deviantart.com

Creativity. The very heart and soul of an artist generally lays in the creativity that they possess. The creativity is a very fragile and delicate characteristic of an artist. Creativity can be influenced by many exterior and interior happenings or surroundings of an artist and it should be handled with great care.
Being a songwriter I understand and respect the creative process and all that it entails. For many artists the creative process is not only their God-given gift but it is also their most cherished attribute. For the professional artist, their creative process is their lifeline and meal ticket to success.

limkokwing.net
I would say that most artists derive a lot of their work from personal and life experiences. Every artist has a very personal attachment to his or her work, to some extent. Whether they are a painter, a poet, a musician, a songwriter, or an actor, and all that fall into the category of being an artist, they are all able to pull this gift together and display it proudly as if the work has the equivalency of a child of theirs. This also is often the reason why many artist may have a tough time parting from their work, in cases where this may be the instance. It is without a doubt that artists relate to their works in some form or fashion, and that their everyday lives play a big part in shaping their masterpieces.

fuzz2buzz.com
It is interesting to watch the chronological evolution of an artist’s work. If you take notice to the timeline and evolution of an artist throughout their career it may very well be parallel to the happenings of that artist’s life. The songs that I write usually have an underline meaning or relation to something that I have been through or experienced. As I have grown, so have my songs. They have grown in mind, body, and spirit alike. They can almost tell the listener the story of my life. Having taken heed to the development of my writing skills is also something that I am proud of. Comparatively the songs that I wrote in my younger years are not as mature as some of my songs today. I have been through more life experiences and naturally write from a more mature perspective.
So as an artist, it is imperative to become aware of the growth of your craft and continuously be honing your skill. You should be able to look back and tell a story of your life with examples of your work. 

ideachampions.com

Check out this great article:


This week for me personally has been interesting and exciting. As an artist myself, I realize and have taken heed to the shift of the music industry from the standpoint of my development as an artist. There is much more of an independence needed in today’s music business, not too many artists and groups rely on major labels to launch them into a career of success anymore. Artists can essentially become successful almost entirely on their own, and not be held captive to the binding contracts that major labels have artists sign their lives away to. The amount of information available, along with opportunities to a budding artist like myself now a days are almost endless. With help from websites like YouTube, CDbaby, Sonicbids, Pledge Music, Jango airplay, Headliner.fm, Disc Makers and Zazzle, an independent or “Indie” artist can in essence run their entire music career on their own or with the help of a small self-created team.

There are so many different websites out there today that are in favor of the indie artist, the world-wide web is the new “must have” tool for an artist to have a shot at a successful music career.  These websites range in focus, but are all a very beneficial to indie artists and their careers. An artist cannot only get exposure and establish a fan base following online, but music can be sold, and distributed through these online sources, you can find gigs to perform at, get radio airplay on the web, find funding to help your act, and even sell and distribute merchandise of your respective brand. Business that was once handled by the major “Momma” record labels can now be done BY YOURSELF!

I have been doing a few things myself to help get some exposure to my act recently, and so far things are going in a positive direction. What these sites help do is give you a name. It would be wise for any developing artists and acts to certainly take advantage of the tools now available to the public.  DEVELOP YOURSELF!!! 

If you or someone you know is a developing artist that wants to do more with their career check out these websites:
(Sources)
http://www.sonicbids.com
http://www.cdbaby.com/
http://www.zazzle.com:80/
http://www.discmakers.com/
http://headliner.fm/
http://www.pledgemusic.com/
http://www.jango.com/


Hello there world!

It’s me again, Grace-C!

In my last post I highlighted two very successful business people, and shared the advice that they have given on the importance of a well-developed business plan. Dave Lavinsky, and Oprah Winfrey both have an extensive business background, and one would be almost foolish to not heed their advice on the matter.

When writing my business plan I have absolutely taken some of the professional advice that I’ve discovered, to make sure that I develop the best business plan that I possibly can. Both Ms. Oprah Winfrey and Mr. Dave Lavinsky’s advice has been implemented into my personal business plan writing process.

The Oprah Winfrey given advice when it comes to creating a business plan was to make sure that you cover every single detail. She adamantly stresses the NO DETAIL SPARED method. Even the things that people may not think to include in an ordinary business plan, then include it. You can never go wrong for being too thorough when it comes to business planning. Every cost, every product, every employee, ect. needs to be thought about and planned accordingly for.

