Music

What I Learned From A Purple Cow

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Seth Godin, if you don’t know, is a brilliant marketer and author. I have learned so much from reading his books. I just finished his classic Purple Cow and I have a conundrum.

In Purple Cow he talks about how your product needs to be remarkable to gain the attention of anyone. And I couldn’t agree more. But it’s really hard to define “remarkable” when it comes to music.

Seth goes on to say that sometimes there is no market for your product. You should make sure there is a market before you make your product. This makes total sense for just about any widget or app. But does it make sense for music?

Is There A Market For Your Music?

Music is art. It’s self expression. I think you have to make what is inside of you, whether there is a market or not. I understand this may not be good business, so then how do you reconcile being an artist AND being a business person?

If music is a hobby, who cares? Make it. Give it to your friends and family. It’s all good.

But if music is your passion and your business, the rules change. You can’t MAKE people like your music. They either do or they don’t. They either get it or they don’t. So then the question becomes, should you dumb your music down or put on a fake persona to make music that will sell?

I don’t think that is the answer either. Nobody wants music that doesn’t feel authentic.

So what is the answer?

How To Get Fans

I think you make the music that is inside of you. You write authentic, real music that says something. Make sure your music is about something. Give potential fans something to sink their teeth into. Then you bring professionals in to help you make it as good as it can possibly be.

Once your music is recorded and packaged, you go out and find your fans one person at a time. There may not be a huge “market” for your music, but there is surely one person out there who wants to hear your message. And if there is one person, then there is 100. If there is 100, then there is 1,000.

Kevin Kelly wrote a great blog post a few years back called 1,000 True Fans. This idea was a game changer for independent musicians. I remember when I first heard about this concept, I had hope again that I could make a career out of my music.

So the idea is all you really need is 1,000 Superfans to have a successful music business. If each fan purchases $100 of goods and services from you every year, you are making $100,000 a year from your music. Not too shabby. Plus 1,000 fans is a doable number, right? So if we can take our music to the people, one at a time, find the true connection, then we find our market.

So even if the market doesn’t exist, it does. Maybe not the way Seth Godin defines it, but it’s there. The only obstacle we have is finding the first fan. That’s the scary part.

Does That First Fan Exist?

What if we can’t find that one fan? My first follow up question to you would be, how hard did you try? Did you search the planet high and low or did you just make a couple posts on your Facebook page? Did you go door to door? Did you find other bands like you and ask if you could play for them? Did you study social media marketing and really learn how to get people engaged?

A lot of times we make a very weak effort and then throw our hands up and say “See I knew that wouldn’t work!” That way we can say we tried and the let ourselves off the hook. But no one ever had any kind of success with that little of effort.

Short of that dude who won the lottery and blew it in less than a year.

If you can honestly say you put in the effort, then my next question would be how long did you put in that effort? Most “overnight success” artists have been at it for 10 years or more before they had big success. That means you have to commit your life to your music. You have to live and breath it every day. You have to want it more than you want air. And you need to be willing to do whatever you have to do (legally, of course) to be successful.

Well, if this all sounds like way too much work then maybe your music is meant to be a hobby. And that’s ok. Make the music you love. Give it to friends and family. Enjoy it for the art it is and let the rest go.

There are a lot of ways to make money out there. But there is only one you. You are the only one who can make the music you make, so it is your job to make it.

And I promise, if it is authentic and true to who you are, I guarantee you there is someone waiting to hear it.

What Do You Think?

Is there a market for everyone’s music? Or should musicians create music for the market that exists? I would love to hear your opinion. Just scroll down and leave me a comment below!

Nesting Is Here!

The new single from Chris Swan is here!

If you are still looking for the one, you are not alone. This song is for you.

Top 10 Positive Hip Hop Songs Of All Time

Top 10 Positive Hip Hop Songs Of All Time

What is “positive hip hop?” That’s something we can debate for days. Does positive hip hop have to be clean? Uplifting? Christian? We will continue to have that conversation, but for now here is how I define it:

Positive hip hop music is rap music that lifts you up, inspires you and makes you feel connected to others.

The reason I wanted to define it first is because some of the songs on this list are “Christian Hip Hop” songs. Some are not. Some have explicit lyrics. Some do not.

But all of these songs have one thing in common: They make us feel something.

A lot of these songs are suggestions submitted by YOU so thanks so much for your help in putting this list together!

Ok here we go…

Top 10 Positive Hip Hop Songs Of All Time

10. G.O.D. (Gaining One’s Definition) - Common feat. Ce-Lo

9. Sweet Victory - Trip Lee

8. I Can - Nas

7. Forest Whitaker - Brother Ali

6. Beautiful - Eminem

5. Moment Of Truth - Gang Starr

4. Crooked Smile - J. Cole

3. Blessings - Lecrae

2. No Problem - Chance the Rapper feat. Lil’ Wayne and 2Chainz

1. Good Day - Nappy Roots

What Do you Think?

