Getting the grant is only the first step

It’s exciting to tell an artist that they have received a grant.

Especially their first one.

There is nothing like that feeling.

The Government is giving you money to record your music!  The way YOU want to do it.

However, one thing I’ve seen many artists fail to realize is that getting the grant is only the first step.

The music? That’s the easy part.  At least it should be because that’s the fun part.

The challenge often comes with completing the grant.

I’ve seen artists struggle with this step time and time again.

I’ve even seen artists have to send a cheque back to the grant organization because they failed to complete the grant properly.

Oftentimes this will be an artist that has just received one of their first grants.
Its usually not a big grant – not the 10,000 album grant or the 15,000 marketing grant.

It’s often a demo or showcasing grant – roughly 1500.

These artists want to move on to the bigger grants.

But one thing that I think is –  How do you think you can handle 15,000 when you can’t handle 1500?

The cold reality is – they can’t.  At least not yet.  They aren’t ready.

I’ve received over 200 grants and one of the key reasons is my track record.

How do you get more grants?

Take it step by step.  Complete it on time or ask for an extension – and then complete it.

Become a success story by maximizing your grant.

Then you’ll be on your way to receiving more..

 

 

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If Beyonce Can Do It…

Picked up this from listening to Charlamagne the God’s audiobook.  He recalls the story of when Beyonce walked into the room.  According to Charlamagne there was several people in the room and when Beyonce came in she made it a point to walk up to each person and introduce herself.

Introducing yourself isn’t out of the ordinary, but it is when you are Beyonce – one of the most famous people on the planet.

She didn’t need to introduce herself.  Everyone would have known who she is.  But instead of assuming that they knew her, she was humble.  She was polite when she didn’t have to be.  As a result, I can only imagine how it made each person’s day – and more than that.  It made a lifetime memory that they would share with countless people.  The day that Beyonce took time to talk to them.

For Charlamagne, a famous radio personality, it also impacted him.  If Beyonce can do it, why shouldn’t I?

That’s the thing about role models, they show you that doing the small things makes a big impact.

 

Surfin

I don’t know how I missed this song.

“Surfin” came out in 2016 but despite the attention that centered around the Kid Cudi release, I never heard it.   Truth is, the buzz about the record had more to do with Cudi’s mental health than the actual music.  He had checked himself into rehab for depression.

Alot of Cudi’s music is dark.  Not depressing, but in a psychedelic way.

But sometimes he taps into something else, and he certainly does when he connects with Pharrell on this song Surfin.

“I ain’t ridin’ no waves
Too busy makin’ my own waves, baby”

Cudi repeats on the chorus.  It’s great.  He’s not chasing trends, he is creating his own.

Then he hits with the perfect closing line on the hook:
“Surfin’ on my own wave, baby”

He’s made his own trends and now he is just staying in his own lane.

Surfin.

The ultimate control of being in charge of oneself and direction.

 

Please Remove Me…

I had sent out a booking email to line up shows for a tour.

My goal was to get a steady stream of bookings, but instead the early returns were “unsubscribe” or “please remove me.”

I remember how much this used to get to me.

The natural inclination after rejection is to question yourself, your skills, and your services.

Am I not good enough?  Do they not like me?  What did I do?  Will I have to go back to a day job?

I don’t think that way anymore.

I recognize that it is part of the process.

Instead of looking at it as a negative, I reframe the response and take it as its getting me closer to my core customers and clientele.

The bookings eventually come in.

I had to suffer the temporary pain of the rejection, but the long term gain is when I start to book a few shows, then a few more, and then all of a sudden my schedule is packed.

And that more than offsets the rejection.

Key lesson learned – focus on the wins and not the losses.

Successful People

successful people meme

The only thing I like more than coming up with ideas is sharing them with others.

I find that when I share them with the right person, they get inspired as well, and it fires both of us up.

But on the other side, sometimes I share an idea and someone will respond “Okay, so what’s in it for me?”

Immediately my energy level comes down.  I don’t have as much excitement.

Part of me thinks – they just don’t get it.

But a bigger part of me is disappointed.

To me its scarcity versus abundance.

When you say “What’s in it for me” you are thinking scarcity – there is not enough to go around so you have to focus on yourself.

When you think abundance, you are thinking – lets go harvest the fruit so that we can continue to build a bigger farm.  You realize that the possibilities are endless.

I try to surround myself with people that help others and that are in a positive mood.  It tends to rub off, and I want some more of that hypeness!

 

 

Don’t Know Who They Are…

Really enjoyed reading Charlagamagne Tha God’s new book.

One piece of advice he offers is about how to treat everyone with respect – you never know who they are going to be.

It’s not new advice.  It’s part of the old business axiom of treating people with respect as you go up because you never know who you will see on the way down.

The unique part of the music industry is that it’s not the same as the traditional corporate ladder where you work your way up.

Some artists go from unknown to Superstar overnight, or in a relatively short time.

Charlamagne’s story is about how you may have been lucky enough to go to the studio and see Jay-Z work on The Blueprint – one of his classic albums.  You could have been focused on getting access to Jay-Z.  If you’re a rapper, you may want to freestyle or showcase your music in hopes that he would sign you to his label Roccafella.  But if you only focused on Jay-Z you might have missed out on a couple of young producers: Kanye West and Just Blaze – unknown at the time, but now legendary.

As someone that has been in the music business for close to twenty years I know that this advice is true.

It’s part of the reason I always look to lend an ear to an upcoming rapper or listen to a beat that a young kid will send me.  I will connect with music business students and listen to their plans.

I’ve seen these young upstarts turn into buzzing acts and business professionals.

Recently I was in Germany for a music conference and festival.  I met a lot of musicians and business professionals.  Some of these musicians had worked with the biggest artists in the World – you wouldn’t notice it by how humble they were.  Some of these professionals were working at some of the top labels in the World – you wouldn’t notice it by how down to earth they were.

You stay at the top longer when you treat people with respect because even if you fall others will hold you up.

 

You don’t have enough bad ideas…

Heard this from Seth Godin while attending the Arch Angel summit last year in Toronto.

For Seth, success isn’t about having good ideas its more about not having enough bad ideas

 “You don’t have enough good ideas…no, you don’t have enough bad ideas.”

It’s counter intuitive.  Why are bad ideas important?

I think it comes down to the left and right parts of the brain.

The right part is creative.  It brainstorms.  It thinks of possibilities of why it will be successful.

The left part analyzes.  It criticizes.  It thinks of why it won’t work.

We need both parts, but in the creative process we need the right part the most.

We need to think of possibilities.  We can hone those possibilities in later.

I’m glad that I learned this lesson in creative writing class in high school.  I learned the power of stream of consciousness writing.  Each morning our teacher would have us write for ten minutes without editing or stopping.  As a rapper, I do this when I freestyle.  My best freestyles aren’t at the beginning of the rap when I’m thinking about things, but rather half way thru the rap.

As a songwriter it means acknowledging that you have to write bad songs to get to the good ones.

As a comedian it means working out bad jokes in order to find the ones that get the big laughs.

In either case its about generating ideas, not evaluating.  That comes later.

But its not just generating ideas.  It’s about acting on them.  Its about accepting that you will make mistakes, and that these missteps are necessary on the way to success.

Sometimes you have to take an “L” to get to a “W”