Category Archives: Propellerheads

The Four Hands of EntreMusicianal Networking

Mastering the Art of Consistent Networking is Foundational & Essential if we are to Succeed as EntreMusicians. Advancement eludes us when we consider ourselves islands and isolate ourselves from community. Albeit, We bear the bulk of the Responsibility for our Careers, True Achievement is Not Created in a Vacuum.

Many EntreMusicians swallow the Myth of the “Self Made Artist,” who Writes Everything, Arranges, Produces & Plays Everything, but never ascends from his/her basement studio because they’ve eschewed human social skills and ignore establishing relationships with other bands, artists and creatives.

Even Musicians who’ve been fortunate enough to secure management, booking or some significant ‘deal’ which somewhat sets them apart from their contemporaries, find they have a much rougher ride and eventually hit a wall because they have set themselves (or allowed others to place them) above or outside the Collective Visibility  of the Creative Culture. The Truth is that even at the Highest Level of Triumph, Connectivity Still Rules! So here are a Few Rules to Perfect the Practice of Networking at whatever Position You Currently Occupy.

1. Reach Out!

Take the Initiative to Find Other Artists of Like Mind/Spirit/Heart whether within your musical genre or not. Arrange a Coffee or Jam Session or Gig that’s Mutually Beneficial. Without Becoming a Pest, Be the One Calling, Texting or Messaging Periodically to Let Them Know You’re Interested in Them and What’s Happening in Their Career.

2. Give Out!

EntreMusicians are Extremely Generous. Any Valuable Information, Resources or Viable Practicality which can be freely offered, Give It! Go Out of Your Way, Be On the Look Out and Intentionally Create Opportunities to Be A Blessing to Another. Is there any Old Gear hanging around that you’ll likely never fire up again? Don’t Pawn It, Find an Up & Coming Hopeful and Give The Thing(s) Away!

3. Help Out!

Everyone Needs Help at Some Point in Time. EVERYONE! Even & Especially National Recording Artists. Find Out How You Can Assist – Yes You! Graham Cochrane, an Engineer/Producer I Follow & Highly Respect once said that every time he attends NAMM or some other Industry Function, he abstains from strolling up to higher profile Artists/Producers/DJs with Business Card & CDs in Hand, asking THEM to either Listen to His Stuff, Get Him a Deal or “Hook Him Up” in whatever way. Instead, He ASKS How HE Can HELP Them!!

Chances are They will be playing his City soon (he asks) and perhaps there may be some assistance they might need when they arrive and/or before they depart that he may be essential in accomplishing on their behalf. He Never asks for anything in return and Graham’s (and now my own) methodology is 85% More Effective that the ‘Star’ will remember His Name…There are a Million Ways to Help – Find Yours!

4. Throw Out!

Discard ALL Negative Motives, Attitudes, Thoughts, Words & Actions!* Live By The Mantra that You NEVER Compete, NEVER Compare & NEVER Criticize!**

Throw Out ALL Feelings of Envy & Pride! Concentrate on Doing Your Best Work and Find Ways to Assist Your Peers in Doing Theirs. Hold The Door Open and Help Balance The Ladder for Other, Again Expecting (And Not Asking For) Anything In Return! Overtime You Will See, by Osmosis, the Law of Sowing & Reaping bearing Fruit and Your Life & Career Blessed because You have Blessed So Many Others!

I would Love to Hear How You Utilize Networking in Your EntreMusicianal Pursuits and the Profound Results. Leave Your Comments Below.

Download My Free E-Book “50 Engaging Ways to Transform Your Fans Into Family” and Subscribe at TheEntreMusician.com for More Ways to Engage, Encourage & Empower Each Other!

 

I was listening to Spyro Gyra’s “Incognito” on Vinyl while writing this post.

* &** Quotes of Bishop David L. Thomas

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Always In Review (Get Some AIR!)

