A Kick in the Ass

A Kick in the Ass

Question…

Do you ever have to arrive an hour early at your place of work to clean up and rearrange your workspace because the person who worked the shift before you not only didn’t leave it the way they found it, but made and left a mess as well??

The band has been having problems at our rehearsal spot.

Don’t get me wrong, these are first-world problems, things that in the grand scheme of life are simply a small blip on the radar screen. But they are getting in the way of our ability to rehearse an actual, public-ready performance, and it’s frustrating.

Normally, we would just roll up our sleeves and take care of these things ourselves.

However, we are sharing the spot with three other bands, all of whom keep equipment, merch, and god-knows-what other miscellaneous items stored there. One of our core values is respect, and because there’s a disorganized hodgepodge of gear, we don’t want to throw out or misplace anything that’s not ours.

The thing is, we don’t just get together every week and “jam”; we have very structured rehearsals which are set up to maximize our time together, maintain our energy levels, and result in measurable growth, week to week. After nine months of learning, honing, and rehearsing the current songs in our set, we are finally ready to begin dress rehearsals.

But we can’t do that when the bands with whom we share the rehearsal spot leave the place a mess with cables strewn about, empty beer bottles or cans all over, and gear left out instead of being stored away neatly or taken home. There’s no room to move!

I know, I’m a pussy, and “That’s rock and roll, man. If you can’t deal with it, maybe you’re in the wrong business. Stop taking music so seriously.” I’ve heard it all before.

That’s amateur talk.

We are professionals; we always leave the room as if we were never in it, and we’re tired of cleaning up after other people.

So we set up a meeting with the owner of the room.

I had never met the owner beyond a brief handshake and nice-to-meet-you; our bassist handles the arrangements with rent and scheduling and whatnot, which means I can be uninvolved (it’s wonderful).

So I had no idea what to expect when we sat down with the owner to discuss the problems we were having.

He was thrilled that we asked him to meet!

He said it was the “kick in the ass” he needed, and that he has been meaning to tie up a bunch of loose ends with the place.

First off, there’s a Google calendar each band should be using to schedule their time(s) at the spot, and it isn’t being utilized correctly. We are addressing that immediately.

Second, within the next two weeks the owner is going to get in there and remove anything and everything which either he owns, or which he knows to whom it belongs, to create more room.

Third, it turns out the band that uses the room the night before us is not only six months behind on paying rent, but uses the space more to get drunk and jam than to actually conduct a professional rehearsal. So, we agreed with the owner to talk with the other two bands about paying a little more money each month to offset the loss of kicking out these deadbeats. (This shouldn’t be a problem, since the difference is negligible when spread across three groups.)

Finally, we and the two other bands will carve out a half day to clean and reorganize the space once the deadbeats are gone, and agree to maintain it thereafter.

The squeaky wheel gets the grease, as they say!

We’re still riding the positive vibes from our quarterly meeting last Saturday, getting after the things that need to be taken care of, and the rehearsal spot was a big issue on our list. It feels good to know we’ll be crossing it off soon.

Now…who’s next for a kick in the ass??

———
Visit the archive: https://therealjohnkay.wordpress.com

Join the fan club: Become a Bullfighter

Website: https://therealjohnkay.com
Music: Spotify Artist Page
Podcast: Get After It w/ John Kay on iTunes
Twitter: @TheRealJohnKay
Instagram: @therealjohnkay
Facebook: /TheRealJohnKay

Let he who would move the world first move himself. — Socrates

Copyright © 2018 John Kay, All rights reserved.

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Rock Fans, Say Goodbye to Rock and Roll (As You Know It)

Rock Fans, Say Goodbye to Rock and Roll (As You Know It)

Sorry to break it to you…

In July 2017, Nielsen Music reported that rock relinquished its place atop the music consumption pyramid for the first time since the company began tracking data in 1991.

Of course, rock was the far and away winner in physical album sales (42.7% of the industry’s total), but that’s the same as owning a mansion built on quicksand.

The truth is, listeners are flocking to playlists, where rock has lagged behind.

Streaming is saving the music industry, and rock’s share of audio on-demand streams (18.1%) was dwarfed by hip-hop and R&B (30.3%), allowing the latter genre to take a 2.1% lead in overall consumption.

I know. YOU love rock and roll, go to the shows, support the bands, buy the CDs and vinyl and merch, etc. You’ve always been a rock fan, and that will never change. I totally understand. All good.

