ROCK IT Blogs
Blog # 32
WE NEED TO TALK .. According to REBA McIntyre, THERE ARE 3 things you need to succeed …
- A wishbone
- A backbone
- And a funny bone
… to ROCK IT
Blog # 31
WE NEED TO TALK .. THERE ARE 3 WAYS TO FAIL …
- COMPLAIN about everything
- BLAME others for your fate
- NEVER be grateful
OR … You can ‘STOP COMPLAINING’, STOP BLAMING OTHERS and BE GRATEFUL … THEN, you might be ‘READY’ to ROCK IT
Blog # 30
WE NEED TO TALK .. If someone has great credentials but, you’re having trouble with their ‘style’ or their manner of doing business … Remember … it works for them. If you want to ROCK IT … it takes a village … and there are many new ‘styles’ to be discovered, in every successful village.
Blog # 29
WE NEED TO TALK .. When Scott Hendricks, EVP A&R Warner Nashville was a fledgling engineer, the best advice ever given to him was regarding an artist who was in the studio recording. She wasn’t really that good but the advice given to him by future President of Warner Bros. Jim Ed Norman was … This is her moment and we need to do everything possible to help her have her moment. Lift up others … they deserve to ROCK IT too …
Blog # 28
WE NEED TO TALK .. JUST DO IT … Quit smoking, start exercising, eat better, lose weight, get lots of sleep, drink lots of water … Just DO IT … Whatever it is that you must do, to feel all the confidence in the world … to feel good about yourself. Only then will you be ready to ROCK IT …
ARTISTS … TAKE NOTE !
THERE’S A MOMENT, in the video, where, Mr. Sinatra sings “for blue-blooded girls with independent means.” At the moment, when he says ‘independent means’ he is ‘slightly’ distracted by the cameraman. He acknowledges it professionally and immediately returns to business. IT SPEAKS VOLUMES … ‘PRICELESS’
Blog # 26
WE NEED TO TALK .. Trust is # 1 … Everything changes, when you work with people, who you trust implicitly.
Think about ‘who’ you need the most. Perhaps, it’s a producer, perhaps it’s a manager or maybe it’s a really good marketing/pr person. Or maybe it’s all 3. Now, don’t stop knocking on doors until you find the one(s) you trust ‘implicitly’. The difference is night and day, if you ever hope to ROCK IT … Ps; people who can be trusted, will not trust you, if you have ‘trust issues’, so get over them. Trust must be mutual.
Blog # 25
WE NEED TO TALK .. This one is specifically, for ‘female’ artists/songwriters/musicians, producers, engineers, mixers, programmers … etc … and future execs.
Last night BMI hosted a wonderful event.
90 % of the attendees, who packed the lobby at BMI, were women. All of these extremely successful panelists (look up their discographies) were relentless because they love what they do, despite the industry being so male-dominated, just like Dave Cobb.
The overall message being …
If you don’t throw your hat into the ring, you’ll never know that, you can ROCK IT… ‘Be Relentless’
Blog # 24
WE NEED TO TALK .. ATTITUDE IS EVERYTHING … You’re broke, your bills are piling up, your band members are all bitching at you about bookings and money and you have an important meeting coming up, for a gig. You have two choices … You can go into that meeting with a smile on your face or, you can bring a big dark cloud into that meeting, because that’s how you’re feeling right now. The difference is your success. So put on your game-face … ROCK IT by being a great actor in the face of despair and raise everyone else up. Be a great hang. That’s who people do business with.
Blog # 23
WE NEED TO TALK .. Music Videos are such a vital part of the Music Industry. Last month, I had one of the industry’s most celebrated Music Video Directors on The Producer’s Chair. For those of you planning music videos, read what Trey Fanjoy/Feather Productions had to say.
The Producer’s Chair: Can a music video make a hit record out of an average song?
Trey Fanjoy: Absolutely, I do believe that. I come as a fan first. And so music videos were around for a long time before I ever became a director and I was a fan first. And there have been many videos that made me buy a record.
