My State Of Music From 2013

music from 2013State Of Music From 2013

It’s December 31st and of course that means we’re closing out 2013. I got a hair in my quiche to write out some thoughts on what happened musically for the industry and for myself. There’s a shift in the universe going on for the industry. I’m working on staying ahead of the curve and do what I can to make 2014 my breakout year from consumer obscurity.

My Year

A year ago I was making the finishing touches on a group of 18 songs that had been whittled down from 72 songs. I had people voting on the songs they liked most and pointing me in a new direction for the music I create. A definite change on how I’ve been approaching what music I release after I’ve created.

I ended up doing a song in February as a take on an internet meme. The meme that poked a little fun about Taylor Swift and the sheer number of guys she’s been through in the public forum of celebrity scrutiny. The end result was a quick song and a mashup of photos for a video to go with it (Maybe You’re The Problem). After pushing it to YouTube it actually went a bit viral – at least for me. It got a lot hate, it also got a lot of love.

Shortly thereafter I got into a situation where I was talked into attempting a crowd-funding drive to make a push to fund the new music that I had all demoed and picked. There was a month of refocusing my site and all my social media presence – much needed. Then came two months of time getting the whole thing setup. That included reading books about doing it right, shooting videos, getting levels and items sorted out. All of this was supposed to get a real nice run up with interviews and TV appearances.

Bad PR

Unfortunately I should have pulled the plug before it started. Early on, when I was dangled with the TV stuff, I also had a separate hookup for a very nice TV interview. I contacted the PR company and asked for answers to questions the reporter was peppering me with prior to getting the interview scheduled. The PR company dropped the ball and left me hanging on questions I couldn’t answer. Additionally they pushed the start date of the campaign and moved it more than 4 times over 3 weeks. I should have known right then and there it was gonna be a problem. But because it was a friend who I was dealing with at the PR firm, I decided I’d overlook that and plow ahead. BAD IDEA.

Needless to say, everything that could have gone wrong, did. Though I had other marketing consultant friends tell me that the execution of the videos, and such was as perfect as can be… It still failed due to a strong lack of follow through from the PR firm. I ended up spending a bunch of money with zero return. Additionally it wasted nearly 6 months of my life as I had to put so much time into it.

New Music

After floundering with the crowd-funding, I had to rethink how to get the music out in an efficient manner. I decided to take each song as a single and really focus each one. The first song I jumped on is Touch. In October I got Touch finally recorded thanks in large part to George Leger III. In November I got it all mixed and mastered. In December I shot the lyric videos for it. I got the video of the making of the song edited. Come January of 2014 I’m hoping to get the music video shot so that I can finally get this first single released and start a cycle of 12 new singles with videos released in 2014. That is the goal.

From a sales standpoint 2013 has seen a steady increase for me, but the real increase has been streaming. Not bad considering the fact I didn’t get to perform as many shows as I would have liked.

Streaming Services

It’s no secret that I hold a bit of disdain for Pandora. They’re doing everything they can to fuck the very people that they have created their business around – the musicians. Asking the U.S. congress to reduce the royalty rates of a discounted rate they already had. Happiness is that congress didn’t fall for it. However Pandora recently won a lawsuit that could really fuck up the way musicians get paid for their hard work.

On the flip side, I actually really like Spotify, due to a change of mind and heart. Actually I like a lot of streaming services other than Pandora (i.e. X-Box, Deezer, iTunes Radio, Amazon Cloud, et al). The reason why? They’re all doing the right thing, paying for streams and getting the appropriate licenses to do so. Something the big P isn’t doing. The reason why I know quite a bit about the royalty streams is that I control almost all the music I’ve ever written.

The Majors

The rest of the industry during this past year has been turned even further on it’s ear. First with a summer hit where the artist decided to proactively sue another before they got sued. Hello?!? Robin Thicke with Blurred Lines. Nothing like having interviews saying you were listening to a particular song in the studio before you created a song that sounds just like another song, then sue the original artist about it. That’s pretty fucked up.

Next comes the phoenix of Miley Cyrus. Talk about a brilliant remaking of a child star. While so many people got caught up in the hubbub of what she was doing, most completely missed the fact that it was heavily calculated. It was so obvious and fun to watch, like the MTV awards and Wrecking Ball. Less than a week ago it was still happening with the song Adore You.

If I back it up a little further, I can say that it was interesting to see David Bowie, Jay-Z, Paul McCartney, and even the most insane nut of the entire industry Kanye West, all release full CDs. What happened in each case was lots of hype in the run up, then about a month worth of a real sales spike and then the precipitous drop. What does this mean? Even the superstars can’t push an album for more than a month any more, not even when spouting inane crap from the mind of an oppressed schizophrenic (Kanye). Precisely why I’m switching to a string of singles. Wonder if the rest of the industry will figure it out in 2014. Even amongst my musician friends – they’re still thinking in terms of whole albums.

