Follow the Beam


A few blogs back, I talked about how my love for horror movies tied into my independent music hustle. After watching some YouTube behind-the-scenes documentaries on two of my favorite B-Movie franchises, I came to an even fuller realization that everyone with a passion starts small, goes through stressful times, and needs to put their nose to the grindstone to the point of bleeding in order to see their dreams truly manifest. With the new year fast approaching, I've found that once again my taste for the spooky and sinister is an ordered design, this time in regards to macabre literature. Namely? The work of Stephen King, and his 'Dark Tower' series.

For those of you who've only heard of Stephen King through the movies based on his books, he is actually a brilliant and prolific author whose genre happens to be suspense thrillers and horror stories. What I love about his writing is that while the plots themselves involve some pretty terrifying (and gross) themes, he still skillfully manages to connect our human experience to the terror. It's King's ability to really delve into our thought processes and emotional state via the printed word that makes so many of his books bestsellers and cult classics. Only someone with a gift is able to write a story about a woman's quest to find salvation through her late husband's ability to travel to an alternate dimensional plane while simultaneously overcoming the male antagonist by feeding him to a meat-eating worm-monster in that dimension and make it all sound like 19th century American prose.

Yes, I'll give you a minute to breathe and marinate on that storyline (the title of that work is "Lisey's Story').

But the story that my blog title speaks on is a longer serial novel known as "The Dark Tower." This collection of works is a 20-year project surrounding the fantastical and terrible story of Roland Deschain, a royal cowboy of sorts. Known as The Gunslinger, Roland spends his life (and some several additional lifetimes) searching for a location known as the Dark Tower, which the books explain is the nexus of his world, as well as the center of all possible worlds, dimensions, and galaxies. Along the way, he meets & befriends several remarkable characters from our world who become gunslingers themselves and join him on his quest. Without giving too much away, I will say that while his journey may or may not end with success, there is definitely a twist ending that will leave readers gasping in shock, simply because it's that perfect as well as that painful.

One of the most important aspects of Roland's journey towards the Tower is revealed a few books into the series; that is, in order to properly travel towards the nexus, he must find & traverse along a divine path known as The Path of the Beam. This Beam, created long before the novels' timeline by the deities of King's mythology, is actually a six-fold set of cosmic roadways that cut through all worlds and lead directly towards the Dark Tower. The travelers will know they're on the right path, simply because all energies in their world bend toward the Tower's raw essence; if they stray, the world will appear as normal and it will take them several times as long to reach their destination, if they reach it at all. To add to the suspense, the evil forces set against Roland and his crew have created scores of indentured servants in the form of elevated minds (e.g. telepaths, telekinetics, clairvoyants, etc.) to try & destroy the Beams, which would ultimately lay waste to the balance of the cosmos and make getting to the Tower impossible.

Freaky stuff, right?! And you're still asking how I can bring this all around, I know. I'm getting there.

As 2011 approaches and I look back on the successes of the past year as well as the failures, I'm finally starting to pay attention to the signs that God & The Universe have laid before me. In recent weeks, I've been witness to what can happen when one really spins out positive energy and good music into the Universe - opportunities and people are being put before me without me even trying. My normal grind & networking hustle has definitely been on a bit of a break within the last month or so, and here, all of a sudden, are some amazing prospects for all types of musical advancement. Blessings abound, these surely are, but I'm also seeing now that such awesome events are happening because I'm where I'm supposed to be, leaving my heart & mind open for the ride of a lifetime. My admitting that I'm truly part of a beautiful larger picture has granted me the ability to work on that picture with an infinite number of tools to reach my personal goals. Like Roland & his friends on the Path of The Beam, I truly believe I'm close to walking down my own path, if I'm not on it already, and should I make music or associate myself with individuals not of the same ilk, the results will only be of a B-grade caliber, even with my attention to detail and commitment to artistic excellence.

Now that I can live in this space, I'm almost on the edge of my seat to see what God has in store. It's not even me sounding uber-religious or prophesying the fantastical, it's really just me being thankful and excited about my future, the future of music, and the future of the world. There's no denying that the coming years will be filled with heartbreak, loss, death, disaster, and the dissolution of much of what we've known. But the transitioning of the Ages always brings with it seemingly-cataclysmic events. Our job (my job) is not to try & prevent them; we can't. What we can do, as a human family, is be there for each other when it all goes down, and use our gifts & talents to help each other. I've been blessed to have a gift that is more tangible than some, but I have no doubt that all of us will be shown our abilities very soon.

While you're enjoying your holiday festivities and taking time off, take a look around, and I mean REALLY look & listen. We are coming together in a way that is unprecedented, simply because we are in a deeper state of uncertainly than ever before. I am pledging to use my music to be part of whatever answer to that uncertainty is made known to me, and I know now that by doing this, I will see the great things my desires have spelled out come to pass. This road - my road, your road - will always be about hard work & focus, but like Roland on the Path of The Beam, so long as we stay on it, and do our best to throw & keep the negative forces off of it, we are due to see some phenomenal changes very, very soon.

I wish you all a very Happy Holiday season, and a New Year filled with Music, Light, and LOVE.

All My Best To You & Yours,
Joseph P. Murray

Lyrics written with love: "Promises" - India Arie


I was listening to this song (along with the entire album) recently. India Arie's ability to tell beautiful stories alongside her own and have them all touch your heart is uncanny and truly a blessing. Also, the lady just sings DOWN!


When I think about the turn my life has taken,
I know it's because of You, that I receive so many blessings;
I had a home but no privacy, I didn't know a thing about my legacy,
When I realized You were there for me, I called on Your name and You came,

And you did, just what You said, for that I'll love You forever.
You kept, Your word to me, for that I'll love You forever...


A promise, is a promise in my eyes;
Can't say you're gonna just to compromise.
The very thing that keeps two hearts intertwined;
A promise is a promise you can't deny, there's no way...


I think of when there was a young boy, not even two years old,
Blessed with a mother who loved him so, she abandoned her dreams to nourish his own.
It wasn't easy for the two of them, but she knew she had to give him a chance
At a better life, it was only right, so she worked and she prayed,

And she did, just what she say, for that he'll love her forever.
She kept her word to him, for that he'll love her forever...


A promise, is a promise in my eyes;
Can't say you're gonna just to compromise.
The very thing that keeps two hearts intertwined;
A promise is a promise you can't deny, there's no way...

A man's only as good as his word...


Her wedding day, and she's thinking 'bout the way he won her affection.
She was so cynical about love 'cause she didn't want to be heart broken (again...).
He looked her in her eye with sincerity, said he only wanted to protect her, so she
Took a chance on him and she's glad she did because he came for real

And he did, just what he said, for that she'll love him forever .
He kept his word to her, for that she'll love him forever...


A promise, is a promise in my eyes;
Can't say you're gonna just to compromise.
The very thing that keeps two hearts intertwined;
A promise is a promise you can't deny, there's no way...

A man's only as good as his word...


First Draft: Second Edition (FINALLY!)


Well, here it is, the single and the full set of tracks for the 2nd EP in the "First Draft" movmement. There was so much hustle that went into this whole process and there were so many people involved. It's hard to believe that I've come to the end of this chapter in my career, with two bodies of work to show for it. In the last 24 months I have seen blessings come my way that were totally out of my realm of expectation, and it all had to do with having faith & the old cliches of staying true to myself and working hard. Thank you, everyone, from the first fan to the most recent follower, thank you for rocking with me on this journey; believe you me, it's far from over, but I am happy to say that I am turning a page and putting to rest this portion of my artistic endeavors. God bless yall. I love each and every one of you.


Horror Movies gave me hope...yeah.


With the Halloween season upon us, and a hiatus from my performance and personal songwriting on the horizon (more on that in another blog), I couldn't help but take more than my usual passing glance at the TV to catch some of the great B-rated horror movies and franchises on the various cable channels. I was definitely one of those kids who had a passive-aggressive love of the genre, finding myself enraptured with movies like "Friday, the 13th," and then being unable to leave the TV room for fear of some unknown undead assailant lurking near the bathroom. Needless to say, it only got worse (or better, LOL) as the years wore on; my nightmares did too, but I was able to control them. I think.

I've always had a penchant for all things macabre. The fact that one of my favorite authors is Stephen King should give you a basic idea of where my head is at when it comes to preferred literature on my downtime. With movies, it's the same. Maybe it's my love of music & the imagination that draws me to the scary and fantastical, who can say? Whatever the reason, that fetish reared its head over the past few weeks via movies & Pop culture pseudo-psycho killers. But the reason this blog came about is because of two specific behind-the-scenes documentaries, and their impact on my music.