So in drafting my business plan for Grace Note Talent Development I make sure to try and think about every possible situation that may be in relation to my business venture. What types of situations may I face? How much money will it realistically cost to do certain things? What type of team do I need to develop to pull a project like this off? All of these thoughts should circulate when conjuring up a business idea and drafting the plan for it.

The advice given by Dave Lavinsky basically stated that there should be 4 components included in EVERY business plan model, and if included you will have a successfully developed plan. Those 4 pieces are: 1) A one-line summary of what your company does, 2) A Financial Model, 3) Risk Mitigation Milestones, and 4) Your unique qualifications for success (Lavinsky, 2011).
 
I have applied Mr. Lavinsky’s advice to my business plan writing process by making sure that my plan contains all of these components.  I have not yet included the Risk Mitigation Milestones but that is definitely something that I will make sure is included in my completed and final draft of the business plan.

For more information on successful business plan writing check out:

Thank you for reading! Until another post!
HUGS, LUVS AND BLESSINGS FROM ABOVE!!

Sources:




Hello World! It’s me, Grace-C again!

In this weeks blog posting I wanted to discuss the importance of a well-developed business plan. If you do not know, I am currently a graduate student working on my Master of Science degree in Entertainment Business at Full Sail University in Winter Park, FL. Since day one of my studies here at Full Sail University one of the main focuses of our intense degree program was our final business plan project. Every student that matriculates through this Entertainment Business Master of Science program, (or at Full Sail University better referenced as EBMS) upon graduation must develop, research, complete and pitch an entire business plan.

So in this post I wanted to dig deeper, research and find what some pros have to say. I want to highlight what they would advise when it comes to constructing or reading a business plan. The two industry experts in this field that I chose to cover are Dave Lavinsky and Oprah Winfrey.

Oprah Winfrey
Oprah Winfrey is by far one of the world’s most successful businesspersons. Born in Mississippi and later moving to Tennessee, Winfrey began to pursue her interest in radio and television broadcast throughout her college experience at Tennessee State University. She soon went on to host her self-titled show, The Oprah Winfrey show, which has been the number one rated talk show for almost two decades. She is the first female, African-American billionaire and is very accomplished in many various avenues (Allen, 2011).

Her outlook on constructing a business plan is that “It forces you to consider the what-ifs and tiny costs you might overlook…and it will force you to see what you need to change to finally start making money with you business “(Brewster, 2007). This is a very critical point, because as you start you business you don’t want to just make a business plan to have one; but you actually need to utilize and monitor all of your progress. The business plan will become your road map throughout your entire business.

Dave Lavinsky
The next industry expert that I decided to highlight is Dave Lavinsky. Lavinsky is the founder and CEO of Growthink, which is a business planning and consulting organization devoted to helping the entrepreneurs of the world succeed (Growthink.com, 2011). He is a world-renowned expert in the business planning; venture development, and capital raising realms. He has developed hundreds of business plans, and has lectured at top universities around the nation sharing his advice and expertise. He has also written many numerous articles on the matters of business planning for the entrepreneur. He is the president at Growthink University, and resides now in New York with his wife and their two children (youngentrepreneur.com, 2011).

 His idea of creating a successful business plan is captured in an article that he wrote called Key Components of a Business Plan. In the article he goes on to discuss how there are four often overlooked components that could make of break the idea business plan. Those components are: 1) A one-line summary of what your company does, 2) A Financial Model, 3) Risk Mitigation Milestones, and 4) Your unique qualifications for success (Lavinsky, 2011). By making sure that these four sections are implemented, it will certainly allow for you business to thrive and optimize, and it will allow for investors to have a sense of reassurance for success toward your business plan.

If you are interested in learning more about how to write a successful business plan, there are some very helping resources online. Thank you for reading!
HUGS, LUVS and BLESSINGS from ABOVE!!!




Sources:






MEISA Banner
Hello World It's me again, GRACE-C!! 

