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 are complete, 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 with Your Audience.

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

4 "I's" FOR A FABULOUS FUTURE

EntreMusicians MUST See their Lives & Work Distinctly. Keen Observation is Our Oxygen. In Most Cases, Looking Deeper, Further & Faster will Create Opportunities and Platforms Missed by Many of Our Contemporaries. I have often noted that having a great pair of eyes have both Closed and Opened the Right Doors. Viewing My Life & Career through these 4 “I’s” continue to propel me forward to each goal far more steadily than groping around in dimly lit circumstances on the way to the next gig…

1) Instinct

Everyone is Born with Instinct. Everyone Who Learns to Trust, Develop & Implement Instinct will Advance Multiple Times More Excellently than those who chose to disobey that Still Most Voice embedded in their spirits to guide them. Being a Man of Faith, I call this attribute, Discernment, empowering me by The Holy Spirit, who gives me wisdom to see what I would normally overlook. We talk ourselves out of favorable options constantly. You think, “I should ask So & So About…” and then immediately think, “No. She’s Way Out of My League,” or “He Wouldn’t Have Time for the Likes of Me…” when The Voice is “Like Dude! GO FOR IT!!!”

Instinct is that Drive that, once honed, sticks around and causes you to see Absolutely Everything as an Instance to Embrace or Avoid. You Learn to Say Yes & No Faster and Easier without Second & Third Guessing Yourself Every Time. Bishop T.D. Jakes has written a great book on “Instinct,” which I have yet to read, but is sitting on my bookshelf at the ready!

2) Integrity

The Foundation of All Trustworthiness & Reliability, Especially in the Music & Creative Space is founded within this “I.” Unfortunately Many, Plenty Extremely Talented Musicians Never Achieve the Height of their Potential, Due to their Lack of Integrity. When Your Word is Worthless, You Become Worthless. Your Musical Prowess (No Matter How Extraordinary) Will Never Allow You to Rise Beyond Your Character. Integrity is so Absolutely Essential to Everything theire is to Know About You and Me. Without it, Nothing Else Matters. Although I am No Robot, with my share of human flaws, I Intentionally Live Life in as a Man of Integrity and I Look For It In Others – Especially Fellow Musicians I am Hiring for a Project. Dependability Overshadows Playability by Twelve Miles.

3) Intention

Wanting to Do Anything and Actually Doing is as Far Apart as East is From West. Half of the Battle is Beginning. The Battle is Won with Intentionality, Endurance and Doing Whatever it Takes, As Long As It Takes to Complete the Mission. Regrettably, Excuses are Not Welcome in the War Rooms. Champions Train & Compete. Methods May Differ, But Unbridled Passion Brings Home the Gold. Living Life on Intention takes the EntreMusician from the Pipe Dream to the Palace Every Single Time.

4) Inspection

We’ve All Heard the Quote, “You Cannot Improve What You Do Not Measure” but few of us truly Measure Anything We Do. The Truth Is, We May Be Afraid to Look Back and Find that We Haven’t Quite Achieved What We Set Out To Accomplish, So We Just Plow Ahead,without stopping to ask ourselves “Why?” and then Looking for Solutions! Perhaps there is a Funding Issue, or You Need Assistance in a Particular Area. Utilize the “I’s” Above and Plow Ahead. Take the Necessary Steps to Evaluate Your Goals, Re-Evaluate Your ‘To-Do’ Lists and By All Means, ASK For the Help You Need. You’ll find that People Are FAR More Willing to Engage, Encourage & Empower those who can confidently Ask for what They Need while proving they possess the Instincts, Integrity & Intention to see the project to the end. Everyone of Equal Quality & Character wants to Wants to Invest in This Type of Person!

A BONUS “I”)  Influence

I Couldn’t Leave This One Out. The True Responsibility of Every EntreMusician is not only to Inspire, but rather Influence.

