Tag Archives: inspiration

It’s Still On You…

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

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The Mystery of Generosity

One of the Wisdom Proverbs says:

“The Generous Person Prospers, The One Who Waters Will also be Watered.”

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.

Try It!

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…

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When It’s Finally Time to Give Up On Your Dream…

Americans this week Celebrated the Life & Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr as a National Holiday. What is most intriguing about His Story is the Sacrifice He was Willing to Pay for the Manifestation of his Ideals, which ultimately and tragically outlives him.

Our Country, the luminous recipients of this Young Man’s Exalted Dream, in spite of the Current Political Turmoil and Present Challenges Cannot Deny an Improved America and the Monumental Gains we have made since the late 1950’s. Because of Dr. King’s Willingness to become the Spokesperson for Righteousness, Equality & Justice amid Bigotry, Racism & Violence, You and I Enjoy Opportunities our Grandparents Never Imagined, irregardless of Race, Color & Creed.

As EntreMusicians who Continually Vacillate between Quitting Our Craft and Staying the Course, we can absorb volumes from this Impartial Pioneer, who Did Not Refuse Jail, Beatings, Water Hoses, Police Dogs, Betrayal, FBI Surveillance and Increasingly Unabashed Hatred with Every Victory He Managed to Secure!

Step by Step, Song by Song, Project to Project we Advance Onward toward Our Personal & Professional Initiatives. Failure is Certain. Setbacks are Assured. Lack Of Resources, Lack of Respect, Closed Doors, Missed Opportunities, Miscalculations and Outright Bone Headed Mistakes Line the Pavement of Our  Desolate Journey. Instances of Having to Begin Again and Again Evolve into recurring Nightmares that take us to the Very Edge of Who We Are.

But We Can Not Quit. We Must Not Give Up. There’s No Towel to Throw. There’s No Plan B.

It’s Not Time Yet!

They Will Say You’re Too Old, Too Poor, Too Slow, Too Fast, Over Qualified, Under Qualified, Too Fat, Too Thin, Too Dark, Too Pale, Unreasonable, Illogical, Crazy, Stupid and Toss More than Cursed Words and Tomatoes at You!

Keep Playing, Keep Planning, Keep Dreaming, Keep Climbing, Keep Pursuing, Keep Writing, Keep Singing, Keep Hoping, Keep Believing.

You Might Be Able to Quit When You’re Dead! When Your Heart Stops Beating, Your Brainwaves Cease and Your Lungs fail to Breathe. Then Maybe, Just Maybe, right after You’re Buried and Your Family is Scrambling Toward the Mashed Potatoes should you think about Laying Your Precious Dream Aside…

Because maybe, perhaps, by chance, possibly somewhere along the way you’ve Inspired Someone to Pick Up The Torch and Fan the Flame of Creativity that Ignites the Next Generation to Pursue the Promise of Music, of Joy, of Celebration of True Spirit, Of Heart, Of Peace and, Of Love…which Never Dies

Never.

 

While Composing this blog entry, I was listening to Stevie Wonder’s “Happy Birthday” which help galvanize the country to compel President Ronald Reagan to sign the bill that made MLK Day a National Holiday in November, 1983.

What Do You Want Your Song To Do???

 

 

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How Important Are You…?

Face It.

You’re Only As Important as You Think You Are.

You can Either Live By & Under the Expectations & Evaluations of Others – or – You Can CHOOSE to Create & Model Your Own Principles or Ideals.

You Can Either Agree to The “Usual” Pay Scale of the Masses or CHOOSE to Negotiate Your Fee.

It’s Up To You.

Your Self Importance is the Sum Total of Your Own Thoughts, Experiences & Esteem.

Your Self Importance is Directly Tied to Your Own Vision & Goals.

You are Either One Who Sees Him/Herself as Having Very Little to No Worth – or – Someone Who Envisions Endless Possibilities. You Either Settle or You Set Out.

It’s Up To You.

Although Present Options may be Limited, Important People are Always Creating Opportunities to Change that Present Situation and Improve Their Positioning.

EntreMusicians MUST Embrace the Realization that Our Art, Music & Creativity is IMPORTANT. We Must No Longer Accept or Agree to Selling Ourselves Short and/or Out!

It’s Time To Set A Price For Our Shows & Songs that Reflect Fair, Equitable Standards which Put Money in Our Own Pockets or Refuse to Participate on Their Platforms & Stages.

Important People Know How to Say “NO.”

How Important Are You?

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Stubbornness is A Virtue 

As I write this post, I am only minutes away from returning from the burial of one of my dearest friends – my ‘soul sister’ in fact,  Heather Tiree Hynek. For the last Six and a half years, I have had the distinct pleasure to journey with her, husband Aaron and daughter Violet Grace, whom the doctors said she should abort, before undergoing aggressive chemo treatments. She refused to abort Violet, took on the chemo and various surgeries and valiantly soldiered ahead. On last Tuesday, Heather won her battle once and for all.

I have gained a greater perspective on life through observaton and walking alongside Aaron & Heather. As their Friend & Pastor, I was graced with an access all areas view of how they chose to live out their faith, transparently and single-mindedly through every high & low, tear & smile and every optimistic & disappointing medical report. As I watched, prayed and held their hands, I grew.

