They Say: “You’ll Never Make It in this Business”
They Say: “You Need to Go to This School and have That Degree”
They Say: “Only 2% Succeed in Your Industry, So Don’t Bother”
They Say: “You Need The Right Connections”
They Say: “You Have to Dress Like This and Play Your Trumpet Like That or Forget It!”
They Say: “No One Is Going to Appreciate Your Style of Music!”
They Say: “You Have No Right to Take That Position”
They Say: “You Don’t Deserve to Receive Those Accolades!”
They Say: “It Will Never Work!”
They Say: “Don’t Expect Much, So You Won’t Be Disappointed!”
Yes, They Say a lot of Discouraging, Mean & Nasty Things, often without trying to be Mean, Nasty or Discouraging.
Somehow They forget that the Celebrated Icons They Themselves Honor, Revere & Adore were Told the Very Same Things, Did Not Have the Right Connections, Money, Resources or Attend an Institution of Select Pedigree.
Icons are Pioneers whom Forge their Own Identities, Sounds, Art & Creativity onto the Global Landscape without Asking Permission or Seeking Solace in the Status Quo.
These Ambassadors of Innovation Shift the Platform of Public Paradigms into New Realities of Consciousness that Shape the Future and Transcend Life As We Currently Understand It.
With Constant Obstacle, Hurdles, Detours and Encumbrances at Every Level, Vanguards Chase Away the Proverbial They as These Climb Higher Toward Their Own Thrones, Created Just for Them.
Go and Do Likewise…
Today I am Incredibly Transparent with You.
I Trust You’ll Appreciate My Confessions.
Far Too Often, I become Extremely Discouraged as an EntreMusician. Especially in the Neighborhood of Lost Opportunities. If & When I Miss a Shot at an Important Gig, Submission, Audition or Project that would have either Paid Handsomely or led to an even Greater Opp, I get really bummed. Within the grueling peripherals of this past week, due to personal family woes, I’ve been ridiculously behind and absolutely unproductive – in every area! In fact, I had to rigorously talk myself out of an impulse buy of Izotope’s Music Production Bundle 2, credit card in hand, just to pacify myself (although Ozone 7 remains on My List)!
I find that If I do not get a handle on my thoughts, I can easily slide into a“Comparisonism & Lack Mentality” mode which are Detrimental to every Artist & Musician.
Exhaustive Concentration on the Equipment, Skills, Connections, Resources, Looks, ___________, ___________ I Don’t Own Quickly Deteriorates My Perspective on the Attributes I Do Possess and seriously hinders my Flow & Output.
But, When that Ugly Shadow begins to Overwhelm, I’ve Learned to Employ a Consistent Series of Well Placed “F” Words, Complete with Fiery Enunciation and Spit! This is what helped me put my credit card down…
Firstly, My Faith is Foundational.
Knowing that I am Forever Forgiven for Former & Future Failures by My God through His Son, Jesus Christ provides an Eternal Outlook and Completely Minimizes My Temporal Blunders. My Prayers, submitted to His Purpose & Plan for Me Settles My Calling and Seals My Destiny.
My Family, Beginning with My Adorable Wife of 22 Years and our Three Amazing Daughters are my Treasures in Life and Help Fasten My Focus on What Really Matters Most. Lori & I have walked Hand in Hand through Joy, Tears & Tough Terrain and grow more in love with each other and our journey with each passing hour. What Else Does a Brother Need?
I Have Absolutely Awesome Friends who although Few are Completely True. They Simultaneously Encourage & Challenge Me to Grow & Go Further than I could Imagine. Real Friends See Into You & See Through You. They are Bold Enough to Call Out the Occasional Foolishness and Call Forward the Authenticity Inside.
Finally, I’m Blessed with the Favor of Funk, for this is the Songwriter, Producer & Musician I Am!
Irregardless of the Genre! Being able to Swing “The One” either a millisecond Before or After the Top of the Measure Matters. Forging a humility to Stay in the Pocket although I’ve not honed the same severity of thrillingly Sick Tricks my counterparts have has kept me working, for which I am truly thankful – for just being able to be me!