Before Diving into This Week’s Topic, I’d like to bestow honor to the legacy of Premiere Vocalist Al Jarreau, a True Original who Forged and eventually Owned a Style Unique to Him which can never be completely copied (though some have tried). Although he did not invent the art of “Scatting,” framed masterfully by the great Ella Fitzgerald, Cab Calloway, Scatman Crothers and others from the 1940-50’s era, Jarreau’s multilayered contemporary approach expanded the technique beyond spectacle and made it simultaneously romantic, passionate, fun, serious, silly, thrilling and most of all, thoroughly engaging. I was 16 when I fell in love with the album “Breakin’ Away” and immediately had to go backward to find all I had missed. Going forward only increased my impenetrable appreciation for his incredible artistry. He Made Me Feel Like Family!

 

GET SOME AIR!!

Evaluation is the Kissing Cousin of Every Serious EntreMusician. The Tendency to “Go, Go, Go!” without creating scheduled moments to understand Where You’ve Been, How You Arrived There and Appraising Your Journey Before Planning Your Next Steps will Certainly Cripple Your Progress.

Unfortunately, I have Failed more in this area of my career than I care to count. Whenever I’d Abort the Importance of AIR (Always In Review!) I’ve Found Myself in Free Fall, Usually Having to Begin Again.

This Destructive Practice is Subtle & Quiet, because EM’s are generally programmed to Only Think Ahead and Develop a False Belief that hints toward the practices and habits which worked successfully for us in a particular season will continue to do so. We then default to a “Maintenance Mindset” rather than “Coordinated Calculation” which comprises both Assessment & Strategic Advancement.

Taking Into Account even the Tiny items like The Structure of Your Band, Your Present Personnel, Your Genre(s), The Venues You Always Play, Your Rehearsal Methods, to the larger Whys of How You Spend/Save/Invest Your Income, or When to Update Your Website, Change Your Merch Selection, or perhaps Your Growing Tendency to ‘Let Things Go’ that Should Be Addressed, or conversely Constantly Address Things that You Should Let Go without valuating Your Reasoning in each situation will leave festering teeth marks in an otherwise promising career.

The Solution to Terrible Tendency Rests in the Security of a Sound Team. Schedule Regular Spiritual/Philosophical/Theoretical Visits with Your Manager(s), Band Members, Attorney, Accountant, Advisers, Mentors and Other Trusted Family, Friends and Associates to Ask the Tough Questions, Review Your Successes & Failures and Discuss the BIG WHYs. You will find Essential Wisdom in Pausing to Learn from Your Past before Plowing Ahead. Only What Makes You YOU Need Remain. Destroy Everything Else!

Remember, Your Life & Career ALWAYS Comes Down To Your Core Purpose. Your Laser Like Focused Answer as to Exactly Why You Are an EntreMusician finds its Foundation in Continual Evaluation. Applying AIR Continually Keeps You Grounded & Flying concurrently!

Download My Free E-Book, “50 Engaging Ways to Transform Your Fans into Family” at TheEntreMusician.com and while there sign up for a More Great, Encouraging, Empowering & Engaging Experiences.

I Listened to Both War‘s “Deliver The Word” and Spyro Gyra‘s “Incognito” while composing this post.

 

 

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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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7 Reasons Why P-Funk is its Own Genre

Last week we explored 6 Reasons Why  Motown is its Own Genre and what EntreMusicians can learn from their stellar examples. Today we open up the can of Maggot Brains and uncover the stanky P-Funk that only continue to get stronger!

1) Crazy Wisdom. Both Words Aptly Apply to the visionary George Clinton who has been able to juggle Multiple Concepts, Rhythms, Personalities (as many as 60 simultaneous band members) & Record Labels and remain Active, Relevant and Viable at 75 Years Old.

Yes, he’s also equally endured Multiple Business Failures, Drug Use and Almost Inappropriate Everything, but just when you think he’s going to Lick His Wounds from a Rocking Chair, He’s Back On Stage, Leading the Charge for The Funk of it.

2) Uncanny Innovation. Early On, George surmised that the quickest way to get the attention P-Funk needed was to separate from the Motown Melting Pot and Trash the Suits and eschew Doo Wop after a few years of trying to fit in. Taking a cue from Hendrix, Clinton formed Funkadelic and put the guitars on the front burner. Enter Singers, Horns and the first Major Bass Line to be dominated by a Moog.

