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Why Do Failures and Mistakes Actually Make You Better?

Failures and Mistakes Feature MEME

There are no failures and mistakes.

Failures and Mistakes

 

You’ve heard that before, rah, rah, rah.  It’s designed to make you feel better, right? It’s so prominent on social media with every other vapid affirmation that we hardly even read it, we almost never stop and soak that in.

 

I get it, believe me!

 

What if there was a REAL GOOD explanation or connection that could be made to spiritually break down exactly what “no mistakes” and “no failure” means?

 

Failures and Mistakes North Star

What if this enlightenment clarified that mistakes and failures were by design; a working part of a grand plan?

 

What if failures and mistakes were necessary?

 

What if this rationalization cleverly explained to your soul’s satisfaction that every failure and mistake was your spiritual “North Star” pulling you back onto your path by causing the failure to happen?

 

As if your supreme destiny said, “Nope, you’re close but no cigar my friend; TRY AGAIN because you’re supposed to be over here.”

 

Maybe that was with a relationship.

 

Maybe a business decision.Failures and Mistakes Connection

 

Maybe a job that you’re not supposed to be at.

 

Maybe a supposed “lost” opportunity that shook your emotional foundation to the point of complete collapse HAPPENED FOR A REASON.

 

Watch this 3-minute video by Oprah. h/t to the 2 Steel Girls (@2SteelGirls) for turning me on to this

OH MY GOD I LOVE THIS 3 MINUTE VIDEO

Your “little mind” is where you are not centered, where you don’t know who you really are.

 

Failures and Mistakes Little Mind MEMEWhen you’re in your “little mind” speed bumps, pot holes, challenges, setbacks, failures and mistakes seem catastrophic.

 

Your “big mind” is where you are centered. You have clarity that you are part of something greater than yourself. I’ve spoken about this before in prior articles but I just love the language Oprah uses here.

 

Your big mind is where you relax and listen.

 

When you have the epiphany that the Universe is always as it should be, you don’t freak out about failures and mistakes.

 

Instead you listen.

 

You become STILL.

 

Failures and Mistakes Listen MEME

You breathe and try to receive the message that your supreme destiny is trying to communicate.

 

Failures and mistakes are quite necessary and happen quite often because they are there to WAKE YOU UP.

 

 

You’re in the wrong job.

 

You’re in the wrong relationship whether it be romantic or artistic.

 

Failures and Mistakes Wake Up Alarm Clock MEMEYou’re wasting time doing this because you’re supposed to be doing that.

 

 

For many of you, the terrifying reality is that your supreme calling is not the way you’ve conceived it exactly, at least not as you see it in your head, in your dreams. That’s scary.

 

 

 

I remember when I came to that crossroads.

 

Failures and Mistakes Crossroads MEME

 

 

The reality for me was that I actually was an artist, but not a musical artist as I had been trying to do.  At least not in the way that I pictured it for so many years.

 

I was there for a reason and as such, there was a tremendous amount of serendipity in my life. That is to say things fell into place often.

 

 

 

That’s the sign of a correct path; serendipity.

 

We had some fateful coincidences in my first band Idols of American Youth, but it was filled with tons of failures and mistakes as well.

 

We had far more seemingly accidental fortune in Kidd Gypsy because that was also supposed to happen.

 

Which is funny if you seriously consider the fact that the singer in Idols was AMAZING and I was the singer/front-man in Kidd Gypsy and, as I like to say, “I had to claw my way to middle management” in the vocal department.

 

 

Failures and Mistakes Claw My WayI was supposed to front the band all along. Talent was there but it just didn’t manifest itself in the same way for me as it did for the Idol’s singer.

 

Then another life changing moment when it was time for me to move on to greater things.

 

I sincerely remember thinking as I packed my bags to take advantage of a non-music business opportunity in Los Angeles that this was a step towards something great, the next right thing to do, and that it was all a part of me getting back to the music business somehow.

 

I knew I was supposed to return.

 

Failures and Mistakes Packed My Bags

I didn’t know how.

 

I didn’t know when.

 

I didn’t know why.

 

I did have faith.

 

I WAS listening to my spirit guide, my North Star, the voice of my supreme destiny.

 

While I was in the electronics business working with a company that had a zero damage prototyping soldering solution (which is God-like when you consider how much the first 5 prototype boards cost for whatever widget your reading this on) the music business was changing.

 

Failures and Mistakes iPhoneOnce the smartphone was invented and became super popular, consumers suddenly had choices in their cars with regards to music selection. The radio no longer dictated what we would listen to; instead we became our own DJ’s.

 

Then I moved on to the financial world and learned to build a team, learned to think bigger from friends like Eric Mitchell, and executed these kinds of plays in real life.

 

Then I lost everything.

 

My business because Wall St. closed its doors.

 

My savings because I had $15k per month of advertising expenses alone and ZERO dollars of income for well over a year.

Failures and Mistakes Cash Flow

 

My house because the market crashed and I was suddenly $250k upside down on an intelligent loan that had me with 40% equity when I signed it.

 

All these failures were my North Star, my supreme destiny pointing me back to the music business.

 

Yes, I was an artist.

 

A vastly different kind of artist that what I had originally imagined.

 

Now the serendipity is happening again BIG TIME.

 

My company doubled the first quarter of this year.

 

In the last month I have had more serious conversations with serious artists about marketing (aka opportunities) than I have had the whole previous year combined.

 

Failures and Mistakes Devastation MEMEI’m supposed to be here.

 

The failures were horrible, devastating, and soul sucking to be sure but THEY WERE NECESSARY.

 

When your big mind understands how necessary failures and mistakes are to your journey, you don’t allow yourself to be thrown by a grade or by a circumstance because your life Is greater than any one experience.

 

Your journey is so much bigger than you.

Failures and Mistakes Bigger Than You

 

The end of this Oprah video is the best.

 

It’s where she always asks people what they would say to their younger self and the answer is almost always, in one form or another, “RELAX”.

 

Everything is going to be ok. It’s really going to be ok.

 

 

Let the failures wake you up.

 

Failures and Mistakes Relax Frog MEME

 

 

Let the mistakes give you pause to be still and LISTEN, and LEARN, and IMPROVE.

 

 

 

 

To be a student of the game requires guts, courage, work ethic, and fortitude.

Failures and Mistakes Wall MEME

 

Guts to risk failures and mistakes in the first place. Yes, you actually have to be willing to fail.

 

Oh, by the way, most people think failing on the dream or mission when they read the statement “You have to be willing to fail”. The Daredevils understand it’s not overall failure that this statement is pertaining to, rather, it’s all the little and big failures that will have to be endured to make the dream happen.

 

Courage to rise up from the ashes of one seemingly cataclysmic failure and move forward in the face of fear to your next mistake.

 

Failures and Mistakes PhoenixWork ethic to provide momentum which gives the brain reassurance that the last failure was but a small speed bump because hard work will easily roll over it.

 

Fortitude to internalize the realization that all the small dents and massive calamities are required to win.

 

I want you to win.

 

Eat these petty setbacks for breakfast, down your coffee, get up off your ass and work harder than you’ve ever worked before.

 

Failures and Mistakes Setbacks Breakfast MEME

This is your dream.

 

Don’t blow it by willfully living in your little mind.

 

Be self-aware of your little mind and your big mind.

 

Don’t be overwhelmed by the difficulty because your life and your career is bigger than any one moment or experience.

 

 

 

Failures and Mistakes Definition of Failure meme

 

Your life is not defined by any one person’s definition of failure for you.

 

 

 

If you’re not at ease with yourself right now, THAT’S THE CUE that you’re on a detour and it’s time to think about a change and LOOK for the next opportunity which is probably staring you right in the face as we speak.

 

Failures and Mistakes I Believe in Me Silhouette

 

Failure is just there to point you in a different direction.

 

 

Stay

 

In

 

Tune

 

If you found value in this article, please SHARE it and COMMENT below.

 

 

 

 

 

Why A False Victim Is A Controlling, Evil Person That Will Crush Your Dreams

False Victim Skeleton Cage Feature MEME

You have important choices early on in your career and in your life. You can choose to be responsible for the decisions you make (or don’t make) or you can choose to be the person who’s constantly blaming outside forces for their outcome. This is called a false victim.

False Victim Venting

 

I’m going to tell you a story about a false victim and, admittedly, I’m venting a bit. Follow me here because if you know me I’ll always bring it back around to YOU, the artist.

 

 

 

You may or may not know that I have a love affair with Great Danes. Scooter McGhee is my 3rd Dane. I rescued victim Scooter and Carihim from a Los Angeles pound. When I got Scooter he was full grown, the vet guesstimated about 2 ½ years old. He was emaciated at 106 lbs. (he was starved by his former owner) when his healthy weight is a rock solid 145 pounds.

 

Danes are easy and Scooter McGhee is no exception. He’s so “chill-to-the-next-episode,” man. Very mellow except for when he feels there’s injustice in the world (like when Cari and I fight or any random game of “chase-the-fastest-dog” at any given Dog Park) where he gets upset and tries to remedy the situation. No Joke.

 

Scooter is obedient. Often, during the summer he and Cari’s little dog, Zoe, will be chilling outside on the back Victim Scooter McGhee Chair Chillpatio soaking up the sun or hanging with us while we grill (I always have a marrow bone to throw on the grill so they can participate with us…don’t judge).

 

In past articles I’ve written about all the construction going on in our neighborhood. One of those brand new homes was built in a formerly empty lot right next door to Cari and me.

 

We were excited about the new neighbors because the husband was the father of one of Cari’s childhood friends. Cari has known this guy since she was 6 years old. She has always liked him, describing him as somewhat of a hippie, which is perfect for me.

 

Move in day arrived and Cari and I were out walking 3 miles as we try to do as often as possible. We came upon Victim Scooter Floorthe new neighbor and is wife and we stopped to say hello. We got to meet his new wife (not really “new” as he’s been married to this one for quite some time, but different than who he was married to when Cari was little, so new to her.) and had a nice little chat, welcoming them to the neighborhood.

 

4 days after they move in I get a visit from the country Sheriff.

 

 

I answer the door and the Sheriff asks, “Do y’all have a Great Dane here?” Of course, Scooter McGhee is at the door with me, so….False Victim Policewoman

 

I said, “Well yeah, here he is, meet Scooter McGhee.” Then Scooter proceed to push the door out of the way and stick his head in the Sheriff’s crotch which he always does in an attempt to get a good ear scratching (one of his favorite pleasures in life…literally toe curling for him), he doesn’t discriminate.

 

The Sheriff laughed after I explained what he was up to and told me she knew they were gentle giants, however, one of our neighbors had visited the Sheriff’s department and told them that Scooter McGhee was jumping up on people, knocking people over, and there was a leash law, so he couldn’t be outside without a leash. She knew that Scooter really wasn’t aggressive but explained she had to respond to the complaint.

 

I now have to walk Scooter and Zoe every time they go outside to obey the law. So much freakin’ easier to let them outside in the morning to pee without a leash, but I digress, the law is the law.

 

False Victim Scales Of Justice

We were in the wrong.

 

Cari and I were a little embarrassed about the Sheriff’s visit. Also a little hostile. Who would’ve done this? Scooter doesn’t wander away from the house at all, so we figured it was the neighbor on the other side of us who is nice enough but terrified of Scooter. Mostly because he’s big and black.

 

It’s a black thing, I guess.

 

I erroneously thought (keep in mind my type A personality, now) that as long as Scooter McGhee wasn’t bugging anyone and he was on our property that all would be good. I mean who would be offended by a dog minding its own business in its own yard, right?

 

I thought wrong. The law is the law.

