Mindset & Discipline

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!

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. 

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)