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Monday, July 21, 2014

The Music (Ministry) Business: What Labels Are Looking For

A great post from my friend, Eric Copeland of Creative Soul up in Nashville.

-DeDe :)

(Okay, so this is about the music biz, but is also applicable to a lot of other opportunities/relationships in life...)

The Music (Ministry) Business: What Labels Are Looking For: "A work of art is the unique result of a unique temperament." - Oscar Wilde So as a Christian artist, you perhaps may thi...

Friday, July 11, 2014

A GREAT ARTICLE from TAYLOR SWIFT about Where The Music Industry is Headed...

Where is the Music Industry Headed?
Well, I have to hand it to her, Taylor Swift has managed to write a pretty decent article about the music industry now vs. 10-20 years ago, and where it's headed. Although I'm not sure such a youngster with so much success so early on isn't bit skewed in her thinking, (but aren't we all?), I do think there's a lot of truth to what she says. She basically says that the music industry has completely changed over the past 10 or so years. Its a lot harder to make it and for even good artists to sell their music. And since truly talented artists are rare, it makes sense that our music should be held in high regard. Therefore it should be bought at a price and NOT be free! I never thought I'd say this about Taylor Swift, but I agree!
Read more here: Taylor Swift's WSJ Article about Music

Thanks for reading/Subscribing and talk soon!  DeDe :)

Monday, June 16, 2014

How to Make a Cool (Cheap or FREE Music) Video!

Hi there Friends, Musicians, and Assorted Countrymen (and women!),

Well, now that I sort of have your attention once again, here's some loving advice from a good friend regarding making music videos, or any videos really.  This falls into that new category that I call: TRUE THAT.  You NEED to be on YouTube if you are a musician or songwriter. Period. Yes, ahem I'll say it again: "True That".  If you are not on YouTube you will fall by the wayside if you're trying to promote yourself, your music or a song, etc. Long gone are the days when you could avoid Social Media like the plague and still make it or try to make it (well, you can still TRY...)

You can even do fun lifestyle-type videos for your fans (or even your family & friends), or one to promote a new business or something, but whatever you do, be sure that you make them look and sound as professional as possible. And, there's no need to spend megabucks on them right now. That is, unless you are a super-mega watt superstar raking in the cash-ola, and in that case you should be making them really really professionally (read: totally expensive!), or you may just look cheap.

DeDe :)
Personal Disclaimer: If you look at my vids, some of them are professional like "One Child" and "The Fairy Tale Song", and some are more, shall we say, amateur. But I TRIED to only post ones that I thought had interesting content, and good sound/video, but this isn't always the case! :)

Written by: Gregory Douglass

So many bands and musicians have had success through viral music video outlets like Youtube. The demand for video is only increasing so it’s time for you to get in on the action. Youtube is still the second largest search engine in the world, and in case you forgot, that’s how Justin Bieber was discovered (how could you forget?) You could easily spend thousands of dollars on a sharp looking, professionally-produced music video – but if you’re just getting started, you probably can’t afford that. That’s no excuse for bypassing music videos altogether though. As a musician, you can’t afford not to have them these days, so here are six steps on how to make a music video on your own for free for those of you who are brand new to the world video:

1. Choose your strongest song. Assuming that you’re a recording artist, you probably have a least a handful of brilliant songs already recorded that you can choose from. Be sure to pick your strongest song, but don’t just take your own word for it – get some second opinions! Chances are, your favorite song isn’t necessarily your strongest song – at least not according to everyone else. Ask your fans, friends, and family what they think is your strongest – then do yourself a favor and take their word for it. This should set the stage for more consistent results from the music video you’re about to make. Understand that your music video will be an incredibly powerful promotional vehicle for whatever song you choose, so make it a strong one!

2. Choose your video equipment. Assuming that you already have a laptop, computer, smartphone, tablet, or camera with video capabilities – you’ll have plenty of equipment options to choose from. If you don’t have access to any of these devices, you probably have a friend who would be kind enough to let you borrow something. All of these devices come with some sort of internal camera and video recording capability, so choose whatever works for you. Since you’re making a music video, the audio component of whatever device you choose won’t matter because you’re eventually going to replace the audio with the pre-recorded audio of your strongest song. I use a Canon Vixia consumer camcorder myself – which is HD quality for a reasonable price – but you can use your shiny new iPhone 5MacBook Pro, or something as affordable and easy to use as a Flip MinoHD Camera.

