Category Archives: Journal

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Today Is Not About Today…

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I don’t get out much these days. Living on a tropical island is making me too content. For instance, I could easily go walk or take photos anywhere I want, but I don’t because I can just walk out my back door and walk on a gorgeous, 10-mile long beach with some of the most amazing sunsets on the planet. Most people work half their waking hours to be able to get here for a short vacation, and when they do, most play on the beach all day and then pull up a chair and watch the sun set every night. Why go anywhere else?

Aside from some occasional social activity due to the fact that I live at a house concert venue with some good friends, I don’t have much of a social life at the moment. And there’s plenty of culture off this island, but I’ve lived so many places and done so many things, I get this “been there, done that,” feeling about almost everything these days. The good news is, A) it’s giving me time to be introspective and decide what really matters, and B) I’m still growing because I’m studying and practicing a craft.

I tend to vacillate between hermit and socialite. In 2012 I decided to do music full time. I locked myself in my cottage in St. Petersburg for 9 months to write and record my first solo releases and to work up 3 hours worth of cover songs. Then in 2013 I spent 6 months “out in the world” on the road. Then I spent 6 months in Key West. While I was there I was learning about video production and producing a video series called “Trop Rock Odyssey.” Spring of 2014 I came to Anna Maria Island to relax in peace and quiet for a few months so I could write some songs before going on another summer-long performing and recording tour. But some mysterious dizzy spells put the kibosh on that.

So I finagled a way to stay here on the Island. It turned out to be the best decision of my life. After spending 6 months writing and recording full time, I knew I had found my calling – not as a performer per se, but as a writer/composer/producer of recordings. The bare minimum of freelance creative work that I still do pays my bills and affords me the opportunity to spend my days creating something worthy of my self-respect, which I don’t feel I’ve truly done in the past. I’ve done some big things, but always to make money for someone else so I could do something else. Now I’m doing that something else full time – creating music.

The music I create is arguably still rookie league, but what I’m doing today is not about today. It’s about 3 to 5 years from now when I’m no longer a rookie. This is all just study and practice and training time. The idea is to just keep pumping out music and building up a catalog of songs. Every day I pitch songs to music libraries who list opportunities to get them placed in commercials, TV shows, and movies. If I get a bite, I would earn an up-front licensing fee which can be anywhere from a few hundred to thousands of dollars, plus some royalties, which, depending on the show or movie, could be anywhere from zilch to megabucks. Usually closer to zilch for a rookie. But the idea is to eventually be able to make a living through a combination of frequent licensing fees and on-going residual income from royalties, supplemented by selling my own music directly to fans or through an indie label and doing occasional performances.

The plan is, after a few more years of writing, composing, arranging, and recording, to be producing drop-dead gorgeous music and to be in demand as a writer/composer. I don’t care if I become rich and famous for this. In fact I would prefer not to be. I truly love my sometimes quiet, sometimes adventurous, little pond life. The goal, instead of working a job or building a business to make money so I can do the things I want to do, is to just take a shortcut directly to spending my time doing the things I like to do, which are, in no particular order, write songs, produce recordings, perform, enjoy nature, make beautiful pictures and videos, go on adventures and be with good music-and-art-loving people, and to not have to answer to anyone for anything. That’s what today is about.

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Three Kinds of Songwriting

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Being so new to the field of songwriting – only a few years into it, and a little over a year taking it seriously – I’m finding that, like any serious career choice, there’s a huge learning curve. I educate myself on both the craft and the business of songwriting by watching discussions with the pros on YouTube for the most part, but I’ve also hired not one, but two mentors that I talk with on the phone once a month. I’ve had one meeting with each so far. One of them specializes in writing radio hits, the other specializes in film and TV licensing. Both are highly successful in their respective fields. Read More

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Tour Wrap-Up

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For most of June, 2015 I made a little trip up to the North Coast of Ohio doing a few gigs along the way there and the way back. I decided to stick to playing my original music for the house concerts. It was a good choice. I gave some of my best performances in my life, and got a ton of positive feedback and compliments from people at the shows. I also spent a few days in Maryland working on some new music with my producer, Kevin Johnston, at Orca Sound. Read More

Aiming for the Top

Aiming For the Top

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When I was in 7th grade, I think 12 years old, I lived in Nottingham NH. Essentially the town consists of woods, farms, ranches, and a nice lake called Pawtuckaway. Nearest neighbors were 1/2 a mile down the road.