What did I miss? What songs should have made the cut? Be sure to leave me a comment below and let me know. I may make a part 2 and include your suggestions!

P.S. Be sure to check out my other Top 10 Lists including my Top 10 Positive Rappers List!

Get 3 Free Songs Of Hope!

Rap Songs About Recovery

Rap Songs About Recovery

I used to drink every single day at WORK!

10 Long Island Teas. 10 double shots of Grand Marnier.

That is how I would start every day at the office. First thing. Before I could get any work done, I had to down at least a couple of each.

Now, full disclosure, I am a full-time musician. I make money from playing music in bars and restaurants i.e. “The Office.” It may be one of the very few jobs where drinking is actually ENCOURAGED on the job.

Sounds awesome, right?

Not at all. I guess it is at first, but it gets old really fast. Because the more your drink, the more you NEED to drink to have a good time. It got to the point where I was living out one of the famous scenes from The Blues Brother’s movie. I would have to pay more for my bar tab than I was getting paid for my services.

And then afterward, I would spend the rest of my money at Taco Bell.

That is what we call an unsustainable business model. And it was. Both for my pocketbook and my body.

It got to the point where I was drinking at least 20 drinks a night and still not feeling a thing. I would throw up from all the shear intake of liquid, then turn around and keep drinking hoping that eventually I would get a little buzz.

Dude. What a miserable existence.

I knew I had to quit when I ended up the E.R. with severe heart palpitations. That was my rock bottom. And I walked out of that hospital and began my sobriety journey.

The hardest part for me was still playing in bars every night. Just because I wasn’t drinking, that didn’t mean i didn’t have to go to work. I had to sit there and watch everyone party around me.

It really sucked.

I was jealous and pissed a lot. I was probably not a lot of fun to be around either.

But it did get better with time.

Anyhoo, the whole reason I am telling you all of this is because one of the biggest saviors in my recovery has been music. I have been able to put all my struggles into rap songs about recovery. It has given me an outlet to pour all my emotion into. I don’t know what I would do without it. I mean, I would still recover one day at a time, but having music to turn to has been a game changer for me.

One of the first songs I wrote about my recovery was a song called “Pain.” As you might guess, it was a song about just how bad my life had gotten. I was in a lot of physical pain and even more emotional pain. I was struggling to see any hope or any way out. So I sat down and wrote a super honest song about it.

“Pain” was really hard to write. I knew if I was going to do this song, I had to be brutally honest. There are a few lines in that song that I still cringe when I hear because it takes me back to that awful place.

Here is one particularly rough part of the song for me to listen to:

“Every day is a battle of wills,
My body versus me and who's got the skills?
Will I get out of bed, able to walk with a high head,
Or will I need a wheelchair instead?
I have to choose if the joy of sitting down is worth the pain of getting up,
Man, writing that down and saying it out loud feels really messed up.”

It was true. I could barely walk and I was headed for a wheelchair for sure. At the age of 40 I was about to need a wheelchair. Not because of any injury or life-threatening disease, but because I couldn’t stop drinking and eating and I had gained so much weight that my body was crumbling beneath me.

One of the first songs I wrote after going to a food recovery retreat and starting to work the 12 steps of Overeaters Anonymous (same as Alcoholics Anonymous), was a song called “The Mess Around.” I wrote this song with my good friend Chela Mancuso.

This was one of the first songs I wrote when I started to see hope again. This was a fun one to write and record. I still enjoy listening to this one because it reminds me of the hope I have found in recovery!

The Mess Around is all about telling my former drinking buddies why I don’t drink anymore. Basically , get off my case, stop asking me to “just have one dude!” because I don’t mess around anymore.

The lyrics in the third verse really sum it all up:

“ I don't mess around anymore 'cuz I am finally free,
I don't need to impress you people, I can let it be,
And I don't need to escape and numb my feelings out,
I'm not afraid anymore, yo, you should check this out,
See there's a reason that you're here, just have to take the time,
Be willing, honest and sure to open up your mind,
And when you do, I think it's safe to say you're gonna find,
It's time to leave that mess behind, and time to shine.”

I am so thankful for all the songs on my Welcome To The Fellowship album. Each song chronicles a different aspect of my recovery. These songs were a way to get the pain out but they were also a way to express my hope and joy that was starting to come back into my life.

I still go back and listen to these songs quite often. They inspire me and remind me that I’m not alone on this journey. I am part of a “distinct entity” of folks in recovery and I couldn’t be prouder to be a part of this family.

I hope you know that you are never alone. You are surrounded by people who want to love you. Don’t be afraid to reach out.

