Category Archives: Dave Ramsey

Freedom From the Fear of Failure

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Firstly, as an Aspiring #Aluxer, I Am Not A Champion of Failure.

Like You, I Love to Win, Maintain Advantages, Remain Competitive and Constantly Seek New Ways to Improve. Losing, Quitting, Throwing In the Towel and Similar Derivatives are Not in My Active Vocabulary, but the Invaluable Education I have Received from the Many, Plenty Failures I have Experienced have proven to be Treasures which have Molded and Forged Me into the Man I Am, On the Path I Am. I would Not Trade Any One of Them. For Each Failure was just as Valuable as Every Win I’ve Attained.

Click Here To Read The Lessons I Have Learned :

Don’t Forget to Download My Free E-Book!

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The Only Two Things You Truly Own are the Only Two Things You Need to Succeed

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You & I Only Own Two Things.

Really.

That’s It!

2…!

Everything Else Can Be Taken Away in a Flash. Our Home could very well Go Up In Flames, even if We Burned our Mortgage years ago. Our Cars, Bank Accounts and Even Our Freedoms, Rights, Privileges, Traditions, Children, Family and Bodies are Subject to Irreparable Dissolve & Dust in a Twinkling of an Eye. At the End of the Day, when We Look to All We’ve Placed Our Trust and Security, an honest analysis confirms We Are Unable to Control Any Of It, with the exception of Two Things. Herein, I submit that  these are the Only Two Elements onto which Your Entire Life, Career and World could either Soar to the Zenith of Success or Ensure a Lifetime of Scarcity.

Now, I Must Apologize in Advance that in order to properly flesh out my explanation, I will need to interject a bible passage and venture into a few faith based precedents to make my practical points. I realize that I am writing to an audience of various perspectives and belief systems. One may choose to disagree with my method, but I am hopeful that once I’ve concluded, it will be difficult to dismiss my message.

These Two Gifts were bestowed at Birth. Extremely Valuable but Free of Charge. Exceeding the Importance of Organ or Extremity. These Two can Never Ever be Taken Away From Us, Without Taking Our Lives. Nor Can Anyone Force Us to utilize them in any form other than how We ultimately wish to – even if that person has somehow temporarily manipulated us, we still, at anytime can reassert Our Inherent Control. Genetics and Environment obviously Play a Respective Role in helping to condition These Two Properties, but in the majority of circumstances, You & I are endowed with the Absolute Ingredients to attain our Highest and Best.

These Two Components Are Priceless. Their Role Profoundly Shape Our Destinies and are Continual Aids for Advancement. They are a Natural Means  for Progress & Prosperity.  When Used Wisely, they contain the capacity to Improve the Human Condition globally. Not Unlike Everything Else We Steward, these Sacred Assets should be Nurtured and Protected. In fact, to Gain Enormous Advantages, These Resources Must Be Developed, Disciplined and Continually Responsive to Our Demands. Once We have Diligently Mastered the Necessary Training, New Worlds, Possibilities & Blessings Find their way to Our Door.

The Resources to which I refer is Our Minds & Our Mouths. Our Thoughts, Active or Subconscious, contain the Source of All of the Power & Energy Necessary to Totally Transform Our Lives either toward Dominion or Decay. Every Idea, Concept, Intention, Theory, Hypothesis or Inkling has spawned from the Womb of The Mind,  Advancing and Progressing (or diminishing and destroying) Life and the Quality thereof.

Equally, Our Mouths and the Words We Choose to Escape from It can Build Bridges of Prosperity or Forge Alleys of Abjection. Our Words either Embrace or Imprison Opportunity. By Our Conversation, People Instinctively Know How & Where to Classify Us in their Personal or Professional Tiers of Influences. The Healthiest and Hungriest of Us understand the Unique Collaboration of Our Minds & Our Mouths. We attend Our Thoughts, Motives & Attitudes with the Utmost Care. We  Acknowledge the God Given Power of Our Brain as a Hallowed Production Facility. We Schedule Time to Think, Plan, Pray & Create. We Intentionally Reflect, Evaluate and then Implement our Thoughts, Transforming Imagination into Gold. The Most Successful Thinkers form Mastermind Alliances, harnessing the Potential that energizes Multiple Minds in Alignment.

Furthermore, We deliberately Watch Our Words. We Carefully, Tenderly, Thoughtfully Choose Each One. We Focus on Our Tone of Voice, Every Enunciation, the Sequence, Grammar and Flow of Each Word. Everything That Enters Our Brains Does Not Exit Our Mouths. Our Orifice is Our Divine Distribution Center which we Excellently Maintain. With It We Effectively & Efficiently Convey Our Thoughts to Our Loved Ones, Friends, Business Partners or Potential Investors. It Is No Accident that our Vocabulary Expands when we Strengthen Our Minds; Learning, Unlearning & Relearning New Paradigms, Traversing the Unexplored, Growing, Dreaming, Imagining, Inventing. Eagerly, We Expectantly Speak the Invisible into Being, the Future Into the Present, Telling & Not-Telling Those Who Would/Shouldn’t Come Alongside Us for this Amazing Journey toward the Impossible!

