Monthly Archives: November 2014

Thanks!

This has been a very transformative year for me. This day has been one of great reflection and great anticipation. As I type this, my band SounDoctrine is just hours away of releasing our new single, “After All” written by our friend Jim Couchenour and featuring our good friends Michael Austin on Sax & Mike Donadio on guitar. It’s an exceptional tune we had a blast working on and we hope you all download it from our website. By the way, we ARE avoiding Spotify – but that’s not the point of this post…

I just wanted to truly name some people who have been a major factor in helping my family and I progress forward this year. I understand if you are not inclined to read thru my personal expression of gratitude – but it is necessary and needful that I say ‘thanks’ and show my gratitude for their blessing in and on my life.

I am not at all ashamed to say that I am a passionate follower of The Lord Jesus Christ. in Him I Live & Move and Have My Being. All that I am and aspire to be is because He, by His Mercy and Grace has allowed me to pursue my dreams. I understand that all who read this blog may not subscribe to my faith, and that’s OK – I just want to begin with giving thanks to whom the foundation and source of my life is based upon.

My beautiful wife, Lori has stood with and for me through lean and trying times. Without her Love and Encouraging Spirit, I could have never become who I am becoming or accomplish all I have been blessed to reach for. Our daughters Tejai, Nia & Ayana are the brilliant and beautiful cornerstones of our journey together and for them, I continue to strive.

Our team, Seven Hykoo, Dana, Michaela, Felicia, Demetrius, Donna, Pam and my dear sister Roz & Brother-in-Love, Phil The Beat mean far more than these words can say. Thick & Thin. Highs & Lows. Learning, Growing, Laughing, Crying. Loving – we are determined to succeed as we surrender to God’s plan, climbing the Entertainment Mountain – determined to stand at the top. Thank You Fam!

Thank You Rosie for the daily 8AM Meetings and keeping my days so organized!

Jerry Thompson is without fail, far too kind and an extremely major contributor in my dreams coming true. A Confidant, Friend, Brother and Frequent Prayer Partner, we share life together, determined to finish strong. Thanks Man and All My Love to Ma Bea!

So Grateful for the SounDoctrine Family – Members Past & Present. I know that I Know that I could not have so much as accomplished one single song or show without your blood on the tracks. Frank Walton, Dylan Waters, Mitch Lawrence, Ken Bell, Rick Young, Jonnie Austin, Nate & Cliff Barnes, Jim C, PTB, First Lady Janis Jones, Janet Write, Tara Amil, Paul Douds, Michaela Write, Bea Bea Bentley, Mike Austin, Keith McKelley, Rob White, Chris Rhodes, Angel Lopez, H. Wade Johnson, Trendle Thomas, Regina Perry Lisbon, James Herod Jr, posthumously; Kim Hines and the many guest vocalists and musicians who helped keep the train on the proverbial tracks. SO GRATEFUL!! Put YOUR NAME HERE _______________________________________
If my stupid head forgot your name! With Apologies!

My Spiritual Dad, James Couchenour, Sr is an unlimited fountain of wisdom, counsel and much more. I don’t know what I did to deserve his favor in my life, but I am so grateful to be counted as a son among his family of true men and women who are swinging for the fences every time they are up to bat and always scoring! Can’t thank you enough, Dad!

To My Spiritual Father, Bishop David L. Thomas, Mom Kathie Thomas and the incredible Elders, Campus & Associate Pastors and collective family of Victory Christian Center. Our family is so blessed to be a part of and serve alongside this wonderful community of believers. Your presence in our lives continue to shape, transform and challenge us toward excellence in fulfilling the call of the great commission. Onward & Forward! God Bless You All!

Trish Hennessey, Chris Mann, Darrell Looney, Dennis Johnson, Kevin Amos, Bob Davis, Guy Dastalfo, Brian Picard, Carol Boswell, Wanda Best, Madonna Chism Pinkard, Ode Aduma, Derek Sivers & Courtney Young are Friends which I can always call and ‘pick it back up with,’ no matter how much time has past from our last conversations. Thanks, Ya’ll Know!!!

Finally, I truly want to Thank YOU and let you know that your reading this blog, supporting our music, visiting the website and most importantly telling someone about SounDoctrine Music is the most valuable asset we could possibly possess. Thank You. Thank You So Very Much.

