There are no guarantees that the music you make is appreciated. There is no guarantee that the person you love will love you like you love them. Even though we subconsciously know this, we try again anyway. Musicians similarly create, compose, sing, arrange and master music in hopes that others listen, like and share their work.
Sex is easy. Pleasing your partner is not. We come with different filters, moods and baggage that can amplify or shut down our activity. Genres of music are no different. Why even try?
For me, I am a creative. If I don’t make something, every now and then I feel as if I will explode. The passion to create is shared by two guys I know that have just released work they hope will find a home.
One is a talented but struggling Hip Hop artist. If you ask any frustrated parent, the last thing you want to hear your son say is that he aspires to be a “rapper.” The struggle for a Hip Hop artist today is the same for anyone selling anything online today. You have to find, and grow your fan base. Using the street name, “DurdyBanga,” my friend’s newest project is like classic Hip Hop of the ‘90’s. My favorite track is biographical where he says that he is an introvert. I like the lyrical play and the outside elements that are mixed together for a message.
Like good sex, sometimes you just hit it right but most of the time it takes work. Good music has a message. If you can pull it out from what you hear it is good. It’s good like, “good money,” and a “good government job.”
The challenge goes beyond creating the pieces, producing the songs, mastering it for distribution, finding someone to do the artwork or photography and putting it all together to be appealing. Sometimes you have to motivate yourself. Fear of failure is huge here. More often than not, there is no team of people cheering you to succeed. Usually there are more naysayers than you need. Finances are limited. Time is limited. There are a lot of entities trying to take advantage of your enthusiasm, entrepreneurism and effort. Usually it’s not the ones you want to hear from.
A sad soul can kill you quicker than a germ. – John Steinbeck
How to grow a community.
If you want to grow a community also known as a fan base. The first step is to find your audience. You’ll find them from your present network of friends and family. You’ll also have to look outside of the box. I discovered that my Filipino friends still appreciate good Hip Hop. The next step is to create methods for people to contact you. You have to have a website, landing page, welcome page and contact information. You can’t do it from someone else’s real estate. Your creations will get lost on Facebook, Soundcloud, iTunes, MySpace, etc. You need your own internet property (domain name/website) that is searchable by Google, Bing, Yahoo and others. You have to be engaged in the process. You will need to have someone answer and field calls, emails if you cannot. Someone needs to let others know how great your stuff is and why they should sample it beyond your mama (who loves all your stuff). This post is going to help a little but you need more like it. There are a few more items but those are the strongest elements.
If Hip Hop isn’t your thing; how about rhythm and blues? I have another new friend who has done a lot in his life, is returning to his roots of making music. He just released a soulful single on iTunes called “Gone.” The most memorable and longest lasting songs in your head often speak to what we lost in love. This one hits it right on the head. I am looking for good things to come from the rest of his compilation. I liked it and I hope you do too.
Love is the bread of life, but you have to make it every day if you want it fresh.
You can order DurdyBanga’s music here.
You can get Gone from D.Ward on iTunes here.
If you want your project reviewed, written about or shared, send it to me. Happy to help spread the love. Stay tuned as I will be interviewing these guys on the Kenn Blanchard Show podcast soon.
If you have ever thought or said, I’ll start going to “church” after I get my life together- please understand that you never will. Life is just life. The same stuff you have in your head at 13 is the same stuff you have at 53. If you are blessed you get older. The people in the church aren’t any more together than you most of the time. For some that is all they know. Don’t judge. They just realized the importance of being there and getting right with God before you did.
For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Romans 23
The invisible, omnipotent, omniscient God loves you and everyone that in their heart and mind (believes that) and is trying to get right with Him.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16
But it isn’t easy. The Bible is full of stories of people trying to get it right. People that tried to make rules to make themselves righteous. You can’t do it no matter how many laws there are. There are other forces trying and successfully influencing us not to trust in God. It’s not always demonic. Sometimes is us. Failures, setbacks, ego, death, and things we have seen cloud our judgment or turn us away from His love.
