5 Songs I Listen To For Just One Line – Straight to my head like the first cigarette of the day


Go to the profile of Jeff Gorra

One line is all it takes. Sometimes, it’s just one word.

It happened to me this morning. “Jeff, how long have you been standing there in that same spot? You looked so focused, but content.” This was the first greeting I received at my office today. It’s because I was thumbing through the song list on my phone like I was throwing a discus, trying to find the one song I needed to hear in that moment — all for one line. It was “The Bones of You” by Elbow.

“When out of a doorway
The tentacles stretch of a song that I know
And the world moves in slow-mo
Straight to my head like the first cigarette of the day….

… and I dealt with this years ago
I took a hammer to every memento
But image on image like beads on a rosary
Pulled through my head as the music takes hold”

Had to have it.

At this point, I had not had my morning coffee yet so the ‘The Bones of You” was to go straight to my head like the first cigarette of the day. Consider it a healthy hit.

Six years ago, I had no idea who Elbow was. I had Palladia on in my living room and they airing a Glastonbury Festival special. Elbow happened to be performing. I was in the process of fixing a front door when all of sudden I whipped my head around at the sound of Guy Garvey’s voice. That’s just it — I’m talking about a particular line of song here, but much of the gravitation has to do with the singer’s delivery. Garvey took a deep breath, dug deep, and fired out … “And IIIIIII dealt with this years ago….”

Dealt with this years ago? What does that mean? A recurring problem? A beautiful persistence? I still don’t know, but I am continually fascinated by that line and how it connects back to the verse that precedes it (quoted above). It strings together the song, the passion and a “high” all through word placement and it’s position within the composition. Garvey recognizes that then shoots it into the sky like a flaming arrow.

There are a few songs like this for me. It’s like having a shiny pair of sneakers right in front of you, but you have to wear your worn-out Nike’s in the closet because they are reliable and give you a stability to take on the day like no other pair. It’s trust, but it’s also a calibration. That one line or word matches what you feel in that moment. It gives you an injection of exactly what you need to get right. It’s an understanding.

With that in mind, here are my five. What are yours?

“Hard to Imagine” by: Pearl Jam

Line — “…I hope this works somehow.” Disclaimer — this is one of my favorite songs in the universe. But at the last chorus, Eddie Vedder changes one line. Gone is the floating lone “somehow.” Three words are added to the front in …”I hope this works.” It’s so strong and vulnerable at the same time, and I feel it encapsulates the movement of the entire song.

“Ramble” by: Silverchair

Line — “And the ocean of time.” The ocean of time? I’ve never heard anyone make that analogy before, but Daniel Johns does it perfectly. This is such a melodic (and rare) song to begin with. The verses are like smooth waves and this is the 4th swell. The ironic thing is the line before this reads “in the dark of my mind.” Whoa. Intense. But “and the ocean of time” balances it out. What a mirage. An ocean of time — it could be anything.

 

“Overjoyed” by: Stevie Wonder

Word — “Over”. This is a unique one because it does not center around a particular moment in the song. I’m not eagerly anticipating the 1:47 mark. The word “over” is used 13 times throughout the 3 minute, 43 second song and I’m constantly focused on it. Over — time, over — dreams, over — hearts, over — love, over — me, over — you, over-joyed. The genius that is Stevie Wonder uses the word “over” to guide the entire journey. He stresses the two-syllables each time and leverages it to send you on your way through the next topic. It’s like one of those toys that you open up where there’s a smaller version of the exact toy inside. Then you do it again and again until you find there are about 12 renditions of the same figure all contained in one. “Overjoyed” has a bunch of tiny “overs” all layered into the main figure, which is overjoyed. Off topic — but this also song reminds me of my mom who always encourages me to continuing writing pieces like this.

“All Night Thing” by: Temple of the Dog/Chris Cornell

Line —“I do not know… what’s going on?” It’s the pause between “know” and “what’s.” These lyrics soar above an organ and for me, it’s multi-dimensional. Cornell always had an uncanny ability to have profound lyrics that were deep and could serve as your friend. If I ever I feel puzzled by life’s twists and turns I listen to “All Night Thing” and feel a reassurance by Cornell’s spiritual admittance of I do not know what’s going on. Speaking of which — I miss Chris Cornell terribly.