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Releasing The NEW

On Friday, November 28th at 12:01AM, the New SounDoctrine Digital Single “After All,” written by our great friend Jim Couchenour hits the servers. “After All” features the fiery Michael Austin on sax, Frank Walton on keys, bassist Dylan Waters and Mike Donadio on guitar.

As we’ve been walking through the process of final edits and mix, I thought I’d share my personal process of releasing new music, since these steps are almost second nature by now. We’re trying a few different twists this time out, so I’d like to engage you in a dialogue to learn your methods and see what’s working for you as well.

Firstly, as stated, this is a Digital Release Only. We’ve done this once before with the remix of “Smallmouth Bass” (also written by Jim and featuring Bob Baldwin on keys and Keith McKelley on sax).

I’ve been using CD Baby as an aggregate for years. They haven’t changed much since Derek Sivers left the building, but I stiil miss him. Bottom Line is I’ve never had a problem with them and they keep things simple and reasonable. I have not yet seen the need to go ‘PRO’ with them, as I already have my own P.R.O.* affiliations intact and would rather they not take any interest in repping my publishing whatsoever. Some EMs may find that feature helpful, but at present, it’s not for me.

With “After All,” I also needed to check back in with the Copyright Office as we had previously released another version back in 2009 on Jim’s “Quiet Canvas II,” there was still a need to update the SR filing** – so I took care of business.

I keep a list of terrestrial & online stations and DJs & Music Reviewers whom I maintain relationship with and I began the process of sending them the track, along with a brief note of the release date, personnel, production, copyright notices, etc. I seek a reply as to when they would be able to add the tune to their playlists. Some came back immediately while others are forthcoming. As is usually the case, some contact info has changed, so I update accordingly.

My second phase is to email all secondary multimedia with whom I have never worked with or have no relationship. I make inroads by telling them who will be playing the single (now that I have that information) and ask if they would consider doing the same.

Next will be the E-Blast to Friends of SounDoctrine who have previously purchased or enjoyed our music online. We inform them that they can download the New Song on the Release Date (Only) for a Very Special Price, just because they have supported us in the past. The SounDoctrine website, powered by Bandzoogle allows us to make such offers. The Blast will also offer include a few free downloads and additional discounts on previous SD music.

I then construct and send a Press Release to all genre specific and select entertainment media, alerting the music community that the song is available. This would be a good time to mention that we have chosen NOT to send the song to Spotify. This not only intensifies the headline, but makes a more newsworthy story to certain editors who want to further the conversation. Lastly, since we have no immediate gigs scheduled to specifically promote “After All”, (another first, as we’ve usually had a “release party”), we will provide a link to a free download for our ‘new’ friends who purchase this single – again, at our website only.

As reviews come in, we’ll update our websites and create subsequent press releases featuring them, which drives further interest as we move the music out of the music community into the mainstream. During this phase we begin networking with old and new venues to plan a series of gigs with our new show.

SounDoctrine will be release a series of digital singles in this manner to lead up to the full project “Source” in Spring of 2015.

It would be great to hear from you! Share Your Strategies and all EntreMusicians Prosper and Grow!!

BW, I am listening to Dave Weckyl’s “Rhythm of the Soul” as I write this!

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Follow The Stars

Smack Dab in the Middle of a Non Stop 90 Minute Earth Shaking P-Funk Romp, General George Clinton will abruptly stop the music, partly to give the band a break to prepare for the next 90, but moreso to sublimely lead his audience in a majestic mantra of “THINK!! IT AIN’T ILLEGAL YET!! Over & Over…10, 20, 30 minutes or more, repeatedly. Stronger & Faster until he’s sure the phrase sticks and the crowd is one accord. THINK!!! IT AIN’T ILLEGAL – Key Word – YET!!

As EntreMusicians, we are right now, Smack Dab in the Middle of both the Best & Worst of Times. The Ability to Click a Mouse provides access for our music to reach the world and beyond. Opportunities for placement in TV, Film and Gaming arrive in our inboxes daily and we have unlimited options to stream our rehearsals and shows directly to our fanbase. The caveat always being, however, that the server space, terms of agreement and price points are always controlled by someone else.

Net Neutrality and the woes of Spotify, Pandora and others loom larger by the hour.

By now, all EMs are well aware of Taylor Swift, Aloe Blacc and for many years now, David Byrne’s outspoken comments and actions against these companies who are making BILLIONS off the backs of Songwriters, Musicians, Engineers and Producers who see less than a half penny for each stream.

