I’m in the studio these day, and my producers are working with my “from the soul” singing and playing to try to stay true to my interpretation and respect for the tradition. Though some of you might remember, it was initially ‘Blues Rock’ that drew my attention to Blues as a performance genre, but after a year of screaming guitars, I fell madly in love with the root of it, its aroma is hypnotic and addictive, no matter what noise you try to bury it under, so why bury it at all? I long since abandoned the pedals and wah-wahs for plain cat-gut and the back porch vibe of it. I want people to crave beer, barbeque, and a slice of Mama’s apple-pie when they watch/hear me play. When they cry, I want it to be because their very souls are stirred, not because their eardrums just busted. Stay tuned for my new CD - Amber Waves. Love you ALL!!!
I’VE HEARD SOME COMMENTS LATELY. About recordings sounding manufactured. Blues mixed and master righteously will not compromise the sincerity of the artist’s delivery. When I write a song or perform one, it comes from a real place. A good record producer can put every note in “its right place” without budging it one picometer from its birthplace in the singer/songwriter’s heart. The Blues Artist, or any artist should not allow techno-fueled stripping to be applied to their songs, the fruits of their souls.
So your cousin, or your girlfriend wants to do your booking. Your knee-jerk response to that is probably "HELL NO" and I understand your position. Of course we would all prefer an industry expert, however, you may not be aware and history will back it up, that some of the most effective representatives are the one who have little experience, but they make up for it in passion and belief in the talent they represent. These greenhorns are sometimes considered by Music Executives to be refreshing, genuine, and just brazen enough to get in peoples face and make an impression that gets you seen and heard. So don't knock it. What's the worst that can happen? Seriously...I would like to know...so HOLLA!
“Practice Makes Perfect.” Sound familiar? Good musicians practice until they don't make mistakes. Professionals practice until they can't make a mistake. However, all humans are subject to make mistakes and to be confronted with things that are out of their control. No musician, Pro or otherwise, in performance, should give "that look," to a band member who has just made an error. Honorable musicians just collectively navigate to the best or least conspicuous means of recovery. Sometimes recovery comes by smile and laughter, even pros in friendly performance environments and in intimate fan settings are more likely to "make light" in the presence of live bloopers. Finding the humor is the fun and spontaneous response applied by most musicians that I know and work with. In close knit bands (as opposed to strangers contracted for play) the smile or tastefully humorous comment instantly says "it’s okay to be human" and is the kind of reaction that has an uncanny effect on fans which often makes for memorable and endearing moments that bring them (the on lookers) on the inside where they feel good. To openly respond to a band member with critical and obvious disdain whether verbal or nonverbal, is humiliating and hostile and leaves EVERYONE including your audience and beloved fans with a bitter taste in their mouths. So think before you cut someone that cold disgusting glance, ask yourself, do I want to escalate this 'oops' into a 'catastrophe' for everyone else while making myself look like an 'Asshole'? So in 2015, for the good of the music and all mankind, please freaking REHEARSE! Then PLAY your hearts out on stage and WORK your problems out off stage.
September 20, 2014 at 11AM in the morning, The Santa Clarita Valley Blues Society is hosting the Battle of the Blues Bands, to count votes for the winner who goes to Memphis for the Blues Foundation's 31st Annual International Blues Challenge 2015. On the high road to Memphis, I have been a loyal card bearing member of the Los Angeles Blues Society who has not participated recently in the Battle of the Bands. SCVBS has been a blessing to me and to LABS to afford us the opportunity to partner up for this awesome event. I am in good company with the support of blues artist Robbie King as my guitarist/songwriter/co-writer/arranger/and musical director for my feature in this competition. He brings with him the talents of Johnny Blue on keys, Gip Lentine on harp, Gary Cox on bass, and Dan Erfurt on drums under the Robbie King & The Blues Counts umbrella. I look forward to presenting our best Vintage/Authentic/Electric Blues for this event and our EP which will follow later next month. I have over 2,000 Blueslings who have tagged themselves as fans and I love each one of them. Thank you for your love and support along the way. #highroadtomemphis
#highroadtomemphis - As a singer, I have never been a competitive person. I do not enter contest, or try to out-do others, personally or professionally. With such diverse talent everywhere how can one righteously compare vocals which is like a finger print, totally unique and thus, incomparable. I have always loved being a part of the “Ensemble” and I don’t expect that will ever change in me. When I made the decision, last October, to embark upon the High Road To Memphis #highroadtomemphis I knew as I sought the crown, that there would be two absolutes: 1 – I would finally HAVE to compete and 2- I would still need to be part of an ensemble. When I am surrounded by so much mega talent, some of whom maybe reading this right now, how could I possibly decide on my road buddies for this journey? Allow me tell you something about some of the finest people I know:
In summer 2010, Bill McFadden of 7th Sons had been very busy talent scouting with his good friend, the gifted guitarist ,Steven Artea. Bill inducted me into his picks for the mega, crème de la crème rock band along with Steven Artea, John Mila De La Roca, Gary Cox, and Robbie King. He assembled his dream team at a studio in Chino Hills. My life was changed forever that day.
