11 years ago I remember waking up one morning and my dad and mom said to their almost 22 year old son who still lived at home, "son you really should move to Nashville!" At the time I had just won a national songwriting contest out of Nashville and was single and had nothing to lose.
I can remember packing up my small black short bed pick up tracks and driving almost 30 hours across the country from Meridian, Idaho through the dead of winter to Nashville, Tennesee. Along that ride my dad offered a lot of great advice; partially from his own experience as a temporary resident of Nashville as a songwriter himself (his song 'Budweiser Broken Heart' made it into the top 100 before I was born!) and party from the coming horizon he saw on the music business and what he knew it would take to make it. He said 'son-you just have to keep writing-if you throw enough s$*t at the wall something's going to stick!"
For years I labored continuing at a pace of at least 50-60 songs per year doing my first record in 2004. I took a 4 year break and wrote another 200-300 songs and then for 4 years straight recorded an album a year up til 2011.
However with the sheer number of artists and the ever increasing availability to get songs out there online, I've found myself battling to find a fan base and even get any interest in my material. Even with placements on shows like 'Life Unexpected' and 'Surprise Homecoming' and holds with 'Grey's Anatomy' and 'Vampire Diaries' it has been extremely hard to find that defining song that will bring my catalog to exposure.
That's why this year I'm bringing my dad's timeless phrase back to life. I just got done recording 3 hip hop R&B songs, I have several country tracks in the works and am starting an underground indie project of my own while also producing a mainstream pop artist. If I can't get Snoop Dog's attention maybe I'll get Brad Paisley's and if not either of them then maybe John Mayer. Either way its a numbers game and if I throw enough stuff at this dang wall by gosh somethings going to stick someday!!!
"And the seventh time it happended, when the priests blew the trumpets, that Joshua said to the people: "Shout, for the Lord has given your the city! Now the city shall be doomed to destruction, it and all who are in it." Joshua 6:16-17
Music is truly a powerful influence both on our spirit and on our mind. We can see this is 1 Samuel when David was playing his harp for Saul, "And so it was, whenever David would take a harp and play it, Saul would become refreshed and well, and the distressing spirit would depart from him." Music has the ability to encourage us, minister to us, and even drive away evil spirits as stated above in this story of David. The most remarkable testimony of the power of music was in the time of Joshua. The Israelites were commanded to take overtake the city of Jericho not by weapons or force, but by the power of God through music. For seven days they marched and sang around the city's walls until, during the seventh day, the walls crumbled and the city was taken over. What an awesome story of what music can do! So many times in my own life I have let doubt and fear create a wall around my life. With every victory that I've let Satan claim, I have let my defenses grow higher and higher until I thought it was impossible for God to penetrate my hard-heartedness. But the Word of God encourages us to "sing a new song unto the Lord" that our hearts might be filled with Thanksgiving and the good things that He has done. Only at this point can life's walls begin to crumble. Have you built any walls around your life lately? Are you trapped inside the barriers of prayerlessness and wavering faith? I know this is Nashville, but you don't have to be a Christian artist to sing your praises to God. The Lord inhabits our worship and can break down any of life's Great Walls with simply the mentioning of His name. I encourage you to surround yourself with a song today. Flip on some Christian radio, put on a worship CD, or simply sing praises to God in your car. The best defense against the devil is being armed with a song he doesn't want to hear!
Uday Hussein was widely known for his routine crimes and his harsh treatment of people; even those in his own country. It was said that when the soccer team of Iraq would lose games or not make key plays, Uday would severely beat them or even kill them in most cases. Talk about motivation to do your best!
In our lax culture, there is a major pattern of a lack of discipline. We live in a nation under God, a blessed nation, and we can barely get out of bed to praise Him on Sunday morning. We have more opportunities to worship and experience Christ than possibly any other time in history, and even more opportunities to witness Him to others.
Today I urge you to have a walk that is worthy of Christ! I would even go as far to say that I want you to live your Christian life as if Uday was watching you! You serve an awesome God that deserves your 100%, so why settle for anything less. I also urge you to have the same discipline with your workouts. Even though you may not be working out for a sporting event of any kind, you are always performing for an audience of One: Jesus!
"Put off the former conversation of the old man, which is corrupt with deceitful lusts; and be renewed in the spirit of your mind. Put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness."
Do you really want to change? I've heard enough excuses in my line of work to fill about 5 health clubs! So many people I deal with want so much so fast, but sometimes I wonder if their minds are as ready as their bodies think they are.
The mind is Satan's battlefield. He loves to manipulate, confuse, cause turmoil, and wreak havoc on every aspect of your life. And he has every right to as long as you'll let him. So what are you going to do about it?
The Word says that "every man is tempted when he is drawn away by his OWN lust and enticed." No where in this passage in Proverbs does it mention that Satan makes us do anything. It is your choice to choose how you are going to handle every situation that you deal with in your life.
I believe that in order to see physical change you must change from the inside-out instead of hoping you will become a different and more confident person by changing yourself from the outside-in. If you've got malice, get rid of it. Are you dealing with lust? Pray that God may give you strength to focus on Him. Then and only then will you have a clear conscience and the confidence that only God can give when you are in Him. And you will be amazed at the focus you will have with your fitness goals and in every part of your life.
