awake studios

Experience, learn, always laugh, sometimes cry, repeat. by Nick Bullock

week 6 Experience, learn, always laugh, sometimes cry, repeat.

Some people love to say how difficult their chosen "career" can be. They complain. Sometimes it comes in the form of a joke, sometimes their words and actions straight up drip with venom, and sometimes its a subtle comment of desperation and frustration.

It's usually easy to imagine, feel, honor, glorify and visualize our next grand accomplishment in the career of our dreams. But that's not all there is to it. What does it mean to follow your career path? It means if it's true, it will be hard. If its TRUTH, it will be the hardest. Follow your instinct, follow your gut, follow your dreams and they are guaranteed to lead to hard times. But if they are really your truth, you don't have a choice anyways. So, if we choose to go the hard way and follow our truth, then we do it intentionally with the knowledge that we are not going to have a breezy stroll down career street. We can, however, learn to discipline our minds and hearts over time. We can learn how to honor our feelings of self doubt and frustration, but not live in them. We can start to take command of our subconscious. And slowly over time, we get really good at what other people might call having a thick skin, or "no worries". Its really just the ability to deal with in a healthy manner, all the negative bullshit that surrounds following your truth.

So, experience, learn, always laugh, sometimes cry and repeat.

ps: for week 6 of 52 in 52 go to https://soundcloud.com/nickbullock/grand-design

Commitment by Nick Bullock

Commitment: The scary thing about committing is that you are officially on the hook. The scary thing about being on the hook is that you might be taken to task for not seeing it through. And if you fail, not only do you let others down, but you let yourself down, and that doesn't feel good.

But commitment is also confidence, it's a way of publicly stating your intentions. It's a powerful statement that "yes, I can" is in action. And the funny thing is, even when you trip up and make mistakes, people usually respect those who have whole heartedly committed themselves to something (an ideal, a job, a process etc), and rather than hanging you out to dry, they tend to give you a second chance. The question then is how do we want to perceive ourselves (therefore have others perceive us)? Whether we commit a "take to tape" at a recording session or commit to a relationship, I think the answer is obvious.

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this week in 52 in 52:

The Hand That Pushed:

to stream, go to: https://soundcloud.com/nickbullock/the-hand-that-pushed

Each Path To Success Looks Different/Understanding The Bigger Picture AND Week 3 of 52 in 52: by Nick Bullock

blog week3.1 As a professional (actual or aspiring) musician, each path we take is unique to ourselves. The challenges we face are somewhat universal, but each solution should be tailor made to meet our unique needs. Or maybe a better way to say it is we each have a unique path to success to live out, and the tribulations we fight through to get where we want to go are an important part of that story.

One of the most important questions each artist asks themselves is "how can I get paid for my art"? How can I make music and make a living doing it? The answer lies in the unique situation each individual finds him or herself in. If you're a songwriter, maybe the answer lies some where on music row, getting a pub deal or the like. If you're a band, maybe the answer lies out on the road, on the club circuit. If you're a singer, maybe the answer is you tube… my point is that we each have a unique set of talents to meet each set of challenges with, and our job is to first identify and understand where we want to go with our careers then work backwards to get there. For me, I want to be known as a great producer who helps artists achieve their sonic vision, and as a great guitar player and songwriter in my own rite. (sound familiar?)

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So how do I get there? Well, for starters, I make very specific, time sensitive, small and achievable goals (S.M.A.R.T.). These goals are specific to me (for example, booking four records or EP's a month at my studio etc) and meet my needs both in the short term and long term. They come from the roles I give myself (husband, business owner, and band leader of The Sound Awake).

What are your roles? What are your goals? Once you identify where you want to be, work backwards and define the steps that need to be taken.

The last thing I'll mention is about understanding the bigger picture. Each "failure" can be turned into a success story. For example, if you're a band that tours, and you play an off market in-between two major markets, and the turn out isn't that great your first time through, then at the very least, you have a great data point that says next time don't play the off market show, or if you do, understand what situation you are walking into, and figure out how to turn that into a win. You've got the data, and data is powerful stuff. I think too often we as artists can get lost in the negativity, the self doubt and we forget that at the end of the day, this is a business we are in. Yes, commerce AND art coexist. This doesn't mean you need to bow to the gatekeepers of old, (I think this entire blog post has been about defining success and the path to it by yourself) but it does mean that the more you think and act out of the bigger picture, the happier you'll be (and probably the quicker you'll achieve your success).

This week 3 of #52in52

In Disguise

The link: https://soundcloud.com/nickbullock/in-disguise

ps: thanks to Jay Frank and Nathan Dohse for the great conversation this week and inspiring this post… smart and talented dudes

Happy Holidays, Still In Love With Music by Nick Bullock

It amazes me, that after fourteen years of calling myself a professional musician, I'm still lucky enough to do this for a living. More importantly, after all that time I still love what I do. I've definitely burned the wick at both ends plenty of times through my journey, but I haven't burned out. That got me thinking as to why I'm still doing what it is I do? Why, when its so easy to get frustrated, or more specifically for me, sometimes it can feel helpless. Being a musician, and relying on your income as a musician, can be precarious at times, and down right stressful. A friend recently wrote a face book post about his self proclaimed addiction to being a musician, and how it's cost him relationships, financial hardship and more. I can relate on some level. It definitely manifests itself as a need.

The other side of the coin is that being a musician is life giving, life altering and a spiritually rich path, every day. I've met my closest friends doing what I do, I met my wife, by doing what I do. I've had more adventures with my best friends in the last ten years alone than most people get in a life time. Being a musician led my wife and I to move to Nashville, which has brought immeasurable gifts, both personally and professionally. A whole new set of friends and relationships to build and nurture. I've been lucky enough to share in the experience of making records with close friends, which brings us inevitably closer as friends, as we dig deep together.

Thats the side of the coin I choose to look at everyday. And thats why I do what I do.

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I guess, for me, when I boil it down, music is really what I need to do. Yes, it's a passion, but it goes a little beyond that, it is what I was put on this planet to do, and the older I get, the more certain of that I am. When I was twenty two, I wanted to be in a band that was world famous, and successful beyond my imagination… like cover of Rolling Stones famous. Of course, I loved music and playing guitar then as I do today, but I had big aspirations. Now, my aspirations are a bit different, but just as big in their own ways. Gone is the desire for the RS cover, replaced with the desire to get to know all the players, producers and artists I can. People that have been on the cover of RS, and people who have not. The more I do this, the more I realize its about these experiences that I collect along the way. It's these experiences that make me rich, "famous", a better producer, a better writer and so on.

