Category Archives: Indie Musicians

18 Books Every EntreMusician Should Own

Rudolf-Steiner-Privatbibliothek

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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The New & The Now…

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At the inception of every New Year, we inundate ourselves with Great Intentions, Good Resolutions & Groovy Planners designed to encourage us on toward Grand Achievements.

Furthermore, we tend to be fascinated by “The New!” 
A New Year!
A New Day!
A New Beginning!
A New Journey!
A New Song! 

and On & On We Go, Optimistically Chasing toward the Future, without pausing long enough to realize that Immediately after the Big Ball Dropped, It Instantly Became NOW! 

Now is Not As Sexy, Attractive or Magnetic as NewNow reminds us that we have to Get the Stuck Up Off Our Butts NOW and Continue the Hard Work in Front of Us! Finish that Song! Complete that Mix! Practice!!

Now demands that we stay the course, because Now is All We Know and Now is All We Have!

Work Toward the New. Dream About It. Pray Into It. Plan For It. But Remember, New Simultaneously Morphs Into Now Every Second of Every Day.

Still in a Crusaders Mode, I was listening to “The 2nd Crusade” while posting this.

Download My Free EBook “50 Engaging Ways to Transform your Fans into Family!”

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Forget The Misses!!

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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 EntreMusician.com

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Forget The Critic!!

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Firstly, A Blessed & Joyous Christmas to Each & All!

Last We were Together (I’ve missed a few weeks) we suggested that since Every EntreMusician’s True Motive is to Compose His or Her Song completely from their Heart, Essence & Truth, then they Must  Adopt the Initiative to Forget The Hit!

Hit Songs Come and Go. Standards Transcend Generations. Smokey Robinson’s Great-Great Grandchildren should never be poor!

Today, we set forth a necessary secondary principal that urges you to abandon relying on The Critic to either Define You or Dictate to You What You Should or Must Sound Like to “Make It.”

While Garnering Great Reviews for Your Latest Project has its merits and You’d certainly want to see Favorable Appraisals of Your Work, You Don’t Want to Lean on the Analyst’s Voice or Pen to Guide You! I Learned This the Hard Way – Actually In Reverse – When SounDoctrine’s “INSPIRE” CD accumulated a ton of Wonderful Reviews, but little to no sales…and the total truth is, I had paid for None of Them! Somehow in trying to build upon the foundation we’d created with “ENDURANCE” while expanding our ‘commercial appeal’ I completely lost track of the Goal for the Glory.

I Certainly am NOT Hating on the many gracious Reviewers out there. I once was a Critic for a Jazz eMagazine and was blessed to be able to recommend a number of truly great Indie Artists. I did it out of the love for the music and was always respectful to follow any injurious comments I might’ve had with a note of encouragement. It came to the point where I would not review any material I felt I could not be kind toward, which began to denote bias on my part, so I quit. Many Reviewers share this struggle.

Your Purpose as an Artist Must be Grounded in Understanding that You Most Certainly Will collect Brutal Criticism from those who Don’t Know You, Understand You or are totally Unable to Envision Your Platform and it’s OK. Your Music is NOT for Them!

At the heart of the Christmas Story is a King, born in a filthy manger, who while going about Doing Good was for most of His Life was despised, hated and ultimately murdered by the critics of His day, brought forth through His Resurrection the Greatest Gift the world could ever receive; Eternal Life!

So Go For It!

Get My Free E Book at www.theentremusician.com and Join the Conversation brewing for 2018!

I’ve been in an Azymuth mood again, so while writing & posting this, I’ve been dropping all of their albums on the turntable!

Check Out their cover of Marvin’s “What’s Goin On”

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5 Mechanisms Which Make Mountains Out of Molehills

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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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The ONE Thing…

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Much Love and Many Prayers to the Victims and Families who Lost Loved Ones in the Senseless Las Vegas Tragedy. My Heart Goes Out to All.

During September, we discussed Four Avenues EntreMusicians are able to Journey and Advance through simply by Applying Ourselves and Owning the Occasion. Just BE!

My Focus Today is to Zero In on the Truth that the Most Successful EMs, once Defining & Honing their Niche, Strengthen their Artistry by Building a Brand on One Singular Component. Just because we possess the capacity to perform 20 tasks simultaneously does not mean we should. Nor should we attempt to be known for more than One Great Consistency (think Michael Jordan in Pro Baseball), unless our Multifarious Talent IS The Brand (Think Prince).

Develop & Grow Your Specific with Eagle Eye Precision & Dedication as It will be that One Thing that People will Remember You for after you’ve left Our Planet. If for some reason folk should Remember You for Two or More Qualities, it’s most likely because they are corresponding, like “Husband & Father,” “Scientist & Researcher” or…”Multi-Instrumentalist.”