But…

Just because Guns ‘N Roses, Metallica, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and U2 ranked among 2017’s top global touring acts doesn’t mean that rock is still king…those bands are icons!

Plus, two of those acts are doing their version of greatest hits tours: G’N’R sold tons of tickets because Axl finally buried the hatchet with Slash and Duff, and U2 was a top-grossing act due to performing The Joshua Tree in full. That album is 30 years old! Granted, it’s an undeniable piece of work, but this was the first time ever that U2 toured in support of a back-catalogue release in their 40-year career.

“It’s not that rock’s popularity has necessarily waned, but it’s had growing pains as consumption shifted from an owned, album-based economy to an access- or tracks-based economy,” says Dylan Lewis, head of digital sales for Glassnote Records. “If [rock] mirrors the trajectory that hip-hop has had, we see this major growth opportunity. If hip-hop can do it, other genres can.”

…growing pains…

That reminds me of a transcript I read of an interview with Wes Borland, the face-painting breakout talent and guitarist of the ubiquitous late-1990s alternative band Limp Bizkit, who shared his take on the state of music industry and the dominance of streaming, telling Metal Sucks:

“I’m not a big supporter of Spotify. …I’m having a really hard time accepting just songs by themselves. …Of course, I’m a dinosaur and I’m 42…I’m gonna like records. …The record was made to be listened to as…one cohesive thought. Maybe not so much in the ’80s, but I kinda feel like we’re back in the ’80s in some way. People are just like ‘Single, single, single…’ My records are made with songs butt up against each other and have no change. …But on Spotify that doesn’t work…on Spotify you listen to one of my songs and it ends in a weird way because I refuse to write singles, I refuse to write in that format. I’m having trouble accepting Spotify and that way of listening. I’m set for extinction in the next however long. And teenagers don’t think that way, and neither do 20-somethings. They’re into streaming. Like any generation being overtaken by another generation, it’s hard to accept the way that they do things. And music for them has always been free. It’s just a devaluing of music.”

I’m having a really hard time accepting…I’m a dinosaur and I’m 42…I refuse to…I refuse to…I’m having trouble accepting…I’m set for extinction in the next however long…it’s hard to accept…’

First of all, a dinosaur at 42?? Leonard Cohen’s “You Want It Darker” is Grammy-nominated for Best Rock Performance this year, and it was released when he was 82!

Furthermore, Wes must only be considering the heyday of The Album in the 1960s and 1970s, because it’s always been a singles world, even since long before recorded music, when humans would sing around the piano in the parlor, or beat logs and grunt to the rhythm.

Great songs spread organically, and most great songs can be performed with one individual and an instrument (sometimes, the instrument isn’t even necessary)—songs are what people sing, not albums; the guy who plays an entire album on the jukebox is a jerk.

One thing you can count on, the younger generation will always defy the conventions of the older generation—Wes Borland, like many artists who experienced a high level of success early in their career, is complaining that his cheese has been moved.

Understand: the public is never wrong.

Tastes and preferences change with the times, always have, always will. So do great artists. If what you create isn’t resonating, there are reasons, and more often than not, most of the reasons have to do with the work itself. The aware artist seeks to root out those reasons and adapt accordingly, not place the blame on external circumstances or fluidity in taste or preferences.

And to that point, Austin Daboh, senior editor at Spotify UK, believes the current generation of artists are completely aware of what Spotify can do for them.

Daboh says, “Historically, artists…couldn’t just say, ‘Here’s a great song…can you play it please?’ More often than not the answer was no. So artists had to hustle.”

Hustle!

Hustle is not simply working hard and keeping your nose to the grindstone. More than that, it’s being aware of what’s happening on the streets, how it relates to and informs the collective cultural consciousness at large, and adapting and innovating within your chosen vocation’s industry based on your findings, changing the game from the inside out, all while retaining your authenticity.

So…if Wes Borland records an album and no one is around to stream it, does it make a sound?

He doesn’t seem to think so.

“I feel like the musician is gonna become like a trade of the past, like court jesters and coal miners, something that’s just not necessary anymore. I think people will do it as a hobby,” Borland concludes. “The whole musical middle class will be completely obliterated to where you’re either Rhianna or you’re one of the multitudes of any band trying to get time off your jobs so you can go play [big festivals]. And there’s gonna be no one to replace any of the headliners. Once Metallica is done, who’s gonna replace Metallica at European festivals? There’s no one. No band is big enough. …Bands nowadays into the past decade have not been able to have the opportunity to become legends. Because they don’t have the support, because music has been devalued.”

