Tag Archives: Success

Use Frequent “F” Words Faithfully…

 

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.

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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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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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You Mean They Drilled Into His Vault??

Obviously I have waited for what I feel is a respectable amount of time to bring this topic up. And I No Way Feel a Disconnect from the Main Topic I have espoused for the last few months, beginning weeks prior to Prince’s Majestically Mysterious Departure.

I have been asking “How You Define Success,” “How Important Are You,” and slowly initiating an Obsessive “Psychology behind the Philosophy” Mantra for EntreMusicians to Rethink our Entire Dependence on Spotify, Pandora, Apple Music and the Upcoming Amazon Streaming System. Irregardless of the fact that the Grammys are now considering a Brand New Category for Streaming Music, If Artists are Not Getting Paid, They’re Getting Pimped! (Tweet That!)

But I Digress…

Reflecting on The Purple One’s Intense Fight for Independence from Warners, His Mysterious Death (You Mean He was Left All Alone, All Night In That Huge Complex After Almost Dying a Week Earlier?), One of the Speediest Cremations of a Body Not Dying by Fire and to Top It All, his Private Music Vault Drilled Open Less Than 10 Days After His Death?!?!!

In Considering He was a Single Man at the time of his passing, Intensely Private and that he Left No Will, One of the Single Most Important Questions EntreMusicians Must Ask themselves is “Who Is My Advocate?” It seems that Tyka and the rest of his half-siblings, along with the Well Intentioned Shelia E, Larry Graham, Morris Day and others who knew His Royal Badness Extremely Well have to Sit on the Sidelines while an Attorney & A Record Company Executive muses through his Intellectual Property.

If  This  Doesn’t  Scare  the  Rhythm  Out  of  You,  You’re  NOT  A  Musician!

Here are a Few Questions You Should Ask & Answer before the End of this Blog:

“Does My Spouse/Significant Other Know Where My Copyright-Publishing Information Is and Can They LEGALLY Speak for Me if I am Physically/Mentally Incapacitated or am Deceased?”

“Where Is My Will and Is that Sucker Updated?”

“Do Select People I Love and Trust Have the Necessary Passwords to my BMI/ASCAP/SESAC and other Pertinent Accounts”

“Have I Explained Very Clearly My Wishes for My Musical Equipment/Software?”

 “Are My Collaborative Agreements with Other Songwriters/Band Members In WRITING and In Order?”

“Are My Trustworthy Attorney & Accountant Up to Speed on My Wishes for any Unreleased Music I Might Have?”

“Have I Backed Up My Hard Drives and Entrusted them to Safe People/Places?”

Hopefully, these are Enough to Encourage You to Become Very Intentional about the Inevitable. Taking Care of Business is Always of Ultimate Importance for the Intelligent EntreMusician.

 

I was listening to Bob James’ “Hands Down” on Vinyl while composing this post.

 

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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 Plan in Perspective

I have a friend named Joe (real name) who started a New Gym in Youngstown Ohio 18 Months Ago. Geographically, Joe’s Gym is about 2.8 miles away from that Other, Better Established, Open 24/7, Only $10 a Month Gym that Most Everyone Frequents. Joe’s Gym is only open from 5:30am to 9:00pm, has far less equipment & space and his Monthly Memberships begins at 5x more than that other place. Yet Joe has a startling slew of clients and continues to add Specialized Sessions & Trainers to his Growing Roster.

The Secret to Joe’s Success is Joe.His Gym Provides Intentionally Focused Workouts in an Exceptional Environment that Provides Optimum Results to its Members. Joe’s Gym is called The Train Station.

I often think of Joe as I talk to Musicians and Software Developers about this Unfolding Plan I’ve proposed. In case You are Unaware, I began a Post several weeks ago concerning EntreMusicians readdressing the Direct Sales & Digital Distribution of their Art. I continued to Add Thoughts & Emotions and will continue to discuss & work with EntreMusicians to formulate a workable plan. The Conversation is Growing!

In short, I Believe that ALL EntreMusicians must utilize their ability to Stream their Content Directly to Their Own Tribes on a Subscription Basis, without the need of a Billion Dollar Corporation paying them less than a penny per stream. The Technology is Available, but must be Personalized in a format best suited for both Artist & End User. 