Influence alters Perspective & Paradigms. It Shifts Destiny and Radiates in the Spirit Longer than mere Inspiration. It Should Be the Express Goal of Every Song, Project, Performance & Career. You Have the Power to Change a Life. Within Your Spirit, Instrument and God Given Gift is housed the Supernatural Ability to Alter the Future Course of Humanity, for the Better & Brighter. Respect the Sacredness of Your Gift and Utilize Accordingly!

CHASE AWAY THE PROVERBIAL "THEY"

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…

I Was Listening to YellowJackets “Shades” on Vinyl while composing this post.

THREE KEY MOVES TO ADVANCE YOUR LIFE & CAREER

Incremental Growth should be the Motivation of Every EntreMusician. At the Forefront of Advancing Our Careers, Creativity, Musicianship & Art must be the Persistent Improvement of Our Lives. Continual Habits like Prayer, Mantras, Devotions and/or Meditation are Vital to Cleansing the Spiritual Self to Prepare Us for Our Day, Week or Projects, but it’s Equally Important to Remember that What We Do for Others contain holistic benefits that create remarkable synergy in our larger context.

Overtime, I Have Learned Three Principal Moves I Now Employ Daily to Advance My Life.

1) Engage.

We Live in World Where Engagement is defined as trading Brownie Recipes with a Facebook Friend from Sweden while ignoring the person sitting next to us on our Bus, Uber or other Mass Transit Commutes. We Almost Never Speak to Others on Elevators, Preferring to Stare at the Floor below or Numbers above. TV Shows & Magazines we’d never view at home suddenly become more interesting than talking to the Totally Tattooed Girl in the Dentist’s Waiting Room. Unfortunately, Families the World Over Prefer their Phones to Genuine, Transparent Face Time with Each Other.

Be The One who Breaks the Mold. Create an a Entirely New Social Media. TALK To Someone. Extend Your Hand. Smile! Make Eye Contact. Seek Out Someone who doesn’t Look, Smell, Act or Think Like You! Agree to Disagree if it should come to that, but at least Try to See Life from Someone’s Else’s Perspective even if You Choose Not to Adopt It!

2) Encourage.

We All Know Someone who Needs Encouragement. An easy way to prove this is to Check & See if that Person is Breathing! If they are, Affirm Them! Give a Compliment. Notice Something About Someone and Verbally Admire that Characteristic or Trait. Go to Someone who has expressed Self Esteem Deficiencies in their Non Verbal Communication and Weigh Them Down with Confidence and Inspiration. Befriend the Friendless and Help Bear the Load of the Distressed. In Time, the Entire Organization, Situation & Atmosphere is Strong & Electric with Motivation.

To Quote the late Maya Angelou, ” People Will Forget What You Said, People will Forget what you did but People will Never Forget how You Made Them Feel.”

3) Empower.

To Equip & Commission Another is a Selfless Power that Ignites a Life & Changes Destinies. Sincerely Entrusting Another with Important, Sensitive Work Creates Character & Conviction. Empowerment is More Potent than Delegation. It’s Properly Training Someone to Fish, to Become Self Sufficient and Liberates Him/Her to Build Themselves. Empowerment is identical to Giving Your 15 Year Old Daughter the keys to the Car and Climbing into the Passenger Seat (something I’ve done three times now!) Being Nervous Without Showing it, Pressing Hard on the Imaginary Brake, while Impacting an Assertive Growth within them Transforms You Both! Empower Someone! Change a Life!

To Engage, Encourage & Empower is My Life’s Mission and Daily Intention.

It’s also the predominant goal of TheEntreMusician.com.

Come Join Us!

I was Remembering the Fabulous Music of George Howard and Revisiting His Marvelous Debut, “Asphalt Gardens” on Vinyl while posting this blog. 

WHAT TO DO WHEN YOUR AUDIENCE WALKS OUT

I was taught an extremely valuable lesson a week ago when Lori & I were comped tickets to the 39th annual Tri-C Jazz Fest in Cleveland last summer(Thanks Adrian!). We were curious to see Cory Henry and the Funk Apostles, who until that day was unknown to us, although his participation in the stalwart Snarky Puppy heightened our curiosity.

