Sunday, March 28, 2010

Day 68: The End...

Okay, so I've been thinking...

Blogging has been fun, and I will continue on, but the daily blog has become a slog, and I guess you need to know not when to quit, but when to change strategy.

I probably won't make my goal of 100 gigs this year, or 1000 CDs sold, or even 5 albums (I might manage to do 3, which still ain't bad).

But I just decided that I want to blog when I need to blog, not every day because I am under pressure to meet this silly deadline (kudos to Julia for blogging AND cooking for a year, every day).

So, in the end, I will still blog, but I am changing and revising my goals so that I don't go insane! I'm sure I'll be a much happier person for it.

Days to go: 0.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Day 67: I'm not owed anything

You know what? I don't care if nobody feels my music dream with me. I was reading a bit of Rudy again the other day, and he says that people who are really passionate follow their dream anyway.

If I had to get a day job today in a totally different city, I'd still find a producer to hook up with and I'd still keep making music.

You see, nobody promised me an easy ride, or accolades and awards and endless riches. But that doesn't mean I can't follow my dream. I can. I am. I will.

I am making music. I am in the music industry. These are decisions and actions I can control. As for the rest, well...

I appreciate my academic co-supervisor at university, who is helping me with my D Litt et Phil degree. She's a genius, the most amazing woman on the planet. When I did my Masters, she always told me how much she admired my dogged tenacious determination to get it finished - because it was such a struggle for me. She said that I'd earned her respect and admiration for that.

Well, that same bulldog terrier-like determination is being applied to my music career. I don't care how long it takes, or how much struggle and sacrifice it takes. I will not quit music until the day I die. If that's tomorrow, I die a happy man. I have lived my dream.

Days to go: 298

Friday, March 26, 2010

Day 66: Fans!

Been reading up on Bob Baker's great suggestions on how to better connect with fans. See, even though I'm supposedly this marketing expert, I sometimes feel so out of touch with grassroots marketing - the fancy stuff I know from text books makes me fancy - it just doesn't seem to make me relevant! Not that I'm complaining about my education. Hell, I'm so grateful that I'm still able to study at university - what a privilege.

But anyway - Bob says with fans it's the same as with all marketing: give them what they want. Well, that begs two questions:

1. Who ARE my fans?

2. What DO they want?

Life's mystery is part of what makes it such fun.

Days to go: 299.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Day 65: Insomniac Night Owl

I have developed the weirdest sleeping patterns. I usually fall asleep on the bed with the dogs in front of the TV at around 9pm, wake up at 1 and then come work on my laptop. Like now. It's 4:38am and I'm typing on my blog. Weird.

Music keeps me up nights.

Days to go: 300.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Day 64: Facebook

I'm trying to re-connect with all my friends on Facebook. I find it fascinating that I have a Masters degree in marketing communications, yet I sometimes feel incapable of effective micro-marketing! It's that whole cobbler's bare-foot children and physician heal thyself thing again...

Well, Derek Sivers cautions against becoming an expert. So should I quit music and just do marketing?

Never. Slash my wrists first.

Days to go: 301.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Day 63: Not bad for 4 years

You know, sometimes we are so hard on ourselves. I like to think that I wasted 20 years not pursuing my music career, but the truth is, 20 years ago I wasn't even sure I wanted to do music. I've always been a late bloomer, so it should come as no surprise to me that as little as 5 years ago I wasn't sure what kind of music I wanted to do.

After doing some musical theatre in 2005, and after singing opera for a few years, I realised that I'm just more suited to the pop/commercial world. So, it wasn't until 2006 that I started looking at those elements of my music career, and I think I have done really well for 4 years:

1. I've educated myself on the music business, so much so that I now teach music business to young music students.

2. I won the Top Billing Music Award in 2006, with Tzipora.

3. I've released 2 albums to date, with another 3 on the way this year.

I'm not rich or famous (yet), no Grammy Awards (yet), but am I enjoying the journey? So, so much. I am grateful for all that has transpired in my life, and I'm grateful that I've finally found my dream and am living it. You should try it - it's a liberating feeling...

