Category Archives: Faith

The Awesome Avenue of Asking


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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sleeping class

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!



* 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   – 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!


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Grounded with Wings (Scene One)


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


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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Forget The Misses!!


At the time of this writing it’s safe to confess that I’ve blown it no less than 1752 times or more in 2017, with respect to my Personal, Professional and otherwise Preferential Decisions and there are still a few days left in this year! Obviously I am not proud of these missteps, which have hindered certain goals and advancement, yet I have long since Learned to Value the Lessons Every Blur & Blunder taught me. Each Chastisement has brought with it the understanding that I should not Extensively Linger on the Embarrassment, Shame or Guilt, but Appreciate the Gift of Another Opportunity to try again.

Once an Unexpected Bomb has Exploded, Our  very next moves as EntreMusicians should be to immediately Confess the Transgression(s), Ask Forgiveness, Seek Reconciliation and Move Forward, or more succinctly as Bishop David L. Thomas teaches, “When You Mess Up, Fess Up, then Get Up!”

Most Creatives, because we ‘feel’ so dynamically often experience difficulty overcoming our oversights. We tend to get stuck in the “shoulda, woulda, coulda’s” which further Delay Our Progress.

Mistakes & Miscalculations are Sure to Appear in the Upcoming Chapters of Our New Year, unless You are one of the New Robots being introduced into it. Unfortunately, a few of your Most Well Engineered Plans & Strategies May Not Perform as well as You’d Hoped, often Depending on Circumstances Outside of Your Control. Perhaps a Personal Misunderstanding Bangs a Huge Dent in an otherwise Vibrant Relationship, which as a result becomes irreparable. As long as You Know Deep Within Your Spirit that You were Not Malicious in Your Initiatives AND You have Taken the Sensitive, Appropriate Steps to try to Rebuild the Breach, albeit to no avail; You Must Move Along, Tears and All.

Remembering to Forget the Misses while Learning From Them is the Tightrope EMs are Destined to Walk. Don’t Get Stuck in the Mire. Make Adjustments. Tweak. Course Correct with Shoulders Back, Head Held High & Most Importantly, a Pure Heart. Once You’ve Sincerely Sought an Acquittal, Forgive Yourself!

A Wonderful Book, “Failing Forward” by esteemed Leadership Author, John Maxwell Goes Much Deeper and Helps the Healing! Enjoy!

I Wish You An Incredibly Prosperous, Blessed and Joyous New Year!

I was Listening to The Crusaders’ “Unsung Heroes” on Vinyl while writing this…

Grab a Copy of My Free E-Book “50 Engaging Ways to Transform Your Fans into Family” at  The

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BE The Producer!


Throughout this month, I’m sharing A Few of The Ways I’ve Honed My EntreMusicianal Skills by “Being” All The Things I’ve Needed to “Be” to Advance My Artistry & Career, while making a few bucks along the way. Last Week, I detailed the opportunities awaiting EMs who donned the Booking Agent Hat to represent other Singers/Bands/Artists in their areas. Today, we look into Being The Producer.

In a Tiny Region like Youngstown Ohio, there are very few outlets for Jazz Musicians. Many of Us Frequently Perform in Akron, Cleveland, Pittsburgh and further away, as my band SounDoctrine began to do early on to make a name for ourselves.

Around 2005 the City hired an Event Coordinator, Claire Maluso, to open up the Downtown Entertainment Corridor to other Genres which were traditionally dominated by Rock and College Bar Bands. Claire, an avid jazz lover, reached out to me as SounDoctrine was starting to build momentum due to our music airing on the Weather Channel during their famous jazz filled breaks.

We began to put together weekends in various downtown restaurants which quickly spilled into the annual Youngstown Jazz Fest. When Claire left her position, I began to work with the new hire and representatives from YSU and the Visitors Bureau to broaden the show’s scope. I was Blessed to Oversee Production from 2010-13. This provided two wonderful advantages for which I remain grateful.

