participate in a session to help their engineering students learn tracking and mixing. So we went and recorded Phil The Beat’s excellent “Once Upon A Groove.” One conversation led to us returning and laying down the entire album for a price I’m sure they wouldn’t want us to disclose. The agreement based upon them being able to keep “Groove” to train their students, which they still use today, meaning hundreds of students per year getting turned on to our music and our connection with TRW remains solidified.
There are a myriad of other examples of how I have been able to build enduring relationships with people and organizations, simply by helping them to get what they need first. This approach has provided more substance to my life, while raising SounDoctrine’s profile level and income. Next time, I will provide a another example and in future episodes I’ll shout out a few industry people I know who are more than willing to build mutual meaningful relationships.
Share some of your experiences and opportunities which came as a result of your willingness to help first
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Under The Hood

Since I opened the can about my preference for Reason over Sonar, I thought it appropriate to uncover other extremely useful gear I use to get my ideas down, over, through, across and out to the public with ease, tact and sonic finesse!

Like most, I’m a hybrid producer, usually writing and arranging in a DAW prior to recording live instruments and vocals in the studio. Often, I have composed parts that end up in the final mix, either alongside or instead of the instruments, depending upon the groove.
As stated earlier, Reason remains a solid, stable mate which allows me to clearly articulate what I’m feeling at the time of conception, without the technology getting in the way. I can always go back into the synths and sequencers and get as deep into the programming synthesis as I want or edit any parameter at will. While working on our most recent release, “Inspire,” I was editing up until the hour I needed to send it to mastering. Ian all fairness, 99% of the DAWs out today allow this same access, but there’s somthing about the flow of Reason that trumps any other I’veever used.
But I digress…and I’m telling my age because I remember 100 years ago when I was syncing my Tascam 688 to an Alesis MMT8 via FSK praying that the technology would progress to the point it is now.
Speaking of Age, I am still a Big Fan of Sony Creative Software. I have consistently used Soundforge, Vegas and to a lesser degree, Acid since 2002 and I have continued to follow most of their upgrades, depending upon the project and/or client. Interestingly, I used Vegas 3.0 to edit our “Endurance” album immediately after returning from a larger, well known studio where we tracked and mixed in Pro Tools.
I now edit my videos in Vegas Pro 11 and master in Soundforge 10, which contains the absolutely excellent Isotope bundle. I have watched Acid Pro 7 morph into a fully functional DAW, but since my music is not so dependent upon loops, I don’t utilize it to that degre. I keep threatening that I am going to create an album entirely of loops. That being said, I truly appreciate Acid’s incredible Beat Mapper, which I use to match tempos of other wave files and dump them into Reason. Another welcome addition is the Garriton bundle!
To be fair, YES, I have mixed and edited in SonarX1, albeit I could never write a song from scratch inside of it. I’ve always relied on third party plug-ins as a point to experiment with X1, but now that Reason has employed Rack Extensions…well read my previous blog.
My controller is an M-Audio 49, although I will be upgrading very soon to a Nektar Panorama for full integration with Reason. Don’t get me wrong, the 49 has done valiantly, but it’s time to do deeper!
My sound card is an M-Audio FireWire 410. There are probably 1000 better cards out there, but for a few hundred bucks, this baby really cooks good – my powerd monitors are Yamaha HS 50M – a recent upgrade from my die hard Tannoy PBM 6.5’s which served me well for 22 years!
I would love to hear about the gear you use, the DAW you swear by and what you’d recommend I try immediately.
Disclaimer: the companies and software I mentioned in this blog are no way an endorsement, as I have not received one dime for mentioning them, although I probably should!! If you should check them out and find out they work for you, it’s cool to mention this blog to let them know I sent you there and perhaps I can really get paid!
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UnREASONable SONAR

My friend and fellow entrepreneurial explorer, Jerry Thompson & I have had this ongoing debate for the past 22 months or so on the virtues of Propellerhead’s Reason over Cakewalk’s Sonar products.

