Many moons ago I decided that I wanted to take the road less traveled and provide an outlet for unsigned and forgotten artists. I created ClubbinTV and spent every dollar I had, borrowed dollars from family and friends, sought out investors, won over sponsors and launched the managed bar, live performance engagement marketing events geared toward the Tastemakers.
20 years later ClubbinTV is still not a household name, the sweat equity and debt makes it hard to even wake up, and the road less traveled approach tries to smother you daily. I could have taken the plush radio job out of college, played the same 10 songs on the radio, had my body tattooed with malt liquor logos and cigarette brands for sponsorship and had a mansion and a yacht. I could have achieved it all without caring about the impact the words, Bitches and Hoes, or the effect scantily clad women dancing on stripper poles in music videos would have on our children and our society.
Sometimes I regret driving an old Toyota Camry that just got towed for no brakes. Sometimes I think about what if I choose the baby momma route and not marrying the woman of my dreams just to party like a rock star every night. Sometimes I think about the sold out events I could have had by bringing “Lil This”, or “40 That” just to have the sponsors paying tens of millions of dollars in stead of tens of dollars for each event.
These days I think about if I had chosen the, “I’m bussing caps”, brand of music over, “Let’s clean up our community” type music would I have had the cash for my mother to have the proper surgery and coverage for the Stage 3 cancer that is killing her blood cells, affecting her mental reasoning capabilities and turning the strongest women I have ever known to rely on pills, treatments, and radiations that are probably the cause of more harm to her body than good.
Yet and still I am proud of the choices I have made. In the end the reward on society, my soul, and my children will be the passing grade on what did I do with the dash between the beginning and ending dates on my headstone.
But I am only a vessel to which independent music can reach the masses of consumers through the digital mediums that I have been blessed to set up with the Tastemaker Television Network platform. The independent artist provides the actual content that I blast out daily to consumers like you reading this blog.
There are so many artists that have helped me in my understanding of what real music is. Furthermore there are so many bands that have helped me in understanding what notes match vocals and how important keeping the music in the pocket allows for the greatest live music experience.
First and foremost I would like to thank the Soul People Band. Through our ups and downs it was you that taught me that live music was a better route to present my brand to the consumers instead of the artists performing to track. You also taught me what it meant for artists and band members to stay in their lane. I am still learning hard lessons about how to manage both but let’s just say, “LESSONED LEARNED”.
Thanks Cuz, Nick, Sean, and Terrence. Never again!
Life for the unsigned artist is a daily desert of keeping your music fresh, your equipment packed and being ready for anything from performing in front of a one person audience, to having Prince show up unannounced at your set. In either case you have to be ready.
Shout out to unsigned and independent artists like Big Brooklyn Red, Leaf, Setra, Amp Fiddler, Andy Roda, Aya, Darien Brockington, Dudley Perkins, Georgia Anne Muldrow, Goapele, DJ Hi-Tek, Little Brother, Lizz Fields, Yahzarah, Lyfe Jennings, Me’Shell Ndegeocello, PPP, Ras Kass, Rashid Hadee, Remy Shand, Res, SB, Slum Village, JV, Tortured Soul, Tressa Thomas, Madlib.
Also music would not be music without these major signed artists that are keeping their duty to consumers like Common, Anthony Hamilton, Bilal, Brandy, Busta Rhymes, Carl Thomas, D’Angelo, Dave Hollister, De La Soul, Diana Krall, Diddy, Dido, DJ Quik, Donnell Jones, Dwele, Dwayne Wiggins, Raphel Saadiq, Maxwell, Rashsaan Patterson, Eminem, Rakim, Erick Sermon, Eryka Badu, Esperanza Spalding, Estelle, Evanescence, The Foreign Exchange, all of the Wu-Tang, Harry Connick Jr.,Ice Cube, Jadakiss, Jaheim, Jamie Foxx, Jamiroquai, Jay-Z, Kanye West, R Kelly, Jon B, John Forte, Joy Denalane, Justin Timberlake, K-OS, K’Jon, Kid Cudi, Keith Murray, KRS-One, Lauryn Hill, LL Cool J, Mariah Carey, Mary J. Blige, MC Lyte, Mint Condition, Mr. Cheeks, Yasin Bey, Musiq, Nas, Pete Rock, Peven Everett, Prince, Public Enemy, Q-Tip, Tribe Called Quest, Raheem Devaughn, The Roots, Snoop Dogg, Stevie Wonder, Talib Kweli, T.I., Usher, Big Daddy Kane, Cee-Lo,
Finally I think about what my 15, 13 and 4 year old kids would think of their Dad if he did the things in the songs that he tells them not to do. I am not perfect. I have done several things I am not proud of. But one of the things that I am proud of is backing and continuing to back the aforementioned musicians who are in this for the art form and not the money.
Remember, all that glitters is not gold.
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Tags: all of the Wu-Tang, Amp Fiddler, Andy Roda, Anthony Hamilton, Aya, Big Brooklyn Red, Big Daddy Kane, Bilal, Brandy, Busta Rhymes, Carl Thomas, Cee-Lo, Common, Darien Brockington, Dave Hollister, De La Soul, Diana Krall, Diddy, Dido, DJ Hi-Tek, DJ QUIK, Donnell Jones, Dudley Perkins, Dwayne Wiggins, Dwele, D’Angelo, Eminem, Erick Sermon, Eryka Badu, Esperanza Spalding, Estelle, Evanescence, Georgia Anne Muldrow, Goapele, Harry Connick Jr., Ice Cube, Jadakiss, Jaheim, Jamie Foxx, Jamiroquai, Jay-Z, John Forte, Jon B, Joy Denalane, Justin Timberlake, JV, K-OS, Kanye West, Keith Murray, Kid Cudi, KRS-ONE, K’Jon, Lauryn Hill, Leaf, Little Brother, Lizz Fields, LL COOL J, Lyfe Jennings, Madlib., Mariah Carey, Mary J. Blige, Maxwell, MC Lyte, Me’Shell Ndegeocello, Mint Condition, Mr Cheeks, Musiq, Nas, Pete Rock, Peven Everett, PPP, Prince, Public Enemy, Q-Tip, r kelly, Raheem Devaughn, Rakim, Raphel Saadiq, Ras Kass, Rashid Hadee, Rashsaan Patterson, Remy Shand, Res, SB, Setra, Slum Village, Snoop Dogg, Stevie Wonder., T.I., Talib Kweli, The Foreign Exchange, The Roots, Tortured Soul, Tressa Thomas, Tribe Called Quest, Usher, Yahzarah, Yasin Bey