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..




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.

Cheating Yourself

I used to love it when we were able to mark our own tests.  Doesn’t matter the which teacher, they would always say the same thing “When you cheat, you are only cheating yourself.”

Sure, I thought.  I just wanted to get a good mark.

But as I’ve gotten older I’ve seen the wisdom in that statement.

I keep track of my gym workouts by putting them into a spreadsheet.  I always aim for four workouts a week.  If I do three – that’s decent.  If I do five or six – that’s great.  But four is solid.

I could fudge the numbers.  But whats the point?

When I only have a two workout week, it doesn’t look good but it reminds me that I’ve got to step my game up.

Accountability leads to greater results in the future.


Future Belongs To Those…



For a while in the 90’s it seemed like it was all about Malcolm X.  For me it began on one of the first episodes of the Fresh Prince.  I think it may have even been the first episode.  Will had a poster on his wall of Malcolm X and his Uncle Phil skeptically asked  “Do you even know what he represents?”

It wasn’t long after that when Spike Lee announced he was making about Malcolm’s life.

Denzel played the lead.

Then it became a fashion crazy.  ‘X’ embroidered hats were everywhere.

I used to have this poster on my bedroom door.  So I walked by it daily.

The quote still has an impact on me.

It reminds me that the work that I do today will have an impact on the future.

I love how Malcolm’s signature pose is him pointing to his forehead – Always thinking.

It’s become iconic.

Even decades after his passing, Malcolm’s words ring true to this day.

Lin-Manuel on SNL – Finding Your Role

Lin-Manuel Miranda is seen in New York, New York on Tuesday September 2, 2015.

Was watching Lin-Manuel on Saturday Night Live and it made me think about the importance of finding your role.

Lin-Manuel is a rapper.  He can spit bars with the best of them.  His monologue on SNL proved that.  He flowed effortlessly and he had some great punchlines.

But Lin-Manuel isn’t known as a rapper.  He’s known as a playwright for creating Hamilton.

What if he had thought that the only way he could share his talent was by making a single to get played on commercial radio.

What if he thought he was only a rapper if he made a mixtape or an album?

With all of his success it sounds silly, but we often look at talent with a narrow viewpoint.

The thing is, the rules have changed.

A few weeks ago I got a gig that I would never have expected.  I was doing voice over for a childrens  cartoon.  I played the role of a rapping dog.  Back when I started rapping out twenty-plus years ago this would be the furthest thing from my mind, but it was fun.  It worked.

Sometimes you have to think out of the box…

Or sometimes you just need to try new things until you stumble on the right one.



No One Knows Who You Are

Had a good talk with my friend Maestro Fresh Wes recently.  As a Canadian Hip-Hop pioneer and legend, its great to be able to call him a mentor.

We were talking about his latest music video.  It had been getting great response.  It even landed on Worldstar.  But it was something that he said that stuck with me.

“No one knows who you are.”

He wasn’t talking about me – and how could he be talking about himself – Everyone knows who Maestro is in Canada.  Instead, he was talking about his outlook on the music business.

For me, Maestro was well known.  I’d listened to his music for the last twenty five years.  But as a veteran in an industry where attention spans are short and careers even shorter, Maestro knows he can’t just rely on his past success.

Sometimes you have to keep at it.  Keep creating and keep releasing.  Some people will pay attention, some won’t.  It will be new for some, others may not even notice.

But you never know what might stick.




omething he said stuck with

The Power of the Follow Up

Many people assume that after you’ve contacted someone the ball is in their court.

Since you initiated the conversation, now its up to the other person to respond.

If they doesn’t respond – or respond quickly – it’s easy to get upset or frustrated.  Sometimes we create a false narrative thinking that the person doesn’t “like you” because they didn’t respond right away.

That’s why there is so much power in a follow up.

I recently sent an email to a blogger asking them to check out one of my new songs.  I had tailored it specifically to the person instead of doing a generic email blast.  After all, I knew this person and we had exchanged emails in the past.  A few days later and I didn’t hear back.  Strange I thought, but all good.  A week passes by and no response.  So about a week and a half after sending the initial email I sent another email.  “Hey, just wanted to follow up on the email I sent last week and make sure you got it.”

Five minutes later and I had an email in my inbox.

“You know what, I didn’t.  I just double checked my junk mail and there it was!  Sorry about that.  I’ll check it out right now and get it up on the site.”

Problem solved.

I’ve heard from many artists that get discouraged when their music isn’t posted on a blog.  They will tell me “But I emailed them!”  or “That blog doesn’t like me.”

And maybe their music wasn’t up to par.  But maybe the person just didn’t get the message.

Back in the day things were harder.  To get music to a journalist you had to physically send them a copy.  You wanted to have professional CD so if it wasn’t pressed, you had to burn one and design and print a label.  Oftentimes I would include a whole press kit – a file folder with 8 X 10 full colour photo and some additional attachments.  It was a lot more work and it cost a lot more money.

Now we just have to send an email.

Techonology has made things easier but its also made people lazy.

It’s amazing what taking an extra step can do.