1)  Through Corporate and Community Sponsorship, we were able to secure a better rate for All of the Performers. Previously, the “Baby Bands” received $0.00 “for exposure,” which I always thought was a crock after doing my fair share of them. The more notable bands were paid between $250-$400 for a 45 minute set. But with 5 to 6 members…?

What I was blessed to do was raise that rate to $850 per band and then create a “Pre Fest Night” at a Downtown Venue the night before where the “Baby Bands” were paid for their exposure and one of the notables headlined the evening! This created Synergy and Excitement for the Entire Weekend. It also created greater degrees of acknowledgement from the local artists, who all recognized that our team was committed to paying them more respectfully.

2)  As Producer, I Was Able to Strategically place SounDoctrine Immediately Before the Headliner. This meant:

a) More Time on Stage

b) Our Set Would Be Seen by those who may have arrived late

c) The Prime Opportunity to be Associated With (and often acknowledged by) The Headliner who usually arrived during the first portion of our set

Our resume now includes us opening for jazz legends, Spyro Gyra, Pieces Of A Dream and Grammy Winner Kirk Whalum among others, many of which we are blessed to remain in close contact with.

To ensure our momentum, we also created a monthly “Second Sundays” event to keep the jazz vibe alive Downtown, which ran until 2015, which featured regional artists and also gave our band another outlet for presenting new material. We were blessed to partner with our local Chick fil-A franchise to make this a spectacular event.

This past March, I was blessed to produce the very successful “Meet Me At The Cross” Good Friday Event at the Covelli Center in Downtown Youngstown, which by God’s grace was my largest feat to date. We are currently making plans for 2018.

Through this process, I have learned all of the consociate aspects of “Putting On a Show” faster than if I had just remained in the Drum Chair, showing up for Sound Check. Needing to simultaneously wear the multifaceted hats of Technician, Promoter, Marketer, Fund Raiser, Corporate Solicitor, Stage Direction and grasping what it means to dialogue about City Ordinances, Liability Insurance, Unions and how to navigate the various insecure/angry/weird personalities you often encounter in a 20 hour day without losing your cool – while retaining the stamina to play your set, has wholly strengthened me and has helped me to make better decisions in my career.

Production is extremely hard work. “Game Day” will Make You or Crush You!! There are No Gray Areas. One Day I will tell you about the time I almost went to jail hours before I was to go on stage…

I’m forever grateful for an amazing team I can call at a moment’s notice when it’s time to do it again! Michaela Write, Orlando & Dana Watson, Lori B, Phil The Beat & Rosalyn Moore, Felicia (FiFi) Fuller, Jerry & Bea Thjompson, Demetrius Allen, Isaiah Rowe, Dan Glass, Shaun Shaulis and the silent Nia Brown. Y’all Know None of this could’ve been done without you!

BE The Producer!


I was listening to Herbie Hancock‘s “Mr. Hands” on Vinyl while composing this.


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3 Key Moves to Advance Your Life

