Category Archives: Leadership

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

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You & I Only Own Two Things.

Really.

That’s It!

2…!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 Read Genesis Chapter One.

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

Win!

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

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Advice I Gave My Youngest Daughter

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

It is Wise Advice Every EntreMusician Should Remember Always:

TALK TO EVERYONE! 

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

Don’t just Politely Speak, but

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

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

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

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

TALK TO the Technician who places the Mic on You.

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

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

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

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

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

Ayana’s Book is Available on Amazon!

Now onto the Candle-filled Cupcakes…

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

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Grounded with Wings (Scene One)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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18 Books Every EntreMusician Should Own

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

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

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

1) Talent is Never Enough  / John Maxwell

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

2) Boundaries / Dr. Henry Cloud

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

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

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

4) Thou Shalt Prosper  /  Rabbi Daniel Lapin

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

5) How Music Works / David Byrne 

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

6) To Be Loved / Berry Gordy

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

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

Unbreakable Laws which change EVERYTHING

8) Living Forward / Michael Hyatt & Daniel Harkavay

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

12) EntreLeadership / Dave Ramsey

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

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

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

14) The Autobiography of Malcom X / Alex Haley

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

15) The Four Hour Workweek / Tim Ferriss

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

16) Understanding Your Potential / Dr. Myles Munroe

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

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

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

18) The Bible 

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

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

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

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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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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 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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