 

False Victim Screaming 2

 

Fast forward to a few days after my visit from the Sheriff and Cari’s oldest daughter Maggie (she’s 12) comes into the house and says the new neighbor lady was screaming at her, “CONTROL YOUR DOG!!!” “YOU HAVE TO CONTROL YOUR DOG ON A LEASH!!!” Maggie also reported to us that there was a younger lady with little kids (elementary school age) screaming as well. She was shouting at her kids telling them to get inside as if Scooter was a 900 lb. Bengal Tiger on the loose.

 

False Victim Tiger

Keep in mind there hasn’t been any kind of an incident here. Scooter has never attacked anyone and didn’t attack our neighbor. Scooter wasn’t in their yard, he was in ours.

 

 

 

 

Scooter was outside without a leash. Both of Cari’s girls had friends over and they were all playing outside. False Victim Attacking DogsScooter was meandering around our yard hanging with the girls when Maggie was getting skewered by the neighbor. So he wasn’t doing anything that could be misconstrued as aggressive other than being outside without a leash.

 

Which is against the law.

 

False Victim the Law

Now, after the neighbor lady and her daughter chastised the 12 year old, we have to walk over and get to the bottom of this. Cari is dumbfounded that our new neighbor, whom she’s known for 33 years didn’t bother to talk to us about whatever problem they were having. They went guns hot and called the Sheriff.

 

Again, no incidents have occurred, OK?

 

We walk over to speak with the lady who answers the door. I think Cari started off the conversation by apologizing that we hadn’t had Scooter on a leash, which is against the law, and then inquired as to what exactlyFalse Victim Panic Jumper happened that would require her to feel she needed to scream at Maggie. Cari added, “It’s clear that you were the one who called the Sheriff now.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

The neighbor lady then admitted she had her husband go down to the Sheriff to handle this situation. She proceeded to tell us something like, “I’m sorry, I have panic attacks after my brain surgery (TMI) and I’m terrified of dogs because my husband was attacked by one awhile back.” (He’s nowhere to be found by the way, possibly avoiding any confrontation, letting his wife clean up the mess she’s created, or both). She proceeded to inform us, “There is a leash law you know, and I’m sure your False Victim Don't Panic 2dog is a good dog but animals are animals and they’re unpredictable. You never know what’s going to happen. We have grandchildren and we’re concerned about their safety.”

 

You can’t imagine what’s going through my head right now.

 

She goes on to say, “I’m mostly afraid that our dog (WTF!?!?), who is aggressive because he isn’t fixed, will start a fight with your dog and your dog will win.”False Victim Finger

 

You know that look that a dog gives you when you ask it a question, the one with the tilted head? That’s me now.

 

 

I will honestly tell you that we didn’t go over there to argue the leash law. We were humble, apologetic, empathetic, and False Victim Tilted Dog Headinquisitive to their situation. The law is the law and she has every right to feel safe in her new home. We were just wondering why, when there were 1,000 ways to handle this situation, they went straight for the jugular and called the Sheriff. Especially since there was no incident to speak of.

 

She apologized for calling the cops and told us she was afraid to come over because Scooter might bark and come to the door (which might set off a panic attack). Feeling guilty for behaving like a douchebag and in desperate need of a spontaneous justification (for her own sake), she went on to inform us that she had talked to “every one of the neighbors” as she moved her pointer finger up and down both sides of the street in the entire neighborhood. She said they “all” told her that Scooter was bad and they had problems with him. (None of the neighbors have ever met Scooter).

 

I looked at her directly in utter disbelief. Not dumbfounded disbelief, I just didn’t believe someone who was THIS deeply mortified of dogs, who believes all animals are unpredictable, who just informed us she was afraid to come to our door because our dog might bark and set off a panic attack, had in 4 days-time managed to move in, temporarily overcome her deepest fears in an attempt to discuss Scooter McGhee a dog she hasn’t met, with a dozen or so neighbors she hasn’t met, who also mostly own dogs she has never met. The math just isn’t adding up.False Victim Peeing in my Cheerios

 

At this time, I am fully aware she is pissing in my Cheerios and she’s trying to convince me (and herself) that it’s milk.

 

There was a long, pregnant uncomfortable silence, which looked like Cari and I with our jaws open wide, blinking our eyes like Ren & Stimpy, that was broken by her refining her story admitting now that she just talked to 2 neighbors. Both of whom have dogs that could be unpredictable and both of whom she’d never met before.

 

So she was lying and/or exaggerating in an attempt to justify her crappy behavior.

 

False Victim Panic Peeper

I then informed her that she actually used good judgement here because just like her dog, that’s EXACTLY what Scooter does whenever anyone comes to the door. He barks; so crisis and possible panic attack avoided.

 

They could’ve left a note in our mailbox. They could’ve called his daughter to get Cari’s phone number and texted or called to inform us of her mental issue, they could’ve informed us on our talk when we welcomed them to the neighborhood.  They could’ve sent a letter, sent up smoke signals, had his daughter (Cari’s childhood friend) call us and explain, etc.

 

At this moment, our new neighbor’s daughter (her daughter, not Cari’s friend) comes to the door with a snotty, mean, and VERY aggressive attitude. She introduces herself with her little head tilted sideways and says, “LOOK THERE IS A LEASH LAW AND THAT’S ALL THERE IS TO IT! SO JUST PUT YOUR DOG ON A LEASH”

False Victim Screaming

 

Her mother, now clearly embarrassed tells her daughter that everything is fine and we weren’t there to attack her mom in anyway.

 

 

Cari almost lost it. They didn’t have the maturity to reach out to us and inform us of her admitted “mental instability” (her words), but they certainly had the balls to scream at a 12 year-old. I’d call that move cowardly.

 

Keep in mind had my big black Great Dane actually knocked anyone over, jumped up on anyone, attacked anyone, or been off its own property in any way I would understand the heavy response completely.

False Victim Screaming 3

Scooter never left our yard in both of these occasions. He was, however, without a leash.

 

Here’s the takeaway.

 

Our new neighbor is a false victim.

 

She’s right about the leash law, but that aside, if she was really THAT terrified of animals being spontaneously aggressive, how can she own one? Especially one she admits is aggressive because they’ve chosen not to fix him. She’s full of crap.

 

There are 3 kinds of victims.

False Victim Leash

 

A real victim is defined as someone who has absolutely no control over their situation. The Syrian people, for instance, are completely screwed at this moment in history. If they leave they’re dead by their own government. These are REAL victims. Forced beyond their control to endure a life of oppression put forth by their government, or die.

 

That said, I once did a mortgage for a guy from Eastern Europe (I forget the country, sorry) who was in the same situation and escaped his country in a shipping crate where he was a stowaway for a month with a sleeve of crackers and 1 bottled water to survive. For a month! He risked his life to leave his oppression. He was discovered at sea but luckily they didn’t kill him (which is the common remedy in a stowaway situation). Now he has a better life in Los Angeles. He wanted change and got it. The possible consequences were worth the effort to leave, but again, I digress.

 

False Victim Panic Eyes

 

The 2nd kind of victim are people who were victimized. Anyone who has incurred some kind of unwanted horrible mental or physical attack is a victim. Rape victims, sexual abuse victims, domestic violence victims, car accident victims, robbery victims, random accident victims, Cancer victims, etc.

 

 

These people were victimized, it’s horrible to think about. They definitely become damaged, broken, often times somewhat dysfunctional in their life if they choose to give up.

 

It completely sucks for a human being to be upended by such a tragedy for obvious reasons, but now, if they want to heal, if they want to recover mentally, they have a lot of work to do. A lot of work that they didn’t have to do yesterday.

False Victim Snake Mouse

 

Get it?

 

EXTREME INCONVENIENCE.

 

If and how they get back on their horse will determine the quality of their life moving forward. The power to recover and deal with the new demons that were horribly bestowed upon them is in their control; albeit unfair that they have to deal with them at all.

 

False Victim Devil Face

The 3rd kind of victim is a false victim. That’s our neighbor.

 

That’s also a lot of artists which is why I’m writing this.

 

Now don’t spin out here. I’m not saying she’s a horrible person for hating my dog. She has every right and I fully understand that.

 

But I don’t believe she was trying to protect herself from the dog at all; this was not her agenda.

 

False Victim Blindfolded Panda bear

 

If I suffered from severe panic attacks brought on by unfamiliar dogs and my agenda was to prevent said panic attacks, I might’ve checked the neighborhood to see if there were any scary dogs before I moved in, maybe made may choice of homes that way. I could’ve built a fence around my new property to guarantee that no random animals of any kind would get near me and trigger a bad day.

 

 

She is a false victim.

 

This is her control racket.

 

False Victim Marionette

Photo Credit: Darek Morys https://stock.tookapic.com/photos/8856

 

 

She uses these panic attacks to control those around her including people like Cari and I whom she doesn’t know. This is easier for her than actually communicating like a functional human being.

 

 

 

She clearly wanted Cari and me to excuse her overly aggressive misconduct because she deemed herself a victim with a mental instability. We’re supposed to be compassionate in response to her harsh antagonism because she told us she has a mental issues. She gets to do what she wants because she has panic attacks.

 

It’s very clear from our one conversation that she has her family playing into her drama.

 

False Victim Marionette 2

 

In spite of his prior relationship with my girlfriend the husband went to the Sheriff’s office to report Scooter being off the leash (and lied about aggressive behavior to make it more dramatic even though the off-leash issue was all that was needed to get the response they wanted, FYI).

 

The daughter with her hostile protective tone (You would’ve thought the mother had actually been attacked by my dog) telling us the law is the law. She was in “protect my poor mama” mode.

 

Which is exactly the way mama likes it.

 

Most artists behave like a false victim when it comes to becoming a student of the game in this crazy music business.

False Victim Political Cartoon Photo Rod Waddington

Photo Credit: Rod Waddington

 

It happens with indie artists as well as it happens with major label artists.

 

The result is always the same, the artist gets screwed; with the artist’s permission.

 

Yes, that’s right, if you choose not to learn,  if you choose not to “trust but verify”, then you are allowing yourself to get screwed over. You’re choosing to be a false victim because you can control this dynamic if you want.

 

The artists who truly stand the test of time understand the game from all sides. They’re incredible creatively and they are experts at the business and marketing end as well.

 

False Victim Platinum Record

I know a former major label artist (8 million records sold) who is an amazing creative talent. This artist hates the business end and doesn’t participate in that space whatsoever. Never has.

 

This artist seems happy to me but the quality of life is far less than what it could be if they’d get to know the business. This artist has throngs of stories about being screwed in the Industry (like never making a dime off of 8 million units because the label never “recouped”). This artist (whom I adore by the way) will make a living singing until their last day, I promise you, but has maneuvered into yet another slave like business situation (post major label days) with a management company that really doesn’t know what they’re doing (not music business people). This artist gets a regular salary the management does and makes what they want off the artist’s talent and million dollar brand name.

 

Conversely, I know another post-major-label-artist who excels and enjoys the business just as much as being a False Victim Slave Marketcreative. It’s probably no surprise that this artist sold 13 million units for the major label. Post major label deal, this artist has formed their own record label and is definitely in charge of their own destiny as a result of learning the business side.

 

Y’all think life will be great once you get your deal.

 

You’re wrong.

 

It’s a cop out mentality that allows you to avoid extra, unwanted, inconvenient work.

 

This mentality is always followed by horrible stories of deception and oppression from outside forces that stand in the way of real happiness and success.

 

False Victim Blindfolded Man Feature

 

As if a blindfolded person accused another person of deception because they moved something and the person who chooses to be blindfolded didn’t see it.

 

 

If you don’t want to open your eyes, you’ll always feel deceived. Even from people who aren’t trying to betray you.

 

You have to watch every penny because even though the label is fronting the money, it’s YOUR MONEY.

 

False Victim Barbara Strauss

Here’s a great example. When I was an artist we were managed by Barbara Strauss. Barbara is a straight up genius with bigger balls than any man I know. Barbara also managed Schascle Yochim (pronounced Cha-sell Yo-kum), AKA “Twinkle” as she’s known in Sarasota, FL.