This is All We Really Own. This is All We Have. This is All We Need!

Our Incredible Thoughts Can Withstand the Powerful Forces of Doubt, Fear, Worry and the Onslaught of Obstacles which populate like dandelions at the Dawn of a New Idea. Even the harshest physical abuse cannot terrorize a Mind Determined to Prevail. Communicating Purpose Filled, Powerful, Potent, Penetrating Words Declare Life where there is Death, Hope to the Desolate and Calm to Storms. We are Molded, Shaped & Fashioned in the Image of the Almighty God, who Creates & Speaks and Allows, even Challenges Us to Do The Very Same Thing! We Were Created to Gain Dominion Over Our Every Circumstance!

 Read Genesis Chapter One.

My Friend, You Possess & Control The Two Most Powerful Tools on the Planet to Succeed In Life and within the Lives of Those You Love & Serve. Utilize their Greatness to Experience what Countless Others have Failed to Envision. Sharpen Your Mind. Command Your Conversation.

Win!

I was Listening to Jeff Lorber’s “Water Sign” on Vinyl as I wrote this…

Download My Free EBook!

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Three C’s To Live By

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One of the Most Rewarding Aspects about Having Good Mentors in Your Life are the Applications You Can Apply Immediately. It Doesn’t Matter if the One You Follow is in Your Industry Or Not. Wisdom is Omnipresent!

Gratefully I’ve been under the Guidance of Bishop David L. Thomas for 13 years.  His Leadership has helped Sharpen & Shape Me in practically every area of my life. I’ve had the most fun implementing his pastoral teachings into my career as an EntreMusician. Several years ago he taught a Series on the ‘Three C’s to Live By’ that continues to impact my perspective, especially as I am around so many creative people. I know these 3 C’s will help you too!

  1. Don’t Compare!

Comparison is akin to a Two-Headed Monster which can actually eat you up from the inside, even though you are outwardly focused upon the talents of others.

First You have that Big Head that says “I Am The Best,” “No One Is Better than I” and You then Begin to Loudly Put Down Other Musicians, Singers, Producers, overly analyzing what or how they destroyed a Song or Project and what YOU would’ve done to blow the thing out of the water. Unfortunately, we’ve all been around people like this and most of us have looked for the quickest exit to either get out of the conversation or leave the room.

The Little Headed Monster is More Subtle, but Equally As Dangerous. He whispers how horrible You are, compared to this or that singer – and all that you are unable to accomplish. She whines that she didn’t go to music school, or can’t afford the $5000 guitar and can never catch a break while her counterparts are soaring. It’s the Ultimate Pity Party that often attracts a room full of crybabies who should otherwise be grateful for the gift they’ve been given, sharpen their skills and grow a pair… of stronger legs to stand on.

      2. Don’t Compete!

Healthy Competition is Great. It is downright Essential In Business and In Sports. There are Myriad of Stories of How Great Recording Artists would strategically either release their records in advance of, or several weeks after a Huge Artist, so they wouldn’t get crushed on the charts which proved to be sound business moves. But there has long been an unhealthy form of competition in the Creative World that seeks to Steal, Kill & Destroy the Hearts & Souls of their fellow Musicians. It’s Downright Hateful and No Self Respecting EM should continue to participate in it or Stand For It.

There are some who use every opportunity to freeze out other musicians – primarily out of envy or brutal ugliness. Some won’t share information, resources or opportunities, preferring to hoard everything. This behavior emanates from a “Lack Mentality.” These Artists don’t understand that there is infinite space in the Entertainment Community and the World is always awaiting the Next New Sound, Look or Experience. True EntreMusicians operate with an ‘Open Hand.’ We Look for ways we can Engage, Encourage & Empower Each Other!

3. Don’t Criticize!

This final behavior is many ways the Vocal Chords of the previous two. The Artist simply MUST make their observations known to anyone who will listen. Interestingly, they become meaner and nastier about their fellow counterparts as the crowd swells. You & I have seen Tweets, FB Live Footage and Instagram posts of horrible and often unwarranted criticism of someone who is either out there doing their absolute best or taking a completely different approach to the muse – only to be hammered for their individuality. Remember Fergie?

Regrettably, I have been around more seasoned musicians who will attend the show of a far lesser known artist and rip apart their performances as if they have always had perfect shows, sing on key or play awesome solos every single night. They rip apart the newbies and feel great about it. These are often the very same performers that find themselves dropped from their labels as soon as their own numbers fall below the anticipated streams/sales. Karma.

Truthfully, there have been several times where I have found myself in each of these three camps. If I were not speaking my position, I was certainly thinking it – and to be completely transparent, I am sure my attitude at the time may have cost me a connection or opportunity to advance. By God’s Grace, I have a more healthy respect for every EntreMusician I encounter, even if I don’t necessarily agree with their viewpoint or values. There is a wealth of maturity in Staying in Your Lane, Improving Your Gift and Sharing the Most Positive Energy You Have the Capacity to Produce!