Experimentation took center stage as the band destroyed traditional ‘verse-hook-chorus-bridge’ composition and pursued The One, first and foremost, using whatever sounds were available and took studio production to extreme levels.

3) Comedic Cast of Characters. Every Member of P-Funk was a Star and George arranged for most everyone to Shine by creating multifarious acts within the band. From Eddie Hazel to Bernie, Bootsy, Glenn Goins, Gary Shider, Bigfoot, Catfish, Junie, Skeet, Fratengelo, The Brides, Horny Horns, Parlet, Blackbird, Hamp, Boogie, Fuzzy and On & On, You Cheered for Each and looked forward to their Contribution to the Funk.

George introduced Imaginary Characters into the dramedy which held as much (or more) court as their human bandmates. Dr. Funkenstein, Sir Nose (and Sir Nose, Jr.), Mr. Wiggles, Star Child, Sir Lollypop Man (alias The Long Haired Sucker), Casper & Bootzilla (who were actual aliases of Bootsy) extended the Imagination and Mythology of P-Funk.

It’s a little know fact that George’s production of The Red Hot Peppers’ Freaky Styley that truly put the rockers on the map. His offshoot groups like Jimmy G & The Tackheads, various guest appearances with artists like Xavier and Thomas Dolby and P-Funk’s long standing association with Prince help solidify their into the souls of Funkateers forever.

4) Expanding Narratives. Along with the creatures, real and imagined, are the vivid stories of a Chocolate City & its Vanilla Suburbs,an excursion through Downtown Bimini Road, the humiliation inflicted on Sir Noze utilizing the Bob Gun, the Essence of the Flashlight, the horror of America Eating its Young, Vietnam atrocities outlined in the Electric Spanking of War Babies, the sterile work ethic of the Children of Production in Dr Funkenstein’s laboratory and ultimately, the Landing of The Mothership continue to engage those new to the notion of Funkadelica.

5) Vital Visuality. Cementing the P-Funk Brand are the Neo-Psuedo, Part Comic Book/Part Novel Album Covers, designed by Pedro Bell and Overton Lloyd which carried over to the Chaotic Circus-like Concerts, where the clothing ranged from the Diaper Laden Shider to any number of Indians, Furry Space People, at least one Indistinguishable Animalistic Alien and a Sheet Wearing Clinton dominating the Stage.

6) Enchanting Motifs. Stopping the Show and shouting “Think…It Ain’t Illegal Yet!!” for 37 non-stop minutes reminded You of Where You Were and Why You Were There! “Gagagooga, gagagooga, gagagoogaga!” “Ha da da dee da hada hada da da!” “One Nation Under A Groove, Gettin’ Down Just For the Funk of It!” and countless chants uttered under the breath of bankers and executives in boardrooms, is foundational to the genius of P-Funk! You Can’t Help BUT Sing Along.

Equally Disturbing are the Infinite Infectious Bass Lines guaranteed to move ANY Head & Foot within 15 Feet! You Can NOT Resist (Even if You Don’t Particularly Appreciate the Song!) You Simply MUST Move! And With the Ever Present Spiraling Squigly Synth Lines Hypnotically Weaving Repetitive Motifs In & Out of the Groove, it’s Irresistible!

7) The One! Finally and Equally (if not most) Important is the P-Funk Approach to The One! Adapted from James Brown, who also accented the eagerly anticipated ‘3,’ P-Funk Stomped The One So Hard & Nasty, They Had to Write a Song About It! The One is the Nucleus of Every P-Funk Anthem.

A Famous George Clinton Chant is “It Would Be Ludicrous to Think We Are New To This, We Do Do This, This is What We Do!” Which is Precisely Why We’ve Been Diggin What’s Been Done for Decades and Why P-Funk is its Own Reward and remains in a Category of its Own!

I was Listening to George Clinton’s “R&B Skeletons in The Closet” while Composing this Blog.