And when you just don’t know what else to do, please don’t forget that music has the power to change your life. Find the music that speaks to you, turn it on and let it wash over you. Music has always shouted truth to me over all the lies rambling around in my brain.

It’s ready and waiting to do the same for you.

Inspirational Rap Lyrics

Hip hop has saved my life more times than I can count. When I felt lonely as a child, hip hop was there for me.

I would sit in my room and listen to all my favorite rappers like Dr. Dre, Coolio, Cypress Hill to name a few. It was the 90’s, ya know. These rappers were my friends. They were there to encourage me. Hang out with me. And they inspired me to go into my own studio and create my own songs.

When I quit drinking, hip hop was my outlet to voice my frustrations. I could use this music to talk about how hard it was. I could also use this music to show others that it was possible for them too.

To this day, when I struggle with resentment, fear or shame, hip hop is a big part of the healing for me. There are so many songs that have inspired me over the years. I wanted to put some of my favorite inspirational rap lyrics together in a blog post and share them with you.

I hope you find as much encouragement in these lyrics as I have.

If I ever took a loss, I learned a lesson
I won’t ever think I’m better than the next man
I’ve been down before the come up, I ain’t stressin’
Baby I’m too busy countin’ all these blessings, blessings
— Lecrae (Blessings)
They try to shut us down, and it ain’t gon’ slide
Only thing I fear is God and He on my side
That’s the confidence of God, ‘cause He got me
That’s why I really feel like
You can’t stop me!
— Andy Mineo (You Can't Stop Me)
You only get one life
And every time you lookin’ at yours
You feel like everything you have is a waste!
And the problem and the reason you could never fill a hole in your life
Is because you were never awake
— NF (Wake Up)
But I can’t forget the motto, motto
No more mediocre, just getting by though
I’m in His image, I been down for a minute
But I’m getting up today, and I’ma fight till I’m finished
— Trip Lee (Clouds)
I got my full armor on, my head to the sky
I’m going into battle with my horns up high
And I’m through playing games; you can see it in my eyes
And you can go and ask anybody I’m a ride and I ain’t turning back
— Thi'sl (I Ain't Turning Back)
Take a hit and never quit
Might be down but never out
There are days that I fail
And the trains off the rail
Through the pain we prevail
Tell ‘em you just gotta live
— Tedashii (Gotta Live)
I’m a dreamer but I ain’t the only one got problems
But we love to have fun
This is our world, from here to your hood
We alive man, it’s okay to feel good
— K'Naan (Dreamer)

Community Is Here!

The new single from Chris Swan is here!

I had a friend in college who always used to say "No man is an island." I mean, he said it all the time. And even though we used to make fun of him for it, we knew he was right. A life lived in isolation is sure to be a life of misery. We need people. We need community. I wrote this song to remind us all how true this is.

Community is Principle #7 in my 12 Core Principles to a happy and fulfilled life.

Perseverance Is Here!

The new single from Chris Swan is here!

This year I am releasing a new song every month. Each song represents one of 12 core principles I have found to be the key to a happy and fulfilling life. Perseverance is the 6th principle and my single for June. It's also the hardest principle to spell. :) It is fitting that it is halfway through the year because it is all about seeing things through to the end.

It's a simple, quirky song that I hope inspires people to never give up. Home is always just one more step away!

Believe Is Here!

The new single from Chris Swan is here!

If we want to achieve anything in life, we need to stop being so cynical. We need to allow ourselves to believe in something. I have lived on both sides of this principle and found nothing but misery while being cynical.

Once I chose to believe in possibility, everything changed. I want this for others who dream of changing their lives. If that sounds familiar, then this song was written for you!

Serve Is Here!

The new single from Chris Swan is here!

This year I am releasing a new song every month. Each song represents one of 12 core principles I have found to be the key to a happy and fulfilling life. Abundance was the first, Gratitude the second, Acceptance the third and now comes the fourth principle - Serve.

A life dedicated to serving others does so much for us. It makes us feel helpful, it brings us joy and it makes the world a better place. I'm excited to share this fourth principle with a pop-influenced hip-hop song that is beat heavy, catchy and sure to bring some joy your life!

Serving Others

“All of me should be serving you”

This year I am putting out a new single every month. Each single represents one of the 12 core principles I believe are the key to a happy and fulfilled life. The first principle was Abundance, the second was Gratitude, third Acceptance and now comes the fourth - Serve.

I have spent a lot of years of my life being extremely selfish. I would spend my days just trying to make myself happy. I was all in my head, making every little thing all about me. I couldn’t figure out why it wasn’t working.

If I was spending so much time trying to figure how to be happy, why was I still so miserable?

That is where the fourth principle comes in. A life lived only serving ourselves is always going to come up short. We end up feeling lonely, inadequate, frustrated and exhausted. It just doesn’t work. The true path to happiness has to include serving others.

