Today marks another milestone! My song “Look at the Things” is on 5 radio stations around the world, and I would like to ask you to help me request it. It is currently in the program rotation. These five stations are owned by the largest media company, Berkshire Media Group out of the U.K. Below is the list.
Please go and request, I’ll owe you one.
I’d like to invite you to my YouTube Channel. I have 41 videos that have found a home there over the last 2 years. It’s a mix of videos from the early days to the present. I hope that you will enjoy them, and Believe. There is a message, and I know that one day a spark will ignite. My YouTube Channel
Over the last year and about 8 months or something I’ve been working on several things other than this site. I’ve been working full time because I believe that a “job” is a tool for the enjoyable things in life. I am a journeyman electrician and have been one for 18+ years now. I have also been working with my band much more than my solo project, so without further a do, I’d like to introduce “THE REALLYZ” reallyzmusic.com We are from Denver and we have been playing shows and have recorded our first EP. You can hear it at Spotify, itunes, and more, (just search the Reallyz). Facebook go to facebook.com/thereallyz
I have also realized that even in the wake of the things that have happened, I still need to maintain my solo project, Dbone Archives. So I’ve recently been updating all the sites (slowly that is) but consistently. So I’ll list some I’ve updated for you.
Anyways, all that aside, and more importantly I want to share with you much more than just music, I want to share important topics to discuss about our world, mysteries, conspiracies, truths, ethics, revolution, and unity. All of these topics include music as a language, an emotion, and a platform to bring in important and relevant concerns. There are so many to share, I won’t get them all but I’ll try. Lets get going….
So, 4 pictures here, this is your homework.
“What are each of these photos about, and what does it have to do with #Soultraffic?”
Id like to wish you and your families a Happy Thankgiving. God bless.
5 Things Artists Can Learn From Erykah Badu
A Guest Post by Ava Bella
I read an article over the weekend from the Sydney Morning Herald – Erykah Badu: Beyond The Ankh. Now, I’m probably one of thee most faithful E. Badu fans on the planet and if you know me, then you already know that. When I sing, you can hear her influence amongst others, but her impact on me is quite prevelent I must say. Hey, even when I first put out LadyGun, Google Play listed her as my “sounds like”. I digress. Over the last 5 – 10 years, I’ve been compared to her vocally and often times people say our writing styles are similiar. I’ve never minded the comparison, not one bit. I’m about to tell you why(I know I’m about to date myself, but who cares) –
Erykah Badu Photo Cred: Nation 19 Magazine
It’s late May of 1997. I’m traveling with my older sister, my mom, and my daddy in the family mini van on a 14 hour drive from Kansas City, Missouri to New Orleans, Louisiana. We are headed to the NO because I’ve been accepted to Dillard University’s summer academic program in hopes of receiving a full scholarship to study Vocal Performance in the Fall of 1997. This would be the begining of learning myself, my heritage, more about opera(I wanted to be an opera singer at this time), and pretty much all things about the world we live in. I hadn’t had much down time at all between graduation day and starting college – there was literally only 7 days between the day I walked the stage and got my high school diploma and started college classes. Stay with me, I have a point.
Baduizm by Erykah Badu Released February 11, 1997
3 months before this monumentous event in my life, something major happened in the music world and in the world period. On February 11, 1997, Erica Abi Wright, would release her debut album, Baduizm, under Kedar Entertainment and Universal Records. When this happened, she single handedly breathed life into urban music again. Pulling from Jazz, Hip Hop, R&B, and from time time, the Blues, she revived us! For a lot of us we had been waiting for something like this, someONE like this; finally music was GREAT again!
Now I could go “on and on” about Ms Badu(I’m sure that’s been done before…lol), but the purpose of this post is to share 5 things Artists can learn from her, so here goes…
1. Find and convey your own style – be original
When the video for “On and On” came out in ’96. I was like, wait, who is this woman? She’s got on very little makeup(if any), she has a head wrap on for the whole video, and then mid-way through the whole thing, she puts on a table cloth and rocks that bish! We hadn’t seen anything like her style before, and really haven’t since. After that video, I decided to incorporate multiple african and colorful sarongs into my wardrobe. I’ve never quite heard the full story as to how the head wrap came to be for her. I do know that that ish is had everybody(even me) trying to it! Now, we all know that she has since stopped wearing them, but what that did for her was make her immediately recognizable because it was original. If everybody’s doing it – it’s gonna become wack very soon and you can bet on it. Be yourself. If you follow that link above, you’ll see that she found along her journey, that “it” factor we could all see wasn’t because of the head wrap at all, or the clothes, it was simply her “focus on being more in here than out there”.