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6 Reasons why Motown is its Own Genre

After 57 years of Active Progress alongside Rock, Pop, Jazz, Blues and Hip-Hop while witnessing the brutal demise of Disco, Grunge, R&B and various forms of New Wave; and even with a 10 year gap from the label’s last major release (Testimony: Vol. 1, Life & RelationshipIndia.Arie /2006), Motown may not be the Musical Institutional it once was, but it certainly remains a stellar, marketable genre most often spoken of in a category all its own.

Having digested Berry’s Official Autobiography, To Be Loved numerous times, as well as the countless other books and documentaries on The Man, The Music and The Incredible Artists, there are at least Six Invaluable Lessons EntreMusicians can Learn and Build Upon.

1) Excellent Songs. Berry, Smokey, Members of “The Corporation” and subsequent Composer/Producers placed The Song as their Number One Priority. Nothing Else Mattered. Before they Considered 10 Weeks at #1 on the Pop Charts, the Song’s Lyrics, Rhythm & Raw Emotion had to be TIMELESS…which is why Ooh, Baby Baby  will still Break Any Woman Down to This Day!

2) Flexibility. The Next Step in Targeting Timeless Material is the Ability to Flex it to Any Artist who Flips it as a Hit Again & Again. Because Motown Boasted a Roster of Excellent Artistry, Gladys Knight & The Pips, Smokey Robinson & The Miracles and Marvin Gaye all reaped gold from Barrett Strong & Norman Whitfield’s powerhouse “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” (Not to mention everyone else from Creedance to Roger Troutman!)

3) Intense Training.Motown developed their Artists through rigorous physical & psychological training, to the Chagrin of Some and the Delight of Others. It Was School! Those who survived the process are Icons (deceased or alive). Each were Groomed, Choreographed & Positioned for Superstardom. This Acute Attention to Detail is what propelled Diana Ross & The Supremes from the Commodes of the Chitlin’ Circuit to Swanky, Glistening Upscale Showrooms.

4) The Importance of Systems. As above, The Motown Sound was a Calculated System, often utilizing the Same Musicians, Arrangers & Producers. While Other Studios and Labels of the era also employed the same model, Motown’s Approach & Techniques were culled from Gordy’s experiences at The Ford Motor Company where every worker did his/her job the same exact way, each and every time, growing more efficient & effective with each new release, thus earning Motown the well deserved moniker, “The Hit Factory.”

5) Interdepartmental Competition. Often, the Motivation that kept Motown pumping on all cylinders was not in besting outside rivals, but the internal battles that all the songwriters welcomed and championed. Let Stevie go up against The Temptations, or Edwin Starr‘s new tune arm wrestle The Marvelettes groove. They threw all the records on the table and Only the Best Song hit The Street. This kept ALL of the Artists sharp, engaged and at their best.

6) Ownership. As the Unfolding History on this National Treasure revealed, as long as ownership remained in the hands of the Original Visionary, Motown could do no wrong. But once outside investors began to chip away at the corporate shares, the Magic weakened and once the company sold, even ace architect, Smokey Robinson left the label. However, Gordy’s genius in Maintaining Majority Ownership and Control of the Publishing is exactly what Solidifies Motown’s Position as it’s Own Musical Identity, Now & Forever.

Let’s Go and Do Likewise!

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POWERLESS??

SPOTIFY AND APPLE ARE AT EACH OTHER’S THROATS…, Apple in Talks to Acquire Jay Z’s Tidal“…, YOUTUBE’S DOMINANCE TAKES A BEATING“…, & The Music Industry Just Lost a Big Fight with the Government Over Royalties” are just a few recent Headlines glaring in the faces of EntreMusicians. And the New News is Spotify Tops 35m Subscribers which continues to support the David & Goliath mock-up we’ve been fed for decades.

Sure, there are Certain Things that Intimidate Us, Most of Us are NOT Millionaires.

But Are We Powerless?  Or Do We Merely Think We Are? Who Convinced Us of This?

