Expressing Yourself

One thing I have learned while learning to understand my emotions is that there are different categories and types of emotions. Some seem perpetual, while others are powerful and yet momentary emotions. Knowing which type of emotion you are experiencing can be the key to satisfying the need to express your feelings. Do you feel this strong sensation that seems to be overpowering every other emotion or rational thought, if so, let us call that a spike. On the other hand, if you aren’t doing anything very stimulating to the body or mind and kind of just are observing your own vibe that you have been feeling for a while, let’s call that a concrete feeling. Take enough to time to realize if the feeling is a spike or a concrete feeling. Once you have recognized the type, at least in my experience, you should be able to focus on that feeling and even topic while expressing yourself through writing.

Specifically while writing about the concrete feeling, things might come out seeming a little deeper and true to your past. Your history and identity overall will be emphasized because most likely you have experience at least a similar emotion on multiple occasions throughout your life. Even more so, others might have experienced this same feeling a multitude of times. Make a concrete connection with your audience.

Most likely, you and your audience have also experienced what I am referring to as a spike. This this type of emotion can seem very powerful. As your expressing yourself, the written piece can start off strong, then fall flat the next day. Be weary of this dilemma. Try to write down some of the key characteristics of how you were feeling during the spike. That way, you have some notes to help you reconnect to feelings in that moment, if you wish to continue what you were writing.

Write your emotions into your pieces. Take some time to realize what you are/were feeling. Feelings can be complex. Fun fact, you do experience multiple emotions at once, hence the term mixed feelings. So, when really trying to express yourself as well as get understood by your audience, give your emotions the respect they deserve. In doing so, it will seem that you are more in touch with your emotions and your audience can relate to your pieces heavily.

 

Last Minute Performance Planning

Firstly this is not how I recommend all your performances should be planned. Still, I have done it a few times, so here are a few tips to get more out of the performance and hopefully not be so nervous. 

1. Work with what you have.

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Pushing yourself to the absolute limit to squeeze in all the preparation you should have done long beforehand can be exhausting and detrimental. Depending on how far along with the song and memorizing it you could be in for a string of long grinding nights to cram. Realize where you are and go forward to meet the deadline, prepare what you NEED for the performance. Without a doubt, there will be some things that you have to adjust, to work with the schedule if you have not at least finished production of the song you plan to perform. That’s all ok though. Focus on the people you will be performing too and the event itself. This can provide the mood of your performance and how you will decide to win the crowd’s appreciation.

2. Keep the Event Planner/Host Updated

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While you are working up a sweat on those lyrics and music make sure the person that is allowing you on their event’s stage knows that you are as serious about this as they are. Tell them where you are, don’t get offended when they get concerned about your progress. Show them, answer their questions. Reassure them by showing them your optimism and confidence that you will get the job done. They obviously want you on their stage, act like you appreciate it and are excited to be ready in time.

3. Memorize and Practice

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I don’t think it would have been acceptable to read off the paper for any of the events I have performed at… Outside of this just kind of seeming unprepared, it can also dull your showcase. What if you miss read a word, or don’t read every sentence, or worse; read it off beat because you are just trying to keep up. Honestly, that is really bad. Unless it is a part of your performance theme then it shouldn’t seem like you are reading off a script. Feel free and enjoy your performance and get the crowd involved. When you are focused on the performance then you can miss a line or forget to start on time and just bounce back without needing to find your place on a piece of paper. You can even add a small freestyle. Be spontaneous, and practiced.

Go With The Flow

Writing lyrics is expressive and does not have to stem from a specific realistic origin. Lyrics can come from an individual feelings; an abstract and intangible element. These lyrics can be powerful and deeply inspiring. The need for a predetermined goal for the series of lyrics does not have to always be present. Sometimes just letting the lyrics flow can result in an as descriptive and expressive project as intended and more.

8 Step Guide To Collaborations (First Timers) Final

Lately a number of artists and friends have been asking me for collaborations on their projects; productions, lyric writing, and full on song creation (Mix & Mastering). I am thrilled. While I have been putting in so much time thinking about getting my rapping and producing to the next level I am more than excited for the challenge of working with other artists to create some amazing  works.

The biggest challenge for me will be working out a mutually beneficial collaboration schedule with these creatives. With this in mind, the tactics that have been instilled in me by my current and past jobs will be my point of reference in these negotiations. It’s time to get started!

  • Respect
  • Breaks
  • Flexibility
  • Don’t Take It Personally!
  • You are not getting paid!
  • They aren’t getting paid either!
  • Don’t be a know it all
  • Read up/research

Don’t be a know it all

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You know how you could not be a know it all? Ask questions and then listen to the response. When you don’t know the answer say you don’t know and if possible try to help solve the problem, you could learn about it too. Who wants to work with a know it all anyways? I sure don’t.

Read up/Research

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Seek your knowledge and know a little something before you come into the session. Maybe there is a question you have or concern that you haven’t had enough information to solve on your own. Research it. All the difference can be made when you give the effort of finding information that is useful to you. In this search you can wind up in a completely different place learning even more than you planned too. Where is the negative in that? Plus anything that you learned can be introduced to the group when it becomes relevant. Slowly and surely your knowledge and experience will rack up and your value to your group or any other affiliations will rise considerably so never stop seeking more knowledge.

Conclusion

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There is a lot that goes into collaborations. From respect to research to flexibility the details of the meet up can drastically change the outcome of it. Don’t stress to much. Take this information and apply it in the most useful way as possible for you. I hope this series positively influences someone to have a great first time during a collaboration.

Thank You for reading.

8 Step Guide To Collaborations (First Timers) Continued…

Lately a number of artists and friends have been asking me for collaborations on their projects; productions, lyric writing, and full on song creation (Mix & Mastering). I am thrilled. While I have been putting in so much time thinking about getting my rapping and producing to the next level I am more than excited for the challenge of working with other artists to create some amazing  works.