Days to go: 302.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Day 62: Back to Bob

I've been studying out some Bob Baker of late, and it's always so helpful. Bob Baker and Derek Sivers - my two cyber gurus many miles over the sea, yet right in front of my laptop. The world is vast; the world is small. Don't ya just love technology?

Ah well, back to work. Let's start applying some of these marketing ideas!

Days to go: 303.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Day 61: Old times

I went to go get pizza with my sister today, and we drove through a neighbourhood we haven't been through for years. It hasn't changed too much. It's quite close to my gran's old tennis club, and it suddenly reminded me of her.

She was never a very big supporter of my music - always quite critical. Do you have people like that in your life? Well, I guess I just decided to let it make me stronger. It's like Madonna said when she accepted her induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the people who said she couldn't or she shouldn't only strengthened her resolve. A woman after my own heart.

Days to go: 304.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Day 60: Truth...

I had a chat with Greg today about my stuff - he's a producer I'm considering working with. He just flat out told me our first album - the one I did with Flo - was crap. Ouch! But I'd rather have the truth than him lying to make me feel better.

Days to go: 305

Friday, March 19, 2010

Day 59: My sister's 40th

My sister turned 40 yesterday. We had a blast eating out at the Spur in Ermelo, just her, my mom and me. We're such a close-knit family.

Hard to believe that at 40 she is probably halfway through her life. It's my turn next year, but of course in typical music style I'll be throwing a big fat party and doing an album launch at the same time.

I still feel my musical biological clock ticking, but I'm getting more comfortable with myself and my late bloomer music career. Who cares? I'll just botox and lipo-suction my way to a Grammy. Vanity, thy name be Rob Rodell!

Days to go: 306

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Day 58: Publicity

I have started getting braver about sending out press releases and buying into my own schtick. It is such an ego trip, and it feels kinda strange, I guess, but I always remember my music mentor and guru Madonna, who is shameless in her self-promotion efforts. Madge honey, when are we working together? You, me and David Foster... 20 million albums later. Let's do it girlfriend!

Days to go: 307

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Day 57: Creativity

Just about to sit down and write a new song, and rehearse some new ones.

Is this fun or what? I love the advice from Michael Laskow of Taxi - nobody is born a great songwriter - you have to become one, with time, with practice, with refining your craft.

I was lecturing music business at Soul Candi earlier today, and I bumped into Kevin of the Death Valley Blues Band. Here is a man who has a gig at 01:15 am tomorrow morning, and he was rehearsing with his band today. Commitment. Dedication. Passion. I admire all of it.

Days to go: 308

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Day 56: The blessing in the crisis

I love John Demartini. He always says that there's a blessing in every crisis! Words to live a powerful life by.

Days to go: 309

Monday, March 15, 2010


You know, sometimes I think about the amazing ability of people to make music. I'm so glad I am involved in the creation of music.

Man, I just really love music!

Days to go: 310

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Day 54: Applied Luck

My sister referred me to a website that spoke about perseverance as being "applied luck." While this source acknowledged that luck plays a role in all people's success, usually it's because the person stuck it out through the tough times and they then came to be lucky. It's kind of like a law of averages or law of attraction thing: the more you stick it out, the better your chances of stumbling across some dumb luck, or maybe you just draw the good fortune into your life.

Well, perseverance and applied luck: that's the motto for my music career.

Days to go: 311

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Day 53: Of Mothers & Sisters

My sister is turning 40 next week, and I'm so excited that we're gonna be able to spend some time with my mom. My mom and my sister are my rocks, man, and I really am so grateful to God that they're both still alive and well, and that they are there for me. That's why moving to a different country is always such a difficult decision to make... And while I'm not particularly enamoured with South Africa right now, any relocation would require them to be with me.

I just really feel there is no point in living 16,000km away from the people you love. I dunno how others do it. For me, blood really is thicker than water.

Days to go: 312

Friday, March 12, 2010

Day 52: Studio

I'm very excited! I have just done my new album sign-up with CD Baby and I'll be back in studio soon to finish it up. It's mostly Josh Groban-type covers, which is cool, and there are some great tracks to sing.

