The Artist Pays The Price: Part 2

Well how hefty is the toll?

It’s been said that the artist walks the line between sanity and insanity….. and I must admit to feeling about a nudge away from the buckle vest myself at times. I used to think the one thing that could turn your world around was the onset or termination of a relationship — but this art thing…….. Well it will have you wondering which way is up, and looking for something to hang on to.

Is it crazy  to hear voices in your head? I always say, I am more of a conduit than anything else, and those voices, send me inspiration, offer direction, wake me up with ideas, and keep me up late at night with a nervous – I need to do this – energy……….. and I’m not alone:

Michael Jackson, when asked about insomnia by his tour director Kenny Ortega said:

« God channels this through me at night. I can’t sleep because I’m so super-charged.’ « Kenny said, ‘But Michael, we have to finish. Can’t God take a vacation?’ Without missing a beat, Michael said, ‘You don’t understand – if I’m not there to receive these ideas, God might give them to Prince. »

Prince MJ rivalries aside :)…….. it’s not all just muse and music.  A big part of this journey is trying to get to the place where you can actually be an « artist, » …….and that can make you crazy.   Before you can even practice for the big game, you’re shopping for uniforms, searching for teammates, and a whole bunch of other shit that seemingly has nothing to do with the sport. There are the days/weeks/months that you wonder, « should I just settle down and get the 2 kids-picket fence thing popping off before it’s too late? »  — but the Creator always sends a ray of light to give you strength to persevere.

OK… so me?  I have actually had an amazing year – not just rays of light but straight up sunburn at times.  🙂  There are times when life is truly like a harmonic chord – all things vibrating in perfect time and pitch to create something truly beautiful.  When you and your purpose are aligned it gets like that.  I pray that everyone can experience this.   There is a grand design and we all have a greater purpose — whether you embrace it or not.  I look forward to another year of trial, failure, accomplishment, frustration, discovery, and most of all happiness. —

I’d be crazy not to……  at any price.                           ….now peep this.

The Artist Pays The Price: Part 1

« The artist pays the price. »

The artist…..  pays the price…..

I stared at this phrase until I had to have answer.   I mean…. I’m an artist, what exactly am I paying for now?

My thought process is shaped from conversations I have with others, and one cat I build with on a regular, is my boy Civilian (I am not sure if I can give up his secret identity yet).   When I read his IM status, let’s just say my curiousity was piqued.

He told me it was a line from a Marvin Gaye song entitled « Life Is For Learning » on the « In Our Lifetime? » album.  At this time….. in the public square….. I am going to admit this…..  I am not really up on Marvin’s catalog(bows head in shame).    I know « What’s Going On, »  « Let’s Get It On, »  « Mercy Mercy Me, » and a handful of others….. but « Life Is For Learning » (cheeky grin), so I will study up.

The lyrics of this song are DEEP.  Imagine this, « the artist pays the price so you don’t have to » – like someone stepping into a burning building to let you know how hot it can get, and then describing being burned in painful detail – FOR YOU – so you don’t necessarily have to go there, but can have the experience:  an actor so immersed in a role,  they can’t tell where the character begins and they end.

That’s enough to make anyone crazy ain’t it?   In Part 2 I will discuss art and the toll it takes on sanity :), but for now listen to a genius.

Large Props

In just about every interview I have ever had, I have been asked how I started in this biz.  I always say that I started as a dancer and an MC. —– But I don’t think ya’ll understand —– I am a HIP-HOP HEAD. I am the cat that makes ugly faces and will break his neck when the beat is bangin’.  I am still mad tapes went away because there’s nothing like rewinding a hot line  – something about hearing it spun backwards is like being in the club with the DJ and the……  I digress.

So in order to give you further incite into my mind I have to pay homeage to songs that I love.  I will of course hit you with the regulars Tribe, Kane, etc… but I want to start with some of the unsung heros of the game.  First up  — Main Source — Fronted by my man Large Professor or Extra P.  This song is just crazy.  To this day when it comes on I lose it.  Large Professor, was not only ridiculous on the rhymes, he also produced some of my favorite joints like « Halftime, » and « It Ain’t Hard To Tell, » for Nas, as well as tons of remixes.

Men Love Mary Tribute

On this journey as independent soul artists, there are so many people that help us along the way.   It would be impossible to create the music, and at the same time single-handedly promote to everyone.  Luckily there are people that are just as passionate as we are to help spread the word.  One website in particular is Soulbounce.com.  I visit pretty much everyday and get a healthy dose of all things soul.  When they approached me to be on their Men Love Mary Tribute Album, I was amped.  Not only do I love Mary, but they involved so many heavy hitters in Indie Soul that I was honored to be included amongst them.  I am not really one to do a straight ahead cover and I was fortunate enough to have a stellar group of musicians set the backdrop.  Big up to the fellas for driving all the way from BK, cramming a drumkit into my shoebox of a studio, and putting it DOWN!  On drums Les Cleveland, bass David ‘DJ’ Ginyard, and keyboards Corey Bernhard.  Enjoy.

I encourage you to go to Soulbounce.com and download this incredible FREE ALBUM as well as check out their great coverage.  I am sure you will be hooked.  Here is my version — Happy (2BA Live Mix).

P.S. The live show just took place at S.O.B.’s in NYC.  I hope to get some video up in a minute.  There were a few surprises, but I’ll let the video speak to that.  🙂

I be blogging, that’s what I be doing…….

So here I am.  I am a technology zealot, I love gadgets and basically anything that requires a power source in order to operate……….. BUT social networking…  I have fought every step of the way. First there was myspace. I came to the party really late.  While recording the album, I felt a lot of pressure to respond to people right away, and it kind of felt like another job at times……. BUT through myspace I made a lot of fans, a lot of friends…. (real talk — a fling and a flirt, or two), and a trip to the UK to record the first and third singles on the  Reel People « Seven Ways To Wonder » Album   … Then I fought facebook. When I signed up for it, I freaked out as it scanned through my emails like a bone collector looking for skeletons in my closet.  I remember warning Miles (my manager) about how the process was like a cyber colonic or something…… BUT then I made some more fans, and some more friends and  started to actually be « social » online……..  Which brings me to the present —   twitter and blogging.

There used to be 3 stations ABC, NBC & CBS.  Somehow their programming lineup catered to a nation.   It’s funny that we now have literally 1000’s of channels and nothing is ever on.  Why is that?  Could it be that most of it is just noise?  In order to fill  a 1000 channels you can’t really take the time needed for everything to be great – you have to meet deadlines and such ( but that’s another story).   I started to worry about contributing to the noise.  I mean….. getting an update to my phone telling me that your lunch didn’t come out the other end well, just really doesn’t seem that important to me….. so I probably won’t be updating this blog like that. BUT I would love to let you into my world, and as an artist/person, let you know how I think.

So welcome to thought process.  I want this be an interactive experience because your thought process will help me grow.  So please feel free to comment.

This blog was inspired by a very special friend of mine who’s blog I always read.  I think I realized that what a blog allows you to do is listen.  There is no way to interject and interrupt the other persons thought stream and in that way you can really get a deeper understanding of who they are.