2. Don’t force the creative process – or any process for that matter
Last May(2013), she announced that she would be releasing her sixth studio and album but wouldn’t be placing a time constraint on it. As artists, we really can’t force it. The process of creation has to be organic. In the article that sparked this list she says, ”I don’t go by that time stuff because I have to live and procrastinate and hurt and dream and laugh and stuff, to write.” She goes on, ”And I do it because it’s my therapy.” As for writer’s block, she had this to say, “I don’t believe in that. I think it’s just downloading time. If you can’t think of anything, you can’t force yourself. Your body don’t know that the president of your label wants an album today! So you just kinda have to live. And if you can’t do it, you can’t do it.” She goes on, ”I’m not gonna make up some wack shit just to appease the label. I think the people deserve so much more than that. What they want, I think, from me is to keep me honest and … that’s all, really. ‘Cause it’s really nothing else I’m doing special.” There you have it! So going forward, when I’m personally asked when my sophomore project is coming out, my response is, ‘it’s downloading right now’…lol.
The Soulquarians Photo Cred: Wikipedia
3. When it comes to collabs and appearances – make them count
Now, this is not something you HAVE to do, but honestly, just like all money ain’t good money, all projects ain’t good projects! For me, I have to really get down with the artist, their movement on the planet(not just the industry) and whatever the track is musically for a collaboration to make sense. Brass tax – I gotta admire the other persons work. What we’ve learned from Ms. Badu is much of the same, from the Soulquarians(seperately or together), to the Janelle Monae, to the recent appearance with Kendrick on the BET Awards(2013); work with people that compliment your art! If we are not in this to share in the creation of impactful works that transform; what do we do this for?
Erykah Badu & Kendrick Lamar minutes after their BET Awards 2013 performance Photo Cred: BET.com
4. Convey how YOU feel in your music.
In the article, she also said, ”I don’t think it matters what you talk about, I think it matters where you are and who you are as a person saying it. This is how you feel, this is what it’s about.” That’s just it! It’s about you, not what a label wants, not what’s “popular”, not what anybody says you should be talking about, just you. It’s simple – do YOU!
5. Take the gig – with or with out the new project or single
Baduizm released in February of 1997, debuting on the Billboard charts at #2 and #1 on US Billboard Top R&B/Hip Hop Albums. It was certified platinum THREE times by RIAA, Gold by the BPI, and CRIA. For her debut, she was nominated for and received a Grammy for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance and Best R&B Album in 1998. But before all of that, she took the gig! Kedar Massenburg of Kedar Entertainment “discovered” E. Badu YEARS before all of this happened at a D’Angelo show in her hometown. She was the opening act for D’Angelo in 1994, and this was the spark that lit the flame. Massenberg signed her to Kedar Entertainment and then came the deal with Universal Records, where she would release the album. She still continues to tour, make appearances, collaborate gracefully with others equally talented, appear on and off the big screen, flexing her acting muscles, and dammit – she continues to just BE GREAT! Had she not taken the very first gig though, whether paid or not( I don’t know whether it was or wasn’t), we may not know who Erykah Badu is right now!
Stay on your grind and hustle my friends! If you do, you just might get #Grustle!
Ava Bella is a singer, songwriter, and author originally from Kansas City, Missouri who has spent the last 3 years playing dates around the US alongside international acts like Morris Day & The Time, Estelle, and Luke James, Hip Hop artists like icon Masta Ace, DJ Marco Polo, The Knux, and GLC, as well as mentors @KCPL and James Christos(both of The Anarchy Movement). Now a touring musician and entrepreneur, she’s also acted as a consultant to indie and unsigned artists and labels as CEO and founder of Assilem Music & Media Group, an advocate for minority female business owners as CEO and founder of Majestic Refuge Nonprofit, and self-proclaimed fashionista as owner of The K&A Boutique.
Twitter: @MsAvaBella @AssilemMedia
Facebook Page: AvaBellaMusic
AvaTheAnarchist Blog on Facebook: Ava The Anarchist.com
10 Reasons Not To Give Up
A guest post by Johnny Dwinell of Daredevil Production
Give Up Don’t you dare FEATURE
By Johnny Dwinell
Did you ever notice how we only see success as success? When we are first exposed to someone successful we initially only think about their success, right?