Perhaps You Thought I was going to Litter This Post with “F” Bombs, which might release steam in a moment of crisis, but do nothing to sow gratitude into our spirits.
I Wish You Joy, Love, Peace, Harmony & Rhythms of Grace!
I Am Listening to Azymuth’s “Light As A Feather” On Vinyl while writing this post.
Sure, The Old Adage still rings true: “It’s Who You Know!”
Certainly it’s great to have an uncle who is one of three main limo drivers for the soon to be Sir Eric Clapton and/or a cousin who roadies for Chaka Khan when she’s on the West Coast or perhaps you live around the corner from Bob James, but once the Introductions draw to an end, it’s What You Know & How Well You Know It That Will Make or Break you.
Your Performance on Stage or in the Studio transcends any Professional Reference.
Your Professionalism in the most Stress Filled Situations Speak Louder than Any ‘Good Word’ Someone Puts in For You.
Your Character & Integrity Stands Taller than Your Résumé …in fact, Your Reputation Becomes Your Résumé
Your Choice to Integrate With Your Fellow Musicians and Play Your Lines Rather than the Role of the Superstar is What Gets You Called Back
Your Ability to Repeatedly “Bring It” On Demand Will Build a Far More Secure Stature Faster than Depending on Your Contact to Make a Connection.
No less than Quincy Jones quipped, “It’s Better that the Opportunity Never Come, than When It Does and You’re Not Prepared For It!”
So, It’s Cool, Go Ahead and Reach Out to Your Aunt Betty’s Friend of a Friend who golfs with Shawn Mendes, but at the End of the Day, It’s Still On You to Produce!
I was listening to Nathan East’s new “Reverence” on CD as I composed this Blog
EntreMusicians are Excellent Planners & Keen Executioners. We are Faithful at Follow Up and Process our Visions to the Nth Degree. We Face Forward and Effortlessly Advance to our Next Scheduled Items without Losing the Groove.
All Good, but…
EntreMusicians are also challenged with an Acute Inability to Pause and Review our Work. We fail to Properly Index our Calendars to Scrutinize our Previous Performances & Projects and Ascertain their Effectiveness.
While most of us maintain the habit of waiting until the Final Week of December to sit with our Old & Shiny New Planners, the Wiser Move is to Consistently Schedule Weekly, Monthly & Quarterly Reviews (the More Obsessive EMs Implement Dailies) to Appropriate Our Goals, Sharpening Our Saws as We Meticulously Slice Away.
As We Approach this Fifth Month of the Year (already!) let’s take a day or two to Glance Back at the Rear View to Make Sure We’re Not Adrift of the Course we launched in January.
I was listening to Herbie Hancock’s “Mr. Hands” on Vinyl while composing this blog.
The First True Threat to Copyright’s Extinction in Our Lifetime was the invention of the Sampler and its Little Cousin, the Portable DAT , which blew open Recording Studio Doors to Unlimited Imagination and Unabashed Thievery. No Previous Song Was Safe From the MPC and against the backdrop of the late, great James Brown‘s roaring protests stood Chuck D‘s amplified mantra, “Yo, You Can’t Copyright No Beat!!”
The Recordable CD on Your Laptop gave birth to the First Napster and File Sharing introduced an new generation of fans to Led Zeppelin while making bands like Radiohead and Dispatch household (pun intended) names.
Music Buyers metamorphosed into Music Lovers who No Longer Purchased Music. Record Companies finally awakened from their Cash Comas (brought on by the CD Boom) and realized they could not NOT Negotiate with Steve Jobs. When the dust settled around the 99 cent download and Napster’s Socks were Sued Off, the entire notion of Copyright Protection for the Content Owner began to slip into the paws of the Content Provider.
Streaming seeks to further erode such protections more subtly as Subscription Models ensure the End User Owns Nothing and Access is Granted or Revoked based on Advantaged Licensing Agreements tilted toward the Providers, Not The Owners.
Less Copyright Protection Equals Far Fewer Royalties for Owners who are now relying on Congress to Change the Game. Many Say Copyright is Dead,or at best on life support with the hyper advance of technology and Creative Commons squelching the Conversation.