But, I must get onto original music faster. There will be an album of that out this year, but it's still a while off. The nice thing about this Josh Groban album is that I really hope it inspires people to go out and live their dreams. That's what keeps me alive.

Days to go: 313

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Day 51: Me & YouTube...

I'm trying to upload more videos to YouTube but I'm having such a hard time of it! Man, I must get more tech-savvy... I haven't done a Facebook update in a while, let alone Twitter. Again I lament: where do people find the time to do all this stuff?

Days to go: 314

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Day 50: 100 years to live...

I love that song by John Ondrasik (aka Five for Fighting), especially the chorus: when you've only got a hundred years to live. It speaks about time being so fleeting, and it really reminds me to get a move on with my music career.

Of course, I'm also reminded of Rudy: dreams have no time limit. My academic supervisor for my Masters degree, the great genius Andrea Crystal, also once told me it takes as long as it takes. That really does take the pressure off. Still, while I'm impressed by the 69-year-old granny DJ who's rocking Paris clubs, I really hope it's not gonna take me another 30 years!

Come on, David Foster & Madonna! Let's work together...

Days to go: 315

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Day 49: WWMD?

I have started thinking along the lines of those bracelets that people wear: if I had one, mine would read, "What would Madonna do?" In no way is this meant to be irreverent...

I have just decided that, when it comes to my music and the marketing thereof, what would Madonna do if she were faced with the same set of circumstances I find myself in? The answer my brain conjures up points me in the right direction, I believe. Cool hey? As Tony Robbins says, our lives are determined by the quality of the questions we ask ourselves.

Days to go: 316

Monday, March 8, 2010

Day 48: Why I LOVE Steve Jobs!

Some people in the music industry hate old Steve because he turned the music industry on its head with the digital revolution and the iPod. My sister has one and, quite frankly, I'm not that impressed. I've never understood what the big fascination is with Apple.

But I really admire Steve Jobs. I was re-reading an article on his address to students at Stanford in 2005. He said to stay hungry and stay foolish, and to keep loving what you do. His accomplishments with Apple are far less meaningful to me than his accomplishments with his own mind: he never let his own worst enemy - himself - get the better of himself. That's a great lesson to learn. He says you've got to find what you love, because the only way to be truly satisfied is to do great work, which means loving what you do.

I shall do the same with my music career.

Days to go: 317

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Day 47: Me & drugs

I can't imagine Celine Dion ever snorting coke, or Josh Groban popping pills. Maybe they do, I just cannot conceive it.

My business colleague Jayson says I'm the only musician he knows who has never taken drugs (I'm not sure if sniffing poppers counts - I did it once, it gave me a massive headache and I kept thinking, "My God I've just lost 10,000 brain cells!"). He feels I'm missing out on some psychedelic music experiences which would make me a more authentic artist and would enhance my songwriting, which I confessed to him I think is average (though I have every intention of improving that).

Anyway, I told him I already have enough vices, one of which is food, so I'm not sure I wanna get all high. I'm actually terrified that if I open that door I won't be able to close it again... So maybe I should just stay the squarest musician on the planet. I have had to make peace with the fact that I'm not a hard-core rocker anyway. I couldn't imagine myself riding a phallus on stage like Mick Jagger. Maybe I need to get more outrageous.

Days to go: 318

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Day 46: Tae Bo

Bought myself the Billy Blanks Tae Bo DVD yesterday - with money from my Christmas gigs - so that's how this is a relevant blog post!

Anyway, I did Tae Bo a couple of years ago with an instructor, and I really enjoyed it, so I thought I would give it a bash again, seeing that my bod is not looking as hot as it used to.

Image. I wonder if it really makes that big a difference. Mind you, I was speaking to a production lecturer and DJ at Soul Candi a few days ago, and we both agreed, you can make crap music and get away with it if you look great and are packaged well, but the converse is not true: you can make great music but you won't get away with it if you look like crap. I'm sure some people would disagree. I think you'd get away with it if you're already an established artist, but I think it's harder as an unknown.

