To make it as a successful independent musician, there isn't a surefire way to do so. What works for some might not work for others, but there are pitfalls that can be avoided and practical steps that can be taken. It isn't always the most gifted who rise to the top, because applying logical business acumen plays a factor too. Such topics are discussed at great length in a new tome.
Consisting of twenty-two chapters and issued by Alfred Publishing
, "The Big Gig: Big-Picture Thinking For Success
" is both a motivational and advice book for indepedent musicians who wish to break into the music industry.
A 440-page affair written by drummer Zoro, each chapter includes a video interview with the man himself, accessible via QR code (traditional web URLs are also provided). And as well, readers can assess themselves with The Big Gig Quiz, a fifty-question test to help determine if they have what it takes to score their own big gig. Lenny Kravitz wrote a foreword for the book, while people ranging from producer Quincy Jones to actor Stephen Baldwin to Rolex France president Philippe Schaeffer have endorsed it to name just a small few. Previous books by Zoro include "The Commandments Of R&B Drumming" and "The Commandments Of Early Rhythm & Blues".
Zoro has toured and recorded with Lenny Kravitz, Bobby Brown, Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons, The New Edition, Jody Watley, Philip Bailey of Earth, Wind & Fire, Angie Stone, Vanessa Paradis, Sean Lennon, Lisa Marie Presley, and many others.
On 20th November at 22:00 GMT, Hit The Lights' Robert Gray telephoned Zoro to discuss "The Big Gig".
UG: Hello Zoro. This is Robert Gray calling from Ultimate-Guitar.com.
How're you doing?
I'm doing well. How are you Zoro?
I'm doing good.
Would it be okay if we began the interview?
Yeah. I'm ready for you.
What inspired you to write 'The Big Gig'?
'The Big Gig' was inspired by my desire to help other people live out their dreams, and pursue the thing that they have in their heart to do. Everybody has a gift, a talent and a dream in their own heart that they want to pursue, but most people don't understand the process of what it takes to achieve the dream. Because I've been fortunate to achieve all the dreams I had as a child - which was to be a drummer, a speaker and a writer - I wanted to share what that process looks like with other people who want to achieve their own dreams. The inspiration really was to help other people.
How would you describe 'The Big Gig'? As a motivational book? An advice book?
It's all. It's a motivational book, but it has a lot of practical advice as well. It also has over four hundred motivational quotes that are in the book. The book is 440 pages, so it's really an inspirational and motivational book for people who wanna do great things in their life and who really wanna take their gift and take it to the top.
Where do you personally take motivation from?
Personally? From everywhere. I have been reading and collecting motivational quotes since I was a young boy. I read inspirational stories of other people who've achieved great things, biographies on other people, documentaries on people who did notable things and from other great artists who've achieved great things. I find inspiration from anybody who's done something with a spirit of excellence, and it doesn't matter whether they're a musician - they can be an inventor, they can be an actor, they can be an athlete, they can be a business person. I get inspiration from other people who've pursued their own dreams and succeeded.
You mentioned how you've been a speaker, so is that where your nickname the Minister Of Groove comes from?
The Minister Of Groove is really just a nickname that a guy gave me out of the rhythm and blues community. They use a lot of terms like "He's the Minister, the Gospel of the Groove", so it's more like somebody who gives the groove to the people. Speaking has always been a part of my life, but the Minister Of Groove is really referring to the drumming and almost the ambassador of the back-beat. Just a champion of the groove is really what that title's all about.
Are you religious, or anything of that nature?
I have a strong Christian faith, and I believe in the Bible and biblical principles for achieving success. I believe that God made every person on the planet with the unique gift that they have, and I believe that gifts, talents or skills are something that comes from God because we couldn't possibly give ourselves talent. We're born with it, so my philosophy is that God gives to every person a particular gift. A particular natural talent that they have for something, an aptitude for something. Our job in life is to develop that and take it to the highest place, but we already have the gift. Everybody's got a gift; it's a matter of whether they bond with it and whether they exercise it or not, but I do have fundamental beliefs in Christianity and what the purpose of our gifts are for. There's a strategy and there's a way in which to develop those gifts that will give them the greatest ability to impact other people.
Obviously you're a drummer, though to clarify 'The Big Gig' can help out other musicians?