Me being the nerd that I am, alongside watching the movies being shown, I did a little YouTube research about the origins of two of the biggest horror franchises in American film history; specifically, the stories behind the making of "Friday, the 13th" and "A Nightmare on Elm Street." I love hearing about the nitty-gritty that goes into turning an artistic idea into a tangible product. But I was taken aback at several points of the documentaries. Not only taken aback, but inspired.

Without going into too much detail, what struck me about these first films was the guerilla-style work that went into getting them budgeted, financed, filmed, and distributed. Anyone who knows anything about these horror titans and their movies knows that they are currently owned and handled by New Line Cinema. What lesser-learned filmgoers might not know is that New Line, at its heart, was a low-level fledgling production company that happened upon Wes Craven's script for "Nightmare," and later acquired the "Friday" franchise. There are accounts of Bob Shaye, New Line Cinema's former CEO and the man behind the first "Nightmare," being so stressed about getting money for the movie and then getting it finished, that he bit his nails past their ends to the point of bloodiness.

Likewise, the kind of conditions that the actors and crew went through on the set of "Friday the 13th" were probably some of the poorest and roughest of any set. Betsy Palmer, the brave woman who played disillusioned maternal killer Mrs. Voorhees, took the role simply to help pay for a new car (a Volkswagen Shirako), hoping against hope that the film would fall into B-movie obscurity. Over time, she learned to accept the fan-dubbed title, "Queen of the Slashers." "Friday" was a hodge-podge of over-acting post-teens, fake blood, cheap spring-loaded camping bunks...and yeah, Kevin Bacon. The result? One of the US's hugest and most popular horror films off all time.

The reason why these accounts translated to my work in music boils down to these memories of their conception. I think it's easy for many of us struggling on the "C & D Lists" of the industry to get discouraged, put-off, and blindsided by the images of music celebrity success. On a more visceral level, those of us on the creative side of the fence can become dissuaded to continue our work when we see writers, producers, and personnel flaunting their ease at getting work and subsequent fame in the business. Let's face it, I can't lie about feeling slight twinges of envy when I see folks like Rodney Jerkins tweeting about his back-to-back sessions and chart-topping hits. But now, having watched these horror film documentaries, I've gleaned a little more hope for myself.

Seeing the accounts of these movies and their histories has reminded me that none of us, wherever we are with this passion in music, starts out with super-prodigy-like artistic genius (OK, OK, Mozart & Beethoven are exceptions, LOL). Nor do they start out with astronomical budgets, award-winning music, or a stocked curriculum vitae. We all start small, with an idea, a dream, and a drive. Many of us who write or produce begin with a home setup and work out of it for extended periods of time before we ever see the inside of a professional studio (and at the rate that the pro studios are closing, who knows when that will be for the next wave of creators?). As a college-trained classical vocalist, I didn't receive a full operatic role until the Fall semester of my fourth year, and in most conservatories, major roles are usually only given out to graduate students.

The end of this story, if anything, is to give you, faithful reader and/or musician, the same hope that was passed to me through this journey through the horror idiom. Whatever your dream, whatever your passion, do not feel bad that you're on a lower rung of the ladder of success than someone else. You have my guarantee that that person above was once where you were in some shape or form. If what you do has integrity and you are willing to put in the work, then enjoy these "C & D-List" moments; they will be some of the most treasured experiences in your journey towards your goals. And who knows, maybe you'll be the person featured on the soundtrack for "Freddy vs. Jason part IX!" Hey, one can dream, right?


Happy Birthday John Lennon


Were the circumstances different, musician & revolutionary thinker John Lennon would've been 70 years old today. The dream of a world at peace is one I won't ever give up. Happy Birthday John.


Imagine there's no Heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today

Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace

You may say that I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world

You may say that I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will live as one


An Open Reply to an Open Letter

Recently, Hip-Hop artist and staple, Nas, sent an open letter to the executives at Def Jam, expressing his disgust and frustration with their lack of attention to his project and his brand.

You'll need to read it to understand my response, so to do that, CLICK HERE :-).

This was the comment I wanted to post, but it was obviously too long. So here goes.

As someone who has been a fan of Nas since my introduction into Hip-Hop Music in '98, I'm sad to see something like this open letter be the last straw for him in 2010. I've said in posts of my own that traditional controversy should end with a press release, and it seems that Nas is at his wit's end, hence this letter. The real question that needs some research is: Why has it come to this point?

I feel that what is taking place is an "Everybody's Fault" situation. On the executive side of the table, we have LA Reid and his band of music business pundits, trying to steer what is the essentially sinking ship that is Def Jam records. Mind you, this ship is sinking in a sea of toxic waters known as the music industry. Having realized all this, the upper brass at the labels and media corporations are doing whatever they can to salvage their profit; the difference here is, unlike non-entrainment companies & the financial sector, they refuse to cut their losses (i.e. cutting down their roster, reeling in miscellaneous spending, etc.) and instead have chosen to eke out whatever money can be had with whomever is working for them & whatever product is up for purchase. Everyone knows that artists on a record label roster are a tax break for the company, and so we have a contractual and financial deadlock, one that the personnel at the labels are unwilling to break, even if it was for the betterment of the industry as a whole.

From the perspective of the artist, Nas is faring no better with his career decisions. What he seemingly fails to realize - or is unwilling to utilize - is that Def Jam or no Def Jam, he himself is still a brand. Nas the Rapper is one of the most prolific and well-known artists to come out of Rap, and has been arguably considered one of the best in the past 15 years of an almost 35-year genre. Instead of bemoaning & griping about the obvious underhanded business practices of the music industry, FIGHT FOR YOUR BRAND. Prince, an artist who is a champion for freedom of musical expression and good business, has shown that one can prove to the labels the power of the artist & what they can achieve outside of the confines of corporate music contracts. As someone who has helped to define Hip-Hop music, Nas needs take similar steps at playing an active, administrative, and effective role in doing the same thing, REGARDLESS of whether the label is in agreement with this role. The effectiveness of internet promotion, viral campaigns, photo campaigns, viral music releases, and artist-to-peer-to-fan marketing has proven to be something that one can not only do for FREE, but can also be exponentially effective at creating an artistic & business success. If all of this is already going on and not working for Nas and his camp, then this dude needs to gather up his crew & come up with a new game plan. Now.

Ultimately, I wish all parties well and hope that some solution can be worked out, but I doubt it. Without knowing the details of his contract, I'm sure Nas is locked into a situation that only a rash legal battle will resolve, should he choose to step away from the Def Jam family. But what everyone needs to realize is that these are the types of results we are going to get if we continue to let a business that is supposed to be about music (a gift, not a right) be consumed by it's own poor business. I most certainly agree that Karma and universal reciprocity will provide the true justice that some of these industry thieves deserve, but that same Karma will not work in your favor until you make a move to call that favor to you.

Just some thoughts.

P. Murray


A Bit of a Rant

Sorry guys, couldn't help myself with this one! Read from the bottom up. For those on my Facebook page, this one is easier to read. LOL.


Speak On iT!


I rarely post something non-music on the text blog, but this one stood out. Whoever this was couldn't be more right. My Uncle is a Catholic Priest and would tell you the same thing. Let's stop committing intellectual suicide and listen to our instinct as well as our beliefs.