Is that the way it really is, though??

“…In the last year, I’ve noticed a change in artists gravitating towards Spotify, understanding their numbers,” Daboh continued. He believes Spotify gives, “a level of data that no other service gives, to let [artists] know how to better themselves on the service…[our] artist relations [department has] done an amazing outreach job…showing [artists] how this thing works.”

Amen! I’ve been in contact with artist relations at Spotify, and not only do they respond quickly, they are eager to help.

However, Daboh admits that Spotify still has work to do in this area. “There are [artists] we haven’t felt love from because they haven’t quite been educated about what Spotify can bring to their ecosystem. [But]…to the emerging ones making music in their bedrooms and garages…the message is coming across loud and clear that Spotify is here to support you and give you global levels of exposure. What we’re bringing to the game is a level of democracy, if your music is good and we believe there’s an audience for your record, we’re not scared to add you to our biggest playlist.”

The thing is, the future doesn’t care about old dead rock and roll legends. The great ones still get propped up out of respect because they once created something that spoke to the zeitgeist of the times and penetrated the mass consciousness.

But when their new stuff doesn’t cut the mustard, they either attempt to channel the vibrations of their past and make new music in the vein of their old catalogue, or they simply perform the old catalogue…

Because they are afraid of alienating or losing their old fans—their base—and they refuse to believe they can somehow adapt to the times and garner a newer or younger audience without sacrificing their authenticity.

Bottom line: They’re afraid of becoming irrelevant.

Kind of like that old-time rock and roll.

“We’re back to the ‘50s now, where the focus is on songs rather than albums,” Bono said in a recent Rolling Stone interview. “U2 make albums, so how do we survive? By making the songs better. And having, I hope, the humility to accept that we need to rediscover songwriting.”

Let’s face it, the rock and roll you have come to know, love, and live with for the past half century is dead—your music, and the way you prefer it to be distributed and consumed, is not at the top of the food chain any longer, and it’s time to accept it.

But somebody’s gonna bring rock into the future, by adapting, innovating, challenging norms.

And it’s gonna happen sooner than you think.

Hide and watch, kids.

P.S. Because it seems appropriate, click here to listen to my song “Say Goodbye 2 Rock and Roll”: https://open.spotify.com/track/485qXOrmjCejqoifQs1qTr

P.P.S. Guess what?? Wes Borland released a new album with his Big Dumb Face project on October 31. …You can stream it via Spotify.

Wes Borland: Professional Musician is Becoming a Trade of the Past, Soon People Will Only Do It as Hobby: https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/news/general_music_news/wes_borland_professional_musician_is_becoming_a_trade_of_the_past_soon_people_will_only_do_it_as_hobby.html

For the first time ever, hip-hop is officially bigger than rock: http://www.nme.com/news/music/hip-hop-most-consumed-music-genre-bigger-than-rock-nielsen-2017-year-end-report-2205720

Austin Daboh on Spotify’s role in the UK rap scene: http://www.musicweek.com/digital/read/we-re-not-scared-to-add-artists-to-our-biggest-playlists-austin-daboh-on-spotify-s-role-in-the-uk-rap-scene/070839

After Losing Ground In the Streaming Era, Rock Charts Its Comeback: https://www.billboard.com/articles/business/8070586/rock-roll-streaming-music-business-comeback

———
Visit the archive: https://therealjohnkay.wordpress.com

Join the fan club: Become a Bullfighter

Website: https://therealjohnkay.com
Music: Spotify Artist Page
Podcast: Get After It w/ John Kay on iTunes
Twitter: @TheRealJohnKay
Instagram: @therealjohnkay
Facebook: /TheRealJohnKay

Let he who would move the world first move himself. — Socrates

Copyright © 2018 John Kay, All rights reserved.

The Right Stuff: First Who, Then What

The Right Stuff: First Who, Then What

I’m very excited and I want to share it with everyone! 🙂

This past Saturday was our band’s fourth quarterly meeting, and we all agree it was the best one we’ve had yet.