When we serve others, we get outside of our heads. We focus on someone else and take our minds off of our own problems. It gives us freedom from the stresses of life as we spend time working on another’s problems.

It helps us connect with one another and realize we are not alone. It helps us feel understood. We are all brothers and sisters and connected on a deep, spiritual level. The only way to experience that feeling is to spend time together.

Serving others brings us satisfaction in knowing we are useful. It reminds us that we matter. The world needs us and every time we serve another, we are shown how much that is true. We each possess very specific skills that we can use to help others. It is our duty to get out there and use those skills.

Serving others shows us how much we can truly affect our surroundings. Helping someone in a small way can send a huge ripple effect out into the world. If you open a door for someone and ask how their day is going, you put a smile on that person’s face and lift their spirits. That makes them want to do something nice for the next person. And then that person goes out does something for another and on and on it goes.

Serving another can actually change the world. Isn’t that amazing?

Serving others makes us feel good. It’s the combination of all these things that brings us joy and peace. It puts our problems in perspective and reminds us how much we have to live for. Serving is a way to change the world, yes. But it is also a way to change OUR own world.

I hope on April 1st, 2019 you will take a listen to my new single Serve. I think it will remind you how important this principle is to all of us and it might just inspire you to start a ripple of your own!

Acceptance Is Here!

The new single from Chris Swan is here!

This is the year of change and Acceptance is the third single in a series of "mindset-changing" songs by inspirational hip-hop artist Chris Swan. This song is based on the 12 core principles that Swan believes is the cure for depression and anxiety. The first being Abundance, the second Gratitude and now the third is Acceptance. Once we learn to accept the people around us and the situations we find ourselves in, the sooner we will find peace.

We can't change other people. We can only change ourselves. This song is an upbeat hip-hop anthem for practicing acceptance in our every day lives!

Acceptance - New Single From Chris Swan

The new single from Chris Swan and Soul Motivation Records is coming on March 1st!

This is the year of change and Acceptance is the third single in a series of "mindset-changing" songs by inspirational hip-hop artist Chris Swan. This song is based on the 12 core principles that Swan believes is the cure for depression and anxiety. The first being Abundance, the second Gratitude and now the third is Acceptance. Once we learn to accept the people around us and the situations we find ourselves in, the sooner we will find peace. We can't change other people. We can only change ourselves. This song is an upbeat hip-hop anthem for practicing acceptance in our every day lives!

Gratitude Is Here!

The new single from Chris Swan is here!

This is the year of change and Gratitude is the second single in a series of "mindset-changing" songs by inspirational hip-hop artist Chris Swan. The song has a banging beat, a catchy sing-a-long hook, and clean, inspiring lyrics reminding us to focus on all the blessings in our life. Everything we want is right in front of us, we just have to choose to see it by practicing gratitude!

Gratitude - New Single From Chris Swan

The new single from Chris Swan and Soul Motivation Records is coming on February 1st!

2019 is the year of change and Gratitude is the second single in a series of "mindset-changing" songs by inspirational hip-hop artist Chris Swan. The song has a banging beat, a catchy sing-a-long hook, and clean, inspiring lyrics reminding us to focus on all the blessings in our life. Everything we want is right in front of us, we just have to choose to see it by practicing gratitude!

Abundance Is Here!

The new single from Chris Swan is here!

Abundance is Chris Swan's first single of 2019 from Soul Motivation Records. The song was written to help us start the year with the right mindset. If we are thankful for what we have and we believe God will provide what we need, then there's no need to worry. There's plenty to go around when you are living abundantly!

Abundance - New Single From Chris Swan

The new single from Chris Swan and Soul Motivation Records is coming on January 1st!

The song is designed to help us start the year with the right mindset. If we are thankful for what we have and we believe God will provide what we need, then there's no need to worry. There's plenty to go around when you are living abundantly!

Oh yea, and it’s a jam.

Fight Song Is Here!

The new single from Chris Swan is here and this time it’s a cover song!

“I have always loved this song and thought it would be cool to do a hip-hop version of it. I tried to take elements of the song that were already very hip-hop in nature and exaggerate them. I hope you dig it,” says Swan.

Video: Welcome To The Fellowship CD Release Party!

If you missed my CD release party for Welcome to the Fellowship, fear not. I had some great friends there who shot some video and I thought it would be cool to share it with you. Click play below to check out the videos.

P.S. If you haven’t got your copy of Welcome to the Fellowship yet, what are you waiting for? Get it here ==> BUY NOW <==

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Fight Song - The New Single From Chris Swan

My new single is coming December 1st, 2018 and this time it’s my very first cover song - Fight Song by Rachel Platten!

I took this already awesome song and extracted the hip-hop elements from it and turned it into a hip-hop jam.

I can’t wait for you to hear it!