Great Lyrics: "Firework" - Katy Perry

(Album: Teenage Dream)
Music & Lyrics: Tor Erik Hermansen, Mikkel Eriksen, Katy Perry, Sandy Wilhelm & Ester Dean

[I really enjoy these lyrics because along with the song, it shows that Pop music can have an uplifting message and still be mainstream friendly. The entire album is really one of the year's best when it comes to Pop/Rock, and Katy should be commended for an excellent studio project. Follow her on Twitter @KatyPerry. ]


Do you ever feel like a plastic bag
Drifting throught the wind
Wanting to start again

Do you ever feel, feel so paper thin
Like a house of cards
One blow from caving in

Do you ever feel already buried deep
Six feet under scream
But no one seems to hear a thing

Do you know that tehre's still a chance for you
Cause there's a spark in you

You just gotta ignite the light
And let it shine
Just own the night
Like the Fourth of July


Cause baby you're a firework
Come on show 'em what your worth
Make 'em go "Oh, oh, oh!"
As you shoot across the sky-y-y

Baby you're a firework
Come on let your colors burst
Make 'em go "Oh, oh, oh!"
You're gunna leave 'em fallin' down-own-own


You don't have to feel like a waste of space
You're original, cannot be replaced
If you only knew what the future holds
After a hurricane comes a rainbow

Maybe you're reason why all the doors are closed
So you can open one that leads you to the perfect road
Like a lightning bolt, your heart will blow
And when it's time, you'll know

You just gotta ignite the light
And let it shine
Just own the night
Like the Fourth of July


Cause baby you're a firework
Come on show 'em what your worth
Make 'em go "Oh, oh, oh!"
As you shoot across the sky-y-y

Baby you're a firework
Come on slet your colors burst
Make 'em go "Oh, oh, oh!"
You're gunna leave 'em fallin' down-own-own


Boom, boom, boom
Even brighter than the moon, moon, moon
It's always been inside of you, you, you
And now it's time to let it through


Cause baby you're a firework
Come on show 'em what your worth
Make 'em go "Oh, oh, oh!"
As you shoot across the sky-y-y

Baby you're a firework
Come on slet your colors burst
Make 'em go "Oh, oh, oh!"
You're gunna leave 'em goin "Oh, oh, oh!"


Boom, boom, boom
Even brighter than the moon, moon, moon
Boom, boom, boom
Even brighter than the moon, moon, moon


Up All Night w/no foresight

Today was a day about the things that matter for me: music, family, and love. I went to go see my Uncle, who is recovering from a recent fall in a New Jersey physical rehab center. He has lost the ability to move his legs and will most likely remain in a wheelchair for the rest of his life. Keep in mind that he is a Catholic Priest who is one of the country's foremost scholars on Christology and the Liturgy according to the Holy See. He has been an inspiring figure for myself and many of my family, as well as presided over countless weddings, baptisms, confirmations, Communions, and funerals for my family & friends. It's going to be a long road of healing for him, but I was glad to be with him and lift his spirits.

On the way home, I listened to some of my favorite music and held good conversation with my father & sister, not to mention baby-talk and smiley-faces with my little niece. I'm realizing now more than ever that in consonance with my art & its creation, this is what life is really about. These are reasons why I can't submit myself to the will of Corporate Music. Not in the way it would have some of us submit. There's too much love & good songs at stake to make choices based on exponential financial profit. There's too many amazing things to be had from the gifts God has given me to pervert or distort them for a 6-figure check.

Does this mean I'm abandoning the music business? Well, I know the haters would love that; sadly, haters, no, I'm not giving it up - I'm simply doing good business with good music and good people. On my own terms. If I can't do it that way & see success the way I want to see it, then there is nothing left for me in this industry, and I will most certainly move on.

When I returned home this evening, I was hit with several pieces of media pertaining to 1.) the coming changing of the Universal guard (i.e. the shifting of the Ages which is happening in our World), and 2.) how MONEY, in all it's corrosive and deadly power, has driven us so very far away from what's really important in our lives: Love. While so many of us who claim religion or some form of divine worship would whole-heartedly deny that we have made the pursuit of wealth a demi-god (at the very least), the truth is even though it may not be entirely our fault, it is what it is. While brooding over these thoughts, I couldn't help but be smacked in the brain with a line from Drake's song, "Up All Night." The line was thus:

"Niggas with no money act like money isn't everything..."

When re-read and absorbed, Aubrey "Drake" Graham couldn't be more right. When you aren't focusing precious energy on the "Hustle," you can come to realize how insignificant it really is. My father used to always say, "It's just paper;" somewhere down the line I took that to heart, and in more recent years this creed has manifested itself fully in my gut. With continued research on the history of paper money, I now understand how true it really is. I guess at this point I have to point out that while artistically nuts (wink), I'm not crazy. I promise you I'm fully sane & in control of my faculties. But with the Drake song and the other things I watched & read today, I saw how Drake's verse in "Up All Night" plays into my own personal revelations, if only adversely so. Here's the full verse, with numbered bullets:
  1. Kush rolled, glass full, I prefer the better things
  2. Niggas with no money act like money isn't everything
  3. I'm having a good time, they just trying to ruin it
  4. Shout out to the fact that I'm the yougest nigga doing it
  5. Cap on, brim bent, Denzel, everytime
  6. She ain't trying to pop that shit for pimp okay well never mind,
  7. I I I tried to told you, Drizzy still ain't nothing nice
  8. Bracelet saying you should quit, cars saying fuck ya life
  9. Okay now we outta here
  10. Toodles to you bitches
  11. And if you dolled up
  12. I got the voodoo for you bitches
  13. I'm busy getting rich, I don't want trouble
  14. I made enough for two niggas boy stunt double
  15. Famous like a drug that I've taken too much
  16. I never ever trip
  17. Just peace happiness and love
  18. I got money in these jeans, so they fit me kinda snug
  19. Plus the game is in my pocket, nigga this is what I does

The numbers are there to help me break this down in a simple & clean way. And I'm not pointing Drake out, which is why I've used all of us as an example. Follow me on this one:
  1. The better things won't ever be found in weed or alcohol. With weed, some enlightenment, maybe, but that depends on how you toke it.
  2. As I've said, money isn't everything, and my experience has shown me that those folks in the industry who have gross amounts of it have amassed as many problems as dollar bills. The question then stands to reason: is it worth it?
  3. People with great wealth always feel that those on the lower end of the totem pole are trying to grasp at their piece of the proverbial pie: they're right. When one has taken nearly half the pie without asking, spit on the rest, and shit on the serving knife, some folks are going to feel salty. Not me, I'm just saying.
  4. Age does not directly equate with skill, maturity, or experience.
  5. [N/A]
  6. [N/A]
  7. [N/A]
  8. It is implied here that our possessions now speak for us, which means we've put material wealth before many other things. I'm not really sure how I'd feel about that.
  9. [N/A]
  10. [N/A]
  11. [N/A]
  12. [N/A]
  13. There is no way possible that the quest for great wealth, especially if successful, is not going to destroy someone else's life in some fashion, so to say we don't want any trouble holds little weight, since we may have facilitated it by default.
  14. [N/A]
  15. [N/A]
  16. [N/A]
  17. The peace, happiness, and love spoken of here is a fallacy. Peace can't happen in a world of violence that is fueled by greed; true happiness cannot be found in album sales or plaques (it can HELP, but it's not the end-all-be-all); and love is not the byproduct of wealth - in fact, Love in its true essence has nothing to do with money whatsoever.
  18. [N/A]
  19. Have we as humans ever really sat down and asked ourselves what it is we're doing?

Now at the end of this, please understand that I do know that what Drake does is all just entertainment. It's part of the business. That's why I reiterate that this is NOT a diss blog to Drake. Even as I type this, I know some ignoramus will think differently, and even some of my friends will probably ask, "Yo P., why did you go in on Drake like that man?"

My answer? I didn't

This was, as previously stated, a breakdown of the ethical value of the VERSE. I was literally analyzing what was said and putting it into context with my life experiences in the hopes that some of you who read this will understand where I'm coming from. Why I'm so adamant about making sure that was I do isn't tainted by the lust for wealth or that the "Grind" is truly a grind to make good music & be successful with that good music. If Drake or his network ever see this and become personally offended, I'm sorry because that's not the intent. But I doubt that someone will get upset enough to respond. That being said, I really DO hope that you, my faithful pals, will see how important it is that we put LOVE first in life. Whatever that love is, so long as it's genuine, it will carry us though.

So on that note, peace, Pals, and Love is Love.



A Short But Powerful Quote.


"If someone wants to be a part of your life, no matter what is going on in [theirs], they'll make an effort [to be a part of yours]. ESPECIALLY if you put forth effort to be a part of their life, [even] when it appears they're pushing you away. It's high time we all stop chasing after & begging for people & things that have shown us they really want no part of our lives."


Score one for the pudding


On my cyber-travels, I've come across alot of free advice as it pertains to the music business. I think all artists should take full advantage of the fact that while many folks in the industry are online simply to promote & talk about themselves, there are a healthy handful of creators and entertainers who are more than happy to relay some nuggets of wisdom to their supporters. Sometimes, though, I wonder about the value of this advice. This curiosity stems from two places: 1.) My understanding that everyone's path to success in the arts will be decidedly different, no matter the formulas that have been set before us, and 2.) My practically uncontrollable habit of taking all advice with several grains of salt. One such nugget in question was posted by an A-List creator, which said this:

"Kiss ass before you can kick ass. Be humble."

