On occasion young artists will come to me and ask me how they can get their careers started. Yesterday a young lady sent me her video for me to critique and then give advice. I told her that she did the right thing in making the video, but the most important part of what she was trying to accomplish had to do with her marketing concept. You might have a great song. You might even have a great video. However, if no one knows about you then all your efforts will be wasted. Getting a deal with a record label will probably not help out much. Labels have a ton of artists already signed to them, but they only promote a small number of the ones they have, thereby using the other signed artists as tax write-offs. I remember years ago talking to a lady who had a couple of hit songs on the R&B charts. Her name was Vesta Williams and she was a “great” singer. We were all riding together in a bus headed to a gig and she and I talked about her career. She mentioned that she was signed to the same label as Janet Jackson. She was a little heavy (but she was very curvy and carried her weight well). She said that she could “out sing” Janet easily (and she was right… She had a tremendously powerful voice that would rattle the monitors onstage). At one point in her life she was a background singer for Chaka Khan. During our conversation she told me that she planned on losing some weight so that she could get some of that “slim girl money” they were paying Janet. She knew the label was investing all of their money behind promoting Janet and she felt that she was a much better singer. However, the issue wasn’t really about singing. Janet already came from a very well known family music name. She was a Jackson, and the Jackson 5 (along with big time brother Michael) was already famous. Janet’s family name was very influential in helping to promote her career. Needless to say, Vesta “did” lose the weight but eventually she still got dropped from her label. Janet eventually got dropped too, but much later down the line after she had already generated millions of dollars from her career. I am mentioning this because too many young up and coming artists feel that their product is all they need to make it big. Young rappers think that just because their lyrics are great that they don’t need much more to achieve fame on a global level. Right now the music industry is struggling. Years ago artists could sell millions in CD and record sales, but with the rise of the internet (and people sharing music files for free) those days seem to be long gone. While it is a bad time to start a record label it is a good time to be an up and coming new artist looking to venture out. Right now a new artist will have much more control (and will be able to make more off the sales of their music) than if they were signed to a label. Labels have taken advantage of many artists over the years. That is why most of them have now disappeared from existence. As an artist you can promote yourself and be responsible for your own success. That is why it is “imperative” for young artists to concentrate on the marketing concept as well as the music. If no one knows about your music then no one will be able to purchase it. No artist will make it on just “talent alone.” Once you become a businessperson then you are on the right road to building your career. Labels are businesses. They are looking to make money. They are not looking to be fair to anyone. Be fair to yourself. If you can’t get radio play then find OTHER ways to promote your career. Think beyond the limitations of the box, and make it all work… Thank you for checking out my Daily Thought, and as always I wish you the very best that life has to offer.
The other day some guy came up to me and asked how I felt about rap music. He said that the lyrics in these tunes are hardly ever positive and that he felt they were a negative influence on our youth. He wanted my personal opinion (and we all know I have plenty of those) so I gave it to him. First, I said that you have to go beneath the surface when it comes to anything that is popular. Most fads, styles and promotions are driven by the concept of “making money.” As bad as you may think rap music may be, it won’t make a difference what you think if people continue to support it by buying it. While it would be great for rap music to promote more “positivity in the songs” the labels only care about making profit. I did manage to tell him that however, the industry will “follow the leader.” In other words, if he could come up with a new positive rap lyric song and it sells somehow, then those other labels will take notice and most likely “follow suit.” I also told him that the state of most current popular music has been dwindling as well. A lot of those big name record labels from back in the day are gone now. The few big labels that are left are putting out “cheap sounding music product” and depending more on marketing to sell it. What this means is that they are hoping that their marketing strategy will make “any song they promote” a big hit (and a profitable one) no matter how horrible it is. This concept costs a lot, which is why the radio industry is in the toilet now. The music you hear on most of the big conglomerate radio stations is basically music that is easy (and cheap) for them to produce. The quality doesn’t matter to them anymore because they figure the young market will buy it “as it is.” The real question is whether or not they are making any profit doing so. It costs a lot of money to promote your song, and since most of the younger generations don’t buy CD’s anymore then rarely does anyone sell enough to make a big splash financially. Remember the old days when you could buy someone’s CD for around $10.00? The days of Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston are gone, and what’s left is a trail of “watered down” product that is not worthy. Often you will hear reports that a certain song sold “millions” when it was first introduced. Don’t believe everything that you hear. If these songs were selling, then why have all these labels “folded?” The real money comes from doing concerts and not from music sales. Currently the music industry is on “life support” and in need of a blood transfusion. The radio giants are motivated by money. They need us in order to make it. If the majority of radio listeners don’t like the music then the best way to make a change is to “not support it.” That concept works with just about anything. I told the guy that rap music is “only as bad as it’s support.” There is strength in numbers and through a unified effort we can bring the music industry back to where it should be. Thank you for checking out my Daily Thought and as always I wish you the very best that life has to offer.