Being that he was headlining the evening caused me to do some research and from what I read, prepared myself to witness the next Prince in the making. I was Not disappointed. Cory’s mesmerizing rhythms, completely original perspective, command of the stage and out of this world B3 Organ juxtaposed against the conflicting genre-bending funk stew his band created kept our heads bobbing and feet stomping in time.

Well, at least a few of us.

Most of the audience, by the droves, got up and left.

They had come to see the opening Smooth Jazz All Stars, featuring the usual suspects who played the same four chords in the same four keys, doing the same lame solos, with the same lame approaches, proving that Smooth Jazz Music hasn’t moved an inch in 25 years. I’m not hating, most of my own music is still playing on some of the remaining Smooth Jazz Stations – BUT, I did spend most of those 90 minutes answering texts and uploading on Social Media.

This obviously wasn’t Cory’s crowd. It wasn’t his fault. Whoever booked him didn’t take into consideration the planet he came from was light years ahead of these earthlings and right after his first song ended, the crowd began vacating. Corey didn’t sneeze. In fact, he began to dig in deeper, turn his organ up louder and whipping his guitarist into solos that would make Jimi blush. This angered the brats and more rushed off, audibly, which actually – or at least from where I sat, thought I saw him smile brighter, as he wrestled his Hammond to the ground!

Before we knew it, it was only a handful of us, but we were up and out of our seats, into the aisles, dancing, partying, grooving and completely immersed in the funk! Cory had weeded them all out and was screaming into the mic, “Tell Everybody! How Many Bodies? EVERYBODY!! Your Grandma, Cousin, Niece & Nephews; Your Fathers, Sons and Mamas! Tell Everybody!” and then launched into a brand new song with a spandex rhythm just to make sure they were all gone!

We Didn’t Leave. We Listened. We Learned. We Gave Cory a Standing Ovation and Shouted His Name as He Rounded Third Toward Home. We Showed Him Love & Loyalty as He Left The Stage. We Were Now Co-Owners of the Experience. We Had Hope and Now Knew What to Do If Our Own Audiences Ever Dared to Turn Away from Our Artistry.

We Turn It UP!

THE FOUR CORNERS OF YOUR CAREER

I've worked 1500 part time, odd jobs in my quest toward becoming an EntreMusician - from Dishwasher to Household Mover to Fast Food Fry Guy to Carpet Cleaner! Due to My Personality and Just Beyond Slight Obsessive Compulsive Behavior (I don't deem it a disorder), I put my all into each position and tried to learn all I could about the concepts of the WHY behind the functions of the actual job. Although in the case of dishwashing, I got so sick of seeing dishes, I ate on paper & plastic ware at home for six months!

Nevertheless, learning the WHYs helped me as a Musician, Performer & Producer. The one occupation that intrigued me most was when I was a student custodian at the community tech school, prepping the building for fall semester during my summer break. We would strip and wax all of the floors meticulously. I will never forget how careful our supervisor Al Gilchrist was in attending to the corners.

He'd take the stripper pad and remove the middle (akin to a donut hole), apply lots of solution and use his foot to wear away the wax in each corner, as the huge machine could not do an adequate job of reaching into those regions. Once the floor was properly stripped, he'd begin again, spreading the wax, with a separate mop, first into the corners, along the edges and finally buffing the floor into a mirror like shine.

I can remember walking into other buildings, like hospitals or banks and unconsciously looking toward the corners of the floor. it didn't matter how the rest of the floor sparkled and gleamed, if the corners were dirty and caked with dried debris, it threw the whole thing off! There is no comparison to entering a building or arriving on a floor where the entire sheen glimmered from corner to corner!

This leads me to address advantageous tweaks all EntreMusicians should continue to enhance. There have been many books written on improving your skills beyond your talent, but none better, in my opinion,  than John Maxwell's "Talent is Never Enough" which can be purchased for less than five bucks.

However, for our purposes, I want to suggest four areas to immediately sharpen which will continue to advance your career, year after year. Be as intentional in grinding these elements as you are your voice and/or instrument(s) and you'll automatically ameliorate your artistry.  

