Category Archives: Mentoring

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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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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Forget The Critic!!


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So Go For It!

Get My Free E Book at and Join the Conversation brewing for 2018!

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

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

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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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BE The Publisher


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!


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

a) More Time on Stage

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BE The Producer!


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


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BE The Booking Agent!

concert audienceSince September is a Traditional Educational Month, I Will Spend it with You by Sharing A Few of The Ways I’ve Honed My EntreMusicianal Skills by “Being” All The Things I’ve Needed to “Be” to Advance My Artistry & Career, while making a few bucks along the way. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Be The Booking Agent!

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

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