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If you are pondering whether or not to follow your musical talents and turn them into a career, let me be the first to tell you that it is 100% possible to make a living playing, writing and recording music. Let me also tell you, you better feel the need to pursue it from the bottom of your feet to the top of your head. In the age of "fair game" internet, and singing TV Show idolatries, more people than ever before feel they are worthy to pursue music as a profession, and maybe they all do, but it takes a particular kind of musician to maintain, and see the bigger picture through all the (temporary) set backs and frustrations. Being self employed can be tough, especially for musicians, who dare to make a living out of their art. But I'm here to say, if it is what you are called to do, if it is what you were put on this planet to do, be brave and do it. You can do it.

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Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays everyone. Thanks for a great year Nashville! Thanks to all of you for taking time out of your busy lives to read this blog. There are a ton of things to look forward to in 2015, and I can't wait to share them with you all.

5 Questions with Kyle Cox by Nick Bullock

Kyle is one cool dude. I first met him through mutual friends while he was here working on his record... which is awesome by the way. Give it a listen at http://kylecox.bandcamp.comSince first meeting we've kept in touch and kept tabs on each others happenings. I have to say, I love it when talented friends find well deserved and hard won success. Kyle is a great singer and writer, I asked him a bit about his process, what it was like working with Mike Marsh, and a few other things... here are his responses, enjoy!

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1. What does a good song mean to you? What does it do for you?
This is such a difficult first question to answer. I feel like I'm always debating this in my own mind. I have so many friends I respect who totally view a "good song" way different than I & they aren't wrong. It's a very subjective thing.

For me, lyrics, melody, & structure are the 3 main elements I consider to make up a good song. And in that order of importance. If those things don't hit it for me, then I have a very hard time enjoying the song. Like if I have no idea what you are singing about, but the melody is catchy & the structure is real tight, I still will have a hard time enjoying it. Recently, however, I've been trying to not be so critical.
It's like food. Food is food. Taco Bell is just as much food as a $300 steak at the fanciest restaurant in town. Obviously one is "better" than the other, but it's still food. It's still going to fill you up, give you energy, & sustain you to your next meal. Both even have their place & time. The same with music. It's all got it's time & place, even if it's not my favorite, that doesn't mean it's not good or serving a valuable purpose. So I guess what I'm trying to say is, music is like food & I love Taco Bell.

2. You play a lot of intimate house shows, what is the difference between a house show like that and other concerts you've played? Do you like one more than the other?

 
I do play a lot of house shows. I really, really love playing house shows. Even though I am an introvert (and a very strong one at that), I'm a very relational person as well. I love the barriers & walls that get torn down during house shows between the listener & artist. It's a very relational thing. There's no lights, stage, speakers, etc that separates the artist from the listener & almost puts the artist on a pedestal. It's very transparent & very equalizing with the listener. No "rock star" persona possible when you are sitting on a couch in an apartment & the owners cat jumps on your lap mid-song.
There's also a lot more conversation that happens, it's a very vulnerable moment as an artist, and I think it's one of those things that in order to really make it enjoyable for the listener, you as the artist have to connect with them personally.
I do love playing any & all shows, period, and there's definitely something special about venues that you don't get in a house show setting, so it would be hard to say I really like one over the other. But currently, it seems the fans that have been connecting with my music the best have been the ones who have seen me at a house show.
Kyle2

3. You normally play solo, what was it like working with producer Mike Marsh and crafting an album with more of a full band or produced sound?

 
It was a killer experience. We've actually been working together a little bit before this record. Our first time working together, I sent him some acoustic demos & he emailed me drum tracks. Then I just tracked the rest in Orlando at a studio. The next time I came up to Nashville, tracked 2 songs full production with him in 4 days & it was such a rad time that as I was walking out to my car to head back to Orlando from that session, he literally said "write a record this year & let's record it this summer." So that's what I did.
I've definitely built a lot of trust with him, so tracking full band was rather easy for the most part. I would just send him the demos I did at my house, he'd track drums to them, have someone track bass, & then I'd come to town with bass & drums finished. It was very streamlined. I'm not really protective over the arrangements of my songs, so I'm always willing to do & try whatever idea anyone I trust has.
It's like raising a kid I guess (although I'm not a parent...ha). You obviously have an idea of what you want your kid to be once they are born. Like an ideal scenario in your mind. But to force your kid into that ideal probably isn't the best way to raise them. You want to give them all the options possible & let them develop into the person they were meant to be. It doesn't make that kid any less your child if they don't end up exactly like you imagined, & honestly, it probably makes them a better person. I think the same thing goes for a song. I sometimes have an ideal vision for where I see it going as a song, but I also want to see it go where is best for the song. Nine times out of ten, just letting the song grow in the studio usually leads the song to a better place than I'd imagine it would've gone anyway. It also doesn't make it any less my song.

4. What was the hardest song to write and cut on the record and why?

 
Hmmm...I'm not sure. I don't think really any of them were tough to record. The song I definitely spent the longest time writing would probably be "Bring Us To Our Best." I'm still very proud of those lyrics & I spent a real long time writing them.
I think the song I was least excited about recording was probably "Honey, Let's Run Away." Not because I don't like that song at all, but it is the oldest song on the record. I probably wrote that song 4-5 years ago & have played it for so long that it's just worked it's way out of my live set. I still think it's a cool song, but the honeymoon excitement of that song has long worn off well before I even dreamed of recording a full length. I think because of that, it was a little tough to get excited about the track & come up with some cool ideas. I definitely have to throw the arrangement credit to Mike on this one. He really brought this one to life & made it seem brand new to me again. He did such a good job producing this track. It's become one of the favorites of a lot of people I know.
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5. What are some of the things you are looking forward to most now that you live in Nashville?

 
I think what I'm looking forward most about Nashville when it comes to music is just doing more of what I was already doing in Orlando. Orlando is amazing & I am so proud of being from that city, but there's just a limited number of places to play & music events to be excited about. The ones that are happening are super awesome & I love them, but there's really only 3 venues in town I love to play, 1 open mic I really love, and 1 songwriters group that I was a part of. 
 
I'm excited about just doing more of those things in Nashville. If I wanted to play a different open mic every night of the week here in Nashville, I could. There's far more than 3 venues I'm excited to play & that I have played already that I love. I've already had 2 groups of friends (you, Nick, being one of them) that have talked to me about doing a songwriters group. That's just all the stuff I'm really excited about. Doing a high volume of the things I was already doing in Orlando. The things I could only do once or twice a month I now can do 4-5 nights a week if I really wanted to.
 
That's a very exciting thing for me.
 