 

 

 

Back in the early 90’s Twinkle got the biggest record deal ever given to an unsigned, unknown artist from Warner Bros. Her voice is like listening to an angel sing, man. In my opinion she blows away Whitney, Mariah, you name it.False Victim Haunted by Real Life

 

 

 

 

 

She’s so good she received a personal phone call from Quincy Jones who invited her to the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland. (This is a big freakin’ deal). The travel department of the label booked them 2 first class tickets to Switzerland at a cost of $3,000 for each ticket. Barbara thought enough to call her local small town travel agent in Sarasota, FL to compare prices. Local travel agent said 2 first class tickets to Switzerland would run them $1,500 each. Wow. Big difference.

 

False Victim Ticket ComparisonSee my point?

 

If you’re not watching every aspect of your business, whether you’re independent or on a major label, you’ll never recoup.

 

If you want to be an important artist, then people will have to be exposed to your art in order to be moved by it.

 

This means you better understand marketing.

 

Which means you’re going to have to do more work.

 

False Victim More Work

 

Otherwise you could be a false victim and say you don’t or you can’t and that’s the reason you’re not making a living doing what you love. It’s not your fault, right? If someone else (or lack of someone else) is to blame for your absence of momentum, the pressure is off you.

 

 

How in the hell did Bon Jovi stay relevant beyond the demise of the hair band genre?

 

Because besides being a prolific songwriter and artist, Jon is a badass business man as well. Make no mistake about it.

 

False Victim Jon Bon JoviThink what you want about the art and the artist, but he learned how create great music, and he learned how to sell it to an audience.

 

He chooses to survive.

 

You might argue that there were better artists from that era and you might be right.

 

If you are right, the difference lies in Jon’s business acumen.

 

It’s your job as an artist NOT to be false victim. In fact, I can honestly say that if you continue to be a false victim, you’ll never make a living as an artist. Your future will be one of quiet desperation, bitterness, excuses, and coping with the deep sadness that accompanies a life lived absent the rewards it should receive from the gift God gave you.

 

False Victim Broke Rock Star

 

Maybe you were abused, in an accident, tortured, mentally beat up, physically beat up, or attacked by Bernie thugs at a Trump rally. Whatever the case, you now have more work to do today than you did before you were attacked if you’re to survive and get back to the quality of life you had prior to the attack.

 

You have to deal with it, move on, and live your life because if you don’t…you still have to live your life.

 

So if you’re just coming to the realization that you’re going to have to do more than just be a great artist to make a living at it, then you’re kind of in the same situation, aren’t you?

 

You’re in the same situation as the victims because you just discovered that you now have more work to do today (if you want to make a living as an artist) than you did before the realization.

 

False Victim Blindfold 2Or you can choose to be a false victim ignore the work and blame the world for your inability to make a living doing what you were born to do.

 

Don’t be like my douchebag neighbor living a sad, somewhat pathetic life where the script reads, “Here’s why I get to misbehave and be an asshole and its OK because…”

 

It’s not OK.

 

Whether you have a good excuse for not making a living as an artist or you don’t, the outcome is still the same.

 

You’re not making a living as an artist.

 

The world needs good music. It always has.

 

It sickens and saddens me to watch it dry up because artists don’t want to do the extra work.

False Victim Blindfolded Girl2

 

 

Now there is more work than before, but now you don’t need to wait for anyone to get your music out there.

 

You have to budget for and learn how to market effectively. This is the only way to get your music out there man.

 

Artists who don’t want to excel creatively, work creatively, learn marketing, and excel at marketing are false victims.

 

It’s a lie.

 

A lie perpetuated by the stories you tell yourself about the way you think the music industry used to be.

 

Stop it.

 

Your music is important.

False Victim Scooter NO

 

But it’s only important if someone gets to hear it.

 

Don’t be a false victim. Scooter says, “This is NO”.

 

Stay

In

Tune

 

 

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2 Case Studies: How To Find Your Sound

How do you find your sound?

Find Your Sound Feature 1

It’s different for every artist, at least it should be. There has to be attention paid to what the artist is doing creatively so that the sound is what the artist is really, genuinely trying to do or you end up with a dancing chicken. That’s no fun.

 

There also has to be some thought put into the marketplace. This may sound non artistic but I beg to disagree. With some projects, subtle, intelligent changes can be made to cut through the clutter or expand the audience without stifling the art.

 

A bunch of you reading this article believe that to find your sound is whatever you happen to write about which makes it “organic”, more natural, etc.

 

That is true to a degree, however there has to be intentional curation, there has to be serious thought put into what this project is going to sound like, representation, the message, the image, the artistic “lane’. If there isn’t it comes out sounding haphazard and somewhat schizophrenic.

 

Find Your Sound Adele 21

 

 

Thematically, Adele’s 21 was all about her breakup. If she threw in a killer hit song about anything else, it wouldn’t have fit. That’s what I mean by schizophrenic.

 

 

 

 

Just because it’s a hit song doesn’t mean it’s a hit song for you. Here’s a great example.

 

One of my favorite songs last year was Kenny Chesney’s “American Kids”. GREAT song! (OK it really speaks to me and my upbringing in a faded little map dot called Delavan, Wisconsin. Love that map dot)Find Your Sound Kenny Chesney American Kids

 

This was a HUGE hit for Kenny. What you may not know is that “American Kids” was pitched to Lady Antebellum first and they passed on it; appropriately so.

 

What?

 

Find Your Sound Lady A

 

 

Yes, that song is killer, but it wasn’t for them. It didn’t fit their brand so it wouldn’t work right.

 

 

Here’s my point.

 

Finding your sound starts at “30,000 feet” where you begin to craft your artistic lane with the broad strokes first. You have to put some DEEP thought into this because it will become the blueprint that will give guidance to whichFind Your Sound BluePrint songs to pick if they’re outside cuts, which of your songs you should, record and which of your songs you should either let someone else record OR save for a future project.

 

How much thought?

 

 

Marrying a project that is genuinely consonant with the artist from the inside out with an artistic lane that is ideally empty or hopefully not very crowded is an art form.

 

Case Study #1: Bailey James

Find Your Sound Bailey James

 

When I first heard Bailey I was blown away by her voice. She was simply an astonishing little 11-year old girl with an incredibly mature voice. Her instrument is somewhat reminiscent of the great Patsy Cline in tone and her melodic sensibilities.

 

Right away, that’s exciting because I don’t really hear anyone in the country music marketplace that sounds like her; this makes her voice more “identifiable”.

 

What wouldn’t be distinguishable is if she sounded like or was trying to sound exactly like Carrie Underwood, or Miranda Lambert which is usually the case here with most wannabes in Nashville.

Find Your Sound Carrie and Miranda

 

So that’s a step in the right direction.

 

 

Next what is really unusual, is that (now) 13-year old Bailey James genuinely likes old school country like Patsy Cline, Tammy Wynette, Johnny Cash, etc.

 

 

 

I think that when your Bailey’s age you HAVE to love 5 Seconds of Summer and Taylor Swift (check!) but other than these two artists she drives her parents crazy listening to, well, “Crazy”.

Find Your Sound Patsy Cline

 

 

Here is unique value proposition #2. If we made a record that was reminiscent of old school country Patsy Cline the project would be in harmony with Bailey’s artistic soul.

 

I would be real. Which is to say it wouldn’t be contrived.

 

Get it?

 

This information began to get my creative juices flowing.

 

What if we made a record that was retro (ish) sounding? At the time there was nothing like this on the radio, (although very recently Maren Morris seems to be doing REALLY well with her very retro sound, salute! This helps my cause).

Find Your Sound What if

 

What if we made the melodies evocative of Patsy Cline which you don’t hear on country radio right now?

 

What if we supported these melodies with old school country chords and chord progressions which you don’t hear on the radio right now?

 

Find Your Sound Country Guitar Chords

 

What if we added a neat artistically harmonious twist? Let’s make the lyrics more like Taylor Swift’s early records.

 

 

There were many reasons for Taylor Swift’s success and one of the big ones is that she and Scott Borchetta created Find Your Sound Taylor Swift Fearlessan artistic lane that was previously non-existent.

 

There were exactly ZERO artists lyrically catering to 9-14 year olds.

 

All country music artists were adult themed lyrically.

 

Here’s the twist. Taylor grew up.

 

Taylor went from:

She wears short skirts

 I wear T-shirts

She’s cheer captain

       And I’m in the bleachers”

To writing

I’ve got a long list of ex-lovers,

        They’ll tell you I’m insane

        But I’ve got a blank space baby,

        And I’ll write your name.”

 

Find Your Sound Authenti City

 

 

So who’s speaking for the 9-14 year olds in country music now?

 

 

Keep in mind we haven’t written any songs yet for Bailey’s project.

 

This very thought process led to some serious conversations that I had with Bailey and her parents.

 

Find Your Sound Couple Music CollageIf we make a record like this, we’re going to have to commit to using the internet and touring to build a following as we probably wouldn’t be getting a lot of love from country radio, at least at first. If we wanted love from country radio we’d have to make a record like Kelsea Ballerini, which is fine, but why be derivative just to chase radio?

 

Country radio wouldn’t probably help us because she doesn’t sound like what they’re spinning right now and they don’t want to take chances. They’re losing listeners by the droves every single day.

 

Besides, radio is becoming increasingly less effective in breaking new artists so the money spent on radio promo wouldn’t really be well spent at this particular stage of the game.

Find Your Sound Guitar Music Collage

 

We all agreed that this was the kind of record we wanted to make and we began to get Bailey with the songwriters that were willing to do business our way.

 

I say “our way” because it takes guts and commitment to purposefully write something you know probably isn’t going straight to radio. Writers get paid on the back end, with performance royalties, so why would they want to mess with this?

 

I gathered some writer friends and we went to work. I told the writers that the imagery had to be specific, keep it in the schoolyard. If the lyrics were universal enough that Carrie or Miranda could sell it, they had to go back to the drawing board. I wanted the kids to look at Bailey and say, “She speaks for us. She is our voice.”

 

Melodically we wanted bigger melodies like Patsy Cline. Chord wise we wanted 1960’s country.

 

See what I’m doing here?

Find Your Sound 30,000 feet

 

I have an artist that lives and breathes old school country who is STOKED to make a record in that vein. I also have a vacuum in the market place.

 

Perfect.

 

Moreover, I told Bailey’s parents if we made a record like this Bailey would stick out like a sore thumb from all the Disney bubblegum pop music.

 

We all agreed this was a good thing to “stick out”.

 

Find Your Sound Blueprint Fingerprint

 

This initial understanding of a defined artistic lane was mission critical to picking the songs that made the EP. Bailey and the writers wrote a bunch, we picked 5 Bailey co-writes, 1 outside cut, and they were all melodically and lyrically dialed into the vision.

 

Are you picking up what I’m putting down?

 

 

 

I have some questions for you.

 

Have you defined your artistic lane?Find Your Sound Define

How much competition is there in your artistic lane?

What kind of thought have you given towards your sound?

 

To find your sound you have to build around your strengths as an artist.

 

Bailey’s strengths, artistically lay in her voice, her love for old school country, and her age which gives us an advantage in the marketplace. This all has to do with the making of her sound, at least a sound that has a chance of standing out in the current marketplace and being heard by someone.

 

So Bailey is a great example of a solo artist whose sound was put together a certain way from the very beginning.

 

But what if you’re a band and you’re songs are already written? Let’s take a look at Van Halen and see exactly what producer Ted Templeman did to create their sound.

Find Your Find Your Sound DLR

 

David Lee Roth is arguably one the very best front men ever to walk on stage (and in the interest of complete transparency I’ll tell you that he’s my favorite. AMAZING LIVE SHOW.)

 

However DLR would never win American Idol.

 

 

 

Ted was smart enough to know that the “live show” attraction of DLR wasn’t going to translate well onto tape. That’s a live thing. Eddie would though.

