Tag Archives: music

Ask Yourself The Hard Question!

Let’s Pretend for A Moment…

Say You’ve Invented a Brand New Universal Tool. Its Purpose is to Be An Important, Indispensable Standard that People of All Races, Ethnicity and Cultures will Appreciate & Enjoy!

This Tool Can Be Used In Your Home, Business, Car, Place of Worship or On Your Mobile Device while You’re On The Go. You Know that People Are Going To Love & Appreciate It, Once they are Aware of its Availability  and Affordable Price.

You Own the Patent to this Tool and have Trademarked the Brand Name. Although You Do Not Own the Various Patents to the Equipment & Software You’ve used to Develop This Fantastic Gadget, You Have Patented  & Control the Unique Processes by which Your Tool is Designed & Manufactured. You Are Aware that a Few “knock-offs” may be developed overtime, but Your Methodology Ensures that You Will Become & Probably Remain a Market Leader.

The Next Step is to Partner with a Distributor who can Help Market, Promote and Get Your Tool into as Many Hands as Possible. You Make What You Feel is A  Great Deal with a Company with a Global Reach and Does Not Impede on Your Exclusive Rights & Control over the Manufacture of Your Magnificent Tool.

Overtime, You Notice that This Distributor’s Profits have begun to Eclipse Your Own. For Every $1000 You See, They have made $10,000 and in some cases and in a few regions much, much more, due to their ‘bundling’ of Your Tool with Lesser Quality Devices. Heck, They’ve even Developed a Subscription Model whereby the Customer is able to Use Your Tool As Many Times as They Wish, Without Even Purchasing It.

To Some Extent, You May Not Mind the Creativity of The Distributor’s Concept. After All, Your Tool is Available Everywhere & Absolutely Everyone is Using it and Appreciating its Functionality. Your Tool is a Bonafide Hit!

The Problem is You’re Not Getting Paid What You Know Your Tool is Worth – and – If It Were Not for Your Tool, The Distributor would Never, Ever See the profits they currently enjoy.

So, You Try to Re-Negotiate, Only to Discover that this Very Rich, Very Smart, Well Connected Distributor has successfully lobbied certain Members of Congress, The DOJ, Other Well Established Government Officials and even Similar Minded Partner Distributors to Enforce Laws & Practices that Keep the Big Bucks Rolling In for Them while You’re Left Counting Pennies.

However, Remember that because You Own the Patents, Trademark and the Manufactured Tool itself, which The Distributor Needs to Sustain their Business, You Have A  Crucial Decision to Make.

Would You:

A) Keep Things the Way They Are, Grateful That Your Tool Is A Worldwide Sensation, Even Though You’re Being Robbed Out of Fair Compensation?? (In Fact, You Are Planning to Make More, Perhaps Better Tools to Send Them to Rob You With)


B) Remove Yourself & Your Tool from The Agreement and Begin the Painstaking Process of Becoming a Niche Distributor where Less People May Be Aware of Your Tool, But You Earn Higher Profits with Each Sale? (the additional profit affords you greater opportunity to improve your marketing)


Obviously You Understand that I am Talking About Songwriters and Their Songs.

I Sincerely Desire for Every EntreMusician to Answer This Question Truthfully.

Before You Do, However: Check Out These Two Articles:



I Have Had Hundreds of Conversations with Artist/Musicians at All Levels and Each Answer Varies to the Point where I Needed to Simplify My Approach by Presenting a Different Business where the Creator & Manufacture Must Look At The Bottom Line to Determine Whether of Not He/She Could Remain In Business or Close Their Doors.

Music is Such An Emotional Tool that Fame Often Overshadows Fortune. An EntreMusician Can End Up Eating Bread Sandwiches while Everyone is Singing Their Songs… 


I wasn’t listening to any music while composing this blog post.

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Your Song, Your Story, Your Voice

In Today’s Tumultuous Climate, with Raging Debates driving Social Media & Talk Shows and the Extraordinarily Divisive Atmosphere pervading even the smallest towns in these so called United States, it’s often easy to Ignore the Anointing available to EntreMusicians and Creatives to turn the tide.

The Inherent Power we Possess in Pointing Others toward Peace, Honor, Dignity, Unity and dare I say, the Promise of True Brotherly & Sisterly Love Does Indeed Exists, If We’d All only take a moment to Step Back, Breathe, Think, Pray & Righteously Engage.

As EntreMusicians & Artists, it’s Not Enough to Document the Current Reality, but to Prophecy of the Possibilities we all have access to as Citizens of Planet Earth.

