Ask the Right Questions

I came to the realization this morning that I have been asking the wrong questions this whole time. On many occasions, I have been asking self-serving questions. The type of questions that won’t do anyone else much good.  I was not thinking of how I could be of better service to other people.

There’s a great audio from Earl Nightingale called “Attitude and Excellence” where he makes mention that we are on this earth to serve others. Nothing else. I heard the audio many times before, but I never really understood what he was really saying.

When asking a question, it is far more powerful to state it in a way that will help others rather than oneself. Ask how to bring value into people’s lives or how to make them happy. Give abundantly, take when necessary, and receive openly.

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Quit Your Day To Pursue Your Dreams?

I ran into this video the other day about how Bobby Sessions artist quit his day job with only $50 in his bank account with the aspiration to work on music full time. I’d rather not get into full details about the video since all you have to do is hit the friggin’ play button. 

The idea is amazing, actually. Why put yourself through hell by working towards another man’s dream? Why spend 40 to 50 hours per week toward something you aren’t passionate about? It’s not only time consuming, but it’s energy consuming. It’s really a no brainer to kick rocks, right?

I tuned into more video sources talking about the same idea. Quit your job and take the leap of faith. The sources that I checked out brought up some solid points, however, I have not found a source that really dives into how to make money in the beginning of the major transition. If you don’t work at your passion full time it takes so much longer to even can take care of yourself financially. I understand that, but are you supposed to save up money to pay bills, loans, food, etc before you put in your two weeks? If so, then how much? Do you need to get into another side hustle that will make you quick money in order to continue investing in yourself? What if you don’t have your parents financial backing or a partner’s financial backing like Bobby Sessions did? How long should you give yourself to make your dream turn into a reality?

Those are questions I continue to ask myself. But maybe the unknown is what makes this whole thing exciting. Not knowing. Everyone’s story is different and that is awesome. It gives everyone something interesting to tell.

Side note – I found a really cool post on the same topic by Kally. You can check it out here.

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I know it’s Early Valentine’s Day, But I Have A Song For You

 

I can finally say my latest song is fucking done! Hallelujah! Damn it took so much longer than I anticipated.

The backstory behind this song came from a feeling of disappointment. Someone I love broke my heart so I started playing music. I let my feelings guide me. My mood drove me to the final section of the overall piece, but I felt like it needed something to lead into that.

Almost immediately I came up with the chords that best fit the beginning of the song. As I put the pieces together I came to realize that the beginning didn’t flow with end in the way I thought it would. So, I started to pull up photos of inspiration (I tend to do this when a song reminds me of someone or something).

The photos I chose for this song were of two rock musicians–Anthony Green of Saosin and Thomas Erak of The Fall of Troy. With the inspiration, I came up with the middle section to transition into the third part.

From there I began putting things in, taking things out, and making the overall piece work to my standards. It took time. Lots of fucking time.

Overall, I am satisfied with what I have come up with. It may not be a hit on the charts, but it is something that I can stand by. I can move forward with no regrets.

My next question to myself is how can I make music that’s better? What can I do to gain and hold the ears of listeners? I listen to other musicians in awe with how they can accomplish that task. It seems so simple, but there is so much more that goes into it.

 

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Thoughts Becoming Things?

I know none of you guys know, but I am currently a special event coordinator for the company I am employed by. It sounds more glamorous than it is, but hell, it pays the bills for now. The other day I decided on searching for special events in the area that I could work with. The process was pretty damn simple: search online, get contact info, contact potential client, repeat.

I kept my search going for about an hour until I randomly stumbled across a one on one class that teaches Ableton. I have no clue how this course got mixed into special events around my area, but I immediately got in contact with the individual that holds the class. Now I have my first personal Ableton course in the next few weeks.

I’m not really into the whole new age way of thinking. The whole “Thoughts become things” idea is kind of meh to me, but I think there is some truth to it. It’s hard for me to find an answer to how I stumbled across this course. I wasn’t looking for it, but my reticular activating system was open to it. Maybe it’s because I listen to a shit load of Napoleon Hill audios that speaks about the Law of Attraction. I don’t fucking know, but I’m going to keep asking the right questions and keep my eyes open.

Now I’m not the type of person that believes in luck. I don’t fucking believe in it. I believe that luck and/or opportunities are there for those who open themselves up to it. I don’t know where this course will take me, but I’ve been asking God, the higher power, or whatever you want to call it for help. I’ve been asking for something to help me get to the next level of creating music. Maybe this is the answer. Maybe it’s not the answer. What I do know is this is something that I need to do.

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It’s None of My Business

It took a while, but I was starting to get adjusted to the lifestyle in Lagos–the crazy driving, shitty roads, smog, heat, the food, and the music. I plan to make another visit in the near future, but I couldn’t help but feel like I wanted to do more for my families’ home country.

