EntreMusicians

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!

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!

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!

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.

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…