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  • Writer's picturestephensgerald10

Why it's taken so long

for me to succeed in music in the manner I choose, was originally the combination of bad technique and early-career slowness to grow up, with a professional unwillingness to commit to one musical style only. The former caused me an unawareness of what to do, how to get help from others, or how to ingratiate myself easily into the music scene when I was young. The latter has kept me interested in all kinds of music, and continues to keep me on my toes, but also makes it strange or difficult to market myself.

For example, someone may be a fan of me as Willie G the blues piano player, but then they may hear me as Gerald Stephens on Facebook and find out that I at times maybe veer too heavily into jazz for their taste. Some have heard me play classical, but may not be the kind of music fans who will go to a bar to hear me with a blues legend, although they usually tend to respect that I can do both. Either way, music fans are not the issue as much as is the potential to market a product without having a style of human life to market it to.

I mean here that everything now has to be marketable to a fan's whole lifestyle, not just their artistic tastes. Maybe it's always been that way to some degree. Anyhow, every new artistic product has to have a 360 degree presence to even compete with getting your attention enough for you to care. Why should you care if you can't see the video, website, or today's Instagram or Twitter post, and experience the effects of a full-on marketing blitz. I am not the kind of artist to worry much about whether I get my art to you or not. Too much of that takes away from my artistic inspiration, and from my life outside of the work. I am interested in my business enough to do the basics. I do have Facebook, instagram and Twitter. I have a website and a YouTube page. I do look at my bank account, check my donations and pay scales of course. I sometimes check how many likes my posts get, often I just don't care. I do usually reply to the handful of folks who will reply or comment to my posts or to my little solo home concerts.

I have, since we've been quarantined, gotten back to some styles I haven't focused on in a while. When we first stopped gigging, my chops for soul organ were finally getting on point to where I felt like I usually liked my performance, and my blues and early jazz chops were at they best they have been so far. Now that I've been working at home for a month, I have a month of practice getting back to my so-called "classical", "modern jazz", and/or "jam band" chops as well as trying to keep my blues and soul chops up. I do play country, soul and blues solos, as you know if you've heard my home concerts, but they sure do work better when I'm with one of my singing buds like John Paul Keith or Earl "the Pearl" Banks. I look forward to getting back with them and my other musical friends and colleagues, as well as continuing the styles I mentioned above, solo and with bands, whenever we get back to gigging. I want and need to lead a couple of trios, one with me on key bass, and another with a bassist. I have the musicians who can do it, and who can cover the styles, songs and pieces I'd wanna do. Just gotta hang in until we can get gigs again, and get gigs.

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