 

1) Your Look

Whatever look you've chosen to employ, it must remain consistent and flawless. Before your audience hears you, they will most likely see you. If they should hear you first and upon first sight you appear visually odd, you will need to maintain said look, augmenting but never destroying your brand. If your look is sloppy, celebrate it (remember certain P-Funk members performed in their underwear and Frank Sinatra wore an immaculate tux!) So Do You, But Do The Best You You Can Do!

 

2) Your Sound

In Your Recordings and On Your Stage, Your Sound Is Just As Much Your Identity as is Your Look. I'm Not ONLY Talking About the Clarity of Your Mix, But Your Unique, Distinct and Original Sound which No One Else Can Make. Spit Shine It. Sharpen It. Heck, Trademark It! Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock, Ahmad Jamal and Keith Jarrett are all accomplished stalwart pianists, but if each sat down on the Same Piano, one right after the other,  you'd be able to notice subtle differences that instantly set them apart. Find Your Sound and Magnify It.

 

3) Your Attitude

Your Attitude; How You Treat People, Speak to or About Others and Honor or Dishonor Them will project louder than your music will. This will be the one component that will eventually drive people far away even if you're the best guitarist on the planet. Your Own Team may settle for your antics for a bit, especially if they are being paid well, but you'd best believe they are looking for greener pastures. A warm, friendly, engaging attitude will consistently increase your opportunities, no matter the level of talent you begin with. While You MUST faithfully increase your musical skills, it's best to remember that your gift may get you the gig, but your attitude will determine how long you sustain it and how far you advance.

 

4) Your Communication Skills

Perhaps this "corner" should be at the top of the list, as it is foundational to crafting a prosperous life. Excellent Communication is so beneficial to your career, you should consider hiring a spokesperson to speak for you while rehearsing your abilities if you notice flaws in your proficiency. People unknowingly judge you by your choice and pronunciation of words. As you climb the ladder of your career, among the myriad of people you'll do business with will be the unscrupulous, waiting to take unfair advantage of opportunities. As they listen, they will immediately know your level of intelligence and respond accordingly.

You will need to know what to say and what not to say. You will need to understand what your posture, facial expressions and body language is communicating even when you are not speaking. You should practice enunciation and read aloud and often, so you are able to correct any errors you hear.

You should NEVER use expletives in a business meeting, even if you employ the language in your artistry.

You should Listen First and Listen the Most, only responding when absolutely necessary, adding an extended silence before your reply. It's a good idea to take a remedial English course and learn another language. Practice, Practice, Practice!

 

Effective communication, a robust attitude, an authentic sound and an exclusive aesthetic  in addition to a dedicated 'shed' life are four corners which must be kept squeaky clean.

EntreMusicians Pay Attention to them and prosper.

 

I was listening to Azymuth's "Spectrum" on vinyl while composing this blog.

14 ABSOLUTE GUARANTEES YOU'LL NEVER BE CALLED BACK...

Every EntreMusician has either had to deal with a display of unprofessionalism from a Band/Team Member at One Time or Another. Some of us (Including Myself) have unfortunately brought such obnoxious behavior to the project and wondered why the thing fell apart, or moved on without you.

Below, I have included 14 Absolute Guarantees that You Will Never Be Called Back if You Possess these Obnoxious Characteristics!

1) Arrive Late.
2) Make Several Excuses for Your Tardiness. Justifiable or Not.
3) Be Unprepared.
4) Make At Least One Excuse for Why You Didn’t Learn the Tunes. Any Excuse Will Do. 
5) Show a General Disregard/Disrespect for the Person who Hired You. 
6) Arrive Inebriated or become so during the Gig. 

7) Develop & Maintain a Crappy Attitude that worsens throughout the Evening. 
8) Use tons of profanity, especially on stage, specifically on the Mic.
9) Ridicule Any or All Band Members Onstage from the Microphone. 
10) Bring a Spouse/Significant Other to the Gig and Argue with them throughout the evening. 
11) Return to the Bandstand Late for the 2nd/3rd Set. 