We covet a little bit.Give Up The Struggle You Don’t See
We become envious.
Unless we are exposed to all the details of a personal success story, we don’t see (and we’re usually not told) about the struggle that preceded the success. We weren’t told about how many times they didn’t give up.
Every success comes with mountains of struggle
Give Up Bolder Image
I have news for you, EVERY success comes with mountains of struggle, endless hurdles, obstacles overcome, bullets dodged, etc. There is ALWAYS a back story rife with failure, heartbreak, doubt, fear, second thoughts, and the fact that they didn’t give up through any of it.
Bottom line, I can guarantee you’ll fail if you don’t try again. Nobody can guarantee failure if you don’t give up. So, it’s a scientific fact that you can win if you don’t give up and you will definitely lose if you quit.
The only thing that is impossible is what you don’t try to achieve.Give up Don’t You Are So Close
What’s the worst that could happen?
You have to try again?
So what? It’s worth it, right?
This dream of yours isn’t going to be easy. Simply put, if it was easy everyone would be doing it.
Here are 10 reasons not to give up
It’s All About Talent Again Give Up You Bring The Talent 2
as terrestrial radio continues to become less effective at breaking acts in the marketplace, the big hype machine disappears with it. The ability to “hype” a non-talent into superstardom is waning fast. The future stars in the music business are going to have to be talented to get recognized. Don’t give up.
Pressure = Creation
There’s a saying that goes “Necessity is the mother of invention”. You thrive on pressure even if you think you don’t. You are stronger than you think. Rick Rubin on several occasions (most notably Weezer’s “Beverly Hills” and Tom Petty’s “It’s Good To Be King”)would wait until a week or so before the scheduled recording sessions to tell an artist he didn’t think they had a single just to see what the pressure would create. Never give up
Give Up Failure doesn’t come from falling downYou need it believe it or not. It’s what teaches you how to navigate your career better. Remember every success is preceded by many failures. Just ask Michael Jordan who was cut from his high school basketball team; he didn’t give up. Sheryl Crow got a major label deal recorded her first album only to scrap it completely before it was released. Of course she was then sued by her label before Tuesday Night Music Club. She didn’t give up. Thomas Edison failed 2,000 times before he nailed the long lasting incandescent light bulb. He didn’t give up. Henry Ford went bankrupt multiple times before he invented the assembly line. he didn’t give up either.
Life happens as you make your way toward your goal; enjoy it. This time in your struggle, these are the moments that you will remember forever. I know its cliché, but think about it, success is not a destination, it is the journey. Especially in the music business man, you are either on your way up or on your way down, there is no plateau where “things calm down” and you relax. Don’t give up
You Are Strong Give Up Stay Strong
You are stronger than you think. You have the capability to understand the fact that your career is always full of challenges, so EXPECT them and eat them for breakfast. Success will come when you resign yourself to dealing with these challenges as challenges, not excuses. 1, 10, or even 1,000 setbacks are not enough to stop you, so don’t give up
If You Give up on Yourself Everyone Else Will Too
Listen, ALL successful people have overcome incredible odds and incredible struggles to get where they are; you just aren’t aware of the back story. These prosperous people deeply understand that success is a mindset. They surround themselves with positivity and like-minded people. They view quitters as a cancer, or a STD. When you project negativity or a quitting vibe it pisses successful people off. It pisses them off because it scares the shit out of them. It scares them because failure is just 1 negative thought away. Don’t give up.
There is no Overnight Success
No great thing was created overnight. Many years of work went into every success before it ever came to your attention.
You’re Just a Few Tweaks Away
Sometimes a few tweaks and adjustments to a plan are all that it takes to make a giant leap forward. Over the course of my band’s first tour, we lost $8,000 because I didn’t know what I was really doing. A few tweaks coupled with a clearer understanding of the game and our second touring experience had us actually making a living on ½ the gross revenue! Don’t give up.
You Can Change the Industry ForeverGive Up The Struggle Your in today
Make your dent, man. Florida Georgia Line had the BEST writers in town and a KILLER producer behind their project. All the record labels still said “No” because FL/GA Line was too different. They went to Satellite radio where “Cruise” became a smash hit and after a little tour they sold 100,000 downloads. Then every label that said “no” was saying “yes”. The record, the production, and the songs didn’t change. The only thing that changed was the perception. They didn’t give up when everyone said no.