3. Create your concept. What kind of imagery comes to mind from the song you’ve selected? What kind of music video do you want to create? For example, you can choose to create a more traditional, story-driven music video, or a live performance-style music video. With a story-driven music video, you might consider doing some acting or filming various places, people, things, or circumstances that support your storyline or imagery. Get creative here and make the most out of what you have to work with already. Is there anything just lying around the house that you can incorporate? Include footage of you lip-syncing a performance, lip-syncing a studio recording session, or capture footage your band performing the song. This will also work exclusively for a live performance-style music video, and you’ll be better off lip-syncing to your pre-recorded song verses singing it live for sake of better audio quality.

4. Choose your locations. Keep it simple and stick to 1-3 locations for your music video. They can be anywhere that supports your storyline or imagery – even three different rooms in the same house works. Is your song dark and brooding? Consider darker locations with softer lighting. Is your song happy and inspiring? Consider brighter locations with wide, open spaces. Shooting outside during the day always offers ample lighting, and cloudy days are particularly helpful in regulating the light because clouds act as natural light diffusers – so long as it’s not raining on your video equipment! If you want more indoor lighting regulation, be sure to have some good lighting options on hand – such as strong overhead lights with dimmers or spotlight lamps – and experiment with each lighting source.

5. Shoot your video. Experiment with various camera angles and positions before you start recording full takes. You might discover you have a more visually striking side or angle, and you might discover the same about your location. Once you’re ready to press record, plan to perform or lip-sync to your song 2-4 times, and aim for 2-4 takes for everything you decide to film as a general rule of thumb. This will give you more than one option for every point in the song, just in case you had something between your teeth during the first take. Nothing is more discouraging than putting the time and effort into filming just to realize you have to do it all over again, so always create options! This rule of thumb is particularly helpful when you’re filming yourself because no one will be behind the camera to keep an eye on things while the camera is rolling. Consider various different angles for each take so your options are diverse when it comes time to edit. Different angles might include a wide shot, a waist shot, a close-up shot, and a handheld shot.

6. Edit your video. Editing your own music video can be as much fun as creating a concept and shooting your music video, so don’t be afraid to learn. It’s exciting to bring your footage to life, and it requires more of your own creativity. There are some powerful video editing software options available for premium prices – such as Final Cut and Adobe Premiere – but since we’re talking about making a music video for free, lets take a loot at the freemium alternatives. If you have a computer, you should already have access to free video editing software that is easy to use and simple to figure out on your own. If you’re on a mac for example, you should already have iMovie, and Windows Movie Maker for PC.Youtube even has its own built-in video editing application, though I can’t say I’ve tried it yet. Whatever software you use should have the option to eventually mute or disable the audio from your video footage once you import/upload it into a new project. You might want to keep it enabled until you’re finished editing though, as it will be a necessary point of reference for the song as you extract each clip you want to use to lay over the recording of your song. Once a clip is added to your video timeline and matched up correctly to the appropriate section of your recorded song, you can then disable the video clip’s audio channel. Get creative and play around with all the different takes and angles you’ve captured until you have built a completed music video that you’re happy with, free of charge!

Sunday, June 1, 2014

DeDe's Latest Radio Interview...Thoughts on Obamacare, Songwriting, Lyrics, & Other Fun Stuff!

This is the latest Blog Talk Radio show from the famous chef Dr. Geo in Detroit & DeDe!  Music starts at 3 minutes, talk show starts at 31 minutes:

Hear DeDe's thoughts on Obamacare & how it can & needs to be fixed!
Hear DeDe & Geo's songwriting and lyrics talk...who writes the best lyrics?
And for Mother's Day...DeDe & Dr. Geo talk about mothers and the importance of celebrating the people & purpose of Mother's Day with all those who are special in your life.
...And how Baaklava... "it's like a stick of butter!" MUCH more! :)

Saturday, May 31, 2014

The Rain in Spain Falls Mainly on the...Plane? DeDe's May/June News!

DeDe's May/June News!
View this email in your browser

The Rain in Spain...