 

FREE VALUE BOMB: Btw, Templeman who was also a Sr. VP of Warner Brothers Records along with Mo Ostin Find Your Sound Free Value Bombwho was the Chairman, passed twice on Van Halen demos, it didn’t come across on their recordings. They LOVED Eddie and wanted to sign him alone, but didn’t like DLR (Templeman originally wanted to put Sammy Hagar with Eddie!) It wasn’t until they both saw Van Halen live opening for Dokken (whom they were there to see) that they got it and agreed to sign Van Halen.

 

 

Templeman wanted the record to be about the guitar. That’s what was so special. Think about it.

 

COMPARE: Here is a link to one of the earlier Van Halen demos. Let’s just dissect the first song “On Fire”. It’s all there but it’s scattered and a bit out of focus isn’t it? Structurally as well as moment-wise.

  • The harmonic guitar lickFind Your Sound Van_Halen_Demo
  • Occasional badass DLR vocal scream (notice the first high note DLR hits is a real weak sounding falsetto without the signature multi overtone growl that he easily performs later on in the chorus “I’m on FIYAAAAA!”
  • The chorus hook, the vocal arrangement on the pre chorus “I’m hangin’ ten now baby, as I ride your sonic waaaaave” (ascending scream behind wave).
  • The guitar lead

 

Now, listen to VH I album cut of “On Fire” very carefully. The differences can mostly be attributed to Templeman’s input crafting their sound. Finding moments and featuring them.

  • First of all a bunch of fat was cut from the track.
  • The guitar was panned all the way to the left with only the reverb return coming out of the right. (Definitely a Find Your Sound Van Halen Irevved up guitar sound that Templeman credits completely to Eddie)
  • Drums and bass were all the way to the right with DLR straight up the middle. (This abnormal mix strategy FEATURED the guitar.)
  • Bombastic beginning chord progression before the signature riff starts.
  • Notice, from the get go, the recording is loaded with all kinds of guitar licks filling up the vocal holes, featuring Eddie’s guitar prowess.
  • Notice Templeman LOVED the harmonic guitar lick and featured it making it a recurring guitar hook. VH did it on the demo, Templeman did it more.
  • The vocal melody was re-crafted subtly but it’s genius because it’s more powerful and memorable (more question/answer on the melody…do you hear it?)
  • The end of the guitar solo was changed a bit to give Eddie a “lily pad” to land on giving the lead, which was ascending and creating tension, resolution at the end.
  • All the falsetto voices from DLR are badass strong tone with signature growl that was intermittent on the demo. Many are doubled.

 

So to find YOUR sound you need to think like a record executive and create a lane with little or no competition. You also need to think like a producer and bring out the strengths of the act on the recording.

 

Sometimes you just need to write a BUNCH to hone in on your sound. The Beatles wrote at least 50-150 songs before they began to get it.

 

Find Your Sound Microphone

 

Last thing. Both the artists in these case studies are extremely talented. Both of them needed outside help to focus the talent and make it really shine for an audience.

 

 

Who’s helping you?

Stay

In

Tune.

 

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What Happened To Your Intention? How To Craft Professional Success

Intention Feature Meme

The road to hell is paved with good intention.Intention Road To Hell

 

I would imagine one version of hell would be described as a blissfully unaware artist who is forever trying to grab the brass ring but is nowhere ever near it. The hell would be the dumbfounded frustration that the artist feels because they believe they are doing it  right and can’t imagine why the world won’t catch on. This is preventable with intention.

 

Let me clarify, good intentions are different from your intent to succeed, which is vastly different than working intentionally.

 

Intention Working IntentionallyThink about that.

 

I came up with this as I walked the dogs this morning. There are 3 brand new homes going up in our neighborhood. Two other new homes have just been completed for a total of five new houses being added in the last 6 or so months.

 

I was thinking how smooth the process runs on every level of construction, then staging, then sales.

 

 

Every different subcontractor knows their job description perfectly. They each know their lane and are supposed experts in that lane. The Electricians aren’t trying to be plumbers. The Plumbers aren’t trying to frame doors, and the door framers aren’t trying to pour concrete.

Intention Collage Contruction Process

 

They are all very intentional in their actions. They are all aware of the rules, what has to happen for their craft work to be considered “up to code”, and where they can get away with cutting corners.

 

They are masters of their game.

 

This is the definition of working with intention.

 

Imagine a foreman at a construction site who naively or arrogantly believes that he can do it all. He believes because he has a cement mixer that means he knows how to pour the footers. Of course he CAN pour whatever he wants if he has the equipment but if he’s not an expert at that, the house will be ruined.

 

Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.

 

Imagine if the foreman, who’s excuse was that he didn’t have enough money to build a proper home, called his step-brothers’ first cousin’s, great aunt who had a neighbor that took an electricity class once back in the 70’s to handle the structural electrical wiring.

Would it work?Intention Monkey Electrical Meme

Would it be up to code?

Would it compete?

Here’s a more important question, would you buy that house?

 

So many artists whose intent is to be a professional artist, are not aware of all the different lanes of creativity that require excellence if the end product is to seriously compete in the marketplace.

 

To think and therefore act like a professional artist, you need to be acutely aware of what you’re good at and where you need assistance.

 

You have to be educated and intentional.

 

Intention Einstein Genius quote

 

Why do so many artists feel compelled to do it all? I can really only think of a few people who are that remarkably gifted. The rest of us need a team and the genius comes in the realization that you need a team (which puts you ahead of all the ignorant do-it-yourself-ers) and who you end up picking.

 

 

Farting around in your home studio working on demos and playing with arrangements to hone your craft is one thing. Putting the recordings out for the world to hear and expecting or hoping it will compete is another.

 

Masterful songs, masterful performances, and masterful records do NOT happen by accident (which is what some of you think is the definition for “organic”).

 

Money is not your problem.

 

Some of you are so dead broke you can’t eat and if you worked smarter, you could up your bank account enough to satisfy your basic needs. MOST of you, however, spend your discretionary income in the wrong places and you are the source of your artistic frustration. (I say it all the time but why not double down on yourself and purchase more books about the new music business, social media, marketing, etc.?)

Intention Studio Team Strengths

 

If you don’t believe in yourself enough to invest it all, then you don’t. Why should anyone else?

 

You need to work intentionally first on defining your audience and looking for a vacuum in the market place. What will your lane be exactly?

 

For instance, a few years ago I worked with an amazing Canadian artist, singer/songwriter named Tanya Marie Harris. At the time she came into my awareness the “angry ex-girlfriend” songs from Carrie Underwood and Miranda Lambert were getting major spins. The whole “party girl” Gretchen Wilson era was just starting to settle down but still very prominent on country radio. All three of these major label artists are quite amazing and it’s no surprise that they became so popular for these songs.

 

I STILL love “I’m Here for the Party”, “Before He Cheats”, and “Gunpowder and Lead” because these are KILLER songs, I don’t care who you are.

 

Intention Tanya Marie Harris

Tanya loved these as well.  When we began choosing songs she was understandably leaning towards songs like these; it’s what was on the radio. She brought me a drinking party song called “3 Shot Max” which was totally badass. I remember loving it.

 

 

Here’s where the intention comes in.

 

You see Tanya was happily married with an 18 month old beautiful baby girl. This fact begged the question, “Are you a party girl or angry ex? Is that the image you want to sell?”

 

Tanya, like me and the rest of the country music world was seriously enjoying these songs but that didn’t mean it was the right “lane” for her. Right then and there she had an epiphany. She was like, “Oh my God, NO, Johnny! I never thought about it like that.”

 

My intention as a producer was to ensure that whatever art we put out with Tanya was going to be authentic to her and not contrived.

Intention_A_Woman_Scorned

 

Once we crafted this understanding, we made a song choice using one of Brent Baxter’s co-writes called “A Woman Scorned” which scratched my artist’s “powerful woman” itch but cleverly told the story from a third person point of view; as if you watching a movie. This worked for her brand because she was essentially describing the situation, not living it.

 

I also talked Tanya in coming into town 1 day early and set her up with two co-writes telling the writers, “I’m cutting 2 songs tomorrow morning. I have the songs. If you beat one of em today on this write, we’ll cut yours.”

 

Intention Secondhand_Dreams

Tanya and David Norris did exactly that and wrote “Secondhand Dreams” about their fathers (the video currently has 1.8 million views).

 

AUTHENTIC as you can get man. Both these songs got decent radio play in Canada. They were real and competitive.

 

You have to be intentional about creating an amazing song. The blueprint has to be great or the team won’t matter. Sure they’ll be good at putting lipstick on a pig but it’s still a pig and it won’t compete.

Intention Lipstick on a Pig

 

Then you need to be deliberate about the recording. Who’s playing the performances, who’s engineering, producing, mixing, etc.?

 

Being resourceful to save money is great as long as it works.

However, when the project suffers, you’ve wasted your money and your time.

 

If it doesn’t compete, then you’ve still spent money but you have nothing that is going to advance your artist brand and career.

 

If you don’t know the difference, you’re in trouble.

 

You have an experiment that while cathartic and healthy for your artistry, is detrimental to your brand and career. This is no good.

 

Intention Uninhabitable

That foreman has to sell that house to make a living. It has to be deemed inhabitable in order to sell it.

 

 

“Inhabitable” is not a subjective term. The city codes will decide what is inhabitable and what is uninhabitable.

 

Too many of you confuse your art and the reality of the business.

 

Art is subjective but it is also objective because it needs to be well done. You can subjectively loathe Brittany Intention William HungSpears but you can’t argue the fact that her records are well done creatively as well as in the marketing space. On the contrary, you can be as nice as you want but there is no subjective soul that actually liked William Hung’s horrible American Idol audition of “She Bangs”. He was a novelty because it was SO horrible which made for good TV.

 

 

 

How do you want to be perceived? Do you want your music to matter to consumers or do you want to be a cocktail party joke?

 

 

Intention Laughing Cocktail Party Joke

Consider this:  If you did not work with intention at your day gig, you wouldn’t be surprised or hurt after being fired.

 

If you weren’t educated on the process necessary for success your employer would either expect you to learn quickly (depending on the gig) or you’d be terminated.

 

 

 

Why then do you proceed, willy-nilly, often like a blissfully ignorant bull in a china shop, with your artist career, working without a plan, without education on the process, without intention, and become artistically mortified that the world doesn’t care about your art?

 

How much time have you wasted?

 

Yes, in an employment scenario you can quickly get on the job training, however if you don’t have access to on the job training for all the facets of your artist career how will you learn? How can you get access?

Intention Crazy Houses

Photo Credit: takmemarehasti.blogfa.com/

 

Imagine the construction subcontractors tried to succeed at their gigs in the same manner most artists try to succeed in theirs; osmosis or divine intervention. I’m just going to keep doing this until I get better but with zero training on plumbing, electrical, how to frame a door, how to pour concrete, etc.

 

Imagine if the subcontractors were still building homes like wannabe artists are posting their demos.

 

Subcontractors are required to LEARN the appropriate methodologies before their allowed to get a freakin’ license.

 

Sometimes I feel like Pro-Tools licenses should be given out with the same requirements.

 

This is what I want you to think about.

 

Artist development is intentional.

 

Intention Crazy Houses

The Beatles were intentional artistically and in the marketplace. They spent thousands of hours in Hamburg performing 8 hour gigs and writing. John Lennon once stated that the first 50-100 songs they wrote were complete crap.

 

They were calculated in their artistic goals to become better writers. They were NOT naïve trying to record and release the first song they wrote out of artistic pride.

 

Once the Beatles got their act together, their wholesome image was painstakingly calculated. Then the market and charts were manipulated to expose them to as much as possible to get people talking. They were good now, they learned. It was time for them to be seen.

