Never Stop Fighting

To be nobody but yourself in a world that’s doing it’s best to make you somebody else, is to fight the hardest battle you are ever going to fight. Never stop fighting. – E. E. Cummings

I received a book as a gift called “The little book of wisdom for fine young men”.

This is the first page of the book and was a great first message to start with.

Something I often struggle with in life is the balance between who I want to be, who I am at my core, and who I am being right now.

We all have passions that we want to pursue, sometimes multiple things.

People always tell you as a child that you can grow up to be whatever you want to be. As an adult, we start to realize that it’s not as easy as it sounds. If what you want to be doesn’t provide a steady income, it’s going to be real hard to pursue that while also living what we consider a ‘normal’ life.

Having your own place to live, your own car, power bill, internet, water, food, pets. All of these things are not necessary for a satisfied life, but are certainly the ‘norm’.

In order to find the income to obtain these things and give you the freedom to then do what you want, we most often get a ‘job’ doing something else. Something that is not in line with our true desires.

To get these jobs we have to do the right things, say the right things, and fit a certain mold that will allow others to see us in a light that makes them trust us. This person we are being to gain this trust may be most of who we are, but is often not exactly who we are.

What has to be done so that we can fully realize ourselves and then fully realize our dreams?

In my life, I wear many different hats. In the professional world I am a business owner and we are very good at building websites. Every business needs a website so you would think this is a great business to be in.

I’m also a musician. I’ve been playing music and messing around with websites for almost the same amount of time in my life. I love both of them.

Where I get stuck is even though I would much prefer to spend more of my time in the music world, I end up spending most of my time in the website world. The main reason has been due to it ‘appearing’ to be much easier to raise the capital I need to live the life I want to live by helping people build websites.

In fact what I am coming to find out is that the struggle is equally as difficult as anything else.

What typically happens is I spend the majority of my time helping other people build their business. In return I end up with very little time of my own to work on my projects, and just enough money to keep living the lifestyle I have now.

The amount of time and energy that is spent playing the game of ‘business’, showing a certain face(not saying I want to wear sweatpants and lounge around the house all day but there is most certainly a physical and mental appearance that is expected when being in a ‘professional’ environment), could easily be spent progressing in any other focus and most likely see the same returns financially.

I feel like myself each and every day regardless of what I am doing. That said, if we had everything we needed to keep from spending the majority of our time helping other people realize their goals, and instead spent that time on our goals, I believe we would act more like ourselves and lead much more powerful lives.

It’s never too late, never stop fighting.

Bret Phillips Presents: Christmas Time Vol. 2

Photo by Leah Roth
Photo by Leah Roth

Last year I released Christmas Time Vol. 1 on this day Dec 15th.

It took 3 weeks working with some incredibly talented people to bring the vision together. I am extremely proud of that album and we have received amazing reviews all year long. People continuing to ask “are you going to do another one?”.

YES!

As long as I’m capable, I’m going to be rounding up folks to make sweet holiday jams :D

This year we had around 20 musicians take part in recording these songs over a 4 week period and I can not explain how truly talented, humble, and professional everyone is. It lifts my spirits and brigs me more joy than most things in life to spend so much time cooped up in the studio working on music with these people.

Since I can not be everywhere at once, and as always I give myself a short, unrealistic deadline, I had several people record some of these tracks on their own. Shout out to Bill Snyder III and Peter Koenig for the engineering support on a couple of the songs.

I can’t say enough nice things about the people that were a part of making this album happen, I hope you all know how much I appreciate you and I look forward to making much more music with you.

We already have plans for the next two years of albums so be sure to tell your friends.

Thank you all so much for listening, working with me, sharing this, and enjoying these songs.

