Archive for the ‘Songwriting’ Category

Second Chances

Posted: September 12, 2013 in Musical Review, Songwriting, Technology

Here’s a blast from the past. After writing and producing Larryboy the Theme Song for Veggietales, they asked me to write and produce on their 1st full length feature “Jonah”. The immediate result was “Second Chances”….

And So It Began

Posted: July 15, 2013 in Musical Review, Songwriting

Digital Music News - My Song Was Played 3.1 Million Times on Pandora. My Check Was $39....

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Lately I have been thinking a lot about legacy…as in what kind I’m leaving. I have done a lot in my life. I mean, I’ve accomplished a lot. I’ve also screwed things up a lot too. That’s what i have been thinking on. Which ones count more? The victories? The failures? I think I’ve been a good dad. I have been a mediocre husband. I have been a prolific writer. I have been an adventurous producer, and an entrepreneurial media content creator. I have ebbed and flowed in my devotion to the Kingdom in my work and in these last few years have redoubled my efforts to make the excellence of my work be my protest against all that is going wrong in this jacked up world. I know I’m just spewing on the page…here’s the thing. I lost one of my closest friends and colleagues this week…he took his own life. And I can’t figure why. See, this has been one of the godliest, most prolific, profoundly influential people in my life. If anyone had asked me who was the most “together” cat I know, it would’ve been my friend. He left an enormous legacy…all for Jesus. Does his death, even a death by his own hand, negate his work? I vacillate….but I don’t think it does. He helped literally hundreds of thousands of men love their wives better, become more committed to family, more devoted to their children. I look at the measly offering I have in terms of what I’m leaving behind, and I am unimpressed. And dude took his life! I suppose he was really unhappy. Do you know he called me just before…I didn’t call him back. I was busy. I can’t go on living like this. I need for each moment to count. A few years back, I did some really rotten things and God used it to drive me all the way home and into a lifestyle of radical repentance. However, that wasn’t before some people in my world made what I had done sound even worse. You can build a good reputation for years and years and it can all be ruined in just a few short moments. And believe me, what you mess up, others will be almost gleefully, willingly, make more out of than what actually happens… lynch folk with a Scripture on their lips and holy fire in their eyes. I guess our lives are so boring that we aren’t satisfied unless we get to totally torch somebody’s life once in a while. I’m okay with that. That old man needed to be torched…he was a straw man. The new man doesn’t stand quite so tall, and is not half so shiny…and I want to make sure he is now leaving a REAL legacy and not a straw one. I’m just not exactly sure how you know… but I am determined to know Christ and the power of his suffering and to participate in his crucifixion with him and so somehow attain this eternal life that Jesus has promised us. But my friend believed that too.  I just don’t know.  It knocks the wind out of my sails and gets me rethinking everything all over again…doubting again…what God is doing in my life.  But then my baby girl Jasmine comes to me and says, “Daddy, I have something for you”.  And that something is her new EP she has recorded.  The vocals are killer, the production values very high, and the lyrics are not only well thought out and well said, but they are TRUE.  They are life giving.    And I see the legacy.  I see the Holy Spirit retelling the message…from me, to her, to you. He’s reminding me. He loves me. It’s in these moments that I see the Kingdom come, the legacy living. Like the titlr of her record says, “The Beginning is Near”      Thanks Jazzy.

John Hancock Band

John Hancock Band

Irving Azoff: It’s “Way Different, Way More Difficult Now” for Musicians…

Thursday, October 11, 2012
by  paul

Add Live Nation chairman Irving Azoff to the list of people who think it’s harder, not easier, for artists to make it in the music business these days.  And according to Azoff, part of the problem is that it’s easier to make music than ever before, with less monetization, a stark contrast to the ‘golden age’ of the 60s and 70s.  “Basically then versus now, you’d have one hit record and you could come to Los Angeles and sell out three days at the Staples Center – then it was the Forum, but now it would be Staples Center,” Azoff recently told interviewer Jude Apatow at the ‘Grill’.  “Now, one you can’t get a hit but if you do get a hit, you get to open up for somebody at a club.”

And instead of getting signed, the new lottery card is… the Voice?  “In those days, no one would consider going on a competition music show,” Azoff relayed.  “Now you watch the Voice and hear all these kids say, ‘this is the greatest opportunity of my life,’ and yet, you’ve got 64 contestants on the Voice.  We’ve had 10-11 years of American Idol, so you’ve had 100 or 110 top ten people, and you can count on your hand the number of careers that have sustained off of that.”

