Earlier this week I talked about how taking things "One Mile At A Time" coupled with being faithful to the little things leads us to reaching our big goals. In that blog entry I was asked a question that I want to answer in detail.....As promised I want to touch on the the little things I have been faithful to that led me to becoming a music director and headed out on my 10th tour as a musician/singer.
In 2003, I decided that I wanted to do music full time. My big goal was to be a songwriter. I was faithful to writing as many songs as I could a week after studying for school. I was attending Howard University at the time and I would test out my songs by performing them open mics on campus. I could determine if the songs were good or bad by the crowds reaction. At the time I had nothing but a keyboard and a composition notebook so the only thing I was faithful to was creating music and writing.
I began to study songwriters and discovered that Gordon Chambers (has written records for Brandy, Carl Thomas, Anita Baker, and more) was having a writing workshop in Brooklyn, NY. I made my way up to NY from DC to go to the workshop and performed some of my songs for him to receive constructive criticism. He thought the songs could be shopped to artist if I worked on my structure and then he asked me where is my recorded demo of this material? I was puzzled....I never thought of that. I had to create a demo in order to shop my music. He told me to get my songs recorded and copyrighted so I could shop them to artist.
It took me a year but I was faithful to getting a computer and a microphone to record my demo and copyrighted my songs.
After completion, my roommate returned home one day and gave me some money and told me he had sold a couple of my demos on campus. I was surprised people purchased my music. My intention was to be a songwriter, not a singer! The only reason I sang on the demo was because no one else would sing my songs....Regardless, we burned the demos on my computer and sold so many copies on campus that there was a demand for me to do a show.
I didn't have a band at all! I spent the next few weeks finding band members and studying the greats. I bought Marvin Gaye, James Brown, Funkadelic and Earth Wind & Fire live show DVD's. I searched for Stevie Wonder, Sly and The Family Stone, and Prince live audio shows. I was faithful to learning how to put on a live show. I formed a band called the Souljourners and we performed at Howard and then starting performing around Washington DC.
We use to show up at gigs and people didn't take us seriously at all! Mostly because we didn't have any of the so called "right" equipment.
Shout out to my Casio keyboard that I was played at gigs around town. My drummer (Russell Carter) had a mismatch set and my bass player (Malik Hunter) had an upright bass that was severely beat up. We would show up at gigs around town and based on our equipment we didn't look the part but we could play. The first step in my journey to being a music director (I didn't even consider myself a music director at the time) was being faithful to studying music performances and practicing with my band "Ab & The Souljourners" no matter what! I didn't care if our equipment wasn't the standard....I wasn't going to let that hold me back. Things can always be better but if the instruments made noise....we were practicing and performing on them. We continued to impress people around town the entire summer of 2005 and I sold that same demo at every show.
June of that same summer, I attended a writing workshop in Brooklyn, NY. I was expecting to see Gordon Chambers again and show him had created a demo but to my surprise they had a new songwriter doing the workshop named Eric Roberson (written for Musiq Soulchild, 112, Vivian Green, Dwele, and more). I performed my songs and explained what I'd been doing for the last year and he was throughly impressed. I asked for constructive criticism and he said I needed to record an official CD because the presentation of my demo wasn't good. I can't fake...that made me mad....I was salty....but I went back to DC and did just that! Me and my bandmates Malik Hunter and Russell Carter recorded an official CD and released it in Nov. 2005 titled "Lyrically Inclined 1.3, The Odyssey."
I even had an album release party where me and my band performed most of the new material. In the process of creating the album I reached out to my brother to create a website because I knew someone was going to tell me I needed one eventually. The album was out and we continued to practice and perform....and I continued to write songs and I was faithful to all of these things.
From the top of 2003 to March of 2006, I was faithful to these little things that led to bigger things that I will explained next week....