Langston Hughes, Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday, John Coltrane, Bob Dylan, Shirley Verrett, Aretha Franklin, Mahalia Jackson, Joan Baez, Mavis Staples, Curtis Mayfield, Sam Cooke, Joan Dresner Bernstein, Gloria Larry House, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder (whose lyrics from “As” were recently recited by Dallas Police Chief David Brown during the Memorial for the Fallen Officers) and countless others uniquely utilized their Art to Soar over Sadder Times, creating a Soundtrack of Resilience, Hope, Salt & Light to Keep Us both Grounded and Looking Up.

So what about You?

How will You employ Your Song, Your Story, Your Voice and even Your Life to Shine as a Beacon in such a tremendously dark time in our country?

Lift It Up! Let It Shine! Sing It Loud! Say It Proud and Show Us The Way!

Here is a song I Wrote with the Dynamic Lyricist & Singer, Marlon Saunders, entitled “Just Think,” produced in a more peaceful period, but relevant for Today & Tomorrow.


I was listening to Jeff Lorber’s “It’s Fact” on vinyl while composing this blog!


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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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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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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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The Psychology beneath The Philosophy

Last week I targeted the Next Battleground facing EntreMusicians. Even this Morning, My Inbox was replete with Nasty Headlines on Google Music, YouTube & Spotify, with regard to Piracy, Royalty Fairness and the Scores of Angry Superstars upset with the status quo.

I’ve pretty much had it. I am formulating a Plan with My Team & I and  will be sharing with you in the hopes to create a dynamic which will champion Our Artistry and Recapture the Music.

Beforehand, I Must disclose the Imagery and Concepts We Are Discussing. The Plan is Not Perfect and is already rife with its share of challenges, but contains Very Necessary Components in which to Move Forward. The Process Begins Within.

  1. Absolute Fearlessness. I recently read an e-book by a certain music marketeer who bluntly stated that since the current streaming genie is out of the bottle, never to return, all artists need to quit whining and complaining and just conform, posting their music as many places as they can “for the exposure” and should be giving as much music away as they could. Mind You, His E-Book cost $5.00. EntreMusicians at Levels Must Begin Refuting this Nonsense Vigorously, although the Marketing Dollars Are Against Us. If we Truly Worked Extremely Hard – And Are United, We Can Completely Change The Game. That Little Fear Monster that just whispered to You that ‘It Can’t Be Done,’ Needs to Die the Death of Disco!           
  2. Define Your Own SuccessKnowing Your WHY is the Single Most Significant Factor of Your Entire Career and Your Life! Bob Dylan, Joan Boaz and Others began Writing & Singing for Completely Different Reasons than Lionel Richie, Stevie Nicks or You and I . Each had/has different audiences, levels of success, notoriety and platforms. Adjust Your Career Accordingly. Know EXACTLY What Your Art Is, Who Its For and Why You Occupy this Planet! Your WHY will save you from Unrealistic Expectations and – worse – Someone Else Telling You Whether or Not You’re Successful, based upon another Artist’s number of Downloads or Streams. Do YOUR WORK!                                                                                                                                                            
  3. Place Immediate Value on Your Art. While the Old Adage holds true that any item is only worth what the buyer is willing to pay, the EntreMusician is still responsible for Setting a Price. WHO Set the $0.99 price tag per download? You or Apple? Is Your Song Worth More? Who set the price splits between the Company and the Artist? Certainly Not the Artist. Have You Ever Asked Why – or More Importantly, WHY THE (MILD, GENTLE EXPLETIVE) NOT?   Yet, if You Formed Your Own Platform where You set the Price Point, perhaps lower, on some of your Art than current market price, but you were able to keep all of the pennies, how much quicker would you make and sustain a profit?                                                                                                                                                   
  4. Network. Unhealthy Competition is a tool of The Devil in the Arts. There is Someone in Your City, State, Genre and Demographic who is doing the Exact Same Thing You Are. Build a Mastermind Group, Form an Association or Guild. Target the Promoters, Venues and Agents in Your Area who are Unfair to Musicians and Collectively Avoid Them. Create Platforms that Engage Your Fans on Alternate Levels. Create Your Own Festivals and Invite Bands of Similar Style, Principles & Values. Work Together! Play Together! Sing & Dance Together!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     The premise of My Team’s Plan stands on these four tenets, plus another component I will discuss next week. Currently we are setting up a new website, theentremusician.com which will be up and running in about two weeks and we can begin this work together. I trust I presented thought provoking situations to engage you in the conversation. Let’s create a dialogue to further think through these and other initiatives as they arrive.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Let’s Change The World!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               I was Listening To Azymuth’s “Cascades” on Vinyl while creating this post.
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A Prayer

Today is the National Day of Prayer.

Communities of Faith across these United States have gathered together from town to city to acknowledge the Sovereignty of Father God, The Uncontested Reign of the Lord, Jesus Christ and the eternal Power & Presence of Holy Spirit.