Are you a musician or an artist in the Orlando Area? Are you constantly looking for other avenues and more venues to showcase your gift and talent? Are you a music executive or manager that is wondering where all the fresh, up and coming talent is at, around this area? Well, come on out to Open Mic Nights at Full Sail University. Hosted by Full Sail’s on campus chapter organization of MEISA (Music and Entertainment Industry Student Association), the child organization to MEIEA (Music and Entertainment Industry Educators Association).

Full Sail’s MEISA hosts the event every third Thursday of the month. MEISA teams up with the University’s Show production, or “ShowPro”, students to bring together a state of the art, quality setting. The organization’s officers work very hard to make sure all who want to perform get a chance to perform.  The MEISA board runs a very smooth and successful show every month.

Obie and Lil Shawn Morning Show
Last Night MEISA had special guest hosts in the building. Obie and Lil Shawn, of the Obie and Lil Shawn Morning Show, which airs on Orlando’s Power 95.3FM radio station were great hosts and kept the crowd hype.  Many local artists and students of Full Sail University showed up and showed out. There were decent numbers in the crowd and the support was strong.
The artists that perform, range from all levels of experience, have so much talent, and cover a vast array of genres. Sean Lamar (Gospel/R&B), Ebonee’ (Hip-Hop), Jenna Christine (Country), Bobbie Ruffin (Soul/Jazz), Cali V (R&B), Clif Johnson (Instrumentalist), and myself, Grace-C (Pop) are among the regulars that you can catch at this event.

If you are interested in performing at an open mic night just come on out to the diesel bean cafĂ© located on Full Sail University’s campus, on the third Thursday. Sign up is usually from 5;30- 6:30pm the day of the show, and the show starts at 7:00pm. Take it from me, someone that has performed a few times at this event, it is an awesome place for local talent to get together, perform and network with one another. And in Orlando, a city chalk full of talent, there’s no telling who you might meet. 
HUGS, LUVS, and BLESSINGS from ABOVE!!!

Links and Sources:








There is no question that the queen of music right now, Beyonce, has been on top of her game for quite some time. It is also without question that with the release of her 4th solo studio album, fans and critiques alike were all filled with an overwhelming anticipation. On Tuesday, June 28th Beyonce’s album, entitled simply 4, hit the selves.  I, being the absolute fan of Beyonce that I am, could not let the day go by without making the purchase. I am for the most part, pleased.



I must say that this album is actually quite refreshing. I honestly feel that Beyonce put her own feelings, emotions and style into this album. She seems to have a very heartfelt sound, belting out some incredible notes with an undying passion, displaying her developed range and strength. This album shows her growth as a vocalist and woman. Beyonce is no longer the cute young girl that we first met in 1996, she is a grown woman, and this album is definitely fitting for her age (Beyonce turns 30 on September 4 of this year). You can really tell that she poured her entire heart into this album vocally, and her artistry absolutely shinned.

Beyonce alone is the executive producer of her entire album 4 (meaning she is getting paid!!!). She also co-wrote and co-produced a significant amount of the tracks on the album. She teamed up with some of the music industry’s top producers and writers, including: Shea Taylor, Frank Ocean, Terius “The Dream” Nash, Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds, and the legendary songwriter herself Ms. Diane Warren, to create amazing music. I think the collaborations worked really well producing sounds that were heavily reminiscent of earlier and classic eras, but still consisted of that modern Midas blend of soul and pop that Beyonce is known for.
 There were rumors that the album was not going to do very well in comparison to some of her past work. There were even speculations made that her label did not think that she would have a hit from the album 4.  But having been on the market for only two days critics are projecting that it will top the charts by the end of its first week of sells with a projected 300,000 albums sold. I hope it does well, she has worked very hard and is deserving of the success that has and will continue to come to her. Good Luck Bey!

You can check out Beyonce tonight at 7:30 pm on VH1. It will be the premier of a special entitled Beyonce: Year of the 4, promoting the new album.

Go buy the album!!! In stores, and on iTunes now!!!

Hugs, Luvs, and Blessings from Above!!!




Sources:




Check out this awesome video of her live album release concert










Today we live in the world of the independent or “indie” artist. There are a lot of very successful indie record labels, putting out great work. I saw a quote that said this 2011 year, indie artists and labels hold about fifty percent of the Grammy nominations. It is very safe to say that a successful career in the music industry CAN be attained by either doing it yourself (D.I.Y) or by linking up with an independent label and becoming an independent artist. Once again, ladies and gentlemen, hence the reason why I have really been stressing the importance of taking every possible opportunity and chance to develop yourself!