I'm also probably just as excited for seasons. I love seasons. I love that the leaves are changing & that it's cold. That rules.
 
Anything else you want to mention?
 
I have a full length record that just came out called The Plan, The Mess. You can find that record on iTunes,http://kylecox.bandcamp.com or http://www.kylecoxumusic.com
If you want to know when I'm playing next, head to my website or follow me on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/kylecox

Inspiration from Movement, Songs and Ted Talks by Nick Bullock

dance 1 I got the opportunity to go to a Ted-X event here in Nashville this week, where the focus of each presenter was the creation process. Imagine people talking about everything from getting the audience involved at a concert to creating an instant feeling of communion with the people on stage, to how to best monetize your art, to encouraging community through art installations... all pretty great stuff, granted we've all heard it before... community, feelings, inspiration etc... but it's nice to be reminded... But before the talks even began there was the art itself, in the form of movement.

Now I work out on the regular (pretty much), so I can live longer, play music longer, feel good about myself... but these women (and one guy) have complete control of their bodies... a craft mastered over long and late hours practicing and rehearsing, as a group and as individuals. The thing that impressed me most was the choreography, and not just the steps and timing, but how the choreography used the dancers bodies. Someone had to "write" the dance, and when they did they decided to push some boundaries (at least to my untrained eye for dance) and push the performers... I wish I knew who did the choreography, I would shake their hand and tell them how it almost moved me to tears, how I was enraptured by their dance and what the performers could do with their bodies, and how it all tied together. Like any good song, it makes you feel.

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And thats what its all about. Connecting the audience with the emotions they already have inside of them... When I was watching the dancers move I started thinking about my father and my parents divorce for some reason. I have no idea why, but it brought me there... to the underbelly, and I felt vulnerable for a minute. Thats what a good song or performance of any kind can do.

I'm working with an artist right now who decided to bare his soul and tell his truth with the songs we're recording. It think a lot of song writers say they write their truth, but I think too few do the necessary digging... because it's hard, and it can be very painful. Later that same night, after the ted talk, we got a buddy to lay down some pedal steel on a couple of these songs for this particular artist and again I was reminded of the dancers I had witnessed... the movement of the pedal steel, the sound it creates whispers of movement... shapes and forms coming and going... another great performance...

So yeah, my tuesday was filled with community, feelings and inspiration... and it was awesome!

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Bedrest, It Makes You Think by Nick Bullock

I had to go get an unexpected outpatient surgery yesterday. I was fine on Tuesday night,  and when I woke up on Wednesday I was in so much pain that I could barely walk or sit. I'll spare y'all the details, but it was not comfortable. So I found myself yesterday in the capable hands of a surgeon. And later that afternoon, I was gratefully walking back to the car with much relief. So yes, I am fine.

But it made me reflect on the things we take for granted, and those of us that are lucky to have healthy bodies, more often than not take for granted the gifts that our healthy bodies bring. There are so many minor miracles that need to happen in order for you to bend down, pick up a guitar, take hold of the guitar with your hand, swing it up on your lap using your muscles in your arms, take your right thumb and arm and strum the strings while your brain and your left hand communicate exactly how and exactly where to place each one of your fingers on the fret board, all at the right time. Do you know how many electrical pulses are being sent to and from your nervous system, to your muscles, to your brain and back again. I'm no scientist, but I know that it isn't a simple procedure.

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Have you ever stopped to wonder about the mysteries that are right there in front of us every day? What gives you the voice you have? What gives you the ears you use? And how do they all work.

It's easy to lay on the couch all day, and ponder this all, because, lets face it, Netflix only has so many interesting movies to watch, eventually you get bored and start to think about stuff...

My challenge, and one that I bestow upon you, the reader, is to remain mystified by it all, especially when you are healthy. It is up to us to not take for granted the beauty of hearing an old vintage Gibson being plucked, because with out the ears on your head, you would have no way of knowing that beauty. And without the ability to strum, you wouldn't know the joy that it brings.

Thanks for reading.