The Producer’s Chair: What is the most important part of your process from beginning to end?
Trey Fanjoy: Prior to the actual shoot date you’ll have what’s called a “tech scout”. A tech scout is when I bring all of the department heads, what they call “keys” and your keys will be: the gaffer, the key grip, the art director, the DP, the AD (the assistant director), and of course your production staff. So we will have a tech scout and what we do on the tech scout is we do an actual run through prior to the actual shoot date. And it is so completely detailed. I show up with a shot list. And my list has complete details of every single shot that we are going to do that day. We will do a walk through, we know where we’re going to place the generator, where we’re going to park the motor home, the grip truck, where we’re going to wrangle the cable. We talk about how we’re going to light that scene so that we know exactly what equipment needs to be ordered. I’ll bring a view-finder out, but there are no cameras, unless I’m just taking stills for references. We’re just talking about every single shot, from a lighting and equipment standpoint. I don’t know how other directors do it without a tech scout. I would not want to be their client, hahahaha.
You should read my Producer’s Chair column and see what Trey has been up to. Here’s the link: http://theproducerschair.com/rowfax/
She knows how to ROCK IT
Blog # 21
WE NEED TO TALK .. Are you a singer? If so, do you have a vocal coach? Are you a musician? If so, how many hours per day, so you practice? Are you a songwriter? Have you ever read a book on, the Craft of Songwriting? My point … How could you possibly know your potential, if you don’t insist on getting better, at what you do?
ROCK IT and watch what happens.
Blog # 20
WE NEED TO TALK .. WHAT MOTIVATES YOU? Please … really think about this.
Are you motivated by the thought of becoming a ‘Star’ because of the money? … Are you motivated by the thought of fame? … Perhaps that’s the problem.
There’s something about it being all about ‘YOU’ that always gets in the way … in the way of ‘REAL PURPOSE’.
How about … I’m going to succeed because, my bass player has stood by me for 9 years and he and his family need this. How about … my mentor, who has spent endless hours with me ‘at no cost’ and did- so because, he believed in me, deserves to know that, it was not in vein. Or how about … If it be God’s will that I become famous, I am going to build animal shelters. My point … Be motivated for the right reasons. Is this really about you?
NOW ROCK IT and watch what happens.
Blog # 19
WE NEED TO TALK .. Singers,Songwriters and Musicians are some of the most driven, courageous people on the face of the earth. They deal with more day-to-day rejection in one year than most people do in a lifetime. Every day, they face the financial challenge of living a freelance lifestyle, the disrespect of people who think they should get real jobs, and their own fear that they’ll never work again. Every day, they have to ignore the possibility that the vision they have dedicated their lives to is a pipe dream. With every note they stretch themselves, emotionally and physically, risking criticism and judgment. With every passing year, many of them watch as the other people their age achieve the predictable milestones of normal life – the car, the house, the family, the nest egg.
Why? Because musicians, singers and songwriters are willing to give their entire lives to a moment – to that melody, that lyric, that chord, or that interpretation that will stir the audience’s soul. They are beings who have tasted life’s nectar in that crystal moment when they poured out their creative spirit and touched another’s heart. In that instant, they were as close to magic, God, and perfection as anyone could ever be. And in their own hearts, they know that to ROCK IT for that moment is worth a thousand lifetimes.
Blog # 18
WE NEED TO TALK .. There are all kinds of producers who will produce anybody who walks through their door … and they give that client their very best effort in the studio. Why … because they have bills to pay. However, most often than not, they are doing what is commonly referred to as ‘Polishing Turds’, which means … the artist has lousy songs. The singing can be good and the musicians hired to play on the sessions are great but, the songs suck. On projects such as these, the producer will not be responsible for, what happens to that artist and their project, once it’s finished.
If you really want to know ‘going-in’ what your producer’s true feelings are about you and your songs, ask him if he plans on committing to doing anything with you, beyond the studio. Producers don’t show their intentions by, paying for you to record a project. Producers show their true interest in you, by their commitment to you and your project, once completed. If your producer is not prepared to ROCK IT on your behalf, you may have the wrong producer. And if that’s the case … you probably have lousy songs.