Now if we are to really lay that statement out on the operating table, it is short enough that it can be interpreted in a myriad of ways. And while I'm 85% in agreement with its meaning, the remaining 15% is glowing a hot neon red, which is why this new blog presented itself in my brain. A few weeks before this post, I did a video blog talking about my constant struggle with my own pride, a battle which still goes on today and will probably continue up and through my death; the ego is a damn good opponent when he wants to be. In this vlog, I explained how I am striving to be a more humble, appreciative, and respectful artist. Having experienced first-hand the bitter fruits of industry shade and silent blacklisting, as well as been the facilitator of that type of reprehensible behavior, I wanted to make a public apology and try to move on to better social interactions with fellow artists. The one thing I did say, however - and I stand by it still - is that I am NOT an advocate for ass-kissing, a statement upon which I can gladly elaborate.

In previous blogs I have talked about networking being the key factor in a successful business venture. For folks who might not know, that type of socio-commercial interaction requires a huge level of respect for (cue the trumpets here) PROTOCOL. I know I did a blog last year about being professional; it all ties in. I don't care who you think you are musically or otherwise, if you can't display a proper level of respect for your superiors, you can kiss any hope of a promotion or advancement in your field goodbye. Acting as if you have no one to answer to PROFESSIONALLY is 'un idea terrible.'

HOWEVER...you knew that was coming...I also understand that in a business as malleable and ever-fluid as the music industry, it can be difficult to determine who really is your superior. The titles given to people in corporate music often times don't carry the weight that people think they do, and folks are constantly going in or out of the proverbial revolving door. So what is an up-and-comer to do? Like I've said, simply keep a high level of professionalism in all your artistic and business ventures; this way, the consensus across the musical board will be that you know how to handle your shit without dropping the ball or coming out your face.

My guess is that you're asking, "But HOW does this all tie in with the ass-kissing issue you were talking about?" I'll tell you.

I do not advocate ass-kissing (or being a sycophant, as that is the proper term), because in my opinion this type of disposition simply shows that you are desperate for the attention of your artistic elders, or looking to get a leg up without the proper boost, as opposed to being a creative individual simply seeking to increase your network. You are also showing that your good-natured behavior is selective, thereby creating a social disconnect with others who may be interested in what you have to offer artistically or business-wise. Remember, this is a society of talkers. People WILL relay to other people about their experiences with you, if only to compare mental notes. At that point, if influential person A's experience with you was not as favorable as their friend, influential person B, you could in essence have ruined your chances of working with either of them in the future, and unfortunately this type of social report card gets passed around faster than a free music download from Lady Gaga.

Ultimately, love and respect are what the world needs, so why not present a small reflection of that in how you go about creating and promoting your music? Remember, that respect that you give to your peers or superiors should be the same respect you give yourself. If you're in this to win it, you have to treat yourself as the professional personnel you aspire to be. This idea links in with your creativity. It is the experienced opinion of this creator that the only two factions that need proof of your talent or skills are God and yourself. As I've tweeted, YES, the music industry is a show-and-prove game, but that really just pertains to whether or not you can hang business-wise; skills, talent, or chops only factor in once the foot is in the door, and that foot will have a better chance of keeping the door open if you do it with a smile & a handshake. You can certainly bust it open with a Glock, but there are alot of repercussions, sacrifice, and heartache that come with forcibly earning your place in a business such as this. For me, those sacrifices, artistic and otherwise, are not worth making. I love my music too much.

Hope yall marinate on that. Love is love...



No Falsies


It's funny how last year, I was a Twitter boycotter, and now I'm using several different applications and programs to manage my tweet campaign. For me, this micro-blogging miracle has become one of my strongest tools to promote, educate, and give fans or colleagues a chance to glimpse into the world that is P. Murray. Of course, allowing such a transparent method of communication to spearhead my artistic campaign has it's dark side - you never know what kind of crazy folks are watching you. Still, I decided to take that risk and never look back.

With that said, I find it so interesting how people can act on Twitter. In the post-modern info age, we've learned, almost subconsciously, how to funnel our feelings into short messages and blogs, so as to try and accurately portray ourselves. Most times that portrayal is an honest one. But with sites like Twitter, you find that alot of folks (particularly music folk) have made the decision to use the platform as an opportunity to go "Hollywood' on us; that is, Tweet things about themselves or their situations that are partially or entirely untrue. What people who do this tend to forget is that the business is only but so big, therefore your bearing false witness about your daily biz will more than likely be turned out in the end if you keep pushing the facade. Just sayin.'

In addition, I've seen how fellow music tweeters decide that once they have a few key celebrity followers, their entire 'Twittatude' does an abrupt 180'. Suddenly the brazen, no-holds-barred artist you saw tweeting before is a demure, Christianized performer who loves everyone and has issues with no one. Now the person who was once so communicative with their fans only replies to people that are 'in their circle' or on the same rung of networking they are. It can be a bit nauseating. Usually I end up unfollowing those folks.

I believe that the key to the success of any aspiring artist that is independent is some level of honesty and transparency. Changing your whole style up because your positive now that 'important people' are keeping an eye on you is just making you look like a butt-kisser. It may be that those same important folks were watching you from the sidelines and you didn't know; playing to their appeasement is only a way to make you look more desperate. I decided that, while I have made the choice to be far more aware of what I write, I'm still the same P. Murray that opened up his public Twitter account, and that is the P. Murray I want everyone to know (including Brandy, Dru Hill, Swizz Beat, Kevin "A&R" Shine, and Steff Nasty - those are just a few of the folks who are part of my follower group).

Bottom line? Do you and be you. it's the best thing you can possibly do or be ;-).


An Open Letter to the UC Lounge & LES Productions

[Sent on August 20th, 2010]


I am sending this as an open letter to your company and establishment to express my acute anger, disappointment, and resentment at the series of events that transpired yesterday evening in regards to what was supposed to have been my third performance of this year.

Earlier this summer, I received what I deemed to be an automatic response to my newsletter from your staff, letting me & my team know about open dates and times available to perform at the UC Lounge on Ludlow Street. Though normally I am a proactive artist and search out venues myself, I took this message as an opportunity to conveniently book a day for the performance I was planning in August as per my marketing & promotional abstract. I responded to the message with a specific date & time: August 19th, 7pm to be exact. The response came back that the time was available and my slot was confirmed, along with contact information should I have any questions.

As the date got closer, I took it upon myself to reconfirm the date, time, and space for my show, entitled, "Pop-Hop." I was sent back that reconfirmation, along with details of the backline and what particulars I would need to be aware of to ensure a smooth evening and show. I took it on good faith that if any problems were to make themselves present, I would be notified beforehand. I even went so far as to visit the UC Lounge two nights before the actual show to get an overview of the space. The gentlemen I spoke to seemed confident that there wouldn't be any technical or logistics issues, and so I left, confident that Thursday the 19th would be another successful event. Evidently even this "detective work" wasn't enough to have things play out the way they were supposed to.

When I arrived at the UC Lounge at around 6pm, I was told by staff that because I had done the e-mail booking with 'Bruno (whom I have yet to have met or speak to),' that there was a complication with timing. Apparently, I had been double booked with another, more involved performance from a music school. I was then informed that I would actually not be able to use the stage or equipment until 9pm, possibly later. While I remained nonplussed, I assure you I was livid.

Please be aware that I understand completely how back-to-back shows can run into and over each other. But I was guaranteed the 7pm time slot for this date, received REcomfirmation, and was not made aware of any scheduling issues until an hour before the night of my gig. I would have even been willing to concede to an hour delay, knowing how situations like this can occur. However, completely shifting my start time to OVER an hour-and-a-half behind my slated time WITHOUT notifying me in advance is unprofessional, unethical, and absolutely unfair. It is for these and professional reasons that I had to officially cancel my performance at the last minute, to the disappointment of my colleagues, family, and fans. Keep in mind that I had musicians with other professional appointments that evening who were ONLY available for the 7-8:30 window of time, as well as corporate representatives and music industry executives who had promised their attendance because of the accessible time frame.

In short, this has put a serious damper on several of my networking opportunities and business relationships, simply because no one on your end thought it wise to call and let me know about this problem in enough time to deal with it in a timely manner.