Days to go: 319

Friday, March 5, 2010

Day 45: Body Talk

I went to see Beyers, my Body Talk dude, today. BT is a technique to get your organs to communicate with your brain so that your body can heal itself - in a nutshell.

Anyway, without me telling him, Beyers started prodding and pressing my body, and it told him that I am frustrated and unhappy that I am not fulfilling my music dreams. How spot on is that! But he also cautioned me to celebrate the victories. For example, my soul is not as out of whack as it used to be, thank goodness!

So yeah, this music dream is a work in progress. But it's true: it ain't going away, so I might as well deal with it.

Days to go: 320

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Day 44: Fortysomething

My sister turns 40 today in two weeks. I'm not that far behind, and with the Hollywood Size 0 mentality inculcating our perceptions of the world, it's easy to think that at 40 I'd be a has-been, or worse, a never-was. But I'm reminded of one of Tina Turner's backing singers, who was interviewed during a DVD about Tina's 60th birthday party.

This is what she said: "The music industry tends to think that if you're over 21, you're over the hill. Around 38, 40, that's when you really start singing, and everything before then has been a rehearsal." Wise woman.

Sting said something on the same DVD, and it seems appropriate to include it here, since I wrote about him yesterday: "As you get older you should get better. She's definitely one of those people - a role model for all of us." Wise man.

I'll be bringing out an album next year I'm calling Fortysomething. It'll tie in with a huge party I'm having for my birthday, which will double as an album launch. I couldn't think of a better way to live it up.

Days to go: 321

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Day 43: The 4Ps

There's a friend of mine, Greg Brest, a South African actor based in LA. He said the next time I'm there I must come and stay with him and we can hang out and chat, and he can show me more of the town. I'm sure LA will be better the second time around, with friends.

Anyway, he said it's important to remember the 4Ps of the entertainment industry (and we're not talking old-school marketing here): Perseverance. Persistence. Patience. Passion. That's great advice, because as passionate as he feels about acting, that's how I feel about singing and music.

A producer I worked with showed me a scene of Jay-Z and co. working on looking for beats for a song. They spent the whole day looking and came up with nothing. Jay-Z had this to say: "Only two things will get you through this - patience and persistence." Hey man, that's how he got the girl. I totally respect that.

Sting has this to say: "It takes a certain kind of discipline, a certain kind of mentality not just to rest on your laurels, but actually to get better at your craft." What a great musician.

Days to go: 322

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Day 42: Tuna

I'm making myself a tuna mayo sandwich. I've been lusting after one all week. I do feel sorry for the tuna, and I'm concerned about dolphin-friendly tuna, but I'm not sure I could do the vegetarian thing. I love spinach and feta and eggs and potato and cheese, so I might manage. We have dogs and cats, though - they will always be carnivorous!

Maybe I should write an album about food and promote it together with a cookbook, or something like Great British Menu or Master Chef. If you think about it, this here blog was inspired by food (one of my vices in life). Loved Julie & Julia - such a cool flick.

What would the songs be? Leek Limerick? I kissed a carrot and I liked it? Okay, this is just getting stupid.

Days to go: 323

Monday, March 1, 2010

Day 41: Why I LOVE Rudy!!!!

It's no secret that my favourite movie of all time is Rudy - I'm so inspired by the man's life. Finally listened to my yen for the beach and went away for the weekend, on a slow train to Durban, so I had a lot of time to think and read... I re-read Rudy's book, and it reminded me to never give up on my dream.

So, the truth is, even if I have to wait till I'm 83 to release that album and win that Grammy, as Rudy says, there is no time limit on dreams - just stop making excuses and go live the purpose - and never give up till you get there.

Well, let me reiterate then, and strengthen my resolve: I will not stop until I have made as much music as I possibly can, and have done everything in my power to make it the best music I can make, that the world believes is genius.

And I will never, ever, ever, ever quit. And then even if I don't get that Grammy - and I truly believe that I will - I will have no regret - the name of my new song.

Days to go: 324