God doesn’t want robots. He gives us freewill so that we have to make a choice. It’s easy and hard at the same time. It’s perception. It’s education. It’s life.
Choose today. Not choosing is a choice. No one gets a pass. The earlier you get onboard, the better your future can be. If you wait for the perfect moment, you’ll be waiting the rest of your life. We are all serving someone or something. We move and are motivated by all kinds of things. Some are chasing dreams, the mighty dollar, fame, sex, a high, an escape, food, and even a child. We can get lost over time and forget why we are mad, why we got so angry and how we got to this place.
Now is all you have. Today is the oldest you’ve ever been and the youngest you’ll ever be again.
And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.
Heavenly father, the God of Abraham Isaac and Jacob, the great I am. I realize today that I will never have it all together. Forgive me for everything I have done in my life that was against you. Help me. Help me understand and grow closer to you. I choose you. Come into my heart and mind. Reclaim my soul and give me the life you have for me. Cleanse me. Give me a right Spirit. I accept your Son Jesus Christ as my personal savior. Show me the way. Protect me from evil. Lead me out of my current situation. Give me peace. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.
Sometimes everything you tried flops. Every now and then you wonder why you ever attempted what didn’t come to pass. It is those days that you must realize, understand and accept Shiitake mushrooms happens. Failure isn’t final.
I had one of those weeks in January. Well maybe it was several. I was down but not out. I was reminded constantly that something was wrong because while I was processing it all, co-workers asked “What’s wrong man?”
“Why are you so quiet today?”
I asked the Lord, now what? And He said, Trust Me.
It made perfect sense. I didn’t see that coming. I had just returned from a business trip and was looking forward to some good news. I was also preparing for a sermon I wanted to preach but wasn’t sure that the subject I had was timely and what the congregation needed to hear.
“Trust Me,” He said.
Ok, I said. And I was able to smile again.
Psalm 37 of the Holy Bible is full of admonitions to trust God, to be thankful and have faith in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. If you read the entire chapter you’ll come to the part that says,
I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.
That is what I preached on. That we should Trust God. Don’t worry about stuff you can’t fix. Don’t get caught up in the mess that is American politics. Don’t get twisted over who is marching or protesting unless you are stuck behind it in traffic. Keep your head.
Think about your situations. There have been some days when you wondered how you were going to make it and you are still here.
I flew to Vegas to meet some people, and like a date that you got all dressed up special to go on, I didn’t get a second one or a call back. Sometimes stuff happens contrary to what you want it to no matter how great the plan and resources spent. When it does, pick yourself up and move on.
The world is hell bent on rehashing the negatives. If it is derogatory, dark, sick, immoral and just wrong, it’s ok to say, do or perpetuate. It is probably a popular TV show now. It is all good growing environments for mushrooms but not people of God. We like Light. Don’t wonder why the television choices suck so bad. Don’t be surprised if lies are now “alternative facts.” A lie no matter how many times is told is still a lie. Don’t compromise. Don’t settle. Keep moving.
“In the confrontation between the stream and the rock, the stream always wins; not through strength, but through perseverance.”
For me, I decided to cut down on my stressors (also known as projects). I am serial entrepreneur and refuse to surrender to the notion that I can’t make a living by my own ingenuity and God given talents. I just haven’t found the right ingredients yet.
When I thought the Black Man With A Gun Podcast had run its course, I created HighCapacityMagazine.us. I thought I could get some fresh new writers and manage a new blog but that failed. It was my prettiest, fastest, most organized site to date too. The Facebook page connected to it had even grown without any effort. One of my gifts is ignition. I can get some stuff off the ground better than most. But after that, no navigation system. Realizing this truth about myself is new.
I also have another podcast which will fade called the Upper Marlboro Podcast I created with the intention of an experiment in niche podcasting. I have learned a few things from doing it, so it wasn’t a total failure either. I can’t manufacture any time so it is best I stop and focus on what is working. That happens to be the Black Man With A Gun site and podcast. It is steady like a pumping heart. Competition is fierce in the new media gun space. My numbers are increasing.