EntreMusicians would do well to Resurrect this Sacred Trust by Developing Technology which Secures our Unique Position as sole Owner/Provider, Creating our Own Subscription Channels Direct to our Exclusive Bases, Disconnected from the Snares of Apple, Google, Spotify and YouTube. Established & Marketed Correctly, This Vehicle would Guarantee that Copyright remains Right.
For More Engaging Articles on Copyright Fairness and Other Concerns, Visit TheEntreMusician.com, where you can also Download My Free E-Book, “50 Ways to Transform Your Fans into Family.”
I was listening to Jeff Lorber‘s “Galaxian” on vinyl while composing this blog.
One of the Wisdom Proverbs says:
It’s An Incredible Statement for Every EntreMusician to Abide By as Most of Us Spend Many of Our Waking Moments Looking for Opportunities that Will Benefit US and Precious Few Searching Out Occasions to Benefit OTHERS.
If We Happen Upon the Good Fortune of a Great Promoter, Venue, Festival or Other Profitable Enterprises which Provide Advantage, Progress or Achievement in Our Own Careers, We Would Do Well in Seeking Such Favor on Artists, Musicians and Entertainers who would Never have the chance to Showcase Their Talents, Unless We Hold the Door Open for Them – Especially those Further Down the Totem Pole of Experience (Your Obviously Trusting that They Possess the Professionalism and Discipline to Handle the Gig!)
The Gift of What Comes To and Happens In You Is Immeasurable, the Wider You Open Your Heart. It Seems as If Platforms You Were Previously Denied Access To Suddenly Avail and Fees You’d Never Imagine Commanding Become Yours, with Less Effort on Your Part, Because You’ve Ignited the Miracle Circle of Blessings.
Of Course this Process Works Personally. I Must Confess that there was a Season in My Life Where I Held Tight to a Scarcity Mentality. When I Would Give, It Naturally Meant I Had LESS. So I Hoarded! When I Encountered a Disheveled Person at an Intersection, Holding Up a Cardboard Sign, I Rationalized 10 Million Hypotheticals as to How & Why They Ended Up in That Position OR That They Were Only Conning Me Out of My Few Wrinkled Dollars Tucked Away in My Ashtray. This Helped Me Justify Looking Away – and – Driving Away…
Thank God I Have Come to Learn an Abundance Mentality which Assures Me that Giving Really Means Planting! There’s Always ‘More‘ and at Some Point, in Some Scenario, My Seed Will Harvest and I Will Receive Exactly What I Need.
Open A Door. Create An Opportunity. Give and Notice All that Happens.
You Become the Beneficiary of Bountiful Blessings, the Recipient of Joyous Transformation You Would’ve Never Imagine or Appreciated if You’d Remained All To Yourself.
Interestingly, I Was Not Listening to Any Music as I Wrote This Post…
Unfortunately, our Country and the World has recently had to endure the commemoration of the 15th Acknowledgement of the Atrocities which occurred on September 11th. Our Hearts continue to go out to the many families who’ve had to be reminded yet again – and embrace the pain of their magnificent losses.
Perhaps like You, Lori & I watched a significant number of documentaries that retold stories of Bravery, Heroism & Self Sacrifice in various moments of crisis. Interwoven within these tales were also a growing analysis of Skepticism, Controversy & Conspiracy which explain that we do not have All the Facts, nor have we indeed been told the Entire Truth concerning this Incredible Tragedy.
Amidst the Irony of these Painful Ceremonies is the blatant, crude and destructive political campaign season we find ourselves in, where it seems that the Twin Towers of Truth & Trust have likewise been destroyed, long before a plane – or a missile – crashed into the World Trade Center.
If We are forced to Choose, for the Highest Office in our Nation, between the One Who Lies the Least, it’s no wonder why America suffers from a Deficit of Reliability Worldwide- If & When Our Government Leaders, Present & Future are Unwilling to Stand On and Speak The Truth, then it’s clear why it may take decades, or longer, to rebuild the Tower of Trust.
Furthermore, if we as individuals find it difficult to Speak Truthfully, In Love, to our neighbors, next door, at work, in church, at the mall and/or online, we emaciate the right to accuse any leader of decimating the public trust.