Were I a more vindictive individual, I would have use my connections to the NYC Fire Department to have your establishment inspected; seeing as how poorly the staff operates, I have no doubt there are several unsafe building code issues that more than likely have been overlooked, which I assure you would not be passed over this time. However, I will pacify my need for reprisal by editing this personal e-mail and creating an open letter for my fans & colleagues to see. Please note also that I will be forwarding this e-mail to any and all of my close musician and industry associates as a warning to stay away from booking anything with your company and this establishment; believe me when I say that my words have no problem reaching very influential eyes & ears. In addition, should I find out from even the smallest group of artists who have had similar problems with LES Productions & The UC Lounge, I will promptly be filing a complaint with the Better Business Bureau.

It is my sincere hope that others like myself do not have to experience such poor professional conduct with folks like you. I do wish you well in your business endeavors; as this has been a hard learning experience for me, I advise that it is the last time you let something as egregiously improper as this happen to you.

Joseph P. Murray


My thoughts on a Diva: Jane Pesci-Townsend



[NOTE: The following contains my thoughts on actress and faculty member Jane Pesci-Townsend, who sadly passed away August 6, 2010. Please be advised that in a time of grieving for many, these thoughts are not to eulogize Jane, but rather my honest account of my experiences of her over the past eight years. As such, the thoughts and views expressed here are my own and will contain memories both good and bad. To all those in mourning for her death, I wanted to make sure I said this before you read below; it may even be a sound decision to wait to give this blog a skim until some time has passed. Let me be clear in saying that I grieve along with you all, but I am more overjoyed that Jane is finally at peace. She is with God, and for that I am forever thankful.]

While in college at the Catholic University of America, I came across many people who would change my life & the way I viewed the world forever. Some for good, some not-so-good, but all of it was an ongoing five-year lesson in how to survive as a working musician in the 21st century. While the administrative aspect of CUA is one that I can't say I endorse, the faculty, in their brilliance and experience, does make up for alot of the lack of efficiency in their various departments. As a graduate of CUA's Benjamin T. Rome School of Music, I found myself in the midst of a cornucopia of accomplished students & teachers, and quickly discovered the reason as to the odd juxtaposition of the many wonderful talents & performances against the irksome and often-times abrasive behavior of all who passed through the building: we were a family.

In larger and more famous schools of music, you will find that while attendees and professors do model a high standard of excellence, there is a lack of fellowship and bonding. This can be attributed to many things, but it usually comes down to a simple truth: the institution is not designed to harbor such camaraderie, only to educate you, take your money, and throw you out into the world of music as a fresh-faced performer or creator. For many, this is all that matters, and so the best students audition and try out for the Juilliards, the Manhattan Schools of Music, and the Berklees. CUA's music school certainly provided any student with an excellent level of training if you sought it out, but it also provided an invaluable level of togetherness that only a family would understand. Thus, like any family, we either adored or detested each other. We fought, argued, loved, despised, held family members in contempt, supported their efforts, and did it all together; one musical family, one sense of solidarity.

I wouldn't trade this aspect for any full-scholarship to a prestigious Conservatory anywhere in the world.

The late Jane Pesci-Townsend was one such member of this family. Looking back, one could surmise that she was very much the protective godmother of many Music Theater majors. To me, she was like a distant Aunt with a "Mama Rose" complex. I got the gist of her popularity at Benny Rome in our freshman faculty orientation when many students whooped and cheered as her name was mentioned. During my first few months, I came to learn that she was a character that was both adored and equally deplored. There was no middle-ground with Jane; either you were with it or you weren't. At first, I decided to play Switzerland and keep a neutral stance on it all, since I was a Vocal Performance major anyway, having little to do with the curriculum or stagecraft of the Music Theater Dept.

Friends of mine who were friends and students of Jane were some of the closest I've had, and I gravitated towards them because they did seem to give off a bright, addictive energy. It was reminiscent of the popular kids I wanted to befriend at LaGuardia High School, but at LaG it was a combination of wanting to belong and desiring to match their talent. At CUA, I already knew my worth as a prodigious music student, so it was more about surrounding myself with fun people. Still, my involvement with the inner MT sanctum was nill for a good while. Until colleagues and friends began to inadvertently pull me in.

Another thing for which I am thankful.

As college wore on, I began to note the duality of JPT's comportment. Through my experiences as accompanist for my friends' end-of-semester evaluation juries, as well as being part of the stage crews for several music theater productions, it became clear to me that while Jane was certainly someone worth having as a mentor and ally, it could be surmised that those on the opposite side of that pole may have been seen as troublesome. The major faculty shifting in the MT department and subsequent retirement of former chair Maureen "Reenie" Codelka during my 3rd year was a time that nearly tore my friends apart. No one wanted to fight or be openly bitter over the changes, but everyone who knew about it took a side. It was one of the darker moments in my group of college memories, and I openly voiced my concerns against it all. Funny how things seemed to end up coming around full circle in my interaction with her later on.

For those who didn't know, through all of this, Jane was in the throes of an ongoing battle with cancer, something that she and her circle tried to keep quiet at first, but then became another moment of solidarity for many Music Theater students. I remember the men of the department all shaving their heads around the time Jane began her radiation treatment and chemotherapy. Whatever you felt about her, you couldn't help but be touched by this moving public display of love & friendship; if only everyone could do something like that for someone in their time of need. Here again is the example of family ties and how they bind.

My own personal experiences with Jane truly began after I auditioned (and got turned down, rightfully so) for the title role in "Jesus Christ: Superstar." I went into that audition, vocal guns blazing, and ended up only doing a mediocre, poorly acted audition. Real talk? I was pissed. In my quiet frustration, I asked Jane later (laying on one of the couches in the Rome School lobby), "what did I do wrong?" Her response? "You closed your eyes. We couldn't see what you were feeling." It hit me like a ton of theatrical bricks then; all my belting, falsetto, crazy riffs & runs, and vocal technique meant absolute shit if i couldn't properly act out the emotions of a song. I knew then and there that whatever feelings or guesses I had about Jane would have to be put aside, and I'd need to see what she was about in the classroom.

The steps into Jane's teaching studio were small and uncalculated at first; seeing if she would help with the emotional content of my voice recitals, the occasional small conversation, visits to her Body Movement & Stage Deportment classes - these were all things I attempted to get a feel for the Jane way of teaching. Mind you, I had already been called upon by her to perform in several events at CUA, including the opportunity to sing in front of world-renowned counter-tenor, David Daniels; I'll never forget feeling like I was going to melt into my leather shoes and her coming over to me with a huge grin on her face, asking, "So are you like, totally nervous?!" Thinking about that makes me smile every time. However, my full-fledged JPT learning experience came from a mutual set of problems we both faced in my final year at the Rome School.

In the fall of my 5th year, Jane made the decision to have the fall musical be "Grand Hotel," a music theater version of an earlier movie about an imagined famous Hotel in Europe and the lives of several men & women staying in it, each with their own problems, but all somehow connected through their time together in the hotel itself. I remember Jane sitting me down in the courtyard of the music school and explaining to me that the show had roles for two Black men. As the MT department only had one in their roster (a wonderfully talented and kind brother named Jase Parker), she was in need of another man of color to fill the role. I happily obliged; it was my first full role in a college musical, you couldn't have told me not to do it.

My rehearsal time with Jane and the Music Theater majors was amazing & so much fun. I specifically recall having our first run-through of the music. Co-chair and music director Tom Pedersen was concerned that Jase & I wouldn't be able to take our number, "Maybe My Baby," at the brisk, hot-step tempo in which the song was written. What he didn't know is that Jase & I has already spent ample time in the rehearsal studio going through the song multiple times and had it down to a science. We gave Tom & accompanist Gabe Mangiante the OK sign, and began the number. Through the first 8 bars of the opening jazz scat, I distinctly recall hearing Jane's piercing "HA!" and the laughter from my friends & fellow students. We ice-skated through that song, and after the applause and chatter, Jane went on to state (in that same piercing voice), "THIS is what it means to be PREPARED for rehearsal!!"

I couldn't have been more proud.

The show went off extremely well, with alot of great times in between. It was my first time ever singing and dancing (at the same time) in a musical, and believe you me, it was NOT easy (you're talking about someone with clinically diagnosed A.D.D. trying to multitask on stage! LOL). At dress rehearsal, Jane gave the succinct note to Jase & I that summed up what she wanted from us dramatically: "BE BLACK AND HAPPY!" Anyone else who would've said that in my presence would've seen the backside of my jeans as I walked out of the theater, with an angry e-mail to the Dean and a followup phone call from my parents. But with Jane, a woman whose cries of desperation during rehearsals have [allegedly] included, "[bleep] ME WITH A CHAINSAW, it's COMEDY!," what was I to do but throw my car keys down the aisles of the theater and double over in laughter? There was never any racial tension, and I would NEVER say otherwise; she was just being Jane in a dress rehearsal, and I loved it.