12), Openly Squench, Laugh and/or Point at the Bass Player Every time She Hits a Wrong Note. 

13) Aggressively Offend Any or All Members of the Audience On or Offstage. Especially if they should Deserve it.

 
14) Place Your Talent  Above Your Unprofessionalism and try to Outdo Everyone Else on stage with Your Brilliant, Illustrious, Completely Longer than Necessary Solos, thinking that because Your Gift IS Brilliant and You Sound So Wonderful and Have the Whole House On Their Feet and Under Your Sway that the Entire Band & Bandleader will simply forget the other 13 Abominable Attributes You Bring to the Table and Beg You to Come Back Next Friday…In Fact, the Third Time You Pull This Stunt, The Audience will have caught on and will no longer provide the Energy and Attention You Seek.

Perhaps I Have Forgotten One or Two Things You Feel Should Be on This List.

If So, Please Enlighten Us By Commenting Below…

I was listening to Bernie Worrell‘s “All The Woo In the World” On Vinyl while posting this.

I LOST MY PHONE

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 eighteen year old daughter 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.

ADVICE I GAVE MY DAUGHTER

As an Absolute Shameless Plug for My Youngest Daughter, Ayana Symone, who just published her first novel, “How I Fell In Love With Myself”  late last year, I want to share some advice I gave her as we were entering the building for her to do her first TV Interview to begin her promotional tour.

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 and move on, 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 helps you with your microphone

.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,” and only Talking to Those Directly Related to My Goal/Cause/Project!

Ayana’s Book is Available on Amazon!

I am in a Crusaders zone, I’m listening to “Unsung Heroes” AGAIN on Vinyl!

OVERSTATING THE OBVIOUS

Music is Sacred. 

She embodies a Global Language, an Impenetrable Vehicle of Love, Harmony and a Universal Cadence for All Races, Cultures, Faith & Ages.

While Music has been employed 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 other mediums which foster her beauty have overtime become reduced to Mere Commodity, Shadowy Spectacle and Decaying Dogma.

Opinions, Suggestions and Propositions differ, as they must in a Completely Free Society, but the Purest Music, I’m talking about Art that Awakens the Mind, Encourages the Spirit & Stimulates the Soul; Inspiring Integrity is at best, is rarely created; or at worst, is strategically besmirched & buried, forced into obscurity.

Platforms for Salacious Sensationalism Rise above 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 is introduced to their new instrument in wild eyed wonder, merely for the sincere Love of Learning How to become a Musician.

School Boards now routinely abandon Musical Instruction & Appreciation, yet Politicize Personal Agendas, ironically Wrapping their Maniacal Messages 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 such a Higher Calling; the Musicians, whose purpose is 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 a few months ago. I bought his killer CD. You Should Too…

THREE C's TO LIVE BY...

The Most Valuable Reward for an EntreMusicians with a Great Mentor is the immediate ability to apply Their Knowledge & Wisdom into Your Life and Work.

Gratefully I’ve been under the guidance of Bishop David L. Thomas for 14 years.  His Leadership has helped Sharpen Me in practically Every Area of My Life. I frequently enjoy applying his pastoral teachings into my career with great success. As You Know, working with, for and around Creatives takes patience, diplomacy and keen people skills. Several years ago Bishop taught a series on ‘Three C’s to Live By’ that continues to impact my perspective. For True Collaboration to Reach its Highest Distinction, You May Do Well In Exercising these Three Treasured “C’s” as I have:

  1. Don’t Compare!

    Comparison is akin to a Two-Headed Monster which can actually consume you internally, although you are outwardly focused on the talents or skill of another.

    Firstly, You have that Big Head that says “I Am The Best,” “No One Is Better than I” and You develop an attitude that causes you to berate others, overly analyzing what or how they ‘destroyed’ a Song or Project and what YOU would’ve done to blow the thing out of the water. Unfortunately, we’ve all been around people like this and most of us have looked for the quickest exit to either leave the conversation or the room.