“The Bones of You” by: Elbow

Line —”And IIIIII dealt with this (years ago)” already in the intro, but I just got re-mesmerized (?)… like the first cigarette of the day.

 


Today’s New Music Comes From Saint Louis, Missouri – JillaBeatz



“JillaBeatz aka DJ Jilla-J (A.J.) developed a passion for music at an early age. He started out with a radio/dual cassette player and was sampling & looping in the ’90’s. That evolved into writing rhymes and from ’95 thru ’98 he has numerous recordings on tapes & cds. Got heavily into production, recording, mixing and editing…… all I ask of you is to take a moment of your time and just listen to his latest project”

JillaBeatz

Contact Jilla Beatz



 

ABBA announce first new songs for 35 years


Swedish four-piece take to Instagram to announce two releases that will form part of an ‘avatar tour project’

Abba have announced that they have written and recorded their first new songs since they split in 1983.

The Swedish four-piece, who had nine No 1 hits in the UK between 1974 and 1980, and who have sold hundreds of millions of records worldwide, announced on Instagram that they had recorded two new songs for a project in which avatars of the band will perform.

The band said in a statement: “The decision to go ahead with the exciting Abba avatar tour project had an unexpected consequence. We all felt that, after some 35 years, it could be fun to join forces again and go into the recording studio. So we did. And it was like time had stood still and we had only been away on a short holiday. An extremely joyful experience!”

One of the two new songs that resulted, called I Still Have Faith in You, will feature in a TV special to air in December.

The statement concluded: “We may have come of age, but the song is new. And it feels good.”

Abba’s Björn Ulvaeus revealed details of the band’s forthcoming project in Brussels earlier this week. The centerpiece is the two-hour TV show co-produced by NBC and the BBC, which will see the band perform as computer-generated avatars. Ulvaeus said the band had been digitally scanned and “de-aged” to look like they did in 1979, when they performed their third and final tour.

The avatars are then set to tour the world from next year.

Abba formed in Stockholm in 1972. They comprised two couples: Ulvaeus and Agnetha Fältskog; and Benny Andersson and Anni-Frid Lyngstad, all of whom had enjoyed musical careers in Sweden. The group burst on to the international stage after winning the Eurovision song contest in Brighton in 1974 with their song Waterloo.

From the mid-70s until they split, Abba built up a formidable arsenal of global hits including Knowing Me, Knowing You, Take a Chance on Me, Dancing Queen and The Name of the Game – all of which reached No 1 in the UK.

Fältskog and Lyngstad were the lead singers; Andersson and Ulvaeus composed the songs. Never less than impeccably produced and performed, Abba’s records were critically disdained at the time, but their popularity has endured. Their 1992 compilation Abba Gold has sold 30m copies – more than 5m of those in the Britain – and spent 833 weeks in the UK album charts.

Their jukebox musical Mamma Mia! debuted in the West End in 1999 and is still running both in London and worldwide; its website claims that it has been seen by 60 million people in 440 cities.

The stage show was adapted into a film in 2008, which grossed $615m (£447m) worldwide. A sequel, Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again, will be released in June. The actor Lily James – who is set to appear alongside the cast of the first film including Meryl Streep, Amanda Seyfried and Colin Firth – told the BBC last week: “There’s lot of songs in there, lots of new ones. Lots of ones, actually, that weren’t in my repertoire of Abba and I think they’re going to be huge hits again, and reawaken the love of Abba.”

Abba’s split in 1983 followed the divorces of both couples. Ulvaeus and Andersson went on to write two musicals, including Chess – a revival by the English National Opera opens on Friday in London – before largely devoting themselves to Abba’s legacy. Fältskog and Lyngstad have kept much lower profiles, though Fältskog – long claimed to be a recluse – returned to pop music with an album, A, which was released in 2013.

The group have long held out against lucrative offers to reform – they were reported to have been offered $1bn to play a concert in 2000. In 2014, Ulvaeus told Billboard: “you will never see us on stage again … we don’t need the money, for one thing.”

Peter Robinson, editor of Popjustice, described the announcement as “the biggest pop news of the 21st century. Most fans grudgingly admired Abba’s refusal to record new music, but I think we all sometimes daydreamed about the band possibly, maybe, one day having a rethink at the right time, on the right terms and for the right reasons, which seems to be what’s happened here.” He added: “It’s a pop miracle.”


