Saturday, February 27, 2010

Long Night

It's going to be another late for me, working on music stuff - contacting venues, updating the website, researching printers for my new flyers, etc. Will you be joining me? AIM: jaymathesmusic

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Thoughts on Who I Am

I thought I'd share with you a message that I sent to one of my newest YouTube subscribers. She was asking me about my background in music, how I got started, and how I got in to music. I think my message came off as a little angry, though that wasn't the case at all. I just wanted to clearly convey that - at least for me - a none-music "job" was never an option:

No! Of course I didn't just decide to "go in to music"!!! I feel in my bones that I was created to write. I can't help but do it, because it's a part of the fabric of who I was made to be. Some people think it's weird when I talk about it like this, but I feel that writing songs is as necessary to me as breath itself.

I've been writing music since I was a little kid, and I've been given opportunities to hone that gift. The end goal? Full-time music - recording, performing, and writing. How close am I? Probably not very, but I'm chasing the dream none-the-less.

I'm putting all of my eggs in to one basket, and everybody I know knows it, too. I have a new record coming out (hopefully soon) with my band, called The City (

So thanks for listening! You're a part of turning my dream in to substance.


Friday, February 19, 2010

Staying Calm: It's Only a Game

My brother plays on the varsity basketball team at Glenbard East High School. He's a guard, in case you were wondering. After attending nearly all of his weekend games this past season, I can honestly say that I get more heated while watching his games than while doing just about anything else. I swear, it's probably one of the most stressful things in my life!

Multiple times this season I have unsuccessfully restrained myself from being one of those obnoxious fans who yells at the refs about this or that call. Tonight - senior night - I approached the game with a greater resolve to stay calm, collected, and in my seat. Failure.

(I stood up after a player on Naperville North fouled out - their best player - and I waved him goodbye, as he made his way to the bench. No yelling, I should add.)

This was the last time that my brother dressed for basketball on his home court. This was also the only game this season that he fouled out - and this even before reaching the 2-minute mark, in the fourth quarter.

Playing that last game has to be tough. It's something that I've never experienced, though. Trying to objectify it, as an outsider, I hope that these experiences in life remind kids (and me) that few things last forever in this world, and it's stupid to waste our time on the things that don't. We are meant to live in the midst of the eternal reality - that there is more to life than what meets the eye.

After tonight, my challenge to myself is to live with more awareness about the longevity of the work that I'm doing - whether it be washing a few dishes or trading futures.

And to you, my question is: what *does* matter in this life?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Retooling My Live Show

I finally sat down yesterday with all of my new gear and began the massive task of retooling my entire live show to incorporate sampling and looping with my iMac. Wow, this is a huge task, and I definitely have my hands full. I spent five complete hours working with a software program called Mainstage, to set up my screen layout and start to dig in to some sounds and effects. I'm excited by the potential, but terrified by the thought of delegating control of my live show to a computer. I think Apple's software is finally up to the task, and to task we shall take it.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Life Gets a Little More Complicated - Or is it Less?

I've been told - multiple times today - that I need to "practice what I preach", as they say. I've always told people - mostly young people - that they have to dream big and follow those dreams until the end - either until they achieve them or until they die trying. I nuance the idea a bit more, but that's the gist of it.

Today, I had to tell a bunch of people that I will be spending a lot more time working on my music in the coming months, and that I won't have a lot of extra time to spend with them. They all understood, and wished me the best, but it's still hard to say "no" to them - especially when you've said "yes" for so long.

Today, I have begun the difficult process of radically changing my normal behavior in order to pursue a single goal with undivided devotion. This is the end and the beginning - of something bigger than I am. And I invite you along for the ride. Won't you join me?

What are your dreams? What is your vision? What is holding you back, keeping you from pursuing that one thing that you want? Well, I have to say, at least for myself, that the one thing I want is actually, really the sum of three or four things. I believe they all work toward the same ends.

Thursday, February 11, 2010


The word of the day is "balance". Balance means that you spend an adequate amount of time each day doing the things that you need to do. For me this week, I'm learning how to live a more "balance-centered" life. Writing music every day. Practicing music every day. Spending time on the things that matter most - every day.

What matters most to you? And what do you wish you had more time to do? Let's challenge each other to make changes in our daily habits to better prioritize our terrestrial existence. Let me know how *I* can help *you*.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

On Performing for 4th and 5th Graders

This afternoon, I gave two, short presentations of classes of students at Norton Creek Elementary School, in West Chicago, IL. The presentations were a part of the school's segment on "Writing in the Real World". Obviously, I spoke to them about songwriting and lyric-writing. I then had an opportunity to perform a couple of songs for them all. It was an awesome experience.

First of all, any chance I get to perform, I take it. I just plain love it.

Secondly, speaking to these students reminded me about why I write, why I perform, and why I pursue a career where people on the outside think that I'm crazy. I was born to write music, born to create it, and *have* to make it. To not act on these most-basic of passions is to act contrary to how I was hard-wired to live. Writing, to me, is as vital as breathing. Whether it makes me any money in the end is of no consequence - or relevance.

I love writing music, and performing and recording it.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Today's Tasks

I have a lot on my plate today, but I'm excited to see how much of it I can get done. Promoting my music is a never-ending process; but this week, especially, I feel like, if I am able to get a few things out of the way and behind me, I'll be able to spend the rest of the week making music. (Yes, I've said it. The job of most performing songwriters involves an inordinate amount of non-music tasks.)

Here's what I'm up to today:
  • Follow up with people on Facebook about downloading my record. (As you already know, I'm giving it away in exchange for signing up on the mailing list, here:
  • Reconnect with a few, former professors (and friends) of mine at Columbia College. This, of course, is where I went to college; and I visited a bunch of people back in December.
  • Contact Martin Guitars about an endorsement deal. This is something that has been in the works for a while now. I've been formulating ideas about how to approach them, what to say, etc. and I've finally decided on how I'm going to "pitch" the idea to them. More on this in a few days.
  • Of course on my list is to *write music*. That will happen at some point today, regardless of what else I get done.
Maybe there's something that you can think of that I should be doing, that's even more pressing than what I've listed above. It's difficult to look outside of your own situation to see opportunities and prioritize. So if you have a suggestion about something else I should add to this list today, let me know by posting a comment.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Linked Where?

Over the past few months, I've been doing quite a bit of thinking about the whole social networking "scene" (if you will). Bottom line, I think there's real potential on sites like Facebook, Myspace, YouTube, Linkedin, Reverb Nation, Pure Volume, Twitter, etc. to re-connect with people with whom you haven't spoken in years. But there's also an even greater potential to water down the closest of your current relationships. Here's why:

All of a sudden, people are able to share the most personal of news with a mass of people - all at once - many of whom barely know you, and who, quite frankly, are rather uninvolved in your everyday life. Your closest friends can feel cheated (and I have felt this way myself) that you have shared this news with everyone equally. There is no longer a sense of "who do I tell first?" when it comes to major (but personal) news in our lives. All are given equal access - and thus, equal status - in our circle of friends and acquaintances.

For this reason (and others), I've been selective about joining social networks. I'm not on Linked In. I'm not on Twitter. Perhaps it's to my own demise. But for now, this is the best reasoning I can come up with. If you have thoughts about all of this, please let me know. I'd love to hear from you.