Every 90 days, the band meets for a full day to make sure we’re all still on the same page in regard to our vision, review the progress we made (or didn’t make) toward our goals in the previous quarter, discuss and solve our key issues, decide and assign what needs to be done in the upcoming quarter to move us closer to reaching our goals, and reward and recognize each other for adhering to our core values as a group.

When we conclude, everyone rates the meeting on a scale from 1-10. The goal is to have every meeting be a “level 10” meeting, and no meeting below an 8 (Saturday’s average was a 9).

Prior to the meeting, we had a short rehearsal to run through our entire set of songs. We’ve been working hard on the tunes, getting them dialed in, everyone practicing on their own time, rehearsing and honing for almost a year now, and Saturday we had our first guest attendee, one of the Bullfighters.

After we finished the last song, I asked him, “So, if we did what we just did in front of a room full of strangers who paid money to experience it, do you believe they would feel that they got their money’s worth?”

“And more. Definitely.” He continued, “I’m kind of blown away right now, actually. I didn’t know what to expect, and you guys really have something. There’s a magic. It’s obvious you’ve got the right people on board.”

The right people!

Our guitarist, Brandon, echoed that sentiment in our meeting when we went around the room asking each person what they believe is working in the band: “I think our relationship as a band and with each other is obviously working.”

Until this group, in every band I’ve been in or a part of, the members were chosen based on talent, proximity, and availability (and not always in that order).

This time around, I looked at myself first, examining my own strengths and weaknesses, paring them down to the seven core values I hold as a human being which subconsciously—now, consciously—guide my decision-making and performance in all areas of my life.

Experience has taught me the hard way that no matter how talented someone may be, how close they live to where we rehearse, or how open their schedule is…if they don’t share my band’s core values, they can’t be in my band, and I shouldn’t join theirs. Hindsight is 20/20, as they say.

Understand: first who, then what—I originally read this principle in Good to Great by Jim Collins, and it is echoed in Traction by Gino Wickman.

“First who, then what” is about getting the right people on the bus based on shared values, and put in the right seats based on their unique abilities—the ideal is to have 100% of people who want to get on the bus say “I don’t know where this bus is going, but I trust the driver and the other people on this bus enough to get on and help get us where we all want to go, together.”

But you’ve gotta have the right stuff to get on the bus.

The people with the right stuff share our band’s core values. They fit and thrive in our band’s culture. They are people we enjoy being around and who make our band a better one to be in.

And each of our members is operating within his or her area of greatest skill and passion inside our band, and the roles and responsibilities expected of each team member fit with his or her unique ability. (Everyone has a unique ability. The trick is to discover yours.)

Because we all share values and operate within our strengths, we experience never-ending improvement, feel energized rather than drained, and, most of all, we have a passion for what we’re doing that presses us to go further than others would in our areas.

Our job is to hire, fire, review, reward, and recognize all of our people around core values and unique abilities. That’s the way to build a band with all of the right people in the right seats.

By creating an awareness of our core values through our quarterly state-of-the-band meetings, performance reviews, and a three-strike rule, the people that don’t fit won’t last until the third strike. Some don’t even last until the first. Instead, they leave on their own, because they know they don’t fit. What this process does is smoke them out—there is simply no place for them to hide (in fact, we’ve already had a few casualties).

No matter what line of work we’re in, life is much easier for everyone when we have people around us who genuinely get it, want it, and have the capacity to do it.

I can’t wait for everyone to experience the incredible results that come from harnessing all of our band’s combined talents.

Shows will be announced soon.

The best is yet to come in 2018! 😀

P.S. Our band is looking to expand within the next 90 days! We are currently seeking two female members to perform backup vocals along with some simple percussion; tambourine, shaker, bells, etc. If you live in the southeast Michigan area (or know someone who does), have a quality voice, and share our seven core values—sacrifice, measurable growth, accountability, reputation for excellence, time, energy, and respect—please feel free to reach out to me at bgvox [at] therealjohnkay [dot] com to schedule an interview.

P.P.S. If you’re putting a band together—or any business, for that matter—keep two important points in mind (from Traction):

  1. Be careful what you wish for, because you’ll get it. If you want to grow, you have to understand that not everyone is going to be able to keep up and remain in the same seat forever.
  2. Keeping people around just because you like them is destructive. You do a disservice to your organization, to everyone in it, and to the person. People must add value. This may sound cold, but to the degree people are in the right seats, everyone is happier, especially them.