Victoria Banks: 5 Questions With a Great Songwriter by Nick Bullock

I met Victoria Banks shortly after I moved here to Nashville. Right off the bat, she was warm, inviting, informative, and very  willing to help a newbie in town.
Victoria is getting ready to release a new record this Fall (October 7th), with pre order sales starting today. You can go here to pre order: https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/indigo/id911603123
and here to check out her new single: http://www.reverbnation.com/victoriabanks/song/21654835-ruined?1336410755
You can find out more about Victoria Banks by going to her brand spanking new web site too: http://www.victoriabanks.net
As always, Victoria gave really thoughtful answers to my questions. I hope you enjoy!
Vic1
Q: Do you write differently when you write for you the artist, versus when you write with the purpose of getting an album cut?
A: I can't say that I ever specifically try to write for myself as an artist.  As a staff songwriter, I'm in the office with co-writers 5 days a week writing for other people.  Sometimes I write with artists, in which case I listen to their material ahead of time to understand their style, vocal range, and the perspectives they like to sing from lyrically, so I can try and throw a pitch they can hit, to put it in baseball terms!  Sometimes, I'm writing for an artist who is listed on the "pitch sheet" my publisher provides; they have imminent recording dates scheduled with a producer and are often looking for a certain kind of song (for example, uptempo positive story song, or rangy midtempo life song not about love).  But on most days, my cowriters and I are just trying to write the best song we can write on that day regardless of who might sing it.  Some of those songs will stand out, feel right with my vocal range, and resonate with me emotionally, and those are the ones I end up recording on my own records.
On those days when my cowriters and I are not writing for a specific assignment, we often start off by going through our stockpiled lists of potential titles and "throwing out hooks" into the room to see if anything inspires us to write a song around it.  Or we listen through our collected melody snippets we have saved in our phone voice recorders to see if anything catches our fancy.  It's funny, but sometimes a title or a melodic/lyric phrase that previously didn't seem like anything special suddenly comes to life and takes on a new and inspiring energy when it's shared with the right collaborators on the right day.  The trick is to find that seed that wants to grow - and that grows easily - into a song.  You know you're really onto something when a song just falls out of you.
For me, the song that wants to be written today also often appears to me in the car on the way to a co-write.  Maybe I'm thinking about who my collaborators are…maybe I'm somehow plugged into their wavelength spiritually already…I don't know what it is!  But many times, I've had an entire first verse, entire chorus, or some significant chunk of a song pop into my head en route to the appointment.  I sing it to my cowriters when I arrive, and that's almost always what we end up writing for the day.
Q: Do you always try to write a hit song? Is there a difference between a great song and a hit song?
A: There is not always a difference between a great song and a hit song, but sometimes there is.  There can be a moment in the writing room when you find yourself at a crossroads.  Nashville writers have a running joke that one path leads to the radio, and the other path leads to the Bluebird Cafe.  You basically have to decide what your priority is.  If I think I can make a song commercial enough to cut, and still do the hook/melody justice, then that's always where I want to go with it!  After all, I'm being paid to write for the radio, and the long term future of my career as a songwriter depends on my ability to have hits.
Sometimes, it's the choice of making a hook positive or negative.  I recently wrote a song called "Ruined", and with a title like that, you'd think it would be a sad ballad about being destroyed by love.  But we turned the hook positive, and made it into a fun, groovy uptempo: "you're like a bottle of the best champagne and nothing's quite the same once you've tasted that/if I ever lose you, what am I supposed to do/I'm so ruined by you!"  That's going to be the first radio single off my new CD, and it's really getting a great response…maybe because of the positive twist on what you'd think would be a negative lyrical hook.  Radio likes positivity, so to raise your chances of a cut, you should make it positive.  However…there's also nothing better than a really well-written sad song…a "House that Built Me".  When those become hits, they become "song of the year" kind of hits.  But if you're gonna make it sad, it should only be a) because you're gonna record it yourself, or b) because it's going to be GREAT enough to get cut despite being sad.  Otherwise, it will collect dust on the shelf and never get recorded.
The choice of tempo is also a crossroads that you face in the writing process.  For radio, fast tempos are in demand.  When you think about it, artists might have one or two ballads on an entire record.  Most radio singles are uptempo or at least fast midtempos. So if a title will work as a more uptempo song, I usually lean that way.  However, when a lyric falls out of my brain attached to a slower tempo with a great melody or a smart lyrical twist, I'm not afraid to pursue that direction too.
I just did a writing retreat with Lori McKenna, who is a consummate ballad writer.  She can just slay you with a negative ballad.  But, those songs aren't getting cut much, so she likes to collaborate with co-writers who pull her into a more commercial vein.  There were times in the room with her when I could see both directions laid out at the crossroads, and as much as I would have LOVED to have gone down the negative ballad road to see where it led, we went the other way.  And then the combination of her lyrical bluntness with a commercial tempo/melody/positivity has made the songs we wrote really stand out in pitch meetings!
Vic3
Q: How has Nashville songwriting changed over the last 5-10 years?
A: I've been a professional staff songwriter in Nashville for (gulp!) 17 years now, and a LOT has changed.  In the mid 90s, there was a lot of pressure to steer away from writing alone, so I learned to collaborate so that I could widen the number of people pitching the songs to include my cowriters' publishers too.  In the late 90s, record sales were falling off because of Napster and other illegal downloading websites, so "writing with the artist" became the thing to do.  (Record labels and publishers were realizing that by having the artist co-write the songs, they could tap into the publishing income stream and recover some of the revenues they were losing to downloading.)  When that happened, I had to learn how to a) write a song very quickly - usually within about 2 hours - to fill a specific need for a specific slot on a specific record, b) dare to suck and not be freaked out by the fact that I was in the room with someone famous…or egocentric…or ADHD, and c) pull an idea from the artist's own experience in order to tap into an emotion that they're currently feeling so they will relate to the song and feel invested in it.  In addition, I have often written with artists who are NOT songwriters, who don't play instruments, who may have never written before and who may not even contribute at all to the song.  The trick is to try and pull something out of them, and sometimes to write the song DESPITE their presence and somehow still make them feel like they're contributing to what's going on.  You're half songwriter and half psychologist in those situations!  But your chances of getting a cut on records these days is way higher if the artist's name is on the song.  In the best case, that means having the opportunity to work with a talented visionary who knows what they want to say and you just tap into that.  In the worst case, you're sticking someone's name on the song you wrote…but that's the way the game is played.
Since 2001, radio has gone the direction of the testosterone-driven "bro country" thing.  Even more so, lately, with artists like Florida Georgia Line and Luke Bryan.  So that has changed the writing process too.  Now, I collaborate with "track builders" who often don't write the song, but sit in the room and build a kickass sounding demo while the song is being written.  By capturing the magic of the energy that's in the room, and by putting their own touch on it to bring it into a somewhat programmed sounding, somewhat pop-emulating production, they're often putting the song over the edge sonically so that it will grab the attention of artists and A&R people to get it cut.  Therefore, Nashville is starting to go the direction that L.A. went a long time ago in including the track builder as a writer.  Also, it's rare for me to write with just female collaborators anymore.  With so many males dominating the airwaves, it helps my odds to write songs that are pitchable to men…and that's a little easier to do when there's a guy in the room with me, even if it's just to say "nah, a man wouldn't say that" or "nah, that melody is too girly".
Q: What are some ways that you push yourself to be a better songwriter?
A: You know, I wish I could say that I have targeted specific exercises for myself to push myself to be a better writer, but I don't do anything like that.  I think to me, writing is just a way of life.  It's not a career.  It's an eat, sleep, breathe thing.  So I can't help but always be striving to be better.  I'm in it wholeheartedly, 5 days a week, in the chair at the office, writing a new song every day (sometimes two).  Listening to other people's music helps…going to other people's shows helps…doing your prep work to bring ideas into the cowriting room helps...going for long drives with my voice recorder helps…and keeping those antennae tuned for the next idea to be inspired by an overheard conversation or a TV show plot line is part of it too.  But ultimately, when you've written a couple thousand songs and you've still scheduled yourself yet again to show up and write another song today, you can't help but push yourself to make it better than all the others.  Otherwise, what are you still doing it for?  And the dopamine rush when you write a truly great song…that's an amazing feeling.  There's nothing better than that feeling.  Because you are going to live and die, but that song is going to live forever.  You've created something that can't be un-created.  You've created art!  That's what it's all about.
Vic2
Q: What are you looking forward to most about your latest release? What was the most exciting part during the recording process? What else would you like to mention about the release?
A: My new record, “Indigo”, is coming out this fall.  I made this record differently than my last two, which I also love like my own children, but for different reasons!  My previous records were collections of my favorite songs I had written, but they were entirely geared towards country radio.  There’s a very specific sound, and a very specific kind of song, that fits into that box.  For this project, I just had a burning desire to make the record I wanted to make…not just a record of singles, but a record I wanted to listen to over and over again in my living room or in my car.  So there are ballads on it…there are sad songs on it…there are imperfections on it…and it’s produced in a way that doesn’t make you feel like each track is punching you across the face with compressed sound.  I worked with co-producer Park Chisolm to build each track from scratch, and many of them are based on my basic guitar and/or piano skeleton tracks I recorded in my home studio.  I’ve always aimed to combine emotional impact with an intellectual side in my lyrics; in the metaphors and turns of phrase.  I feel like this record is right up that alley.  And a few industry folks who previewed the record told me they think it will attract intelligent listeners who are fans of The Civil Wars, so hopefully listeners will feel the same when it hits iTunes!
What Nashville artist, band or songwriter should I interview next?

