Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Living that dream...

I have been battling to get my Christmas album into stores this year. A whole bunch of people promised me that they would help me (some big name stores), and they have all let me down. It has discouraged me, and I have been feeling quite down about it.

But then I did a Facebook update about the album, and my cousin, whom I haven't spoken to for ages, sent me a message that said this:

....Awesome! Congrats Rob!! You are living your awesome!

Suddenly I feel a lot better. I have to remember that I am indeed living my dream. It may not be easy, and I may not have achieved the levels of success I have dreamed of (yet), but I am, in fact, living my dream.

I find it foreign, and hard to believe, that so many people are too afraid to live their dreams.

I want to encourage the world, through this blog post: go live your dream. It won't necessarily make you happier, but it will give your life purpose and meaning...

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Freddie Mercury & My Doctorate

I attended a lecture at Unisa on Thursday this week, which detailed the brand that was Freddie Mercury (well, he is still a brand actually - all good brands outlive their shelf lives). I was encouraged to attend by my academic supervisors at the University of Johannesburg, who had heard the lecture. They believe that this is a very strong topic for my D Litt et Phil degree, which is my doctorate in marketing communications.

When I first met with them, I told them, "I have to do this about music, or I will never finish it." They told me initially that they wanted me to do a study on socio-cybernetics, which involves systems theory, complexity theory, and change and chaos management (think The Butterfly Effect). It would no doubt have been a fascinating study, given that the music industry is forever changed when we get a new technology (vinyl, tape, CD, MP3). But it's not as sexy as doing a study on people as music brands.

When my supervisors attended the Freddie Mercury lecture, they immediately thought of me and what a great angle this would be for my doctorate. I am so thrilled that they did. This is the kind of topic that will get me out of bed in the morning, and I can use it to build my own music brand. For the first time this year, I am actually excited about my doctorate again - and I love it, because this study will force me to build my own music career, and I have no excuses not to.

As I wrote previously, we can sometimes not see how the things in our lives are linked, and I used to wonder what marketing communications and music had in common in my life. I see it more clearly now than ever.

As I listened to the lecture on Freddie Mercury, I felt happy, sad, angry, relieved, encouraged, discouraged, envious, inspired. My dad loved Queen, so it also reminded me of him, and I felt a twinge of nostalgia and realised again that my life is so blessed and so perfect, simply because each and every experience I have had is on the way, not in the way, as my guru/mentor John Demartini reminds us.

I also loved what the speaker said, as I asked him after the lecture if I could set up an appointment with him to discuss my doctorate. I said I wanted to do a comparative study on the biggest music brands in the world (which would probably need to include The Beatles, Elvis, Michael Jackson, and of course Freddie Mercury). He said something amazing to me, which I will remember for the rest of my life: he said they all had the balls to be different. This reminded me that in order for me to become my star, I need to have the balls to be different. He said that Freddie Mercury had the courage to grow, and the courage to face the challenges of the music world, to become a brand. As Julie Andrews sings in The Sound of Music, "I am seeking the courage I lack."

But I am gettin' there, baby... Each and every day, I grow in confidence to move my music career forward, and I am loving the journey.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Building my brand's equity

The serendipity of the universe never ceases to amaze me. I think I often questioned why it is that I ended up studying marketing communications at the same time that I was studying music. Now it's so patently clear why that was one of the best decisions I have ever made.

Everybody bandies about the branding thing: branding this, branding that, build the brand, protect the brand. I think sometimes people have no clue what that means, but when you have had a plethora of brand experts tell you that everybody is involved in building the brand, it should come as no surprise that everybody talks about branding.

Allow me to indulge my narcissism for a minute: I actually studied branding! It was the topic for my master's degree in marketing communications. I have used that knowledge to build the Rob Rodell brand, and it has become one of my lifelong pursuits.

Imagine then, how happy I was, when I went to the Wedding Expo at The Dome in Jo'burg this past Sunday, and a woman photographer said to me, "Oh, but I've seen your logo somewhere before. Why does your name sound so familiar?" You couldn't wipe the smile off my face as I whooped with glee! I am finally building my brand's equity, and brand familiarity is slowly starting to take root. I ain't a global megastar yet, but even the world's greatest brands had humble beginnings.

This is what I live for, baby! Building a powerful music brand is the most fun in the world...

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Amy Winehouse

It's been a few days since her passing, and I have been thinking about her death at age 27. This is my take on the matter: her story was told at a young age, and she had said what she wanted to say. Time for a new existence plane. Ditto Michael Jackson at age 50.

That's the primary reason why I want to live to 100 and make an impact that lasts even longer, because it has already taken so long to tell my story so far, and I feel like I haven't even started yet. I need time, baby! I am the tortoise, not the hare...

Saturday, April 23, 2011

My most encouraging text messages

I've just got myself a Blackberry, and I'm busy transferring data over from my old phone. I was deleting messages and these are the messages I have found that I kept, because they were so encouraging! Thre are also a few Facebook messages and other electronic communiques I kept because they meant so much to me, and have reminded me how my music has made an impact on people:

"Hi Rob, wanted to let you know that I received your CD. Thank you for all your assistance. Will support you always." - Pranesh Daya, the very first person to buy one of my CDs.

"Hi my friend, I love your songs. I must listen more and talk on Sunday. The duo with that girl is my numero uno." - Flo/Tzipora, a great friend and fellow musician.

"Thanks my baby - Love Mom." - a message from my mom after I gave her a gift - yes I admit it, I'm a real mommy's boy!

"Awwwww... but I miss u... :) Thank u for everythin!!! Luv u lots.... :)" - Priya Singh, one of my singing students.