 

The Stones were intentional artistically and in the marketplace. Their first 2 records were all blues covers. Their Intention the Rolling Stonesimage was purposefully crafted as the “anti-Beatles”. The Stones image was always constructed to be “dirty” and “dangerous” to separate them from the Beatles in the marketplace ON PURPOSE.

 

None of this happened by accident and neither will your career.

 

It’s not productive, and frankly it’s not OK that you approach your artist career with a serious lack of marketing and recording education floating on top of a truckload of childlike naiveté about how the business works.

 

If you want to succeed, you’re going to have to STEP UP.

 

Intention Chess Feature

 

Whatever you’re doing it isn’t enough.

 

Who can you learn from?

 

 

 

Stay

In

Tune

 

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Why You Need To Make Time For Marketing Your Music

Make Time Feature Meme

Head check time. Take a deep breath.

 Make Time Head CheckI ask the same question of all incoming Daredevil Insiders, “What are you most frustrated with?”

 

Make Time Henry Rollins Quote

 

Most common answer:  “Marketing my music and social media”.

What’s the #1 reason most artists say they are not up to speed on marketing?

 

Most common answer:  They don’t have time.

There is no such thing as spare time.

There is no such thing as free time

There is no such thing as down time.

You only have life time.

                                -Henry Rollins

 

Ponder that one for second.

 

I.

Don’t.

Have.

Time.

 

Make Time You First Baby MEME

I believe in my heart that most of you are not delusional, at least I want to anyway. You are WELL aware that your music will not find an audience by itself, simply through social sharing. If that was the case record labels wouldn’t need marketing departments (yeah, let that one simmer a bit).

 

No, your music will have to be exposed to an audience that is inclined to like it. That audience will have to get to know you and be subsequently persuaded to believe you are worth a damn before they’ll line up behind you and support you.

 

Then you’ll have to further influence them to buy your music.

 

In order to do that, they will have to like YOU first before they open their hearts, heads, and eventually their wallets.

 

Some of this targeted audience will like you.

 

Some won’t.

 

This, you should expect.Make Time Target Connect MEME

 

Here’s the recipe: Target, connect, engage, expose, REPEAT.

 

This is how you build relationships on social media.

 

You have to find strangers that are inclined to liking your music, turn those strangers into friends, and then turn those friends into customers.

 

I’ve got news for you, this is going to take some time.

 

More time than it took you to write, rehearse, and record your songs.

 

Make Time End of your Rope

Are you at the end of your rope?

 

Are you super frustrated because you’re not finding and growing your audience like you want to?

 

Are you broke?

 

Are you panicked?

 

Are you experiencing doubt about your art?

 

“I don’t have time”.Make Time Mr. Hand

 

Let’s dissect that statement for a second. (Why do I feel like Mr. Hand from Fast Times at Ridgemont High right now?)

 

 

Imagine you’re driving along a country road during a super harsh snow storm. The kind of snow that’s heavy Make Time Jeep Snow PICTURE LIGHTSbecause it’s wet and requires your wipers to be on. You come up on a brand new vehicle stranded on the side of the road, hazard lights flashing. As you approach, through the whiteout conditions you see the driver alongside a black 4×4 Jeep.

 

You think to yourself, “How can this dude be stuck when he has the ultimate all-terrain vehicle? He’s clearly not down in a ditch or marooned in a snow bank of any kind.”

 

You see the driver wearing a brownish-orange ski jacket, green hat, off brand snow boots, and he is clearly hostile. He is CURSING the vehicle!

He’s red faced and screaming, “You #$%&#@ piece of crap!” while kicking his own truck.Make Time Red Jacket Snowfall

 

Wow, you’re a little scared to get out of your car at this point because he’s so irate, but your compassion wins and you decide you’re going to try to help him.

 

You open your door and walk over to the driver and ask, “What’s going on, can I help you?”

 

The driver is clearly aggravated, but sensing your genuine concern, he warms up a little bit.

 

Make Time Yelling 1

“This stupid truck won’t work, IT WON’T WORK! I’ve tried everything. I think the dealership guys are a bunch of crooks! They never wanted to give me a truck that was actually functional. Can you BELIEVE THAT? It’s a conspiracy! How can I possibly get to work without this truck? How the hell do they expect me to pay the note when I can’t get to work BECAUSE THEY SOLD ME A LEMON?!?!”

 

Whoa, this guy got screwed!” reverberates in your head.

 

You ask, “Hey man that looks like a nice SUV. What do you think is wrong with it?”

 

He hastily retorts, “They screwed me, happens every time! I’m always trying to get ahead and then they screw me!”

 

You can see on his face that he means it. He really feels this. Empathy surfaces.Make Time Yelling 2

 

 

 

Now you just want to hug him and tell him everything is going to be ok if you’re a girl, and if you’re another guy, you want to help him fix the problem, because that’s what we do.

 

So you begin to ask more questions.

 

“What happened EXACTLY? Did you hear a noise? A thump? Have you had problems before? Did you hit something?”

Make Time Hug

“NO!” He yells, “I JUST BOUGHT THE DAMN THING TODAY!” Then his aggressive tone mellows to a defeated kind of submissive whine like an 8 year old who has finally come to terms with the fact that she has to clean her room, or else. “Maybe I didn’t get a good enough truck. Maybe I should have paid more for the better one. It’s so hard, ya know? The world doesn’t like me. I’m thinking I’m not really supposed to own this truck and this is a sign. I really wanted this Jeep, but I’m just going to go back to driving a crusty, rusted out shit box because that’s all I deserve.”

 

You think to yourself, “Oh my goodness, this poor soul

 

You proclaim, “I’m going to help you!” You hear yourself spout out a little white lie, “I know a little about trucks ya know! Lemme look under the hood.”Make Time Engine

 

You pop the hood and this engine is in showroom condition. He really did just buy this truck today! You check whatever the hell every rookie checks when they are looking for an obvious answer with the engine problem, but come up with nothing.

 

Then you ask, “Is it turning over?”

 

At this point the poor, beaten-down driver musters a feeble tone, “Yes, but it won’t start.”

 

Make Time Car Battery

So it’s not the battery” you surmise silently, which you then satisfactorily qualify remembering the pristine, showroom terminal connections when you examined the engine.

 

You decide to experience the starting issue first hand and after gaining permission, you jump in the driver’s seat and turn the key.

 

Turns over perfectly, but just as your distressed motorist described, she won’t fire up.

 

Then you begin to glance at the gauges.

 

Electrical: CHECK!Make Time EMPTY

 

Oil Pressure: CHECK!

 

Engine Temperature: CHECK!

 

Fuel: EMPTY!

 

Wait, what?

 

You double check by turning the key on again to ensure the gauge needle doesn’t drop to EMPTY when the key is off but it stays at EMPTY.

 

Time What

“Excuse me, buddy, but it looks like you’re out of gas.” You thought to yourself “Wow, it can’t be this easy and why doesn’t this guy know this?

 

He looks at you, dumbfounded, and queries, “What do you mean?”

 

“Yeah, you’re out of gas, brother. I don’t know whether you’ve had a long trip after driving it off the lot or if they just didn’t have that much gas in the tank when you bought it, but you just need to put some fuel in there and she’ll purr like a kitten! Why didn’t you bother to check the fuel level before you started driving in this mess tonight?”

 

“I don’t have time,” he proclaimed. “I have a job, 2 kids, medical bills and my mother in law lives with us who I have to take care of. I’m also an artist, so I have band practice, I write, sometimes I record, and we’re always gigging, AND I have health problems.”Make Time Dog Head

 

Your head turns sideways like a dog when you make a funny noise. “Ruh?”

 

“I’m serious,” he says, “I just don’t have any time.”

 

“Hey man, if you don’t put gas in this vehicle it’s never going to go anywhere, you get that, right?”

Make Time Don't Have Time

 

“Yeah, I know, I just don’t have time”.

 

“OK, I get you’re stressed but it really doesn’t matter. No gas no go. There’s nothing wrong with this truck, it’s not working because you haven’t put gas in it; simple as that. You’re going to have to make time to fuel this beast or suffer the consequences.”

 

He looks down at his feet, now covered in 1/2 inch of snow and kicks a bunch into the wind. “If I could only just meet the right person, someone who could change my situation, I would be in a much better place. I’m totally due, I’m a really good artist, I’m sure it’ll happen, I believe in myself.”Make Time Complain

 

You blink your eyes. “Um, dude…you need gas.”

 

“I need a record deal, or a manager, or a booking agent, THEN I won’t have to worry about gas, this thing will run like a champ!”

 

“WTF” you softly whisper to yourself. “Hey man, I’m not trying to disrespect you, but you are going to have to find the time to put gas in your truck on a consistent basis or it isn’t going to work at all, that’s like a freakin’ law of physics or something.”

 

Make Time Physics

 

Now the conversation and the issue at hand skews to the outer limits of reality as he replies, “Well, the Shell station is having a contest, they’re giving away a year’s worth of gas and I’m pretty confident I can CRUSH that and win!”

 

[Queue The Twilight Zone music: do do do do do do do do]

 

“I hope you win that, I really do, but you’re still going to need to make time to put the free gas in your truck,” you state terrified of the coming response and how much more unreal this conversation could get.Make Time Shell Station

 

“Not if I have a record deal or a manager, or someone who believes in me! I’m awesome, you don’t understand, everybody loves my music.”

 

“OK, God bless. Can I give you a lift to gas station so you can get gas before the snow gets out of hand tonight?”

 

“Naw, I’m good. I’m just about to win that contest and get a deal, all my problems are just about to be over, thanks anyway, I’m going to wait here until some big industry executive stops and discovers me. I have my guitar in the Make Time All Righty Thenback; that should be enough to convince him. A good song always wins, right?”

 

Aaaaaaaaallllllllll RIGHTY THEN

 

And you drive off.

 

Of course, you never heard from him again.

 

Because he didn’t have time.Make Time Time Clock Swirl

 

Get it?

 

Don’t be this tool.

 

If you’re frustrated, it’s because things aren’t working properly.

 

If things aren’t working properly it’s because you don’t know what you’re doing.

 

Make Time Failure MEME

THAT’S FIXABLE.

 

Step one: Stop relying on your inaccurate fantasies about the music industry and find out what you’re doing wrong by learning. There are plenty of books, webinars, paid coaching, and consulting resources available if you find the time. I promise, you’ll feel BETTER after the first influx of good information. Learning RECHARGES your spirit! The truth creates momentum.

 

Step two: Reevaluate what you’re doing wrong and begin tweaking your currently flawed process.

Make Time Empathy

Step three: Witness the miraculous change in your career.

 

All you have to do is find the time.

 

I realize that this story was stupidly predictable. Obviously we need to make time for gassing up the car and even though you’re probably not, you know you need to make time for marketing.

 

However, the real moral of the story is the attitude and mood of the stranded motorist (artist).

 

Can you relate with his mood swings from hostile, to frustrated, to utter defeat, to doubt, and finally delusion?

 

From your point of view as the guide of the story, who intuitively knows that all these raw emotions and stress are silly and preventable with a little gas, you thought the stranded motorist was a simpleton.

 

Make Time SkeletonYou understandably and predictably thought this because the solution was obvious.

 

 

 

Until you take that notion seriously, you’ll be stuck on the side of the road waiting out a never-ending snow storm.

 

Stay

In

Tune

 

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How To Make Their Perception Your Amazing Reality

Perception Feature

Perception is reality in your art. You’d better freaking know this. Sadly, many of you don’t or you do and you choose to ignore it for some reason.Perception Perception

 

Perception is also reality in your marketing.

 

I want to talk about how the market, A.K.A. consumers, in other words YOUR POTENTIAL FANS perceive you.

 

I am seeing WAY too much of this online and on social media so I had to write about it.

 

Too many artists are stuck in that developmental stage that little children go through when they believe if they can’t see you, you can’t see them.

 

Do you know what I’m talking about?

 

Perception Hide Baby

It’s a lack of perception awareness.

