Category Archives: John Maxwell

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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Use Frequent “F” Words Faithfully…

 

Today I am Incredibly Transparent with You.

I Trust You’ll Appreciate My Confessions.

Far Too Often, I become Extremely Discouraged as an EntreMusician. Especially in the Neighborhood of Lost Opportunities. If & When I Miss a Shot at an Important Gig, Submission, Audition or Project that would have either Paid Handsomely or led to an even Greater Opp, I get really bummed. Within the grueling peripherals of this past week, due to personal family woes, I’ve been ridiculously behind and absolutely unproductive – in every area! In fact, I had to rigorously talk myself out of an impulse buy of Izotope’s Music Production Bundle 2, credit card in hand, just to pacify myself (although Ozone 7 remains on My List)!

I find that If I do not get a handle on my thoughts, I can easily slide into a“Comparisonism & Lack Mentality” mode which are Detrimental to every Artist & Musician.

Exhaustive Concentration on the Equipment, Skills, Connections, Resources, Looks, ___________, ___________ I Don’t Own Quickly Deteriorates My Perspective on the Attributes I Do Possess and seriously hinders my Flow & Output.

But, When that Ugly Shadow begins to Overwhelm, I’ve Learned to Employ a Consistent Series of Well Placed “F” Words, Complete with Fiery Enunciation and Spit! This is what helped me put my credit card down…

Firstly, My Faith is Foundational.

Knowing that I am Forever Forgiven for Former & Future Failures by My God through His Son, Jesus Christ provides an Eternal Outlook and Completely Minimizes My Temporal Blunders. My Prayers, submitted to His Purpose & Plan for Me Settles My Calling and Seals My Destiny.

My Family, Beginning with My Adorable Wife of 22 Years and our Three Amazing Daughters are my Treasures in Life and Help Fasten My Focus on What Really Matters Most. Lori & I have walked Hand in Hand through Joy, Tears & Tough Terrain and grow more in love with each other and our journey with each passing hour. What Else Does a Brother Need?

I Have Absolutely Awesome Friends who although Few are Completely True. They Simultaneously Encourage & Challenge Me to Grow & Go Further than I could Imagine. Real Friends See Into You & See Through You. They are Bold Enough to Call Out the Occasional Foolishness and Call Forward the Authenticity Inside.

Finally, I’m Blessed with the Favor of Funk, for this is the Songwriter, Producer & Musician I Am!

Irregardless of the Genre! Being able to Swing “The One” either a millisecond Before or After the Top of the Measure Matters. Forging a humility to Stay in the Pocket although I’ve not honed the same severity of thrillingly Sick Tricks my counterparts have has kept me working, for which I am truly thankful – for just being able to be me!

Perhaps You Thought I was going to Litter This Post with “F” Bombs, which might release steam in a moment of crisis, but do nothing to sow gratitude into our spirits.

I Wish You Joy, Love, Peace, Harmony & Rhythms of Grace!

 

I Am Listening to Azymuth’s “Light As A Feather” On Vinyl while writing this post.

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It’s Still On You…

Sure, The Old Adage still rings true: “It’s Who You Know!”

Certainly it’s great to have an uncle who is one of three main limo drivers for the soon to be Sir Eric Clapton and/or a cousin who roadies for Chaka Khan when she’s on the West Coast or perhaps you live around the corner from Bob James, but once the Introductions draw to an end, it’s What You Know & How Well You Know It That Will Make or Break you.

Your Performance on Stage or in the Studio transcends any Professional Reference.

Your Professionalism in the most Stress Filled Situations Speak Louder than Any ‘Good Word’ Someone Puts in For You.

Your Character & Integrity Stands Taller than Your Résumé …in fact, Your Reputation Becomes Your Résumé

Your Choice to Integrate With Your Fellow Musicians and Play Your Lines Rather than the Role of the Superstar is What Gets You Called Back

Your Ability to Repeatedly “Bring It” On Demand Will Build a Far More Secure Stature Faster than Depending on Your Contact to Make a Connection.

No less than Quincy Jones quipped, “It’s Better that the Opportunity Never Come, than When It Does and You’re Not Prepared For It!”

So, It’s Cool, Go Ahead and Reach Out to Your Aunt Betty’s Friend of a Friend who golfs with Shawn Mendes, but at the End of the Day, It’s Still On You to Produce!

 

I was listening to Nathan East’s new “Reverence” on CD as I composed this Blog

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Your Year In Review…Today

EntreMusicians are Excellent Planners & Keen Executioners. We are Faithful at Follow Up and Process our Visions to the Nth Degree. We Face Forward and Effortlessly Advance to our Next Scheduled Items without Losing the Groove.

All Good, but…

EntreMusicians are also challenged with an Acute Inability to Pause and Review our Work. We fail to Properly Index our Calendars to Scrutinize our Previous Performances & Projects and Ascertain their Effectiveness.