    The Little Headed Monster is More Subtle, but Equally As Dangerous. He whispers how horrible You are, compared to this or that singer – and recites the huge list of things you are horrible at. She whines that she didn’t go to music school, or can’t afford the $5000 guitar and can never catch a break while her counterparts are soaring. Eventually this person throws the Ultimate Pity Party which often attracts a full room of crybabies who should otherwise be grateful for the gift they’ve received and sharpen their skills to share it with the world.

  2. Don’t Compete!

    Healthy Competition is Great! It is downright Essential In Business and In Sports. There are Myriad of Stories of How Great Recording Artists would strategically either release their records in advance of, or several weeks after a Huge Artist, so they wouldn’t get crushed on the charts which proved to be a sound business move.

    But there has also been unhealthy forms of competition in the Creative World that seek to Steal, Kill & Destroy the Soul of their fellow Musicians. It’s Downright Hateful and No Self Respecting EM should continue to participate in that type of activity.

    Some Artists use their creativity to freeze out other Musicians – primarily out of envy. They won’t share information, resources or opportunities, preferring to hoard everything. This behavior emanates from a “Lack Mentality.” These Artists don’t understand that there is infinite space in the Entertainment Community and the World is always awaiting the Next New Sound, Look or Experience. True EntreMusicians operate with an ‘Open Hand.’

    We Look for ways we are able to  EngageEncourage & Empower Each Other!

  3. Don’t Criticize!

    This final behavior engages the Vocal Chords of the previous two. The Artist simply MUST make their observations known to anyone who will listen, often growing more venomous as the crowd swells. You & I have seen Tweets, FB Live Footage and Instagram posts of horrible and often unwarranted criticism of someone who is either out there doing their absolute best or taking a completely different approach to the muse – only to be hammered for their individuality. Remember Fergie?

    Regrettably, I have been around more seasoned musicians who will attend the show of a far lesser known artist and rip apart their performances as if they have always played perfect shows, sing on key or perform awesome solos every single night. They rip apart the newbies and feel great about it.

    Truthfully, there have been several times where I have found myself in each of these three camps. If I were not voicing my negativity, I was certainly thinking it – and to be completely transparent, I am sure my attitude at the time may have cost me a connection or opportunity to advance.

    By God’s Grace, I have developed a more healthy respect for every EntreMusician I encounter, even if I don’t necessarily agree with their viewpoint or values. There is a wealth of maturity in Staying in Your Lane, Improving Your Gift and Sharing the Most Positive Energy You Have the Capacity to Produce!

Don’t Compare, Don’t Compete, Don’t Criticize! (video)

DON’T JUST MAKE MUSIC...

Start a Radical Movement

Create a Brand New Genre

Protest Unfair Government & Corporate Practices

Teach

Compose the Next Timeless Ballad

Write the New Anthem for World Peace

Encourage the Hopeless, Helpless and Homeless

Expose Evil

Inspire

Shout for Justice, Freedom & Equality

Cross Cultural Boundaries

Sing Out for Love...Again

Build Collaborative Platforms

Dream

Represent the Unrepresented

Cultivate Community

Show Us All The Way

Don’t Just Make Music...

Make a Difference

I was listening to Roy Hargrove’sMoment to Moment” with Strings as I wrote this.

May He Rest In Peace…

BEYOND THE BANDSTAND

Bands come in all shapes, sizes and denominations.

The definition of what constitutes a group of musicians & singers recording and performing together over a period of time is as varied as there are musical genres. Very rarely is there a purely democratic situation.

Often One or Two members maintain the band’s direction and everyone else plays supporting roles –or perhaps there is an employer\employee relationship which navigates necessary personnel changes per project. Whatever configuration your group falls into, it’s extremely difficult to function as a band without at least three elements engaged:

1) A Shared Vision

2) A Love for the Music

3) A Mutual Respect for Each Member

Even under the direction of an employer, If you are unable to capture–and buy into–the Leader(s) and his/her/their overall vision, it’s going to be extremely hard to convey and express their wishes in the studio and on stage. If you are dealing with music that you feel is ‘beneath you,’ unprofessional or even perhaps, counters your personal convictions, it will be a constant struggle to perform at your best. The issue of respecting the people you work with or for, runs so deep that even the world’s best studio musicians are not able to perform their best if they have to bite and chew their tongues during a session.

