If you’ve followed my last couple of posts, you’ll know that I’m participating in a contest created by Ariel Hyatt of Ariel Publicity. The second chapter of the book is all about defining who you are as an artist, and the style of music that you do. To help you define yourself, Ariel takes you thru some exercises to help you create “The Perfect Pitch.” This pitch should be something you can use at the drop of a dime when someone asks you about who you sound like, what your music evokes in others, what to expect should someone come to see you perform live, what your CD might sound like. Many have called it an elevator pitch because from the moment you step into an elevator til the time you step out, you should have been able to share you with someone else to the point that they have a somewhat clear understanding of you as an artist. Sounds easy, right? NOT.
Now, I’ve always felt there was value to having a moniker, a one-liner, and something that accompanies the name, “Rhythma”, if not for any other reason than to just inform someone that I’m a musician. So, as many of you probably know, I’ve been using “Music for the heart, mind, and spirit…” for years. I still think this is sufficient for the purpose of adding something to Rhythma for high level clarification. The thing that’s gotten tricky for me is that Ariel’s book wants you to put your perfect pitch on myspace, twitter, facebook, your web site… and I think that there are different pitches for different reasons. My moniker is already on all those sites as well as my business card and has been for a long time. The only thing that’s left me unsettled is that it doesn’t work when someone wants a clearer idea of who I sound like. This is where Ariel’s technique came into play.
She had me break down certain elements of my musical style, influences, and other details, and then combine these elements into the pitch. Then you have to try the pitch on for a while to see how it sticks. If it sticks, then you get another unique addition which is access to her private ning.com group where you can try the pitch out with your peers to see how they react too it. This was helpful too me since I couldn’t come up with just one pitch.
So, all in all, I decided to stay with:
“Music for the heart, mind, and spirit…”
for my overall catch phrase which accompanies my profiles online, my web site, and my business card. It feels right for me. However, when asked to describe my music in the elevator, I’ve settled on:
“If Paul Simon produced Jack Johnson in a studio a Tesla coil.”
Now, if that’s just too obscure for someone or they just stepped off the boat and ask me, “Who is Jack Johnson?”, then I’ll try this:
“Where pop, rock, jazz, folk and hip-hop collide.”
If that doesn’t work, I’ll just tell them I’m the TV repair man and I’m offering year-end discounts right now.
I was walking along in a school parking lot when I noticed a really large white Cadillac backing out of a parking space. I looked to see who was driving and I noticed it was my friend David B. I walked up to say hello. His hair was really unusual, even for him. It had grown out and was long and straight, hanging down almost to his shoulders. It was parted down the middle, and one side was bleached white and the other side was dark gray. His wife was in the passenger seat and her hair was gingery, and cut in a similar fashion. They said they were going to a concert and invited me to go. The only caveat was that you had to have your hair parted down the middle. I said I’d like to go but hadn’t had my hair parted down the middle since I was about 14. I looked at myself in the window of the car and tried pushing my hair over and made a mess of it. Was it really worth it? I wasn’t sure.
As I commented on in a previous post, I’m participating in a contest to get 3 months of dedicated publicity.Â To win, I must post 9 blog entries taking readers through my experience with the book and blogging about how it is helping, where I’ve learned the most, and where I’m are getting stuck.
The book is “Music Success in Nice Weeks” by Ariel Hyatt. It’s a “step-by-step guide on how to use social media & online tactics to supercharge your PR, build your fan base, and earn money.” Sounds pretty good, eh?
Week 1:Â Getting mentally prepared.Â This chapter wasn’t really about music or social media, but rather to put perspective into the next 8 chapters and help the reader decide on the goals that they want to achieve.Â I love the way the universe works with this kinda stuff… just a week prior to reading this chapter, I had a conversation with my friend Marilyn Schwader who runs a business and website called, Clarity of Vision.Â Her business is teaching writers how to market themselves, and she has a free download on her site that outlines the in-depth process if envisioning your long-term goals for your career as a writer, much as Ariel’s book leads you thru exercises to define your goals as a musician.Â Marilyn’s approach is to create mission objectives, and to define your dream, your purpose, and your values, which in many ways requires you to look at things from a more “spiritual” perspective.Â Kind of like, “Why are you here in on Earth in the first place and how does that define who you are and why you’re writing?”Â Ariel’s approach is more practical and calculated. Determine your goals, both short and long-term, not just for your music, but for your money, your family, and your long-term goals for life, and do those in both 12 month and in your lifetime.
I found Ariel’s approach to be a little more complicated because I don’t like thinking about things in terms of goals.Â For me, my goal is to make it to tomorrow.Â My goal is to make the right decisions for myself so that I perform well at work, so that I can sing well the next time I perform, so that I remember to to remember my friends so that remain my friends, so that I don’t go too long without calling my mother.Â In other words, my goals are very practical and rarely extend beyond tomorrow.Â This is all well and good, but it’s really not the philosophie du jour.Â Back in the day, Ram Dass was saying “Be Here Now.”Â Well damn, it took all this effort to learn to pull my head out of the clouds and actually commit to doing the things I was dreaming about, and I’m here, now what?Â Now I have to make goals?Â Isn’t this just like putting my head back into the clouds?Â Well, I’m trying not to think so.