"You go! I attended... AWESOME!! You're great Rob!" - Sabrina, one of my Facebook friends, who sent this encouraging message after she attended the U2 concert in Johannesburg in Feb 2011. My friends had asked me why I wasn't attending, and I said because Bono hadn't asked me to sing with him. Sabrina agreed...

"Hey Rob, I still can't enough of your voice on Could This Be Love." - Cubique Deejay Cb, a DJ in Jozi who played the house remix of my song at clubs all over the city.

"Hope she sings and barks like her rock daddy. XXX Blessed Christmas to you and yours XXX." - Starr Veldsman, cool Facebook friend, on hearing we had got Kiri, a our new labrador pup, for Christmas 2010. Named after the New Zealand soprano Kiri te Kanawa, Kiri has been such a bundle of joy from Day 1. And she has just brought me a twig from outside and put her dirty wet paws all over my clothes! Love her to pieces...

"I'm rockin tha t-shirt 2nyt at catch up zone. Will b playin at 12. Peace Mr Rob!" - DJ Cuebur, Mr Talented, who turned my song into a house hit and made it popular in clubs. It was finally released on 15 April 2011 on the Candi Roots Album - two days after I found out about my SAMA nomination! Here's hoping it gets re-playlisted on radio, and that the album goes platinum...

"Rocking 'could this be luv' ryt now..." - DJ Cuebur, 17 December 2010, at a club in Mpumalanga.

"Yo Rob the song is submitted, just waiting 4 it 2 be aired, I played it at 4 clubs and already it's a hit, especially with the ladies. Will keep u posted." - Tshepo, DJ from Grahamstown, Eastern Cape.

"Ey Rob, listnd 2 da trak u made with Cuba... killer killer killer." - Tlhoni 'Nico' Dietsiso, Facebook friend & former Soul Candi student, 3 Dec 2010.

"Hey Rob, that's awesome news. Well done on that and I hope it opens many doors for you. What a great start to the year! X Kristel." - Kristel Birkholtz, super-talented violinist who has recorded on my albums, congratulating me on becoming the first person in the world to do my licentiate in singing through Rockschool - and passing with distinction...

"Hi my friend. Hope u well. Want 2 know if I can buy 2 of ur Christmas CD's 2 take 2 my sisters as Christmas presents?" - my brilliant friend Nan, who is my #1 fan in the world.

"Hey Rob, tk u 4 the personalised CD & 4 coming 2 the party. U were amazing & our friends loved your gr8 personality & being with u!" - Deirdre Randall, wonderfully warm wife of a former student of mine, Ken Randall, after I attended their son Matt's 21st birthday party in August 2009. I gave him an autographed copy of my first album as a birthday present.

"Hi Rob, u guys did a great job on your CD. Which one did you think I liked best? It was the 4th track, Could This Be Love. Great song!" - great friend Bridget Devine, after the release of my first album, back in 2008. I always knew that song was a good one - sometimes you just know... Maybe it's the intensity with which you write it, when you really have something to say...

"Music is schedules in synchronicity." - Beyers Bresler, my BodyTalk therapist, who has heard me rant & rave about my music career while he's trying to align my body. I love the overlap between what he says & the teachings of John Demartini, the coolest human behavioural specialist on the planet.

"I just bought your book! Sign it!!!" - Noelle Baroody, the coolest American chick in South Africa, now back in the US, in Arizona. She bought my book 'Flip Simon the Finger.' Check it out here:

"Do not do it again! It was perfect this time!!! Love Mom" - my wonderful mom again, with a text message she sent me after one of my very first live radio interviews back in 2008.

"Hey RR. Tx u 4 such an amazing evening last nyt. U have an amazing voice. I was privileged 2 b there 2 celebrate with u. A big congrats! NK." - My #1 fan again, Nan Kramer, the night after our first album launch back in September 2008.

"Hi Rob - well done for the other night! Great CD!" - Jody de Reuck, my former therapist (she HAS to like my stuff!)

"Hmmm, not too bad at all... and I am quite discerning... I wouldn't say fussy, though :)" - Jacqui Tasker, one of the most beautiful - and difficult - women I have ever met. That she likes my stuff is testimony to the fact that it has SOME quality at least, since she has such high standards...

"Thank u. U have my admiration & respect." - Andrea Crystal, my academic supervisor, when I was busy finishing up my master's degree. I always say that the 3 most difficult things I ever had to do was learn how to sing properly, release my first album, and finish my master's degree. Andrea was brilliant in the way she helped me, pushing me to new heights in my academic career... My D Litt et Phil is about the music industry, so I'll always be grateful to Andrea.

"Ate your triple choc pud - sorry - not!" - A cheeky message from my mom again...

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

I'm a SAMA Nominee!!!!!!!

Just a quick post. Tonight I was nominated for a South African Music Award (SAMA) - the local equivalent of the Grammys! I'm thrilled to bits! It's such an honour.

Keep you posted...

Thursday, March 24, 2011

it's raining crazy in my life...

The year is already almost in April, and I have barely scratched the surface. The most wonderfully significant news at the moment is that my house remix track done by Cuebur and Shimza is to be released on the Candi Roots album under the Soul Candi Records label. They're brilliant with house, they know what they're doing with releases, and they are damn good when it comes to promotion and marketing. I so appreciate the extra pair of hands...

Potentially sadly, there is a good chance I will need to go back into corporate marketing to be able to make ends meet. Hey, such is life. I must say, I welcome the financial stability, there are still 120 hours in the week to move my music career forward, and I think the big salary will help ease the pain...

"Viva! Amandla!" as they would say here in Africa...