New Year Release

This New Year release is a story of letting go. It’s not a new recording — yet! In order to complete my upcoming album, I first need to create more space.

For the New Year, I’m letting go of what no longer serves me. Sometimes it’s easy, sometimes it’s more difficult.

I had a different New Year’s blog post in mind. I envisioned myself dusting and vacuuming, straightening and clearing my studio. Writing about it and taking some photos.

Instead, I just cancelled my guitar lessons website. I won’t bother linking to it in this post as it’ll probably be non existent by the time you read this. In essence it was called Free Guitar Lessons Online — and it was my very first website.

I started building it in March 2009. It was intended as a way to make people aware of my music — but somehow it became it’s own thing.

For almost 4 years, I dove deep into a “system” about learning about the internet. SEO, keywords, how to write better headlines, optimize videos, create a newsletter list, etc.

The site was based entirely on guitar lessons. Mostly with video and written content. Back then the way to earn money on the internet was via Google ads.

People would bid to have their ads placed alongside relevant content. I was a content provider who was able to attract a good amount of traffic.

And even though my first intention was to use the guitar lessons to raise people’s awareness about my music, this soon became obscured by my new plan…

 

My Dream of Passive Income

I would create enough content to provide a steady stream of “passive income” via ads on my site. This would free me up to spend more time recording my music.

The Universe — and the Intelligent order of things — had other plans! Just as my site started to cross the threshold of attracting enough organic traffic via Google to make some decent money from the ads, Google began a drastic restructuring of it’s algorithms.

Most smaller sites got “hit” — even though Google’s intention was to eliminate the “bad guys” who had been gaming the system for a few years.

Even though my site played by the rules, it was hit pretty hard. I was “screwed” — at least with making enough passive income through ads.

I still had enough traffic to make money — but I would need to develop a suite of guitar lesson products and learn how to sell them.

I felt really down at the time — I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t feel the creative drive to develop these products and sell them, but I didn’t know what else to do.

As time went on, I started to pay less and less attention to my guitar lessons website — although I tried a few other strategies just to be sure. I even managed to build a Facebook page on guitar lessons that has over 20k likes. It still gets many likes and views and I stopped touching it several months ago.

Meanwhile, I continued to teach my private students here in my studio and work on my songs and my music. However, that was only on the surface…

 

Getting Honest With Myself

I started getting more in touch with myself about certain core issues. I get up early most mornings and actively meditate, journal and reflect. I used this time to ask myself what I really want out of life.

I began to realize that I had been playing it safe. That the guitar lessons site was a substitute for what I really wanted to do — create and perform my songs for people!

I had to dig deep to get past blocks in my mind that came up with all kinds of reasons and beliefs to discourage me from following my heart.

I’m still working with these old belief systems while I continue to take action everyday in the direction of my true desires.

I have come to feel deeply that I am co creating with the Universe — and that by staying true to myself, the light of the Universe is able to shine more brightly into this world.

By healing these limitations within myself, I’m helping to heal the planet. It’s not just about me. It’s about humanity.

Do you have any limitations holding you back? If so, it’s ok. If you didn’t, you probably wouldn’t be here experiencing life in a physical body!

I’m not here to tell you what to do about it. Just please don’t use any of this as a stick to beat yourself up with! We are all in this healing process together 🙂

New Year Release

I’m telling my story as a way to inspire you. If I can do it, so can you type of thing.

This New Year, look around and see if there is anything that no longer serves you. Then see if you’re ready to let go of it.

Start with small things. Material goods and items (I just let go of a winter jacket I’ve had for almost 10 years. How did I manage to create sentiment around such an item? I had it on when I  “hooked up” with my wife Mary. Lol.)

Work your way up slowly. Very slowly if you’re new to this type of thing. Baby steps are all that’s necessary. Be gentle with yourself, but lean into it.

Wishing you all the best for this New Year of 2015!

A Standing Ovation

Davidson Yeager
Standing Ovation
Davidson Yeager
Dave With Fan and Friend Ron Lacourse

I received a standing ovation at the end of my mini concert a couple of days ago. Is it because I “blew the roof off the joint?”

I played well. I’m really very satisfied with my performance. My sound was good (I even had a couple of musicians in attendance looking at my super basic gear afterwards and asking me how I got such a great sound), I knew the songs really well, I had a well designed set and people were there to listen and watch. When I looked out at the audience, they were absorbed in what I was doing.

But I don’t think that’s why I got a standing ovation. If you read my previous post about how I kept getting really emotional and tears of gratitude while rehearsing, you’ll get a kick out of this.

I actually had it happen to me in the performance! Oh man. The thing I really didn’t want to happen (other than technical issues, of course) happened.

And you know what? People loved it. It was spontaneous. It was real. It was authentic.

You can’t plan things like that.
 

What Is Being An Artist, Anyway?

I guess it’s all part of being an artist. Because in our day to day life where we wear our “social and protective rubber…ummm masks”, we start to believe that everyone is just as cool as can be.