The positive results for me 4 years later, is joyously immeasurable. The friendships, music, and growth have been my comfort and inspiration from the on start. The relationships personally and musically evolved to include two additional key talents and wonderful persons, Johnny Blue and Ruben Artea. The results; all my dreams came true.
Robbie King, guitarist, songwriter/arranger, vocalist surrounded himself with a strong set of performing blues enthusiasts and returned to his roots in blues, with the forming of Robbie King & the Blues Counts with Johnny Blue on Keys, Gary Cox of Bass, Jerry Olson, as well as, Stephen Foster on Drums, and Gip Lintene on Harmonica. And shortly after that 7th Sons underwent a reorganization and I was a free agent again. Robbie asked me if I would like to sing the Blues. I was skeptical, but, Robbie can be very persuasive so I gave it a whirl. I also, returned to my roots in Americana Originals, with Blues, Gospel, and Rock influences in the company of No Hidden Place Trio with Ruben Artea, Steven Artea, guitarists, songwriters, & vocalist. I was and am to this day, in hog heaven.
Robbie King, has been instrumental in my growth as a Blues Artist. Robbie has pounded my head, and the pavement to assure that I am prepared to perform and have places to sing. His sacrifice, and belief in me is nothing less than what God has sent for additional light on my path. I would never have considered Blues as a viable genre for my classically trained voiced, but Robbie knew something the rest of us did not. There was blues in me screaming to be let out. I want Robbie with me on the High Road To Memphis, as well as The Blues Counts, who are on-board with the style, rhythm, musical roots, and passion that is most conducive to taking home the prize for the best BLUES. #highroadtomemphis Stay tuned for never before seen photos of my secret woodshed for rehearsing this project.
From where I was sitting on Saturday night a big congratulations goes to LOS ANGELES BLUES SOCIETY, http://lablues.org for throwing a beautiful Christmas, Holiday, Pot Luck, Toy Drive, Concert, Blues Jam event. Oh my stars! The teenagers, “Detour 91” are LABS choice for the IBC Youth Showcase in Memphis, they were adorable, and who doesn’t Chase Walker. Chase surprised us all and went to town on BASS accompanying Leilani Kilgore.
Laurie Morvan Band http://laurimorvan.com rocked the halls fa la la la la! Pure energy, wailing guitar, a beautiful singing voice, and a repertoire of her own award winning compositions like ‘Saved by The Blues’ and ‘ It Only Hurts When I Breathe’. This was my first time hearing her and it won’t be the last. I loved her performance!