I Constantly Ask Myself if I Am a Composer // Music Producer // Drummer // Booking Agent // Manager // Actor // Event Coordinator // Publisher,  all the while maintaining my identity as Jesus Follower // Lori’s Husband // Father of Three Daughters // Pastor // Bible Teacher.

My Personal Identity aside, I Am Foremost a Music Producer. As an EntreMusician, this is the One Area I Continue to Maturate. Constantly Working with Extremely Talented Songwriters, Arrangers, Vocalists, Musicians, Artists, DJs, Engineers and Technicians Provide Me Exceptional Outlets to Experiment & Improve My Game. Interestingly, I Live & Think as a Music Producer in Every Area of My Life, especially as a Pastor – but that’s another blog…

What About You? What’s the ONE THING You Work At Harder than Any Other and Wouldn’t Mind Being Remembered For?

I was listening to Dave Grusin & Lee Ritenour‘s Exceptional “Harlequin” on Vinyl while composing this post.    

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BE The Publisher

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To Finalize Our Month of “BEING,” in which EntreMusicians can take advantage of a few of the Wonderful Opportunities which await those with Initiative, we’ll end September in a space that I cherish the most .

I have been passionate about Music Publishing since the eighth grade. I was the kid who read all of the liner notes on the album. I learned the Record Label Names, Executives, A&R Personnel, Where the Album was Recorded, Mixed, Mastered – Who the Engineers were, Producers, Arrangers, Session Players – Who the Songwriters were and then… Publishing? ASCAP, BMI, SESAC? What does this all mean?

I started reading. I went to the library and borrowed “Making It With Music” by Kenny Rogers and Len Epand. I didn’t return it. For the first time I heard and realized that the Song is the Most Important Instrument in Music and the Person(s) who Owned/Controlled the Song’s Publishing will be the Most Important Instrumentalist(s) overtime.

Upon further investigation, I found that the Term (Lifespan) of the Copyright lasts 70 years after the Death of the Composer(s) – or up to 120 years in certain situations.

Further along, I heard the incredible Horror Stories of the Thousands or more Songwriters who were completely skewered out of their Publishing Ownership, Royalties or Both, ignorantly traded for the Price of Fame, a Shiny Cadillac or even a House, while the Publisher went on to earn Millions. To add greater injury, I learned that although Tin Pan Alley may have started as a true collaboration between Songwriters & Publishers, many of the Corporate Conglomerates who Took Over Music and Earn The Most, by far, are Attorneys – some who can’t even whistle in key or snap their fingers on beat. Remember Paul McCartney of All People only recently began owning the rights to his music, having to BUY It Back!

I determined early on that more important than practicing my drums (which I do regret to some extent) that I would become a Student of Publishing, Start My Own Companies and Keep All that I could. I would Never, Ever sign away ALL of it, no matter how much moola I was offered, unless it was purchased outright. Overtime I saw how Technology alters the Art & Nuance of Publishing and that I Need to Pay Attention Often. It’s like being married!

Before I recommend that You BE Your Own Publisher (and I strongly suggest you do), I must admit that there are some very reputable publishers out there. All of them are Not Snakes, but You Need to Do Your Homework and Triple Check It Before Signing. Publishing is Extremely Difficult Work and since Your Territory IS The World, having a Strong Sub-Publisher Looking Out for Your International Affairs is Vital. Since Publishing can easily become a full time job, provided You’ve Got a few Songs shaking on Radio, TV and/or Film, You should Employ a Loyal, Committed Team who can Advise and Monitor the Very Best Deals for Your Career.

Remember, Your Number One Goal is to Help Your Song Continue Earning Money for You, Even Years After You Write/Release It. You Want Your Songs to Reap Royalties for Your Family and Your Estate when You Can No Longer Pick Up Your Drum Sticks. Publishing is a Space where “Exploitation” of Your Work is a Very Good Thing – So Having Multiple Artists in Multiple Genres Record Your Songs is a the Lifeblood of Your Team. Think PrinceStevie and for crying out loud, Think Diane Warren!

I’m blessed to be entrusted with publishing songs for several songwriters in my area. It’s a Trust that I Hold Sacred and Dear. I Preach Publishing and Make Sure They Know As Much as I Do about this Business and the Activity of their Music. Our Terms and Conditions are Beyond Fair, meant to Lease and Not Own, so that All Ownership and Control is safely reverted back to them. I haven’t made nearly as much in publishing as I’d like to – YET! But there’s always that Next Project, TV Commercial, Indie Film or Up & Coming Artist that keeps us Alert and Hustling!

Go and Do Likewise!

By The Way, If You Happen to be reading this Today, Thursday 9/28, Join Me with Trish Hennessey on Hybrid Jazz, where we will be discussing our Entire September “BE” Series and Celebrating the Humanitarian efforts of EntreMusicians in light of the recent Hurricanes! You can also Listen to the Archives!

