I’m not being nostalgic when I say that I liked grants when they were on paper.
Back in the days when I had to print out the application and fill it in with a pen.
Back when I had to press CDR’s and print a label that I would meticulously apply on to the CD.
I liked having to go to the post office and mail it off.
I even liked having to drive thirty minutes downtown to drop off the application at the office if it was deadline day.
I liked all of these things because I know most people weren’t willing to do it.
They weren’t willing to put in the extra work required and as a result, the odds swung in my favour.
Now its more of a level playing field. It’s easier to write an application.
It should be a good thing – grants are accessible to a wider variety of applicants.
But with standardization, it has limited the ability to stand out.
Back then I would print with colour. My marketing plans were often more than twenty pages so I would get them coiled at Staples. The attention to detail made it stick out.
Now everything is done at your computer. It’s tough to stand out.
But not impossible. Knowing the importance of sticking out, I continue to look for the extra step that I can take to separate from the pack.
It’s the feeling that you get when you see the name on the call display, or you see the facebook message or email with the persons name.
There are some people that when I see their name pop up I get a smile on my face.
Maybe its because I haven’t heard from them in awhile..
Maybe its because I know they will have a lot of positive energy shine through – even if its an email and not a call where I could hear that energy.
But oftentimes its the opposite feeling.
There are some people that only contact me when they want something.
I see their name and I’m hesitant to pick up. What is it this time? I think to myself.
The legendary motivational speaker Zig Ziglar once said “You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help enough other people get what they want”
And as a motivational speaker myself, I believe in helping people.
The problem is when that becomes too much of a one way street.
I try to avoid being this type of person.
It’s the reason why I think its important to build a personal relationship with the people you do business with.
My favorite meetings – and often the most productive ones – usually are spent talking personal at the beginning. How are the kids? How’s the wife? Where have you been traveling to lately? After that, we get down to business. That part fills up about 10% of the time. But things get taken care of quick after that.
Ironically, I saw this as I was just posting a link on Facebook to a new blog post I had written.
Just before I typed my post I saw the words write something interesting
Did it always say that? I don’t remember seeing that before.
But this is from my artist fan page. Did it say that on my regular page?
So I clicked over and ahhh something different.
“What’s on your mind?”
Your friends want to hear whats on your mind.
Your fans want to hear something interesting.
Or could it be, your fans just don’t want to be treated as if they are strictly consumers that are force fed your product as you compel them to click to your latest video, song or product.
Maybe what is interesting is what is on your mind.
I’m a freestyler. I like to think on my feet.
Just as quick as I say a rap, I’m thinking about the next one.
The same thing used to happen to ideas- some for business, some for songs, some were just cool lines that I could fit into a song.
I’d come up with them and swear that I’d remember, only to forget.
That doesn’t happen to me much anymore.
I’ve learned the importance of writing things down.
I used to carry a small notebook around to do this. But then sometimes I would forget a pen.
Now I just use my phone. I use an app called Evernote so that I can write down ideas, songs, anything of note.
It’s great because it also is synched with my Macbook so that I can check my ideas later on.
Don’t miss out on your next big idea!
Write it down.
I like to think of myself as a helpful guy.
I have a passion for helping artists and I try my best to offer guidance and advice.
But sometimes I get frustrated.
I often spend more time than I think I would… or should. Sometimes it feels like its a waste of time.
This can happen a few different ways…
I can send an email to an artist saying that I need to get some information from them, for instance their bio and three Youtube links. I won’t get a response.
Or an artist can say, “Can we jump on the phone and talk about this some more?”
It’s good to touch base with someone on the phone, but in many cases these phone calls turn into: “So you you need like what you said in the email?” Me: “Yep.” “Okay and this other thing is like in the email?” Me: “Yep.”
Or it can be something that could have simply been solved by sending an email.
In either case, my initial desire to help turns counterproductive.
As a result, it can turn me off from wanting to help other artists.
If you are looking for someone to help you, the best thing is to value that persons time.
Don’t make it difficult for them to help you.
Make it easy.
Then they will look forward to helping you, instead of looking the other way.
I used to hate Puff… Diddy… Daddy… Sean Combs.
It wasn’t so much Puff, but moreso Mase. Or should I say Ma$e.
I didn’t like his voice, his flow, his rhymes, and maybe most of all – what they rapped about – money.
I felt there was more to music than that.
Diddy and Mase were flashy, symbolized by their shiny suits.
One thing I couldn’t deny is how catchy the beats were.
Twenty years later and I’m a fan.
I look back at how Bad Boy was a soundtrack to my teenage years.
Biggie will always be my favorite from the label, but now I have a newfound appreciation to Diddy and co music.
Using his own words, I now realize he “just wanted to make you dance.”
To have fun…
Which was especially important at a time of Gangsta music and East Coast / West Coast beef.
Puff was ahead of his time.
And as an artist sometimes you’re going to deal with resistance…. resistance that rappers call hate. But its all part of the game.
I remember the first time I listening to Wu-Tang Clan. I didn’t like them. I didn’t get it. Their sound was different from everything else out there. But after seeing the video a few times on Rap City one day it clicked. I was hooked. I became a fan and for the next several years I devoured all of their releases.
I could say the same thing for several other artists.
It took me awhile before it clicked.
I love the definition for acquired taste because of how it includes the word “experience.”
You have to try it to get it.
As an artist you can tell people about your art but it is really about getting someone to immerse themselves in it. I say “immerse” because we want someone to experience our art without distractions. Not to simply browse over it and check it out while multitasking.
Some people are good at sales. They can convince you to check out their art.
But even then, you aren’t guaranteed to get the person to command their undivided attention.
Most good art, or good ideas, are things that are different. They will be met with resistance. The key is to keep pushing the ideas so that the audience acquires taste… and gives you the attention your art deserves.