While most of us maintain the habit of waiting until the Final Week of December to sit with our Old & Shiny New Planners, the Wiser Move is to Consistently Schedule Weekly, Monthly & Quarterly Reviews (the More Obsessive EMs Implement Dailies) to Appropriate Our Goals, Sharpening Our Saws as We Meticulously Slice Away.

As We Approach this Fifth Month of the Year (already!) let’s take a day or two to Glance Back at the Rear View to Make Sure We’re Not Adrift of the Course we launched in January.

 

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

 

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You & The SR Copyright

The Copyright in Sound Recording (SR) serves as a Blanket of Sorts for Your Created Work. And by ‘Work’ I mean Your Song, Poem, Speech, Rap, Spoken Word or Audio Book.

If Your Song is Original and You Created The Music, Lyrics, Melody, Arrangement AND Also Recorded these Elements, You are Eligible to File an SR which covers Your Song in Its Entirety, as opposed to having to separately file a Performance Arts (PA) to Cover the Music & Lyrics.

If You have Covered Someone Else’s song and Plan to Release It to the Public in some format, you’d do well to file for an SR copyright of Your Version beforehand. Just make sure you have appropriately secured licensing from the original copyright owner, either through Harry Fox or EZ Song Licensing.

The SR secures ownership of the fixed instrumentation and sounds irregardless of the Original  Author’s contribution to Music and/or Lyrics. I Just completed an SR for My Production of Eric Tyus‘ version of the Sounds of Blackness‘ classic”Everything Is Gonna Be Alright.”

These days it’s important for the EntreMusician to know the subtle nuances of the SR Copyright on their Original Work. This obviously includes Poets, Motivational Speakers, Preachers, Teachers, Rappers, etc., where so much of our public work is subject to being recorded, sampled, set to music, imported into video, remixed and released to Sound Cloud and Other Apps often without our knowledge.

If You were to Give a Speech or Recite Your Poetry on a College Campus or in front of an Audience and the University or Someone were to Record It on their System, Mobile or other device, that person (or the University) would be Entitled to Ownership through the Library of Congress by filing an SR unless Forbidden to do so by Prior Written Agreement. Undoubtedly, the same holds true for EntreMusicians at their Gigs and Concerts – which is why most people utter firm expletives when “NO RECORDING” signs are posted at Shows, but proceed to record anyway…

Both the Grateful Dead and Dave Matthews Band encouraged Mass Audience Recording & Reproduction of their Concerts and found them to be Excellent Promotional Tools which help Spread their Music like dandelions across a deserted field and many other artists followed suit, some opting to release their own “Official Bootlegs” to boost their fan base.

Plenty still choose to Protect the Dignity of their Live Presentations by Forbidding any Unauthorized Recording, Duplication and Sales of their Appearances in any form. But Everyone knows that Technology Stampedes Sacred Rights and bolsters the Mantra of Free Music for All! This has lead to Intense Conversation which suggests that the Ultimate Role of Copyright is Null & Void, since Everything Everywhere is Available to Everyone within a few clicks.

I Would Love to Know Your Opinion, Especially if You are a Content Creator of any Creative Classification. Are You of the Mindset that Your Conceptions should enjoy the Protection Copyright Provides or that from now on All things Should Be Out on Open Source?

Please Leave a Comment, I’d Love to Explore this Conversation Deeper. If You Have Not Already Done So, Download My Free E-Book, 50 Ways to Transform Your Fans into Family.” 

 

I Was Not Listening to Any Music while Composing & Posting This Piece, but all kinds of Random Songs are running through my head..

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Copyright or Wrong?

The First True Threat to Copyright’s Extinction in Our Lifetime was the invention of the Sampler and its Little Cousin, the Portable DAT , which blew open Recording Studio Doors to Unlimited Imagination and Unabashed Thievery. No Previous Song Was Safe From the MPC and against the backdrop of the late, great James Brown‘s roaring protests stood Chuck D‘s amplified mantra, “Yo, You Can’t Copyright No Beat!!”

The Recordable CD on Your Laptop gave birth to the First Napster and File Sharing introduced an new generation of fans to Led Zeppelin while making bands like Radiohead and Dispatch household (pun intended) names.

Music Buyers metamorphosed into Music Lovers who No Longer Purchased Music. Record Companies finally awakened from their Cash Comas (brought on by the CD Boom) and realized they could not NOT Negotiate with Steve Jobs. When the dust settled around the 99 cent download and Napster’s Socks were Sued Off, the entire notion of Copyright Protection for the Content Owner began to slip into the paws of the Content Provider.

Streaming seeks to further erode such protections more subtly as Subscription Models ensure the End User Owns Nothing and Access is Granted or Revoked based on Advantaged Licensing Agreements tilted toward the Providers, Not The Owners.