Ariel’s and Marilyns approaches both touch on something a little more woo woo, that is, a little less accepted and sometimes hard to fathom, but never-the-less proven by quantum physics and by modern psychology.Â It’s around manifesting your reality by defining it.Â This is so critical to this whole procedure that Ariel put it in chapter one of her book.Â Marylin would rather you not move forward with her program until you go thru her exercises.Â These principles are the same that the movie “The Secret” tries to teach it’s audience: Form follows thought.Â Simple to say, much more difficult grasp.Â Ariel’s book engages this principle by asking the reader to first adopt of perspective of positive thinking and let go of self criticism and gives some ideas on how to do it.Â I’m all for that!Â By insisting that you create goals, she assures you that this it the first step to achieving them.Â I’m for that too!
I’m not going to tell you what my goals are.Â By following Ariel’s approach, I expect that over the coming months, you’ll see the results and they’ll speak for themselves.Â I am pumped because I’m gonna focus on nothing else until I see this plan executed.Â I expect it’ll be like going to school.Â You know when the semester’s going to end so it puts a nice frame around things.Â And this contest is another motivator to get this accomplished in the specified time frame.Â Actually, I’ve already leaped ahead in the book, that’s why I have this blog in the first place, because chapter 5 made me do it.Â In the coming weeks, I’ll recap some of the technical things I’ve done to get things up and running for myself, and being that I’m a web professional, I’ll try and do it for both the nubes and the geeks.
I went to this elevator ATM with two guys.Â Basically, you press the button to the elevator and the doors open.Â Once inside, the doors close behind you and you can use the ATM in privacy.Â I think we had figured out a way to extract money illegally from the ATM because not long later, we went back for more money.Â This time, there was a security guard and a front-desk clerk.Â They eyed us suspiciously as we requested to enter the ATM elevator.Â Instead of letting all three of us in, only one of us could enter.Â I sat outside chatting with them and attempting to act as comfortable as possible.
I don’t know why I had Jen’s car, nor have I ever seen Jen with a car.Â But, she had one and I borrowed it.Â It was dark brown, and reminded me a Chevy Cavalier.Â Â I know I had driven over 300 miles tho I don’t know where I was coming from and I don’t know where I was going.Â But I do know that I overheated.Â I wasn’t to thrilled with having someone else’ car break down on me and wasn’t sure what to do about it.
I ended up in a department store tho I don’t know why. Â I was walking down the aisle and suddenly I realized that one of my sandals wasn’t on my foot anymore.Â I looked behind me and there is was laying on the floor.Â The strap had snapped off and the whole thing had just slid off my foot.Â I figured it couldn’t be that bad since I was already in a department store, so I went to the front counter and asked them if they had any more sandals.Â She told me that the sandals had already been on clearance and the remainder of them was downstairs boxed away.Â I’m like, “Oh great, what am I gonna do now?”
I decided to walk to a local surf shop and buy some new sandals, but there wasn’t a lot of sidewalk where I was so walking barefoot didn’t seem like a great idea so I rummaged thru Jen’s car and found a pair of Mary Janes in her trunk.Â They didn’t even fit me but I stuffed them onto my feet and started walking.Â As I was walking, I ran into a small Mexican family who were traveling the same way.Â I recognized them as people my Dad knew and wondered if they recognized me.Â I hoped not because I looked pretty silly but wasn’t sure.Â As I was passing them along the side of the road, I started hearing this voice asking me if I’d checked the water in the car.Â Well… I hadn’t.Â I just assumed that Jen had put water and oil in it.Â I started feeling rather foolish and self conscious because I had driven the car a long way and not done any maintenance too it.
Back in the beginning of this year was my first encounter with Austin, TX and this little music, film and multimedia conference called SXSW. I guess a few people know about it since it’s been around for like 20 years. I’m well past doing a retrospective of it at this point, all but for one major thing. While I was there, I met a bunch of bloggers, mostly thru and ex-Yahoo! named Ernie. He’s this really funny gay Asian blogger @ErnieAtLYD who seems to know everyone. So, I’m hanging out with these bloggers during the interactive part of the conference, and then all of the talks that I sat in on during the music portion of this 11 day trip are all talking about blogging to reach your audience. Well, I’ve never been that great at math but, well, I got it…
So that week, I started a project. Ya see, I’ve actually been blogging for 5 years. In 2004, I hooked up CDBaby and the mp3s were downloadable and all that. I mean, just look at my web site and you’ll see what I mean. That was a lot of grunt work for one person to do. But, the sales sucked because I wasn’t doing any PR.
November came around and I decided to go to this conference called Road Rally. My Mom had been trying to get me to sign up with this service called Taxi which helps musicians and composers get connected with music placement peeps in Film and TV. These people are really hard to get to, believe me. I’ve tried. So, the service costs a chunk of change, and my first CD, “Rhythma” didn’t really have those “hits” on it. It was more for the music person who’s looking for masala instead of cheese. But with “Between the Lines”, I was feeling really confident that maybe I’d get the CD to the right person at the right time, and something unexpected and magical would happen. That didn’t happen, but I’m used to that it wasn’t a big deal. Anyhow, I popped into a talk that this woman Ariel Hyatt was giving. She runs this agency called Cyber PR and helps artists with online representation. I really like listening to her speak. She was really fluid, confident, and excited! She was one of the few things I walked away with from the conference and felt like there was something I needed to pursue.