Don’t Compare, Don’t Compete, Don’t Criticize! (video)

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The Awesome Avenue of Asking

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There is a Wonderful Biblical Principle that is Engaging, Encouraging & Empowering no matter what Your Worldview may be. Spoken by Jesus Christ in His Sermon on The Mount in Matthew 7: 7-8, He shares this Priceless Gem: “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.” A Deeper study into that passage of the Original Language reveals that Jesus is saying to Continue Asking, Continue Seeking and Continue Knocking! Persistence is the Key to Open The Door!

The Fear of Asking has stifled the Dreams of Millions! The Initial Preconceived Emotion of Rejection handicaps us from even picking up our bat to take a swing, let alone getting us to first base! The Problem is that we can be so overly (and needlessly) intimidated! The worst scenarios immediately into our minds and we instinctively begin to ostracize ourselves into the mire of what we believe Others will think of us! How Dare We Pursue Our Goals & Dreams! How Dare We Ask Them to Help Us?! Further, How Dare We Ask Them to Step Aside as We Garner More Territory!

Another Biblical Example that comes to mind is found in Numbers 13 when Moses sends out 12 spies to go into the land God had promised them and Ten of them returned scared witless, claiming “…We felt as small as grasshoppers, and that’s how we must have looked to them.” Only Joshua & Caleb had the stones to Move Forward and thus, only Joshua & Caleb Actually Entered into the Promised Land!

The Awesome Avenue of Asking is paved with Courage! To begin Gathering Nerve is found is the Ability to Get Over Yourself and just Start Making Requests!

Begin TODAY by Asking for Any & Everything You Can Think Of! It’s Perfectly OK to Start Small.

Ask A Co Worker for $0.75 cents and pay Him/Her back before the days end. Ask a Close Friend to Borrow $150 till Friday and Pocket It until then, paying them back promptly. The Joy is in simply getting started. The Next Time You’re in Your Favorite Store, Ask the Manager for a lower price on something that is clearly marked significantly higher and up the ante by having your money in plain site!

My First Point is, All They Can Say is NO!

I once walked into a Guitar Center asking for a Less Expensive Online Price of a certain Digital Recorder I wanted and the young, naive, prideful little Whatshisname refused me. So I kept my car in their parking lot and walked a few blocks to the Smaller, ‘Soon to be shut down by the Behemoth’ Music Store and Asked of them the same question. They obliged my request. I returned to GC with my New Unit and Receipt and Asked to Speak to the Manager, recounting my recent experience with his salesperson and my subsequent victory with his competitor. The Now Embarrassed Manager knew he had lost $200 trying to save $44.76 and had quite the conversation with his protégé. Perhaps that’s why they too may not be around long…

If You’re from New York or travel there much, You Soon Learn That EVERYTHING is Up for Negotiation! But Your Silence Guarantees You Will Never Have a Seat at The Table if You Don’t Ask!

My Second Point is All They Can Say To You Ultimately is NO and perhaps Sprinkle in a Few Expletives for Emphasis!!

I’m Learning to Ask for More Outrageous Things Consistently. I recall the Very First Time I asked an Extraordinary Price for My Band, SounDoctrine, to play a Gig and the Promoter said “Yes!” While immediately thinking I should have asked for at least $1000 more, I surmised that I’d never venture far from My Now New Standard Price ever again. Although this decision sometimes bites like a double edge sword, in that we hear a lot of Giant NOs, meaning we perform less, yet every time we do perform, we are playing more prestigious dates at better terms and conditions!

ASK for a Better Seat at that Swanky Restaurant! ASK to Be Upgraded to First Class For FREE! ASK to Speak to the Owner of the Company! ASK for an Opportunity to Open for That Artist or Better Yet to Headline The Event (They Will  Certainly Remember You!) ASK for Airplay on the Larger Stations! ASK for a Free Subscription! ASK for Your Post to be included in That Periodical! ASK for That Door To Be Opened and then ASK Again Next Week/Month/Year!

This Week, I’ve just asked a Core Member of a World Renown Group who will be playing our city this Friday (tomorrow) if I can interview them for This Blog. I have yet to hear a word from them and I just might receive another NO, but what if it becomes a YES?

So What Are YOU Asking For? What Incredible Opportunities are YOU Imagining Might Come to the Surface simply by gathering the grit to Open YOUR Mouth and Begin Inquiring?

My Third Point hinges on the scripture I began with as Jesus wraps up His thoughts on Asking. He says in verse 12: “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” 

In Other Words, While You Are Rehearsing the Process of Asking, What Are You Preparing to Give, either to them directly or to Others whom May Ask of You so that the Law of Reciprocity may Flourish In You, Through You & Around You!

So Let’s Get To It!!

I’ve began a New Video Channel  to begin driving some of these and Other EntreMusicianal Points deeper into the subconscious of Us All.