Incremental Growth should be the Motivation of Every EntreMusician. At the Forefront of Advancing Our Careers, Creativity, Musicianship & Art must be the Persistent Improvement of Our Lives. Continual Habits like Prayer, Mantras, Devotions and/or Meditation are Vital to Cleansing the Spiritual Self to Prepare Us for Our Day, Week or Projects, but it’s Equally Important to Remember that What We Do for Others contain holistic benefits that create remarkable synergy in our larger context.
Overtime, I Have Learned Three Principal Moves I Now Employ Daily to Advance My Life.
1) Engage.
We Live in World Where Engagement is defined as trading Brownie Recipes with a Facebook Friend from Sweden while ignoring the person sitting next to us on our Bus, Uber or other Mass Transit Commute. We Almost Never Speak to Others on Elevators, Preferring to Stare at the Floor below or Numbers above. TV Shows & Magazines we’d never view at home suddenly become more interesting than talking to the Totally Tattooed Girl in the Dentist’s Waiting Room. Unfortunately, Families the World Over Prefer their Phones to Genuine, Transparent Face Time with Each Other.
Be The One who Breaks the Mold. Create and a Entirely New Social Media. TALK To Someone. Extend Your Hand. Smile! Make Eye Contact. Seek Out Someone who doesn’t Look, Smell, Act or Think Like You! Agree to Disagree if it should come to that, but at least Try to See Life from Someone’s Else’s Perspective even if You Choose Not to Adopt It!
2) Encourage.
We All Know Someone who Needs Encouragement. An easy way to prove this is to Check & See if that Person is Breathing! If they are, Affirm Them! Give a Compliment. Notice Something About Someone and Verbally Admire that Characteristic or Trait. Go to Someone who has expressed Self Esteem Deficiencies in their Non Verbal Communication and Weigh Them Down with Confidence and Inspiration. Befriend the Friendless and Help Bear the Load of the Distressed. In Time, the Entire Organization, Situation & Atmosphere is Strong & Electric with Motivation.
To Quote the late Maya Angelou, ” People Will Forget What You Said, People will Forget what you did but People will Never Forget how You Made Them Feel.”
3) Empower.
To Equip & Commission Another is a Selfless Power that Ignites a Life & Changes Destinies. Sincerely Entrusting Another with Important, Sensitive Work Creates Character & Conviction. Empowerment is More Potent than Delegation. It’s Properly Training Someone to Fish, to Become Self Sufficient and Liberates Him/Her to Build Themselves. Empowerment is identical to Giving Your 15 Year Old Daughter the keys to the Car and Climbing into the Passenger Seat (something I’ve done three times now!) Being Nervous Without Showing it, Pressing Hard on the Imaginary Brake, while Impacting an Assertive Growth within them Transforms You Both! Empower Someone! Change a Life!
To Engage, Encourage & Empower is My Life’s Mission and Daily Intention.
It’s also the predominant goal of
Come Join Us!
I was Remembering the Fabulous Music of George Howard and Revisiting His Marvelous Debut, “Asphalt Gardens” on Vinyl while posting this blog. 
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Chase Away The Proverbial “They!”

crowdThey 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…

I Was Listening to YellowJackets “Shades” on Vinyl while composing this post.

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Always in Advance

Last Week We Discussed the Importance of Always Making All of Your Agreements with Promoters & Venue Owners In Writing. Today, I want to emphasize, Especially to Younger EntreMusicians the Seriousness of Always Getting PAID in Advance.

The First Step to Achieving this Objective Immediately after Negotiating a Fair Price (based upon Your Experience, Reputation & Sales) is to gently Reaffirm the Date Your Deposit is Due. Remember it’s Printed in the Agreement.

The Second Step Stipulates the Time Your Balance is Due. And It’s Always Prior to the Start of Your Performance. Sound Check is an Ideal Time. All the Equipment is out of the Van, You’re Plugged in and Properly Preparing, On Their Stage! There is No Argument or Sign of a Breach on Your Part – Now is the Perfect Time for Them to Complete Their End of the Deal. Specify This is You Somehow Failed to Reach a Prior Understanding, or if Mrs. Club Owner suddenly comes down with a case of ‘Forgetfulness.’ If Your Written Agreement is Clear & Concise, then Stand Your Ground and Refuse to Go On Until You’re Paid – but Leave Your Equipment Intact, Plugged In, On Their Stage.

If You are a Younger Performer, these types of Standoffs may seem Intimidating, Unnecessary and are Not Why You Got Into the Biz – Besides Your Older Cousin Bobby (who taught you how to play drums) is coming to tonight’s show, so You just wanna Play!

But Remember You Cannot Repossess a Performance…

If Mr. Promoter should Weasel Out of Any or All of Your Payment, That Incredible Sax Solo and Ultra-Phat Rhythm Section Cannot be Recalled or Resold (unless you’ve recorded the hit and plan on selling CDs, but I digress…) It’s Worth Everything to Wait Before Potentially Giving Your Show Away. Again, I’m Assuming You Already Have A Written Agreement in Place.