This week’s blog I wanted to focus on some organizations and groups within my niche industry. I could not find the association that focuses on talent development, but the one in which I am about to talk about has a focus of independent record labels and artist. The group that I found is called the American Association of Independent Music or also known as A2IM. Their mission and goals are to provide business and networking opportunities for the independent sector of the music industry. They really are a sort of community support system and society for indie artists. They also provide advocacy and representation in the legal realms for indie labels and groups.
I think this is very important especially because I am an independent (D.I.Y.) artist myself, I see the need for this type of safe haven group to come to and be involved with like the American Association of Independent Music. I am glad to have discovered this group and will actually look into getting involved with it more. If you yourself are an indie artist, then this is definitely something to look at. Check them out here at http://a2im.org/
A2IM has different committees that its members can join to become more active in the actual business of music, aside from just their individual projects. They have the legislative/ legal committee, the licensing/ publishing committee that relays information and issues that happen within the independent music realm that may affect us all.  They are also are affiliated with a few different industry organizations and site such as SoundExchange, M.U.S.I.C., Music First, Copyright alliance, Give the gift of music, and Alliance of Artists and Recording Companies (AARC). They really have an extensive and helpful program and I encourage you to check them out.
HUGS AND LUVS!!!!


Greetings World, Its’ me again Grace-C!

This week I want to blog about some very important topics that all artists should know about. No matter if you are signed to a major label, work with an independent label or if you aren’t even really sure what it means to be linked to a label, this information can be helpful and beneficial to you. If you have not been able to figure out yet, this blog focuses on YOU, the ARTIST! You may be a songwriter, a singer, a dancer, a producer, an actor, a model, or even a painter, but the bottom line is that you are an artist. As an artist it is imperative that you know and understand  the distinctions between your worth, what all is included as your property and what rights you are given. So please, even if you never read any of my blog posts again, just take heed to the advice that I have found and that I am about to share with you.




I listened to 2 podcasts on iTunesU regarding legal matters that dealt with intellectual property. As an artist our craft is usually defined under the umbrella of intellectual property, and in the legal world our intellectual property is what gives us a particular worth when legal matters arise.  The first podcast that I listened to was called CIPLIT visiting artist series featuring jazz musician Frank Catalano, by DePaul University’s College of Law. In the discussion they had Mr. Catalano and his lawyer as well as some of the college’s professors talking about legality issues they have encountered during the span of Mr. Catalano’s career thus far. They talked about the importance of having either a close relationship with an attorney or hiring an attorney before you make any legally binding decisions in your career (i.e. signing a contract). Mr. Catalano described an instance when he was just sixteen years old and he was just so excited to be noticed for his craft that he signed a contract without having a lawyer review it. Although he, fortunately, did not get cheated in the agreement that he signed, many times artists do get the short end of the deal because they signed their life away without reading the small print. By hiring an attorney that you trust, and that has your best interest in mind, you can avoid the risks of potentially giving up your entire life in one contract.

 
The next thing that I wanted to highlight was the importance of copyright registration. In the second podcast that I listened to, The Musicians at work forum- Intellectual Property and legal issues, given by the Chicago Music Commission they discussed this in great detail. The thing that you need to understand first and foremost is if you are a songwriter, or producer, and you make an original song, the minute that you put it in a tangible format it is yours and you own it, you own the copyright to it.  That is YOUR song. Now, where things get interesting is you need to register that ownership to the copyright office if you want to be protected under copyright laws. THE POOR MANS COPYRIGHT WILL NOT SUFFICE IN A COURT OF LAW. Register your song under the Form PA (performing arts) not sound recording Form SR. You only register it under Form SR if it is the final mastered version of your song that will be put out for distribution. Registering your copyright is one of the single most important things you can and should do as an artist, no matter your status. Registering the copyright is invaluable because that is what PROTECTS your valuable intellectual property and as an artist that is your greatest asset.
Lastly I want to highlight their discussion on performance rights organizations. After you have registered the copyright, you are advised to join one of the three major performance rights organizations (ASCAP, BMI, or SESAC). They are there to track any and all monetization owed you as the copyright holder. They keep track of if your song is played nationally or internationally and if it is, then they will send you money for it! Oh! The beloved “checks in the mail” that I know aspiring songwriters like myself dream of.
As an artist, make sure you are up to speed and knowledgeable about your rights and your business as a whole. The Music Business is MY business! Thanks for Reading. HUGS, LUVS, and BLESSINGS from Above!