Are we Really in No Position to Change this Music Game and Reroute Our Artistry Directly to Our Individual Friendbase while Bypassing The Current System?

Is the notion of An Independent Streaming Model Available to Each EntreMusician Intelligent Enough to Create Continual Content too Difficult to Imagine?

If a $1.99 / $2.99 Exclusive Access Tier from Our Own Individual Channels were Created & Maintained, a Far Fairer Form of Compensation, and perhaps Appreciation, of our Art would be Enjoyed. Obviously, We’d Bear Sole Responsibility for Building & Nurturing our Tribe, but the Truth is We Do This Now while Reaping No Advantages

These Are the Questions I Continue to Ask, Conversations I Constantly Engage and the Plan I AM Currently Implementing.

In Numbers 13 (OT), Moses sends out 12 Spies to Investigate the land The Lord had appointed for them To Conquer. Forty Days Later, 10 of them returned with a Thoroughly Wimpy & Faithless Answer – even confessing that they felt as small as grasshoppers amidst the citizens there and must have looked the same way to them! 

If You’d keep reading, You’d find that the other two spies, Joshua & Caleb Radically Disagreed with the 10 punks and Courageously Inspired the People to Take The Land!

Now You Can Guess Who The Lord (who is a Staunch Rewarder of Faith) Was Ultimately Pleased With…

So, Are You a Joshua or a Caleb?

Or Are YOU Powerless?

 

While I wasn’t listening to any music while composing this blog, Earlier I was digging on Ahmad Jamal’s “Blue Moon

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Systems

This Week I take a Break on My Lone Diatribe of the Current State of the Music Industry and that which I feel EntreMusicians Can/Should be Doing to Alter the Ugly Tide. As I Reflect & because I Am Quite Passionate, It seemed I was beginning to Sound like a Whining Polemic, which was/is not my intention.

My Goal here is to Engage, Encourage & Empower EntreMusicians Everywhere to Embrace their Artistry with the Highest Level of Significance & Inspiration.

To that End, Today I wish to share the Importance of Creating Systems in Your Day/Week/Life which Propel You toward Consistently Attaining New Heights in Your Career.

If You’re Anything Like Me, or the Millions of Other True Creatives, Our Souls Find Meaning in Abstracts. We tend to “Feel” More than We “Reason.” Creatives are More Apt to Be “In The Moment” than “In The Long Run.”

As a Intense Jazz Lover & a Participant in the Genre, the Sheer Intention of Improvisation is Always Intriguing and a Blessed Experience, but without the Foundation of a Steady Rhythm, Chord Patterns, Motifs & Melody, the Magic Mercurially Melts.

EntreMusicians Understand this Balance. We Incorporate Habits, Rituals & Systems into Our Days/Weeks/Lives to Provide Security for the Spontaneity. We Emphasize Structure so our Creativity Soars.

Although Creatives Understand the Disciplines that Apply to Our Craft, and subsequently Practice our Fingers Off, We Rarely Develop Regiments around Our Art to Promote, Sustain and/or Catapult Our Careers & Influence.

Here Are A Few Questions for You To Consider:

a) Do You Have a Daily/Weekly/Life “To-Do” List?

b) Do You Maintain a Morning Ritual?

c) Have You Established Boundaries on How You Spend Time in Each Sphere of Your Life?

d) Is there a Proper Balance for Personal & Professional Relationships & Goals?

e) Have You Formed a Team to Keep You Accountable to Your Aspirations?

The Way You Answer these Questions Will Help Shed Light on what You Need to Do to become More Effective & Efficient in Harnessing Your Creativity & Accomplishing What Truly Matters.

Below Are A Few Resources which have over several years helped me form Significant Systems in My Quest to Create Extraordinary Work I Pray Makes A Major Difference in the Lives My Spirit Reaches.

Time Will Tell the Ultimate Extension of My Influence, but Time Will Certainly Find Me Constantly Improving My Serve!   I Pray The Same for You!!

