Monthly Archives: April 2015

Who? Not What!

Days ago I gave a profound piece of advice to a very good friend of mine. Almost immediately I had to turn around and apply this same counsel to myself! My Friend is a major EntreMusician with tremendous talent who is an incredible help and has been a major thrust in the success of my projects for the past nine years. Being a confidant, we often vent our mutual struggle of navigating multiples simultaneously. This time he was up to bat and Words of Wisdom flowed out of me effortlessly as I text’d back: 

“You need to sit down and DECIDE just who You Really Are. Are You an Entrepreneur, Teacher, Studio Operator or Business Owner? Your Challenge is that You are Fantastic at All of These, but You are Not an Expert in Either of These. Until You Become an Expert at One of These, You Won’t be able to Breathe Life into Any of These! You Must Identify First WHO You Are – and Not Just What You Want to Do – and WHO You Are will determine What Needs to Be Done.

I sounded (and felt) like a Guru Prophet.

15 minutes hadn’t passed until these same words began radically challenging me (read that as a euphemism for kicking my own butt!) A Born Multitasker, I must confess a subtle pride in identifying myself as a “Follower of Christ, Husband, Father, Songwriter/Producer/Musician, Pastor, BIble Teacher & Student, Blogger and oh yeah, I’ve Acted too!” But whittle me down to the core and it’s tough to get out of bed some mornings! 

At the End of the Day, Month or Year, it all comes down to WHO I Was/AM. And at the End of My Life, it’s obvious I won’t be known for even half of these things – so I need to constantly Center my Concentration on Absolute Strengths, which are Not Rooted in Titles or To Do Lists, but in the Values, Character, Faith & Principles I espouse.

For Example, this Songwriter/Producer/Musician handle. I am a Songwriter at Heart. This is Who I Really Am.      The function of the Producer is to articulate what the Songwriter needs to convey and will often call upon the Musician to quantify the Songwriter’s expectations. While not being the best Musician, the Producer may need to utilize technology or call in better musicians to ensure the story is told exactly as the Songwriter intended. Thus, the skills of my internal Producer & Musician exist to serve the purpose of my Songwriting first and foremost. Composing Better Songs Must Remain My Continual Objective. Yes, both my Producer & Musician do get calls for outside projects, but stay with me!

Knowing WHO You Are will ALWAYS Tower far above What You Do. When faced with a myriad of possibilities and options, first consult WHO You Are and the motivation to proceed (or not) will decide autonomously.  

Your Thoughts?

I was listening to Bernie Worrell’s “Blacktronic Science” as I wrote this

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There’s Plenty of Money to be Made in Music, Except for the Musician…

Apple is buyIng Spotify for $10B. They already ate Beats for $3B. Pandora is hanging tough at $4B a year and although Jay Z is threatening Musician Equality with his new Tidal, the conversation on the “Platform VS Content” War is dead. And Buried.

Clearly the people have spoken. Again. Music should be Absolutely Free. I Should Eat all I Want for $9.99.

The Songwriters, Musicians, Producers, Singers, Artists, Performers, Engineers and other Technicians who create & cultivate the art are not worth more than the software and apps developed to stream the creativity. In fact, they have no worth at all.

I can recall as a young drummer with dreams of going Hollywood, all the hoopla the headlines created when a post-Thriller Michael Jackson resigned to Sony for $100M and the (then) highest royalty rate of any artist since the Cavemen 4. My first thought was “Who’s Name was on the bottom of the check?” Clearly THAT person was in charge! Not long after, Michael called THAT person “the devil,” whether or not his charge had merit.

Decades later, the cute balancing act of Art & Commerce has totally and completely tipped in favor of the Platform Peddlers. Well, yeah they let a few artists through the door to continue extracting subscription fees from the masses while keeping Hollywood dreams afloat, but the bottom line is the ship has sailed and unless a mutiny is declared, Musicians who receive a mere $60 bucks after their song have streamed a million times should shut up and swallow.

There may be no way to win THIS War, but there is a way to Begin Again. It will mean Every Single EntreMusician jumping the present ship and building his/her own Ark, Creating & Cultivating a tribe of fans who will subscribe to Them, on Their Own Servers, on Terms that best accommodate Their People. 

It’s Long. It’s Difficult. It’s Expensive. But it’s Entrepreneurialism and looking out at the landscape (or lack thereof) it’s the only way.

I wasn’t listening to any music as I wrote this.

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You Will, Will You?

Among the most curious moments I encounter as an EntreMusican are the amount of people, specifically fellow musicians, who spend most of their conversation talking about what they will do – or are engaged in – or about to start and nothing ever comes from it. If you should inquire weeks, months or even years later why they haven’t moved forward, there’s Always an Excuse or a New Villain to blame….