My final semester at school found me once again in under Jane's tutelage, this time in two of her classes: Senior Music Theater Workshop (a substitute for the acting classes the Drama Department refused to let me take - douchebags), and the ever-so-popular freshman academic music theater gauntlet, Body Movement (or Stage Deportment, as it was so called in the Spring Term - this was to make up for my missed Stage Movement class). It was here, through Jane's teaching, that I truly learned how to properly emote a song, rather than just sing it with raised eyebrows (classical vocal faces). My triumph, if you will, came with the end-of-year performance of "Hero and Leander," a song from the "Myths & Hymns" collection by composer Adam Guettel,grandson of Richard Rogers (of Rogers and Hammerstein). It felt so good to be on a stage and really get into the guts of a song, and have it be appreciated as such.

At the end of my college days, it would suffice to say that Jane & I came to a mutual understanding and yes, a friendship. What I came to understand about Jane Pesci-Townsend was that through all the rumors, strange behavior, great times on & off stage, and the moments in between, she was just like the rest of us at The Rome School of Music: a human being, trying to make sense of a talent given by God in a world that will never fully understand it. She fought hard and sometimes harrowingly for things she believed in, as we all would for things we want to have happen. In her most disagreeable moments, she was no better and no worse than any of us in ours, though there are those who would believe otherwise. Like all of us, she was imperfect, but tried damn hard to achieve some sense of perfection in the world she lived in, and who out of any of us can say that we haven't gone to great lengths and even hurt people to do the same? If you are reading that question and think you haven't, you are wrong, my friend.

What I feel is most important to remember about Jane - and what I identify with most - is that for good or for ill, she made you feel something. The JPT's of the world never go quietly into the darkness, even when they've lost a battle, because they were never meant to. I firmly believe that Jane was put here to be a fulcrum, a spring-loaded lever, if you will, for peoples lives. For some, it was Jane who opened their eyes to love & real friendship; for others, it was Jane who made them realize that a career in performance was not their calling; for others still, it was Jane, through actions benign or questionable, that lit the fire under their ass, making them work twenty times harder at becoming a successful working actor, if only to prove her wrong. We absolutely need those people around to do that. Without them, we are doomed to life of mediocrity and poor choices. By virtue of this observation alone, it can be aptly stated that Jane truly was a blessing to those around her, because God's blessings aren't always the ones you expect, but they will always, always be the ones you need.

In closing, I'd like to note that Jane Pesci-Townsend leaves behind a husband and two children (George and Rosie). If nothing else about all that I've written here resonates with you, I hope that this fact will. In the middle of everything else going on in her life, particularly as it pertained to her CUA family, Jane was able to be a good wife & mother to the real one she helped create. I have no doubt in my mind that man and those children will carry memories, music, and love that will last throughout their lifetime. We can only hope & pray that we will be able to do the same when God calls us home.

Thank you Jane. For everything.

See you when I get there. And say hi to Fred Ebb for me ;-).


Everybody wins...or loses. You decide


I've been inspired once again to give some insight into some interesting industry inner-workings today. If you liked that alliterative sentence, then you'll LOVE what I have to say *big grin*. This tweet came across my timeline earlier this morning via @Jkits:

"Why do Major Labels put Terrible songs on Albums becuz they were produced and written by A-Listers? Wow..."

Now, P. Murray 1.0 would've gone off the handle answering this question. Said answer would've most likely contained lots of resentment, expletives, and a whole lot of shade. However, P. Murray 2.0 has gone through alot of positive changes, and can respond to this query in a way that is honest, realistic, but still hopeful. Let's attack some basic common-law music business practices first.

At the heart of any business, the key to big-time success is (drumroll please) NETWORKING. At least that's what the case has been for the past few decades or so. Hard work, hustle, and talent - regardless of the field - will pale in comparison to the right connections. It was, at one point, understood that the hard work, hustle, and talent would get you to those connections. Such is not the case anymore, thanks to over-extended nepotism, hard-held executive positioning, and plain old greed. Ergo, the music business, a business already based on inter-personal relationship and the commerce of art, exemplifies this case-point several-fold. It truly is all about "Who You Know."

With this in mind, let's examine the plight of the break-out mainstream artist. If you are new, and signed to a major label and your A&R team is shopping around for material to place on your debut project, chances are they will do one of two things: either trust in the power of good music & search out that music by way of their network (this is highly unlikely), or seek out the Big Name writers/producers to procure a single from them at a nominal fee (this is VERY likely). Any credited creator who is actively placing with the majors right now can tell you that album content means crap if there is no super-hot-big-named-give-you-a-pop-wedgie single to front the project. In the business' current climate, the labels have been banking on the single to be something that can take off and be played ad nauseam, so as to ensure that the masses will be certain to at least buy the single and hopefully gravitate towards purchasing the album. This means that even though C-List producer w/no big credits may legitimately have the hottest new set of songs that could launch his career and be great additions to any pop project, A&R's will pass him/her over if they know Swizz Beats is willing to provide the label artist's breakout single, simply because he is...Swizz Beats (cue claps on the 'and' of every count of the track).

Let's be clear: the A-List creators really have no vested interest in the new artistry coming forth from the labels; some may argue it's because the talent and brands are lacking - I'm pretty sure and have on good authority that it's because of the pricing issues and poor financial practices of corporate music. Why would Danja Handz (I dig his work, PS) have a care or thought for someone like a P. Murray if he's already placed hits with Britney Spears (to the tune of thousands of dollars in upfront checks and mechanical royalties), and can be guaranteed similar slots on other established artists' projects? The answer is: he's not - hypothetically - and if him or someone like him DOES get called in to be part of an album from an unknown major label kid, chances are his interest will be diminished, leading him to take less time on the quality of whatever comes out of the studio; i.e., the "terrible" song. The truth is we can complain about this cyclical musical mudslide, but it's not something that's about to stop any time soon. Folks in the business are too bitter and far too concerned with their own security to break out of the pattern. I mean hey, we've all got a job to do...right?

You might be asking yourself, "Well at least we can expect good stuff from these guys when they're working with the veterans in the game right?" Wrong. In the case of the established artist taking to the A-Listers for their music, even the most prolific and creative artistic minds need to submit their will to the A&R guidelines if they are to ensure their placements. It may be a case where the artists themselves are in full creative control - though rare in corporate music - but in any case, whatever sound, style, feel, or songs are desired, those A-List creators seeking to get a credit on the project will need to fall in line with that. I know for certain that folks who wrote some of the less...insightful music on the Xtina album are fully capable of composing beautiful and profound sonic masterpieces; but the album was called "Bionic," Aguilera's foray into the Euro-Electro-Bubblegum-Dance/Pop world, so while super-writers like Linda Perry (writer of "BeautifuL") could be promised an amazing ballad slot, OTHERS would've had to make sure their records matched up with that hyphenated genre, A-List or not. In the words of Wendy Williams: "It is what it is."

My personal solution to much of this can be boiled down to the simplicity (and subsequent complexity) of the following statement: start with good music and build around it. The complexity of that statement can be found in asking, "Who decides what is good music?" Well I know one thing for sure: as aptly tweeted by my godbrother Ryan-O'Neil, letting lawyers, budgeteers, and other such non-musical persons have majority say over the content of the material will usually never make for a high-quality music project. Sorry. You can't expect for an executive accountant to be able to make the final decisions in the operating room of a high-risk brain surgery; it wouldn't be their place to do so. Such is the case of the legal & financial sector of the industry and their having far too much input on the art itself. Alas and alack, it seems that it will end up taking the full implosion of the business as it's been known for the real changes to occur.

In the mean- and in-between-time, I'm gonna keep on making good tunes and doing good business with those tunes. I advise others to do the same.



Un fait méconnu sur moi


I love the ability to express my traits in a way that is accessible to many people; it is so important to me as an artist & musician to have this freedom of expression so you, the faithful Pal, have a good idea of what goes on in this crazy brain of mine. As I've been working my way through my network of amazing creators & musicians, I've discovered something interesting and a bit troubling in their collaborations with me. It really came to light recently when I started working with several close colleagues of mine. It was their impression that it was 'beneath me' to want to sing or perform with other artists, due in part to the fact I have so much going on with my own project and co-productions in place, but mainly because I've evidently been giving off an air of extreme self-reliance in music & art. This air is the troubling part of the previous musings; therefore, let me once again state my feelings on working with others, specifically as it pertains to vocal work.