Haunted Tillman Bus – Spirit communication through musical inspiration.



Spirit communication through musical inspiration. A short film featuring Tim Foster  aboard the infamous Floyd Tillman tour bus. A musician attracted the ghosts of famous country music personalities. A psychic translated the comments. A paranormal investigator recorded the actual spirit voices. “Fun and entertaining” “She loves you” “Can you see me?” “more please”

Tim Foster

You can download Tim’s latest album ‘Clearwater’ at apple music  and CD Baby 

Clearwater’s Story

Thank you for making this journey with me into the minds of musicians I have worked with. My first recording project was in 1987 at Began Sound in Ft. Worth, TX. The release on cassette tape featured Jackie Moore (guitar, vocals), Glenn Shelton (guitar), James Mayfield (drums), Drew Thomas (harmonica) and myself (bass), “Back to the Brazos” and “It’s So Peaceful” remain with me on quarter inch reel to this day.

We produced a series of RiverConcerts and performance venues to raise awareness of the impending dam project on the Paluxy River with the tour lasting four years. The second was in 1998 at Cedar Valley Community College studio, “Ode to a Fisherman” (poem by David Lilly), “Take Me Back To Texas”, “South of the Four Sixes” and “Old Time Cowhand” (poems by TL Thompson) was a class project where Bryan Clark was tasked in the role of producer and not allowed to play the drum tracks himself.

The day of the session, Bryan searched the corridor at the school and came back with a drummer to fill in. His name is not known for credit here. Hank Black (guitar, harmonica) on these tracks with myself (guitar, bass, vocals and songwriting)…Bryan got an “A” on the project. In the summer of 2001 with funds earned from a major construction project, I decided to fulfill a long standing promise to again record Jackie Moore (songwriter, acoustic guitar, vocals).

We had been performing off and on throughout the decade. We selected the Diamond D studio on the Brazos River in Granbury and did several sessions on one inch analog tape. With Dan Hodan (lead guitar, mandolin) and a couple of failed drummers and engineering challenges, we abandoned the project when Jackie first introduced “Poet of the Prairie”. We needed a better studio so I found The Kitchen Recording Studios Dallas, TX to record three songs.

We came out with eight. The studio percussionist was Jeff Hennon and JP handled the ProTools. Very excited about these results, we scheduled another RiverConcert with Rusty Wier and Tres Hombres to headline the show in October. We were on KNON radio and Songwriter Showcase on DCTV with Lisa Byrn. Then came the infamous 9/11 event.

I was begged to cancel the RiverConcert and called Rusty to ask if he was afraid to do it. You would not believe what he said. The RiverConcert production was a huge success. The attendance; however, was not. As producer, I retained this project and in 2003 reentered the studio and replaced Jackie’s vocals with my own version of “Poet of the Prairie”, “I’ve Crossed the Brazos” and “Goodbye to a River” (not included).

I added Tracy Fletcher (tambourine, background vocal) to “Poet” with the assistance of Mark Dove during the 2008 sessions in Azle, TX where “On My Way” and “Fisherman’s Paradise” (written by Jackie Moore not included in the 2001 sessions) were recorded with Mark Dove (piano, harmonica) and myself (vocals, acoustic guitar and bass). During my many travels developing a solo career, I have written about and performed in various unique places.

There remains songs which need recording. In Stephenville, TX, I met Clif Hunter whose poem “Does Anyone Really Care to Know?” captured a standing ovation at the Irish pub at Branson Landing. It also captured the spirits on the Floyd Tillman tour bus near Galveston where “they” gave me the nickname “Clearwater” hence the title to this album and email address. The DVD movie production by Paranormal Investigations of Texas (paratexas.com) titled “Haunted Tillman Bus” and the original Jackie Moore and The Roadrunners CD are available on request. Thank you again for listening…see y’all while ago.




Music Producer Follows Homeless Kid Off Subway; Records His Demo for Free


Go to the profile of April Greene

In December 2013, my dance music producer friend Andrew was riding the New York City subway when a homeless teenage guy stepped into his train car and started singing R&B. The soulful Christmas mashup so moved Andrew that at the next stop, he followed the singer off the train and offered to record him a demo for free. The kid bit, and the two became fast friends.