It seems as I get older and more in my stubborn routines I find that I get so focused on myself and my busy schedule and just life in general that my actions become more mechanical than intentional, more robotic than with purposeful affection. The things I used to have so much passion about slowly lose their glow and my attitude toward people becomes more and more laced with attrition and forced joy.
There's a reason why music is such a powerful tool to influence and that is because it can relate, it can free people; it can put someone in a different frame of mind that is far from their troubles. This cannot be a mechanical process. No Nashville formula or LA pop groove is going to drive someone to tears or change somebody's heart; its got to earnestly come from your own heart.
For far too long I've been caught up in the nuts and bolts and mechanics of commercial music and the direction that I think my music should go. I think 2011 for me was great but I honestly think it was missing the human factor. When I get an e-mail that a song of mine touched a person who was really sick or helped a divorced man or woman make it through the day or give a homeless man hope then that to me is how music should be and the purpose for which my music was created to reach others. The human factor is everything and my music won't be anything if it doesn't have it.
Being a songwriter I am on about 30 different internet music sites constantly promoting my songs. I'm either uploading the most recent photos, songs, doing blogs, reaching new fans and friends, or uploading new videos. Most of the sites I'm on have a little bar on the upper side of the site that shows me how complete my site is with everything that I need to do. Typically it will say EPK (Electronic Press Kit) 75% done or 60% done. But in all these years of promoting, I don't think I've ever seen one that has reached 100% simply because there are SO many things to do to get your music out to the world.
I have figured out that in my 11 years in Nashville you can literally run yourself into the ground trying to get your music off the ground. I have averaged 5 hours of sleep since I've been here and it has all been for very little return.
I have come to the conclusion that the only way to get my EPK to 100% complete is to fully trust God and in HIS will for my music and it will go where it needs to go. No amount of human effort or willpower will get me anywhere and if I think it can, then I might as well quit and go into something else.
Most people don't know that for 4 years from the time I was 18-21 I was a trail contractor in the Rocky Mountains of Idaho and Montana. My uncle owned a company called Trail Ace and we drove 2-6 hours to different projects around the northwest building trails to high mountain lakes and recreation areas.
Now the crazy part about this job is that a lot of the work was 10-20 miles back in totally remote wilderness and we could not use any gas or electric powered tools. So basically we were sporting the Amish tools like pick maddox's, pulaskis, axes, and big cross cut saws.
A typical day would be to wake up at 5, eat a massive breakfast, hit the trails at 7 and typically work til 5. We were so exhausted from the work (and the altitiude-sometimes @ 10,000 feet) that we often went to bed around 7 or 7:30 just to have energy for the next day!
I saw a ton of bear and had some really close calls in my 4 years in the woods. I can remember getting trapped between a mom and his cubs, trailing an enormous grizzly when I was walking into a lake, and waking up to see a massive black bear licking grease out of my uncles tent while he was asleep. A crazy life for a trail man but someone's got to do it!
This January I'll be looking back on 15 years of personal training; my day job as I have continued to pursue this crazy life of being a singer/songwriter. I started fitness training in 1997 when I was a senior in high school. I loved the gym and absolutely hated my job as a chicken fryer @ KFC. I can remember working long nights til 1 am and waking up at 5 to hit the gym and wondered how cool it would be to just be a trainer and forget washing greasy dishes and flipping chicken strips all day.
Through my personal training I've had an A&R deal and 2 record deals and managed to keep my clientele. I also have had a publishing deal and many one song deals with several different companies. I've been fortunate to have trained a Tennessee Titan football player, a Tennessee Titan cheerleader, a big country artist and radio personality here in Nashville. It's been a great job to compliment the crazy music life with flexible hours and making some great relationships in the music industry. I wouldn't have changed it for the world.
After finishing my 5th Nashville album I'm back on the same indie assault on trying to get my songs out to radio again. I was able to get my 2nd album 'Where You Move Me' into the top 17 albums in the college radio scene in 2009, but as an indie it takes such a huge commitment to do this on my own.
So far I've submitted to Sirius XM radio, Jango Airplay, and a good number of colleges across the United States and hope for some bites on some of the songs. These big artists with record deals don't know how easy they've got it. I'd love to kick back and just tour and not be on this dang computer 24/7 trying to get my songs played-oh well-maybe someday!
Wow what a crazy couple of years! I have released 5 albums in Nashville now-one with a label and 4 independently. After 9 years of being in Nashville I get a call from a licensing company saying that a song from my first record was wanted by the show 'Grey's Anatomy'. The lady said it was between me and another female artist. Well, she ended up getting the gig which would have totally catapulted my career.
My next big opportunity came with the show Vampire Diaries. I submitted a tune that eventually was on hold only to go months without any word on the outcome. In fact, I'm still waiting on that outcome.
Recently I got an e-mail from a company that pitches to the show GLEE that wanted to use 5 of my songs but the songs were tied up in other non exclusive companies and this particular company only did exclusive deals.
To add insult to injury, in the same week as the GLEE opportunity, I got another e-mail from a company overseas that wanted to use one of my songs in a foreign car commercial. Unfortunately the song was under an exclusive deal with another company already so I couldn't let them use the song.
I feel like my new slogan should be "deer tracks make pretty thin soup." I've been so close to that trophy buck; I've chased it hard I've literally had it at my fingertips only to have it elude me by a hair. Oh well-I know my day will come but it's so frustrating when it's right in front of your face!