Fame vs Great by Nick Bullock

I'm on vacation. I'm staring at wave after wave crashing onto the sandy beach. I'm a lucky guy to be able to witness the millions of little happenings, lets call them experiments, that have over a long period of time brought about this particular sandy beach, ocean tide and sun shine into one masterful experience. I wasn't going to write a blog this week, but then I started reading The Rise by Sarah Lewis. I love vacations for lots of reasons, but at the top of my list, it allows me to kick back and enjoy catching up on reading and writing. Last time I had a couple of days of vacation I gave myself a challenge to finish three songs by the end of my four days off, this time, I'm being a little more relaxed about it all, not searching for perfection, but enjoying the process, and trusting it. photo-9

The Rise, at least so far, seems to be about the gifts that mistakes can bring to an artist or creative person as they develop. How mistakes, one by one, get us closer to achieving our goals as creatives. And that without them, we are worse off. Maybe a better way of saying that is it's not about the destination, it's about the journey (that old cliche!). I, as some may know, am not always a patient person when it comes to my career/creativity/destination vs journey... I'm not always patient with my own course of development.

photo-8

We as creative American citizens/artists/entrepreneurs can and should be pushing every envelope we are given. We should be striving for excellence, and fumbling on the way. We should not expect the world to stop for our genius, we should instead seek to never stop ourselves from striving to discover our own genius. It is not about fame or money, it is about mastery. Perfection is a concept that is unachievable, and mastery is a noun, that brings forth memories of actions taken. Mastery is born from the ability to make mistakes and learn from them, again and again and again. I'm reminded of The Gap, an idea that was first brought to my attention by Ira Glass (http://vimeo.com/85040589). The Gap is the space between our current abilities and what we see our true selves being capable of, to put it simply.

I never knew that Michelangelo was famous for leaving works unfinished. But it makes sense. If completion is the objective then what is an artist to do once the job is done, cease being an artist? I know that with every song that I have written and recorded I am only giving it up to be released or to be put down on tape because I am ready to say goodbye and walk away from an imperfect and incomplete idea or concept. No song is ever finished really. I could and sometimes do drive myself crazy with nitpicking my work to death. Sometimes, more often than not, I am needing to move on, so the song is "done". This is how I track my idea of mastery, this is how I grow. And really, my ultimate goal is not to write a hit song, or produce a hit record, it is to be a master of my craft, a master of my tools. That is what really turns me on, and what gets me going.

photo-7

And when I'm able to remember that I really do what I do (write, play, and produce music) because I love the inevitable discovery process that comes with wanting to master such crafts, I am able to take a deep breath, trust the process, enjoy the waves, breath, enjoy my book, and look forward with excitement to the good work that I am going to continue when I get back in my studio.

When I moved to Nashville, it wasn't so I could be a star, I moved there because that was where the biggest musical masters were from. So yes by all means, follow your dreams, start a business, start a band, paint a picture, try out for The Voice, move to NYC or Nashville, be an athlete. But do so for the love of the work, not to seek fortune and fame. Those things are fleeting. Do the world a favor, and seek to be a master. That is where greatness truly lies. That is what inspires people to change their lives and the lives of others for the better. The world needs more masters, maybe now more than ever.

Pop Songs with A Side of Meaning Please by Nick Bullock

There is nothing wrong with a party song. There is nothing wrong with a song about sex. There is something wrong with pop music when all we have are these two options as listeners. And yes, I know, you can dig, and find the niche artist(s) that fill the void for you, but with so much stuff happening in the world, you would think that some one out there in the pop music would start to question where we are as a human race. This is what music once did. Neil Young sang about Ohio, and Joni OHIO

 Mitchell sang about being Blue, and Springsteen sang about being Born in USA. They were and still are all considered to be part of popular music. What happened to all of our pop writers that were skilled with a melody and a turn of a phrase, AND had meaning and depth to what they had to say. I know they're out there.

blue

 

It doesn't have to be just an exercise in baring witness to the outside world, I'm just as interested in the internal struggles we all face as a music fan. Thats why I mentioned Blue earlier. But there is more to it than whiskey and bouncing asses. Is there no one that is willing to risk? Is there no one that is willing to tell it as they see it? I don't care what side of the coin you are on, what political stance you take, what you feel is what you feel, and that is all I want to hear, that's what I'll buy. I want to hear you sing of the beauty around you, of the struggles, of the humanity, both good and bad that you see. "Three chords and the truth" they used to say. I think we've lost sight of the most important part of that cliche, the truth! 

Again, I'll repeat myself, I need a good "dance party" song, or a "forget all our worries" song too (I used to play in a funky jam band after all!), we all do. Blowing off steam is good. And I understand that the professional song smiths out there have families to feed and bills to pay, so I don't blame them for taking care of their business (I'm in the same boat). But music, while giving us that particular gift of forgetting our worries, once was so much more, and I'm talking pop music here.

Yorke

I wonder if music in general can ever get there again? I believe it can. I have no idea how, or on what platform, or who it'll be. Maybe Miley Cyrus will grow up to have more depth than anyone would have guessed, maybe Bruno Mars will stop singing about banging like a guerrilla, or maybe Thom Yorke (one of my personal favorite song writers of all time) will embrace his lyrical side of writing like never before.

Bruno

I believe like all things, the pendulum will swing back, and I'm going to do everything in my power to help it along the way. Radio might be slowly dying (right?), but pop music is, as always, here to stay. Our challenge is to make it mean something again.

cyrus

What do you think?

Some Words with Music Band from Nashville TN by Nick Bullock

Hello from the road/tour! One of the best things about living in Nashville is the incredible talent that you are surrounded with everyday. It can be daunting, but mostly I find it extremely inspirational, and enlightening. It helps me clarify what and why I do what I do with my musical career.

Music Band is probably my favorite band in Nashville, and and I only say probably because I'm very aware of my own tendency to get super excited when I bear witness to great musicians singing great songs... Music Band is positively great. I've gotten the opportunity to see them a bunch since moving to Nashville, and under full disclosure, I've have the great fortune of knowing them personally for the last three or four years... And to sum up my feelings, last time I saw them, I immediately went home and wrote a song that was very inspired by them. And for me, whenever someone makes me want to go home, pick up my guitar and start writing, I'm all in. That, is true inspiration. Thanks for that Lee, Harry and Duncan.