Absolutely. It's not a drum book at all. I just happen to be a drummer, but it has nothing to do with drums. It is a book for every musician in the world period, regardless of what they play. I've had a lot of people who've read the book already. I've had parents who've bought the book for their sons or daughters, and they've already said that they've read the book and the book inspired them greatly. I've had a woman who just interviewed me who's in television, media and blogging, and she said that everything I had to say in the book is for everybody and not just musicians. She interviewed me just on behalf of all the principles that are in the book. The book has twenty-two chapters, and every chapter is the art of something. It starts off with "The Art Of Vision" and you need vision to succeed at anything in life, regardless of whether it's music or anything else. Then it goes onto "The Art Of Strategy", "The Art Of Attitude" and "The Art Of Learning", and towards the end of the book it becomes about things that are more personal like "The Art Of Self-Control" and "The Art Of Commitment". "The Art Of Commitment" is really about how to succeed in your personal relationships, and then the last chapter is "The Art Of Giving" and the subtitle is "Living A Life Of Purpose". It's much deeper than just "Here's how you play the guitar and score a gig". Yes, all those things are in there - all the practical ways of how you develop a gift as a musician - but really, successful principles are the same no matter what you do.
To me it's a book that teaches people how to succeed in their life, and there's lots of stories and personal anecdotes and illustrations and quotes that emphasise people being excellent in three particular areas of their life. I deem success as three things; you're not successful to me unless you are succeeding in your personal life, your spiritual life and your vocational profession. As human beings we're comprised of all three of those things, and we are spiritual beings all of us. We achieve everything through personal relationships, and that's one of the biggest parts of our existence is personal relationships. Then we all have a gift or a talent that we long for to be used, and we long for it to be accepted by others and to make a difference with that gift. To me my book is framed around the concept of those three areas and how you develop all three of those areas, so you can flourish as a whole person. Obviously I'm speaking from my background as a musician, because that's what I am.
How do you go about maintaining relationships as a musician? There's relationships with bandmates, or you might have someone at home and you have to go away on tour for several months. It's quite a difficult thing.
It is. I think personal relationships are difficult for musicians, but probably no different than it would be if you were a travelling businessman. It's just you're travelling doing music, and businessmen are travelling doing other kinds of things. The way that you strive in your personal relationships to me is that you have to have the idea of being a servant. If you think from the place of being served then that's where relationships fall apart, because if you get two people who want to be served and nobody wants to do any serving then you just have two selfish people and it doesn't work. The way that it's worked for me though is that I've learned to serve other people, whether it was my bandmates, whether it was my employer, whether it was the person who hired me to do the tour, whether it was my children or whether it's my wife. I learned to be a servant and to give my best to them, and in that way that has allowed my relationships to thrive. What spoils a lot of those is when people live just purely for themselves. You're still doing the same job, and you're still gone. An example would be - I talk about this in the book - is I have two children.
I talk in the book about one particular time in my career where I was doing seventy dates a year - I was doing seventy individual one-off concerts or clinics or educational events. It totalled around seventy engagements. This was not a tour but was just seventy engagements on my own, just people hiring me. You travel to all these things. I lived in Los Angeles at the time; I would travel, and I would take the red-eye flight which is the latest flight leaving Los Angeles on a Friday night. It leaves around midnight and then I get to New York Saturday morning at 8:00am / 9:00am, get there, do the soundcheck, do the gig, and then I return on the earliest flight possible on Sunday morning which is like a 6:00am flight or earlier. This was a lot of wear and tear on me because it's really hard to travel that way, but I chose that way to travel for many years purposely because then my kids didn't hardly miss me. Instead of a three-day trip where they would've missed me for three days or in some cases four days for one gig, they only really missed me one day because they had me all of Friday, I didn't leave until midnight, they missed me on Saturday, but by Sunday morning I was home because I picked the earliest flight and I gained three hours coming to the West Coast. If you do the maths, with seventy dates a year they're only missing me for seventy days as opposed to 210 days and that's a big difference in somebody's life, in your children's lives and your wife's life. In order to do that though it was a great sacrifice to me because it was exhausting to travel in that manner, but I realise that I would never get those years or those days or those hours back with my family.
If you have to travel, you have to travel - that's what we do as musicians, and what many people do in their profession. There's no way of getting around that, but there is a way to do it better though it will be with a great sacrifice. To me, to thrive in your personal relationships, friendships, bandmates, husbands and wives requires sacrifice. True love is always sacrificial though. We live in a world where nobody wants to make sacrifices anymore. People wanna live for themselves, so thusly the personal relationships get destroyed that way. Our love has to be demonstrated through sacrifice though, and that's how I'm able to make it work in my life.