 

 

They “hide” in the middle of the living room by crouching down and covering their eyes. At this stage they believe that you can’t see them.

 

It’s cute when their little kids.

 

It’s ugly when you’re an aspiring artist.

 

In the industry, it’s downright annoying.

 

Perception Looky Losers Photo Orin ZebestYou know, like the person at the party who won’t stop hitting on you in a super cheesy manner and can’t take the hint from all your body language and actual language that you’re SO not interested.

 

 

 

 

Perception Fingerpaint Photo Erik (HASH) Hersman

 

It’s a sign of naiveté and complete lack of awareness by an artist who displays every little “finger painting”, every little step of their creative process on the world’s refrigerator expecting to be praised.

 

Arrogantly believing the world is interested.

 

You’re going to be judged.

Perception Judged

 

By consumers but also by the industry (if they happen to look. More on that later).

 

If it’s a well written, well recorded, rocking track, you’ll be praised.

 

If it isn’t finished, you’ll look like a novice.

 

Shoulder shrug.

 

On to the video of the talking dog.

 

You have to be aware of how you will be perceived. You’re an artist for Pete’s sake!! That’s exactly part of your job description; masterfullyPerception Magic Shit MEME manipulating perception and emotion.

 

 

When it’s well done it is like magic. People pay to see it.

 

When it’s ignored its shite.

 

 

 

 

 

You will always be judged on what you have done, NOT what you’re going to do or what you think you’re going to do.

Perception Reputation Quote

 

 

All too often, I’ll get an artist who asks me to “check out” their music. I almost NEVER respond to these based on the principle of the matter (crappy way to market) but sometimes I fall for it.

 

Usually I end up lamenting the fact that I can never get that 30 seconds of my life back.

 

 

 

 

I literally had one kid send me a link to a Soundcloud account that was filled with his “songs”.Perception Schizophrenic Girl

 

They were a selection of solitary, distorted, electric guitar rhythm tracks.

 

No melody.

No lyric.

No beat.

Zero on a scale of 1 to whatever in terms of any discernable creative riff.

No other instruments.

Boring.

 

Perception Mark KnopflerI’m not trying to be mean, but it was seriously useless. Chunk, chunk, chunk, chunk, with no meter, no pocket; ugh.

 

I just listened to this Dire Straits isolated guitar track by Mark Knopfler from “Sultans of Swing”. It’s AMAZING!!!

 

Mark Knopfler is a very special guitar player.

 

Here’s the key. As amazing as this isolated track is, we are only interested because we know Dire Straits,

 

we know Mark Knopfler, and most importantly, we know and love the song!

 

If this exact track, with this stellar performance was not a track from a hit song, I wouldn’t give it 5 seconds. Neither would you.

 

Get it?

 

Perception Marvin GayeIn my studio, I have many of the original multi tracks from Motown, The Beatles, The Doobie Brothers, Queen, Def Leppard, and more. These tracks are a party favorite because we know all the songs and it’s interesting to hear something we are so fond of being dissected.

 

We’re fascinated by the soloed vocal tracks.

 

Freddie’s finger snaps at the beginning of “Killer Queen”.

 

We’re floored when we discover that “Long Train Running” has 5 different guitar arrangements that brilliantly work together without cluttering the track.

We freak when we hear Queens, background vocals all alone.

 

I literally cried when I heard Marvin Gaye’s soloed voice from “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”. The natural distortion on the vocal mic. It was cut live with the band and Tammi Terrell (you can hear the bleed!). You can hear his toe tapping in the vocal booth. Ugh, so moving.

 

Nobody cares if they don’t know the song.

Perception Blind Consumer MEME

 

Perception is so important there are major label artists who refuse to let the A&R guys in the studio until the track is mixed lest the art be judged by some suit with no vision.

 

It’s the artist’s way of controlling the outcome as much as possible. They don’t want the suit’s possibly disheartened attitude over an unfinished product to affect their promo budget once the track is released.

 

Consumers have no vision. They want finished product.

 

 

Think about how much apprehension you feel when you shop for a used car. Imagine the experience of meeting a private seller, who is a stranger, to look at their restored ’64 candy apple red Ford Mustang. You walk into the garage and you see a chassis up on blocks with a seat and a steering wheel.Perception Fear Buyer

 

Wait, what is this?!?!

 

The seller says, “Hey man, it’s going to be great when it’s finished!”

 

Perception Chassis Photo KapitanTIF you are well versed at all the different stages of classic auto restoration you MIGHT take an interest and see the potential.

 

99.9% of consumers would be pissed and walk out; it doesn’t look like a car.

 

 

 

You have to be aware that as an indie artist; you are the stranger selling the car and in your case the consumer isn’t “looking for a car”.

Perception 64 Mustang

 

You have to know that the consumer is apprehensive on several levels because your marketing was probably dodgy and statistically the music is going to suck; BIG TIME.

 

Are you picking up what I’m putting down?

 

You have to blow them away first.

 

Look there are always exceptions, but as a rule, don’t post demos, work tapes, incomplete recordings, soloed guitar tracks, etc. up on the internet as you will be judged.

 

Perception Exception To The Rule

 

What are the exceptions?

 

A soloed vocal track to a beautiful melody, intense lyric, with a compelling vocal performance would be interesting.

 

Anything short of that will sound way better in the track and be boring without it.

 

I have posted work tapes (a simple iPhone recording of an acoustic vocal) before. We had a contest with Bailey James where we let the fans choose the 6th song on her EP. That worked really well. I will say that many (If not all) of the fans who participated had downloaded the free track we were trading in an exchange for an email which is how Bailey came into their awareness.

 

That free track was a KILLER recording of Cheap Trick’s “I Want You to Want Me”. Which allowed us to craft their perception. They were cognizant of Bailey’s professionalism and the work tapes were clearly positioned in the mind of the fans as a “behind the scenes” look at the future mixed with a fun, interactive exercise where they got to participate in the release somehow.

 

However, if we just posted all the damn work tapes from all songs that were written to be considered for her debut release it would’ve worked against us.

perception Scene

 

If the fans don’t see the “scene” they will misconstrue your “behind the scenes” as your “scene”.

 

Many of you don’t even have your “scene” put together so why would you show it?

 

Does that make sense?

 

In Steven Pressfield’s book, The War of Art he conveys that before you become a professional you have to think and act like a professional.

 

Perception War Of ArtThe world doesn’t care if it’s on purpose, lack of awareness, naiveté, or utter stupidity, if you don’t look like a professional then you’re not a professional. It’s that simple.

 

If the car doesn’t look like a cherry ’64 candy apple red Ford Mustang than it isn’t.

 

I saw it with my own eyes.

 

 

In Marketing I see this mistake often with images.

 

 

Images are everything today. There is a reason that Instagram and Pinterest are so huge.Perception Positive Negative

 

A picture is worth 1,000 words.

 

If it’s a bad picture, it’s 1,000 bad words. You disappear into the clutter of every other artist who won’t make the effort or spend the money to stand out.

 

When you present professional images as an artist, the selfies become a savory alternative look.

Perception Many Eyes

 

But only when juxtaposed against the killer images.

 

If your whole visual presence is based on selfies, you don’t look like a professional.

 

The world doesn’t want the blow-by-blow, play-by-play rundown of your amazing artistic ascent until AFTER you make it.

 

The Behind the Music VH1 series where we learn about the artist’s creative stories, business challenges, and addiction troubles are interesting when they’re famous. If they weren’t famous, it would just be a story about a pathetic drug addict.

 

Perception Behind The MusicWho cares?

 

You wouldn’t.

 

Let me ask you this.

 

What if they say “yes”?

 

I love to ask my artists this question.

 

What if you get your act together enough to pique the interest of some big label, booking agent, or manager, etc.?

 

Perception Search

 

What would their first step be to vet you as a possible business partner?

 

They’re going to Google the crap out of you.

 

If their perception becomes that you are unprofessional, happily ignorant of your image both creatively and in the market, you become a turn-off.

Do you want to be a turn off?

 

Do you want to blow a self-created opportunity because you are unaware of perception?

 

If you don’t know, you’d better learn.

 

Stay

In

Tune

How Will Expert Proximity Really Make A Beautiful Dream?

Proximity Feature

If you want to play the game you need to be in the game. To get in the game requires proximity.

Proximity Game MEME

 

But proximity to what, exactly?

 

Proximity to the knowledge, outlook, perspective, talent, and energy you need to achieve your definition of success.

 

Proximity is absolutely everything, and those that truly want in, will find and/or create the doors that connect them with the other side.

 

The dream.

 

Success making their art.

 

Sounds absolutely blissful doesn’t it?

 

Proximity ABB

 

Proximity will force you to raise your game.

 

I thought I knew exactly what I was doing as an artist and a guitar player until I got proximity to The Allman Brothers. Once I repeatedly saw them, I knew I had a LOT to learn.

 

 

Sometimes proximity can be lucky, but often it is manifested by the seekers out of sheer will.

 

Let’s look at some examples of each.

 

Proximity Bill GatesBill Gates being the richest man in the world is largely due to luck as Malcolm Gladwell sees it. He was quite literally the right person, in the right, place at the right time. Bill’s mother worked for the University of Washington, which in the 1960’s, was one of only 2 institutions in the United States that housed a supercomputer. Bill being a person fascinated with computing and code writing had access to this amazing machine as early as the 8th grade.

 

This was a story of someone who wanted to and needed to do the work and couldn’t do it without proximity.

 

SIDENOTE: Not surprisingly, the other supercomputer was located at the University of Michigan where Bill Joy went to school and invented the internet.

 

Proximity Bill Joy

 

 

 

 

These two extremely iconic individuals could have had vastly different lives without the luck of proximity to what was then extremely elusive and rare cutting edge technology.

 

 

 

 

Let’s look at some examples of created proximity.

Proximity Matt Warren

 

A good friend of mine and hit songwriter, Matt Warren (he co-wrote the #1 “Every Storm Runs Out of Rain” for Gary Allan) got proximity by selling T-shirts on tour for a merch company called Richards & Southern. He wanted in to the music business and didn’t really care how it happened or what it looked like.

He got the opportunity to tour as a merch person with Gary Allan where he created a relationship with the artist. The story goes that he totally sucked at selling shirts but he could write, the rest is history.

 

 

I have another good friend named Brian Foraker. Google him.

Proximity Whitesnake

 

Brian mixed the hugely famous Whitesnake album (the big one with “Here I Go Again”) which will make him cool in my book forever. Brian ended up being the main engineer for mega producer Keith Olsen (Fleetwood Mac, Whitesnake, Foreigner, Heart, Rick Springfield, Top Gun Soundtrack, Footloose Soundtrack). Brian will tell you he got his start by becoming a roadie for Heart.

 

 

He wanted in.

 

He got in.

 

He worked his way up to where he was allowed to hang in the studio when they were recording.

 

He’ll tell you he shut up and paid serious attention because the studio fascinated him and he wanted in.

 

“Hey Brian, move that mic on the snare drum for me, please”, turned into him engineering which landed him the gig with Keith.

 

Mega record mogul, David Geffen started out very poor working in the mail room at William Morris Agency. Geffen sold his label to MCA in 1990 for $550 Million making him one of the richest people in the country at the time.Proximity Geffen Records Logo

 

I know it’s not about the money, man.

 

But you have to start somewhere.

 

How can you get the proximity you need?

 

Well the internet certainly makes that a lot easier than any of the previously mentioned individuals. Hat tip to Bill Joy.

 

Proximity Book collage

 

Books are another way to see behind the scenes of greatness. They’re a great deal too. Autobiographies, how to books, marketing books, etc., all provide knowledge that you can apply to your own situation.

 

Marketing is connecting with people by applying knowledge of human psychology and using it to your advantage.

 

Yes, some use this knowledge for evil. Like politicians, ALL news outlets, governments, etc.

 

 

Some use it for good.

 

Like you.

