I have returned from one of the most amazing musical, spiritual and life learning weeks of my life. For 5 days in a row, 7 hours a day I was part of a class of 5 hand picked students blessed enough to be personally taught voice and songwriting techniques by one of the !nest musicians, vocalist’s and songwriter’s of the past 40 years, Gino Vannelli. I will share more with my blog, photos and music in time. But this morning, I just wanted to let all who were interested know I was home, feeling, blessed, grateful, alive and in a very new and improved space.
Many personal thanks to Gino and Ross Vannelli, Phyllis and Ed at Brickhaven Bed and Breakfast, Kathy Mullen and Stephanie Ranker for help making this past week possible for me. Also, a very special tip of the hat to the good friends and memories I made this week with my new classmates.
Snow, New York and Looking For Work
Well, I am sitting here today, snowbound in my domicile of residence in Lawrenceville, Georgia. While staring out the window just now at the white stillness, a long awaited peace came over me. Here is what caused it. Through years of hope and positive thinking I have !nally given up. I !nally consent to the reality and accept the fact that the state of Georgia will never be prepared for snowfall. Regardless of how much or how little, it really is quite laughable. But be that as it may, I suppose that I should not complain too loud for there is still a bit of childhood fun that my soul receives from being “snowed in.” I do believe though it is only a feeling that we Southerners, who are not blessed (or cursed) with snow on a regular basis, feel and occasionally enjoy. So with that said, and having a little more free time on my hands today than originally intended, I thought I would just update you a little on what has been going on this month in my world.
First, I would like to share with you the fact that I am still reelin’ and rockin’ from attending the 2014 Annual APAP Convention in New York City earlier this month. My manager, Kathy Mullen and I were up there in the thick of it for 4 days. We met so many people, made some really useful contacts and saw some tremendous showcases. It was our !rst time attending this annual worldwide convention and I must say we were awed and overwhelmed. It was a tremendous experience and I hope that we have the chance to be a part of it next year. On another note but a related one, I am just now learning how to use Word Press and am having some problems with it. This is why I have not had a lot of updated material here on Je#Pike.com since launching the new website recently. But when I do, I will have a lot of recent pictures from the convention posted for you to enjoy. Speaking of the website, (www.je#pike.com) here is a little more current information that may be useful for you.
While the main purpose of this website is to promote my original work there will also be a small part of it that I will use to promote cover gigs. (Restaurants, clubs, corporate work, private parties, etc.) Today I posted a quick impromptu promotional video that I recorded at Bahama Breeze this past week. It came out a lot better than I thought it would so I put it up on the video page for you to enjoy. Feel free to pass it along to anyone you know who books entertainment, for as you may or may not know, I am always looking for work and networking is never done. Thank you for your time today, but before you leave be sure to sign up for my mailing list, read my blogs and check out my concert calendar. ( Assuming of course that you are snowed in and have a lot of time on your hands today ) Anyway, I hope to see you on the road (or in the snow) sometime soon! If you are on the road, travel safe. If you are at home, lounge aggressively.
By Amy Petty
Repost by Jeff Pike
I sat down at my computer yesterday to write a new blog when just in time I read someone else's blog that my girlfriend had sent me. The blog in question resounded deeply with my beliefs and other peoples myths surrounding my chosen career as a musician in today's social media and TV driven world. So much so that she knew I would want to read it and possibly repost it, which I immediately did. As they day wore on I kept thinking more and more about this young woman's blog and the desire to blog about the same subject was growing stronger within me. After much thought I came to my own realization. This realization firmly awakened me to the fact that I did not feel I could improve on what Singer/Songwriter Amy Petty posted about Media, TV, Music and Fame vs. what being a happy, honest and successful musician is really all about. So with all hats off and respect to Amy Petty, here is her blog in its entirety. Please, please read belwo, enjoy and share with all your friends. This message is extremely important.
Why I Won't Be Auditioning For The Voice ( Or Any Other Televised Talent Competition)
Tonight, I'm standing in a stranger's living room, singing at a house concert. I'm far from home and I don't know anyone here but you've given me your time, your ear and your heart for two hours and by the end of the night, we know each other. We are fulfilled and changed by the experiences of the evening and life is good. We are moved, unexpectedly.
You approached me with tears in your eyes. I was standing near the tissue box so I had the honor of handing one to you. You told me what that one song meant to you, how it spoke exactly of an experience you'd had and that it meant the world to hear someone else felt the same way.
After a few moments of each of us trying to find the words, you said, "And you should audition for the The Voice!" I smiled and laughed a bit and said thank you. "I mean it," you said, "you're good enough! You could win! You could be famous! Someday, you'll make it and we'll say we knew you when."
I've come to realize that this is a huge compliment, maybe the biggest compliment that you could possibly offer. You have just placed me in the company of some of the best singers you know of. You believe in me. You want me to have success and you want others to experience what you've experienced here tonight. I'm flattered and humbled and grateful.
For many people, watching one of the myriad singing competitions on TV is a huge deal, like a cross between a soap opera and football, exciting and dramatic and entertaining, an epic battle with a winner declared at the end. And you can be directly involved in the outcome. After all, it's up to you to vote your favorite into the next round. And seriously, there is some pretty incredible talent on those shows, especially The Voice. So I'm flattered that you consider me talented enough to vocally rumble in the ring on your favorite TV show.
But I'm absolutely not going to do that. Here's why:
1) I'm not interested in 'winning' at singing.
I sing for a living so in all honesty, I ALREADY win at singing. How strange it would be to have a celebrity judge (who probably knows less about singing than I do) listen to me for 30 seconds and decide if I'm 'good enough'. I AM good enough to sing for a living because I'm doing it right now.