Blog # 17
WE NEED TO TALK .. Everything you do is a reflection of your regard for ‘The Music’. Consequently … your regard for ‘The Music’ determines the industry’s regard for you. Capiche?
If you’re a songwriter, be a perfectionist. Work your ass off on your musical intros and endings, as much as you do your lyrics, before you play the song
If you’re a band leader, make sure everybody in your band plays the song, ‘note-perfect’.
Honor the music and ROCK IT
Blog # 16
WE NEED TO TALK .. DON’T SELL YOURSELF SHORT … INSIST ON ‘THE BEST’
Everything starts, when you come out of that studio, with your new album/EP, in hand. Now, what’s your next move? Find your ‘TEAM’, be it an agent, a manager and a PR Firm, or a new band, a label and an attorney. But ‘DON’T SELL YOURSELF SHORT’.
The musicians that your producer surrounded you with are some of the best session cats in Nashville. Your producer and you scrutinized ‘every word’ and note of every song. Everything about your project is ‘World Class’ … “Keep it that way.” … INSIST ON ‘THE BEST’ team you can get. Start at the top and work down from there. You will land, where you belong. Then … you can ROCK IT
Blog # 15
WE NEED TO TALK .. EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED … and go with the flow
For example … You have one song in particular that, your fans always want to hear. So you place it, where you think it should be in your set-list … last song of the night … and inevitably, the audience starts requesting the song, in your second set. So … you play the song and it causes you to completely change your set lists, on-the-spot, for the rest of the night, and you have a better night than, you could have ever imagined.
I recently planned a video shoot, scene by scene. But when we were on the shoot, 5 significant things happened that, were totally unexpected. I replaced 5 ideas I had going in, with the 5 unexpected things … and guess what … the results were better than I could have ever imagined. Call it ‘Divine Intervention’, call it coincidence, call it fate, call it what you like …
EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED … go with the flow and you’ll ROCK IT every time.
Blog # 14
WE NEED TO TALK .. I can’t believe that, next month, 2016 is half-over?
So this is probably a good time, to take stock of your numbers, so far this year … Get a piece of paper … I’ll wait … OK … here we go …
How many gigs have you done, how many albums did you sell, how many single downloads did you sell, how many new fans have you connected with, how many new songs have you written, how much merch have you sold, how much mailbox money (royalties) did you receive, how many ‘Charity Functions’ did you do, for your community, what are your projections for June?
If your numbers are looking bleak … Trust, what ‘every’ producer has said, on The Producer’s Chair, since Day 1 …
“IT’S ‘ALL’ ABOUT THE SONGS”
If you want to ROCK IT … in 2016, RECORD A NEW 5-SONG EP
“IT’S ‘ALL’ ABOUT THE SONGS”
Blog # 13
WE NEED TO TALK .. As today is MOTHERS DAY, this blog is for your moms, so please make sure they see it.
When you discovered that your son or daughter was blessed with a musical ear, they were probably in public school and you were so proud of them, singing in the choir, playing in the school band or dancing around the living room, to the music on your stereo. Then, the next thing you know, they were grown-up and wanted to pursue music careers and that probably, wasn’t what you had in mind for them. So today, you probably worry constantly.
This is my MOTHERS DAY gift to you … THE TRUTH … The folks who run the music industry are just like you. They love and protect the artist, honor the musician, cherish the songwriter and teach young execs. So if there’s no way you can talk your son or daughter out of their dream … tell them to go for it and reach for the stars … that’s where these folks are. That’s where your sons and daughters will be well taken care of. Help them ROCK IT … HAPPY MOTHERS DAY
Blog # 12
WE NEED TO TALK .. Have you ever thought about, what could happen to your career, if you actually met ‘The Right’ Producer? I’m talking about the one, who loves your songs, your voice and working with you … It’s simply a matter of doors. The name of the game … How many Producer’s doors can you walk through, without getting discouraged, before you walk through the right one and find that producer? And if that seems like a daunting task, contact me firstname.lastname@example.org … I just may know which doors should be on your list. If you want to ROCK IT, stop waiting to be discovered. You’ve gotta let them know you exist.