The surprise of the year has to go to Beyonce. How a superstar of her status could keep a whole album and set of videos under wraps like she did, is nothing short of spectacular. The release was equally as cool, but only something that could be gotten away with by a star. Unknown artists do this all the time and no one cares. It’s now been done and the cache is over. So over in fact, that retail outlets have refused to sell the physical disc. Big business can be so fucked up – so much so that music from 2013 needs apparently needed a jumpstart from a very large car battery that couldn’t be found.

Looking Forward

Personally I’m really looking forward to 2014. I’m putting my mouth where my money is on being different, much like when I became the first non-signed artist on iTunes – thank you Derek Sivers & CD Baby. This time it’s releasing a string of singles with videos and no album/CD.

The first song (Touch) is really taking my friends, and those who have heard it, by surprise. This is a fantastic thing, especially when everyone is saying it’s something they never expected but that they really dig it. Mega plus!

Another event that I’m happy about is called MusicSlam. A 9 day music networking, education, and festival event. I’ve been working on it as an idea for several years. 2013 is where it starting coming to fruition. MusicSlam got it’s permits in mid November and within weeks we will be taking submissions to fill the 100 spots we have for performers.

See ya in 2014, in music, in video, in pictures, on the road, and at MusicSlam.

Jingle Bell Rock And Snow

jingle-bell-rockWhat a swell time of year…

Talk about a phrase that sounds dated. Actually it’s more the word ‘swell’. That really feels like something straight out of the 50’s. So far it doesn’t seem to translate to the 10’s, sixty years later. However, the sentiment of the holidays does. What I usually end up associating this song with though is the opening scene of a movie called Lethal Weapon. I don’t remember which one, but it takes place during the holidays and some woman jumps off a building at the beginning. How’s that for a crazy holiday song connection between Jingle Bell Rock and the holidays? Regardless, I still like the simplistic nature of this original version of Jingle Bell Rock.

Jingle Bell Rock

Jingle bell, jingle bell, jingle bell rock
Jingle bells swing and jingle bells ring
Snowing and blowing up bushels of fun
Now the jingle hop has begun

Jingle bell, jingle bell, jingle bell rock
Jingle bells chime in jingle bell time
Dancing and prancing in Jingle Bell Square
In the frosty air.

What a bright time, it’s the right time
To rock the night away

Jingle bell time is a swell time
To go gliding in a one-horse sleigh
Giddy-up jingle horse, pick up your feet
Jingle around the clock

Mix and a-mingle in the jingling feet
That’s the jingle bell,
That’s the jingle bell,
That’s the jingle bell rock

Hope you’re enjoying your holidays!

Animate Me

animate-rushI used to teach guitar lessons when I first started making my way in the world of music. Then I got full bore into writing and performing music. One thing teaching did was keep me up on a ton of bands that students want to learn to play like. There is one band that I really dug and still dig. That band is RUSH. They epitomize the concept of hardworking band. What’s awesome is that they make complicated music sound easy and musical. One of my favorite tunes they’ve done is probably more pop oriented than many of their fans would like is called Animate. Regardless I love it. Here it is for you to enjoy:

Animate

Polarize me
Sensitize me
Criticize me
Civilize me
Compensate me
Animate me
Complicate me
Elevate me

Goddess in my garden
Sister in my soul
Angel in my armor
Actress in my role

Daughter of a demon lover
Empress of the hidden face
Priestess of the pagan mother
Ancient queen of inner space

Spirit in my psyche
Double in my role
Alter in my image
Struggle for control

Mistress of the dark unconscious
Mermaid of the lunar sea
Daughter of the great enchantress
Sister to the boy inside of me

My counterpart, my foolish heart
A man must learn to rule his tender part
A warming trend, a gentle friend
A man must build a fortress to defend
A secret face, a touch of grace
A man must learn to give a little space
A peaceful state, a submissive trait
A man must learn to gently dominate

Polarize me
Sensitize me
Criticize me
Civilize me
Compensate me
Animate me
Complicate me
Elevate me

Enjoy!

Crazy Cold Out But Touch Will Heat You Up Find Out Why

New Song Finished

Touch is in the can! Which means I’m happier to start talking about it. That’s right, the mix is off to the mastering engineer and will be back in my nimble lanky fingers within 24 hours! Actually I already hear a mastered version but opted to tweak a few things about the mix before putting the fork in it. Happily the mastering engineer is going to rerun it for mastering.

Who Was Involved

Touch as it’s called, was written by yours truly. That means I created all the music and vocal melodies, plus the lyrics.

The rapper is a bloke from Los Angeles who goes by the name Jacarri. He did tweak some of my lyrics I. The bridge to better suit his flow.

The idea for using a rapper in the bridge of the song came from Brian Austin Whitney.

My partner in crime in making the recording sound insanely great is George Leger III.

The awesome mastering is done by the infamous John Rodd.