Michael Hyatt – My Ideal Week 

Dr. Steven Covey – The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People

Dr. Myles Munroe – In Pursuit of Purpose

David Allen – Getting Things Done

John Maxwell – Talent is Never Enough  (Or Any Other Doggone John Maxwell Book!!)

The Bible (An Indispensable Tool in My Systematic Arsenal!)

I was not listening to any music as I Composed this Blog and am Suddenly Wondering Why!

 

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What’s With All The Excitement?

A few weeks ago I was browsing the DIY Blog at CD Baby and noticed that A gleeful Christopher Robley was going on and on about the launch of Apple’s New Streaming System, the differences between this and their very well funded iTunes and how Beats fits in, etc. OK Fine, Yada! But then the gentleman had the nerve to ask his readership (90+% Indie Musicians, I’m sure) if they were “Excited” about Apple’s launch. I couldn’t help myself!        I had to Comment.

Below is what I wrote verbatim (in bold) although surprisingly, the gatekeepers DID Approve its posting!

Before You Read, Take a Moment to Answer These Questions:

How Much Serious Money Have You Made from iTunes, Pandora, Spotify, Tidal or Amazon as an EntreMusician? (I’ve Never Seen So Many Zeros follow a decimal point!)

How Much Serious Money have the aforementioned companies made off the back of Songwriters & Artists? (How Many Zeros are there in Seven Billion?)

Do You Think We Should Continue Down The Path of Poverty Just to Tell Our Fans They Can Find Us on Spotify Instead of Asking them to purchase directly from Us?

What Suggestions Do You Propose To Get Us Out of This Mess?

Seriously, the concept of any Artist being “excited” about Apple, Spotify, Pandora or even CD Baby making millions of dollars a year – on the very backs – of these same Musicians to whom they pay less than peanuts to is a clear Offensive Mockery to the Art of Music.

The Time is long past where all Serious EntreMusicians should concentrate on their own Fan Base (no matter how small) and Create their own Subscription Models through their Websites and Micro Payment Accounts through Pay Pal and begin this doggone thing again! The ability to interact directly with your own tribe, via Internet is old school and completely limited by your imagination.

The notion that ANY Indie Musician is going to get rich, be discovered and have access to millions of eyes and ears is pure fallacy. Do Your Thing! Don’t Be A Sucker! The Time and Money You Spend Rehearsing, Recording, Performing and Building Your Brand will be Rewarded if You Are Smart, Creative and Willing to Work Your Posterior Regions Off!

Call The Crap for What It Is and Don’t Believe the Blinking Hype! If You Only have 500 fans who give you $50 a year because you have brilliantly created Music & Merch they LOVE, You have Earned $25k. So Grow those 500 to 1000+ and Keep Moving. The Whole World doesn’t have to Know Your Name as Long as You are Making Music that Touches the Hearts and Minds of YOUR Fans. They WILL Support Your Artistry! Ultimately, It’s Our Responsibility – Without a Major Label, Distribution or “Connects” – Network with Other Likeminded Musicians and Make a Plan & Make Your Mark!

Excited About Apple? Please!

P.S. Derek Sivers started a great company. I believed and supported his original philosophy that actually helped make our music accessible on a global basis and we made $$. I started calling him (and still refer to him as ‘Uncle Derek.’ This subsequent “push” to ‘Make Sure Your Music is Here or Here or Here’ has long proven a bad decision. Jay Z Can’t Save Us – iTunes didn’t and Apple Won’t.

I Would Really Love To Hear Your Comments Here. Seriously, Lemme Know.

I was listening to Herbie Hancock’s “Future2Future” as I prepared this Blog.

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The Opportunity in the Obstacle

Obstacles are a Regular Diet of Every EntreMusician’s Life. They are Unavoidable, often Unpredictable and always present hidden Opportunities. Along with the stress that comes with Each Obstacle are Moments to Choose whether to Freak Out, Give Up or Turn Bitter in the process, instead of Zeroing In on the Possible Benefits this Obstacle offers.
I Must Admit that I have done All of These. 