I thought this was one of the cooler things I’d ever heard, so I asked if I could buy them coffee and hear more about it. In our interview, Andrew and Julian discuss their chance meeting, unlikely similarities, and musical futures.

Andrew and Julian in Manhattan last winter

Julian Brannon (the teenage guy): Well, my goal is to be the best, so let’s just get that out there. There’s no one in the industry that looks like me or sounds like me right now, and I think they need me.

Andrew Toews (the producer): You are unflappable!

Me: Wow, quite an intro! Could we back up for a sec? How did you guys meet?

AT: Sure. It was just before Christmas last year. I was on the train, and Julian got on and introduced himself and started singing sort of a holiday medley, in an R&B, soul style. I think it was: “We Wish You a Merry Christmas,” “Winter Wonderland,” and…

JB: And “All I Want for Christmas is You” by Mariah Carey.

AT: You can tell when someone has something to pitch you on the train and you’re like, “Dude. Seriously. Don’t.” But I liked this guy, I liked his energy. There was this spark. I actually thought, “I want to hang out with this guy!” He was making my day a better day.

JB: You know, I relate to that. I know I’m there making money, practicing, getting over stage fright. But at the end of the day, I want to make people feel better. I want them to call their mother after I sing Boyz II Men “A Song for Mama.” I know I can do that for people.

AT: So I thought about it for a second and chased him off the train. I thought he might think I was a sexual predator, or otherwise a weirdo; there was definitely fear of rejection in the air. But this was a case where my talents were uniquely suited to you — you’re not a guy with a trap kit who I liked listening to but wouldn’t know what do with in the studio. You’re a singer. So I gave him my email address. I didn’t think he’d bite.

JB: Well, most people don’t respond to me! Guess it goes both ways. I thought, “I don’t know what kind of experience this guy has, but it’s practice.”

AT: It was practice for me, too. Better than spending the afternoon drinking beers, if you ask me.

JB: It was my very first time being in a studio. By the way, your studio was small! I was thinking, “This is not Cadillac Records!” But hey, this is where I’m at. I just knew I should sing into the mic. Andrew told me to just try some a cappella covers, so I did some Mario, some Adele, Guy Sebastian, and The Fray. I put it all on the Internet and it’s gotten me a couple gigs. It’s made me money! It’s badass.

AT: I didn’t want to overcommit to a bunch of studio work; didn’t want to have to tune things later. We’re selling his voice, after all, so we just went for it straight up. We kept the imperfections.

JB: I wanted to keep the personality in it as well. I put some new runs in the songs, which were great, I thought.

AT: I liked when I asked you who you listen to and the first person you said was Adele. She’s one of the only people on the radio now who doesn’t have Auto-Tune on her voice.

JB: Yeah, her and Beyonce: who won seven Grammys and who won six? Know what I’m saying? At the end of the day, raw talent will always win out over good looks.

Me: Can you rewind a bit, Julian, and tell me your backstory?

JB: Sure. I’m from Houston. I used to weigh 300 pounds. I came to New York to sing. I’m a good singer and I can easily act, but I didn’t want to do Broadway. I wanted to be a real artist, go solo. My friends would do talent shows, and I’d say, “Okay, that’s cool — you do you, but I’ma do me.” Don’t get me wrong — musical theater moves people, too. But every note is perfect; there’s no life, no meat. That’s why I like R&B, soul… That music knows how to make people feel things.

I also wanted to get a better education, be with like-minded people, live at a fast pace, not have a car… And when I came here, I sure got all of that! But I also experienced what I would call… a graceful fall.

Long story short, I enrolled in Pace University in 2012, and the classes were easy enough — except algebra; I’ve never been a math whiz — and I was able to network a lot there. But I had to leave prematurely when I couldn’t get enough loans. I even dressed up in a suit one day and canvassed Wall Street to ask people for loans — nothing!

So I needed something, and I got this crazy pyramid scheme direct marketing job right away. I became the number one sales rep in no time. I was on fire, I had no choice. I have many talents besides singing — I’m good at sales, drawing, art. If I tapped into any art, I could master it, but music is what I care about.

Am I talking too fast? No? Okay.

