Sunday, November 7, 2010

Saturday at TAXI Convention with Jared - Really Good Day!

It's 4:30 am, I think.? ...and there are still people up singing and playing! It's crazy!
I also went to the roof of the hotel because that is where the vending machine is (and the pool) and there were people up there singing and talking about their dreams of being the next big music discovery! The folks in the picture above were having a good time, playing and singing jazz stuff. Nice background music to my blogging effort.

Now, back to Saturday.
After the experience of yesterday's mentoring session, I decided to go directly to the class that would tell me everything that the big shots are looking for in a Christian Song. As the Lord would have it, there was in fact a class called, "How To Write Your Christian Song". Isn't it great that the Lord already had this going! Very cool.
Lynn, the woman with the red jacket, was the instructor. She has worked with many artists that I'm sure everyone has heard of. She explained the nuts and bolts of making a great Contemporary Christian Song. I not only learned a lot of really good stuff, but I also discovered that I was mis-representing my song. I pitched it as CCM, when in fact it would better be classified as Praise and Worship (which there is no market for). This made me feel a lot better about my song. Lesson learned, don't pitch your song in the wrong genre or in this case, sub-genre.
The panel in the picture above was made up of A&R Execs. Kara DioGuardi was supposed to be there, but was signed to a new show and was filming and couldn't make it. Taxi replaced her with two other folks who did a really good job. These were interesting people because they were the ones who picked the artists and pitched them to the big labels. Needless to say they had to slip out the back after this in fear of getting mauled by a crowd of hopefuls.
The fellas in the picture above represented the Video Game Music industry. These guys have done many projects like Prince of Persia, Beowulf, etc. Also, on the right is a contact that Jared made (which hopefully sticks!). He is the owner of a video game production company, which translates to jobs for Jared! Pray about that one! We listened to their work which was very good! Jared would be a good addition to the talent pool here (and I'm not just saying this because I'm his dad... well, I am, but it is also true!) It was amazing watching Jared network here in LA. It seemed very natural / he was in his element!
Since this was our last night in LA and the day went so well, Jared and I decided to go to the nearest good Italian restaurant to celebrate this weekend. We only had to walk about a mile and a half each way, but found one, and it was good!
Ah, spaghetti! Gotta love it!

So, it's Sunday. The people are still around the piano making music. My guess is that they will crash before too long.

It's been a good trip and it will soon be over. Praise God it has been a very valuable time for Jared and me. We have a couple more events this morning, then it's off to the airport for a very long trip home. We will be laying over in Chicago. I'm not sure if I'll blog about it, we'll see. Monday is coming soon and more travels are in store for work, reality. I'm so thankful for Lynnette, who encouraged this trip. It was everything she said it would be and more! Pickles, I can't wait to see you and Ab, Cecily, Silas, JoJo and Harry! Jared is excited to see you too (which goes without saying), and I think he is dying to see Olivia - just a guess:)

Saturday, November 6, 2010

LA TAXI Convention with Jared! First Full Day - UPs N Downs

Wow! I'm not sure how to begin! It was an incredible day, full of good advice, good reviews and not so good reviews.

We started the day off with a delicious breakfast in a cafe just down the street. Hotel restaurant prices border on the obscene, so we have had to walk a bit to find places that we could afford. That is part of the fun of it all though.
Then it was back to the hotel's Grand Ballroom where Jared and I spent the majority of our day listening to experts give advice on how to make a song that will sell. The place was packed! We were fortunate enough to find chairs closer to the front.
There were several sessions in the Ballroom. Among them were the panels of experts who listened to submissions and critiqued them. The panel above was for TV and Film Scoring among other things. I prayed and prayed that they would pick Jared's music, but of the hundreds of submissions, his was not chosen .
The panel in the picture above was the one that critiqued Christian music (again, among other types). This is the one I submitted my song to be critiqued. I admit, part of me didn't want them to play it. They didn't play Jared's stuff earlier, so I didn't want to be heard if he wasn't (sound stupid? Probably, but that's how I felt).

Through the glass doors was the room where all the mentors were! Jared went first. Again, I prayed and prayed for him while he was in there. I so badly wanted him to be found and told how great he is (because he is!). And guess what? That's what happened! Jared's mentor listened to three songs (very unusual, as you will soon see with my session). Long story short, Jared's mentor only had good stuff to say! Praise God for a great review! Next was my turn....
My mentor was very nice, polite and I'd have to say patient too. It started off when I went to her table at my scheduled time, there was already a man sitting there in my spot. I asked if they were about done that I had this slot. Well, ended up we were double booked. I got bumped to a slot an hour and a half later.
...An hour and a half later, I am in line to go back in. Come to find out, I am now the last person to be mentored. I imagine my mentor was a little tired of doing this all day, and wanted to get out of there (I would've).