I sing for people, on purpose, at concerts and festivals and weddings and churches and bars. I studied music in college and have a degree in classical voice. I'm a singer/songwriter and I'm signed to a small and awesome record label. I sing for a living and I sing for people and I sing for myself. I totally win.
2) I'm not really interested in being famous.
Now don't get me wrong. I'm not opposed to being well known or to my songs being heard by the masses or to making enough money to buy my mom a decent washer and dryer. But I have never been interested in achieving fame. Fame usually has nothing to do with the music and it almost certainly has nothing to do with talent.
It's hard to judge the success of a musician without using fame as a measuring stick. But it can be pretty simple. Am I singing? Check. Are people hearing it? Check.
Is everyone happy/moved/inspired/dancing/thinking at the end? Check. Do Iwant to do it again tomorrow night? Check. That, my friend, is success.
3) I don't want to compete with other singers.
There are plenty of people out there taking advantage of musicians. They want us to perform for free. They want us to give them the rights to our music. They want us to 'pay to play'. They want $2000 for introducing us to the guy who might use a song in a TV show. We have enough obstacles out there. We don't need to be stumbling over each other, too.
One of the greatest joys in my life has been meeting and performing and collaborating with other singers and musicians around the country. They are my tribe. I love them and I want them to survive and thrive and make more of their amazing music. I want to share the stage with them. I want to high five the guy who is trying out a new song, even if he knows his performance wasn't perfect. I want to be blown away by that girl with the amazing voice and not worry that she might be better than me. I want all of us to try new things, play new instruments and write new songs without wondering if the audience is going to vote us off.
I have had the pleasure of finding my tribe, some ships that have passed in the night and some who are docked in the same harbor. There are hundreds of us. Thousands of us. And life is better when we're for each other, not against.
4) I want to help write a new definition of success for musicians.
I will admit, it's pretty awesome to flip on the TV and see someone you know singing their hearts out for the world to see. I've had friends audition for almost every major singing competition, some making it to the finals, others not making it through the first round. And just because that's not the path for me doesn't mean that's not the path for them, so I support them whole-heartedly.
But on many occasions, I've seen them give up when they get home. They didn't win the singing competition so they decide to go to bar-tending school. Looks like they won't skyrocket to fame, so they change their course all together. Some of the best singers I've ever heard are deflated because they lost out to a juggling dog. All the eggs, one basket.
It takes time and hard work to achieve whatever it is that you consider success but you won't regret it. My life is full of music because I made choices along the way to ensure that it is. I could have given up when I wasn't a famous singer by the time I was 21 years old. Oh, the things I would have missed. Even if fame is the ultimate goal...take the road less traveled and enjoy the ride.
As my friend and executive producer Lauren Markow always says: "Even a bad day making music is better than a good day doing anything else". Right. On.
5) Because tonight was PERFECT.
Who says that the best music in the world is made in front of a huge audience? It's not. It's made in small rooms. It's made by people you've never heard of. It's made when a musician is alone, writing a song, practicing, trying something new. It's made when a french horn and it's player become one entity. It's made when your choir is rehearsing a week before the scheduled performance and everyone just clicks. It's made at the Saturday matinee performance when the lead soprano finally understands and fully becomes her character. It's made when I am singing one of my songs and I look up to see you, crying, nodding, completely present and I realize that I don't even know what this song is about anymore.
So no, I'm not going to be auditioning for The Voice. Because I would much rather be standing right here, singing in a stranger's living room, seeing your face as I sing, handing you a tissue as you tell me how my songs moved you. I am part of your experience and you are part of mine. I am fulfilled and I am changed and I am moved that you are moved. And this is what I want my life to be. Welcome to the tribe.
I will forever treasure the compliment.
A NOTE TO MY FACEBOOK FANS
Music has always been, and God Willing will always continue to be, a life-long love for me. Being the driving force that it is, it has been responsible for countless major impacts on me throughout my life, both good, and maybe a few not so good. Currently, due to major life changes I have been implementing over the past couple of years, and with recently attending the Gino Vannelli master class series, I have reignited a passion and developed a focus to spend more of my time studying, practicing, writing, recording, releasing and performing more of my original music. I am also dedicating more of my time to my spiritual and personal growth so that I may continue to grow and become a more boundaried person in all of my relationships. In other words, I am !nally getting back to being ME.
Taking into consideration all of the boundaries, priorities and time management changes I am continuously making, I want all of my dedicated Facebook friends to know you are an important part of my daily routine. However, I will not be spending as much time on Facebook as I have in the past. So my poking, likes, messages and posts will be less frequent, but never fear – I’ll still be keeping you updated on what’s going on in the world of Je" Pike Music. (This will also include links to updates regarding A1A, The Frozen Gringos and The Paul Leslie Hour) Starting this week, I will begin regular posting of You Tube videos, reviews on my extensive record collection, random thoughts of inspiration and commentary, as well as additional info you may be interested in so that you may get to know me better and see my changes and progress as I move forward.
In keeping with the changes, Jeff Pike.com has a new look with updated info. Also, the first Facebook Jeff Pike Artist Fan page, while still in its formative stages, is ready for you to “LIKE” and share with your friends. You can check it out at facebook.com/therealje"pike. I hope you will join me on my new life adventure I am !nally undertaking. Please know and understand that while I am not present on Facebook all day that I am not too far away and will be checking in at least twice a day. Thank you for all of the years of support. I look very forward to our future....:-)
"Ramblings From Jeff" - is a dedicated personal blog page within JeffPike.com written and posted by Jeff Pike.