Credits

This Christmas

Kace Brennan – Vocals
Warren Nichols – Keys, Piano
Siraaj Rhett – Horns
Jason Monseur – Drums
Bret Phillips – Bass Guitar, Bells

Greensleeves

Kenny Brown – Guitar
Troy Wolf – Drums
Bret Phillips – Bass Guitar, Bells

Last Christmas

Andrew Herrick Ross – Vocals, Electronics
Harrison Barr – Bass
Erik Larson – Guitars
Bret Phillips – Bells, Percussion

White Christmas

Michelle Medrano – Vocals
Alex Koenig – Drums
Ben Baldwin – Piano
Bret Phillips – Bass Guitar, Bells, Percussion

Drums and Vocals recorded by Peter Koenig

Wonderful Christmastime

Prisca Strother – Vocals, Piano
Mark Garretson – Drums, Electronics
Bret Phillips – Bass Guitar, Bells, Percussion

Oh Come All Ye Faithful

Ben Baldwin – Piano
Siraaj Rhett – Horns
Jason Monseur – Drums
Bret Phillips – Bass Guitar, Bells

Mele Kalikimaka

Daniel Labrador – Guitar
Kace Brennan – Vocals, Percussion
Michelle Medrano – Vocals
Alex Koenig – Drums
Ben Baldwin – Piano

Drums and Michelle Madrano vocals recorded by Peter Koenig

Happy X-Mas(War is Over)

Engineered & Produced by: Bill Snyder III
Mixed by: Bill Snyder III & Bret Phillips
Assistant Engineer: David Spence

Ethan Tindell – Lead Vocal
Hunter Pierce – Lead Vocal
John Cunningham – Drums, Percussion, Acoustic Guitar
Spencer Groover – Acoustic Guitar
David Spence – Acoustic Guitar
Bill Snyder III: Bass, Strings, Bells
Bret Phillips – Bells

Group Vocals: Wes Daniel, Natalie Daniel, Brandon Cox, John Cunningham, Deborah Cunningham, Ethan Tindell, Spencer Groover, Hunter Pierce

Be the first to know about Christmas Time Vol. 2 – Dec 12th 2015

Christmas_album_72_1024

We are at it again and wrapping up Christmas Time Vol. 2 to be released on Dec 12th 2015.

If you would like a reminder to come directly to your inbox when it’s released, subscribe to my mailing list below.

It’s free and don’t worry, I will never share your email address with anyone.



Click here to listen to Christmas Time Vol. 1

DAMS winning video for GoPro + Guitar Center Done in One Contest

When we went to South By South West this in 2015, we bumped into GoPro where we were invited us to their GoPro House to play some songs.

They also hooked some GoPro cameras to us and recorded it all.

BONUS: They even gave us 2 Music edition GoPros to keep the recordings going.

Turns out, GoPro and Guitar Center were having a contest. Record a one take, single camera video for any of your songs and submit it to the contest.

I scrubbed the Rules a bunch of times and came up with the idea to hook a camera up to Christmas Train(y’all know I love Christmas) and record the live audio in my home studio.

Turns out they loved it and we were picked as winners for July. The video received over 90,000 plays, and both GoPro and Guitar Center sent us quite a few prizes.

Thanks a TON GoPro, y’all are the coolest!

DAMS – Silk Cacoon

My band DAMS put this video together of our newest single as a promotional effort for our South By South West tour this year.

This is all footage we’ve taken from past tours and some super secret sauce done by our graphics and video extraordinaire David Carter!

Enjoy!

DIY Musicians Meetup – WordPress for Musicians & Top 5 Must Haves for a Musician’s Website

Next month on Feb 19th the DIY Musicians Group will be joining forces with the Atlanta WordPress User’s Group for a massive meetup!

It’s an afternoon deal, 3:30 – 5:30pm

The first hour I will talk about using WordPress for a Musician’s(or other business) site and the Top 5 Must Haves on your Website

Music (or product for any other business)
About Page
Email Signup Form
Images
Contact Information

I’m going to show you exactly how to set up your website for success.

The second hour will be open for general questions . If you are stuck we will unstick you. If you need help we will try to get you to someone who can help.

RSVP on Meetup.com or on Facebook

Ira Glass talks about the Creative Process

This video made me think about several things in my life.

It all seems to come back to the 10,000 hour concept.

it takes roughly ten thousand hours of practice to achieve mastery in a field

In my music life, I’ve always had a clear idea of the kind of sound I want to produce, and the kind of music I want to make.

Early on, before I was competent on my instruments, the music I made never seemed to bring out the same excitement in other people as I felt when listening to my favorite music.

iraglass

For the first couple years that you are making stuff, it really isn’t that good. But your taste, your taste is still killer!

