Tag Archive for: Kelly Schoenfeld

A blessing is how country singer-songwriter Tanya Marie Harris refers to the last three years.

At the top of 2013 she began pursuing a music career. Her first single, “A Woman Scorned,” hit No. 1 on the Roots Music Report Country Chart in 2013. The track was done with producers Johnny Dwinell and Kelly Schoenfeld, of Daredevil Production, on Music Row in Nashville, Tenn.

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I was reviewing the overwhelming responses to the “Best Of 2014” email we sent out (Thank you all again for those!) and the email signature of one response caught my eye. The signature had this quote from C.S. Lewis, “It’s hard to see things if you don’t know what they look like”

I don’t know why but I fixated on it.

Read it again…”It’s hard to see things if you don’t know what they look like”How Can You see FEAR


My immediate interpretation of that quote was that it articulates fear.

Artists that come or operate from a place of fear are weakened by the anxiety of the unknown.

The unknown becomes something real to them in their head, something frightening, alarming, or just plain unattractive.

They think they know what they are dreaming up is supposed to look like but without the work to actually see how the inspiration manifests itself, the reality is they don’t know what it looks like.


They stop working or pass on an opportunity simply because of a flawed thought process.


The good news is that’s fixable.

Just do the work.

How can you see do the work image


Here’s a real life example.  Kelly and I were developing a very young artist a few years back.  He is a very gifted, very special guitar player.  He has been touring since he turned 19 and continues to make a living doing what he loves (and was clearly born) to do.

When he came to Nashville at 17 years old, he was operating from a place of fear in many aspects of his life yet he still had the balls to move at such a young age; the dichotomy!


You see he’s a rocker/blues guitarist at heart.

His fear manifested itself in quite a few disruptive behaviors that hindered his career as an artist and professional musician.


DSC05491-BTo his credit, he has worked and continues to work diligently to further his livelihood and explore more fearless, creative, and fulfilling methods of thinking.

Kelly and I had dreamt up a few different ideas that would spotlight his talent creatively and in the marketplace albeit residing on the fringe of the country music market.


That’s a pretty damn diverse market these days.

We promised the artist (like we do ALL of our artists) we would never put him somewhere where he doesn’t belong or doesn’t want to be.

We promised the artist that if he put in the work, we recorded something, and he hated it, we wouldn’t care. Kelly and I knew it would be a stepping stone to discovering the artistic lane.


We thought we could do a rock record very cleverly arranged that could end up being spun on country music radio (which makes sense on a business level because it’s the biggest “store front” at the moment).  Remember, whether you like them or hate them, Florida Georgia Line changed country radio forever.

Country radio changed for them instead of them changing for country radio.


We felt we could do the same with this artist by making radio change for his lane.

He was DEATHLY afraid that we were going to try to put a cowboy hat on his head, cowboy boots on his feet, and a hayseed in this teeth.



Kelly and I desperately tried to reason with him. Of course, we didn’t care how he dressed.

I told him, “Close your eyes and picture yourself listening down to all the mixes on your record.  It’s everything you wanted to do. You are proud of this record!  Can you picture that?”

“Yes” he responded.

“Now then, why do you care where I sell it?”

I thought that one would “corner him with logic” but alas, it didn’t.


We asked him, what do you want to do?


He didn’t know what he wanted to, instead he constantly focused on what he thought he didn’t want to do based on what he saw in his imagination.


There was no recording.


This infuriated me because we never did ANY work and he had the ultimate artistic hall pass, we agreed to scrap anything and everything he didn’t like after we recorded it.

He was afraid to explore.PUMPKIN PATCH 085

He was afraid to “play in our sandbox”.

He couldn’t see it because he didn’t know what it looked like.

If you really dig down you can never know what an original artistic creation will look like in advance.


Knowing exactly what it looks like is a euphemism for “DERIVATIVE”

Originality requires courage.

Courage is action in the face of fear.

How can you see Courage image


Earlier this year, this artist called me after he heard The Cadillac Three’s “Party Like You” and said, “I get it now.  I get what you and Kelly were trying to do”.


It’s a badass rock record getting spins on country radio, but I digress.



The second interpretation of the quote “It’s hard to see things when you don’t know what they look like” was self-forgiveness.

how can you see forgive yourself

Let me save you the suspense, when artists courageously go forward with their art they will make mistakes.


Good decisions come from experience. Experience comes from making bad decisions.how can you see good decisions image


Here’s an example:  My first tour was a financial failure because I allowed the booking agent to walk all over me.  The rest of my touring life as an artist was a financial success because I knew what it was supposed to look like after having screwed it up.