Most are Brilliant Musicians, but won’t leave their Black Light Basements filled with Recording Gear to enter the real world of Engagement. There’s Never Enough Time, and/or Opportunities and besides, the system is rigged so that industry gatekeepers make it next to impossible for them to access. While some (or all of this) may be true, these same artists pacify themselves with hollow words that never manifest.

Of that bunch, practically all of them are critical complainers, angry at EMs who’ve moved beyond the precipis of procrastination and have embarked on the journey of our dreams.

I generally listen quietly, but once I can’t take anymore I begin to ask these questions…

If you say You Will ________________________________ (fill in the blank), then Will You take the next progressive step and pick up the phone, make the call, send that text or email?

If You Say You Will, Will You – Do Every Single Thing it Takes to complete Your task? Will You Learn How to Say “No”  to Timewasters and become radically focused on Your Goals & Priorities and Plan Responsibly? 

Will You Do What You Say You Will Do?

How have you answered these questions? The World is Waiting!

I was listning to Dave Grusin & Lee Ritenour’s exquisite “Two Worlds” while writing this.

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There are various elements about a great song which make it genuinely complete. There’s the tempo, time signature, tension, harmonic structure, melodies, motif, counterpoint, bridge, refrain and dynamics that after diligently weaving together, cause the composer to declare its readiness to world.

Interestingly, the arrangement of the song matters not. It could be sparse or complex. Neither the song’s instrumentation do little to thwart its perfection. A great song can be performed with a bucket, toy piano and a hairbrush!

So goes a great marriage. You don’t need much money, the finest house, car or similar trappings for your life together to be genuinely complete.  As long as your tempo is aligned, you walk in harmony, properly prepare for dynamic tension and appreciate counterpoint, your marriage will weave countless beautiful melodies that resonate through your home, your children and theirs. You build legacy.

I have been blessed by God over the last 20 years to compose such a marriage with my beautiful and precious collaborator, Lori Lynette. We have enjoyed a wonderfully curious and growing friendship that has produced three incredible daughters and a flourishing ministry of creativity in each of our lives. I couldn’t imagine what the last 20 would’ve been like without her smile and laughter fueling my soul nor can I imagine the next 20 without being able to look deep within her brown eyes. God made sure my life was complete.

Happy Anniversary Sweetheart!

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Yes, I Believe…

I Am a Man of Faith.

I Believe that God Exists. 

Not Only Do I Believe He exists, but I Believe He is Creator of All things, seen & unseen and that He is Lord & Sovereign over All. I Believe He Knows and Understands things I don’t and has answers for questions I don’t have the capacity to form.

I Believe God is Love. 

I Believe He Loves All His Creation. I Believe He Loves those who don’t love Him and even those who don’t believe He exists. I Believe He So Loved the World that He provided that His One & Only Son, Jesus, The Christ, born of a virgin, would come into this world, live a sinless life before mankind and more fully & clearly explain who God is and began to express the heart of God – not as a distant, cold, careless figure somewhere out there, but a Father, full of Grace & Truth. 

I Believe Jesus so profoundly expressed the heart of Father God that He, JESUS, voluntarily laid down His life at the hands of Roman soldiers and be crucified, which would fulfill prophecy spoken thousands of years earlier and demonstrated in the first and subsequent passovers; His Death satisfying once and for all the penalty of sin for all mankind, so that whomever would believe on Him, as the only means of salvation, would be made in right standing with Father God, experiencing true life, both eternal and abundant.

I Believe Jesus Died for My Sins. He Died.

I Believe Jesus rose from the grave, alive, on the third day, also fulfilling prophecy. He is Alive Forevermore!

I Believe in Holy Spirit. I Believe He Teaches, Leads & Guides those who have surrendered their hearts to The Lord Jesus Christ and is willing to Trust & Obey His Guidance.

I Believe in the Scriptures, The Bible. I Believe It to be God’s Holy Word and a primary source of learning His Mind, Heart and methods of living a life for His glory.

I Believe in the power of Prayer and through communing with Father God in Prayer, I can be in unbroken fellowship with Him in thanksgiving, intercession, confession, worship and praise.

I Believe I Can Believe what I Believe even if no one else does. 

I Believe I Can Believe what I Believe without being disrespectful to the beliefs of others and without compromising My personal beliefs. Yet I Am inclined to Pray for others who don’t Believe, that they too may Believe.

To those of You who Believe, Happy Resurrection!!!! 

Please Download and a Enjoy SounDoctrine’s “Resurrection” for FREE & Celebrate with Us!

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