———
Visit the archive: https://therealjohnkay.wordpress.com

Join the fan club: Become a Bullfighter

Website: https://therealjohnkay.com
Music: Spotify Artist Page
Podcast: Get After It w/ John Kay on iTunes
Twitter: @TheRealJohnKay
Instagram: @therealjohnkay
Facebook: /TheRealJohnKay

Let he who would move the world first move himself. — Socrates

Copyright © 2018 John Kay, All rights reserved.

Feedback

Feedback

Two years ago today, I woke up sick as a dog to an email from someone with whom I had shared my unmastered-at-the-time album for feedback…

“I’ll be honest with you: I didn’t like your solo material and I believe it has nothing to do with me being narrow-minded…what I hear is a professionally recorded and produced material without soul. please don’t get me wrong…but I got the impression that you wanted to please everyone…the sound is right, the words are right, but the magic is just not happening…one expression comes to my mind: comfort zone

“hope you don’t get this wrong! (and who am I to judge anyway?) talk later, take care…”

Did I think they were wrong? Absolutely not. I tell people all the time, “Music is like wine—if you like it, it’s good.” Some people don’t prefer my variety of wine, and that’s cool.

I thanked that person for their constructive feedback, and my gratefulness was genuine—at that point, they were literally the only person who had told me that they didn’t like any of the songs on my album out of the nearly 300 people with whom I had been corresponding over the previous two months.

It was refreshing to get a negative response!

My debut solo album was a (selfish, I suppose) focused attempt to display a sense of my range; I have many different musical influences, and I don’t like to confine myself to any one style or genre.

Since releasing that album—recorded in late 2012 and early 2013—I have delved into different writing and recording and mixing and production approaches, and have “found” my voice, especially in the last nine months rehearsing with the new band.

Do I want to please everyone?? YES! But that’s idealistic, unrealistic. I accept that my work isn’t going to resonate with everyone, and I’m not afraid to take chances.

The simple truth about my music is…whatever it is to you, it is to YOU. Music is a deeply emotional art, and the listener-song connection is special (or not).

My music to me is personal expression, first and foremost. It’s the way I say the tough things that I believe need to be said, whether to or for myself and others. It’s also how I challenge myself—I’ve written many songs throughout my lifetime, and I never want to repeat an idea (unless it’s intentional).

And because my music is so personal, and I want it to resonate with as many people as possible, I have a tendency to overanalyze and second-guess myself.

But 2018 is to be a year of action.

I’ve realized that I spend a lot of time brainstorming ideas and writing new songs, entering the beginning stages of production, and yet fail to bring them to completion because I’m trying to make them as close to perfect as possible before I share them with the Bullfighters for their feedback—I’m embarrassed of the apparent (to me or others) flaws in my work; the raw, unfinished sound of a song in progress. The emotional impact simply isn’t there in a demo, that’s why it’s a demo.

I know first impressions count for a lot, but my desire for near-perfection has become counter-productive.

To break this habit, I am banishing my fear of pushing my creative babies out of the nest before they’re fully ready to fly, delivering demos to Bullfighters earlier than usual. In demos, you hear more dry recordings instead of polished productions, perhaps some off-key singing here and there, lyrics or parts which may not end up making the final cut, etc.—bottom line: they’re not ready. (This is way more nerve-wracking for me than when I was concerned with releasing my unmastered album back in 2015, at least those songs were completely recorded and mixed.)

I have also defined separate processes which focus on delivering new songs, blogs, and podcasts on a regular basis—time will be set aside each week to write/record/mix songs, write and publish new blogs, and record and release new podcast episodes.

In the coming weeks, I’ll be sending the Bullfighters demos of new songs for their personal feedback, which is important to me in helping decide which tunes to fully produce and rehearse and perform live. More blogs and podcast episodes will be coming soon, too (including a new weekly installment of mini episodes, about which I’m excited).

So, long story short…expect more from me than before, and if you dig what you’re hearing and reading, feel free to let me know.

If you don’t dig what I’m doing, feel free to let me know that, too. I can handle the truth.

Feedback is the breakfast of champions.

———
Visit the archive: https://therealjohnkay.wordpress.com

Website: https://therealjohnkay.com
Music: Spotify Artist Page
Podcast: Get After It w/ John Kay on iTunes
Twitter: @TheRealJohnKay
Instagram: @therealjohnkay
Facebook: /TheRealJohnKay

Let he who would move the world first move himself. — Socrates

Copyright © 2018 John Kay, All rights reserved.