Truth & Trust are Towers We Must Build Together.
I was listening to no music while writing this blog.
Everyone is Well Aware of the Two Most Important Commodities on Planet Earth.
Time & Money.
Both Can Be Wasted, Saved, Spent or Invested. Used Wisely, Each Possesses the Power to Obtain Greater Assets & Privileges and/or Provide Basic or More Luxurious Needs to the Few or Many. Frequently, Both Are Traded for the Other and Wisdom is Tested in How Well One Uses or Abuses Them.
EntreMusicians at Every Level Seem to be in Short Supply of Either. Walking The Narrow Tightrope of How to Utilize the Best of Both Pay Huge Dividends and Multiplies Our Successes Exponentially.
Although I Have Not Included any Hard Core Solutions to Our Conundrum, I have listed Three Tiny Scenarios that I have personally walked through in the hopes that they Motivate You to Think Through the Issues Before You Spend (Or Waste) Either Valuable Resource.
1) Music Lessons. Admittedly, I am the Worse Drummer I Know. Many Also Know This and Would Agree! I Hated Taking Drum Lessons in my youth and Now I’m Paying for My Embarrassment, When I Should’ve Paid for The Lessons…
I am a Far Better Songwriter & Producer, for which I also Didn’t Take Lessons, but Spent a Million Hours Developing My Craft, Buying & Blowing Up Gear and Listening, Listening, Listening to My Favorite Artists to Learn (read steal) Ideas from…Although there are Countless Conferences, Workshops & Seminars I could have shelled out for, which Others Attend & Swear by, I Believe My Time in the Basement was the Better Investment.
2) Buying Studio Time or Building Your Own Space. Purchasing Studio Time at a Reputable Place with a Knowledgeable Engineer is a Dream – When You Know Exactly What You Want, Have Thoroughly Prepared Your Music & Practiced Like Crazy! If None of Those Things Are in Place, You Might As Well Set Fire to Your Hard Earned Cash Right Doggone Now!
There are a few Compassionate Engineers and they usually have Small Digital Clocks next to their boards. If You See a Huge Round Audible Ticking Monster Hanging on the Wall Behind Their Chair and Two More in the Booth with a Blinking Count Down Mechanism, You had Better Gone to the ATM! If they happen to Hate Your Music, Well The Clock Theory Goes Out The Window with You & the Rest of Your Gear!
I’ve been Beyond Fortunate to Own several Tascam 4 & 8 Track Cassette Recorders in the Medieval Days of Home Recording, as well as Collaborating with Like Minded Musicians & Studio Owner/Engineers who were on their own quests to Learn & Grow. This saved Valuable Time and The Only Money Spent was on Better Gear (more on that soon).
3) Do I Really Need A Manager? No. Yes & No.
If You are Just Beginning, Embrace EntreMusicianship for All It’s Worth and Invest Your Time Learning Every Single Aspect of Managing You, Your Schedule, Your Band, Their Schedules. Make Every Phone Call. Send (and respond to) Every Text & Email. Learn Your Market and Learn How to Say “No Thank You!” when that Promised Exposure Only Benefits the Promoter/Club Owner. Become an Expert Negotiator!
As Your Band & Brand Grows, Spend the 5 to 8% on Loyal, albeit Inexperienced Managers willing to devote themselves exclusively to You and will work with you to decrease Your Blind Spots and Actually Help You Build Your Artistic Acumen. Professional Managers will definitely be worth the 10 to 15% but You Must Also Be Worth It To Them and the Way You Know That is NOT In The Way They Woo YOU, but what they have Proven to Have Done for Others! Still, You Should be Concerned about their Exclusivity to You and Not just another of the 16 acts on their agency roster.
The Most Efficient Way to Invest Time & Money at the Outset of Your Career is to Build A Team. This Includes An Attorney, An Accountant, A Social Media Director/Publicist and Your Own Hand Picked Manager/Booking Agent. Interview Each Carefully, Have A Ton Of Meetings, Individually & Collectively (Yes You May Have to Pay for Their Time). Make Sure They Understand Your Vision, Principles & Goals (Make Sure You Understand Them Too!), Iron Out Percentages on the Front End, with an Optional Earnings Elevator (i.e., The More You Earn Over Time as a Result of Everyone’s Efforts, Their Percentages Also Increase).