Furthermore, your ability to travel from city to city, sharing personal space with anyone you can hardly stand for more than 17 minutes takes a huge toll. The best bands, regardless of their status, fame or organizational structure have learned how to bring out the best in each other, quell tensions in tough situations and overcome disagreements.

At the outset, they believe in what they are doing. They believe in each other and despite what may be obvious differences, they have learned to lay them down for the benefit of all concerned. The best bands hang out like family. Because They Are. The perils of the road, long nights and layovers in strange cities create emotional security, strengthen relationships and ultimately the music. A Genuine Appreciation for One Another and a High Regard for the Work You are creating together are the essential ingredients for success and longevity.

Music is Spirit. The Listener can hear beyond the Rhythms, Harmonies & Melody. They tap into the Soul and complex synergy of musicians who are on one accord. An Audience can tell when something doesn’t “feel” right on stage. We can sense the tension between members and immediately know when the act is ‘phoning the performance in,’ no matter how perfectly they play the notes.

A Band that transparently expresses Love, Commitment and Unity to its fan base even before the very first note is struck will ignite an audience instantly and have no trouble bringing the house down because Unity is Contagious!

Are You in a Band of Sisters and/or Brothers or are you just a Group of Others?

DATED VS TIMELESSNESS

Dated chases Fads, Trends and the Latest Fashion

Timelessness contains Innovation, Creativity & Will

Dated is based on Beats, Loops & Sampling

Timelessness maintains Harmony, Natural Rhythm & Melody

Dated fluxes Gossip, Heresy & Innuendo

Timelessness sustains Truth, Principles & Wisdom

Dated vacillates Fame, Fortune & Fears

Timelessness breeds Encouragement, Wealth & Security

Dated is Upgrading Disposable Technology

Timelessness is Ever Expanding Imagination that can’t be Bottled, Bought or Sold

Dated is a Shortsighted One Hit Wonder

Timelessness is Music that transcends Generations

Dated is Hatred

Timelessness is Love

It's All You Have

It's All You Have

Unless you have shut down all social, terrestrial and relational media, you could not have missed the long winded, ever evolving story of one such celebrity, for reasons unclear to anyone anywhere, who concocted an outlandish story of physical & verbal assault which has now been systematically dismantled and may have cost this person both their career and incarceration.

New Directions in Honesty

New Directions in Honesty

If you’ve been following my musings for any length of time, you’d soon know that I am not at all a fan of Spotify or any of her ugly butt stepchildren who line up behind her promising all artists ever where a greater degree of exposure in lieu of actual money. Not that I am at all against streaming technology, which is arguably a better vehicle than that of downloads or traditional predecessors, with respect to True Audiophiles and with exception to the “Death of Access” we all face, because as we no longer own any physical, tangible artistry, we are left subject to the whims of Big Brother who doles out only what He wants us to digest.

The Flexible Entremusician

The Flexible Entremusician

I consistently regurgitate the Virtues of Intentionality, Discipline, Habits, Planning, Perseverance, Endurance, yada, yada; almost to the point of being Pharisaical! In many instances I am preaching at myself more so than to anyone else, because I know that if I don’t stay on it, I drift. You may recall, my previous post screamed “Make The Decision Before You Have To!”, which is fabulous advice (in my opinion) and spurs one on toward…

Happy NOW Year!

Happy NOW Year!

Much planning has gone into crossing this threshold. Many calendars sold, commitments promised and resolutions made. Not a one of us has forsaken optimism, triumphing in our imaginations that no matter how great last year was, This Year IS Going to be BETTER! Well The Ball Has Dropped, The Hangovers have surrendered to sobriety and our…