First, I L.O.V.E. singing. As I stated before in blogs prior, of the several gifts with which I've been blessed, singing & performing is at the top of the list. If I could do nothing else artistically or creatively, I would still be satisfied so long as I could open my mouth and have beautiful sounds come out; it's why I try to take the best possible care of my voice and encourage all other vocalists to do the same. I love singing, I love hearing other talented singers, and I love hearing new voices as well as new songs for those voices. Just wanted to state that.

Secondly, I REALLY, REALLY LOVE to sing with other people. Whether it be a duet, a background vocal, a chorus, an "ooh" or an "aah," it's always great to sing alongside folks. I've found (as I'm sure many vocalists have) that collective vocalizing carries its own specific & special energy. My High School teacher & composer, Jerry Ulrich (amazing musician, FYI; he's now at Georgia Tech teaching), would always quote, "singing is one of the most intimate things two people can do with each other." I couldn't agree more, and I think it is essential that ANY solo artist venture into some form of collaborative or ensemble singing as part of their development and musical growth.

Having typed that, let me state again that so long as the people I work with are focused, talented, and respect my time & education, I have NO PROBLEM WHATSOEVER singing with/for you. If you need a background vocalist, I got you. If you're looking for someone to help with your vocal arrangements for a live show, I'm definitely down to do that. And of course, if you're interested in doing some duet work for your upcoming performances, just let me know! I state again that all I ask is for you to keep a good schedule & be a good singer; we can take the rest from that point. Believe me, those requirements alone help to eliminate alot of people, heheheh...

Thanks always for hitting up my blog-thoughts, feel free to comment, and if you'd like to hit me up, you already know I'm a tweet-head for real!




Here comes another show! Presenting: POP-HOP


Register for P. Murray: Pop-Hop in New York, NY  on Eventbrite

**Jay-Z Voice** YUP!

We're doing it again, P. Murray pals, less than a month from now, I'm going to be giving you a 45-minute mashup of some of Pop music's biggest records, skillfully placed over, inside, and under a handful of Hip-Hop's most praiseworthy beats & hits. Believe me when I tell you THIS one's gonna be alot of fun. I've been commissioned via Tweets by Lil' Mo to make sure that no matter what happens, that the songs are SLAIN and served to you as only musicians can do it. I'm ready...are you coming?

DATE: Thursday, August 19, 2010

TIME: 7pm EST (We will be starting ON TIME)

LOCATION: 87 Ludlow Street (btwn. Delancey & Broome St.), NYC

COVER: $10

You can click the links, or visit http://PopHop.Eventbrite.com/ for more info


ANNOUNCEMENT: My Music is on iTunes! YEAH BABY!

So who is more excited than me today about my big news?


I'm so happy to announce that after working with the great folks at Tunecore.com and some prayer alongside some crossed fingers, my debut EP, "First Draft," is on iTunes! Frankly, I was very surprised that the process was as smooth as it was for me. Kudos to Tunecore for really coming through for independent artists. I know there are folks out there who, like me, are religious about using iTunes as their music purchase site and will not download from anywhere else. While I'm not THAT anal about it, now all you people who are have to at least check out the store! I hope that what you hear will bring you to click that "Buy Album" button :-) .

If you'd like to hear a full HD-quality preview of the EP, it is always available at http://firstdraftonline.com/

SO...if you wanna get that iTunes EP poppin RIGHT NOW, simply click the conveniently created icon below this text. Whether or not you've purchased, make sure to rate the music on the iTunes store, as well as comment on the music so we can get the buzz factor up. You Pals have been more than awesome about taking the initiative to spread the word about the "First Draft" movement. All that love you show me I send right back to you 1,000 times over! Take care, until next time...



Self-Evident Truths.


[This was a commentary response I made to an article in the NY Times about my generation regarding a young man who allegedly turned down an entry-level job w/a $40K salary in the hopes of something better. You can read the article itself by clicking HERE. After writing this tome of a reply, I figured it was blog-worthy. I would love your thoughts.]

Folks, I hate to be the bubble burster for everyone, but I don't mind doing it. Before I say anything else, let me state that I do fall into this 'millennial' category, being in my 20's, unemployed, and at home. Now if people were to take a scrutinizing, very detailed look at the shape of the economy, you would discover two things:

1.) The system, as it stands, was never meant, nor will it ever be meant, to help a 'so-called millennial' achieve anything but enter and remain a part of the seemingly endless cycle of debt that is to be fostered by these dead-end jobs and non-mobile employment opportunities.

2.) Said system, as time progresses, is only becoming progressively worse. The value of a college degree has fallen to that of a High School diploma, and those continuing on with their education looking for higher wages will find themselves unpleasantly surprised, when the fruit of their labors leaves them in a position similar to those of us who stopped the college-train at a Bachelor's Degree. And with decidedly more debt.

I suppose I can't speak for other millennials, but my personal experiences have led me to believe that earning money and providing for oneself are two entirely different agendas. One can very easily find themselves in a cushy six-figure job with benefits and still be living a terrible life or lifestyle. On the other end of that double-edged sword, one could be like me, confident in my goals [as an aspiring musician], working towards something greater and with more value. In my case, that thing of value is the pursuit and perpetuation of the arts.

I don't deny that we as citizens of a capitalist society are programmed to be on the hunt for financial stability; it may as well be the other American creed next to the opening lines to the Constitution. What society in general has lost, in my opinion, are the values behind that type of stability. I refuse to demean myself or lower my set of standards chasing the 'Almighty Dollar;" to me, that is a deplorable kind of chase, best suited for dogs and their chew-toys. Many of you will read this and surmise that I'm ungrateful and riding a very high horse; I've thought of you all too.

I know how very lucky & blessed I am to have a family who not only supports my dreams, but allows me the space to pursue them. I do not feel that I retain a sense of entitlement, and if such a feeling does exist, it is grossly overshadowed by my desire to do something better with my life (i.e. music). I do understand that a musician's life falls into its own special category, but the same goes for any millennial wishing to create a life for themselves that has purpose and meaning. We desire more because we know that so many before us have settled; we have more patience and planning skills because we don't want to fall into the money-traps and career-pitfalls our parents and grandparents have fallen into; we know that we can do better because even though tomorrow might not be promised, the future still looks brighter than we could ever imagine, and I for one am not about to give up those possibilities, or trade them in for a sweet 401K or hedge fund.

With all of this said, I have no problem holding down a job to cover necessary expenses incurred as a young American citizen; I am in the midst of heading back into the work force within the next 90 days. I have no problem creating a sustainable lifestyle so as to be a functioning member of society. I likewise have no problem passing on that ideal to my peers or my descendants; simply put, sometimes you do what you gotta do. But all this is serving a higher purpose, which is to create a life that is fulfilling, meaningful, and provides society with something more than just a tax ID number.

The American Dream is indeed elusive, because all it will ever be is a dream. Property, wealth, and prosperity are all material and temporal ideals; such things do not equate with being content in one's living. The reality of life is that it is filled with hardships and trial. The truly 'elite' of our society live lives knowing that the best moments are found in the good times sought in between those hardships while in pursuit of common truths and veritable happiness.


On my own two feet...yours too.


SO...evidently, the trend in the past 5 years (approximately) is this compilation of major label artists taking big spills on stage. I'm not talking about pouring out liquor for a lost homie either. I'm speaking of the various slips and falls that we've seen swimming around cyberspace. From Beyonce, to Kelly, to Michele, to Jazmine, to Drake, to Rihanna, to Lady GaGa, and the most recent Alicia Keys back-buster, for some reason, many of our mainstream folks can't seem to keep it together. Either that or we've just recorded alot more of these folks' mistakes than we used to. However, I'm more inclined to lean towards the fact that Pop culture has forgotten to teach alot of the newer artists basic stage movement before throwing them into a worldwide tour w/full-out choreography. As they say, you have to crawl before you walk, and in this case, before you dance or strut across a proscenium. So, as someone who has studied Body Movement, Stage Movement, and Stage Deportment under professional tutelage, allow me to import some common-sense pointers for anyone looking to step foot on a stage any time soon.

We'll break this down by sex, but all of these could apply to both genders. I just noticed these traits amongst men & women respectively.