I’m Breaking Up with You

I’m Breaking Up with You

I can’t do this anymore.

We’ve been together for years, and I have loved you more than you could ever comprehend.

But I now realize that our relationship has been toxic from the get-go, and I don’t see any signs of it changing anytime soon.

You have a dark side which cannot be ignored, and it’s time I call you out on it…

First of all, you’re insidious. You may distract me (and countless others) with your sweet exterior, but at your core you are poison.

Second, I find myself strangely addicted to you, like a drug. Just thinking about you makes my endorphins go wild. And like a drug, once I’ve had a taste of you, I can’t get enough, I need more and more. I lose self-control. It’s unhealthy, to say the least.

Third, even though I try to stay away, you are almost unavoidable. You seem to be everywhere I go, whether it’s my parents’ house, a grocery store, a gas station, even at my therapist’s office.

Bottom line: you are a Siren. You call to me with promises of joy and happiness, and in the end you deliver nothing but sabotage and pain.

But no more.

This letter is my way of tying myself to the masthead, to hear your call and be able to ignore it, to sail on. Because every single time I come back to you, even if it’s just one day, you let me down.

I want everyone to know your true nature so that when they see me with you, they’ll knock me back to my senses. They’ll speak up, knowing that by being with you I am doing myself actual harm, not just psychological harm, but emotional harm and (especially) physical harm, too.

The real problem here is that you’re always going to be a part of my life, and I don’t foresee anything that will change that fact. At Thanksgiving and Christmas, you’ll be there. At birthday parties, you’ll be there. At family reunions, friendly get-togethers, and more, you’ll be there. Even if I don’t want you there, someone is going to bring you around. It never fails.

You’ve got a lot of fans, to be sure, and there’s no way they are going to shut you out just because of the way I feel about you; they love you, and they don’t see you the way I do, because to do so would require such a radical shift in their lives that it would be too painful to change, even though you are already causing them untold pain and suffering, a certain amount of which they are aware.

But no matter how anyone else feels about you, it’s time for you and I to break up.

Because I’m done hating myself for spending time with you. I’m done feeling like a piece of garbage they day after we are together, with no motivation to do anything other than be with you even more. I’m done looking at myself in the mirror and seeing the effect that being with you has had on my body, even if it’s just for a weekend. I’m done with the emotional and psychological roller coaster ride you take me on when I try to deny myself of you.

Most of all, I’m done trying to blame you for my problems, because at the heart of it, it’s my fault for allowing you to get the best of me. I’m the one to blame.

So, it’s become obvious to me that the only way this is going to work is if I stay as far away from you as possible, and let the world know I don’t want to be with you any longer.

Well, here it goes…

As of January 1, 2018, I officially renounce sugar in all of its processed forms, including, but not limited to: refined white sugar, high fructose corn syrup, monosodium glutamate, anhydrous dextrose, brown sugar, corn syrup, cane crystals, cane sugar, corn sweetener, corn syrup solids, crystal dextrose, evaporated cane juice, fructose sweetener, fruit juice concentrates, malt syrup, lactose, maltose, carbitol, galactose, maltodextrin, and any other name the lab techs come up with to try to trick us into thinking something isn’t sugar, when it is.

We’ve had some good times, sugar, but it’s over.

Consider us broken up.

“Sugar’s ‘Tipping Point’ Link to Alzheimer’s Revealed”: http://neurosciencenews.com/alzheimers-glucose-neurology-6151/

“Sugar in the diet may increase risks of opioid addiction”: https://theconversation.com/sugar-in-the-diet-may-increase-risks-of-opioid-addiction-85313

“Sugar Rots Your Brain”: https://www.technologynetworks.com/neuroscience/news/sugar-rots-your-brain-285482

———
Visit the archive: https://therealjohnkay.wordpress.com

Website: https://therealjohnkay.com
Music: Spotify Artist Page
Podcast: Get After It w/ John Kay on iTunes
Twitter: @TheRealJohnKay
Instagram: @therealjohnkay
Facebook: /TheRealJohnKay

Let he who would move the world first move himself. — Socrates

Copyright © 2017 John Kay, All rights reserved.

Don’t Mess With My Routine—What’s Yours?

Don’t Mess With My Routine—What’s Yours?