Let the Haters Hate
The more you succeed the more haters you will have. Think of them like little trophies. Don’t give up.
Give Up Do It For The People Who Want To See You Fail
Give Up It’s hard to wait for something that may never happen
Give Up You Can’t Go A Day Without Thinking About
Give Up You Are the creator of your own destiny
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Created in 2011, Daredevil Productions is the joint vision of veteran Nashville Engineer/Producer/Performer Kelly Schoenfeld and veteran Los Angeles Artist/Producer/Businessman Johnny Dwinell. DDP is a full service music production team housed in Ragtop Recording studios on Nashville’s world famous Music Row. We offer a broad selection of music services including music production from song demos to major label records, artist development, song arrangements, music programming, song promotion, and artist guidance. Whether you are a platinum recording artist or if this is the first step on musical journey, Daredevil Productions can guide you all the way
7 Tips for Successful Recording
A Guest Post by Astral Plane Studios
I figured since I see so many posts from others involving tips, it’s time to share my own. These tips are directed at working within a professional studio with a professional engineer.
So here are my 7 tips for recording:
1. Be at least 30 minutes early to the session Punctuality is very important in the music business, specifically in the case of a studio and engineer. Remember that there are others scheduled to record as well, so be mindful of this fact, the quicker everything begins on time, the smoother the sessions go and less mistakes are made meaning you won’t take up anyone’s time slot. This is also important for setting up big sessions. The faster everything is set up, the quicker you can begin and you save more in the long run.
2. Work out interpersonal issues before recording All bands have interpersonal issues, from playing issues to personal issues and differences between members, make sure to at least agree that the focus is on the studio and the album or song at this point. Should anything occur during tracking that you might want to bicker on, save it for the breaks and after the day or few hours are over. Bickering takes up valuable studio time.
3. Realize that there is such a thing as studio etiquette Studios have their own rules and etiquette. It’s similar to school but a bit more lax. No running in a studio, no tampering with gear, no smoking inside, etc. Gear is very delicate, especially vintage units, they’re sensitive to even smoke particles and are generally very expensive. Do some allow this though? Yes, but in a lounge area.
4. Come prepared with replacement strings and sticks Guitarists, it happens, strings pop! Especially if you’re shredding up a storm on some 9s. Bring a few packs of replacements to stay in tune and take care of popped strings. Drummers, the same, stick flying and sometimes a cracked cymbal, bring replacement sticks and make sure your cymbals are OK before tracking.
5. Don’t stop when you mess up If you’re tracking as a group (live style) and someone who isn’t a rhythm player makes a mistake, keep playing! Why? Because you can overdub the small mistakes and keep all the great playing you were doing before. A lot of those who are new to recording want to stop entirely and begin from the top, this wastes time. If it’s a minute into the song, sure, but 3 minutes? Keep going just as you would if you messed up playing a show. This rule doesn’t applys to rhythm players when tracking individually however ;). (stay in time!)
6. Listen to your producer/engineer During tracking, it’s common for some quick changes to be made, generally simple things such as pick attack, fills and other things along those lines to get a particular feel and play it back to see how everyone feels, sometimes things work, sometimes they don’t, just try it and remember that collaboration is key. Generally the suggestion will be of benefit to the song.
7. Have fun In the end, remember that while you’re highly focused like this, there’s still room for fun, especially when funny stuff happens (like very obvious flubs and slip ups). There is always time for laughter in the studio. It keeps spirits high and lessens nervousness, in fact use your nervousness to your advantage and mess up for 10-15 minutes during set up before real tracking begins. Get it all out of you and turn into jelly to perform your best and make those songs rock!
Astral Plane Studios (APS) is a sound production service located in Temple, TX dedicated to professional audio production ― created by mix engineer Josh Hayward, a graduate of Mediatech Institute in Austin, TX for recording arts and music business.