Know what I mean?

As an artist I’m grateful to have the task of revealing myself — in order for others to feel safe to reveal themselves. Not to be confused with those blubbery whining stereotypes that are always vulnerable — but to be real and authentic.

This includes vulnerability. But it also includes strength, courage and confidence. And of course Love. And the more authentic we can be, the more these authentic feelings from the core of our beingness express.

When I say love, I don’t only mean romantic, friendship and family — I also mean that passion for being alive and connected to everything else in the Universe(s) that is alive also.

If you were at the event, thank you again for your support!

And thank you for the standing ovation 🙂

 

Pictures From The Concert

 

Davidson Yeager
Dave fist pumping while receiving standing ovation.

 

Davidson Yeager

Davidson Yeager
Dave At Piano “Innocence.”

 

Davidson Yeager
Dave Expresses On The Guitar

 

 

 

I Wept Tears Of Gratitude Today

Innocence Comeback by Davidson Yeager
The World Needs You And Your Unique Gifts

I shed tears of gratitude today. Before you say “big deal” or “you wimp” let me tell you that I haven’t shed tears in a long time.

I do confess to having the sniffles when watching poignantly touching scenes from a film with my wife — but when it comes to real life? Once in a blue moon.

Why The Tears of Gratitude?

I’ve been working hard at my art form since I was a teen. I don’t want to go into the details, but I had to run away from home as a teen in order to follow my dream of doing music.

I didn’t have any support in my childhood home when it came to making a career in music.

I’ve been homeless. I’ve slept in stairwells and lobbies of buildings. Eaten and slept in homeless shelters. Fortunately this didn’t last long, and I was able to get work and land on my feet within a few months.

We always have support, of course. If we’re willing to receive it and look for it. Many people have supported me since then in ways both big and small.

Why Did I Weep Tears of Gratitude Part 2

I’m in the midst of crowd funding to raise enough money to finish my album and promote it.

The first step has been a community fundraiser. You may already know about this. My wife Mary is conducting a Zumba class. This will be followed my a live and intimate performance by me.

As I’ve been rehearsing over the past few weeks for this mini concert, I’ve found myself choking back tears on more than one occasion.

I don’t really want to break down and cry while on stage, so I finally asked Mary what she thinks about it. She said it the tears need to come out. Just let the tears out.

I told her that sounds wise. I then told her it’s the love and gratitude I feel toward her for helping me put this event on — and also for all the people that have stepped up to support with their wallets and time.

I’ve worked extremely hard at my craft — and my art form — for many years now, and not received much in the way of support or recognition. I’m not complaining. How else should it have been? And I know because of these early hardships I have a resilience that perhaps many do not have. Doesn’t mean it was easy though. And I questioned my decision to stay true to my calling many times. I’ve faced down the demons of self doubt many many times.

It’s also not about being “God’s gift” or famous — it’s more than this. This is my calling. These are my talents. I have felt that I have something to say and offer our culture for many years — and finally it’s starting to be recognized. It’s a feeling of purpose and belonging. Without being a false version of myself. It’s ok to let my light shine!

That’s what caused the tears of gratitude to flow.

After saying this to Mary, I had my head in her arms and I was weeping. She certainly doesn’t see me like this everyday, but I’m really glad she did.

It felt really good to allow myself to show her my vulnerability in that moment.

Does this mean I’m gonna be weeping any time soon though? Hopefully not. Although I am allowing the feelings of gratitude to deepen and expand as much as possible.

If you’ve read this far, thank you. I have wept tears of gratitude today because of you 🙂

Crowdfunding My Album

Davidson Yeager's Les Paul
Dave’s trusty Les Paul.

 

Crowdfunding my album is working!

I’m releasing an album (EP of 5 or 6 songs) in March 2015.
Now as I find myself in the midst of  the crowdfunding process, I pause to reflect on how I got here.

3 weeks ago I didn’t have any plans of making an album. Perhaps in the hazy distant future, but not now.

So how did is it that I am suddenly “making an album” and finding myself in the midst of crowdfunding campaigns and promotion?

 

Withdrawal From The “Music Scene”

In the past I had been “on the scene” in various guises. Both as a cofounder of a rock band playing the top clubs in Toronto and as a solo singer/songwriter when the internet was just becoming a part of people’s lives.

Due to various circumstances at the time, I found myself withdrawing from the music scene. I decided to focus on my inner development, my musicianship and writing, as well as my grass roots guitar teaching business.

After 5 years of this, I met my wife Mary. Now, after 8 years focusing on those things within our marriage, I find myself being inspired to again bring my music to the world.

This time it feels different. This time I have Mary’s support — along with many in her Zumba community. She plays my songs in the cool downs after class and my songs have grown on many of the participants. This is also what directly led to me crowdfunding my album.

It’s given me the confidence I needed to pursue what for me has been a lifelong dream. I would even say that other than knowing my own true nature, it’s my dharma — my calling. Even during those years when I withdrew from the music scene, I actively pursued my dream everyday.