Proximity Daniel Stone MEME

Image Credit: Daniel Stone

 

Connecting with people via marketing prowess can feel strangely similar to connecting with people via songwriting.

 

A transcendence of sorts.

 

You struggle with the mysteries of marketing. All the answers are out there dressed up in easily available knowledge and its consequent application.

 

This application of marketing knowledge requires the same effort and tenacity as your art.

 

Proximity can be more easily achieved with social media and the internet than it used to be. Bottom line, if you want in the game you will find a way to get in. Those that offer up excuses as to why they can’t get proximity simply don’t really want it that bad.

 

Proximity Connecting

Artwork by Daniel Stone

Mentors can be found.

 

Mentors won’t find you.

 

 

 

Everybody needs mentorship. Most incredibly high paid corporate CEO’s have mentors to guide their ascension in the ranks and manage a proper perspective once they get there. It’s lonely at the top, and these CEO’s want to excel at managing a great company environment.

 

Too many of you either feel you don’t need mentors or don’t have them because they aren’t coming to you. Many of you feel it’s hard to find an appropriate mentor mostly because they aren’t knocking on your door looking to mentor you.

 

In either one of these scenarios, the damage to you is the same. You have no mentor.

Proximity Success Go Get It MEME

So you have no new perspectives.

 

You have no insight.

 

You have no guidance for new situations, just your old behavior which seems to result in the same outcomes.

 

New outcomes require new behaviors. New behaviors comes from learning, education, advice, someone else’s 20/20 hindsight (which is referred experience isn’t it?), etc. All these things can be found in mentors.

 

Here’s the thing, you need proximity to mentors.

 

Confucius say, “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.”

 

Proximity Confucius MEME

 

You have to go to them. Tai Lopez sought out many mentors and worked for them; often for free, if not for free, for peanuts. He wasn’t interested in an immediate payoff for his time, rather he was interested in LEARNING how to be better. The big payoff comes with the knowledge as it WILL monetize later down the road.

 

Many of you eagerly seek out mentors for vocal lessons, instrumental lessons, music classes, mental and relationship advancements via therapy, etc.

 

You go to these people or pay them to come to you. That’s creating proximity.

 

Why not get proximity to the people can help you do what you want to do in the music industry?

Proximity Marketing Lessons Learned

Believe me it takes image, art, talent, strategy, paperwork, good business, and logistics to rise above the fray and be heard.

 

Nobody is born a master of all these talents.

 

They have to be learned by the seekers who won’t take “NO” for an answer.

 

In my case, I have had mentorships come into my life by working with or for other companies, I have sought out and paid for new knowledge as often as I can.

 

 

What’s more valuable than furthering your education?

 

Tai Lopez calls this “doubling down” on yourself.

 

Proximity Equation

 

People love to share their knowledge with people they care about. Just like you they think people they don’t know who are asking tons of deep questions (so therefore don’t care about) are creepy.

 

Proximity solves all this.

 

Now you just have to solve for proximity.

 

 

 

Stay

In

Tune.

 

Are You Sure Your Favorite Artists Are Really Organic?

Organic Feature MEME

Watch this BBC Music Moguls documentary.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gyPJiey6vckOrganic Music Moguls Image

It’s one hour long and worth every second.

“Nothing attracts a crowd like a crowd” – P.T. Barnum of Barnum & Bailey Circus

 

Let’s face it, the music business IS a circus whether you like it or not or whether you want to admit it or not.

 

Organic Elvis and Colonel Tom ParketElvis Presley was made into the King by Colonel Parker. It is very interesting that Parker had been a circus huckster with an affinity for luring bystanders into the tent.

Colonel Tom Parker understood showmanship and how to monetize talent.

 

 

Elvis had talent, and without Colonel Parker, we wouldn’t know who Elvis was.

Organic Saturday Evening Post Circus Barker

 

 

Too many artists think the image, artistic lane, and performances of their most beloved iconic artists happened organically, magically, as if the artists were always polished and ready to go just waiting for the audiences to catch on.

 

 

 

Nope. Every artist was developed artistically and in the marketplace.

What does “organic” mean to you exactly?

 

Organic NEMS

 

Brian Epstein owned a siding company. He was a music lover so he also owned a record store called North End Music Stores as a side business, which is how The Beatles came into his awareness.

 

First let’s discuss the Image. The Beatles’ image was not organic if your definition of “organic” means “to happen naturally without preconception or outside guidance”.

 

 

Brian insisted The Fab Four clean up a bit. Yes, they had unusually long hair for early 60’s society but Epstein wanted them trimmed evenly, clean cut, and styled.Organic Brian Epstein

 

When Epstein met the Beatles, they were scruffy, when he was through with the makeover, they were clean shaven.

 

Epstein added the touch of the famous black suits with the ties.

Organic The Beatles

He taught them to bow and thank the audience after completing every song. This gave the Beatles the cutesy, safe, socially acceptable image of 4 boys you could bring home to mom.

 

 

Which is exactly what Epstein wanted.

 

Moreover, The Beatles acquiesced.

 

Which is rare.

Usually artists piss and moan about doing something different or foreign. You’ve heard the conversations before, “I just want to be as organic as possible.”

Organic The Beatles Plane

 

Now let’s talk about how Beatlemania started. Did the Band cut a record, put a couple copies in a few records stores and watch the pandemonium ensue?

No.

 

Did a couple “tastemaker” girls pick up the 45 (this was how they used to sell singles for those of you who are unaware of what a 45 is), freak out and share it with 2 friends who then told 2 friends, who then told 2 friends, and so on, until they became a raging behemoth?

Not exactly.

 

Organic Puppeteer

 

Understanding that people respond to momentum, even if it was perceived momentum (after all, perception is reality), Brian manipulated their market force initially by gaming the British charts. He shrewdly knew that there were 11 record stores around his locality that reported to the chart company. Brian would send out fans/friends with his money to purchase records at these select stores on the day of release. This would get the record immediately charting which got the public and the industry’s ears perked up. This initial momentum behind every single to created a little launching pad, if you will.

 

Did this artificially create a #1?

No.

 

It did give them just enough credibility to get industry and radio people talking. This clever move also made it socially acceptable for consumers to like The Beatles because “everybody else was clearly liking them”.

 

There are the early adopters and then there are the people who think they’re the early adopters because the crowd is small enough to make them look cool and big enough that there was clearly a bandwagon to hop on to.

Organic Totally Natural

Was this organic?

Maybe.

 

My definition of organic is sometimes (usually) vastly different than an artist’s.

 

You see, I believe that all the gaming of the system, all the hustle, marketing, all the payola, and all the MONEY in the world won’t make a crappy or derivative record good.

 

On the contrary, a great, fresh, original, amazingly talented artist remains a “nobody”, doomed to reside in the basement of societal awareness without any of these marketing techniques.

Organic Banana Oatmeal

How are you feeling about the trajectory of your artist career right now?

 

Epstein had lightning in a bottle and he knew what to do with it. He knew how to bring it to society in such a manner that it would get its own legs and create momentum.

 

The Beatles were smart enough to get him and let him do it; having faith and following his instructions IMPLICITLY.

 

So it should come as no surprise that Andrew Loog Oldham, the original manager for the Rolling Stones, started out as Brian Epstein’s assistant.Organic Andrew Loog Oldham

 

Oldham was the executor of many of the techniques that helped to create The Beatles in the marketplace.

Oldham did EXACTLY the same thing with the Stones.

 

 

 

First he applied market awareness to the image of the band. Oldham couldn’t just recreate The Beatles and he knew that. He needed a new artistic lane. The Stones had to be different. He suggested that the Rolling Stones be the “anti-Beatles”.

 

Organic Rolling Stones Live

 

He wanted them scruffy instead of clean cut.

He wanted them wearing leather or hipster mod clothing as opposed to suits.

He wanted them to be dangerous as opposed to some “boys you could take home to mother”.

Was this organic?

I suppose it depends on how you look at it.

 

Talent + Market Awareness + Hustle + Marketing = Your Dream.

 

My favorite quote from this piece:

When God gives you something special, he takes away from other places. If you look at any artist, they’ve all got something missing, and I’m the guy that replaces it.Organic Unknowns Quote MEME

 

So what is your market awareness with regards to your artistic lane?

 

Scott Borchetta immediately knew there were no country artists that were writing and speaking for 9-14 year old kids when he saw Taylor Swift; they created a whole new lane.

No competition means it’s easy to dominate.

 

Get it?

 

How is your artistic lane different from what is already going on?

Do you have the balls to be different?Organic Fruit

 

What are you missing?

 

Are you aware of your “known unknowns”?

 

Are you aware there are “unknown unknowns” which will require you to have faith in someone else?

 

These are the questions a smart artist should be asking.

 

Maybe you need to rethink your definition of “organic”?

 

Stay

In

Tune.

 

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You Absolutely Can If You Will Your Life

Will Feature Image

I date a beautiful first grade teacher of 17 years who has two amazing daughters that are 11 and 8 years old.   The first week of this past October, it was their school fall break, so I took them up to Lake Geneva, Wisconsin for a couple days to see where I grew up. Lake Geneva is a beautiful, Will Lake Geneva Collagequaint, little tourist town nestled against a large natural lake with AMAZING homes on it (The Wrigley’s estate, the Walgreen’s estate, etc.) I contacted a former co-worker of mine (from a killer restaurant I used to bartend at 25 years ago) who remained in the thriving hospitality industry up there to get a deal on a resort room for the 2 nights we were going to stay. My friend, Geri, had married a guy named Lee who was a GM at one of the resorts. Geri was really a former co-worker and acquaintance to me, but a life-long friend to my little sister who also worked at this same restaurant with Geri and me at one point.

 

Geri came through, I got a sweet room at this amazing resort overlooking the breathtaking views of Lake Geneva for 50% off. This was accomplished through a small but succinct set of text messages.

 

1 week later my little sister texted me to tell me Geri had a brain aneurysm and Lee was about to pull the plug on life support.

 

My first thought: W…T…F

I still had those texts from just one week ago.

Geri had to be close to my age, give or take 3-5 years.

 

Will HeartbeaatIt’s at a moment like this I count my blessings and I take great solace in the fact that I wasn’t afraid to take risks in my life. Maybe that’s weird, but these are the things I think about when faced with my mortality (I don’t have kids of my own).

It’s true you know, on your death bed, the ONLY thing you will regret in life are the risks you didn’t take.

 

 

No one ever thought, “Whew, I’m glad I followed all the rules and flew below the RADAR screen of society my whole life.”

 

This past Friday, like everyone else in the world, I stared on with disbelief at the horrific events that happened in France.Will France Flag

 

There were people attending a huge soccer game, people out to eat with their families, and people attending a rock concert that were all senselessly and purposefully wiped out.

 

 

 

 

 

France has far stricter gun laws that the USA, if you weren’t aware.

Will gun control

 

So these people were exterminated by illegal handguns, illegal automatic weapons, and illegal explosives.

 

It was illegal and still, they were destroyed.

 

 

Who cares why? David Letterman said it best after the 9/11 attacks when he said (and I’m paraphrasing), “If you live to be 1,000 years old, will you EVER make any sense of this?”Will_David_Letterman

 

I mentioned the gun control statement not to start a political rant, but to open your eyes to the bigger picture beyond guns.

 

Your life is short and promised to no one.

 

Too many of you are drinking whatever Kool-Aid you prefer and not paying attention to what’s really going on.

 

Here’s what’s really going on:  You’re wasting time.

 

Will Wasting Time

 

Regardless of what your government says they’re going to do to protect you. Short of putting all 7 billion of us on the planet in straightjackets to shield us from each other, if someone truly wants to damage you they can and they will.

 

Life is never going to be fair in this regard.

 

So the question is, what are YOU going to do about it?Will Straightjacket Collage

 

Any lawman will tell you most crimes are crimes of opportunity, which means you did something stupid and left yourself vulnerable. This stupidity was unfortunately recognized by a criminal mind and the situation was exploited.