1.) USE A NORMAL WALK: Stop attempting to use anything but your normal gait (that means stride, folks) on stage. In other words, if you don't already have a West Coast pimped out swagger-walk, your show or tour is not the time to start one up. Physically, once our bodies get into a movement routine when traveling, breaking out of it in some asinine way is only asking for trouble, particularly when we're already having major distractions thrown at us (e.g. the crowd, the band, the DJ, etc.). Assuming that you're that nimble on your feet will only have you end up on your face.

2.) KEEP YOUR KNEES BENT: This may sound stupid, but it's true. If for some reason you're at a point in your show/gig where you have to stand still and straight for an extended period of time, locking your knees while doing so can cause your legs to weaken, and in the occasional case, make you fall out. Keeping a slight bend in the knee forces your leg muscles to stay attentive and retain your good balance. Like I said, it's common sense, but clearly it's not that common.

3.) WEAR APPROPRIATE CLOTHING: I don't care what genre your working out of, your show is not the time to attempt physically restrictive or obstructive clothing. This means your pants should NOT sag below the cuff of your shoe, the cuffs themselves should be properly cut or taken up, and your shoes should have a SOLID grip on the ground. Just because your Louis Vuitton sneakers are fresh out of the box, doesn't mean they won't give way during a step-turn or short-stop.

4.) EYE-OBSTACLES: OK fellas, I get that maybe before your show you might've had a drink or five, and possibly taken part in some medical drug use, and that this would prompt you to put on your 'stunna' shades. While ultimately I thoroughly detest obstructive eye-wear for many reasons, if you're going to put on sunglasses, make sure that they fit comfortably on your head and have the best/clearest visibility possible. The same precaution goes for hats; pushing your brim down halfway in front of your eyes is your way of saying, "Well, I can kinda see, and I really don't care if I bust my ass." Give yourself a chance guys, seriously.


1.) BE A STICKLER ABOUT YOUR WARDROBE: Ladies, chances are you all will be getting the more involved end of the stick when it comes to stage fashion. As such, now is the time to be that b***h (politely, if possible though) about making sure that every article of clothing or accessory that is put on you for your gig is generally comfortable (and that's a BROAD term I'm using, I know how it is, LOL), and that you're COMPLETELY comfortable in it (THAT'S the more important part of this). The point of this advisory comes down to this: if you're on stage performing and simultaneously worrying about your couture spangled belt slipping off, your brain is no longer focused on your performance or your balance. It's an open invitation for a slip-and-fall disaster. If ever there was a time to be a diva during your career, wardrobe and costuming selection/fitting is definitely it.

2.) WEAR YOUR HAIR, DON'T LET IT WEAR YOU: Gals, whatever style they have your mop in, again, make sure it's something that you can deal with during a full show. Many of you will be dealing with hair extensions, weaves, wigs, and various hat wear. Take some time to really work out your hair/hat choices, and if you have time to rehearse in them, do so. There's nothing worse than getting a flyaway track in your eye, only to remove it AFTER you've plopped your butt on the stage because you were trying to remove it while performing.

3.) LIVE IN YOUR SHOES: This is probably the most important point I wanted to make for the women. Whatever shoes & footwear will be a part of your set, **REHEARSE IN THEM**. If you can't get a hold of those specific shoes (due to their high cost or availability), do yourself a favor and purchase a few pairs of character shoes. Start walking in them in and out of rehearsal to increase your comfort level of being in heels during a performance as opposed to your day-to-day routine; I promise you it's a far different experience. If they are closed-toe heels and you can swing it, pick up a pair of Dr. Scholls inserts: you may not have any foot problems to begin with, but no one said it was illegal to provide yourself with some added comfort during your show (they ARE heels after all). Finally, if you are NOT comfortable in your shoes...and this may shock some of you...DON'T WEAR THEM. PERIOD. Your foot care and posture are not worth you dealing w/excruciating pain or toppling over in some 6-inch Loubitin spiked-heel platforms if you don't have that kind of foot control.

Overall, the main sticking point to ensuring a fall-free gig or tour set is being aware of your body and your surroundings. Even after your full dress rehearsal, take a moment to yourself to walk around your stage area and observe everything that will be a part of the set. I can't tell you how many times I and so many others have bumped into a piece of scenery or wing that we could've SWORN wasn't there during rehearsals. As noted above, it is NOT uncommon for the modern-day entertainer to enjoy a pre-show drink...or whatever. But getting completely boshed, toasted, zooted, wasted, trashed, twisted, faded, to the point of incoherent movement doesn't help anything about what you're trying to do in your show. Finally, if during your show, you find that your senses are telling you that you're in danger of bodily injury due to a missed step, missed cue, or faulty props, STOP and REMOVE yourself from that danger. Singers in particular, please note that: If you miss even 64 counts of your choreo because your legs felt like they were giving way, but kept on vocalizing properly and delivered the song, it would be hard pressed for someone to really complain about it (other than maybe your choreographer, but you can fire him)...so long as the song is delivered. We know the show must go on, but not at the expense of your health, well-being, or embarrassment.

I hope this helps some of you, and I wish all my colleagues and fellow entertainers safe shows and amazing performances. I guess it would be really tacky to say, "Break a leg?' Oh well, I just did.

Womp womp.


The Passage...and then some!


Wow. It's been so long since the last post, I know. I guess that's what happens when the ball starts rolling. For those of you who read this on the regular, I will try and be more frequent with updates. But so much has happened in the past three months, which means this will be a blog chock-full of good reading material, LOL. But where to begin?? Hmm...

WELL...first and foremost, I am happy to let the world know that my debut EP, "First Draft," is FINALLY out & up for sale online! It's been one of the longest roads of my musical career, seeing as how I technically started the journey at the beginning of 2009. Since that time there have been several obstacles, not the least of which was the complete obliteration of my old PC, the loss of a job, the redesign of my studio, and the usual personal and family bumps in the road. But through it all, God saw me through and kept encouraging me to finish the music. Of course, everything happens for a reason, and I am so glad that the majority of the material was NOT recorded on the PC (otherwise I really would've been depressed).

The other big news - before I go on about the EP and forget - I now am a dot-com boy!! Yes, faithful Pals, I'm the owner of my own website! I've been told by several industry pros that it was definitely time to invest in one, particularly with the music out in the cyberworld. SO...you can click the pretty icon below and be taken to my official hub, pmurraymusic.com!

Visit P. Murray

My colleagues and I wrapped up promotions at the end of April; I must say, for someone with little to no budget, a Mac, and a only few good friends to help me out, the response to the photo & video viral campaign was amazing, with alot of influential people taking note. At the conclusion of it all, we held a cozy listening party at Billie's Black in Harlem, NYC; the turnout was great, and everyone seems to really enjoy the tracks! Sales have been good, and I'm anticipating a boost once the EP is on iTunes. In the meantime, you can check out the music right here, and there is a download link right in the music player. Enjoy!

Since the release, I've been on the warpath, so to speak, about getting the music past the tri-state area and to the world. I'm VERY glad I live in the post-modern information age, as sites like Twitter and Facebook have really helped spread the word about the "First Draft" movement. My slogan for the Summer of 2010 goes something like: "I need everyone booked and gigged." It's really encouraging to see that the folks I work & collaborate with are all doing shows, performing, and getting exposure for their talents, and I will hopefully be following suit. With that in mind, if you're reading this before June 11th, make sure you come out to my next show, "The Five-Dollar Jukebox," happening June 11th, 7:30pm at Billie's Black Restaurant! You can purchase your tickets by clicking the link below:

Some folks may be asking, "So P., what's your goal? What happens now?" Well, right now, I'm making sure to pull off solid performances of the material and garnering the continued interest of influential industry professionals. Currently, my most important task on the To-Do list is increasing my network so I can get the opportunity to showcase my music & work with as many people as possible (within my professional limitations, of course). It may be that within the next 6-12 months I will be on the search for management, but my immediate plans, namely performing and promoting, have me busy enough as it is. Coupled with the great collab's I have in the works with some of the business' newest & brightest, my plate is full, and my cup most certainly runneth over (Thanks to the Big Man!).

To say that I've been blessed is such an understatement, because in my eyes, I truly don't deserve all of the great opportunities that have come my way and the people that have presented themselves as supporters of the movement. But I accept them humbly, and I am extremely grateful. Of course, my family, friends, and fans, are some of the best on the planet. Without them, there's nothing for me to do but play the piano and twiddle my musical thumbs :-). I wish there was a better pair of words than "Thank You" for the way I feel about yall, but they'll have to do - at least until we can all read each other's minds! You all have my heart, as well as my music, and as long as you say "GO," I'm gonna keep going with this.

Stay blessed & focused yall,