Blog # 11
WE NEED TO TALK ..“How can I get anything done musically … I’m working a full-time job, just to pay the bills and fund a music career that, I don’t have time for?”
Sound familiar? … Here’s how …
Start with a single ‘FOCUSSED’ step ‘EVERY DAY or EVENING’. Do that for 1 week consistently and I guarantee you, you’ll see some results, be it, the completion of a second verse or to raise another $ 200, to put towards your next project. Now multiply ‘that’ results by 52. Now look back 52 weeks and just think about what you could have accomplished over the past year if, you’d started with a single step, a year ago. You’ve all heard the expression ‘Less is More’ … QUALITY not quantity.
If you ‘EARN IT’ the industry will help you ROCK IT.
Blog # 10
WE NEED TO TALK .. It takes money, to make money … but the truth is … most independent artists are ‘leaving money on the table’. Which means … they’re not benefiting financially, from every potential income source, available to artists. So here’s a 10-point check list of ‘Artist Income Streams’.
- Merchandise (album & EP sales, ball caps, t-shirts, beer cozies, etc …)
- Ad revenue on your website
- Youtube video ad revenue
- On-line album & EP sales
- On-line single download sales
- Create your own gigs and sell tickets
Private Funding (family, friends, fans & business associates, in-town & out-of-town) will be a lot more likely, to assist you financially, if they can see that you’re doing everything in your power, to succeed.
If you’re not postured to take advantage of every income stream available, why would anyone, be interested in investing in you, be it a family member or a record label. If you truly want to make more money this year, than you did last year … stop ‘leaving money on the table’ … give a lot of thought to each ‘thing’ that you’re not doing and ROCK IT.
Blog # 9
WE NEED TO TALK ..The interesting thing with younger artists is, sometimes they don’t exactly know what they’re about and you kinda have to experiment and explore and help them go through the journey of finding themselves. You can have a person that’s a wonderful singer and player and can do a bunch of cover tunes, but when you ask them, ‘Well, who are you?’ What do you wanna say? They don’t know the answer to that.
Don’t chase a trend. Don’t chase something. I think you have to be authentic because if you aren’t, people are gonna see through it and there’s so many people, you know, that started chasing trends in our business, you know, whether or not you want to call it bro-country or whatever. And I think that some of those people have every right to be there because that’s authentically who they are. Some of the people that have chased that I think are gonna wake up one day and find that it wasn’t authentic and they’re gonna be sorry for the choices that they’ve made. You gotta be true to yourself and who you are, if you want to ROCK IT
Jay Demarcus / Rascal Flatts
Blog # 8
WE NEED TO TALK .. Thanks to the internet, every indie artist and singer/songwriter on the planet has a place to present their music to the world but, the number of artists out there is so overwhelming that, the question is … what can you do, to stand-out, in the crowd?
Think about this … How would you like to be recording with the greatest musicians on the planet. I’m talking about the guys who played on Chris Stapleton’s record, Lionel Richie’s records or Bob Dylan’s Nashville Skyline album, or Kacey Musgraves or Kings of Leon, Miranda, Martina, George Strait, Blake Sheldon, Luke Bryan, Jason Isbel, Brandy Clarke, Cyndi Lauper, or Taylor Swift and the list goes on. They’re all right here in Nashville. And guess what … they’re all looking for work … because, that’s what they do. They are the genius session players behind every major artist who has ever recorded in Nashville … and they’re waiting for producers to book them, on your session.
Whether you’re a major artist or, you’re going into the studio, for the very first time, you could be playing with the ‘NASHVILLE CATS’, if you have the right producer. So if you want to ‘stand-out, in the crowd’, do it with your music. Get a producer whose ‘plugged-in’ and he’ll surround you with ‘THE BEST’ and ROCK IT.