Call it Age, but lately I’ve forced myself to stop and answer the question “What Does This Mean?” right at the crest of every perceived Obstacle. Whether it’s Lack of Resources for a Certain Project to downright Opposition while Carrying out a Goal, if we can Quell our Emotions, have a Team pow wow, or do Personal Introspection to Ask Ourselves the Meaning Behind the Obstacle, we create a Clarity that Allows Us to Better Focus on Acheiving Our Accomplishments. 

In Fact, What I Am Learning Most about My Most Recent Obstacles is that they were more about ME than the Thing, Person or Situation that presented itself. If I Did Not Plan or Execute Properly, I Invited the Obstacle. If I Do Not Adequately State My Goals or Explain to My Team Expected Intentions & Results, I Should Expect Obstacles. 

But What if I Did Do All of the Above? What if My All of My Ducks are in the Provrbial Row? I Immediately Stop Asking ‘How’ this Happened and ask ‘Why’ Questions- which are More Personal and Less Technical. Obviously, a Personal Lesson is Attached and I Need to Open Eyes & Ears and Learn The Lesson.

I Have Not Been Able to Overcome Every Obstacle. Often, I’ve had to work Underneath, Beside & Through the Obstacle. But the Perspective I’ve gained from being “Up Close & Personal” with the Adversity has drawn out a greater degree of Creativity, Perseverance & Wisdom that I would not have gained otherwise. Additionally, Some Obstacles have brought Absolute & Generous Blessings to My Family & I – Opportunities I Would Have Never Walked Into had I just stood there and cursed the blasted thing! 

Many of Our Greatest Opportunities Are Disguised as Obstacles. This Thought does not Minimize the real pain each can bring us, but the Hurt doesn’t have to Harm if we look the Issue dead in the eye, analyze it for what it is and formulate an appropriated response, all the while gritting your teeth and buckling up for the interesting journey ahead.

I’ve been Very Intentional to not discuss specific experiences here, as there are More than Many and I’d be here till Next Thursday trying to explain a few! Like any other EM, I’ve Blundered & Blown It, but Because I Am an EM,     I Learn and I Move On…

Keep Your Head Up!

I wasn’t listening to any music while wrting this, but Jon Thomas & I just collaborated on a track called “Maranatha” that I’m gonna finish tweaking as soon as I post this!

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The Art of the Interview

Inevitably, all EntreMusicians will need to interact with Multimedia to Promote an Event or Project. I have been blessed to be able to have access to Radio, TV & Print in my region due to my involvement as a former Radio Producer for the legendary, late Dan Ryan Talk Show on WKBN’s 570AM. Although this has been decades ago, the Tips & Tricks I picked up by being on “both sides of the glass” have been invaluable in helping me spread my message. Here are a few things I have learned:

1) Have a Voice. 

Be Able to Stylize a Tone, Sense of Enunciation and a Presence that whether People are Able to See You or Not, they are Sure that You are You! I will Never Forget the Excitement that My Brother-in-Law, Phil The Beat & I felt as Teenagers when we heard our hero, Roger Troutman being interviewed on Cleveland’s Power 108, WDMT. And, he had his Talk Box with him on the Radio! This left an Indelible Impression on Us and We Could Not Wait to get his New Album and go to the show. Listening to Bootsy Collins was More Exciting than hearing Frankie Beverly interview, although Both of their Music remains as some of the Most Enduring of the Soul era.

Also, Intelligence Does Not supercede Style On the Air – if this is in line with Your Overall Imagery. Some Artists prefer to appear Downright Stupid, ala Favor Flav, because their image is what Moves the Sales. The important thing is to Know Your Voice and Always employ it while Branding Your Art.

I developed a “Radio Voice” before going to work on the Dan Ryan Show, as I was previously an On Air Gospel DJ at WGFT 1500-AM. When I am being interviewed on Radio, I often, ‘go there’ by default – but it sounds trite on Stage and on TV, so I’m more comfortable in my natural voice.