The biggest challenge for me will be working out a mutually beneficial collaboration schedule with these creatives. With this in mind, the tactics that have been instilled in me by my current and past jobs will be my point of reference in these negotiations. It’s time to get started!

  • Respect
  • Breaks
  • Flexibility
  • Don’t Take It Personally!
  • You are not getting paid!
  • They aren’t getting paid either!
  • Don’t be a know it all
  • Read up/research

Don’t Take it Personally!

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People are great. When they do some not so great things don’t assume it’s about you! People have just as much going on in their lives as you do and if not, more. If these people are your true friends or people that your trusted ones vouch for don’t assume they are out to get you when stuff goes wrong. Asking some open ended and non-condescending questions could help the group and you figure out what’s really the problem. Nine times out of ten it is not you personally. So when you all figure out what is troubling the group member try to help out and give thoughtful suggestions so the group can get the most positive result from the situation. Best case you all get closer to your group member by sincerely helping them through his struggle and the group comes up with a dope production.

You Are Not Getting Paid!

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Relax. Chances are that this first collaboration will not be the determining checkpoint of your entire career. Mistakes are common so roll with the punches. Be creative. Don’t be a stickler on just what you think will start getting you paid immediately; especially when the group is not all on board with the same scheme. This collaboration is a passion not a paycheck; indulge in the experience you will gain from meeting not just the potential monetary benefits.

They are Not Getting Paid Either!

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Tell them to relax! Unless you all went to a studio session with a engineer that requires payment in some form, then no one in there is getting paid either. Pushing your team to take chances and grow is good, pushing them as if they can get on board or get out is over board. It’s your first collaboration. Work with your team. Don’t work over them. When they get stressed remind them that they don’t have to worry and it’s more about the experience, playing around, and learning in the moment anyways.

P.S. The final steps will be in the next post. Stay tuned!

8 Step Guide To Collaborations (First Timers)

Lately a number of artists and friends have been asking me for collaborations on their projects; productions, lyric writing, and full on song creation (Mix & Mastering). I am thrilled. While I have been putting in so much time thinking about getting my rapping and producing to the next level I am more than excited for the challenge of working with other artists to create some amazing  works.

The biggest challenge for me will be working out a mutually beneficial collaboration schedule with these creatives. With this in mind, the tactics that have been instilled in me by my current and past jobs will be my point of reference in these negotiations. It’s time to get started!

  • Respect
  • Breaks
  • Flexibility
  • Don’t Take It Personally!
  • You are not getting paid!
  • They aren’t getting paid either!
  • Don’t be a know it all
  • Read up/research

Respect

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Respect the artist. They have busy schedules so when they finally have the time to work with you try your best to work with them. Odds are they have other obligations in their life, you do too; so try to be as understanding as possible.  Ask them when they would like to reschedule and what their contact information is so you all can plan if something comes up again. Treat them like they are as serious about this as you are.

Breaks

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During the collaboration you can easily get stressed. Plan breaks! In the beginning energies are really high; everyone is happy to “put in work” and as time passes people can get a little on edge to say the least. When the group gets consistently redundant or unproductive it’s time for a break. Make them consistent as well as flexible.  Give them some time to focus on something else and take the edge off before you all get back to the grind of production. If possible, add food; everyone likes food.

Flexibility

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Make a plan that can change with the people involved. This can be tricky sometimes. Everyone has busy schedules and all of them are subject to change with or without any notifications. It’s ok. If you all or most of the group are first timers, it’s expected. Make sure that a goal is in mind before the meet up. What needs to get done? How much work and time will this take? Does everyone have to be here to do this? (Most likely yes if the group wants to make sure it’s done right) What has to be done sooner than later? What is less important to the group and therefore can be scheduled for another time if current time constraints don’t allow enough time to complete the task. Etc… A Lot can go into the plan and those are just a few important questions to ask.

What does all that have to do with Flexibility? Everything. If you know how you’re going to get stuff done down to the minute and the pieces of the task then when something goes wrong and someone is a no show, it’s ok. You know exactly what went wrong and hopefully after going through all that detail you know how to easily rearrange the plan to fit the new situation. Ask some of the questions from up there again. It would also be a good idea to keep things as simple as feasibly possible. Simple, simple planning and simple changes can make all the difference in making sure the group gets as much done as possible.

P.S. : The rest of the steps will be on future post’s. Stay tuned.1

Significant Moment

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Given an interesting idea by an associate of mine at the time, I set out to do something no one else had ever done at Life School. I was going to make a rap song for the school and then perform it in front of the entire school during a football pep rally at the all new campus. This was big! I mean, I knew that I was a rapper and I was confident in my writing skills, this was an opportunity to show that I was ready for such a challenge.

The big kicker was that I had to write a song and memorize it in about 10 days! More like 8 days, because one of my favorite teachers at the time; Ms. Winnet had to approve the words and message it conveyed before the final plan for the pep rally was made. I was stoked, because the fastest I had ever written an entire song was 5 months… 5 months. Talk about adjusting turn around times. To put this in perspective this is like asking a turtle to become an Olympic sprinter! Like the parable about the tortoise and the hair, I was determined to rise to the challenge.

    To prepare for this I basically went through my own writer and rapper boot camp. I won’t go into detail right now, just know it had hours of brainstorming, writing, rapping, beat choosing, and a lot of inapplicable content. (In-applicable content: all content that you write/produce, and can’t utilize at that Specific Moment; it’s NEVER trash!) Exhausting about sums up how that process felt. That feeling completely transformed 9 days later when Ms. Winnet said “Alright, sounds good!” I had risen to the challenge and I was ready to show the entire school!