Enjoy the interview!

MB 2

Nick Bullock Music: What is your favorite thing about the Nashville music scene?

Music Band: The music scene here had been gaining momentum well before we moved here two and a half years ago. Really steaming, cooking with gas. It's like a big steam engine ripping through a residential intersection at 3 in the morning and the driver is all coked out and fucked up just laying on the whistle because he hates his life and wants to ruin everyone's night. That actually might be one of my least favorite things, when a train sounds its horn for way too long and you're just too close to it. It cuts right to my core, enough for me to shout out loud, "SHUT THE FUCK UP!" every time I hear it. Damn, it makes me so mad. But the Nashville music scene does not make me feel this way. We got mad respect for these streets and these peeps here. Mostly everyone who plays music here rules, and I think that's because it's the kind of town that if you come here and don't have any respect for the folks who have been holding it down OG-style then you're liable to get yourself banished. Sorry, but that's just the way it is. It's "Music City" and people have been doing this for as long as anything here. That's what's cool about Nashville. It doesn't matter what kind of music you're into because you should be able to appreciate the real heads who are on their grind. It's funny to go to shows here, and a lot of touring bands I meet will lament about this, but a lot of the time when Nashville people are watching bands they don't move around much. I think it's not because everyone's jaded on music but it's more because everyone is a musician in their own right and are actually watching the band, I mean having a real peek-see, and I can respect that.
NBM: How do you balance the artistic/creative side of being in a band with the business side of being in a band?
MB: We've been pretty much doing our own business since the beginning, so it's not really something we think about much anymore. Although lately there have been more business-related things going on for us, it's fun to learn how it's done, and I think we're fortunate to have some guidance from our friends who know what they're doing. Everyone in a band is always like, "I just want to play, man. The music industry is killing me. Etc." but we're quickly learning that if you can't deal with the business side of things then, well, what the hell? Music ain't a hobby. Not for the real heads, at least. If you're actually trying to make money or a career out of this then you gotta learn how the shit works, even if it's learning by trial and error. I think it gets to a point where the creative side of playing music is sort of like the "reward" for everything else. Or at least that seems like a good situation. I guess it's something we've just had to start balancing out of necessity.

NBM: How do songs come into creation for the band?
MB: Most of the time one of us will work on the structure of a song alone and then bring it to the the rest of the band in practice and we'll spend a few days working it out, trying different things. A lot of the songs on our new tape "Can I Live" actually came out of fucking around at our old practice space, as bands are wont to do. Some of my favorite songs we have just came up off the dome from a late-night "jam", as corny as that sounds. Once we have a song though, we spend a lot of time tweaking it and working on dynamics, harmonies, etc. usually by recording a demo at home and seeing what we like/don't like. Lyrics are really important to me (Harry), and so that's often one thing I personally start with.

 

NBM: Do you have an end goal, a big picture you are shooting for?

MB: To become immortal, and then, die.

NBM: What about being in a band excites you the most? What are you working on now? How is the process going (how did it go)?
MB: Live shows are the best. Going on the road. Meeting people, meeting other bands. Good audiences. Makin' em laugh. Free meals. Being in the van just getting all crazy. Figuring out a new song and being really excited about it. Recording. Takin' a peek-see at mixes in the studio (shout-out to Andrija at Bomb Shelter). Venues that really know how to treat musicians, and not that bullshit where you show up and everyone working there is like "I don't even want to be here tonight. What's even going on?" Havin' a plate of Lil' Smokies in the morning. Fun doggies. Seeing our parents on tour. Putting friends on "the list" due to mad respect. 

 

MB 1

Check out their new release "Can I Live" a cassette release on Infinity Cat: http://infinity-cat-recordings.myshopify.com/collections/music-band

You can listen/stream there stuff here: http://musicband.bandcamp.com

For music info/shows etc go here: https://www.facebook.com/musicband.gov

Support Local Music!

What Nashville band should I interview next?

Play For Me... by Nick Bullock

famwash

Hi, Musician on stage... I'm here, I'm the only guy in the room... can't you see me? I'm listening, I'm clapping, I'm engaged in your music... this is your soul, remember, and I am liking your soul... hello? I don't need or want you to stare at me the whole time, thats just creepy, but some eye contact would be nice when I'm the only one clapping. Just saying.

And at the end of the show, come say hi, because I stayed, I am still here, and I'm not counting the wasted girl who is flashing the bartender, or the drunk dude passed out and slowly sliding off his stool, they doesn't count. Lets talk, and get to know each other a little bit.

I was hanging at the Family Wash over on the East side in Nashville, which is quickly becoming one of my favorites spots to hang, and saw a band there in this exact context. And you know what, the singer made eye contact, and came over and said hello, and thanked me for being the only one paying attention.

It makes a difference.

A little eye contact goes a long way.

 

 

Playing a guitar solo on the back of a motorcycle... by Nick Bullock

cloud I get it, they go super fast, and the rush... man, it's addicting! I was on the back of a bike for the first time last week, sweeping through the Dragons Tale in North Carolina and Tennessee. If you like to ride, then you know The Dragons Tale. (After I said a few Hail Mary's) I was blown away by how oddly safe I felt once I got used to the glide of the bike. In a somewhat strange way, it reminded me of a great guitar solo. In it's breakneck pace, the sudden turns, the leaning in with your body, the speeding in and out of a curve, the tension of unforeseen scenarios that a driver will encounter, and the ability to deftly handle any precarious situation he is given. The driver must be zen at all times, flowing with the curves, and at the same time keeping a watchful eye for anything that might disrupt the pace.

A great guitar solo (or any instrument for that matter) does the same things, staying in the moment, trusting your instinct, hearing when the music "turns", keeping your technique relaxed at all times. They even made a books out of it... (Zen Guitar and Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance). And like the driver of the motorcycle, the driver of the solo needs to be aware of many things at once, all while keeping that improvisational wonder. Where is the drummer, pushing the beat, pulling the beat or riding the middle? What did the keys player just play, what chord extension was that? Where are we going? Am I taking the audience with me? Am I leading us up the mountain, sweeping around curves, or am I just sitting letting the bike idle?

I could talk for years about what scales go with what chords, and what you could do by superimposing a triad over another chord. I can talk about dotted rhythms, triplets, playing over the bar lines, extending phrases and  the simplistic beauty of the one note solo, but really, a good solo simply moves us to feel alive and excited. It comes from passion, and the freedom to risk falling on your face combined with the confidence to be able to take any turn in the road.