Blog # 7
WE NEED TO TALK .. As it is Easter Sunday, I thought it might be a good time to talk about having ‘Faith’. When I was 6, I jumped on stage one night, for the first time, at my aunt Marge & Uncle Phil’s dance pavilion on Kahshe Lake, in Gravenhurst, Ontario and sang a song, with the band, just to see what it would feel like. I was hooked … that did it … so when I was 8, I took piano lessons, when I was 12, I took guitar lessons, at 15, I was studying trombone and playing drums in the senior band in high school and that same year, I got into my first band, playing keyboard. Now … 2016 is my 41st year working full-time, in the music industry.
Looking back … the truth was … I was average at all of them and I knew it but, I didn’t care. I ‘went for it’ because I had ‘Faith’ that God made me that way. He instilled in me the love of music and the Faith to pursue it. So, how could I not … and it was just that simple.
The business of music is no different than any other business. Every business started with Faith. The only way you’ll ever know if you should pursue a career in music is, if you trust the Faith that, God instilled in you. If you have little Faith, simply ‘enjoy the music’. If you have a lot of Faith … ‘make the music’ and ROCK IT .
Blog # 6
WE NEED TO TALK .. Independent Artists … Releasing a song to radio, without the support of a label, has never been an easy task. And having a music video to accompany the song is even more daunting a task, because of the expense. But that was yesterday … Today, independent artists are getting radio airplay on reporting stations, non-reporting stations and numerous internet radio charts. And … they have music videos to release as well. So how do they do it? Have they all got rich parents? NO they don’t …They’re just conscious of ‘what they need’ from the beginning, before they even go into the studio and they make it happen, come hell or high water..
Radio wants new music, so don’t be afraid to do your homework. Talk to the stations in the vicinity of where you live or where you’re going to be touring and make a point of being there, in-person, to press-the-flesh. And as far as internet radio goes … contact as many as you’d like and find out what their criteria’s are, for airing new artists … and then, follow up and send them your first single & video.
The video … This past weekend (and it wasn’t the first time), I hired an excellent videographer, with great equipment, to come into the studio, where the artist was recording and capture the recording sessions on video, add some b-roll, and he produced a ‘killer’ music video, for $ 500. You can too.
Be hell-bound and determined, when planning your sessions, your music videos and the release of your songs. We live in a world that’s looking for ‘great’ new music so, do it like the big-boys … and ROCK IT.
Blog # 5
WE NEED TO TALK .. Being an ‘Artist’ really boils down to two things … Recording and Performing. But I’m of the opinion that, performing is really what it’s all about. Performing is like no other job on the planet. And whether you do it because you love the applause or whether you truly love people or because God wants you to use the talents that, he bestowed upon you from birth, for HIS purpose, everything you do musically, leads to, performing the songs that you have recorded. In today’s market, that’s where you sell your CD or EP that, you’ve worked so hard on. It’s ‘SHOWTIME’ … That’s what puts butts in those seats and in return get’s you more gigs, Performing is where your money is … so does it not stand to reason that, the better you are at performing your songs, the more success you’ll have? Fans spend a lot of money when they’re coming to see you play. They want to look cool so, they buy a new outfit, they put gas in their cars, pay for parking, they buy tickets, alcohol, food and you’re CD, before they leave. So how much did it cost them to come and see you ‘PERFORM’? GIVE THEM, THEIR MONEY’S WORTH. The first band I was ever in, we designed our own show but the second band I was in, I wanted to play larger venues so, I hired someone to help me design the show. If you’re not sure if you need help, it’s easy … just look at your current schedule. If you’re not booked-up for the next 12 months ‘minimum’, then you’re not ‘packing rooms’, which means you need professional PERFORMANCE & STAGING help, if you truly want to ROCK IT. Being an ‘Artist’ really boils down to two things … Recording and Performing.