Greetings world!
This week in my blog I want to open up a new world to you; A world that many artists and musicians fail to be utterly familiar with, although we really should be. It’s a world that can seem so foreign, that to the untrained ear this world even has its very own language. So what world do I speak of, do you ask? It is the infamous and very important world of “The LAW”. If you do not know by now, I am a songwriter/singer/producer, a musician. I find that a majority of individuals, who are taking their musicianship seriously and are in the process of turning it into their career, would have to agree with me when I say that the legal world plays a very big role in our world of music. So it is pertinent that we have a legit understanding of it all.

In this post I am going to go over a few basic legalities that all songwriters and singers should know concerning their artistry. I will also share with you a few articles regarding legal cases and rulings in court that have affected our world forever. First, one very important lesson that you need to learn about being an artist is to protect yourself! You need to be aware of the laws in our industry regarding your copyrights. If you are a songwriter, composer, producer or all of the above, it is very important that you seek to get your music officially copyrighted. You can do this online at copyright.gov for a small fee. Or you can at least opt for the poor mans copyright method. In learning about the laws regarding copyrights you will have an understanding of your value as the songwriter as you step into this industry. Intellectual property can be a touchy subject, but it is very strongly advise to do some hefty research on it. Copyright infringement is a liability issue that artists and songwriters need to be very well aware of, because it’s the possible infringement on our intellectual property rights. In 2001 the technology of peer-to-peer file sharing of digital music changed the music industry forever.

***Check out this case, which was a monumental mark in the music industry: A&M Records v Napster 2001- http://gseis.ucla.edu/iclp/napster.htm

Another topic to familiarize oneself with is the realm of music publishing, which in essence is the exploitation of copyrighted music and catalogues. Publishers do just that; they will publish your music in either have your song placed to an artist, or will have your work placed in television, film or even video games. As a songwriter this is where your money will come from. If your music does well, you can receive a great amount of royalties and be compensated by wonderful checks that will be received in the mail, for your work. But many times songwriters may get into a situation where they feel like the publisher or publishing company may have cheated them, and they will take the publisher to court. The Late Michael Jackson claimed that his publishers (Universal Music Group) owed him an extensive amount in royalty payments for some of his works recorded before the 1980’s but the case was thrown out because of the contract that Mr. Jackson had signed with Motown at the time before any of that music was recorded.
**Check out more in this article: http://lawbrain.com/wiki/Music_Publishing

When you copyright a song and register it with a performance rights organization (BMI, ASCAP) that organization will keep track of how often and where your songs are played. They will then make sure you receive your share of royalties from these instances. The way these organizations are able to keep track of the music played is by the process of licensing music out to venues or certain areas that play music (including but not limited to malls, and shopping centers, amusement parks, restaurants and bars). All of these businesses must obtain a specific license to be able to play the music in which their buyers will hear. The performance rights companies will have the “music police” randomly go around to some of these venues and locations, and will do surprise license checks. They will ask the business to provide proof of permission to be able to play the music that they are playing. In a worst-case scenario you will end up with a situation like the one in this case below. The night club was sneak attacked by the music police sent out by BMI, and when questioned the owners did not have the proper licensing so they were up against a very upset company, and its represented songwriters.

Being knowledgeable about the laws within our industry is very important and well advised. If you are a songwriter, producer, and musician you need to learn some very important things to help give your career the best foot forward. I hope this was helpful and check out some of these links below. Hugs, Luvs, and Blessings from Above!