Let he who would move the world first move himself. — Socrates

In studying history, there are numerous examples of, and testimonies from, successful people who, in addition to waking at the same time each day, adhere to a consistent morning routine which works for their lifestyle.

And if one truly values time, they allow room to maneuver, because life can be unpredictable.

What I do…

  1. Wake at 7:00
  2. Start working at 7:30
  3. Coffee at 8:00
  4. Jump rope and exercise from 10:00-noon
  5. Work from noon-7:00 or 8:00
  6. Dinner at 7:00 or 8:00
  7. Read or socialize from 8:00-10:00
  8. Wind down from 10:00-midnight
  9. Sleep for a minimum of seven hours

Every. Single. Day.

No matter what.

Yeah, it looks boring on paper. But within rules…there is freedom!

For starters, I use the word “work” to mean “acting with intention.”

This means some weeks I do work seven days, but I generally work five so I can spend more time with loved ones and friends, or simply recharge my batteries. It all depends on what is happening in my relational world, what needs to get done from a traction perspective professionally, and my energy levels as a result of honoring those two.

But my morning routine doesn’t change. For a few reasons…

By sitting down to work first thing in the day, I tap into the creative energy provided by the Muse of my subconscious, which was just fully engaged for seven hours (I dream nightly). As a result, I usually produce my best work in the morning.

While I generally drink my blended coffee instead of eating breakfast—intermittent fasting promotes a better metabolism—a couple days a week I’ll switch it up and have a full breakfast of bacon and eggs with spinach, onions, and avocado.

Jumping rope for 20-25 minutes every day is my “keystone habit,” the one thing I do daily. It ensures I get my physical activity in for the day, and I find it meditative—by the time I’m jumping rope, I’ve used my brain creatively for at least two hours; my jump rope time is my opportunity to empty my mind.

Finally, when it comes to exercise, my workouts are varied: Sundays and Wednesdays are the same—a combination kettlebell and push-up workout—but I exercise different muscle groups on Mondays and Fridays. After jumping rope on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, I train in Wing Chun Do, and each class is unique, focusing on different techniques and applications. Because of this varied schedule, I don’t get bored with my exercise program.

Everything I do beyond noon each day either involves being creative or honoring my relationships, and I do my best to maintain a healthy balance of both.

Bottom line: I don’t prioritize my schedule. I schedule my priorities.

This is not my idea. This comes straight from Stephen Covey’s bestseller, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. He calls it “putting first things first.”

So I recommend that if you don’t already, put first things first: make a list of your top priorities at the beginning of each week, schedule them accordingly, and commit.

Making and adhering to a schedule doesn’t mean a person is rigid. It means they value their time and the time of those whom they care about.

Understand: You are the architect of your life.

Don’t let anyone mess with your routine.

You are the programmer.

Write the program.

Run the program.

You’ve got this.

Get after it.

Today.

Now.

Go!

😀

P.S. Everybody’s got one, so what is your routine? Tell me at blog [at] therealjohnkay [dot] com.

P.P.S. “Don’t Mess With My Routine” on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/track/275TkDZqnuF1GtxjdNHubm

———
Visit the archive: https://therealjohnkay.wordpress.com

Website: https://therealjohnkay.com
Music: Spotify Artist Page
Podcast: Get After It w/ John Kay on iTunes
Twitter: @TheRealJohnKay
Instagram: @therealjohnkay
Facebook: /TheRealJohnKay

Let he who would move the world first move himself. — Socrates

Copyright © 2017 John Kay, All rights reserved.

Art is Going to Save Us: My First House Show Tour Recap

Art is Going to Save Us: My First House Show Tour Recap

Shared experiences; they are what life is really about.

I spent the past weekend with two of my band members performing house shows in Portland, Maine; Scranton, Pennsylvania; and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

The purpose of our short tour was to test the waters and see if this whole house show thing is something that people would enjoy, to find out whether performing a stripped-down, stories-behind-the-songs collection of my music would resonate the way my full productions do. (Spoiler alert: it did!)

But it was also to get back to a grassroots way of meeting people, making new friends, and connecting one-on-one with individuals.

The response was more than we could have asked for.

We learned quite a lot on our trip, and one of the things we learned is that people are yearning for a personal connection with their favorite artists.

In a time when the internet affords artists the opportunity to connect one-on-one with the fans of their work, we normally only hear from our favorite artists when they have something they want us to buy. And even then, that’s usually every two or three years when their new album comes out.