And obviously you have to trust each other.
"'The Big Gig' was inspired by my desire to help other people live out their dreams, and pursue the thing that they have in their heart to do."
Yeah, absolutely. There's definitely something to be said for taking a mate or spouse who is solid enough on their own to where they don't depend on you for their existence. Sometimes you choose a person who's overly needy in terms of they can't function on their own and that adds to the difficulty. I think as musicians and as people that are gonna travel, you're wise to take your time to choose who your mate is gonna be and choose somebody who can handle time on their own. Some people are built for it very well, and some aren't. It's better to find that out beforehand.
Tell me about some of the endorsements 'The Big Gig' has received from known musical personalities. Quincy Jones is one example, who a lot of Michael Jackson fans will be familiar with.
I consider that to be the greatest honour. I've got a lot of great honours in my career, but some of the greatest honours I've had in my career were the people who've endorsed this book. This book's a fifteen-year long vision; fifteen years ago the dream of writing this book came to me and I've worked on it over those fifteen years, so it has taken a lot to bring it to completion to the point where it's going around the world now. I've poured my heart and soul and everything that I have into this book. Stevie Wonder's album was called 'Songs In The Key Of Life' (1976), which was a classic album in the seventies. It was a shining piece.
To me this is my 'Songs In The Key Of Life', what I have to share about life through the written word and through the spoken word. The book has three hours' worth of video interviews with me that you access through the book and so because I've poured so much into this book from my soul to help people, having people like Quincy Jones and Lenny Kravitz and many other renowned musicians from guys in Earth, Wind And Fire to Elton John's band members to famous studio legends - studio legends like Steve Gadd and Will Lee on the bass and Abraham Laboriel.... These are fantastic musicians and human beings, and for them to enjoy my book or love my book or say something great about it, that they really felt that way... That's one of the greatest honours I've had in my career, because those people don't need anything from me. They're only gonna say what they really feel.
They're all successful and they're all legends in their own right, so they don't need to patronise me or give me a nice quote for my book because it's something they're gonna get from me. They gave them out of the genuineness of their heart and they believed in what I wrote, so that part feels fantastic because I wouldn't be compelled to try to ask anybody to do anything other than what they wanted to do in their own heart. All of those people have known me in different capacities throughout my life or career or the things that I've endeavoured to do, and they genuinely thought the book was great. That meant more to me than anything.
Why did 'The Big Gig' take fifteen years to come to fruition?
It's many reasons. Sometimes you'll get a vision from a long time ago, but some things are just divine timing. I believe in the last ten years I've grown so much as a person, as a writer, as a father and as all the other parts of life that I believe the book just has more depth now than it would've fifteen years ago. Even though my career's over thirty years long, fifteen years ago I had already had fifteen years of success as a musician. There's something that comes with maturity and seasoning though, and it doesn't come any other way. That's what I believe made the book much richer and deeper was all those years.
I wasn't working on it every single day for those fifteen years, but that's how long ago the vision started. Then I would get odd spurts of creativity or inspiration where I'd be writing a lot for a long time, and then another project in life would take precedence over it. Maybe I'd be on tour with Lenny Kravitz and that would be put on the front burner, and then I would be doing a million clinics or writing a drum book and then that would be put on the front burner, so it would weave in and out of my life during that time. Any time I got inspiration though to write down ideas and stories, the book was constantly developing over that period of time. I wasn't working on it daily. A lot of times the things you dream as a little kid take many years to come to pass, but you can always trace it back to "Man, I thought about this when I was seven years old".
I wanted to write a drum book when I was nineteen years old and I'd only been playing drums for three years, but I wrote down on a piece of paper that I wanted to write a book about funk drummers and r 'n' b drummers and I still have that piece of paper. In 1997 that vision came to pass with my book called 'The Commandments Of R 'N' B Drumming', which was now just voted in the new Modern Drummer magazine as one of the top twenty-five timeless drum books of all time that every drummer should own. The vision started though when I had only been playing three years, but I had already had the idea that one day I'd like to do that. It wouldn't come for many years though until I actually had something to say, so I believe dreams start very early on but it takes a lot for them to manifest into reality because there are so many distractions and obstacles to overcome. But yeah, I believe the book coming out now is the exact time it was supposed to come out. Even though I had the idea fifteen years ago, I didn't have the depth fifteen years ago to express what I am now able to express.