I know that a lot of folk would say that ebooks have changed literature in a way that is fundamentally flawed. I, however, feel just the opposite. Having come out of the music business, after a career of 25 plus years, I feel uniquely qualified to make this assessment. Recording deals and record companies after all are little more than slave labor for mostly nameless faceless corporations.  When a record company signs an artist they are then requiring them to pay all production costs and ancillary expenses out of the 10-15% of the proceeds an album makes.  Those of you good with math will note that the record company retains 85-90% of the profits.  So if some poor schmuck is lucky enough to sell 100,000 records (believe me a huge success at any time but particularly these days) but he had spent $125,000 to make it, he would most likely never see a profit.  The record company, however, would make a six figure gain, and would claim it as a loss on their books…because the budgeted amount wasn’t made back at the artist’s 10-15%.  Far from being angry the artist now feels beholden to the company, because they have deigned to let him stay around and record again…though they act as if he’s actually “unable to move units”.  And for this grand gesture that the record company makes, the artists, rather than balking and running as he should, gives the company ownership of his work.  Mind you, the artist created, conceived, recorded and delivered the work of art…the content…to the company….and also payed for it completely!  That my friend at its best is share cropping, and at its worst its slave labor.

It has stuck me lately that almost no one really wants a normal record deal anymore…shock!  Also, it has stricken me how the advent of inexpensive recording gear in the music world (that led to the ability of the everyday artist to beat the companies at their game) is closely mirrored by the advent of the ebook in literature.  Essentially both allow anyone, at any level of skill, to submit their works to the public forum.

In publishing, as opposed to in music, the rights to the work of art remain with its creator.  They acknowledge that the costs of production have been recouped and, since the the work has been paid for, it should remain with the writer.

My main problem with ebooks is that I love real books.  But I can easily afford many more of the electronic ones, and that is a very tempting lure.  In fact, in an effort to make peace with my aesthetic self, I’ve had to promise myself that the books I truly love I will buy again in Hardcover form…so my ebooks have been come my nuevo-paperbacks. What I’m trying to say is I can’t decide what to read there is just so much out there!  Apparently this also happened in music.  For while the record companies would have the world believe that music is irreparably damaged an selling enormously less than it was before…the truth is over-all sales of music have  actually gone up!  But the more they can make us feel that those who stray from the company line will be responsible for the death of music, the more they can continue their nefarious business model.

I see a lot of parallels between record companies and book publishing companies but I see more dissimilarities. That’s because, seeing their cash cow being stolen away, record companies have dug in their heels like the Children of Israel before the golden calf, and blamed everyone but themselves.  Book publishers have by and large realized that they are going to have to rethink how they think about themselves in the context of makers of content versus distributors of content…and they are embracing it.

Most of you reading this are Christians.  When someone with a lot, cheated someone else who didn’t have a lot, and then took it to the nth degree, how did God react? Here’s the thing. When Jesus comes back… you saying, “Everybody else was doing it” is just not going to cut it.

As they exist, record companies are slave labor. Free my people.



None of Us is Free (as recorded by Solomon Burke)

Well you better listen my sister’s and brothers,
’cause if you do you can hear
there are voices still calling across the years.
And they’re all crying across the ocean,
and they’re cryin across the land,
and they will till we all come to understand.

None of us are free.
None of us are free.
None of us are free, one of us are chained.
None of us are free.

And there are people still in darkness,
and they just can’t see the light.
If you don’t say it’s wrong then that says it right.
We got try to feel for each other, let our brother’s know that
we care.
Got to get the message, send it out loud and clear.

(Chorus)

It’s a simple truth we all need, just to hear and to see.
None of us are free, one of us is chained.
None of us are free.
now I swear your salvation isn’t too hard too find,
None of us can find it on our own.
We’ve got to join together in sprirt, heart and mind.
So that every soul who’s suffering will know they’re not alone.

(Chorus)

If you just look around you,
your gonna see what I say.
Cause the world is getting smaller each passing day.
Now it’s time to start making changes,
and it’s time for us all to realize,
that the truth is shining real bright right before our eyes.

