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Monday, January 09, 2006

The art of collaboration

My road travels have provided me an amazing opportunity to meet, connect and share with many artists of all forms and genres. It's through their gift to me that i have learned about collaboration. This is an important word, and some artists find it a hard word to grasp. Actually not just artists, people. We see it mis-used in politics, in large institutions, in business and amongst kindred souls/artists and the like. Heck siblings learn about it and find it tough. The opposite of collaboration, to me, is competition. We live and work in a competitive world. But the new paradigm is collaboration, building positive relationships, fostering good-will amongst each other, nurturing others' talents and applauding them when they "do good" rather than criticize or judge. Collaboration for artists can provide amazing opportunities from the very seeds of creation. In the songwriting process, a song can be even better working it out with a co-writer. In promoting yourself as an artist, team building and street teams, working with others for a common cause is the vehicle for success stories. We don't need to be doing this alone. There is strength in numbers. I find the artist-to-artist (p2p) networks have been such a positive vehicle for me and other artists to get our music out there, sharing gig nights, swapping gigs (you play in my city and i'll book you, and i'll play in yours and you book me), cross linking on each others' websites, cross promoting with flyers. The whole phenomenon of online discussion groups, meeting rooms and blogging have built collaboration to be the answer to building fan bases. Artists become fans of other artists, helping each other, chatting online, supporting, providing tips, opportunities, advice, road ideas, touring opportunities. It's all through collaborating. The new music business is an artist driven business, where collaboration dominates competition. Deals written and created for both parties' interests, where everyone can prosper. Artists have more to negotiate and barter now, having more to offer, developing themselves, seasoning themselves. These are important times. I hope artists also understand that building relationships is not just being "noticed" and "discovered" for their talents as musicians and songwriters, but because they can offer something to the labels, to the retailers, to the businesses they begin to do business with: Find out what You have to offer others first before you demand to know what they can do for you. Just because you're talented, doesn't mean you're worth doing business with. Collaboration means discovering what you can provide for someone else, too. We are asked in life: Why Am I here? Why Am i doing this? I encourage you to find a larger mission in life, beyond our own internal dreams and egos and desires - a bigger picture, a larger purpose. Whether it's global harmony, or changing perspectives, or doing good for others, or bringing a higher consciousness, our music, our art are powerful in creating amazing things, beyond our little goals. Once you tap into that higher purpose you will find many, many people will gather around you to support you in who you are and what you do. Enjoy this journey, it's life long you know... and you don't need to be on it alone.

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