So when I got kicked out of the dorm, I got into a cab and went to a hostel. I told FEMA my house got blown away in a storm so they’d pay me! Then I moved into an apartment in Harlem, where I was suddenly partying with adults, people age 25 to 45, and some of them were very wealthy. Then my company wanted me to open their new office in Texas, so I moved back there to do that. But there was some shadiness, some managerial shadiness, and suddenly my paychecks were much smaller.

So I moved back to New York again to get away from all that, but I was super broke. I stayed with friends for a few months, but wound up in a shelter. It’s a shelter right in the middle of NYC, though! And it keeps me not feeling homeless. It’s not an apartment; it’s a shared room and bathroom. And I’m choosy about who I associate with there — it is a shelter, mind you. If I get signed or put into a financial place where I can afford it, sure, I’ll move out. But other than that, it’s fine; it works.

Anyway, I found I could make more money singing on the train than working at Bill’s Burger. $50 an hour! Your minimum wage for a day is what I can make in an hour! So I was doing that a lot toward the end of last year, and I got a lot of attention from people on the train — producers, etc. I was auditioning for showcases and all that. I’m actually going to an audition right after this, and I’m doing Amateur Night At the Apollo this coming week.

I surround myself with people who are going to help me get where I need to get. It’s all about progressing. We know it will take hard work to live a privileged life, and we can be an inspiration to each other.

But here’s the thing: when you hit rock bottom — when no one’s answering your calls, when no one will let you sleep on their couch — you realize what you still have to offer. When I was singing on the train, I was thinking, “This is all I have.” But that was a good thing. That’s when I realized that’s what I really have to give in this life.

Plus, when I get rejected, it’s a positive thing, because when I get big, that’s one more person who’s going to be like, “Damn! I missed that one.”

Me: Does your family worry about you?

JB: Family? My mother, yes, it stresses her out. She’s stressed out to the max.

AT: I can imagine!

JB: But I tell her that I’m a survivor, and that I survive with dignity. It’s a struggle. But I try to do it with dignity — ask don’t steal.

AT: Reminds me of conversations I had with my mom when I was around your age — 18 or 20. I moved to L.A. with no plan. I got kicked out of a warehouse squat; was sleeping on roofs… My mom was living overseas and I called her and said, “Okay, I’m sleeping on rooftops, but I have a job, I have a car. Sure, I’m spending a lot of time in McDonald’s bathrooms scrubbing my armpits, but I’m not a scumbag and I’m not on drugs. I could do something different, but this is what I’m doing right now. I’m keeping it together.”

JB: One time my mom got a call from the police because someone found my wallet. She thought I had been killed, murdered, stabbed… But I was just at work. At the end of the day, my mother is my best friend, she supports me.

I’ve never been in love, or anything like that. I’ve been alone all my life. Not that I haven’t been close to people or they haven’t showed me love, but not intimately.

Me: Wow. Drew, would you record another singer like this?

AT: Yeah. Not right now because I’m super busy and I don’t have a studio outside my house anymore, but in theory sure. Then, if I had the time and the opportunity showed itself.

I tend to be a fearful guy. I always make myself do stuff, but it never comes easy. So this was good practice presenting to people. You don’t have to be the best in the world. I don’t want to say, “If I’m not going to be Beyonce, I’ll just quit.” That’s not the attitude I want to have.

JB: You learn certain things in life. I believe in the law of averages. No matter what you try to do, it will happen — it’s just a matter of time. If you shop yourself to 1,000 people, one of them will like you. Life is a numbers game. I’m just waiting for the date. I’m trying to set up a foundation to build upon. I want to go a record label and say, “This is what I got; what can you do for me?”

AT: It’s a big world, and it does take a certain brashness. Fear of failure is rampant, so to see someone who’s willing to rock a crowd is really good. I became a producer in part because I can be a part of that balls-out performance experience while still having a measure of control.

JB: I want to open up my own studio one day. Then I want to be a pastor in my later years. I can relate to a lot of people, I can elevate them.

AT: You grew up singing in church, right?

JB: A little bit. But my mother didn’t take me to church that much.

[I zoned out for a minute here and stopped taking notes.]

JB: Yeah, drinking. The struggle is so real; we all have to cope. But I try not to drink too much. I mean, I smoke weed. But at the end of the day, I do what I do because it’s artistically helpful.