I humbly Ask You to Watch, Like & Share this Content  with Your Fellow EMs and in turn I promise to continue to Progress & Develop Greater Programs of Dialogue, Resources and Avenues to Engage, Encourage & Empower!

Thank You for Taking the Time to Read These Words.

I was Listening to Azymuth‘s “Rapid Transit” On Vinyl while composing this blog.

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SIX THINGS I SHARED WITH MRS T’s CLASS!

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Over the years I have been blessed to be able to speak at our area Northeast Ohio High Schools, especially on Career Days to encourage Students in their endeavors and in peaking interest into the Entertainment Arena.

As you can imagine, having listened to stifled presentations from Attorneys, Funeral Home Directors(!?), Carpenters, Welders and various other business owners, when I step up and say “ Hi, I’m a Music Producer,” most of the Sleepers, well at least a few of them, rub their eyes and try to focus. When I am able to either bring in some gear to demonstrate beats or present some other multimedia explaining the technology and my role in it, then I have their attention! It’s Interesting to note that the Top Two Responses I frequently receive anytime I ask about career goals is “I Wanna Be A Rapper!” or Athletics. That’s Any School, Across Ethnic & Economic Demographics…God Help Us.

Early on, I quickly learned that the easiest way to put a High Schooler to sleep is to read from a script! It’s foolproof! Stand behind a lectern and begin flipping notes and the snoring becomes deafening! So on this past Friday morning, when Mrs. T invited me to present the entire day on Entrepreneurship to her class, I did what I’ve done for the past six or seven years now, Wing It!!

When I began to explain what I’d learned as I was progressing into the role of an EntreMusician, I instinctively walked to the board and prepared to write down the proverbial three when, as I continued talking, turned into six. They became so impactful, I began talking to myself, as if the students faded into my peripheral. I actually made notes between the classes to expound upon and updated them throughout day.

Tell Me If You Agree…

 

1. Be Intentional

*NO ONE IS GOING TO GIVE YOU ANYTHING! (I Actually Screamed This and Made Them Repeat It Thrice!) NO One Owes You ANYTHING! The Grammy Doesn’t Just Fall Into Your Lap (Although it seems like it lately!) You Are Responsible for You!! Get Off Your Donkey and Do The Work!
2. “And Then Some” 

*These Are Three Words which Changed My Life. First Taught to Me by Bishop David L. Thomas, he shares “It’s Not Enough to Do Just the Requirements, Successful People Go Beyond!” When Rehearsal Stops, That’s When Your Practice Begins! It Matters Not that You Sing In Key, Thousands of People Audition for a Spot on “The Voice” or “Idol” – So What! Even in My Much Smaller Domain, I Can Have a Singer or Musician in front of the Mic at 3PM Today!  I’m NOT Looking for someone to Sing/Play the parts, I’m Looking for Someone to Kill IT! Interpret the Phrase, Step So Far Inside the Zone that I’m Embarrassed I didn’t Write it that Way! So Go Far Beyond! Do What It Takes…And Then Some!

 

3. Put God First 

*My Own Personal Statement of Faith. You May Follow Another System of Belief, or None At All. But for Me & My Household, We Serve The Lord and have found Him Most Faithful in ALL of Our Endeavors, even Teaching Us More in Our Failures, SO This is My Practice.

 

4. Always Be Truthful 

*There Are Two People We Tend to Lie to. Ourselves and Each Other. Both Are Dangerous, But Lying to Yourself is Detrimental. Not Owning Up to Your Failures, Mistakes, Irresponsibility, Lack of Professionalism and Discipline is Guaranteeing that You’ll Never Truly Succeed. And Whatever Measure of Success You May Obtain, If Any,  Will Quickly and Surely Fade as You Believe the Lies of Others that You Are God’s Greatest Gift to the Entertainment Industry. Another destructive element about lying to yourself is that whatever you tell yourself, your mind accepts! If You say “I’m Not That Good,” “I’m a Loser,” “I’ll Never Amount to Anything,” or the Most Famous Curse of All – “I Can’t!!!” The Your Mind AGREES WITH YOU and You Rob Yourself of the Blessings Intended to flow through you and out into the world!!

Obviously, Lying to Others, Other than being Just Plain Wrong is Absolutely Unnecessary and will Bite Hard after Word Gets Around that You Are Untrustworthy and Lack Integrity. And Word Spreads Fast!

 

5.FORGIVE! 