Josh Hayward was trained amongst the best at Arlyn Studios by those who have worked with Willie Nelson, Prince, Lyle Lovett, The Black Crowes and more. At Astral Plane Studios’, your sonic sculpture is their prime concern. APS offers you peace of mind with data protection and unrivaled creativity in your music
The Death of the Bridge
A Guest Post by Brian Hazard of Passive Promotion
Post image for The Death of the Bridge
Many of my all-time favorite songs are “growers” – album tracks that don’t really grab you the first few spins, but eventually dig their hooks in and don’t let go. Few artists these days have the luxury of writing growers, because listeners aren’t willing to invest that kind of time. Unless the artist is proven to deliver, the listener will tune out and move on. While I’m a huge fan of the album format, it’s hard to deny the shifting focus from albums to individual songs. Every one of those songs needs to grab the listener’s attention and hold it until the last note – preferably longer! In order for your songs to be grabbers rather than growers, they must have clear and familiar structures.
The textbook pop song structure is verse – chorus – verse – chorus – bridge (also known as the “middle eight”) – chorus. At its most basic level, structure is repetition. If no element of the song repeats, it has no structure. Every repetition of the verse and chorus is another chance for the listener to fall in love with the song. The one section of the song that doesn’t repeat, the bridge, has been phased out in favor of a short break or instrumental solo. Don’t get me wrong – plenty of popular songs still have bridges, but it’s not the staple it once was. As much as I hate to dumb down my songs, I recognize the wisdom in simplicity.Until you’ve got a substantial following, two sections – a verse and a chorus – is plenty.
Not to say you have to follow the traditional form to the letter! There’s plenty of room for variation. You could:
Start with the chorus
Throw in an extra verse before the first chorus to allow further exposition
Substitute a third verse for the break for the same reason
Cut the first chorus in half, in which case you’ll probably want to…
Add an extra chorus at the end
To extend the structure a bit further, you could insert a prechorus (also known as the “build”) between the verse and chorus. While the prechorus ups the complexity by adding a third section, the crucial difference between the prechorus and bridge is that the former repeats. Should you choose to go this route, I suggest eliminating the break in favor of a third prechorus (V-PC-C-V-PC-C-PC-C).
OK, so you’ve got a catchy verse and an explosive chorus. You’ve got lyrics laced with concrete imagery that tell a universal story in a fresh and imaginative way.Too much repetition can be annoying, but it takes more than most songwriters are willing to dare. How do you arrange the song to include just the right amount, so that it repeats without sounding repetitive? Here are some ideas (I’d love to hear yours in the comments!):
Break up the groove. Start the song with sparse instrumentation and stagger the introduction of rhythmic elements over course of the first verse. Or, drop the drums and bass at the end of the verse to explode into the chorus. Solo the vocals for a few beats. If you’re ending with a double chorus, thin the arrangement for the penultimate chorus to make the ending seem huge. Filter the whole mix and automate the cutoff frequency. Drop to a half time feel, or bump it up to double time. The possibilities are endless.
Add a new element. A new guitar line or synth arpeggio can make a verse feel fresh, even when everything else is the same. Maybe it’s as simple as playing eighth notes on the hi-hat instead of quarter notes, or dropping the bass down an octave. Be careful not to clutter the midrange, or you’ll compete with the lead vocal.
Layer the vocals. Highlight important words or phrases with harmonies, yells, or whispers. Double the chorus lead vocal, and gradually stack harmonies over the course of the song. Ad lib over the final chorus, R&B style, or superimpose lines from the verse.
Vary the lead vocal treatment. Automate the reverb to swell on a long note, add a delay to the last word of each phrase, use a bandpass EQ for “radio voice,” or if you’re not afraid to jump on the bandwagon, do the autotune thing.
While there’s more to a great song than clear structure, a song without obvious repetition is destined to fail. Don’t equate sophistication with quality. Win listeners over with simple strong structures. Write songs that can be easily appreciated, and they might just promote themselves.
Passive Promotion focuses on “set it and forget it” methods of music promotion, along with a few tips on mixing, brought to you by a mastering engineer and recording artis
I went to the Tribal Seeds and Ballyhoo show last night, and the show was great. Beyond Sight/Gonzo opened with a thirty minute mediocre set filled with way too much reverb. However, their sax/melodica player stole it with his in your face solos. Then it was, BALLYHOO! These guys come out with a “show” energy thats unforgettable. Howie is a great songwriter and the the rest of the band is great as well. Thanks for the great show. Now Tribal Seeds came out next, and even though i had to leave early because of my sobriety curfew, i saw enough to be able write about their unbelievable down beat. Even though their sound needed more equalization they provided a bad ass show. It was well worth my twenty one dollars.