...falls mainly on the plane! As in every time I travel it's been raining.  So please have safe (& fun) travels now that school's almost out!

Aren't you happy to finally see some good rain here in Houston after the last few summers of drought? Everything's blooming, the lake's high, and spring has finally sprung!
Just a few dates to keep you posted with what's happening here & around Houston for me:

Thurs. May 29, 6-9pm DeDe Live @ Cafe du Bois in Town Center-Kingwood! Hit covers, hot originals & haute cuisine served up 6-9pm!  New management. No reservations required, bring yourself, family & friends out to relax and enjoy your Thursday night-you deserve a break!

Sunday June 1st,  2-4pm  DeDe @ Town Center Park, Kingwood Market Days
Okay so it's time to bring the whole family for some serious FREE fun: shopping, booths, vendors, handmade & other crafts/goodies/gifts.  Bouncy houses for the kids, food, shopping & music for everyone, and as Mama always says, "the looking's free". Doors open at 10 and close at 6 (well, there aren't any doors, but if there were this's when they'd be open!)

Sunday July 6th,  2-4pm  DeDe @ Town Center Park, Kingwood, TX.
(Ditto as above)....Please come out & support your LOCAL vendors, businesses, musicians & neighbors: this's a fun, free event and plenty of parking-plus central to most of us right in Town Center Park.  Kid & Pet-Friendly:

Saturday July 12th, 7pm  DeDe @ Liberty Opry's Annual Patriotic & Country Hits Show!
Bring the whole family for some good clean fun and great hit music! This's a Texas legend only 25 minutes from Humble/N. Houston: Liberty Opry (w/ full Band!) on the Square is an air-conditioned auditorium where many music legends in Texas have gotten their start. Tickets are $12 at the door or advance discount:

Well, that's about it for now. Been traveling to LA, Nashville, etc, and have a few label things cooking.  I've also been busy writing for an acoustic album hoping to release this year.  Would love to hear from you, or even better -see you at a show!  And I would love to play at your home, company or church: for a party, fundraiser, gathering, wedding or any other event- and my rates are great. (Really!) Christmas & New Year's dates still available!

Blessings & Peace to you this Spring!
DeDe :)
PANDORA: Search "DeDe" for all 3 of my Albums!

Listen, Download & Share: "Maybe Someday Soon" by Peter Schwepker & Larry Brenner, featuring DeDe
on vocals...
a GREAT Father's Day song
for you!
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Tuesday, May 13, 2014

How to Write Really Great DeDe

Okay, now that I have your attention, my name is DeDe, and I'm a singer songwriter from Texas.  However, (as you may have guessed!) I 'm certainly NOT going to be able to tell you how to write great songs in one blog, no matter how experienced a songwriter I am!  However, I can give you some basics, so here they are:

First of all, you have to write songs that other people can relate to, and that will move people. They also should be about things you've experienced yourself.  For example, real life experiences like:  love, breaking up, having fun, friendship, a certain relationship, learning lessons, etc.  You should be carrying and jotting down ideas daily in a notepad, notebook PC, or phone for this very purpose.  For example, I went to a class on relationships and they said that love is really about giving.  So I jotted down "It's All About Giving" as a potential song title/idea.  Here are 5 questions to ask yourself:  Do people or can people relate to this song idea/title?  Do people want to hear about this song idea/title?  Can I write enough interesting things about this song idea to make it into a complete song?  Am I able to use this song idea/title to tell a story?  Will it illicit emotions in the listener?  If you answered "YES" to all the above, congratulations, you have the start of a great song!

For example, "I lost my Jimmy Choo shoe, and now I'm hoppin' mad"-Get it? Hoppin!...Well.  Sadly, that's not really an interesting story to most people, sorry!  We just don't care about your shoe, (even if it was really gorgeous and/or overpriced)! You also just can't write that much about an inanimate object, I'm sorry to say, unless it's like the moon or something really poetic. So stick to emotions and experiences that you can tell a great story about.  It is okay to talk about the girl or guy you lost- or even your mother or father...but again, keep it interesting and relatable as to why you are talking about something like that.  And please, please DON'T be depressing! (a BIG pitfall of teen songwriters in angst!)  Also try to find unique ways of saying things and avoid cliches like: "she was like the sun"or "he was the love of my life", etc.  Saying "she had a smile that could outshine the sun", or "I belonged to him, from the moment our eyes met" is much more interesting for example...(These are some actual examples from some of my songs, so please don't steal my stuff!)