In our city of Youngstown, Ohio, this year’s chairman, Pastor Gary Frost read a Proclamation by our 16th President, Abraham Lincoln, who while facing the disunity caused by the Civil War, felt compelled to pen “And whereas it is the duty of nations as well as of men, to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God, to confess their sins and transgressions, in humble sorrow, yet with assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and pardon; and to recognize the sublime truth, announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history, that those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord.” With everything we face in the world today, those words are quite fitting and necessary. Our Scriptural Theme was Isaiah 58:1

As I led the public Prayer for the Entertainment Mountain, my heart was to ask for and expect to receive from the Eternal Almighty, ever increasing Godly influence throughout the entire industry.

I Pray that Faith-filled EntreMusicians be uncompromising in every respect; Wise & Gentle, completely surrendered to The One who has entrusted them with HIS Creative Genius and that they employ Holy Discernment in Sensitively, Intelligently and Lovingly representing HIM in their varied expressions. I Pray Father God shifts the Current Atmosphere and Opens Strategic Doors for Artists who will display HIS Indescribable Imagination, Unmatched Innovation and Multifaceted Ingenuity which blesses the entire world, transforms culture and reveals HIS Heart for Mankind through the Power of Entertainment. In Jesus’ Name, So Be It!

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Epitome of Orignality

I had no sooner completed posting my semi-regularly scheduled Thursday Morning Blog last week, when my eldest daughter Tejai rang me up with the terrible news. While at that exact moment there was no confirmation, it soon turned out to be true. The eerie irony was that I had just took “America” from “Around The World In A Day” off the turntable, because it was just too funky to blog to.

I was a 13 year old dreamer when I stumbled upon the “For You” album at my aunt’s home in Houston where I spent the summer that year. Absolutely Everything Changed. Something way deep down inside me knew that this was the way Artistry was meant to be. MJ was tight, but he didn’t write all his own songs; he didn’t play all of these instruments and (until “Off The Wall“) he didn’t sound like a Free Man. This naked, afro-haired, almost white dude (on the inside cover) holding his guitar was very free!

A euphemistic mixture of Little Richard/Sly Stone/James Brown, his music scared, challenged, seduced, coerced, inspired, encouraged, engaged & empowered me. This Fearless Explorer was as close as I had come to ultimate idol-worship until a decade later my personal faith convicted me into respecting his genius for its worth alone.

Although I never dressed or tried to wear my hair like his, I did skip two days of my high school junior year dissecting the “1999” album. And I would fight anyone who said anything negative about him in any way! I was among the true few who felt that (although grateful the rest of the world had finally caught on), “Purple Rain” was not his best work and had it not been for the opening guitar sequence of “When Doves Cry” (with that sadistic groan) the public at large wouldn’t recognize his brilliance.

Beyond the astounding music, bizarre antics, incredible live show, mystique, exceptional songwriting and strikingly beautiful women was a stubbornness that every single EntreMusician on planet earth needs to reconsider and incorporate into his/her own branding.

While Debbie Harry, Elvis Costello, Nikki Sixx, Katy Perry and other stars rail against YouTube, Spotify and other Streaming Services for fair pay, this Original EntreMusician fought for his rights, stood his ground, recouped his masters and then pulled all of his music off sites he deemed inappropriate before his final curtain call. A Gangster to the end. Thorough Originality from the first note.

Who fills the Void? Will it Take Another Century or Will You Take Over?

I’m listening to his fantastic Eponymous LP now…

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Walking Away…the sequel

Last Week, I transparently shared about a project I needed to dismiss myself from. I appreciated all your feedback on where you’ve too needed to do the same. This week I set forth a Different Scenario where saying adios is the Very Thing to do to Live Your Best Life, Personally and Professionally.

Before I begin, please know that I must be as generic as possible in my descriptions to protect the anonymity of this individual. In no way do I wish to cause embarrassment or to speak ill of this musician’s person. I highly respect their talent and genuinely love them. My goal in this post is aimed toward providing Encouragement & Advice to All EntreMusician’s based upon my Knowledge and Experience. My Convictions about Commitment Run Deep and My Persona is that I never wish to Walk Away from Anyone or Abandon Any Project without cause, but I have learned that beating dead horses attracts more flies.

I hired a True Gunslinger for a recent gig. All the Chops and Acrobatics included. Ironically, they were to replace Another Musician who could, but would not adhere to our agreement, so I had to bid them ado. The Gunslinger provided every indication that they would Learn the Material, Attend the Rehearsals (which were to be paid) – and the performance itself. Great!