David Banner, Ciara, Vickie Winans, The Williams Brothers, Chuck Brown, Janet Jackson, James Ingram, Yolanda Adams (with Brett Jolly to the right on bass)
Recently Kim Kardashian released a nude selfie picture of herself. Not long after that Emily Ratajtkwoski did the same. Now the both of them have done a topless selfie “together.” Halle Berry also just released a topless selfie of herself to the public. Is this now becoming a “trend? For the story on Kardashian and Ratajklwosi just check out the link below:
We are a society of trends… Does anyone remember the “mood rings?” How about “streaking?” Let’s not forget “Disco music.” We tend to follow what becomes fashion (and we tend to follow those who are already popular in the public eye). I’m sure “most men” won’t complain about this “new” thing, but is this something that should “catch on?” I hate to say it, but you can just about find pictures of naked women anywhere. Whereby years ago it was considered taboo for a woman to show a picture of herself in the raw now it is so acceptable and commonplace that I don’t think people are fazed much by it anymore. Playboy magazine used to make “fortunes” selling publications that featured bare women. Now this magazine has stopped that feature and I heard that the mag is now even up for sale. The reason for the falter of the magazine was because “now with the internet we can find pictures of naked women everywhere. Who needs to buy our magazine anymore?” Women are sexual. They are “eye candy” to most straight men. Should we chastise a women for “showcasing her sexuality?” A good friend of mine used to play bass for Madonna. For those of you who know about her she was “constantly in the news for doing shocking things: most notably being naked in the public eye.” I asked my friend why she was always did that and he responded by saying that “Madonna was one of the smartest women in the business. She KNEW that whenever she did something controversial and shocking she could look forward to making more money down the road from it.” That made a lot of sense to me. However, I don’t think the controversial nude thing worked for everyone. During a halftime Superbowl, Janet Jackson did a song with Justin Timberlake whereby at the end he snatched her top off and revealed her naked breast to the entire world. Many shunned Janet after that incident and she did NOT benefit any good results from it. “Sexuality can be a woman’s greatest asset, and who are we to tell a woman she can’t flaunt her body simply because we don’t approve of it? I think most men are now waiting for the “next” celebrity topless selfie. Is it coming? Should the public be appalled by it or should we just accept it as the new trend? Time (and public opinion) should tell the story. Where does it go from here? “Stay tuned…” Thank you for checking out my Daily Thought, and as always I wish you the very best that life has to offer.
I think right about now just about everyone knows the current story involving Bill Cosby. He is about to face charges of sexual misconduct involving use of drugs to impair the alleged victim. Over 50 woman have recently made claims that Cosby used drugs on them for some form of sexual molestation. The statute of limitations has passed on “most” of them. However, this one case seems to be within the proper time line, and the woman has indeed pressed charges. While I have heard the story, there are a few things about this that I didn’t know, and you can check them out here:
I did not know that after Cosby had allegedly “first” touched her inappropriately, she had left but then “came back to visit him” 2 more times. While that still doesn’t allow Cosby the right to assault her, it does give the slight impression that she knew Cosby wanted to be “more than just a mentor” to her. She could (and should) have warned him that she was not coming to him for “anything other than mentoring.” In this story, it is not mentioned whether she actually said that or not. If in fact she ignored what happened and continued to come back to him, that fact “might work against her.” This case will be held near where I live, and if I am available (and there is enough room for me in court) I would love to attend, but I don’t think that will happen. For many years Bill Cosby was a “positive role model” for just about “everyone.” He had power, intelligence, and a way to reach out to people. Whether or not he is found guilty or innocent, his legacy has been “severely damaged” by these charges. I cannot say for sure whether he did these things or not, but I do know that he can afford the best lawyers imaginable, and the burden of proof will not be on him. Given the amount of time that has passed and the “lack of credible evidence” it may be difficult to find Cosby guilty. That doesn’t necessarily mean that he didn’t do it, but charges need to be proven (in most cases beyond a shadow of a doubt) in a court of law. This will be an interesting case, and should generate a lot of money for the media. Stay tuned… Thank you for checking out my Daily Thought and as always I wish you the very best that life has to offer.
Just about everyone knows about the legend of Michael Jackson. The “King of Pop” was arguably the “biggest” singing star in the history of entertainment. Catapulted into stardom at a very young age with his brothers, they achieved monumental fame as the “Jackson 5” when they were with Motown Records. Once acts began leaving Motown it wasn’t too long before the Jackson 5 followed suit. They then changed their name to “the Jacksons” (I’m sure this change had something to do with contractual obligations and who had real ownership of the original name) and achieved moderate fame at that point. However, Michael was the star attraction and (like with a lot of successful groups and their lead singers) Michael eventually struck out on his own. I don’t think anyone could argue about how great Michael’s career was. He was the ultimate entertainer, singer and dancer. However, was it “right” to exclude his brothers from performing onstage with him? Granted, they didn’t sing much of the backgrounds on the recordings (from listening to most of the recordings I only heard Michael’s voice, Jermaine’s voice and maybe Tito’s on occasion, but mostly just Michael’s in the backgrounds). Still, they put on an electric show whenever they performed together. I have heard stories that Michael thought his brothers were “extra weight” that he didn’t need to carry on the show (Also, it is quite possible they may have demanded more money than regular background singers). Here is a snippet of the group performing live as the Jackson 5:
When I first saw Michael perform a live song without his brothers, I felt somewhat cheated. They started this rise to fame with him, and blood should be thicker than water. Seeing other people with him felt “weird.” However, I just don’t know what facilitated the need to leave family behind. Michael was also managed by his father Joe and Michael relieved him of that job as well (That move I could “fully” understand). When they interviewed Joe Jackson after Michael’s death, he was so shook up that he could barely talk about his new record label (yes, there is sarcasm here). No matter how turbulent the family situation, should his brothers have been terminated from the shows? There is probably a lot that we don’t know, but I can say that I would have loved to have seen Michael’s brother perform with him. Maybe one day someone will write a “tell-all” book that explained what really happened. In the meantime we can only “ponder.” Thank you for checking out my Daily Thought today, and as always I wish you the very best that life has to offer.