Here’s another example:  from the time I was 16-20 years old I secretly adored this girl that worked at the Lake Geneva record store.  I would buy records I had no business buying because I wanted an excuse to speak with her.

how can you see relationship meme


She was gorgeous. Everything I thought I wanted in a woman. During my first tour (yes, the financially unsuccessful one) I found out she was everything I didn’t want in a woman.

It’s hard to see things when you don’t know what they look like so if you got burned, man, then LET IT GO.


Now that you know what it looks like you can see it clearly.

There is no shame in making a mistake with something you couldn’t see because you didn’t know what it looked like.How can you see Let It Go image

The shame is making the same mistake twice when you do recognize it.

I wish us all a GREAT 2015 y’all!


Stay in tune.


How can you see speak no evil

How can you see what would you do quote

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 They say that one really can’t be successful until they get their mind, body, and spirit “in tune”.

in tune mind body spirit triangle

What does that mean exactly?

If an instrument is not in tune it is displeasing to the ear. Hell, it evokes hostility in Kelly and me. It induces uncomfortable feelings of dis-ease and horror, plugging of the ears, tilted heads in an audience, and empty rooms. A listener cannot be attracted to music for too long if there is utter dissonance.file4671348049272

The same is true for your life and your artist career.


Think about that, it’s worth repeating, the SAME is true for your life and your artist career!

You have to learn to get in tune and stay in tune or you become unattractive.

I would have to say that for an artist (because we all crave attention and acceptance) becoming unattractive is probably the single most frightening scenario imaginable.

When one’s life is out of tune, the ripple effects are debilitating and constantly problematic.

Do you feel like this with your career sometimes?

I think “in tune” means several things to an artist.



The Mind



I think that your mind has to really be in tune with your artistry.  Many artists never accomplish this (even though everyone of ‘em thinks they have).

Many artists are vague about exactly where their respective artistic lane is, so they continue emulating a.k.a. being derivative.

Many artists simply won’t and therefore don’t put in the work necessary to discover a unique artistic lane.

It’s a process.

in tune the only way out is throughThe only way out is through.

Many artists are simply too scared or private to dig down that deep and share their truth with a bunch of people they don’t know.


I get this by the way.


Most people, artists or not, are scared to discover their truth; even privately for themselves. This is a natural human reaction and quite frankly the willingness to share and be that exposed to the world is what makes real artists so special to all of us.

Real artists speak to our inner souls by being that uncovered, that raw.

Many artists are not in tune with the business side of music, so while they may be making something incredible, nobody is ever going to hear it which makes it impossible to fulfill a dream of being a professional at any level.

Follow me on this next metaphorical concept.

When I watch Kelly produce a vocal, it’s a work of art.

in tune Kelly and Rachel working on a vocal  I’m astounded.  I’ve learned from Kelly that what makes a killer vocal is not only the attention to big notes that everyone is drawn to (because it’s obvious and easy), rather the attention to the little, quick, passing tones and notes.  When those notes are in tune, and the artist is selling the lyrics that fall on those notes, the vocal soars with confidence.

It’s the difference between a mediocre vocal and a stellar vocal.



Think about that in terms of staying in tune with your whole artist experience.  If you only focus on the obvious stuff and overlook the crap you get bored with easily you are not in tune.


It’s attention to detail.

It’s the difference between a mediocre career and a stellar career.

Many artists are not in tune with the simple desire to constantly improve.in tune work hard stay humble

Some are lazy, and aren’t willing to do the necessary work.

Some are delusional, devoid of humility, and think they’re amazing.

Some are both.

They get ate up with glitz and glitter of their artist daydream and how they feel it should look rather than working on being better and accepting the fact that real life is never like you imagine it will be, artist or not.

If a situation or opportunity presents itself that isn’t consonant with the script in their daydream, it is shunned, ignored, forgotten, left to rot, with no action taken.

This is far too common of an occurrence.


The Spirit

in tune Mind Body Spirit cool logo

I see so many artists that are unfortunately spiritually broken.  Sadly, the uber-sensitive, spiritually-shattered artist is what typically makes compelling art.

But there is the search for your spiritual truth and spiritual peace.

There is an art to getting comfortable in your own skin.

This pursuit requires work as well.in tune LOVE YOURSELF


Work many of us are not willing to do.


There exists a delicate dance between a tortured past which has to be forgiven but never forgotten so one can function at the highest level in life, and the cathartic exercise of reliving the past, to write about it, which helps in processing the pain and hopefully healing.

The Body.



Just because it looks good doesn’t mean it’s in tune.

Just like everyone I fall off my workouts and slowly dip into lethargy like the proverbial frog in the pan where the water is slowly heated up.

Here’s the kicker, every time I get off my ass to get back to the gym I INSTANTLY feel better.