What do you do that gives you that same freedom?

Gerry

Country Music Is... by Nick Bullock

photo-2 When was the last time you listened? I listen every day, and I have no idea really what country music is today, do you? I think we can both sit here and name a whole bunch of differing descriptions of modern country music, and we would probably both be right. It's bro country, it's 70's classic rock, it's hip hip country, it's power chord country... these are all words that get thrown around. It think it's going through a bit of a identity crisis.

I heard on the radio (NPR of all places) that Big Machine (Taylor Swifts record label) and Cumulus Radio are teaming up to form an "oldies" country music station. Basically because the older artists like Garth Brooks and Shania Twain have no real place in the current country music landscape. And this makes sense to me. County music has become just about the only musical outlet for all angst ridden teenage boys (albeit white teenage boys), and the boys brought their girlfriends along too. For whatever reason, the general public has decided that rock/alternative music is dead... we haven't found our next Nirvana, and maybe we never will, and country music scooped that audience up and ran with it. And in the mean time I can only imagine that Willy Nelson is scratching his head. To quote Shotgun Willy, "you can't make a record if you aint got nothing to say", maybe he was wrong, it certainly appears so. I don't blame the old guard for wanting a place on the playing field, and I hope they get there, and soon. 

I will also mention that there is practically no room for female artists in todays current landscape, which is a shame... there are some great ones (check out Miranda Lambert for an artist and Victoria Banks for a songwriter... two super talented ladies).

photo-1

For someone who just moved here, being a songwriter and a studio owner, it's an interesting view. I'm on the "inside" looking in, but still from an outsiders perspective. I can't help but be influenced by it all, and I can't relate to (let alone write) most of the tunes that are on the radio right now. But every now and again, something good shines through, something that catches my ear, and I think, yes, there is still a place at the table for people who write with sincerity. I just have to look through the beer can and chevy truck haze... but those songs are out there. Music still comes down to emotion, and at the end of the day, it is emotion that sells it. 

Benson

Here is what I like about country music. I like a good time/feel good/summer time party song, despite what I wrote about above. I can't fault anyone for wanting to shut the brain off every now and again and just enjoy the moment. So when a song goes there and sells the summer time party vibe, I'm in, but it has to be smarter. The songwriter and artist have to care more than just rhyming beer can with summer tan. I also love how there are no "musical" boundaries really, when I'm building a track for someone, or writing a tune myself, I can borrow from Jackson Brown as much as I can borrow from Dre, and it's all good. That to me speaks of endless creative potential. And at the end of the day, country music emanates from Nashville, and Nashville has always been a song city, and always will be. It's all about the song, and music that is based on the craft of songwriting will, in the end, always steer true. 

What do you like about todays country music? What do you dislike?

Death to a Musician is... by Nick Bullock

What have you listened to lately? What have you challenged your ears and musical tastes with lately? GD Public Enemy

I heard someone say this weekend that if you're listening to the same things that you listened to five years ago (or fifteen years ago etc), then you're not growing. And not growing is death to a musician. 

Dookie thriller

This got me reflecting on what exactly I have been listening to lately. My current and past musical DNA if you will. Since moving to Nashville, I have definitely been challenged to "get into" things that I normally never would. Not because I would refuse to listen, more because I never would have been exposed to these new sounds in my former surroundings. I'll be honest, I don't love it all. But there are nuggets of greatness in almost everything. Every day, by being willing to listen to new things, I grow as a songwriter and a producer. Which in turn, helps me do a better job in realizing the dreams and goals of the artists I work with, gives me new inspiration and new techniques to try as a songwriter, and new vocabulary for this beautiful language we call music. From Eric Church, to Lourdes there are a lot of crazy and creative new ideas flying around, so I challenge you to listen to it all. The cool and the uncool. Eat it up, consume every dotted rhythm and inverted arpeggio, every auto tuned vocal, and every raspy whisper of Tom Waits.

Dino Jr Junta arcade fire S Cook

I challenge you to listen to something you would never have "liked" before, in your past musical life, and write down five things that you like about the song. I'm going to do this right now with a Taylor Swift song (yup, thats right, T. Swift!) to see if I can prove my point, here we go (by the way, I've never heard this song before right now):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8xg3vE8Ie_E&list=AL94UKMTqg-9Ds071vp-9iWci4ryhkG4Us

1. harmonics in the banjo in intro: who doesn't like harmonics! 

2. guitars panned r and l at 1st vs: I'm a sucker for panned guitars, especially when they are doing the cool layering type of parts, not just out right strumming

3. the scarlet letter you were Juliet line is a good one in the 2nd vs: it stuck out to me, I couldn't type fast enough though to get all the words down right here.

4. the pizzicato in the violin at the breakdown: sometimes I forget that you can pick at the fiddle, you don't always need to bow it... a nice reminder

5. i like the simplicity of the instrumental, and how the fiddle sounds more like a guitar... a little coldplay in terms of the rhythm/phrasing: just a cool and creative instrumental break, not a solo per se, which is a nice change

Trane A go go XO BTS

Well, there are my 5 things. For the record, at first listen, I see why the song has over a million you tube views, it's catchy, it pulls at the ol heart strings... I think the song is good, but I don't necessarily like it. And really, whether or not I like it is irrelevant. The important part is that the next time I'm recording a banjo, maybe I'll think to have the banjo play with harmonics instead of the actual fretted note. Or maybe I'll ask the fiddle player to play it pizzicato instead. There is a whole big world of inspiration and ideas out there, we just have to be open and wise enough to know that we should be looking and listening for it in even the most unexpected of places. Once again, if you're only listening to the same music you listened to in your past, you're musically dying.

What song did you try the challenge with? What did you like about it?

ps: I have to congratulate Danny Sierra on releasing his first EP this week. Danny was the first artist that asked me to work with him when I moved here some months ago. He is an amazingly talented songwriter and singer... you can check him out at http://danielsierraleone.bandcamp.com Go Danny Go!