I put my cd into the jam box and it didn't work! I grabbed two more and got the same result. Then I pulled out my iPhone, found the song and hooked up my mentor's headphones. Volume was too low! Finally, I booted up my mac, plugged in the headphones and cranked the volume. That worked.

During all that, I was talking nervously about how great Jared's mentor session went and how proud of my family I am. My song began playing. I couldn't wait until Ab's violin solo came in, but we never got that far.

I only had ten minutes total, and time was short, but I don't think that mattered much. Fact was, my Mentor didn't like it. I don't think that any part of the song could be salvaged. She said that the guitar rhythm pattern was current, but was "overdone"; similar lyrics have already been done.. to much scripture; she said to listen to Matthew West and Chris Tomlin; listening to a song is like watching a movie (formula); the chorus didn't present itself strong; bring drums in sooner; bump up the energy by the first chorus; and then she gave me the titles of three books to read.

I was kinda stunned at first and walked out of there wondering what had just happened.

I think the first thing that came to my mind was, "Well, now I know for a fact that they weren't just telling everyone that they had good songs - this validates Jared's good review!" That question could be thrown out now. After that thought, I began to struggle with how I looked at myself as a musician. It caused a lot of reflection. First, I often wondered if folks liked my songs because they love me. My family and friends are so tightly knit together in Christ, that they love my music because it came from me. They know where I've been, seen my goofy side, shared my pain. They know me. Anyway, I often wondered what would happen if I had an objective party critique my music. Would I get the same response? Am I really like those kids on American Idol that people laugh at - and the only one that doesn't know I'm a joke is me? No. I'm pretty sure that's not the case. But, honestly, the thought presented itself. (mental, aren't I).

Jared, Lynnette and Ab all jumped in with comforting words and made me feel really good. Praise God for them! It kinda hit me at that moment that one of the reasons I make music is for people to like it and the people who are most important to me already do! Jared also reminded me that the critique I got was from the perspective of making a hit song. My friend Scott mentioned this several weeks ago, that they are looking for "formula" work, so don't be surprised if you didn't fall into formula right away. All this and an opportunity to minister to a poor man in the street later in the evening, helped me feel just how blessed I am.

This blog is getting really long! But, I'm not done yet.

I have to ask myself, "What next?" Well, one thing is I won't be defeated. I like to play my guitar and sing. And, even though I don't create the mainstream stuff, I'm capable of learning what works. My mentor didn't say that I have no talent, just that the song was not something that would work. I will read the recommended books and determine if following what they say will make me like my songs better. I'm pretty sure all the advice was good and would help me.

One thing I forgot to mention is during all this, I felt the presence of Christ, reminding me that He, like my family and friends, loves my music and gave me what talent is there to bring Him glory, and He is happy with me. I think he likes my song. It's about him / which is my life. Praise God for his awesome lessons in life: of humility, love and joy!

Today is a new day, yesterday is behind, today will bring more adventure... that's pretty exciting! Good morning LA!

Friday, November 5, 2010

LA TAXI Convention with Jared!

My body says it's 5am, but here in California, it's 3. I've learned long ago not to fight it, just get up. After all, I could be productive and blog to my 12 followers, whom I love dearly. God has awakened me on many such occasions in the past and getting up has always been a blessing.

Anyway, I am at this thing called the TAXI Road Rally, which is a large convention for singers, songwriters and all that, to connect with major A&R folks, showcase your songs, meeting other singer song writers, and a multitude of characters. I am blessed to have Jared with me. Check him out at We have already had many laughs together!

The registration line was huge! Check it out!

We stood in line which trailed out from deep inside the hotel, clear out into the parking lot. It was hard on the feet, but we met some very interesting people!

Meet Beverly. She is a 60 year old country western lyricist (did I spell that right?). She was a hoot to say the least. She has written songs in honor of her dad, a real cowboy from days gone by. I think by the end of the 2 hour wait, everyone within 20 people of the line, knew Beverly. By day, she is a college professor, but on weekends, a song writer.

The guy in the blue teeshirt is Barry. I noticed him when Jared and I first arrived. When I was researching TAXI, I saw Barry's interview. He was fun to meet and has just as much enthusiasm in real life as he does on his interview! Next to Barry in the black shirt, is Simon, a song writer from NY. Jared and I spent a lot of time asking these guys questions and getting tips on how to get the music heard and used. Networking Networking Networking!!

