Category Archives: Significance

I Lost My Phone…

blackphone

I lost my phone yesterday. It’s Black with a Brushed Black Otter Box Case and Can Hide in Plain Sight as it did for close to 40 Minutes!

Obviously I had searched the ‘obvious’ places. I Retraced My Steps over and again, Each Time Looking Deeper, Slower, Closer than in the Previous Cycle.

I turned over pillows, blankets, mattresses, looked under the bed, couch, car and behind the fridge.

Then I began searching places I know I did not go.

I didn’t go to the basement or the girls rooms with my phone, but I Looked there

I didn’t take it into the bathroom with me (this time). But…

I haven’t been in the backyard since winter, but there I was. I NEEDED My Phone. I couldn’t leave home without it.

Suddenly I Stopped Everything. Nothing Else Mattered. Time was Ticking Away. An Important Appointment was Encroaching. ______________!!!

I enlisted the help of my family. All Hands on Deck! Turn Off the TV, Music, Dehumidifier! Call The Darn Thing! – The Ringer is Silent, but just maybe, we could hear the vibration humming….

My seventeen year old was appalled that the evasive apparatus was in the Very First Place I had repeatedly looked. It had magically appeared – Or Did It?!

The entire ordeal taught me Four Lessons about Seeking & Creating Opportunities as EntreMusicians.

1) Opportunities Abound and Many are In Plain Sight; At the Gym, The Grocery Store, Our Churches, Schools or Rotary Clubs but we do not engage in intense, aggressive seeking until We are Desperate. We may casually set an Opportunity to the side and/or Overlook It, especially if we don’t feel it will garner a Big Enough WIN – and just maybe That Opportunity was designed to Set Up The Win!

2) Ofttimes we venture far beyond our Sphere of Influence to Build before Solidifying Our Homebase and turning over Every Piece of Furniture in Our Own Domain to Create a Far More Substantial Connection than we would miles away.

3) We Don’t Ask For Help Until We Are In Trouble, Believing Ourselves Capable of Finding Everything We Need. Another Pair of Eyes & Ears Go A Long Way!

4) Intense Focus on the Goal while Ignoring EVERYTHING Else is the Sole Determining Factor. When All Distractions are Eliminated, You Immediately Position Yourself into the Crosshairs of Your Desired Goal or Destination. It’s as if The Thing has Found You. It Was There All The Time.

Seeking Must Become a Habit for the EntreMusician. Living Out Our Lives with a Purpose Filled Thought Process that THIS May Be The Moment we were searching for all along.

Jesus said in Matthew 7:8 ” For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”

That’s Quite A Promise!

Go For It!

I Was Listening to Steve Khan’s “Casa Loco”  on Vinyl while composing this Blog.

Advertisements

Advice I Gave My Youngest Daughter

YANABOOK

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!

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Overstating the Obvious

roadclosed

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…

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Grounded with Wings (Scene One)

titeroper

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!

Tagged , , , , , , ,

The New & The Now…

times-square-ball

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!”

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Forget The Misses!!

mistake

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

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Forget The Critic!!

criticism

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 www.theentremusician.com 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”

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

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

paper_clips_colored_fixation_107505_1920x1080

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 

Tagged , , , , , ,

Get Outta Da Way!

gearslutz

 

In My Worldview, I Truly Believe That God Downloads SongsRight Into Our Spirits, Complete with Melody, Harmonies, Rhythm, Time Signature and Counterpoint and we have the Privilege of Labeling this Process Songwriting. I’m of the Philosophy that in Every Composition, the Piece Itself Dictates what It Needs. Music & Lyrics Guide Us through their Verses, Chorus and Bridge to its Conclusion. Beats & Notes Fall from the Sky while sitting at My Keyboard, Bass or Drum Kit and Sometimes while racing around 680 South enroute to the bakery, forcing me to hum & grunt into my phone to preserve the concept.

The Most Important Lesson I’ve Learned as a Composer/Producer/Musician is to Shut Up and Get Out of The Way. In Many Ways I’m Only an Observer; in others, a Mere Participant – Never Demanding or Micromanaging the Moment. There’s an Art to Waiting for the Score to Let You In on its Desires and sometimes it could make you wait for months. Patience is a Virtue.

In Every Session I Produce, I Invite Each Musician & Vocalist to Perform their Own Narrative for Takes at a Time, without providing a single instruction. It’s Their Interpretation I’m Most Interested in Capturing. Their Voice, Their Heart, Their Imagination. I’m In the Room Foremost as an Eyewitness and Secondly to Facilitate the Best Possible Outcome of Their Expressions. The Song Always Alerts Us as to What Does & Does Not Work.

The Best Producers, In My Opinion, are those who as Quincy Jones once stated, “Always leave space for God to walk through the room…”      There are far too many tunes (again, in my opinion) that bear the Fingerprint of the Producer, while Ignoring the Original Intent of the Composer and the Purity of the Artist – unless, of course, they are one and the same. Ahmet Ertegun, Stewart Levine, Nile RodgersArif Mardin and the legendary Norman Whitfield all are/were Patriarchs rather than Dictators. This Approach Allowed Them to Auspiciously Produce Artists Across Multiple Genres, without Dogging the Groove. Of course there are many Producers who Thrive on a “Signature Sound” that made their records work Beyond Various Platforms, but when the ‘sound’ faded, so did their opportunities.

Creatively, The Producer’s Ultimate Role is to Allow the Session to Simmer; Creating an Atmosphere of Freedom & Collaborative Communication, where Each Member becomes Adept at Paying Complete Homage to the Every Aspect of the Song.

Get Out of The Way! 

I Was Listening to Jeff Lorber Fusion’s “Water Sign” on Vinyl while Writing this Blog.

Tagged , , , , ,

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.    

Tagged , , , , , , ,
Advertisements