2) Possess a Look

Tape (Hard Drives) & Cameras are most unforgiving. Ditto everything I said above, but apply it to the Visual. Have Your Concept DOWN and make sure you get plenty of opinions and a consensus if you can’t afford a fashion designer. Not all Colors, Blends and Fabric are You – again, unless Your Act is Stark, Shocking or downright Disgusting. Making Absolutely Sure that You are Captivating on TV is far different than Your Stage Persona (unless you’ll be performing live on TV!) often EMs dress according to the Artisry, just keep in mind that People will be Looking a Lot Closer to You on their Big Screen, Deciphering Everything about You – a mole, crooked teeth, earrings, etc., because these features/flaws either bring Your Fans closer to you or alienate them. 

I recall how crazy I looked going on TV once to Interview with Sunglasses on. I was Naive. It Was Stupid! I think I destroyed the VHS!

3) Have Fun!

Once You’ve Established Your Voice & Your Visual, it’s time to Relax, Have Fun, Be Confident and Engage Your Artist. Too Many Musicians come off as if their Guitar Chops are as Serious & Important as the next missile strike in the Middle East. They present themselves as aloof, unapproachable with devoid of a funny bone. These decisions contain poison that both the Interviewer and their Public repel. It’s Not That Serious! Your Mission is to Make a Connection, not Create a Chasm. Even Prince learned to smile.

4) Share a Story.

Personal. Profound. Transparent. Everything is Not Perfect in Your World and No One Expects it to be. Identify Your Humanity and Relate to Others. Reveal  Mistakes that have happened on Stage or in the Studio, Your Daughter’s Favorite Artist (which is definitely not you) or why your Bass Player really needed stitches right after the show are all great topics. By All Means, Share Your Dreams. I Always Do. They Compel Others to Dream With Me!

5) Ask Questions

Yep. The forgotten Secret. Every Interviewer wants to be Involved in the Process. Some will out talk their guests. Others will be straightforward and just fire away (after all there are time restraints), but Don’t be Afraid to Trade Places. Don’t Make the Interview just about You & Yours! Expressing a Genuine care in those kind enough to give You Airtime gets You repeated visits, puts all the participants at ease and provides the Audience additional insight to the program’s host.

I frequently turn tables on Interviewers, especially when I am feeling nervous. It causes me to build some confidence when I see how others handle the unexpected question. I am able to Relax.

6) Know What You Are Talking About

There’s Nothing Worse than Radio Silence or the Proverbial Deer in the Headlights look. You Avoid these discomforts by knowing Your Art, Abilities and Industry. Keep the Dialogue Limited to What You Do Know and If You Don’t Know, Do Not Pretend. Also, Do Not Avoid the Question or Play Politician, Be Honest and Say You Don’t Know, You May Not Have Heard or are Simply Uninterested in Answering that Particular Question. And Smile.

I put my Size 10 & A 1/2 in My Mouth Twice On Radio when I Pretended to Know More about the subject matter. I tried to Play Expert in a Den of Experts and the World knew (at least that one) I Was a Fraud. I Avoided Mirrors for Two Weeks. 

7) Don’t Lie

Ever. 

This includes Exaggerations. Read My Experience Above – Again. 

If You’ve Only Sold 1000 Downloads, don’t make it 2000. How Many Accurate Unique Hits do you get per week? Be Accurate. Stay Honest. Avoid Hype.
8) Get Over Yourself

At the End of the Interview, the Conversation should not be “about” YOU, albeit concerning You, Your Projects, etc. You’ll Gain More Ground and Respect by Intentionally Making Your Airtime about Your Host, Sponsors, Fans and Most Definitely other Artists You Admire and have influenced Your Career. If there is a Ministry, Charity or Cause You Champion & Support, mention them. Always Be Charitiable & Generous in Your Positive Comments of Others.

Hope This Helps. Below are a few links to Interviews I’ve done, including my Very First TV Interview.

Explaining SounDoctrine on Loose Change: http://youtu.be/zHfaHWvnEzc

Once Upon A Madonna: http://youtu.be/h7dqD3k3lGw

My First Time: http://youtu.be/B8xE7aF8-zw

Radio – Randy Allar, The Fusion Show: http://youtu.be/oK7hSbenFHo

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