Yes maybe a little sore but my energy level immediately spikes and stays more consistent throughout the day.

I handle good stress better.

I handle bad stress better.

I drink less.

I eat better.

I feel better about the way I look and therefore immediately become more attractive.

That’s what we want right?

in tune law of attraction


To be more attractive?

More attractive to our fans.

More attractive to business prospects.

More attractive to our significant others.


What exactly are you doing to keep your mind in tune with your art?

What exactly are you doing to get your spirit in tune and settle your soul?

What exactly are you doing to get your body in tune?

I want y’all to think about that.


Stay in tune.


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Fearless Production fate loves the fearless

I really want to share something with y’all.  It may sound a bit self-serving but I’m thinking of you (as always) so read through to the end…you’ll get it.  Here’s the deal, I’m super excited today. Kelly Schoenfeld and I were chosen to develop an artist who has really got the gift.  This artist’s vocal tone is rich and the control she has over her instrument is astounding.  She sounds vintage, like REALLY vintage.Fearless Production Patsy Cline

She sounds like a cross between (and this is going to sound weird but it is accurate) a 25 year old Patsy Cline and Dwight Yoakam.

So here’s the kicker…she’s 11.

The reason they chose Daredevil Production was fearless production and marketing.

I feel they recognized we were willing to find a formula to feature her Fearless Production Dwight Yoakamold-fashioned vocal tone with a modern musical landscape.  Also we had the added benefit of a solid marketing plan to begin building a demand for the record now to create sales whenever it’s finished.

We are quite proud of that.

We wanted to accent her strengths and build something current around where she lives artistically which once again is a vintage sound.

Fearless Production do something different for a change

We wanted to do something different.

We wanted to do something that is currently NOT happening on the radio.

We were in tune with where the artist and her parents wanted to go and we are in a position to do something about it.


This got me thinking about all of you.

Your artistry.

Kelly and I are fearless when it comes to developing artists that are unique (thus the name Daredevil Production) because we are confident that we know how to find an audience that is willing to and wanting to listen to their art the way they want to do it.

You can target your audience through social mediafile000458994938

That’s a big bonus in the new music industry y’all should be exploiting regularly.  You can target your audience through social media.  You can create demand.  It will be foreign at first but it’s doable and people make money at it every day.

Radio will change for her instead of her changing for radio

We understand that we can artistically guide this artist to a place where she can make a living her way. If there is enough momentum to really blow her up then radio will change for her instead of her changing for radio.

Love ‘em or hate ‘em that’s the way Florida Georgia Line did it. There’s your proof it can be done.

How many of you are chasing something that is already popular artistically speaking?

Here we have a very cool situation that shouldn’t really be that unique but sadly, it is.  The circumstances are that we have an artist with extreme talent, who we believe has an insatiable work ethic, is completely open to “playing in the sandbox” with us artistically, and willing to embrace new marketing strategies as well.

In other words, the artist and her parents are unencumbered by “the way it used to be” or by “the way it should be” in their heads which literally frees them up to accomplish anything.

Fearless Production the sky's the limitThe Sky’s the limit.


Are you thinking like this?

Are you open to and actively operating your independent artist business in the new music business model or are you stuck in the old music business model?


Want some more proof?

Taylor Swift is operating out of the new business model.Fearless Production Taylor Swift

  • As of this week she is the only artist EVER to have 3 records in a row sell more than 1 million units in the first 7 days of release.
  • She is also the first artist to have a 1st week million selling release since Eminem in 2002.
  • “1989” is a personal best with first week sales outselling all her previous albums.
  • If that wasn’t enough, she is the ONLY artist in any genre to have a million selling record this year.

All this happened with a record that received ZERO support from country radio where all her previous releases were Fearless Production Taylor Swift 1989promoted.

Think about that for a second.

She literally jumped ship and abandoned the pipeline that fed her so well throughout her storied career.

1 word:  GUTS.

The reason she can do this is because she has a serious connection with her audience (they’re called Swifties).  She is constantly thinking about new ways to market her music.

Fearless Production mark twain quoteIn many past articles I have written about how it is much easier for the artists to make a living these days in the music business. This is true if you’re willing to operate with a completely open mind free of your ego, daydream scripts, and nostalgia.

Are you truly making something great or do you have to give a disclaimer before someone listens to your music?

Are you serious about cracking the code to creating and deepening relationships online with your fans?


That takes real work.Fearless Production Do one thing every day that scares you

I promise that if a fan feels they have a connection with you and your music they will easily pay $10 to support you. Even more.



The only thing standing in your way is you.


Stay tuned about this 11 year old artist, you will be hearing from her soon.


Oh, and stay in tune.



Fearless Production keep calm and stay in tune



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