I Confess with Joy that this has been the Single Most Efficient Decision, which has helped me to endure even during the dark times or when SounDoctrine is Not on Stage or in the Studio. A Team helps Weather the Storms, Keeps The Vision Alive & Encourages You To Advance Ahead.
We’ll Discuss Three More Next Steps Next Week. Thanks for Taking the Time to Read This Blog! I Was Listening to The Crusaders’ “Images” on Vinyl while Writing & Posting here!
“Bah Dee Yah, Say Do You Remember? Bah Dee Yah Dee Yah Dee Yah!”
September!!…(for those not familiar with the classic Earth Wind & Fire anthem)
Parents are Delighted, Students Dreadfully Curious and Employees Everywhere Assemble to Swap Vacation Stories and their Sandals for Sweaters. As Autumn Dawns, Everyone Seems to Settle into a Greater Degree of Normalcy which soon Make Us Long for Careless Summers Once More.
EntreMusicians prepare to hunker down in various Studio Configurations. Some to Create & Collaborate. Others to Re-Design or Re-Define their Marketing Strategies. Several Summer Tour Ensembles will Break Apart in A Blaze of Entropy – Mostly caused by Laundry Issues or An Undisciplined Drummer Keeping Better Time with the Keyboardist’s Girlfriend than he did on Stage!
Either way, there’s a Rhythm to September that EntreMusicians can sequence into a funky pattern of productivity. If you’re anything like me, I’ve adopted these Intentional Habits (read obsessions) that help me settle into a Quiet, Music Filled Winter.
1) RESET My Ideal Week. Two years Ago, I adopted My Virtual Mentor, Michael Hyatt‘s suggestion to give Every Day A Name and a Theme for Efficiency & Effectiveness – For Example: Thursdays are Music Day (and Date Night with Lori), Fridays are for Meetings, Wednesday is reserved for Deeper Personal Bible Study and So On.
Generally, Summer takes on certain nuances that make for a looser grid and although I maintain my themes, not everything is so locked in. When September comes, I fine tune and tweak so my Habit Monster is Happy with me Again!
2) REVIEW & REMOVE: Certain Social Friends. I began this habit about Three Years Ago. It’s Time Consuming to Try to Appear Omnipresent, so I whittled down my Social Existence to Only Three Platforms: Facebook, LinkedIn & Twitter. I then began looking at who I actually wished to engage with, who posted more interesting topics I would benefit from and those whom I could literally recommend to another EntreMusician or Creativewho might need their expertise. Again, during the summer, I tend to invite – or get invited to spaces without actually during the research to see if I (or they) need to be a connection. I never take it personal either way, I just Review, Decide & Remove if Applicable.
This Summer, I Did Something So Stupid, It Truly Fits in Items #1 & #2! I made a Promise to Periscope Daily at 8:30PM and found myself either in places not suitable for video or lacking any valuable content important enough to share! Well I’m Done with that nonsense and since Facebook Live is Already My Platform, There is No further Reason to Scope!
I Primarily Digest Business/Leadership Books, but in Autumn, I Get My Creativity back in Check by Reading Autobiographies. Here Are A Few I’m Taking Off the Shelf this Fall:
No, The Last Dude is Not A Musician, but My Eldest Daughter Tejai bought if for my 50th Birthday, So I Need to Check It Out!
4) REFRESH My Unfinished Compositions. I Listen to Absolutely Everything I have Not Released and Many I Have, just to see if there’s another angle or if it’s truly Crapazoid! (Especially the Unfinished/Unreleased Stuff). In fact, there are about 15 songs I have been breathing new life into which are about 30+ years old! They are getting off the hard drive and out of the Studio with Different Musicians, Vocalists and Arrangements! It does my heart good that they’ll soon hit the street. But then there are the others…
So This is The Way I Fall Back Into Autumn. I would Love to Hear How You Handle the Change of Pace…Post Them on My Facebook Page