Dr. Nelson Harrison, a very forward thinker and founder of The Pittsburgh Jazz Network has proposed an Alternative through Millennium Music Media which I am currently checking into and awaiting a callback from a known Artist Currently on their roster.

Joe’s Success in Starting  & Growing The Train Station is in His Initiative to Customize a Service & System the Larger Gyms simply cannot and markets his personal touch accordingly, without railing against them – and Word of Mouth is growing.

Every EntreMusician Must Go and Do Likewise. The Excuses are Over. Other Options Are Available. The Ultimate Option remains in Controlling & Distributing Our Own Songs on Our Individually Owned Platforms and Doing the Hard Work of Marketing Ourselves Appropriately. That’s The Truth of Being Independent Artists.

I wasn’t playing any music while blogging, but I’ve just finished practicing the drums to the “Dreamland” CD by YellowJackets. William Kennedy, ALWAYS WOW!! 

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THE PLAN UNFOLDS…

If You Were Unable to check out last week‘s post or perhaps even the week prior, you may wish to begin there to understand the need for the New Plan…

The Problem is too well known. Music Lovers have been Conditioned to Believe that Music is (or should be) Free. The CD is Dead. The Download is Dying. Presently, Streaming is King and the Existing Platforms are controlled by Corporations earning Billions of Dollars via $9.99 Subscription Fees with music served up ‘Buffet Style’ or what Dave Kusek long ago termed “Music Like Water.” This practice is now a decade old…

BUT, to quote his Royal Purple Lateness, “The Baker ain’t makin’ No Bread!”  but The Corps are and this particular EntreMusician is long growing weary of hearing moans & groans of heroes past and present protesting, instead of rerouting the flow of their own dough.

The Plan is Simple. Systematically Remove Our Music from Places that Don’t Pay and Replace in Our Own Formats, On Our Own Platforms and Do The Hard Work of Rebuilding & Re-Educating Our Own Tribes to Gather & Party in Our Own Backyards.

Every Musician has a Website, and Every Website hosts a server which allows Us to Upload & Sell Our Media. Most Allow Us to Set Our Own Prices and since we generally pay them a fee, they do not take a Percentage of Our Earnings (Most go directly to a PayPal Account).

With that said, the technology exists for the EntreMusician to begin offering a Personalized Streaming Service. This May Sound Oversimplified. But It’s Definitely Doable.

Three Key Components are Needed to Construct the Foundation.

The First Component is Confidence. Bands, Musicians, Artists, Creatives MUST Know & Understand that Our Work is Important and Fulfills a Major Need in Life which has been earning Multi Billions since the 1970’s – but for whom? Anyone of Us who’ve taken the time to learn all of those Major 9th Chords and spent Countless Hours Practicing Counter Para-Diddles can buy a copy of Quick Books and do a little accounting! We Can Do This!

The Second is Unity. As with Any Call for Solidarity, there will be the Silence of those who Wish to Wait & See, all the while bemoaning the $0.0007 royalty check sent to them by Spotify!

The Final Component is Bloody Knuckled Hard Work. An EntreMusician is a Forward Thinking, Effective Creative with “Results” as our Main Focus! Nothing Less Will Do. Perseverance, Endurance and Sweat. The Fans Won’t Just Flock to Our Website. They Won’t Just plunk down the Micro-Payment to PayPal. BUT, If Our Music is Important Enough to Us and We Develop the Courage, Determination and Marketing Ability to Persuade, WE CAN Engage and Create Our Own Thing and Not Need to Answer to Anyone.

That’s How It Get’s Done!

Let’s Begin the Real Conversation or Quit Crying!

My Old Sony 200 Disc CD Player was spitting out the Funk at Random upstairs, while I was posting this – I was also engrossed in the Free Webinar by Dave Kusek who was interviewing Dave Cool from Bandzoogle – and I presented the question to the chat room which was asked On Air. Thanks Chelsea! 

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Appreciate The Journey

A few weeks ago it was necessary for me to transfer all of my earlier work onto new hard drives, most of which were on old 8 track cassette tapes via the (still wonderful) Tascam 688. Due to the lot of them being mislabeled and/or having more than one tune per cartridge, I needed to listen to most before hitting the ‘enter’ button.