Ego is a Stubborn-No Good-Rotten Tomato by Nick Bullock

ego 1 The Not So Obvious 

Have you ever struggled with the balance of ego, and humility. I know I have. Every time I get on stage I wonder how many people will come, will they like (love) me, and what does it mean if they don't. Is it even ok that I'm feeling these feelings? These are all small bits and pieces of my ego poking through. We've all been told, or tell ourselves to not worry about that, just go out there and be yourself, and do your thing. Sometimes this is easier said than done. The ego here, is playing hide and seek with our own sense of self worth. We all want to be loved.

ego 2

The Obvious

Then there are the obvious ego jerks, and we all know the type. Truth be told, we've probably all been guilty of this behavior at some point in our lives. Most of us learn that it does now pay to be a dick. On the surface it doesn't pay because everyone will look at you with daggers of judgement in their eyes, sometimes behind your back, sometimes right to your face. On a deeper level, it doesn't pay because (even if we're super rich and famous and trick some people into liking us) we are just robbing ourselves of meaning by covering up our vulnerable insides that we all carry. And that vulnerability is the good stuff.

ego 1

The Stubborn Ego

Then there is the pesky and persistent ego. This kind says, "even though nobody likes these polka songs I write, I know they are the best thing ever. I just don't understand why the record companies, music supervisors, and booking agents don't get it?". It might be true that those polka tunes are the best ever, and if you are writing polka songs purely for your own artistic expression, then more power to you. But if you are trying to have some kind of measurable success, then you might want to drop the ego, and say "my polka songs are great, but they aren't for everyone, maybe, if I want to be a professional musician, I should be open to other possibilities". I know for myself, I am constantly struggling with this one. Do I write/produce/record for you, the listener, or me the artist. I'm learning slowly but surely, that there is a possibility of me doing both. Either way, I think it is very healthy to be open to all possibilities, and not let ego cloud your vision. Sometimes you can grow, learn and achieve amazing results, that you never would have thought possible had you been stubborn and only stuck to your "I want to be a polka superstar" mentality. Life is too short to be short sighted.

ps: no offense polka enthusiasts, you all rock. :)

first picture is from http://www.vine2victory.com #1, the second is from http://www.flamewarriorsguide.com and the third is from http://esotericmystica.blogspot.com

 

 

Bob Marley, Redemption and Me by Nick Bullock

I'm not really a fan of Reggae, as I'm sure my old friends (and old band mates especially) can attest to, especially living in such a small hippie town for so long before moving here to Nashville. It often seemed like it was everywhere in little ol Ithaca NY. It's not that it isn't good, there is some great stuff out there, especially some of the older recordings, but in general, I always felt distant from it. Maybe I was just over saturated with it at one point and got jaded. But once upon a time, when I first stared to play the guitar, I learned Bob Marley's Redemption Song. The intro lick was easy, but for the beginner still posed a little bit of a challenge, and the chords were all nice and simple. It was, and still is a great camp fire song. And truth be told, I had heard Dave Matthews perform it, so it was obvisouly cool (does Dave Matthews count as a guilty pleasure now?). This was when I was young, impressionable, and susceptible to the hippie jam band culture, and I inhaled it all whole for a long while. Only to reject my younger musical ways as I got older and grew into my own skin.

Which brings me to last night, as I'm driving my car home and listening to the radio. When the song starts to play and I hear that opening guitar lick, my immediate instinct is to switch the station, and my hand reached out to do so. But for some reason I stopped, hand hanging in the air, half way to the radio dial. I started to listen, really listen again. And the words cut through all the bullshit in my mind. I was reminded again of what I knew at such a young age, the lyrics are genius, and even more so moving. Not because they are clever, or hip, but because they are honest, and go way beyond the initial meaning. And I'm not going ot really get into what that initial meaning is, or pretend to understand the mind and soul of another man and his intentions for writing a song, but I will say that the lyrics are undeniably universal. And I was reminded that maybe some things from my past are worth rediscovering, and that I should suspend my auto-discard impulse response. Who knows, maybe I'll dust off the old patch work pants... probably not.

What stories from "yesterday" can teach you something new "today"? What songs have new meaning to you in your life today?

Bob 2

photo taken off the internet, not from me :)

 

Everyday by Nick Bullock

Everyday: read a book in your field

write a song

songwrtng

teach someone younger than you

teach

listen to your favorite vinyl record

vinyl

go to a house show

houseshow

go to a big concert

bigshow

kiss your wife, husband, boyfriend or girlfriend

tell a friend you love them

schedule a coffee meeting with someone you admire

Calenadar

learn something new about gear

gear

look for a mentor

go to the gym

record music with your friends

studio

smell the flowers

flowers 7

...or, if you're like me, take a breath, and do what you can today, and trust the process.

 

You Never Know Who's In The Room by Nick Bullock

brodge 3 When I meet people, I imagine that one day they could be president.

It's good to be aware that there are many times in the life of a musician (or any profession for that matter) where we need a helping hand, and you never know where that helping hand will come from.

In my twenties, I made most of my living touring the jam band circuit across the country. Like most bands, our earliest fans were our friends and roommates. One such friend/roommate was Mike, who after moving back to Boston post college, introduced us to one of his best friends, Andrew. As we continued to tour more and more, we became just as tight with Andrew, and once Mike moved to California, we would stay with Andrew at every Boston stop on tour.

Fast forward a couple of years and Andrew is working for a licensing company, and getting our music placed on TV shows, getting us massive exposure and a good pay check. To this day, Andrew is still championing the music I make and write to different TV shows, movies and the like.

You never know who is in the room, you never know who will be a new super fan and can take your music to the next level, you never know who will be the one to give you that helping hand. It pays to be aware, and genuine. It pays to be humble and to love. Build your bridges with concrete hand shakes and look people in the eye, it pays.

Do you have a story of unexpected help or surprise friendship? Share it in the comment section below.

bridge

Swearing Popes = No One is Perfect and The Gap by Nick Bullock

The Gap So I missed a week. When I started this blog, I promised myself that I would do it every single week, no matter what else was going on. I think sometimes I bite off more than I can chew. Maybe you can relate? I get mad when I break promises to myself, even unreasonable ones, but then I remember that no one is infallible. Even the pope let the "f word" slip out and into the microphone, throughout St Peters Square https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4jUt0AY8mXY. Though my intentions are good, I make mistakes, we all do, and it's easy to beat ourselves up over it. The important thing is that I/we keep going, and get right back in the saddle... Regardless of what caused the slip up, if we believe in what we can achieve, we have to keep going and growing. In my case it was just being too damn busy and over scheduling myself, but other times it's fear that can paralyze me, or self doubt, or procrastination. I saw recently, as I'm sure some of you already have, a great video on this topic of "just keep going". It is entitled The Gap, by Ira Glass and Daniel Sax. Please check it out! It's great. http://vimeo.com/85040589.

The Gap 2

So here's to another week, where I get to reinvent myself all over again, I get to raise the stakes again, I get to  challenge myself again, I get to laugh at my shortcomings again, and I get to tell myself to chill the f out, again.

What do you want to challenge yourself with? What do you want to laugh about this week?

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