This is Not the Time to Begin a Whining or Screaming Session. Remain Professional.     Order Food from the Bar or Order Out. Chill Backstage and Wait Till the Hall Fills Up.         The Closer it gets to Showtime, the More You Will See the Balance Shift. Be Prepared to Hold Out Until the Money is In Your Hand. Then Go Out There and KILL!

For Many Years, I have Also Made it a Habit to Always Pay My Fellow Band Members in Advance. As a Bandleader, I Set a Precedent that Allows My Partners to Concentrate Only on the Music and Not On Whether They Will Hear A Sob Story from Me, Quite Possibly Blaming the Club Owner because I Did Not Do Due Diligence.

Headaches are not Something You Need on Game Day, So Prepare Accordingly.                 This Practice Not Only Increases Your Business Acumen, but Solidifies Your Stature among Your Musical Peers as a Serious Professional.

Download My Free E-Book “50 Engaging Ways to Transform Your Fans Into Family” at and Join the Conversation!

I Was Listening to Various Prince and The Time Prime Cuts on Vinyl while Writing this Blog



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When It’s Finally Time to Give Up On Your Dream…

Americans this week Celebrated the Life & Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr as a National Holiday. What is most intriguing about His Story is the Sacrifice He was Willing to Pay for the Manifestation of his Ideals, which ultimately and tragically outlives him.

Our Country, the luminous recipients of this Young Man’s Exalted Dream, in spite of the Current Political Turmoil and Present Challenges Cannot Deny an Improved America and the Monumental Gains we have made since the late 1950’s. Because of Dr. King’s Willingness to become the Spokesperson for Righteousness, Equality & Justice amid Bigotry, Racism & Violence, You and I Enjoy Opportunities our Grandparents Never Imagined, irregardless of Race, Color & Creed.

As EntreMusicians who Continually Vacillate between Quitting Our Craft and Staying the Course, we can absorb volumes from this Impartial Pioneer, who Did Not Refuse Jail, Beatings, Water Hoses, Police Dogs, Betrayal, FBI Surveillance and Increasingly Unabashed Hatred with Every Victory He Managed to Secure!

Step by Step, Song by Song, Project to Project we Advance Onward toward Our Personal & Professional Initiatives. Failure is Certain. Setbacks are Assured. Lack Of Resources, Lack of Respect, Closed Doors, Missed Opportunities, Miscalculations and Outright Bone Headed Mistakes Line the Pavement of Our  Desolate Journey. Instances of Having to Begin Again and Again Evolve into recurring Nightmares that take us to the Very Edge of Who We Are.

But We Can Not Quit. We Must Not Give Up. There’s No Towel to Throw. There’s No Plan B.

It’s Not Time Yet!

They Will Say You’re Too Old, Too Poor, Too Slow, Too Fast, Over Qualified, Under Qualified, Too Fat, Too Thin, Too Dark, Too Pale, Unreasonable, Illogical, Crazy, Stupid and Toss More than Cursed Words and Tomatoes at You!

Keep Playing, Keep Planning, Keep Dreaming, Keep Climbing, Keep Pursuing, Keep Writing, Keep Singing, Keep Hoping, Keep Believing.

You Might Be Able to Quit When You’re Dead! When Your Heart Stops Beating, Your Brainwaves Cease and Your Lungs fail to Breathe. Then Maybe, Just Maybe, right after You’re Buried and Your Family is Scrambling Toward the Mashed Potatoes should you think about Laying Your Precious Dream Aside…

Because maybe, perhaps, by chance, possibly somewhere along the way you’ve Inspired Someone to Pick Up The Torch and Fan the Flame of Creativity that Ignites the Next Generation to Pursue the Promise of Music, of Joy, of Celebration of True Spirit, Of Heart, Of Peace and, Of Love…which Never Dies



While Composing this blog entry, I was listening to Stevie Wonder’s “Happy Birthday” which help galvanize the country to compel President Ronald Reagan to sign the bill that made MLK Day a National Holiday in November, 1983.

What Do You Want Your Song To Do???



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