Yesterday I went to my barber (Yes, I still go to one, so you can stop laughing now) and aside from getting my hair cut, I usually have good conversations with him. For those of you who don’t remember, I wrote about him before. Years ago he was young and foolish and decided to drive with his friends while recklessly shifting lanes on a highway. Well, his actions cost him the lives of one of his friends and two passengers in the approaching car. To make a long story short, he spent time in jail, he dropped to his knees in court and asked the families of the victims to forgive him. He was cut a break on his jail time and is now leading a “changed lifestyle” with a new attitude in life. He told me yesterday that considering his circumstances he could never ever be in judgment of anyone. We both agreed that it is easy for most people to judge others based on the “surface story alone” but in some cases those judgments could be highly scrutinized when given the background of those who actually committed the infractions. Most times we are “quick” to criticize the bank robber for robbing banks, and yet we may never take into consideration that this man (or woman) just might have hit rock bottom after being turned down on “numerous job applications.” What about the prostitute who works the streets selling her body because of her experiences when she grew up up being abused and molested constantly by friends and family? What about the child molester who suffered from the same things when he or she was younger? As a society we read about the infractions committed and the first thing we do is “form a negative opinion or judgment based on what we read.” However, what if that article doesn’t take into consideration the torment this person suffered while growing up institutionalized or the medication that the person was on that made him or her react that way? One thing we both agreed on was that “no one is perfect and everyone makes mistakes.” If it is true that God forgives us, then “should it be considered unGodly if we choose NOT to forgive?” There is an old saying that goes like this: “Let he who is without sin cast the very first stone.” For the record, I am not saying that we should let all those who are guilty of crimes free. However, I do believe that most (if not all) of those incarcerated can be rehabbed and possibly even trained to function in society with a new chance. I also believe that we can reach out to the families of troubled youths and work with them “before they commit a crime” so that they can at least feel that “someone cares.” A child without hope is a child lost. If I had a choice between building more prisons and building more schools I would gladly take the latter. My barber got a second chance in life and he is now making the most of it. I honestly believe that others might do the same if they are “only given that opportunity.” I’m sure there are people out there who will disagree with me and probably judge men on today’s Daily Thought. I can deal with that… In the end, I know that there is only “one” judgment that “really” matters… Thank you for checking out my Daily Thought, and as always I wish you the very best that life has to offer.
I just recently discovered a story about 2 men that are suing the estate of Michael Jackson for wrongful abuse. This article claims that Jackson paid out over 200 million dollars in hush money to the people he allegedly abused. For those who would like to check it out, here is the article:
Assuming that these allegations are even true, one question still comes to mind for me. “Why now?” Michael is no longer here to defend himself, and if these terrible charges did in fact happen then why try to get “more” money now after “already” being paid off? Don’t get me wrong, I have absolutely “no love” for anyone who abuses children (or anyone for that matter). To me this is a crime that is inexcusable. However, if someone is a victim of that crime, and then decides to let it ride due to the fact that the perpetrator gave hush money then that is “equally” as bad, because then you are basically saying that it is “okay to abuse me as long as you pay me.” I think we all have heard about the molestation accusations that were running rampant during Michael’s career. However, he was never convicted of any crime. If the only reason that he was never convicted was because of “hush money” he paid to the victims then in my mind there is no reason to bring new charges now. Once you accepted that money then that should have been “it.” Michael is dead and gone. It is quite possible that his accusers may have been irreparably damaged by his actions and I feel sorry for their pain. That still doesn’t give them the right to “continually seek more money” after they already had reached a settlement that they agreed to. Since we know Michael could afford the best lawyers, I am “quite” sure that he had it “explicitly stated” in the contract that “in response for this payment you can not level any new charges against me in the future.” If that was the case then why try to get more now? I am not defending Michael by any means. I don’t know what happened with him and the little kids and I won’t slander his reputation based on “allegations alone.” I will say that if he did in fact abuse little kids then he should have been put in jail “while he was alive.” That is just my opinion, and I respect anyone who disagrees with me. I thank you for checking out my Daily Thought and as always I wish you the very best that life has to offer you today.