There are many who argue that since the proverbial cat is out of the metaphoric bag – and ain’t returning – EM’s should just shut the expletive up and be happy for the vast exposure they have across the solar system.

But the fact remains that Access, Exposure, Publicity & Promotion don’t immediately pay bills. In fact, the last time I tried to hire a publicist, I needed to decide between paying the mortgage or paying her. Furthermore, glancing at the last statement from my aggregate, CD Baby and my PRS (I used to call this a royalty check…) coupled with the other expenses of remaining in business, it becomes extremely difficult to continue playing their game.

Now, before I’m accused of whining, I chose to get into this business. I know there are a variety of ways to compound my pennies from multiple sources and where I feel I am competent, I do try each one, winning here and losing there. But continually realizing that all of my very hard fought efforts don’t even earn me a single penny from several services that put their kids through college has me rethinking my strategy for the three projects I plan to release in 2015.

EM’s Must Plan Better Strategies without depending upon the current structure.

We’ll soon be hearing the true story of the Wise Men who followed the Star to a tiny manger in Bethlehem, which contained the Absolute Solution to bring complete Joy to the World and free us from spiritual tyranny and bondage. Perhaps in the case of living as a true EntreMusician, we should be following the stars who have decided they’ve had enough and pull our music out of the oppression of a system designed to take advantage of our gifts without sharing the wealth we produce…

I’d LOVE to Hear Your Comments, since I have been dialoguing on and offline with other EM’s of various opinions.

I have been constantly playing Phillip Bailey’s (EWF) solo CD from 2002 “Soul on Jazz”

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Three C’s to NOT Live By!!!

My Mentor Bishop David L. Thomas recently shared with our leadership team three unique words which he had long ago chosen to exclude from his ministry vocabulary of 40 years. I was actively taking notes, but didn’t fully appreciate the magnitude of his teaching until days later while reviewing them. I then decided I also would more consciously eliminate these 3C’s from my own life, anywhere they surfaced and most specifically as an EM.

As I reflected on the various times I was guilty applying these 3C’s, I knew without a doubt, these were the seasons when I was most frustrated, distracted and of very little use toward creating and performing at my best. There have been plenty of these experiences, so I trust my confession will help build a better structure for you to follow.

1) Never COMPARE:

EntreMusicians fare so much better staying away from the Comparison Game. Allowing the vast assortment of esteem issues to surface means certain danger ahead. There will Always be someone out there who writes, plays, sings, records, dresses, etc better than You and I.

ALWAYS!

Stay in Your Lane. Hone Your Craft. Cull the Best of Your Gift. Be Loyal to Your Call and to Your Following and You Will Receive the Rewards Meant for YOU. There’s Always someone Younger, Older, Stronger, Faster, Hungrier, Leaner, perhaps even more prepared. But that’s none of Your Business! There are also many who are far worse – which leads to the 2nd C…

2) Never CRITICIZE:

Once upon a time I had an opinion about absolutely every piece of music that hit the street and I wasn’t intelligent enough to keep my gums sealed.

If I didn’t like it, understand it, appreciate it and/or believe in it, I’d be off on a tangent. I am SO Grateful I didn’t blog back then! The bottom line is my perspective is my own and should stay that way. Every art form is the expression of its originator and although not completely free from critique, should not be locked in the prison of censure. Love It Or Hate, if we can’t engage, then it wasn’t meant for us and we should exercise our choice to leave it on the shelf and keep our comments to ourselves.

3) Never CONDEMN:

Finally, there are a tad few of us who swim well beyond the threshold of demeaning criticism into the forbidden zone of condemnation. Again, Guilty.

Thankfully however, after a few times of having my toes touch my tonsils, I’ve come to realize that you don’t always understand all of the nuances of why someone may behave (or sing) the way they do. We may disapprove of a particular lifestyle, practice, system of faith, philosophy or musical genre but You & I have not been given the right to denigrate. Never Condemn what you don’t Condone. Always Seek a Higher Approach.

My Faith encourages me to Stand for and Defend Righteousness without compromise, while simultaneously loving and showing love to the one whose actions I disagree with. We may not be responsible for them, but we are always responsible to them.

Never Compare
Never Criticize
Never Condemn

These are the 3C’s I will be sharing 40 years from today…

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