Check out more  great articles and sites for more information:



www.copyright.gov


The Gerry Williams Band

It is without a doubt that if you are a musician and live anywhere near the central parts of the state of Florida then the Annual Florida music Festival is a MUST for you! The event takes place every spring and surely is one of the most inspiring and wonderful music spectacles to attend. If you have been following my blog for a little while then you may remember that I made a post a few months ago, advertising this event.  I actually submitted some of my work for the chance to be a part of the festival. I figured, why not? It would be a great opportunity for exposure in this area and I have yet to do anything of this caliber. Although I did not get chosen to perform at the event, Grammy U invited me to attend a special showcase that they hosted to kick-off the entire weekend of festivities. They sent me exclusive tickets in the mail, because I am a member of Grammy U.

Jubal's Kin






The event was last Wednesday at 8pm and was held at The Social located in downtown Orlando. It was a showcase/contest featuring the following acts: The Gerry Williams Band, The Gallery, Lovestruck Robot, Jubal’s Kin, inPassing, and Sylvia Emmerson. Each act got to perform two songs within 10 minutes. The judges were The Recording Academy officers, including Mr. Willie “Bum Bum” Baker (my industry mentor).  The prizes were a developmental deal worth $25,000, and great exposure.
inPassing
I arrived at about 7:15 pm and The Social was already filling up quickly with friends, families and fans of all of the acts. The energy in the building was amazing and all the acts did a wonderful job. I knew it was going to be very tough for the judges to choose just one act. But they had to, so once every act had performed and the scores were tallied the decision was made.

Lovestruck Robot
Lovestruck Robot
The winner is……Lovestruck Robot! These guys were amazing, and I was jamming off of their song “I want to be in a band”. Their energy was great and had a whole lot of talent. Congratulations guys! I had a chance to speak with the guys after the show and I networked with them a little bit. They are very humble and nice people. I had a chance to talk with one of the judges after the show to ask him what they were judging the talent on. He said that the overall showmanship of Lovestruck Robot was one of the main things that caught his attention. They interacted with the fans and really put on an enjoyable show, not to mention they had talent out of this world.


Overall this showcase was a wonderful event, and I had a blast. And once again congrats to all of the performers for being chosen for this wonderful opportunity. HUGS, LUVS, and BLESSINGS from Above!
Random Dancing Robots!





















Check out this link:



(WARNING: Due to the sensitivity of the topic, the names of companies and individuals will remain anonymous)

Hello World, Grace-C here!
Today I wanted to discuss some topics that have been brought to my attention within the world of entertainment. I recently encountered a situation with an entertainment company, established out of Chicago, and an outsourced employee of theirs. The person that I interviewed for today’s blog posting is that employee.
            Before I get into the situation, let me give a little bit of the background pertaining to the issue. This employee was originally hired as an outsourced creative consultant for the company. The company is in the business of tour production and design for big named artists around the world. Initially the company hired this employee to come up with all of the creative ideas for the artist’s shows that would be totally innovative and new for audiences to see worldwide. And in return for his creative services, they would pay him for his time and efforts for the specific projects that he would work on.
            The entertainment company was very please with the work that this employee did, that they decided to hire him as the full time creative consultant to all the artists that they are contracted with. This employee now pitches his creative ideas directly to artists and managers that work with this entertainment company. The problem that had to be negotiated and dealt with was the issue of intellectual property. When I spoke with the employee about the status of the negotiation, he stated that this is an issue that has been discussed already, it is being negotiated at this very moment, and has yet to be resolved.

            Naturally the employee views his ideas as his intellectual property and that he should maintain ownership to all of his ideas. But his first few ideas, which have already been implemented into tours, have not been protected as his intellectual property and he is receiving no royalties from them. Instead the artists that pay for the idea, in essence, are buying him out of each idea and they are given ownership of the idea. The employee wants to negotiate this issue and figure out a way to work for the company while maintaining the rights to his intellectual properties.
            The topic that this negotiation can observe is the issue of leverage and power that the employee and company hold. Ultimately the employee that I interviewed has the greater power in this negotiation, because he is the one with the creative mind. He is definitely an asset to the company and the artists want his work. Although the negotiation is not final and is in the process of being worked out, I believe that the employee will come out of this negotiation a winner. Being in a creative field full of art and intellectual properties, I am more than certain that everyone will be understanding to the concern and need of this employee.
After the interview I thanked the employee, who will remain nameless, for their time and willingness to share about this sensitive topic. 
I hope this has been informative or enlightening in some way, shape or form.
Blessings Hugs, Luvs and Blessings from above!!!