One day a kid moved in a few houses down named David Wagner. He played the drums and had been playing since he was 7, so he was actually really good. He used to play along to songs like “Fly Like an Eagle.” I was really impressed. I’d sit there banging out the rhythm on his BB gun. I decided I wanted to play guitar. Read More

My First Publishing Deal

By | Journal, Lyrics, Songwriting | No Comments

Here’s a sneak peek at the non-Kid Conch stuff that I’m working on. (Lyrics below.) This is the song on which I made a deal for publishing rights recently – my first. Kevin Johnston is working on recording it. (This is just a home demo.) Hope to have it out at the end of the year. This is another Connors & Schettino collaboration. Thanks again to Sheryl Styer for investing in us.

Words and Music by Jimmy Connors and Rick Schettino
© 2014, Connors, Schettino, Styer
All rights reserved. BMI

AMI Sunset

Doing the Limbo of Life

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Every couple of years I go into a limbo of not knowing where the past is leading me and what the future holds. Each time I go through it I come out with a reinvented life.

Last time I was in a deep limbo was mid-winter of 2012. I had just turned 49 and gone through a breakup. During that time I did a lot of introspection and contemplation. I decided once and for all to work towards making my living in music and wean off selling my time on this planet to someone else.

I went to San Diego for the summer of 2012 to visit friends and family and work on music with one of my collaborators, Jimmy Connors. I came back to St. Pete, FL and started playing and recording full time. I went on a nationwide tour summer of 2013 with plans to spend winter in Key and then tour again in the summer of 2014.

 

A wrench got into the 2014 tour (medical issues) but life handed me a very nice consolation prize – the opportunity to live on one of the top-rated beaches on one of the top-rated islands in the country where I could record and play and sing at the top of my lungs and not disturb or be disturbed – thanks to Pablo and Diana, my good friends and owners of The Sandbox on AMI and this beach cottage I live in.

Once I got rolling here, I decided to dedicate myself more specifically to songwriting as a career and stop pursuing weekly bar gigs which are just another form of selling my precious time on this planet to someone else.

I’ve spent the last six months writing and recording demos and waiting for my producer to become available. My current catalog is now in the capable hands of producer, Kevin Johnston.

I also sold partial publishing rights to a song, crossing that barrier from amateur to professional songwriter and providing needed funding for recording. All seems to be going well.

What next?

This limbo phase in the life of a free spirit like mine can be tough on the psyche. It’s confusing and scary to the inner child, and requires blunt self-honesty from the inner adult.

Fortunately, this is actually the best time of year for me to be in limbo. I generally slow down and take it easy between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. I can take that time to relax and reflect on the past and imagine potential futures.

My lease runs out just after the new year begins. I can go anywhere I want in the world. Right now the plan is to spend a couple months in San Diego again visiting friends and family, since I didn’t get there this past summer. After that? God only knows. While I’m there I’ll put some more thought into it and also see which way the wind blows. I’ll most likely come back to Gulf Coast Florida and find a place to settle in for the long term.

The really great thing this time around is that it’s the first limbo in which I’m no longer wondering what to do with my time on Earth. I know what I want to be when I grow up. The only thing I really need to decide on now is where to settle for the long term.

Most likely I will settle down somewhere in Florida and continue to write and perform and tour. And hopefully meet someone special with whom to share this adventure.

People often say, “life is short.” But for me life seems long. I’ve lived in so many places, and met so many people, and had such a variety of relationships and careers, I feel like I’ve forgotten more of my life than most people remember. But I’ll never forget or regret these past couple years of reinvention.

A New Beginning

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Lots of changes being made as I cross over into another phase of life…

Thought this would be a good time to ceremoniously tear down my coaching, consulting, and freelance websites and start a blog here on my eponymous domain. I no longer wish to sell anyone on the idea that they should pay me to bring value to their projects. There is only my adventure now.

AMI Sunset

Over the past two years, I’ve been working towards transitioning out of marketing and into making a living full time in music.

Recently I have narrowed that down to making a living as a songwriter/composer/producer and drop the weekly bar gigs which are just another form of selling my time on this planet to someone else.

Within months of making that decision I struck my first publishing rights deal and began my first professionally produced recording project.

I’ve been living on Anna Maria Island for the past six months and Key West the six months before that. I make enough to survive for now working only a few hours a day. I spend the rest of my time writing an making demos and occasionally performing. Life is good today.

Turn the page…

My lease is up beginning of January and I have to move out of the cottage on Anna Maria Island. I have no idea what life holds in store for me.

The future is wide open. The possibilities endless. Again.

Let a new adventure begin. Follow me!