Springtime 2014
continued from home page ...some songs have come to me that are beyond anything I could have even hoped for. Even as long as I’ve written songs, I am always amazed at what is allowed to come through me, the depth of meaning, the grandeur and intimacy of lyrics and the melodies that move through me for weeks and weeks as I’m writing them.

Right now, I can only afford a few hours of studio time here and there, so I'm planning to do a crowd funding campaign to finish it, but I thought I should at least get a good running start at it so you’d know that I mean bidnis. I’m glad I’m doing it this way because it allows the record to evolve over a few months, which gives me the opportunity to live with certain versions and make choices that I think will be best for the final recording.

As you may have noticed in the last couple of years, I have not written here on my website as often. I apologize for that if you’ve come looking and found nothing but old news. There have been a couple of reasons for that. One is that my webmaster and friend, Brian Dina, was going through a long healing after a major surgery to remove cancer. So we’ve kept the online duties to a minimum. I’m very pleased that Brian has been doing well and that we’re able to get together more often. He will be all over my new album, as he has created and arranged some of the most beautiful guitar accompaniment to my songs that anyone has ever done. It will be a pleasure to have his guitar recorded alongside mine.

Though I have not written here as often, it is a rare day that I do not post a story, some insight or humor on my FB page. For those of you who are not into f******k as I call it for you especially, please know that I would not waste my time or energy there doing anything that was not filled with love and humor and good will. You do not have to be a member of FB, you don’t have to “friend” me or anyone else. My page is open to the world and no one has to sign up or leave a sign of their passing. Just visit and read. I really think you will be very glad you did.

Below is something I wrote recently, a story that came to mind when I ran across an old photo of me standing in front of the Beverly Theater the night before my very first Los Angeles concert. I think you’ll enjoy it. In the meantime, please know you can always email me and I will always respond. mt@michaeltomlinson.com I greatly appreciate your support, knowing that you’ve listened to my music and shared it with friends and that you send me good will. It matters a lot to me and has been a part of helping me to write songs and record them and sing for my living all these years.

One last thing; if you have a friend or loved one going through a difficult time of loss or illness - yourself included - please allow me to email an uplifting song and a kind note. I’m more than happy to do this. All you do is to write me c/o mt@michaeltomlinson.com Include first/last name, city and email address. I’ll email a song and note quickly after. I wish you a lovely springtime and peace in your heart.

Your friend in breezy Seattle,
 
 ~Michael Tomlinson

PS, below is my recent story -  enjoy

IN 1986 I PLAYED MY FIRST LOS ANGELES CONCERT. There was one station in all of vast LA that played me, a sort of R&B/Jazz station, and hearing that they played 5 songs off of my first album was inconceivable to me. My first album was on my own label and I had found national distribution through a company who felt that I could bring in an audience in Los Angeles. So I called the manager of the Beverly Theater, a 1300 seat hall that to many people was legendary, an historic venue that I wish still existed. The manager of the theater knew of my radio play and he had shown interest in my performing there. I was doing a lot of my own booking and negotiating then - as I do to this day - and we talked for a few minutes about a show. He seemed very interested and after scuffing our shoes in the dirt for a few minutes, the subject of the deal came up. He said, “Well, what kind of a deal are you looking for?” I said, “Bill, what would make you happy?” Silence. . . More silence. I believe he felt that I’d misspoken for a minute. Then he said, “Well, what I’d really LIKE would be a 50/50 split,” and he said it almost as if it was a pie in the sky wish. I said, “Bill that’s sounds great to me, let’s do it.” Silence again. Then Bill spoke something that has stayed with me all these years. “Michael, in 25 years of negotiating deals in the music business, nobody, not one single soul, has ever asked me what would make me happy.” I laughed so hard when he said that. Because it had been so easy to do.

My concert nearly sold out. I think we had about 1150 people there. And what a band I had. The record distributor had found a music director for me; keyboard player, T Lavitz of the well known Dixie Dreggs. T knew everybody and for my band that night in L.A., my first appearance in one of the great performing cities on earth, my band consisted of members of the bands of Bonnie Raitt, Michael McDonald, Kenny Loggins, Dixie Dreggs and Bruce Hornsby. Wow. We did two days of rehearsals and as I recall, the versions they played sounded almost nothing like my one and only record, Run This Way Forever. But it just didn’t matter. I was standing onstage in LA singing for an audience that acted as if they knew me from way back when and were so very happy I was returning.

Two things particularly stunned the music bidnis types who came to my concert that night; one was that I spent a long intermission in the lobby with the audience - which was much more rare in those days, two; more than a third of my audience was African American - due to the one station that was playing me, KUTE - who had a huge following.

This morning I came upon this photo that my friend Rick Grant took the night before my concert and these memories all started flowing back to me. The wonder of those times and how I could barely imagine that I was getting such opportunities, this kid from Amarillo who couldn’t even tell you what chords he was playing, somehow I got this wonderful opportunity to perform for thousands of people all over the country and the world. I still don’t know how it happened, but I’m very pleased that I still get to do this. Without radio and record companies behind me these days, I don’t get those great large audiences, but that’s okay. I don’t know many people who for over 30 years have made their living writing songs they love, recording them and putting together small concerts here and there around the country.

As for that first negotiation, the one where I asked Bill what would make him happy. I use that in my life all the time and I highly recommend it. “What would make you happy?” You are not promising that you’ll be able to offer it, but maybe you will. And you never know until you ask. Perhaps what the person you’re negotiating with wants is something you would be very happy to give - it would be a shame to never find that out and not be able to see how happy they are when you say yes.
   ~ Michael Tomlinson
 

   

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