(Chorus)

Songwriters: Russell, Brenda;Mann, Barry;Weil, Cynthia

© RUTLAND ROAD MUSIC;MCA O/B/O GEFFEN MUSIC

Funkabilly Facts

Posted: July 28, 2010 in Songwriting

Grammy Awards/ Nominations
• Best Contemporary Christian Album – 1991, Faded Blues
• Best Song Written for a Motion Picture or for Television- 2000, Larry-Boy: The Soundtrack
• Best Contemporary Gospel Album Nicole C Mullen Talk About It

10-Time Dove Award Winner
• Best New Artist – 1990
• Best Rock Album – (Producer/Writer) 1992, Faded Blues
• Children’s Music Album of the Year (Producer/Writer)-1995, Yo Kidz! 2: The Armor of God
• GMA Song of the Year-(Writer) 1997 “On My Knees”
• Children’s Music Album of the Year (Producer/Writer)-1999, Veggie Tunes 2
• Children’s Music Album of the Year- 2000 (Producer/Writer) Larry-Boy: The Soundtrack
• Song of the Year (Producer)- 2001, “Redeemer”; Nicole C. Mullen; Seat of the Pants Music
• Children’s Music Album of the Year- (Producer/ Writer) 2003, Jonah, A Veggie Tales Movie Original Soundtrack
• Urban Album of the Year (Producer/Writer)- 2005, Everyday People – Nicole C. Mullen
• Instrumental Album of the Year (Producer/Writer) 2007 End of the Spear Original Soundtrack
• Nominated in 2010 for Best Spanish Language Album

#1 Singles
• “Happy”- Introducing Ayiesha Woods 2007
• “I AM”- Nicole C. Mullen, Everyday People, 2004
• “Music of My Heart”- Nicole C. Mullen, Everyday People, 2004
• “Miracles”- Nicole C. Mullen, Following His Hand: A 10-year Journey, 2003
• “Show Me”- Nicole C. Mullen, Following His Hand: A 10-year Journey, 2003
• ”Come Unto Me”- Nicole C. Mullen, Talk About It, 2001 (GOLD)
• ”Call On Jesus”- Nicole C. Mullen, Talk About It, 2001 (GOLD)
• ”Redeemer”- Nicole C. Mullen, Nicole C. Mullen, 2001 (GOLD)
• ”Larry-Boy Theme Song”- Veggie Tales, Larry-Boy: The Soundtrack, 2000 (Multi-PLATINUM)
• “Shaken”- Rachael Lampa, Live For You, 2000
• ”De Creer En Ti”- Jaci Velasquez, Llegar A Ti, 1999 (GOLD)
• “Hands Tied”- Becca Jackson. It’ll Sneak Up On You, 1997
• ”Tuesday’s Child”- Steven Curtis Chapman, Tuesday’s Child: The Best of Steven Curtis Chapman, 1996 (GOLD)
• ”Through All The Years” – My Utmost For His Highest: The Covenant, 1996 (PLATINUM)
• “We Can Make A Difference”- Jaci Velasquez, Heavenly Place, 1996
• ”On My Knees”- Jaci Velasquez, Heavenly Place, 1996 (PLATINUM)
• “Take Me Back”- Anointed, Under The Influence, 1996
• “It’s A Matter of Love”- Anointed, The Call, 1995
• ”Meant For This Moment”- Carman & Helen Baylor, Yo Kidz! 2: The Armor of God, 1994 (GOLD)
• ”Somewhere Within The Heart”- Carman & Cindy Morgan, Yo Kidz!, 1994 (GOLD)
• “Hero”- David Mullen, David Mullen, 1994
• “The Blood”- David Mullen, Revival, 1990
• “Live So God Can Use You”- David Mullen, Revival, 1990
• “Somebody Say Amen”- David Mullen, Revival, 1990
• “Heavens To Betsy”- David Mullen, Revival, 1990
• “Sho Love You” – David Mullen, Revival, 1990 “Revival” – David Mullen, Revival, 1990

• 18 Gold or Platinum Awards
• Jaci Valasquez A Heavenly Place
• LarryBoy the Soundtrack
• WOW the 90’s Thirty Greatest Hits
• I’ll Lead You Home Michael W Smith
• WOW 2007
• Nicole C Mullen
• Talk About It- Nicole C Mullen
• Change Your World Michael W. Smith
• LarryBoy and the Fib From Outerspace
• WOW 1996
• WOW 1997
• WOW 1998
• WOW 1999
• WOW 2000
• WOW 2001
• WOW 2002
• WOW 2005
• Songs For Life

Latest: Recording Nicole C Mullen’s first ever full out worship record with Ed Cash set for release 1st quarter 2011. Also starting a Funkabilly partnership with The TCN Network “Funkabilly Records”!