The homemade dishes and treats overflowed. I tore up those pumpkin and chocolate chip cookies, thanks Sandy Campbell. People came dressed to the nines, bearing toys for drive, food for the buffet, and their music gear to join the Jam. Thanks to the Host & Hostess with the most’es; Laurie Moyer, and Gene Carlson, and the helping hands like @Jay Adelberg, Theresa Woo, Teresa Garcia, and Maile Anela Alday capturing photos and hearts in her sassy leopard mini dress! There were so many familiar faces, and I was happy to see them all. Cynthia Bush-wyckoff, I didn’t make it over to say hi, but I saw you across the room and as always you looked beautiful. Tony Wycoff, Lynnda Nafzgar, Johnny Walker, Beverly Thompson , Joe Anderson, see you at Margarita Rock on WED night this week, Bobby Cass, my precious, sweet band mates Robbie King & Gip Lentine, and my pal Gordon Campbell of Cold Comfort Laneika Gallon of Seville Street, it is always a delight to see your dazzling smile, Mark Sells you killed it… AGAIN, Bill Randolph thanks for the cocktails, its on me next time, Rick Alossi with his protégé Tyler Iwamoto, Al Factorman, its not a party if you are not there, Dohn Lewis I save your sit and you save mine, Louis Michael Hinzo nice to see you and hear you play, I hope to be playing again with you soon, Romeo Maxx you always make my heart feel happy, Barbara Paul, Joe Bull and David Fetig. I apologize that I didn’t get to stay to hear everyone perform. I hope to hear you each again soon. If you are in the IE next Weds night Dec 11th stop by Margarita Rocks and Jam with Robbie King & The Blues Counts and me. Merry Christmas all you sweet, fun loving, blues slinging, Angels! Sincerely, Tina Jackson
Got Talent? That's a good beginning. Got good management? Now you're cooking with gas. As strange as it may seem, sometimes good management is all you need, to hell with talent. How often do we tune in on the radio, satellite or TV and say, "I can't believe that non-singing/playing So & So has that gig and I'm on this end listenting to that crap." Be honest, we've all said it more than once. I value the 100% music success rate by the following formula: 4.5% talent, 40% drive, 0.5% luck, and 55% good management. The AVERAGE Artist Manager earns around $90K annually. MY manager is an IDIOT and still earns close to that figure. Typically she spends every minute she can squeeze into her program, writing, learning, living, breathing,creating, and performing musical magic. That's nice if you're the Artist, but she's a manager right, what the hay? And to make matters worst she spends 50 hours a week working in a totally unrelated field, cause "it pays the bills." She is full of excuses. She always puts my Marketing, PR, Sales, Branding, Advertising, Networking,Contracting and Promotion last on her list. After working 10 hours at the 'day gig' and another 5 hours on music,she stays up half the night making typos on my press releases, web & social media sights. She doesn't return phone calls, cause most people don't care to talk busines at 3AM. I'd fire her in a heartbeat, but so far she is the only who believes in me enough to stick around. She's always there for me, in good times and bad, on stage and behind the scenes, all that is good but she sucks at management. By now you have figured out that I am self-managed. All that smack we hear; 'you have to be willing to do it for yourself cause no one else will" is BULL. Get aggressive musicians, don't give up until you find someone or an entire posse of delegates to handle business so you can concentrate on MASTERING your art. I am always on the look out for someone who will work for that $85K and I won't stop the search until I find that someone. I refuse to settle for anything less than the best I can get and I hope you won't either. My lastest invention is my Intern. He is music major at a local college. He is shadowing me to learn the ropes. The plan is for him to take over some of the management duties. Its a step in the right direction for me. Although, teaching someone about what a Artist Manager does, is yet ANOTHER huge undertaking, I highly recommend it, if it resutls in passing the baton. So, if you know anyone who is not afraid to get into the face of venue owners, talent buyers, etc. to the tune of $85K annual, snatch them up and share them with me before I collapse from exhaustion. Love Y'all to pieces. Tina Jackson, Singer, Songwriter, Musician, Marketing/PR/Advertising, Graphic Arist, Staff Writer, Booking Agent, Web Designer,Mentor, Chief Cook & Bottle Washer and Queen of Hearts!
Don't be afraid to think out of the box. You will undoubtedly encounter the venue whose idea of managing business is to assign the accountability for Marketing, PR, Sales, and Customer loyalty to a...group of Musicians. This venue probably won't be around much longer. So while you are in charge of it. Take charge of it. Run the ads, beat the drum, pack the place out, but make sure, you let everyone leave knowing you can bring those skills, to any venue, where they like to frequent. That clientele belongs to you. Sell to them, cater to them. You brought them in there, so take them with you when you leave. Be sure to thank the venue for the use of their space on you way out with your new customers.
Traditional Blues is going strong. Thanks to all my Fan Fam for getting me into the top 100 Blues performers in Los Angeles. I don't take this lightly. I'm practicing and writing and can't wait to play for each of you. Got any originals you want be to hear. Let me know!
Off to a flying start! Hold on for 2013 is proving to be a wild and exciting ride. Party with me this year. I'm not promising to live forever.