The podcast that I thought had run its course is actually doing exceptionally well in comparison to others. At a recent podcast convention I learned that my number of downloads put me in the top 5% of all US podcasters. That is amazing seeing how I am not on anyone’s chart (Apples misleading New and Noteworthy, or other podcast aggregators’ Editors Picks).
Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.
I am re-using the professional video I took at ThunderShot Studios to use for a presentation into a new YouTube channel called BlackManWithAGun.TV. I am making a delicious soup with my mushrooms.
And more importantly, I am staying in the fight. If I can, so can you.
I know it sounds audacious and egotistical for me to post something that tells others how to pray but if you have ever wondered about this, believe in Jesus Christ as the Messiah, and follow me as a minister of the Gospel, read on.
Prayer is communication with God. Communication is a two way street. An effective prayer is one that is heard. You have probably heard someone pray that you thought was good and others that you thought didn’t go further than the ceiling tiles. It is my belief that the difference is in the heart not in the delivery. Some people that have grown up in certain denominations have learned the “right” phrasing, tone, and intonation to “sound” good. That is not what I am referring to here. Be careful that you don’t allow “that guys” prayer to make you think that your prayer is not reaching the throne of grace. Envy is not good.
It is not about the length, or flowering content of your prayer. A good prayer based on the one Jesus taught his disciples contains only four elements.
After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen. – Matthew 6:9-13 King James Version (KJV)
There are different kinds of prayers but the one that I am referring to here is one where you have been called upon to pray for someone else or you are seeking the Lords help personally.
The first part is the Adoration or Acknowledgement. Who are you talking to? There are a lot of spirits, demons and self-made gods floating around. Are you talking to the Creator of Heaven and Earth?
The next part is the confession. David asked that God create in him a clean heart. You are approaching the Throne of Grace. The seat of God. You cannot go there in sin. You must ask for forgiveness, which is only available through the sacrifice of Jesus. That is why people say things like, I plead by the “blood of Jesus.” I often ask God to forgive me of anything that would prevent me from being heard right now. If I have time and alone, I may even go into detail about it, knowing that nothing I have done was in secret to Him. This confession is private and only between you and your God. You don’t need a third party here.
I believe that speaking your prayer is better than just thinking it. I base this on the fact that God spoke the world into existence and that I would rather hear you say I love you than just think you do.
The third part of this process, which takes longer to explain that to do is to thank God for what He has already and will do.
And the final part, the forth is the actual supplication. Or what you came for. The Lords prayer has all four of those elements in it. Though not in that order.
To remember it, think of the acronym, A.C.T.S. acknowledge, confession, thankfulness, supplication.
You can talk to God about anything. You should talk to God about everything. I believe that you were created by God for a purpose. I believe you are special to Him. And because He loves you better than anyone, talking to Him more would be a good thing. We wrongfully think that we should only talk to God in times of emergency. I say wrongfully because, how would you feel if you only spoke to someone of great power when you needed something. It wouldn’t feel like you had a relationship with them at all. But merely like you were using them. God wants you in a relationship with you not a religious experience. Would you want a doughnut in the back of your car or a full sized spare tire? We often short change God in more things than we realize.
There is power in prayer. Having the ability to seek counsel, and wisdom is just a couple of the things available. Don’t just wait for the miracles. There are things that the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob can do for you right now that can make your day blessed. And there is the “faith” element. But I’ll talk about that later. You must have it, and pray in it.
… you have not because you asked not. James 4:2
During your prayer do not be alarmed if you feel sleepy when you are in private conversation with God. His Spirit brings a peace that sometimes knocks you out. Do not freak out if you start getting ideas and solutions to problems while you are praying. You are now connected to the Source of life, and your creative side gets charged when you do. You are an offspring of God. You have to learn to save your notes( inspirations) when this happens.
Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.- Psalm 27:14
Join me Wednesday nights at 9 pm est for online prayer at http://blanchardchapel.us or by calling 202-780-1279 (you can just listen or join in live)
If you want me to pray with/for you, just call.
God bless you.
*special thanks to Richard Smallwood for allowing me to use his music here. I hope it blesses you.