* Beyond Huge! Carrying a Grudge grows Heavier Every Day! Someone once said that Unforgiveness is Like Drinking Poison and Expecting the Other Person to Die! I had Incredible Unforgiveness Issues Early in Life, Especially for My Father and I Found Myself in a Spiritual Prison because I couldn’t (and wouldn’t) Move On. This caused me to harbor other forms of hatred against Anyone who Said or Did Things to Me – Or Even If I Perceived they Might! It’s a Living Hell and if You Don’t Allow God to Heal You and Release You, Forget About THIS Industry, because unfortunately Dogs, Snakes and Other Unscrupulous Scum abound – Each One Wearing Smiles! You’d better learn how to Discern their Spirits from One or Two Conversations and if, by some Chance you get Nicked or Stabbed, Seek Appropriate Counseling and Move On!
6.Know Who YOU Are

* No One Can Ever Force You To Do ANYTHING (within the context of the Entertainment Industry) that You Don’t CHOOSE To Do. If You KNOW Who You Are, Maintain Integrity and a Strong Constitution, You Don’t Have to – And Would Never – Sing Those Lyrics, Take Off Your Clothes, Align Yourself with That Person just because They Can Do This or That for You. Focus on Your Strengths, Your Principles & Values, Your Artistry and BE YOU! Certainly, It May Take Longer than Those Who Sell Their Souls, but what is the Price of YOURS?

 

So That’s What I Shared. I am Certain there are Many More and I would Like to Hear Yours. What Would You Have Told Ms. T’s Class if Given the Chance OR What Do You Regularly Share?

 

Please Feel Free to Comment!

 

We’ll Compile ALL of Our Wisdom and Post an EntreMusician Handbook!

 

TODAY Marks My 50th Blog Post at TheEntreMusician.com   – while I’ve posted far more on other sites, I am grateful for the Opportunities I have been afforded by establishing this brand. Today, March 1, 2018, we begin to expand and also celebrate my fellow EntreMusicians who participate. They are each doing incredible work and all explore exciting Artistry! If You wish to become a Member of our wonderful EntreMunity  reach out to me here, so we can Engage, Encourage & Empower Each Other toward Greatness!

This Week’s Spotlight EntreMusician is the Internationally Renown Ginetta’s Vendetta. A Beautiful, Remarkable, Exceptional Trumpeter who leads a Funk Jazz Band through Standards and Original Compositions, Ginetta never fails to rock the house. My band SounDoctrine opened for her in Baltimore and later played behind her at the Soul Patrol Festival in Philly and no doubt will be working together again real soon! Check Her Out and Support her Artistry! 

I’ve Linked an MP3 of Her Track “The Shadow of Your Smile” for Your Enjoyment!

Ginetta

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Advice I Gave My Youngest Daughter

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As an Absolute Shameless Plug for My Youngest Daughter, Ayana Symone, who just published her first novel, “How I Fell In Love With Myself” and as A Happy 53rd Birthday to Myself today, I want to share some advice I gave her as we were entering the building for her to do her first TV Interview to Promote her Book.

It is Wise Advice Every EntreMusician Should Remember Always:

TALK TO EVERYONE! 

There is No Such Thing as an Insignificant Person. Ever. Absolutely Everyone Deserves to be treated with Dignity & Respect.

Don’t just Politely Speak, but

TALK TO the Parking Attendant who Valets Your Car. Smile, Thank  & Tip Them. Especially if you’re in a hurry. TALK TO Them Again when You Return.

TALK TO the Employee who Greets You at the Door. Compliment them.

TALK TO the Security Guard who Takes You Up to the Elevator, even if you only begin with the weather.

TALK TO the Receptionist / Assistant that Shows You to the Green Room.

TALK TO the Technician who places the Mic on You.

TALK TO the Host/Hostess who offers you Coffee/Water/Tea.

Take a Moment to TALK TO the Custodial Personnel who may walk in to Empty the Trash or Sweep the Floor while You’re Waiting.

Treat Each Person as Graciously and Genuinely as You Do the Person Interviewing You. 

Often, I’ve made a point to have an Extra CD or Download Card to Gift Someone who is in no way related to the Interview, whether they happen to be an Employee or is in the building on another matter, I Gift  as a courtesy – After Having a Light, Encouraging Conversation.

These Encounters have earned me Mileage that has taken me further on my journey than just “sticking to the task at hand,” only Talking to Those Directly Related to My Goal/Cause/Project!

Ayana’s Book is Available on Amazon!

Now onto the Candle-filled Cupcakes…

STILL In a Crusaders zone, I’m listening to “Unsung Heroes” AGAIN on Vinyl!

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Overstating the Obvious

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Music is Sacred. 

She embodies a Global Language. She is an Impenetrable Vehicle of Love, Harmony and a Universal Cadence for All Races, Cultures, Faith & Ages.

While Music has been utilized to transport Opposing, even Offensive Ideas, she has more often offered Transformative, Unifying Emotions which have helped Change Laws, Suspend Unhealthy Mores and Transcend Generations.

The Purest Music and the mediums which foster her beauty have overtime become reduced to Mere Commodity, Shadowy Spectacle and Decaying Dogma.

Opinions, Suggestions and Ideas differ, as they must in a Completely Free Society, but Pure Music, Art that Awakens the Mind, Encourages the Spirit and Stimulates the Soul, Inspiring Integrity is at best, rarely created, or at worst, strategically besmirched & buried, forced into obscurity.