Was the music I was making really bad or not creative enough? No, but it wasn’t that good, I was still learning and I will forever be learning and growing as an artist.

Now though, when we perform for a crowd of others, I am beginning to see that excitement in other people. The responses after songs and shows is an undeniable joy that we are bringing to other people.

I also feel it myself when we really lock in during a song, or when I listen back to something we’ve recorded(which is a whole other 10,000 hour process to master).

It’s been close to 20 years since I first picked up the guitar and started writing songs, and I’m just starting to get the hang of it.

Hopefully I can last another 20 years!

Never miss a party if you can help it!

sambernsLast year I watched a documentary on Sampson Gordon “Sam” Berns.

Sam suffered from Progeria and helped raise awareness about the disease before he passed away.

Though I do have my own struggles every day, I will never know what it is like to live a life like Sam did.

I did however take away a few things that he said.

Don’t waste energy feeling sorry for yourself.

Sam was diagnosed with progeria when he was 2 years old.

This disease is an extremely rare genetic disorder wherein symptoms resembling aspects of aging are manifested at a very early age. There is no cure. Most people that have this do not live past 13 years of age.

sam-berns-progeria_75423_990x742

Sam lived to be 18 years old.

His entire life he was ‘different’. His mind worked just as good as anyone, but his appearance was not normal.

I’m sure some of you grew up feeling ‘outcast’ based on your looks. I can tell you it wasn’t as bad as Sam.

The best part? Sam had an amazing outlook on life. He didn’t let his physical features, and disease, keep him from being happy and participating in life as fully as he possible could.

Whatever you are going through right now that makes you feel sorry for yourself isn’t that big of a deal.

All you have to is change your outlook and get back to whatever it is that you want out of life.

Spend some time focusing on yourself, what you want, and go make that happen.

Use that negative energy and self doubt at motivation to take your life to the next level.

Surround yourself with people you want to be with.

This is something that comes up often in the ‘self help’ world.

Any successful people that speak, write books, or tell their story always mention that one of the keys to success is to surround yourself with positive people. People who not only want the best for themselves, but also want the best for you.

If you surround yourself with people that are constantly saying or doing negative things, you are more likely to do the same.

You do not HAVE to be friends with, or associate with anyone that you do not want to.

Sure you may have to tolerate some people in your work environment, but in your ‘real’ life, you need a solid support system if you plan on living a happy healthy life.

Sam could have ‘tried to fit in’ with the cool crowd, instead he did his own thing and became the cool crowd. He didn’t let what anyone thought or said about him get to him. He let it go and allowed the positive people to come in and make his life better.

On one of the morning shows here in Atlanta, the host constantly talks about Energy Vampires. These are the people in your life that suck that positive energy right out.

You know what? When they suck that energy out, it doesn’t have a positive affect on them, it just disappears. Don’t let people suck up your positive energy, let them be stinky all on their own.

Keep moving forward

Everyone looks back on their life and wishes they had done something different. You are not alone in this.

Many of the most successful people wish they had done MANY things different, I know I do often.

You know what though? Without having made the choices I made, and gone through what I’ve gone through, I would not have the wisdom today to make better decisions.

Being able to take what you’ve learned from the past, and apply it to your future, is a HUGE step towards success.

Never forget your mistakes, instead use them as stepping stones towards your future.

If you don’t, you’ll be stuck in the past forever and never fully satisfied with your life. You want to be satisfied don’t you?

When you get knocked down you are always allowed to take some time and digest what happened. It’s OK to feel bad about something, it’s not OK to dwell on it so long that it keeps you from moving forward.

Get back up, get out there, and live your real life.

Bonus: Never miss a part if you can help it!

Sam was certainly not someone that could stay out late getting wild and crazy…but that didn’t keep him from having a good time.

Through all the unnecessary life drama, physical ailments, and awful situations he had to deal with, he kept an extremely positive outlook on life. That is so powerful to see and moved me.

Life is serious and you should take it seriously, but not so seriously that you miss out on the good times.

I hope this helps you all as much as it helped me.

Have a kick ass week!