The First Rehearsal was missed, but I was extended the courtesy of forewarning three days in advance. The Second Missed Rehearsal came with a 24 hour advance notice, but I was assured that the Music was already learned and they were ready to go. On the day of the Third and Final Rehearsal, not only were they 45 minutes late, but showed up without their instrument…one was provided, but was needed for another part of the rehearsal session. And then there was this Attitude. As if the other musicians in the room were somehow beneath the Prodigy, there was very little engagement to the point of being offensive – not in words, but in the air – you dig what I mean?

As a Man of Faith, I later contacted the individual, expressed my concerns and prayed with them for Spiritual Clarity and Collective Integrity. I then did the same with Each Musician so we would All be on One Accord.

I am grateful I was Prayed Up for said Performance as I needed to be totally prepared for what was to come. I received a call around Sound Check from the Absentee with a question about the Sheet Music previously sent. I was told they’d prepared extra copies to bring. No Mention, however of when. I should have asked…

As we assumed the bandstand two minutes before Showtime, I made my MD aware that he would have to play the part of Two Musicians when the time came to do so. The venue owner was not amused. The club was jam packed, and even if/or when the Unfaithful were to arrive, there was no way to safely get their gear to the stage, as it was surrounded by the paying patrons. This was to be a straight up concert presentation, without breaks.

We Agreed to Grace the Missing Musician with Another Ten Minutes, which still didn’t prove enough, so we began. During the Final Chorus of the Second Song, I noticed Gunslinger had arrived and assumed another musician’s instrument and we continued with A Show – but not the one we had rehearsed and planned for. Praise The Lord our Audience was unaware, thanks to the brilliant musicians Gunslinger had offended the week prior.

I paid the Musician in full for the show, minus the rehearsal portion, ignoring the flood of excuses of why they simply could not arrive on time. I later contacted them by phone to express my heart, disappointment and desire to remain friendly. I will, however, never hire them again. Another Appropriate Place to Walk Away From.


I was listening to “Jasmine” again by Keith Jarrett and Charlie Haden while I typed this. A Most Calming Piece of Music which has ever existed. 

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Last Week, we discussed the importance of traveling the Narrower Road in terms of Your Life, Priorities & Position(s). In this post, I wish to hone in on the EntreMusician’s Art, where absolutely everything peripheral must be stripped away to Zero In on the One Thing immediately recognizable about You every time.

Is it a Color, a Philosophy, a Shape, Symbol? Your Signature Sound, Song or Your Bony Knees!? This goes far beyond Branding & Marketing and gets to the Heart of “Definition” – Down to One Word or One Person (if you are a group) that becomes the focal point in your tribe’s psyche which perpetuates continual engagement.

You Must Find It and Wrap All of your Artistry Around It or else you will be chasing rabbit trails throughout your career. You may find this to be Very Hard Work, taking longer in the beginning, sometimes years to hone and perfect, but once you have consistently projected Your Narrowest Singular Expression, never veering, your audience will catch on and hang on. Make ‘Laser Like Focus & Repetition’ Your New Best Friends.

It did not matter that Prince was a Musical Genius who played 27 instruments (you’d think it would), but he had to whittle down to the lowest common, three lettered word denominator to build his audience and sell the most records. Even 25 years later after becoming a JW and using a Symbol for his name has not removed his original testimony from the minds of his followers. The Rolling Stones needed Mick Jagger to be the focus to drive them into superstardom and if that were not enough, they decided to cement their position by making his Lips the imprint of their band! The band Kiss later followed suit with Gene Simmons’ Tongue. I am sure bassist Marcus Miller noticed that many others had tried to copy his Sound, Compression & EQ settings. He even begin selling his Signature Fender Precision Bass, but his playing, that “pluck” continues to set him apart from every other bassist alive. Further, John Patitucci, Stanley Clarke, Victor Wooten & Larry Graham have all perfected Different Approaches to the Same Technique and You Can Tell! Bette Midler’s Nose, Cindy Lauper’s Hair, Chaka Khan’s Voice and Betty Davis’ Eyes (couldn’t resist) are all reminders that Anything on Anyone is a Prime Asset once made the Center of Attention.

So Your Assignment is to Mine the Treasures of Your Originality. Go Deep. Get Small. Tiny, Even! You May Have 1,374 valuable components about your band, your music, your songs, equipment, recording techniques, style, genre, logo and mission statement. Great! Pick ONE and then Pick Away at The One Thing in that One which Everyone who Hears about you will remember and cling two, everytime your name is uttered.

SounDoctrine Music is “Originalternativefunkjazzfusion!” Since January 12, 2002. Times Change. Personnel Change. The Logo & Look gets tweaked. The Ministry Never Does!

I wasn’t listening to any music while writing this blog, but have really been digging John Patitucci’s “Brooklyn” my eldest daughter Tejai got me for Father’s Day! check It Out

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