This is Nicolas, a singer / songwriter from Sweden. I thought Jared and I had to travel far! Nicolas was a lot of fun to talk to and not too hard to understand (when talking about guitar gear - hehe).

Jared and I left for a bit and toured the city. There is a lot to get into in LA! We walked about a mile, made some new friends and picked up a few groceries (not much), but thought this was a good pic. "This random moment is brought to you by Rice A Roni - a SanFrancisco Treat".

Later on, was the open mic events. There were two rooms that were filled with hopeful musicians, showcasing their songs, all for the glory of it! The audience, being songwriters and musicians themselves, were eager to give encouragement. It was inspiring.

This dude wrote a song about Luckenbach, TX and even though it's already been done, "he doesn't care, he's gonna do it anyway" really funny guy... cool song.

If you are interested in more information on TAXI, visit them at

It was a long day but fun. I NEED COFFEE! It's still too early even for Starbucks here. I'm also already missing Lynnette, Ab, Cecily, Silas, Jonas and Harry. I've caught Jared a time (or ten) praising God for Olivia and a shot to make music his life's work. I'm excited to see what the Lord will bring on this day that he hath made. It's gonna be good! God Bless!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

New Song - I Will Wait

So, guess what? I have a new song added to the soundclick list. Check it out. It's called "I Will Wait". Summary of song:

This song is a combination of thoughts in the Bible;1. Philippians 1:21-24, "For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labour: yet what I shall choose I wot not. For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better." and, 2. Isaiah 40:31, "But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint". This describes our access to God's strength while we live this life. ***Life here on earth is tough, but necessary! We have heaven ahead of us, which is my desire! In the meantime, while I wait for heaven, I will lean on God to give me strength, hope, and courage to live this life to the fullest, and touch the hearts of others... All for His glory!


I Will Wait

I will wait, ‘till my strength is renewed,
I will fly, with eagles wings,
I will run, and not get tired,
I will walk and will not faint.

To be with you, Lord,
Would be far better!
But to be here now,
Is where I need to be.

You're my strength, When all strength is gone,
You're my hope, To carry on.
You're my all, When all else has failed,
You're the way, The truth prevailed!

To be with you, Lord,
Would be far better!
But to be here now,
Is where I need to be.

God Bless!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Abs Blog Party!

Yo, I hope I'm doing this right... I'm not much of a blogger, but had to get in on Ab's party, so here it goes.

1. What's your favorite time of the day, and why?
Early morning... I don't know why, except my mind works best then. I am most creative, logical, academic, etc. at 4 or 5 am.
2. If health wasn't an issue, what food could you live off of?
Hamburgers! Da-Burger!
3. If you could have one wish granted (besides wishing for more wishes), what would it be?
I would like to have my glorified body now.
4. What's one thing that you get teased about a lot?
The random things I say, but don't mean to be random.
5. If you could choose one movie, book, or TV show to spend your life in, which would you pick? What type of character would you be?
Movie would be Avatar (of course, I'd want to be a blue dude)
Book would be the bible - I'd like to be anyone in the millennial kingdom
TV Show would be hmmmm, I don't know, maybe the Fonz on Happy Days or something.
6. If you could have one talent that you don't already have, what would it be?
7.If money were no object, where would you go on vacation?
Jerusalem, Greece, Europe, Disneyland, and Silver Dollar City (weird huh?)
8. If you were an awesome singer, which genre would you sing?
I would sing Like TFK's singer or Falling Up or Chevelle
9. If you could have a $10,000 shopping spree to one store, what would it be?
Guitar Center
10. If you could live in any point in time, when would it be?
11. If every outfit in your wardrobe had to be one color, what would it be?
Black is beautiful!!!!!
12. If you were one of the seven dwarves, which one would you be?
(Doc, Grumpy, Sneezy, Sleepy, Bashful, Happy, or Dopey)
13. What's the last album you listened to?
Chevelle (Wonder What's Next)
14. What's something we'd be surprised to know about you?
I'm still awake and it's after 10pm.

Monday, February 2, 2009

A Poem I Wrote Shortly After Anna Died November 19th, 2004

Blessed pain so bittersweet,  
When most I hurt, she's nearer me. 
Pain, of aching, empty night, 
Sweet, the mem'ry of her light. 
Jesus, heal my broken heart, 
Fuse that which is torn apart. 
Vapor swiftly flowing by, 
Soon we'll meet with you on high.