Platforms for Salacious Sensationalism Rise above the Rhythms of Inspiration. One’s Image, their Ability to Seduce and in many instances flaunt the notions of Success, Materialism, Murder and Vice incredibly overshadows Every Child who picks up their instrument in wild eyed wonder, merely for the sincere Love of Musicianship.

School Boards routinely abandon Musical Instruction & Appreciation, yet Politicize Personal Agendas, ironically Wrapping their Message in Song. The Biggest Award Shows, Instead of Championing the Absolute Best Music has to Offer, cloak themselves in Social Justice Attire, Preaching a Global Construct of Vilification. Pure Music is Lost in the Conversation.

Ideas are Welcome, All Opinions for the Greater Good of Humanity Must be Honored, but the Sacred Grail of Pure Music Must No Longer be Contaminated by the Creators of a Higher Calling; the Musicians, Chosen to Shine, to Encourage, to Build, to Connect.

If You Are a Creator of Pure Music, Lift Your Voice. Use Your Instrument. LOUD & Strong. For the Sake of the Next Generation. Do Not  Allow Your Artistry to be Mismanaged by those who wish to use it for anything other than Your Flawless Authenticity.

No Matter what they Offer, It’s Not Worth the Price of Your Soul.

I was Not Listening to Any Music while Writing this Post, but I met a Pure EntreMusician, Ron James, busking in Atlanta’s International Airport last night. I bought his killer CD. You Should Too…

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Grounded with Wings (Scene One)

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Every EntreMusician grapples with the dichotomy of continually balancing Our Artistry with Our Business Acumen; Our Creativity with the Disciplines of Commerce. Among these Many Balancing Acts We Perform are the Internal Battles for Fame, Fortune & Prestige as the Flame of Integrity burns just as brightly.

We Note Our Faith, Convictions, Principles & Values Must Remain Pure, Resilient & Uncompromising while Simultaneously Pursuing Innovative Plateaus of Greatness. It’s a Thin Tightrope, especially in an Industry that has most recently Revealed the Underbelly of Scandalous Vice which has help Topple those at the Highest Peaks of Success.

No One is Immune from Temptation in its innumerable forms. The oft quoted “Everybody Has a Price” has been Proven True throughout Generations. Remaining Absolutely Authentic to One’s Artistry in the Face of Pejorative Manipulation has languished the underwhelming careers of literal Geniuses deserving of far, far more.

History is awash with African American Artists who had to ‘Play The Game’ in order to Survive. They smiled in the Face of Bigotry and often played some of the Biggest Venues they were Not Allowed to Eat or Sleep In. It’s A Thin Tightrope, now wrapped around the Necks of a Generation who Take their Clothes Off and Curse their Own just to reach #1.

It’s Decision We All Make as We Climb the Higher Ladder, Peaking Through the Curtain of (Com)Promise. What Do We Give Up as We Go Up? Would We and Should We Write Our Own Rules and Throw Off the Restraints of the Gatekeepers or Do We Climb Aboard the Trifling Train Destined to Take Us Down the Same Tracks of Destruction so many Tabloid Failures have Traveled? It’s a Tightrope…A Thin One.

Less Sales, Smaller Venues, Regional Notoriety, Fewer Streams, Obscure Downloads and Occasional Royalties VS The Opportunity to Look Yourself in the Mirror, Sleep Soundly with No Regrets and Enjoy the Love of a Stable Family who Respects and Cherishes You. This is the Choice of both the Many and the Few who remain Grounded With Wings.

Still in a Huge ‘The Crusaders’ Mode, I have been listening to all of the Vinyl I have on them – Wow!

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18 Books Every EntreMusician Should Own

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Wisdom is the Ability to Discern Exactly What Needs to Be Said or Done When Called Upon to Do So. It is the Combination of Knowledge & Experience best learned from Your Own Mistakes and often from the similar Mistakes of Others who’ve traversed tumultuous terrain and Now Stand as Giants in their Industry. Every EntreMusician makes a Solid Effort to Build upon the Foundation laid and shared by those Within and Outside of the Music Industry. Not only is Knowledge Power, it is a Weapon of Advantage to Separate Your Artistry from the Myriad of Incredibly Talented Musicians Who Continue to Aimlessly Wander, Wondering Why their Gifts Aren’t Making Room for Them.

Below, I’ve listed 18 Challenging Books, in no particular order (except #18) which have become a part of my arsenal, including some new ones I’ve added to my toolbox. There are a few repeats from several years ago, but I kept them on the list to convey their timelessness. May they be an Encouragement to You as You Conquer 2018.

Please Note: I don’t receive any ‘Kickback’ or Endorsement Deal for Suggesting these Books. These are Books I Own.

1) Talent is Never Enough  / John Maxwell

I Am Beyond a Fan of John’s Extremely Practical Leadership Style. The Title is Self Explanatory and their is Plenty of Advice to Hone Your Skills and Put Your Talent to Work for You.

