Category Archives: Jazz


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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Advice I Gave My Youngest Daughter


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:


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


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)


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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30 Proven Psychological Prefixes for Producing Your 1st (or 1001st) Band


EntreMusician’s Note: These Tips Apply ONLY to Producing Bands Other than You Own (which are fraught with their own set of zany fortuities!) Equally, This Advice May Not Work on Singers who happen to Be Solo Artists. Countless Articles have been written on Producing Up & Coming Divas; None of Which are in Agreement…These have been written to Prepare Yourself Adequately Before the Project Begins!

  1. Pray or Drink Heavily Beforehand (According to Your System of Faith)
  2. Only Talk to The Leader(s) of The Band to Decipher & Determine Goals 
  3. Do a Thorough Inventory of The Band’s Gear
  4. Know Your Own Gear Inside and Out
  5. Prepare a Flowchart of Microphones You’ll Need for the Sessions
  6. Own / Upgrade to The Most Quality Pre Amp You Can Afford
  7. Get a Non-Refundable Deposit
  8. Spend Several Days Listening to The Band’s Demos (If They Exist)
  9. See Them Perform Live
  10. Look For The Real Leader of The Band as You Witness Power Struggles
  11. Spend a Pre-Production Day Getting Great, Natural Drum Sounds
  12. Go Do Likewise with the Bassist
  13. Prepare Comprehensive Track Sheets for the Entire Session
  14. Determine the Emotional / Mental Stability of the Lead Singer and Massage It
  15. Review Your Written Production Agreement. Keep It Handy
  16. Never, Ever Use Cheap Chords
  17. Discover The Weakest Players (They’ll Be Easy To Spot Even Before Picking Up Their Axe) And Loudly Encourage Them in Front of the Others
  18. Rehearse The Band for Three Days to Get Sketch Recordings. Keep Them, You May Need to Use Them Later for Almost Anything…
  19. Help The Guitarist Decide Which Four (4) of the 27 Guitars Brought to the Session will Actually Be Necessary
  20. Create EQ & Compression Presets for Each Instrument & Vocalist
  21. Talk With The Real Band Leader and the Person You Originally Talked To and Make Sure The $$$ is Secure
  22. Learn Several Techniques that Keep Bass Players Calm and Apply Them Accordingly
  23. Vacuum Your Studio Before & After Each Session
  24. Do More Praying (or Drinking), but Not In Front of The Band
  25. Keep Your Harmonizer / Auto Tuner Ready and Active At All Times
  26. Discuss Music Theory Often with The Keyboardist in Front of the Drummer (It Makes Them Hyper Sensitive and they Play Better) 
  27. Make Sure Your Fire Extinguisher(s) Work
  28. Keep Your Hard Drives De-fragged and Uncluttered
  29. Hone Your Mediation Skills between the Real Leader and the Person You Originally Talked To When They Begin to Argue Over Absolutely Everything, Including Who Will Pay You
  30. Make Plenty of Back Ups

I was listening to “Underneath The Colours” by INXS on Vinyl while posting this 

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5 Mechanisms Which Make Mountains Out of Molehills


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 Approach to Music Production is just as Multidimensional as the stars in the heavens.

As I leaf through Rick Clark‘s over sized Mixing, Recording and Producing Techniques of the Pros,” it’s fascinating to explore the psyche of these Masterminds and Gauge their Approach. Obviously as One Not Yet Included in such a Stellar Institution of Greatness, albeit hopeful, I am Grateful for Every Opportunity to Produce Outstanding Songs by Serious Artists of Various Genre.

At the Genesis of Every Session, the Fundamental Framework I Build Upon is the Emotional Journey the Listener will traverse as the Song is Played. My Goal is ALWAYS to Reproduce the Exact Feelings of Joy, Anger, Sadness, Betrayal, Devotion, Militancy, Encouragement, Strength, Remorse, Warmth or Flavor the Songwriter(s) Intended to Convey. One Million Repeated Listenings of the Recording Must Evoke these Same Emotions, or I Have Failed, whether the song Sells One or One Hundred Thousand Copies.

I Perceive My Position in the Studio as Tour Guide, Ushering the Musicians, Arrangers, Vocalists & Engineers through an Expedition of Finding Moments. Every Chosen Person, Instrument, Sound, Note, Effect & Ambience will lend itself to the Nuance of Multiple Moments, Creating Symbiotic Memories that Outlast Lifetimes. Those are the Snapshots that Take Your Breath Away and Force You to Immediately Rewind the Song or a Section of the Tune to Allow Your Brain to Process What Your Heart Just Heard and then Begin Again.

Perhaps I am being melodramatic in My Interpretation, but I Offer No Apologies. Often Before Discussing DAWs, Plug Ins, Mic Techniques, Mixing & Mastering and the Usual Banter with Various Producers, I am Always Most Interested in the Range of Emotion sought after and how they wished to reveal them, even (especially) if they’ve chosen some Non Traditional or Outdated Means to Do So. In Berry Gordy‘s autobiography “To Be Loved,” he talks about how the Classic Motown Producers used to sit around the table and Vote On the Upcoming Release. Mr. Gordy stated the Main Question asked would be ‘If You Were Starving and Only Had Enough Money to By a Sandwich or This Record, What Would You Do? If the Vote was for the Song, They’d Release It! Hence the Company’s Enduring Legacy.

David Byrne confesses in his book “How Music Works” what most Producers already know. A “Tight” Recording or Performance has Nothing to do with Meter. It has Everything to do with The Groove! Singing or Playing in Front of or Behind the Beat or Harnessing a Vibe as Sloppy as Gravy Foaming Down a Mountain of Mashed Potatoes Feels as Wondrous as Classically Trained Precision if You’ve Channeled the Proper Emotions.

God Bless the Sacredness of Music Production and the Solace of a 3AM Session where the Sweat is Soaking Through the Walls…

Here are a Few Examples of Moments I’m Blessed to Have Captured:

Hermeneutics (SounDoctrine feat. Keith McKelley, Cliff Barnes, Derek Dixie & Paul Douds)

Meant2B (SounDoctrine feat. Keith McKelley, Stefano and Jazmine)

Source (SounDoctrine feat. Michaela Write)

Maranatha (SounDoctrine feat. John Thomas)

Stop On By (SounDoctrine feat. Eric Tyus)

I was Listening to “Elegant Gypsy” by Al Di Meola on Vinyl while composing this blog…full of Multiple Moments!

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The ONE Thing…

number 1

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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