There are so many things I’ve seen that make me wonder why such a famous city in Nigeria hasn’t improved more. There’s so much more that could be done to make everyone’s lives better. 

Why haven’t underdeveloped countries modeled things that have worked in other countries? I know the people that live there have to care to some extent. It just doesn’t make sense to me, really. And I’ve only barely scratched the surface of what else is out there. There are so many other countries that could be so much better. 

I used to have the mentality of helping myself first before reaching out to others, but it so different being there first hand. Seeing the people with my own eyes, hearing them, and feeling them hits me on another level that I can’t quite express in words. 

And then I think about the role of my love for writing and music. What is the benefit? Am I making the right choice? How can I make a difference? I’m not sure at the moment, but I am willing to keep working until I find out.

I think I just want to see more people succeed in making this world greater. More importantly, I want to do more. I want to make massive contributions around the world. But then I start thinking about how. I just don’t know how I can at the moment. Maybe it’s not my business to know.

 

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That one time I met DJ Jimmy Jatt

Today was a great day. I spent quality time with family and made a trip to Oniru Beach, one of the many beaches surrounding the coast of Lagos. 

The beach isn’t considered much of a lovely attraction–broken clay pieces, bottles, and debris are all scattered on the sand (it’s probably not the best idea to walk on the sand in your bare toesies). But I was treated to oven-cooked local fish that was made to perfection and local beer “33” which is part of the Ijebu tribe my family is from. 

Later that evening I had the luxury of meeting with a top Nigerian DJ, Jimmy Jatt, and discuss the Nigerian music scene. We were greeted by a doorman at Jatt’s studio upon arrival (it appeared that most of the residences in his area had some form of security).

When making my way up the stairs I could hear the generators humming, powering his place of residence. Inside, his walls were lined with framed photos of famous musicians–Michael Jackson, Prince, Run Dmc, and DJ Whoo Kid–to name a few.

Jatt casually made his way through the hallway. He had a very humble demeanor, but also carried himself like a man that has been around the business for some time.

We spoke about music and, more specifically, my interest in music. To be honest, it was more like an informal interview that I was not fully prepared for. Maybe it was hot as hell, but damn was I sweating. Shit, I feel like I’m about to start sweating again just writing about it. 

He schooled me on Nigerian artists such as WizKid and 2Face. He gave me an insight on the best time to get to know other African musicians. I soon found out that January is probably the worst month to meet with local and not so local musicians. January is somewhat of an off month especially after the busy scheduling in December.

I don’t know where our meet will go, but I made a elementary mistake in simple journalism. I mistakenly failed to research my friggin’ subject. What’s funny is I never typically come ill prepared, especially when speaking to artists. 

Regardless, Jatt was still kind enough to show me his studio downstairs. A producer and “hype man” were blaring music on a pair of KRK studio monitors. There was a small studio to the left of the audio set up. The area was small, but it had all of the necessary equipment for any musician to get work done.

We stayed back and spoke about the Nigerian music industry. We discussed the struggles some artists have to make a living. Most shockingly, he mentioned how some artists pay bootleggers to sell their music (obviously with no financial gain to the artist) just to get their names out there. He stressed how it kills the opportunity for musicians to reap substantial financial benefits from their work. It’s unfortunate, but it is an interesting business and it gets more interesting as I dig deeper. 

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Nigeria…so far


I’ve been here for a day so far and I must say that culture shock is a tad bit of an understatement. Police carry automatic weapons freely, the highways are chaotic, the food is unique, power outrages are a norm, and the heat is a sneaky little bastard I must add. The sky’s are in a constant haze, but the humidity can beat down on you like Amanda Nunes did to Rhonda rousey . Too soon?

What’s been the most shocking so far has been some of the underdevelopment I’ve seen. Roads aren’t adequately paved, men cart around fresh water in beat-up reusable jugs to provide the townspeople with drinkable water, and buildings are dilapidated.

I had a conversation with a gentleman from New Orleans on the airplane to Nigeria and he told me “You can’t forgot the smell in Lagos, Nigeria. It smells like someone left a lawnmower on in the garage with the garage door closed.” I thought he was kidding, only to find out that he couldn’t have been more accurate. The smell is something else. The moment it hit my nostrils I was reminded that I was far from Kansas. Far from Kansas indeed.

Regardless of everything I’ve said, the city is alive and beautiful. Street vendors sell goods on the highway during traffic hours (yes you heard me right), the people greet you with a “sir” or “madam,” And all of the business I have visited so far have been African owned. It’s really an amazing site to see.

But I digress. I happened to check out Nigerian night life at a lounge in Victoria Island and the music got me wobbling and bobbling my head like a mad man. It was amazing. There’s something about it that creates the uncontrollable desire to move. Maybe the music is that good, or maybe it speaks to me on a deeper level than I can express in words.

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