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Wednesday, December 30, 2015

The Year in Review

Wow, I can't believe this year is almost closed. I have to say 2015 was much better than the year
before. I believe 2016 is going to be even better! There has been a lot of changes that has taken place throughout the year. Some took quite a bit of adjusting, however, like all good and bad situations we learn and grow from every experience.

My year started out with a big win on Artist Signal after countless months of hard work, Myself along side a very active team won a $10,000 reward for being the most popular artist on the site. I cannot not list all the names of those who helped, because the list goes on and on; was a group effort of epic proportions. Some of the rewards rendered as a thank you from me, were songs I wrote to the person who voted for me 650 times, That was sheer dedication that humbled me and I will forever be grateful for everyone and everything you did, the time you gave and interruption of your lives, please know it was then and will always be very appreciated. Thank you for your TROUBLE and for all THE STRANGERs that became close friends. I tried for the win in November and failed and it was the workings of a group of hard core supporters that encouraged everyone to continue to vote in December that got me the win!!! You know who you are and I do hope you enjoyed all the rewards rendered for your assistance. It was the journey that showed me I cannot be me without all of you. An artist is nothing without an audience and I am truly blessed with the most supportive street team ever.

With that reward came many challenges, many of which have been squashed and not worth a mention, but the biggest reward was the lasting friendships and the continued support of so many. The deal was to use that money to get to the UK, well the dream is still very much valid, but the money was not even a tip of the iceberg of what it will take. You all know me by now and when I set a goal I do not rest until it is reached no matter how long it takes. I believe I will and look forward to meeting all of my friends over there in the UK.

Since then our group has grown quite a bit and there are several, post AS, that have joined us along the way. Our family grows daily and we have so much fun, I am spoiled by the interaction and in return I will continue to create art I hope you will always enjoy and love. Scott Neubert and I have formed quite a team musically and I feel my art changes for the better daily, he has believed in me and taught me so much as an artist and an individual, I feel I have grown beyond measure, especially in 2015.

With the winnings I went on to release my 4th studio album, A Few Broken Pieces and it became my top best seller surpassing my debut in 2007, Love and Other Disasters. From that CD the song, No Reason got me on the Hot Disc charts out of the UK, I then released a single, Tonight that hit the top 20 and was also picked up by Clear Channel for iHeart radio here in the USA. Then another single, A Cold Heart Never Melts is slowly climbing the charts as well. I was added to The Wolf Pack Music after sharing countless Friday nights (the reason why Friday's are my favorite days) on The Pack Show with my good friends Russ Williams aka The Wolf Man and Georg Hegelmann. I can't forget to mention where it all started and how they have given me so much support and took me under their wings, The Rock Doc, Northern Girl, Gonzo, Diane Marie, Sheldon Snow and Raymond Rowe. So proud to be a part of the NEWUSB family! Since then the radio stations have grown worldwide and impossible to mention them all, Bright Sky Radio, of which got me on The Best of Independent Country Music compilation CD. That debuted in the top 4 best seller in country music on iTunes. The Yankee Babes, Woman of Substance Radio, Monies Indie Music Promotions, Talentcast to name a few, So many the list goes on and on, thank you all for the opportunity to share my music. 

I have received countless sinc opportunities for TV/Films landing a song on the hit series, The Lost Girl, Bizarre Foods of America, several commercials both locally and nationwide, also landing on ESPN on the Poker World Championship, even a few indie films. I want to thank my licensing company, APM for believing in my music and working hard to get me heard.

2015 ended on an unfortunate note when I was laid off from my job with HP after 16 years of service my position was handed over to India, a sad misfortune that is happening quite often in my country. However, this quickly turned into an exciting adventure as I relied heavily on my freelance work to stay afloat and have had several opportunities arise that have life changing potential. 