Heather Hynek was a Stubborn Woman. Completely Headstrong – and I mean that in the most positive, adoring way. I teased her about it while admiring her for it. Often Against Doctor’s Orders and sometimes amidst frustration to Aaron’s wishes, she dogmatically determined to Live Life on Her Terms, Confident in her Lord and His plans for her. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Enviornmental Science at Youngstown State Univeristy, in class, while taking treatments and facing surgeries. She would Google and study the diagnosis she battled and the treatments she was being described. Her pragmatism increased her life span of the doctor’s original six month sentence to Six Determined Years.

All EntreMusicians stand to gain much through the Virtue of Stubborness. Confidence, Endurance, Perseverance & Faith in the face of Intense Oppositon, Pain, Fear, Confusion and Dissolution means that You Win, Even When You’re Buried. Your Accomplishments, Character, Spirit and the Legacy You Leave Live On. No One Can Take Away Your Achievements nor the Indelible Mark You Make in History and On the Word.

So Fight, Valiantly. Second Guess the Experts. Learn All You Can &  Apply All You Learn. Grit Your Teeth. Hold Your Loved Ones Close as Frustration Accosts You, But STAND FIRM & FIGHT!!

I Thank Almighty God for Heather, a heroine whose life set yet another remakable example.   

   

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27 Minutes…

Last Saturday Morning at about 11:20, I experienced a most Unusual Blessing as I met and spoke with for the very first time, Jan, a terminally ill cancer patient at the Hospice House here in our community. Although I am  great friends with her Brother-in-Law, Danny, a recording engineer, I had not met her.

My reason for visiting was one of our pastors scheduled to visit and also Jan’s close friend, had to be out of town. I’ve experienced previous circumstances, but was unprepared for the atmosphere I approached as I unexpectedly entered her room.

Visibly frail and in obvious pain, Jan greeted me with the warmest, brightest smile. She asked her husband Steve to adjust the two pillows behind her back so she could sit up and talk with me. Her parents were in the room, both in their 90’s, Ed & Helen. You could see their tears as they introduced themselves, smiling and hugging. Steve shared memories of how they’d met and how God had blessed their union and how grateful they were for the time they’ve enjoyed each other. Jan grinningly chimed in, filling in blanks and making sure he told certain antedotes correctly, Mom & Dad laughing along. Jan kept making eye contact with me, keeping me engaged. When she would wince a bit, Steve would tenderly rub her feet. The Peace, Joy and Love was so vibrant and evident between them, you could feel it between your fingers.

When Danny & Jan’s Sister Nancy arrived, I stepped out to have a brief word with them.

Upon our return, the rest of Jan’s family was gathering into the room. I introduced myself and simultanously prepared a respectful departure to give them appropriate privacy. Jan had settled back into her bed, eyes closed. I expressed that I would see everyone the next morning, but it was not to be. Jan passed into the arms of Jesus later that evening.

I’ve repeatedly asked myself: Do I have the capacity to express such transparent warmth, graciousness and my brightest smile to a perfect stranger who would come to me in my torment, in the final hours of my life? Could I share with them so openly the landmark moments of my life and encourage them so openly?

Janice Carol (Ocarz) Thompson was able to thoroughly challenge me within the span of just 27 minutes, of how a life so obviously well lived can transcend even the throes of death, when your heart, character, integrity and faith and family are firmly intact.

I’ve got a lot to learn and I am very thankful for the lesson.

Steve, Ed, Helen, Joe, Diane, Tara, Mike, Nancy, Dan, Maryellen & Fred, thank you for the opportunity to meet experience such a wonderful spirit.

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Have You Listened to Yourself Lately?

Many Artists & Bands are faithful to record their rehearsals and performances as a means of tightening up loose ends and smoothing over rough patches. It can be tough to sit through the taping of a show where the drummer and bass never really locked or where the guitarist constantly played over changes before they arrived or the lead singer…well, you know.

More Often, we listen for technical reasons. Is the Mix Right? Is the EQ On Point? That’s Not the Right KEY! and my absolute favorite, the Drums are TOO LOUD!

But the type of listening I am speaking of transcends the preparatory, technical and reflective.

While vital to our craft and careers, when we constantly reduce our listening to the rudiments of only hearing the imperfections, we’ve lost the essence of why we create music in the first place.

It’s the Soul, the Heart – that Sacred Place inside someone’s spirit that needs to be rejuvenated, challenged and inspired. Isn’t that the reason we first wrote the song? To transform a life – or if that’s being too mellow-dramatic, perhaps simply to make them get their groove on (groove being synonymous with several definitions!) The point is, we should listen to retain that initial spark that overwhelmed us enough to enkindle others.

For too long I’ve possessed the terrible habit of not listening to my projects once they were finished. You spend months creating it, additional months rehearsing, recording, mixing, mastering and releasing it. Weeks more promoting and performing it. When the cycle ends you’re happy you are through and are eager to get on with something new.

Yet, lately, I’ve found it important to revisit those CDs and listen as I would to any other disc in my collection. To simply embrace and enjoy the music, removing myself from the process has presented a new level of encouragement and afforded me a higher sense of confidence. I’ve been surprised, startled and grateful that God would choose to use me as a vessel to express His musical heart to someone, to anyone – and to many I’ve never met.

What About You? Have You Listened to Yourself Lately?

I am sure you’d be amazed. If you’re on Sound Cloud, send a link to your music in the comment section so we can all listen.

Here’s a link to one of my more obscure ideas:
http://soundcloud.com/jereb/originalternativefunkjazzfusio

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