Albums. That’s another thing…

The album format has been exploded.

I recorded a podcast while in Portland at Gateway Mastering Studios with renowned mastering engineer Adam Ayan (Shakira, Luis Fonsi, Carrie Underwood, Queen, et al.), and he told me that he is mastering more singles and EPs than ever before, with albums sprinkled in here and there.

So, if you’re making an album, and you’re not being forced to do so because you’re signed to a record label, why are you doing it??

Unless you’re making an album of metal music—which studies show have the hands-down most loyal fanbase, a fanbase which still buys CDs and generally avoids streaming, clinging to the past—you’re swimming against the tide.

But I digress. Back to the matter at hand: connection.

In Portland, two of our Bullfighters (fan club members) are people who travel all over the country to see their favorite artists. They’ve been to countless shows and seen some of the most talented musicians perform in large and small venues. They told us they’d never experienced such an up-close-and-personal performance before, and they loved it.

The sentiment was shared by our new Portland friends, who took us out to dinner before the show. They enjoy treating bands (and their entire crew) to meals when they come through Portland, because they understand the struggle and the sacrifices being made to travel and get after a career in music. They, too, were blown away by the intimacy of the show, and said they had never been a part of something like that.

In Scranton, we visited with my good friend Phil, who is the program director at Alt 92.1 FM. He showed us around the station—which includes a 200-capacity theater with a 1932 Steinway grand piano. He said he is going to begin spinning my music on the radio, and will work with us to help put together an event when we return to the Scranton area.

And in Pittsburgh, as I was walking the streets, talking with locals and handing out flyers before our performance, I received many compliments and kudos on our “guerrilla marketing,” and that “your passion looks good on you; never stop doing what you’re doing.”

The people we connected with on this tour are incredibly supportive of our journey, and were kind enough to treat us to meals and allow us to stay the night in their homes.

We must have made a good impression, because they can’t wait for us to return so they can bring their family and friends and share the experience.

Which brings me to this article on the generosity of fans of music, and art in general:

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/08/170803091933.htm

That’s right, folks. Art is going to save us!

But it’s not going to come from Taylor Swift, or Drake, or Bieber, or Luke Bryan, or Future, or Adele, or Max Martin, or Migos, or Shellback, or Dr. Luke, or Mark Ronson, or any of the other major players in today’s music game.

No, it’s going to come from THE PEOPLE, those fans of talented artists and the work they produce!

Need proof? Here it is, straight from Spotify…

John Stein, an editor focused on indie, alternative, and electronic music for some of Spotify’s biggest mood playlists explained to The Verge that there’s a difference between a live hit and a Spotify hit.

From The Verge article: “[Stein] likes to find out what songs people are singing along to in the real world. ‘That’s something we don’t see in the data,’ he says. ‘They’re not always the catchy ones. They’re surprises. And over time, people come back to those more.’ He says he likes music that has substance, which you ‘can’t fake,’ not just perfectly crafted pop songs with the chorus at the front. ‘You can’t build real fans by following such a formula in that way.’”

Amen.

Follow me on Spotify here: https://open.spotify.com/artist/7Lx9QDuqrvKCyr1jr1Q324

There is no art in a factory; not even in an art factory. — Eric “Mixerman” Sarafin

P.S. The researchers concluded that one implication of their findings for policy-makers is the potential for “substantial social and economic gains” from investing in the arts. They argue that these may be achieved “effectively by policies or investments that make the arts more widely available and ensure that access is not restricted only to the wealthy.” … Arts Council England’s Director of Communication and Public Policy, Mags Patten, said: “This paper makes a significant contribution to growing evidence of a causal link between taking part in the arts, individual wellbeing, and the strength of communities. This valuable piece of research will be important reading for those already studying in this vital area, and it should encourage new studies of the social impact of the arts.”

P.P.S. Become a Bullfighter today, and my band and I will perform in your area within a calendar year of your enrollment, guaranteed, or your money back. 😀

———
Visit the archive: https://therealjohnkay.wordpress.com

Website: https://therealjohnkay.com
Music: Spotify Artist Page
Podcast: Get After It w/ John Kay on iTunes
Twitter: @TheRealJohnKay
Instagram: @therealjohnkay
Facebook: /TheRealJohnKay

Let he who would move the world first move himself. — Socrates

Copyright © 2017 John Kay, All rights reserved.