2) Boundaries / Dr. Henry Cloud

Knowing “When to Say When” to People, Projects & Particulars have been the saving grace of many Creatives who feel they should always give when they actually should “sow” and reap the benefits of balance! Dr. Cloud helps you learn how to say “No, Thank You” without Guilt or allowing others to Shame You.

3) Platform (Getting Noticed in a Noisy World) / Michael Hyatt

My Longtime Virtual Mentor, who’s podcasts kept me up nights dreaming and re-dreaming(!) scored big on the dawn of the Social Media Revolution we now take for granted with some amazing advice that only bears more fruit regardless of the upcoming Net Neutrality Wars. This is Advice You Need, whatever industry You’re In.

4) Thou Shalt Prosper  /  Rabbi Daniel Lapin

Debunking Stereotypical Myths on the Wealthy and Wealth Building and any ill conceived notions of a particular race or class of people is meticulously superintended by Rabbi Lapin. A Healthy Spiritual, Emotional & Psychological approach to Money is the Bedrock for EntreMusicians once they begin Earning a Living Through their Art.

5) How Music Works / David Byrne 

This Talking Head, Always Unconventional Explains in His Own Unique Way things EntreMusicians have Understood, But Somehow Could Not Put into Words

6) To Be Loved / Berry Gordy

One of My All Time Favorite “Go To” Autobiographies when I am Discouraged over this or that angle of my career. Mr. Gordy’s tenacious perseverance in the midst of overwhelming obstacles is often short sighted by the sheer number of enduring superstars he created and introduced to the world. His legacy continues to affect the way millions view popular music today.

7) The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People / Dr. Steven R. Covey

Unbreakable Laws which change EVERYTHING

8) Living Forward / Michael Hyatt & Daniel Harkavay

Because this Book is Co-Written by with Michael Hyatt, I added this, not wanting to repeat an author, but the lessons, principles and activities involved in this short evaluation, prompt you toward intentionality, avoiding the drift.

9) This Business of Music / M. William Krasilovsky & Sidney Shemel

The Industry Standard of the Music Business for EntreMusicians to even begin Developing a Clue of how not to get screwed…that bad

10) Streaming, Sharing, Stealing / Michael D Smith & Rahul Telang

As of this writing, I’m only into the third chapter, but have been recommending to all of my friends. I’m as excited about the possibilities these writers reveal as I was when The Future of Music was released back in 2005.

11) My Life With Earth, Wind & Fire / Maurice White

Few Bands have achieved True Super Stardom. E,W&F attained and in many ways exceeded what other groups believed were possible. They are a genre unto themselves with a brightly lit flame still glowing although Maurice departed this life in 2016. His story inspires, encourages and gnaws into the true grit needed to rise out of the deep south, into the celebrity of the Ramsey Lewis Trio and onto the Global Stage.

12) EntreLeadership / Dave Ramsey

You Guessed It. I Borrowed My Moniker from Dave’s phrase, which sets up some wonderful pillars onto which to build your dreams and become a leader in your genre. Extremely Forthright and Practical, this book makes you want to immediately put it down and get to work!

13) In A Pit With A Lion on A Snowy Day / Mark Batterson

As a Man of Faith, I’m Constantly on the Search for Material that Encourages My Spirit as I Encounter Challenges and Take Bolder Risks pouring into My Marriage, My Ministry and My Music. Mark’s Book is Just What The Doctor Ordered, Every Time You Find Yourself Standing on the Edge of a Big Idea! I will be reading his sequel “Chase The Lion” this year.

14) The Autobiography of Malcom X / Alex Haley

You Might Think this Insertion Strange and Out of Place, but if you believe in Growth, Evolving to Your Greater Self and Integrity to nth Degree of Whatever Perspective You Embrace, Then Looking Into Malcolm’s life will challenge you to the bone. You really Don’t Know Yourself, until You’re Forced to Be Introduced to the Real You. Malcolm’s Introduction cost him his life.

15) The Four Hour Workweek / Tim Ferriss

I’m due to listen to this Audiobook again this year, as I was blown away by Tim’s sheer unabridged approach to Life. Often Creatives are the ones most bound by regiments, habits and formulas (I know I am) – but to Live in a Way that Truly “Unties” You to Create, may seem zany at first, but thousands are doing it without missing a beat and seeing unsurpassed returns in the process.

16) Understanding Your Potential / Dr. Myles Munroe

When Lori, My Wife of 22 Years Gave Me This Book to Read when we were dating, I Knew She was the Woman for Me! The Late Dr. Munroe had a special way of Breaking Down our understanding our Purpose & Potential like few books I’ve ever read. This was the book that helped me quit my job and pursue music full time, warts and all….

17) Chaka! Through The Fire / Tonya Bolden & Chaka Khan 

Chaka’s voice has been the soundtrack of my childhood. She is our generation’s Sarah Vaughn, Billie Holiday & Ella Fitzgerald in One Woman. Her Story has all the channels of her voice, Soulful, Gritty, Sensual and Rapturous while Always Climbing Higher. You’ll Read This One Again and Again.