Who Did What

For the recording of guitars, bass, drum programming, mouth noises, synths and other FX – I put on my alter ego hats and laid down parts for each. I also did an enormous amount of singing over the course of 4 days. Also did the final touches of the releasing mix. It added up to a few tracks north of 100 tracks in the mix. Largest mis I’ve ever done.

George did some additional drum tweaking, sound switching, vocal engineering, and some other various things. He also did some premixing on the track.

Jacarri brought some rapping skills to the tune.

John Rodd brought the final mastering touches.

Thanks

I have to thank George, John and Jacarri for putting in some fantastic work on making this song as awesome as possible. Plus I need to thank a bunch of people who took valuable time to sit and listen to various mixes to determine which one should be the released version of the song.

I’m getting a real fuzzy feeling about the whole thing. I get even warmer thinking about how hot the video is going to be.

All I Want For Christmas Is You

all-i-want-for-christmasI’m gonna go out on a limb here and formally let you know that I’m a fan of the movie ‘Love Actually’. There I said it. No, I’m not turning in my man-card. It’s a brilliantly written movie. Plus I dig all the actors and actresses in the movie, plus what’s not to love about british romance? What’s my point? Well at the end of the flick there’s a special christmas performer who sings a tune and she does an amazing job at it. Thus for all the fans of the flick, I’m posting the lyrics for All I Want For Christmas Is You.

p.s. – if you don’t know, I’ve done a cover version of this and you can get it on iTunes or listen on Spotify.

All I Want For Christmas Is You

I don’t want a lot for Christmas
There is just one thing I need
I don’t care about the presents
Underneath the Christmas tree

I just want you for my own
More than you could ever know
Make my wish come true
All I want for Christmas is you, yeah.

I don’t want a lot for Christmas
There is just one thing I need
And I don’t care about the presents
Underneath the Christmas tree

I don’t need to hang my stocking
There upon the fireplace
Santa Claus won’t make me happy
With a toy on Christmas Day

I just want you for my own
More than you could ever know
Make my wish come true
All I want for Christmas is you
You, baby

Oh, I won’t ask for much this Christmas
I won’t even wish for snow
And I’m just gonna keep on waiting
Underneath the mistletoe

I won’t make a list and send it
To the North Pole for Saint Nick
I won’t even stay awake to
Hear those magic reindeer click

‘Cause I just want you here tonight
Holding on to me so tight
What more can I do?
Baby, all I want for Christmas is you
You, baby

Oh, all the lights are shining
So brightly everywhere
And the sound of children’s
Laughter fills the air

And everyone is singing
I hear those sleigh bells ringing
Santa, won’t you bring me the one I really need?
Won’t you please bring my baby to me?

Oh, I don’t want a lot for Christmas
This is all I’m asking for
I just want to see my baby
Standing right outside my door

Oh, I just want you for my own
More than you could ever know
Make my wish come true
Baby, all I want for Christmas is
You, baby

All I want for Christmas is you, baby
All I want for Christmas is you, baby
All I want for Christmas is you, baby
All I want for Christmas is you, baby

Enjoy!

Oddities In Life

What a strange week it’s been. Finally got all the mixes back on the new single. Thanksgiving where we usually give thanks for what we’ve got. Black Friday and the multiple stories of people being their utmost rotten. Then the death of my grandmother and the death of Paul Walker. Craziness all around. Some real oddities in life, that’s for sure.

Thanksgiving

First off, I hope you had a fantastic Thanksgiving holiday (if you’re stateside). I know I enjoyed mine. I didn’t do much of the cooking this time around, but I did make dinner rolls from scratch. Yes, I did end up using fresh ground wheat to make the flour. Tasty little morsels.

Black Friday

I’ve never been one to participate in the ritual of Black Friday. This year was no exception. What scares me about America is the utter nonsense that people display. Especially on the day after the day of Thanksgiving, or in the asinine example of places like WalMart where they’re now starting on Thanksgiving itself – sad. I hate seeing/hearing the stories about people trampling others, punching others, and being downright disrespectful to others all because they want to buy something. That’s insanity.

New Single

All the mixes are back on the new single. Currently having a small group of people vote on which mix they like best so I can send it off for mastering. So exciting. Absolutely psyched to be filming a video for it very soon.

Video

As you’re about to find out, I’m having to postpone shooting the video for my new single Touch.

Death

Black Friday takes a different meaning for me this year. My grandmother passed away. The last grandparent had a stroke earlier this year and she’s finally gone on to the next phase of what happens when you die. Due to her passing, I’m having to reschedule the shoot of the video for Touch.

Then last night I got word of Paul Walker’s passing. What a shame. He was a fun actor to watch. I certainly enjoyed a lot of his movies. Even got to be a part of Fast & Furious 5 for the preview and voting on the movie. What a tragedy that he had to go in a speeding car crashing into a tree. If the reports are accurate and the photos are correct, I would hope that he passed before the resulting fire.

Stay tuned for more good news coming soon. Till then, be well.