Also, you have to have a story that builds on itself. You can't write one line about that great girl you lost last year, and the next line about what you love about your new job.  It has to make sense, and also needs to tell the listener a story that makes them want to stick around to hear what happened next! Also, keep it as simple as possible (stick to one short story that you can tell in 1 song!).  A bad topic for a song story idea would be World War II or something, it's just too broad!  And I have a favor to ask: please also use words that rhyme- whatever scheme you use.  I like them to rhyme, most of the time- at least every other line (okay so that was an example of a rhyme!), but also so true.  Your song should rhyme, and tell a story, stay simple, and what else?  It should also be in matching meter.

Besides not telling a story at all, (or maybe a boring and not real cohesive story) with their songs, this is where a lot of new songwriters totally jump ship- thereby sending their songs permanently to a deep salty ocean grave.  Meter is something you need to use, and if you don't know what it is, you have to learn it correctly and apply it, or frankly, your songs will stink. All it requires is the discipline to put the same number of syllables in line 1 that you have in line 2, or line 3, or whatever your meter is.  For example: "She sells sea shells by the sea shore" has 8 syllables.  So your next line would have 8 syllables (or you can do every other line with 8 and the other 2 lines with another meter scheme, like 9 which I used below for example):

She sells sea shells by the sea shore (8 syllable meter)
Is she a saint or is she a bore?  (9 syllable meter) And wasn't I nice to use the word "bore"?! :)
I've only seen her once before  (8 syllable meter)
But I sure wish she'd knock on my door.  (9 syllable meter)

It can be whatever meter length you have in mind, but all the verses and lines, should at least "match", and not be random in length.  Plus as an experienced songwriter, a shorter meter is less complex and easier to use, and usually sounds better.

Lastly, song structure is another important feature of songwriting. You should have the same (or very similar) meter between all of your verses, and also for each chorus that comes around (the chorus can be in a different meter from the verses, but all chorus's should probably be the same!)  Likewise, you should also have the same (or very similar) melody too each time a verse (or chorus) rolls around, otherwise you risk losing the listener.  This is because with music it's all about the repetition. Our minds like repetition and are drawn towards it -think "It's a Small World After All"...I rest my case. However, as a general rule, the chorus should also have a different melody from the verses; this is just good songwriting and creates some variety for the listener. The typical structure of songs has changed a lot during the years, but today there's one structure (and a few variations of this structure) that like 90% of all pop & country songs you hear on the radio use:
Verse 1
Verse 2
Verse 3
(Tag) Optional

There are variations of course, like omitting the first chorus and doing verses 1 and 2 in a row, but this is the basic way to write today's popular music.  There also needs to be a hook which is at home in and anchors the chorus. The average time the hook repeats should be around 5-7 times minimum throughout the song. For example, if my hook is: "I'm so glad he's mine", I'd repeat this hook 7 times or more throughout the song, mainly in the chorus, and at the end of each chorus to get listeners "hooked" on what I'm trying to say. You can also repeat the hook in the tag at the very end:
Chorus: He's got a smile like a ray of sun
Reminds me of when we'd just begun
And I'm so glad he's mine.  (Hook)
His sparkling eyes so full of sunshine
His heart of gold and his skin so fine
And I'm so glad he's mine, (Hook)
Yeah, I'm so glad he's mine. (Tag/Hook)

So, in review: first you need a good story, keep it simple, avoid cliches, use a consistent rhyme scheme and meter scheme, use proper song structure with a verse, chorus and bridge, and a be sure you have a great "hook" in your chorus.  Now that you have all the basics, let's get out there and write some really great new songs, okay??  And, please feel free to send me a sample of your writing in the "comments" below, and I'll help you with any areas that may need attention, okay?

Also, I would appreciate it if you would Subscribe /go to to my Music Stuff Blog, scroll down, and hit the "Join this Site" button on the lower left hand side of the page so you can get updates, okay?
Take care and all the best music to you!
DeDe :)  SignUp for news and free MP3's!