I’ve been in an intense Azymuth mode lately. I’m listening to their “Outubro” on vinyl as I post this.

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BE The Actor

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Continuing our September trek down the Avenue of Opportunities EntreMusicians are free to follow, we pause to consider an oft overlooked jewel that could help Build an Enduring Brand while providing Additional Income for years to come. Have You Considered the Wide World of Acting?

I Have and have Enjoyed Occasions to Stretch My Capacity. I’ve included a few clips below. You may or may not find them absolutely incredible and Academy Award worthy, but the Lessons I’ve learned, Experience I’ve gained and Connections I’ve Secured as a result of taking these risks have endured to my advantage.

Here’s several reasons You too should consider Acting as a Key Instrument in your EntreMusician’s Briefcase.

1) Acting naturally yields Electrifying Outlets of Creativity which can be Channeled into Wonderful Songwriting. 

2) Entering the Acting Arena aids you in Sharpening Your Stage Persona, Audience Engagement, Video Production Skills and in many ways can become a Second Career.

3) Acting Appropriately Positions You to in a space to Present Your Songs to the Soundtrack or Contribute to the Score. 

4) Acting Propels You into a Zone of Discipline that involuntarily Spills Over onto Your Musical Approach, Practice and  overall Study of Your Craft 

5) The Preoccupations of Acting Heightens Your Sensitivity to Everything Going Around You While Demanding an Exacting Performance Every Single Take.     (Every EntreMusician Reading This Can Relate…Especially if You’ve had to play drums with a pounding headache!!)

With sincere respect to the True Art & Profession of Acting, I have found within my tiny experiences that the most the Director expects of you aside from professionalism is to Relax and Be Yourself (especially while ‘In Character’)

Haven’t You Noticed that ALL of the Actors & Actresses You Know and Love are actually only playing Themselves on Stage & Screen?

In Almost Every Movie Denzel, Duvall, De Niro, Depp & Downey, Jr. retain their distinct personalities! Different Script, Different Character (supposedly), but the same basic disposition, emotions and approach. The reason we love their movies, is because we love THEM!

So Memorize Your Lines, Dive into The Script and Develop a Magnetic Persona that will Increase Your Email List and Strengthen Your Fan Base.

I have been blessed to act in three independent movies, having contributed to the scores of two and playing the lead role on stage in the off roadway adaption of David Lee Talbert’s “The Fabric of a Man”. In fact, I was so completely naïve that I didn’t know I was the lead!!

Thank You to Art Byrd, Johnny Herbert and Ray O’Neil for trusting my muse!

Greater Threat Clip (Ray O’Neil)

Magnify (Art Byrd)

Film Ruiner – A Spoof while out in LA (Art Byrd)

I Was Listening to Bob James’ “H” on Vinyl while writing this blog…

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BE The Producer!

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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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BE The Booking Agent!

concert audienceSince September is a Traditional Educational Month, I Will Spend it with You by 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. 

Being an EntreMusician comprises being adept at all of the functions of an Artist’s Career. Managing all the aspects of your own career can be its own unsettling balancing act. However, when you’ve become adept at walking atop your own tightrope, you might find it profitable to help someone else gain stability. 

It’s Common Practice for any Musician to refer another band for a gig they aren’t able to do. The second step is becoming noted for intentionally hooking up other talent for an event or venue and receiving a reasonable fee for doing so. 

For a few years now, since my days as producer of the event formally known as the Youngstown Jazz Fest, I have been able to align various artists with a variety of regional events. Both parties are aware that I represent the Band/Singer/Musician as an agent exclusive to that performance.  

I charge an extremely affordable rate, based upon the amount of work I need to do – and I keep it very basic. This fee is ALWAYS Collected from the Venue and Never from the Artist. I am doing them both a favor, but the advantage is Always Towards My Fellow EntreMusician. 

I Only Recommend bands I KNOW are completely dependable with a Killer Show to Event Promoters that I KNOW will Treat Them Right and Will Pay. If I am Not Confident of Either of these Attributes, I don’t get involved.  

I Send an Agreement on Behalf of the Performer, Collect the Non-Refundable Deposit and Secure the Date. I don’t get mired into the tiny details letting the bandleader and venue owner customize the event. I Am Not the Band’s Manager and I Never Insert Myself into that Role. 

I’ve had only 100% Satisfaction Rate so far for these “Favors.” The best thing is I Don’t have to be there on the night of the event, unless I want to. I Invest My Time in Concentrating on My Own Production and/or Performance! 

Please Note: Some of the Larger Music Business Capitals have State Laws which govern and license the activities of Booking Agents. Make Certain You Are Knowledgeable of and In Compliance with any applicable situation!

Be The Booking Agent!

I was Listening to Chuck Mangione‘s “Live AT The Hollywood Bowl” on Vinyl while posting this…

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