Now I should remind you that my personality is one that is always looking forward. Being that I am not yet at the level of success I aspire to be (although truly grateful for my current blessings), I tend to push & push but very rarely reflect. So being in a situation where I was going back some 26 years began in frustration, but soon became a most revealing and rewarding experience.

Firstly, it was pleasant to observe the maturity in my writing and production skills, although I was equally amused that I could identify all the old gear I’d gone through. The DX7 patches, the Junos, the 808 beats and other sounds brought smiles and laughter. I realized that I had been a part of some very good projects and had worked with some incredible talent, many of whom have gone on to do far more than we’d imagined then and others whose choices have led them down darker paths and sadly, some who are no longer with us – but there we were, in the moment – and you can hear & feel the magic!

I surmised during this pensive process that I should not be so driven toward my future endeavors that I ignore, or devalue the experiences which have led to my current reality. I have accomplished. I have achieved. I have participated and I have made a contribution.

You have too! Perhaps you are not where you believe you can or should be. Maybe you are discouraged that you have not yet reached the goals or destination you aim toward. I encourage you – take the opportunity to pause and playback each of those moments in your life and career which have shaped and molded you to be the person, the leader, husband, wife, father, mother, sister, brother, friend, pastor, EntreMusician you are and gratefully appreciate the journey you presently travel.

If you are indeed on the right road, you’ll get there. Make the trip an exciting one!

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A Big Enough WHY

WHY is the foundation of every endeavor. WHY is the cornerstone of every great organization. WHY is the only WHAT that Matters.

HOW Always Plays Second Fiddle to WHY.
It never really matters HOW, if your WHY is On Point.

In Fact, if Your WHY is Big Enough, then HOW will Always Obey.
WHEN will take care of itself.

If Your WHY is Huge, You Can Pursue Your Dream with No Money, Zero Connections and a less than perfect Business Plan. In fact, A Hefty WHY can sustain you against multiple failures, losing tons of money and encourage you while you sleep in Your (or a friend’s) car.

Never fear, a Big Fat WHY will eventually lead to your Success

However, If Your WHY is a tiny little thing, it doesn’t matter how sterling the silver spoon you were born with or your uncle’s last name. A puny WHY ensures you’ll venture off course, become easily distracted and employ the wrong priorities. Little whys lead to larger HOWS, and a ton of them. Many of which you could’ve avoided if you’d began only began with a Super Sized WHY!

WHERE Are You?

You are never too far down the road to stop and begin again. In fact, you will be forced to if you’ve left home with a WHY way too small…

I stopped to write this blog while mixing a 25 year old funk track called “Love Roulette” coming to a groove near you!

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Broad Shoulders! (Part One of Three…or More)

Without fail, one of the most important components in my journey toward the success I seek has been the very careful selection of mentors to whom I often surrender my doubts, fears, questions and perceptions to and obtain their wisdom, encouragement and sound perspective which help develop me personally and also the businesses and organizations I serve.

Rather than considering myself as “standing on their shoulders,” I feel more like a little child that they’ve hoisted up to straddle across the back of their necks, my feet dangling as they support and clarify my narratives, providing a view I could never see from the ground.

Last week, I blogged on the profound ‘three tiny words’ my first Spiritual Dad, Pastor David L Thomas so aptly paints into my conscience, amongst the myriad of much needed advice which guides me around the status quo.

Today, I was blessed to have another power lunch with my second Spiritual Dad, James Couchenour, Sr., an extremely successful businessman and leader who never ceases to amaze me with his practicality and vision. His investment in me has been immeasurable and our family loves and appreciates theirs!

Although we’ve lunched countless times, my main thrust today was to plow behind the fundamentals of building a business and dive into his distinct philosophy on how a business begins and thrives.

Beginning with his firm spiritual motivation, dissection of his mission statement, which took him a year to formulate, to building a quality team to the importance of knowing ‘what you don’t know’ and learning how to find out, Dad poured Life into me, prodding me reevaluate the essence of everything I ‘think’ I’m doing so that my “WHY” is clear and concise.

Next time, I plan to dive into more practical reasons for seeking a mentor, how you should prepare your time and what to do with the ‘take-aways.’
I will also share recent books I’ve read (and listened to) which also mentor and mold me.

As I write this, I am listening to the ultra-potent guitarist, Tuck Andresss, whose CD “Reckless Precision” should have a home on the shelf of every jazz lover.

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