I practiced my craft everyday. Very rarely do I miss a day of practice. Whether it’s guitar, keeping my voice in shape or songwriting.

Something else happened in the past couple of years that also gave me a confidence boost. Now, when I say confidence I don’t mean I’m some “mousy” character. It takes a lot of guts to stick to this. Especially in my case where I just couldn’t seem to gain any traction in the “music business.” No matter how good I or others thought I was, how hard I worked or how many sacrifices I made, I just didn’t seem to be able to put the necessary ingredients together at the right time.

As a matter of fact, I have entertained the thought of walking away from it all many times. But it never pans out because I know in my heart I’m not being honest with myself. I’m just trying to escape the pain. But that’s all part of the learning curve when it comes to the art of being human.

 

Becoming My Own Producer/Engineer

A few years ago, I’d taken to studying and practicing the art of audio engineering. Since I’d never achieved the results I wanted in commercial studios in the past, intuitively I felt that having a deep knowledge of production was a key for me.

And I was right. After about 5 years of working on my own recording projects, I took an online course on home recording for the independent musician.

I loved it so much that I spontaneously emailed the author — Gary Gray — in order to thank him for his amazing contribution to my life.

To my surprise he emailed me back and asked to hear some of my work. He loved what I was doing and offered to mentor me.

So I began working on songs according to Gary’s protocol. I would send him my results and he would give me suggestions on what I could do to improve my mix.

When my mix was finally ready, I would retain Gary’s world class skills to master the song. Mastering is a complex engineering procedure which essentially takes the song and makes it “broadcast quality.” This means it will sound good across any sound system and the production quality will sound comparable to major label releases.

Sidenote: At that time my main goal with my songs was to have them at a good enough production quality to be licensed for film and television. I’ve actually managed to succeed with this twice so far. One contract with a prominent LA firm I ripped up — as it turned out they wanted too much. They didn’t even want me to sell my songs on i-tunes for example. They asked for me to give up a lot — to possibly have a song in a reality show or soap. Forget it! And my other (still ongoing) contract is with a film that is pending. The producers are also getting financing together. It’s a major Hollywood film that I hope sees the light of day. My song will be in it. In that situation the deal is non exclusive. Very artist friendly.

 

CBC Radio?

Over the past 18 months or so I’ve managed to complete 3 songs with Gary’s guidance. You can stream 2 of them here and the 3rd one is available as a free song download if you sign up for my newsletter.

The next catalyst to alter my situation was that I got in touch with CBC radio. The head of the music library there is a really cool guy — and we talked a bit on the phone. He had listened to 2 of my songs and really thought they would do well on CBC.

However, he also suggested that I need to release an EP (short album) or album in order to give them a “story” to frame things for radio.

This discussion occurred about 4 weeks ago. So here I am — in the midst of crowdfunding my album!

Mary and I are learning as we go. We immediately booked a local church for a fundraiser. It’s on Friday, Dec. 12 at 7:15pm at Kingston Rd. United Church (975 Kingston Rd.)

The event starts with a 45 minute Zumba class led by Mary. If you don’t already know, Zumba is a kick ass dance fitness class peppered with latin and world beat dance music. It’s so much fun! And an incredible workout. Muscles worked from head to toe, core, cardio, timing, balance, coordination and endorphins out the roof 🙂 Very very cool music.

After that I’ll be performing a mini concert for 25 minutes or so. There will also be light snacks available and some fun and inexpensive “stocking stuffers” donated by our friend Audrey. Everything from slippers to cookie jars, etc.

All the proceeds will go toward the funding of my album due out in March 2015. The ultimate goal is $2000 which means we may be crowd funding as an ongoing process. However, any money we raise will help!

Some of the costs incurred in the creation of my album are some of the engineering and mastering, a session drummer, CD manufacturing and artwork along with a video for one of the songs.

Since I’m doing the bulk of the leg work myself we’re able to keep the costs quite low. Probably less than half of what most artists starting out pay production companies to do for them.

And yes — I feel as if I’m starting out! I feel that this is the first real opportunity I’ve had to really be heard. To be myself. And to pull together the necessary resources.

It seems all the club dates, CD’s, commercial gigs, open mics, studio work and teaching guitar lessons, etc. in the past were simply a very long and self financed artist development. I’m ready to bring my Soul to this world!

 

Final Thoughts On Crowdfunding My Album

Crowdfunding my album will probably end up being an ongoing process. Mary and I put this local event together in a very short time. Everyone there knows who I am. As I move forward with the album I may utilize online resources for crowdfunding. I feel like the skills and the confidence I’ve developed from putting this event together will really be helpful with the online crowdfunding tools. It will be challenging in a different way because nobody really knows who I am. But because of this event — and all the legwork I did on my own prior to this event — I’ll have a cool and interesting story for people to get excited about. Stay tuned!