I am excited to see what 2016 has in store, the possibilities are limitless and I'm ready to take the bull by the horns and seize life to its fullest. I hope to make my friends and family proud and show the generations to come nothing is impossible without a dream and a whole bunch of elbow grease. So here's to rolling up our sleeves and making all our dreams come true. I cannot be ME with out all of you, thank you for sharing the journey, here's to another year!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Retrain your brain for success, one smile at a time

Humans are creatures of habit and our brains function through repetition. We train our thoughts and our actions through daily routines. These routines become common practice and soon working, eating, sleeping and every aspect of our life is a regular occurrence, none of it feels like work anymore, simply a natural progression of daily living.

In this blog I have argued that creative personalities see things a little different from others. We create a different reality, not seen by anyone else. We share our views through our art to make others aware of what our mind's eye sees. I'm learning through my travels and new people I meet that we all have some form of creativity living inside of us.

In this piece I want to explore the measure of success. What do you consider a successful day, a momentous occasion? Waking up in the morning and accomplishing making another person smile is a very successful day in my opinion. But we all have to make a living and we all have to pay the bills, realistically a smile does not accomplish putting money in the bank. Or does it?

There are countless self help books out there that all say the same thing, The Secret, Life is a Contact Sport and my personal favorite, The Artist's Way. These are only tips of the iceberg, do your own research there are countless books that can help guide you that will speak to your own needs; bottom line is, we create our own reality. Regardless your religious or political beliefs no one makes success for you, except you. Having said that, no one gets there without help. Remember to respond kindly and help others on the journey behind you. Always educate yourself and continuously question the world and all that is involved, knowledge is power and is the number one tool to success.

Actions make reality. Think of a goal you want to obtain and make a plan. Planning and goal setting is a sure fire way to reach any dream. Dreams are reality in the making. Build a trustworthy team that is like minded to your needs. Success is more realistic when learning and sharing your experiences with others on the same path. Failure is not an option, but the pitfalls and road blocks are inevitable, adapt, adjust and overcome. Never let negativity discourage you from a reality that is waiting in the wings.

I propose starting by retraining our brains to think and do different things. Nothing changes unless you make a change. I have spoken of this many times throughout this blog, the repetition is me practicing what I preach, I am retraining my brain, so positive thoughts and actions become second nature it is no longer a chore to accomplish, it is simply how I live. I'll keep repeating it until it sinks in and maybe if you are reading and sharing, it will benefit you as well.

Challenge yourself to The 7 Day Mental Diet, By Emmet Fox. I'm a huge proponent of Emmet Fox's teachings. I'm not saying it is easy, but if you successfully complete it, the positive nature can change your life. I have started and stopped many times and still in the process myself.

Success in my point of view is dusting yourself off when you have fallen and try again. Learn from mistakes so you do not repeat them and keep looking forward. I believe if you do what you love the rest falls into place, I also believe nothing is handed to you, we must always relentlessly set small goals in order to reach the bigger picture. I do not believe you can be successful, by stepping on other people or abusing trust. Karma has a way of coming back to haunt us, apologize profusely when you have unintentionally hurt someone and always help when you are able to do so. I believe you get back what you put out, it is our responsibility as humans to make this world a more loving place. A smile can lead to success because it is creating a habit that soon changes how you think and live and soon the changes unfold as naturally as breathing.

Maybe in the environment we have been living we may have all lost sight of certain habitual luxuries we normally take for granted. Retrain our brains for success. Wake up each morning regardless what challenge you must face and say today I'm facing it with a smile. Ignore the naysayers trying to put negativity in your path. Happy living is successful living and success should be shared and celebrated.

Someone told me once, you only lose if you stop trying, so don't give up. I would love to hear your opinions and success stories, if you decide to try the challenge, please share your experience. If you feel negative feelings creeping in, stop, take a breath, maybe even take a day or two, then try again. We are all in this journey together, we are all interconnected whether we want to believe it or not. The world can be better and as a team we can all succeed one smile at a time.