AT: Oh man — you burn? We could have burned!

JB: We could have burned?? If we could have burned, we would have been burnin’!

AT: We need to do a follow-up session.

I asked Andrew and Julian what they’ve been doing since our interview last winter. Here’s what they said:

Andrew: “Drew has been keeping the disco fires burning at his new home studio in Bed-Stuy. He stays DJing dance parties, producing original material for a handful of artists, cranking out edits and remixes, and building a small sound design and production business. He’s also offering private music production lessons, with an emphasis on Ableton Live techniques and workflow.” Get at him via fakemoneynyc.com or drewjoy.com.

Julian: “I’ve been working in music. Planning to work with a close friend to produce our first project for my EP. Also starting a wedding singing group to support the financial aspect of producing an EP and a potential album come this time next year. I’m still living in Hell’s Kitchen saving up to move. I am currently working as a barista at FIKA in Chelsea. Great filler job while I focus on my real dream.”



‘Light Infused Dust’ by Jason Grundstrom-whitney



I wrote the song ‘Let Love Abound’ thinking about the mental illness and substance abuse that my family has suffered from for a very long time and the beautiful people I work with. In this song I am talking about stigmas that run very deep in America.

The stigmatization of those that suffer with substance abuse, the stigmatization of those that suffer with mental illness, and the stigmatization of those assumed to be prejudiced .

Our band was based in Virginia Beach for awhile. I ran into Bluegrass players that were very open and not the judgmental or prejudiced people that many assume. I pray that we stop stigmatizing those with mental illness, substance abuse, and open our minds to people as they are as opposed to who we think they are. I pray that we, ‘Let Love Abound’…..




Live Music is the Best Entertainment – Check Out Your Local Bands!!



JD Couch
Columnist
Read more about JD!

Live music is something we all need. Nothing is better to have at the end of a hectic work week. It will wash away all the daily trials.

It’s Friday evening. We’ve thought about going out and catching a great live band all day. But which one should we sample? There are so many to choose from, it’s hard to make up our minds on which band we want to see.

So, we ask ourselves, should we go see a rocking heavy metal band or maybe a great southern rock band? Or we could choose a band that plays the oldies. Just maybe, we’d rather see a multi genre band; one that plays it all: country, gospel, rock, blues, bluegrass and even original tunes created by the band.

As to myself, I’m open-minded to a band’s original music. I’m a singer-songwriter. I’ve written many original song lyrics. I know how much hard work goes into writing a song.

The first draft of the song is usually the easy part; perfecting the song to a shine as pure as gold lies mainly in its length. Most song verses have four lines, but it’s best to keep it under five. The chorus is usually three lines, but again no more than four. This way you have a chance it could be played on the radio one day.

When I was a young man I wrote a song entitled “Rock-n-Roll Boogie”. It has three lines in the first verse, three in the chorus. The second and third verses have four lines each. It’s what we call a southern boogie. It has an upbeat sound and it has never failed to pack a dance floor.

Since I wrote it for bars and dance clubs, it probably won’t be put on a purchasable CD. But to this day, people love to hoof it up whenever we play it. But I’ve added it to the sample CD I give to club owners interested in our music. Several cover songs by different artists will be on the list too so they know we have a variety of songs to play.

We’re musicians who love putting on a good show to entertain the crowd. It lets people know who we are. And there’s no other feeling like it in the world.

No two musicians have the same style of playing or singing. We each have a deep passion for what we love doing. All that passion comes pouring out of the soul once we’re up on that stage; that’s when the audience knows the quality of the band comes from the passion.

Maybe you have a taste for jazz, R&B, or even rap. I’m sure live bands are out there in your favorite genre, ready and willing to entertain you. If you know where to look, then give the local guys a try!!

Everyone should support their local musicians. Great entertainment lies all over this country. Go check it out some weekend soon. You might be surprised at how relaxed and entertained you find yourself. There’s nothing better than live music. Check out your local musicians and have a fun time!!


Wow! What a Great Song



When a songwriter produces song after song after song of this quality, promoters such as myself, sit up and listen. David Powell is one of those musicians. I make no apology for sharing my new found star from West Virginia, USA.

More from David Powell

David Powell
David Powell and son



 

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