Less Copyright Protection Equals Far Fewer Royalties for Owners who are now relying on Congress to Change the Game. Many Say Copyright is Dead,or at best on life support with the hyper advance of technology and Creative Commons squelching the Conversation.

EntreMusicians would do well to Resurrect this Sacred Trust by Developing Technology which Secures our Unique Position as sole Owner/Provider, Creating our Own Subscription Channels Direct to our Exclusive Bases, Disconnected from the Snares of Apple, Google, Spotify and YouTube. Established & Marketed Correctly, This Vehicle would Guarantee that Copyright remains Right.

For More Engaging Articles on Copyright Fairness and Other Concerns, Visit TheEntreMusician.com, where you can also Download My Free E-Book, “50 Ways to Transform Your Fans into Family.”

I was listening to Jeff Lorber‘s “Galaxian” on vinyl while composing this blog.

 

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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 TheEntreMusician.com 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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The Mystery of Generosity

One of the Wisdom Proverbs says:

“The Generous Person Prospers, The One Who Waters Will also be Watered.”

It’s An Incredible Statement for Every EntreMusician to Abide By as Most of Us Spend Many of Our Waking Moments Looking for Opportunities that Will Benefit US and Precious Few Searching Out Occasions to Benefit OTHERS.

If We Happen Upon the Good Fortune of a Great Promoter, Venue, Festival or Other Profitable Enterprises which Provide Advantage, Progress or Achievement in Our Own Careers, We Would Do Well in Seeking Such Favor on Artists, Musicians and Entertainers who would Never have the chance to Showcase Their Talents, Unless We Hold the Door Open for Them – Especially those Further Down the Totem Pole of Experience (Your Obviously Trusting that They Possess the Professionalism and Discipline to Handle the Gig!)

The Gift of What Comes To and Happens In You Is Immeasurable, the Wider You Open Your Heart. It Seems as If Platforms You Were Previously Denied Access To Suddenly Avail and Fees You’d Never Imagine Commanding Become Yours, with Less Effort on Your Part, Because You’ve Ignited the Miracle Circle of Blessings.

Of Course this Process Works Personally. I Must Confess that there was a Season in My Life Where I Held Tight to a Scarcity Mentality. When I Would Give, It Naturally Meant I Had LESS. So I Hoarded! When I Encountered a Disheveled Person at an Intersection, Holding Up a Cardboard Sign, I Rationalized 10 Million Hypotheticals as to How & Why They Ended Up in That Position OR That They Were Only Conning Me Out of My Few Wrinkled Dollars Tucked Away in My Ashtray. This Helped Me Justify Looking Away – and – Driving Away…

Thank God I Have Come to Learn an Abundance Mentality which Assures Me that Giving Really Means Planting! There’s Always ‘More‘ and at Some Point, in Some Scenario, My Seed Will Harvest and I Will Receive Exactly What I Need.

Try It!

Open A Door. Create An Opportunity. Give and Notice All that Happens.

You Become the Beneficiary of Bountiful Blessings, the Recipient of Joyous Transformation You Would’ve Never Imagine or Appreciated if You’d Remained All To Yourself.

 

Interestingly, I Was Not Listening to Any Music as I Wrote This Post…

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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

Never.

 

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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The Twin Towers of Truth & Trust

Unfortunately, our Country and the World has recently had to endure the commemoration of the 15th Acknowledgement of the Atrocities which occurred on September 11th. Our Hearts continue to go out to the many families who’ve had to be reminded yet again – and embrace the pain of their magnificent losses.

Perhaps like You, Lori & I watched a significant number of documentaries that retold stories of Bravery, Heroism & Self Sacrifice in various moments of crisis. Interwoven within these tales were also a growing analysis of Skepticism, Controversy & Conspiracy which explain that we do not have All the Facts, nor have we indeed been told the Entire Truth concerning this Incredible Tragedy.

Amidst the Irony of these Painful Ceremonies is the blatant, crude and destructive political campaign season we find ourselves in, where it seems that the Twin Towers of Truth & Trust have likewise been destroyed, long before a plane – or a missile – crashed into the World Trade Center.

If We are forced to Choose, for the Highest Office in our Nation, between the One Who Lies the Least, it’s no wonder why America suffers from a Deficit of Reliability Worldwide- If & When Our Government Leaders, Present & Future are Unwilling to Stand On and Speak The Truth, then it’s clear why it may take decades, or longer, to rebuild the Tower of Trust.

Furthermore, if we as individuals find it difficult to Speak Truthfully, In Love, to our neighbors, next door, at work, in church, at the mall and/or online, we emaciate the right to accuse any leader of decimating the public trust.

Truth & Trust are Towers We Must Build Together.

 

I was listening to no music while writing this blog.

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