 

The first day I moved to California, I was staying in Venice. At the end of the night I had the wherewithal to remove the face of my car stereo and placed it in its case, however, I left the case on the passenger seat like a moron. Next day I awoke to a busted window, no stereo face, and mangled dashboard from the rookie who tried unsuccessfully to pull the unit.

 

That one was on me. It was preventable.

 

What isn’t preventable is when someone REALLY wants to hurt you. When that situation arises, you can only take care of yourself.

 

I’ve never owned a gun and I don’t hunt (hunting in Wisconsin = COLD).

 

The gun control arguments on both sides are laughable. My problem with these debates has nothing to do with guns.

 

It has to do with the byproduct of too much control (of any kind) which is creating a society of victims who rely and/or blame someone or something else for their lot in life.Will Concentration Camps License Rodrigo Galindez

When we don’t take responsibility for our own happiness, love, safety, health, mental health, job, life mission, etc., someone else will, I promise.

The more your government, parents, friends, lovers, etc. step in to protect, the more humans will rely on that and not do for themselves.

 

 

We’re just wired up that way.

 

Nobody is responsible for you but you.

 

And just like us all, you are broken.

Will something Broken MEME

We are all broken.

 

Maggie Rose wrote, “Life’s full of broken things, like hearts, homes, and dreams. We all come from something broken,”

 

You’re health, your heart, your home, it doesn’t matter, because you’re just like everyone else.

 

What will define you is how you play the hand you were dealt.

 

Will you choose to believe the media, the governments of the world, and your naysaying friends when they tell you someone or something else is responsible for your unhappiness?

 

Will Pressure

 

It’s easier to think that. Takes the pressure off of you, right?

You don’t have to do the work but you do have to live with the consequences.

 

 

 

My friend Geri and those unfortunate people in France all stupidly lost their lives too early.

 

Their loss of life was not their fault.

 

How they lived their lives up until that last moment was.

 

I don’t know any of the victims in France. I do know that Geri led a wonderful life. She had grown kids and fostered a loving marriage to her best friend, Lee.

Will Meaning of Life MEME. License Leland Francisco

Photo: Leland Francisco

 

I hate that she had to go.

 

I love what she did right up until that moment.

 

Want to know what the meaning of life is?

 

I know the answer. It’s easy.

 

You are a mission critical cog in the wheel of advancing human society.

Will Society MEME

 

Your job is to be a little smarter, a little wiser, a little worldlier, a little more creative, and a little more aware than your parents were. (For some of you, maybe you’re a LOT more of these things.)

 

 

 

 

 

STOP thinking about what you don’t have.

 

STOP blaming your parents, past events, sickness, trauma, blah, blah, blah.Will Stop Hand

 

STOP waiting around for something to happen to you and START making something happen FOR you.

 

START working with what you have in front of you right now.

 

START making moves right now.

 

You cannot change yesterday.

 

You cannot predict the future.

 

The only thing you can control is RIGHT NOW.

 

 

Will butts

 

 

You need knowledge and you need to apply that knowledge to become more powerful.

 

We all come from something broken so your excuses for not accomplishing what you want to accomplish are like butts, EVERYBODY HAS ONE AND THEY ALL STINK.

 

 

1,000 years of additional, positive, forward progress in our advanced society will not change the fact that one cannot guarantee your safety or any kind of equal outcome to your life experience.Will Downloading Future

 

So blaming anyone but yourself is futile.

 

It’s still going to be up to the individual to craft the results of their life.

 

 

Will BurglarIllegal guns, drugs, alcohol, knives, bombs, automobiles, and hurtful words choices designed strategically for the purposes of emotional abuse will not change the fact that if someone wants to hurt you they can and they will.

 

So it’s on you.

 

Nobody can make you feel inferior without your permission.

 

 

 

 

Who are you authorizing to make you feel bad, inadequate, pathetic, or downright horrible?Will Consent Quote

Is it family?

Friends?

The news channels?

Your government?

Drugs?

Alcohol?

Television?

 

What risks have you been putting off?

 

What are you scared of?

It’s time to love deeper and forget the B.S.

It’s time to be the kind of friend you’d like to have.

It’s time to start working on your dream; start that band, finish that song, record that demo, learn how to market your music, etc.

 

What would be going through your mind if you were one of the victims in France with an illegal AK-47 to the back of their head just before you were executed?

 

What would’ve been your regret?Will Cowboy Up

Life is a full contact sport and nobody gets out alive.

 

Don’t give anyone permission to take your happiness away and put it in the hands of anyone else.

 

You cowboy up and take the good with the bad.

Will Rocky collage

 

You’re going to screw up, we all screw up.

 

 

Get over it.

You’re going to fail, we all fail more than we succeed.

 

Get over it.

 

You’re going to have to get back up again, shake it off, and learn from the mistake.

 

It’s a scientific fact that the big win, the big score, the game-changer in your life will absolutely happen immediately following a failure that you had to recover from.

Will No Traffic Jams Extra Mile

 

Don’t wait, man.

You’re life is almost over.

 

 

You’re out of time.

 

There are no roadblocks in the extra mile. If you’re feeling them, you haven’t driven far enough.

 

Get to it.

 

Stay

In

Tune

 

 

 

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Honest Truth Requires Humility

Humility Feature Image

So I’m definitely “on one” right now, apologies in advance if it’s a little edgy. I’m thinking about all us artists and how, because we’re people, we tend to ignore truth and honesty. This is most certainly a byproduct of a lack of humility.

We ignore the honest truth our romantic relationships. (Ever catch yourself wanting to “win”?)

 

In our family relationships.Humility Family photo

 

In our friendships.

In our relationship with our music.

 

Why do we do this?

 

I call these “protection rackets”.

Humility Protection Racket

We are so easily hurt and wounded by the slightest criticism that we resort to defense mechanisms to deflect the pain and put ourselves, albeit inaccurately, into a better light.

 

Why do we use these protection rackets?

 

Why do we so desperately need them?

 

 

They’re destructive to relationships which means they’re destructive to your music and potential as an artist.

Why are we so quick to bow up with a defense rather than absorbing what is being said and processing it intelligently?

Humility Tornado Destructive

 

Maybe the information is coming from a source with an agenda which makes it questionable at best.

 

Maybe the information is coming from a source that is currently hostile for whatever reason so we take it with a “grain of salt”

 

But how many of us really listen and process before we respond?

 

Even the most naïve consumer offering up an opinion can have something important to tell you. Granted, they may be serving it up poorly or naively with regards to lingo and understanding, but we shouldn’t dismiss what they are trying to communicate simply because they can’t articulate it as intelligently as you.

 

Humility Always Improving

We should all understand that no matter what, we need to get better.

Then we’re always improving.

That means there is ALWAYS room for improvement, right? If this is in fact the credo we choose to live our lives by than why is it so intolerable when someone points out a flaw?

 

 

Why are we wired up to defend when someone is telling us we need to do more work?

 

I guess that’s where the humility comes in.  I think humility is a muscle that gets stronger when flexed. I can actually feel more humility just by saying I have it out loud.Humility Shout Meme

Say it out loud, “I HAVE HUMILITY!”

 

Humility means you have to listen with the intent to understand rather than the intent to reply.

 

That’s hard to do.

 

 

Have you ever met that obnoxious person who is constantly cutting you off with their reply? You can see them fidgeting, and feel the disruption in the energy flow because they’ve already tailored a response while you are still talking and simply cannot physically wait to bestow it upon you. Ugh.

Humility Defensive Bear

This is rude for two reasons:

  1. The gesture is annoying as hell and completely disruptive to a train of thought. One wants to free the thought and finish the point. This is hard enough sometimes without having to battle for the proverbial conch and/or talk over someone.
  2. The gesture is proof positive that the person is NOT listening to damn thing you are saying, making the conversation futile which is extremely frustrating especially when you really care about the subject matter.

 

Are you that obnoxious person occasionally?

 

Maybe you’re more socially behaved, but are you that person inside your head when you’re supposed to be listening?

Most of us are, don’t feel bad.

 

Humility Listening

 

I want you all to try to FOCUS on listening in the very next conversation that you have. Trust me, when the person is done talking you will formulate a response so STOP doing it while they are talking.

 

I’d be interested to hear back from y’all on that one. Was it really hard? Did you learn something from the communicator?

 

We need to be honest with ourselves.Humility Honesty Never Gets Old

 

We need the truth as it is what gets us closer to impeccability.

 

We need humility to accept the honest truth and refine the approach.

 

Somewhere in that message we want to deflect so bad, may lie the very key to creating something that is life changing or a step to life changing.

 

What if it’s a muse disguised as disapproval and hard work?

 

Humility Muse

 

There are many of you that are phoning in your marketing and behaving like children who lost their ice cream cone because it isn’t working.

 

How can one really be frustrated when the marketing effort and budget equals 1% of the artistic effort?

Humility Zero Results

 

 

 

 

That’s like spending a ton of money on a beautiful brand new car and being frustrated when you run out of gas because you refuse to spend money making it go. As simple as that metaphor is, I must say it is spot on.

 

No gas means it doesn’t run.

No gas means nobody sees and experiences your beautiful car unless they come over.

Humility Landscape

 

That’s a small market, man.

 

Sound familiar?

 

 

The major label deal some of you seek will drastically change that budget equation to look more like (at the very least) 80% of the capital budget and resources will be spent on marketing leaving only 20% for the product.Humility Budget Hippos

 

 

Think about that. I say it often but I want to get it in your heads.

 

 

 

 

Many of you are also not being honest with yourselves about the quality of your music.

It feels good to accomplish a recording no matter what the quality.  I know the feeling, man, you just want to exercise the muse and get the creativity into some immediately tactile form so you can “hear what it sounds like”.

I seriously get that.

Instant gratification feels good.

That good feeling doesn’t matter to the world, they will judge you only on what you have done.

Humility Chassis

 

Using the car analogy, an engineer should feel excited when he’s created a killer blue print for that beautiful new car.  Personally, as a consumer, I don’t give a shit; show me the car.

 

Get it?

 

If you’re a novice that is just about making music for the sake of making music, God bless, move at your own speed.

 

If you aspire to be a professional then there is a level to which you must play at lest you be thrown into a gun fight armed with a butter knife. Humility Knife and Gun

 

You will lose.

 

The feeling of losing is frustrating, I don’t care who you are. So many of you are experiencing frustration because you have set yourself up to fail from the start.

 

The good news is that’s completely fixable once you find the humility to swallow that jagged little pill.

 

 

 

Humility Pills

 

I’m not saying conform in any way, I named my company Daredevil Production for a reason.

 

I AM saying you can’t use “breaking the rules” or some kind of “outlaw” mentality as a defense for avoiding the honest truth; you always need to be working and learning.

 

The TRUTH is you need to know all the rules before you can break them.  Breaking them is great, but you need to know WHY and HOW you’re breaking them or you’ll never have a clear project vision.

 

Without a clear vision it’s impossible to orchestrate the social movement towards your music and your brand you desire to create. Everything hasHumility Clear Vision to work together, the lyrics, the melodies, the instrumentation, the message, the image, the genre, the recording, the marketing, etc.  It’s complicated and trust me you won’t hit anything throwing darts in the dark!

 

You need humility to be able to identify the people, places, and things that will make us better.

 

 

 

With humility we can more clearly see the honest truth.

Humility Listen Better Meme

With humility we listen better.

 

With humility we evaluate better.

 

With humility we operate better.

 

 

With humility we spend our precious resources better.

With humility we become better people, lovers, parents, and artists.

With humility we are open for improvement.

Without humility we believe we are perfect.

If you believe you are perfect then don’t change a thing.

 

 

Stay

In

Tune

 

 

If you like this post, please SHARE it and/or LEAVE A COMMENT thank you!

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