So, when I got home, I went to her web site and was hunting around and came across this book called Music Success in Nine Weeks. I looked at the contents and thought, yeah yeah, I’ve heard this before, social media is where it’s at, you need to connect with your audience online, flickr, twitter, facebook, myspace… I’ve done all this. My first twitter account is REALLY old… my first post was on Mar. 5th, 2007. In internet years, that’s like 40! And MySpace? How about 2005?! That’s old and gray in internet time, for sure. I’ve gotten luke warm results from MySpace, mainly because I don’t really care for online socializing. I’m in this weird demographic that has the knowledge but would rather be hiking. I mean, really… I’ve been working on the internet for a living since 1996. That’s when I built my first web site for the company I working for, Haptek. I do this stuff all week long. Do I really want to devote MORE time too it to engage people that I can’t even see? I digress… Back to Ariel. Sometimes you have to bite the bullet and do things that aren’t the most pleasant to get the best results. I understand this. And there was something about the book, and something else about Ariel’s enthusiasm that struck me. Plus, it seemed like, “Hey, I know this stuff. How hard could it be to just dive in and give it a go. So, I bought the book
Now, we’ve nearly finished our journey around the equator and back to my dream blog. Ariel is all about blogging. She’s all about exposing yourself, well, within reason of course, she’s all about getting sh*t done. So, I’ve somehow beaten my nerves into submission, and decided to finish getting my blog online. I went thru 130 dreams and privatized that ones that I don’t want the world to see, and am putting the rest on my sleeve. I’m ready to jump in, eyes open and nose plugged, and see if the world is ready for me, and if I can handle the world’s criticism of my dreams, thoughts, and awkward taste, all with comments turned on!
So, if you’re ready, I’m ready. That’s why this is a big day for me. Strange, that too me, who’s already had a career in movies and television in front of the camera, released two CDs, and played music for the public for some 20 years, this is a bigger deal, for some reason. I guess because there’s no poetry or script to hide behind.
There’ll be three categories for my posts: My Dream Journal, which will be censored to protect the innocent (if there’s anyone left), Life in General, where I’ll share my garden pictures and maybe some tech stuff, and my Rhythma Music blog, which in the next 9 weeks will be getting the most attention. You see, Ariel has started a contest for 3 months of her undivided (well, maybe a little divided) publicity attention. All I have to do is chronicle my experiences with her book in my blog. So, expect that I’ll be doing my first 2 posts this week because I’ve already had the book for 2 weeks. Expect more soon.
And now, I big you adieu. If this were Twitter, they’d hang me.
I was walking around in Mervyns… You know, the average American family store that was bought you by Kole’s, or they went bankrupt, I’m not sure. It’s a pretty familiar store too me because I’ve been shopping there since I was a kid. It was never chic or hip, but that had good durable clothing, the kind that my dad used to wear when he was fishing or working on the car.
So, I come upon a sales clerk and I ask him, “Will you shred my wallet for me?” He assures me that they don’t have any such service. Now, this wallet is pretty new. I’ve only owned it for a little over a year, and buying it was a very big deal because I had the previous wallet for about 18 years. Yes, it was old. Yes, it was falling apart. It was made of brown leather and it said Harley Davidson on it. It actually had holes in it and I’d re-stitched it more than once to keep things from falling out of it. Don’t ask me why I kept it for so long, but I did. The fact that I’m actually asking this guy to shred my new wallet is odd, but what’s more odd is that I want him to shred it’s contents as well; driver’s license, credit cards, you name it. I have to do a little convincing but I finally get him to agree and I hand him my wallet and he walks off.
I’m walking around trying on clothes and it doesn’t take me long to realize that I don’t have any money to buy anything because I’ve just given my entire and wallet complete with contents to a sales clerk. I decide to leave but walk over to the cash register just in time to see the cashier pushing my wallet thru this massive shredder that looks like the end/beginning of an escalator. Sho’ nuf, the wallet goes right thru and it shred into a bazillion pieces. Here’s where I just go off the deep end. Just for kicks, I start screaming at the cashier, waving my arms and pounding on the counter, telling him what an imbecile he is for shredding my wallet and berating him for having no intelligence, and “How could anyone be so stupid to shred someone’s wallet?” He’s really nervous at this point, probably ready to pee himself, but he’s able to squeak out, “There’s a security camera and the guard will be arriving shortly.” I take this as a signal to end my charade and leave the store, exit stage right.
When I get out to the parking lot, I realize that my truck is parked REALLY far away. So, I start running as fast as I can, not because I’m running from anything, but simply because I have this huge amount of energy to burn. I’m sprinting thru this parking lot and I’m running up on ramps and dodging people, looking out for cars, and enjoying this freedom and strength that I have. I see my truck up in the distance…
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