I favor Reason hands down. Jerry touts Sonar (X1)
Admittedly, I have owned Cakewalk since Pro Audio 9. And yes, their marketing has always been slick enough to get me to upgrade, making me believe that I would be a much better producer with the many, plenty features they are always introducing. Also, because I never knew what music file format a client was bringing to a recording session, I would purchase it. And the bevy of plug ins they’d dangle with each new release.
Yet over my shoulder, a lesser known Swedish company was changing the entire game. For less money, more creativity and far fewer headaches than my friends in Cakewalk’s tech support were giving me. I could freely explore my ideas and expound on them without losing my initial groove.
I didn’t need an engineering degree to get the first track down (let’s see what input should I be assigning to which output to effective arm the track for recording?)
In fact, my very first experience with Reason 3 resulted in me putting down the entire arrangement for “Sacrifice” from our Inspire album – with added work by Keith McKelley, Cliff Barnes & Paul Douds – which were tracked in Reason, (I’m now using 6.5).
Sonar, in my opinion, is mainly for engneers, which my friend Jerry is. And there are times when the bells and whistles have a hand in maturing the mix. But the program is usually buggy and unstable enough for me to have become a staple on their phone and their forums looking for answers. I have yet to call the technicians at Propheads. Ever!
When the Props released Record, it was a “pay what you want” campaign. So I paid One Dollar. Brilliant! When they released 6.5, it was FREE! Cakewalk is due to launch X2 in a few weeks for the annual $99 pricetag they continue to hose their constituancy with. But I am strongly considering stopping here. 6.5 has introduced Rack Extensions with this release and I feel no reason (pun) to run back to Roland (Cakewalk’s parent company) and relearn new glitches.
But I think Jerry is going to dive back in for more…
We’d  like to hear from users of both and why you’ve chosen the platform you are running? Are You Happy with it? Are You thinking of switching or dig where you are? Please No Pro Tools People, that’s another blog!
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Hello Again!

Well Hello Again Friend!

It’s been over a year since I’ve blogged. If you read the September SounDoctrine Newsletter, I provide a great snapshot of how 2012 has been completely transitory for me and the band.

My return to regular and consistent blogging is really a return to introspection. Writing is an extension of who I am; always curious, always reaching, never easily satisfied…
I aim to do three things with this blog.
Firstly, I wish to share my life as an aging dreamer and what it feels like to persevere, endure and inspire others, while climbing my mountain as courageously (and cleverly) as I am able.
For example, I am a 47 year old man still hotly pursuing my passion of tremendously succeeding in the music industry as a songwriter and producer amidst setbacks, failures and other challenges which sometime seem to keep my dream at bay. However simultaneously, I am very happily married, joyously raising two teen daughters at home (well the youngest swears she’s already a teen) and eagerly watching my eldest daughter chase her dreams in a doctoral program! I hope to share experiences in which you can relate.
Secondly, as one who is very interested in technology and music, I’ll be sharing my approach to music production, using some of the software I employ, interviewing other musicians and creatives I know and work with to discuss their methods, projects and dream gigs!
Thirdly, I wish to share my “non-compartmentalized” perspective on faith. As a follower of Jesus Christ and an associate pastor of Victory Christian Center, it’s still intriguing to me the number of taboos which remain in Christianity. Let me be incredibly clear here – I am NOT at all about compromising The Bible, The Gospel or Holy Living. I’m taliking about life as a modern day disciple and the curious implications it represents.
Ocasionally I may venture from these topics (we are in an election cycle) but for the most part, the above will be our terrain to explore.
I trust my musings provide meaningful conversation between us. My ultimate goal is to engage you, learn from you and share with you. I will post on Tuesdays and Saturdays, although you can contact me about these subjects anytime at jereb@soundoctrine.com.
Peace & Blessings!
Jere B