Posted: Aug 8, 2016
Category: The Musician Business
**Music Director and guitarist for Kenny Babyface Edmonds, composer, artist and author of: The Career Guitarist.
Typically when speaking of a musician who solely earns their money from music, we refer to them as a professional musician. I just simplified it and coined the phrase Career Musician, then narrowed that down to Career Guitarist which is the embodiment of what I’ve done throughout my career in the music industry, which includes:
- Live Gigs (as a ‘sideman’ playing for other artists in live performances)
- Session Musician (same as the live sideman context but only in the studio recording on other artists)
- Composer (for TV or Film and other multi-media purposes)
- Producer (producing records for other artists)
- Educator/Clinician (teaching online or private lessons, lecturing at Universities/Colleges, hosting music clinics/master classes)
Hence, I am a Career Guitarist in the truest sense of the word, wherein this is not only my talent but also my vocation or career.
First and foremost you must believe in yourself and your mission. Most often this comes with time and experience, so that being said, the next step is to persevere. Sheer determination and will-power are essential ingredients, but the ability to move forward with your dreams even in the face of extreme opposition is what really separates those who attempt and those who succeed. This being said, it is important to remember that success only comes with failure so you cannot be afraid to fail, but you must get back up and keeping pushing forward!
It was originally conceived as a tribute to my father as he emigrated to the U.S. from Cuba as a young man. Being an entrepreneur and artist, he rarely had us living in a single city or town for more than a year. By the time I was 25, I had lived in more than 20 different towns and/or states with different addresses. Everywhere from NY to Florida, Nashville, Japan and Los Angeles, and I embraced the life of a globally touring “road warrior” for many great artists. Now, pouring all of these experiences into my own musical compositions and songs, I have become the modern day musical NOMAD.
Word-of-mouth which in essence is networking. The first gig where I actually “cut m y teeth” so to speak was a referral from a high school classmate for a gig on Ft. Lauderdale beach at a trendy nightclub 6 nights a week. It was my time there that prepared me for the years of professional touring experience that I was fortunate to enjoy. The move from FL to Nashville I became immersed in the scene with a plethora of Christian and Gospel gigs which spawned into RnB and eventually Pop gigs. Ben Tankard to Yolanda Adams and Kirk Whalum were referrals. Then from Kirk I met more musicians and eventually made the move to LA. From there it was more networking and several referrals that landed me some really big opportunities including: American Idols Live Tour 2005, working with renowned Musical Director Rickey Minor on several occasions with artists such as Stevie Wonder, Patti LaBelle, Natalie Cole, etc…And of course by just being in LA your network almost automatically expands as long as you make yourself available.
In keeping with the universal principles mentioned above, it was an invitation-only audition which was a direct result from a friend who referred me! I showed up at the designated time and location even though I had just caught a terrible cold. After not shaking hands in the interest of not spreading my sickness, I sat down, played and left. I think it’s important to understand that once you do what you do, it’s best not to focus on it and just let it go. If they call you back, it was meant to be, if they don’t call you back, don’t stress, something else will come along!
Again, not to sound corny but another dear friend of mine referred me to my first film score gig with John Powell. It was Mother’s Day 2005 when I got the call and they wanted to know if I could be there within an hour or two! Of course I loaded up the truck with all of my gear and sat in the John’s posh home studio the entire day. Once I settled in, and starting reading the guitar parts I realized it was a film starring Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie as they danced across the screen for the Tango scene that I played the Spanish guitar for. This was for the film Mr. & Mrs. Smith which led to many other film dates with John, which in turn led to several more with other esteemed composers again, via John’s direct referrals.
My current focus is on NOMAD & LOLA the duet I’ve formed with my fiancée. Our first single, “Nothing To Do” is a whimsical tune, and the second is an Afro-Cuban remake called "Similau” which has more passion and fire in the Quentin Tarantino sense. We hope to release an EP in the fall of this year actively pursuing licensing opportunities for film and TV, while hosting streaming concerts via StageIt.com in addition to regional live performance dates.
As the solo singer/songwriter NOMAD, I've gathered the best songs out of the 30 or so that poured out over the past few years between my LA and Nashville writing partners and musician/producer friends and recorded 12 tunes which I’ve been releasing throughout a series of travel themed EP’s. NOMAD vol. I “Sky” has been released via iTunes and I’m currently mixing vol. II “Sea” with a hopeful late summer release.
Any day making music and being able to support myself is a victory that I am most grateful for! But some of the most memorable moments have been sharing the stage with Stevie Wonder, and perhaps recording for Barbra Streisand and having Elvis’ voice on the track from the vault (on Barbra’s last album “Partners" I played "Love Me Tender” which was a duet with her and Elvis)!
Be easy to get along with in addition to being the consummate professional....the days of being a musical savant eccentric introvert are over. Remember, your word is bond. That means if you say you’re going to show up somewhere at a certain time on a certain date, then you must follow through! In short, don't think your God's musical gift to the universe, know your craft, and always maintain a professional composure. Finally, believe in yourself, reinforce positive thoughts, prepare and study, persevere and it will happen!
Feel free to ask me any music related questions with the hashtag #AskNomad on Twitter and I’ll answer them on my Tumblr blog: https://www.tumblr.com/blog/nomadsplace."
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