Blog # 4
WE NEED TO TALK .. Out of Sight – Out of Mind … When was the last time you recorded some new material? If it was more than two years ago, I guarantee you’re on-line sales have dwindled to ‘nil’ and your enthusiasm for selling your old CD at your gigs has, as well. When was the last time you left your merch in the trunk of your car because, it’s been so long since you’ve sold any? When was the last time you had new t-shirts made, with a whole new look? ‘Business’ to a great extent is ‘monkey-see–monkey-do’. We model business plans after other business plans that we’ve seen work, consistently. In case you haven’t noticed, major artists record a new project every two years, on average. So what does that tell you? The benefits of ‘consistency’ are ‘all’ financial … not to mention, the reason why we all got into this business in the first place… TO MAKE MUSIC. Keep it coming … Start planning your next studio project ‘NOW’ and believe me … you’ll ROCK IT sooner … rather then later.
Blog # 3
WE NEED TO TALK .. “Your success depends on the songs you record”. One of two things happens in the studio … everybody spends their time ‘polishing turds’ or, ‘putting the icing on the cake’. The choice is yours … Before you record a song that you wrote 6 months ago, or 6 days ago, take the time to re-visit the lyric, tweak the melody, decide where you want harmonies, think about your intro, tempo and groove and rehearse it, until its second nature. Unfinished songs and unprepared artists get recorded every day, all over Nashville because, the studio and the musician’s job, is not to question the songs you want to record, or your preparedness, their job is to do their best job recording the songs you bring them. If you want their respect … respect the music. Only then, will you ‘Be Prepared’ to ROCK IT.
BLOG # 2
WE NEED TO TALK .. The term ‘PRODUCER’ gets thrown around in the music industry, like the title of ‘CHEF’ does in the kitchen. My point being … a ‘Producer’ can mean a-lot of things to a–lot of people but, what it means to you, is the most important. Now I know that, a lot of you ‘indie artists’ are extremely good businessmen. and know how to wear many hats but, be aware that every one of your influences hire ‘Producers’; Everyone from ‘Thomas Rhett’ to ‘Tommy Lee’, to Tom Jones … and for many good reasons … the 3 most important being …THE SONGS, THEIR VOCAL PERFORMANCE’ and TIME. ‘The devil’s in the details’. ’Every minute you spend doing what producers do including; the production budget, booking the studio, writing number charts, creating cool musical arrangements, preparing for and scheduling pre-production meetings, selecting and hiring ‘the right’ session players, engineer, mixer, programmer, mastering engineer and paying the bills, diminishes your chances of performing at your best, in the studio. Then, you get in the studio and aside from the studio-appointed engineer’s in-put, you have to critique your own phrasing, dynamics, pronunciation and timing. Self-producing sucks … And you wonder why you seem to be going unnoticed? If you’re planning your next project and can do it all … then forget everything I just said and carry on. But, if you seriously want to be ‘YOUR BEST’ … and ‘enjoy the ride’ … insist on a Producer and…ROCK IT
BLOG # 1
WE NEED TO TALK ..
I spend as much time as I can, on the internet looking for ‘in my opinion’ … the best indie talent, I can find. ‘That’s who producers want to produce’. Why … because, they will only get behind talent, they believe in. The industry is as ripe, as it’s ever been for exceptional new talent. My point … when producers reach out to an artist or a band, they have already looked down the road at the goal. The goal is always … to take someone’s career, to the next level. Not everybody’s next level is a record deal, but that’s generally an age-thing. Then, their job is to, spend time with all of that, unbelievable talent, in an effort to find ‘the few’, who are not paralyzed by … trust issues, excuses, the whiners, the complainers, the ego-maniacs, those who are unmanageable, those who are not team-players, those who have a fear of failure/success, change and those who are lazy. Although time-consuming, it is a very necessary process. ‘Artists are not judged by their talent or wealth, but by that which discourages them‘. That narrows the field down considerably. Then producers proceed with, the fortunate few, who are ‘READY’ for the next level and ‘a joy to work with’ … and ‘they’ ROCK IT