18) The Bible 

You Needn’t be a person of faith to learn incredible lessons from the lives of Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, The Apostles Peter & Paul and Jesus Christ. EntreMusicians can only grow and watch their lives be transformed beyond their imaginations as they discard what they may have heard or perceived and simply pick the thing up and digest it for themselves. An Excellent Read!

I was Listening to George Howard’s “A Nice Place To Be” on Vinyl while Composing this Post.

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5 Mechanisms Which Make Mountains Out of Molehills

mountains

Producers are Often Tasked with The Challenge of Sculpting Masterpieces Out of Minimal Talent. It’s Just the Truth. 

Often, Clients Approach You with Visions of Grandeur and Projects of Epic Proportions, but What they Actually Bring to The Table in Terms of Creativity, Skill and Experience Usually Pales in Comparison. The Contention is Amplified When the Blessed Souls Possess The Monies to Pay. In Cash. You Definitely Want to Pay The Bills, But Your Name & Rep are On The Line If You Don’t Provide Them the Record They Already Hear in Their Heads.

Sure, there is a Plethora of Technology that will Smash a Vocal into the Right Notes and Nudge the Drums into a Perfect Time Signature, but No Amount of Convolution Reverb, Compression or Wacky, Bounced Delay is Going to Compensate for a Lackluster Performance.

And it’s ALWAYS Going to Be YOUR Fault when You Playback the Take. Many Singers have Only Heard their Vocals in the Shower, Car or Garage with the Rest of their Band through Loud, Over Equalized PA Systems that Have Not Told Them the Truth. So When Your U-87 Unmercifully Reveals the Flaws and Cankers in their Nasally Throat, Prepare For War!

Many a Producer Friends I Know Cram Psychiatry on the Side, Ready to Soothe the Savages, but a Few of Us have Learned a Five Principles to Employ Prior to Pressing Record.

1. Find the Gold in the Dirt

Believe Me, It’s in There and Not So Hard to Locate, if You Know Where to Look. The Way a Word is Enunciated or a String is Unscrupulously Plucked or the Way the Drummer Smacks Her Hi-Hat Every Fifth Beat Can be Transformed into Some Interesting Accents.

2. Strip It Down

Help Your Artist Dial Down the Notions of a 72 Piece Orchestra Until They’ve Tapped into the Techniques that Make their Tunes Tick. Spend Three Days Alone with the Main Instrumentalist / Vocalist Recording & Re-Recording Their Arrangements so You Can:

a) Allow Them to Get Used to Focusing on Their Own Playing & Parts and to

b) Begin Building the Song Around Their Foundation.
3. Refuse to Baby Them

Holding a Guitarist’s hand through a Take is One Thing. Nursing them is Quite Another.

Don’t Take Attitude or Temper Tantrums Lightly. There is No Amount of Money You Can Pay Me to Eat Someone’s Crap.

Their Deposit, Minus Time Spent is Always at the Ready to Return. The Producer has been Hired to Lead the Process and Often Lives It Well After the Session is Finished. If You are in a Business where You are Recording Two or More Different Clients / Bands in One Day, You Don’t Need One Prima Dona’s Debilitated Dysfunction to leak into Your Next Session.

Worse is when You return to Mix, you’ll often find that the Messy Mood was Recorded and Can’t be Edited Out… My Ace Engineer & Friend Jerry Thompson Once Encountered a Beautiful Songbird who Sang Exquisitely, Destined to be a Future Star, but Displayed such Snotty, Condescending Behavior, We Promised God and Each Other We’d Never Work with Her Again and Haven’t.
4. Pull Out All The Stops 

It’s Highly Probable that This Session Reveals that the Challenge is Focused as Much on You As it is On Your Client. This is the Zone where You, Yourself Must Stand and Deliver. How Creative Are You? Are You Able to Massage that Subpar Bass line into a Grooving Pocket or Nudge those Nervous Sax Noodles into Ferocious Roars!

You Have The Power, Mr. & Mrs. Producer, of Patience, Persuasion & Perseverance. Remember, You’re Always Beginning with a Blank Canvas. Your Unique, Steadfast Ability to Build upon the Blocks Given You is the Real Magic that Turns Songs into Standards.

5. Always Tell The Truth 

Sometimes, The Musicians, Singers or the Song Just Does Not Cut It and there is Nothing You Can Do. Recognize It and Bow Out on the Front End. If Asked, Provide Your Expertise with Grace & Truth as to Why The Project Won’t Work. Unless You Like Making Enemies, Don’t Recommend Them to the Producer Across Town. Give Them a Timeline in which They May Be Able to Return and Try Again and Then Shake Hands and Walk Away. They Will Grow to Respect You For Your Honesty and in many cases will become Better at their Craft If Only to Prove You Wrong, which is Still a Very Good Thing!

I Was Not Listening to Any Music as I Composed This Blog. I Wish to Dedicate It to The Memory of My Dear First Cousin, Lori Jean White, who Passed Away Peacefully Last Night…Sleep on Sis!

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