In your opinion, what are common mistakes that musicians make?
There's many that musicians make. Really the most obvious one is one that has plagued our industry since its inception, which is the drinking, the partying, the drugs - the things that destroy people's careers. They destroy their finances and their families, so that's one of the most obvious mistakes. Not every musician makes those mistakes, but as an industry it's been plagued with those problems of losing so many musicians and so many talented people over the years through just lack of self-control and just things that could've been totally avoided. Sadly, people's careers falling apart because of drugs and drinking is totally avoidable. That's not like having some terminal disease that you didn't ask for. These are things that are completely preventable by choices people make. I think that's one of the first things, but one of the other things is probably just a lack of business skill where they develop the art but they don't develop the sense of business.
To me, to succeed longterm in this business you have to look at it as two different things. There's music and there's business and they're two completely different entities, yet they both have to coincide with one another to succeed to make a living. A lot of artistic people are very left brain-driven and they're very creative, but then they lack the business skills or the management skills of their life. That's a recipe for failure because you might have the art together, but to succeed in this business you need to have a great mixture of art and commerce. The art is the creating of the music, and the commerce is this is still a business and to treat it as such, to be professional, reliable, deliver the goods and know how to sell the goods. It's all of those things.
The answer is obvious, though how important would you say playing with other musicians is? Especially writing for Ultimate Guitar, you find a lot of musicians who play on their own and record videos of themselves playing to upload to YouTube. A few of them never seem to play with other musicians.
I think you're very correct. The most important thing to realise is that playing music is like being part of a basketball team; when you're in a basketball team, the star is the team. There are no individual stars; the star is the team itself, and you're just a member of the team. With music, it's the same way. It's a team sport type of art, and there's camaraderie involved and there's chemistry and synergy and energy and creativity that comes when you're joining with other people to do what you do. By yourself you cannot create that synergy that comes from two individuals or ten individuals or however big the band is, so I think if you don't learn to play with other musicians you're a guy who only knows how to play basketball by himself. As far as I know, there's no professional basketball team where a guy plays by himself.
In music, there are people who develop solo styles of playing - let's say a solo violinist or a solo guitarist or a solo pianist - but in general the majority of music made in the world is made by a collaboration of different musicians. You have to learn how to musically socialise with other musicians in order to know how to communicate with other musicians. I believe that a big problem today is that a lot of people just play by themselves or play along to things, along to videos, along to books, along to CDs and records and all that, but that can't teach you how to interact with a live human being. The best recordings in the world with music on them are recordings where the musicians are reacting to each other spontaneously through the art of improvisation during the recording, and you can't get that unless you experiment by playing with other people.
And there's definitely a lot of improv in r&b and so on.
Oh yeah, certainly, and certain styles more than others lend themselves to people just staying isolated. The whole art of music is this ability to play off of one another; one guy plays an idea and that spurs you to play another idea, and that creates a great record or a great song. Without that you have limited creativity because you're just one person which was really meant to be part of a group of people, and that's where the energy comes from and the synergy and the change in direction in terms of what you play. If one guy plays a riff, that might cause you to change the whole different way that you would've played and you can't get that by yourself.
The idea for 'The Big Gig' came fifteen years ago as you said, and a big difference between fifteen years ago and 2011 is the internet. To make it as a musician today, is the internet a big factor or a small factor?
I believe it's just as difficult as it always was to succeed at something like music. Even though the industry has completely changed, the principles are still the same for what makes it. Even though the industry has changed, to me the greatest marketing tool of all time has not changed. The greatest marketing tool for a musician that they can ever have is to be excellent on their instrument. If you're incredible and you're incredibly excellent on your instrument and you know how to serve people with your instrument, how to serve the music, the song, the producers, the band, the leader... If you know how to serve people with your instrument and you are absolutely, undeniably incredible and you have a good attitude, that is the greatest marketing tool of all time. What will happen is other people will tell people about who you are, and you don't have to say anything except to show up with your instrument and play. The minute you play, people say "Man, I just heard this guy" or "I just heard this girl" or "They were unbelievable... So much talent and so much charisma in their playing and extraordinary musicianship".
It's just like when you watch a good movie. If you watch a good movie, you tell ten other people about it because you're excited or if you read a great book you'll tell a bunch of other people about it, and it's the same way when you hear a great musician. You'll go "You know what? I heard this guy play, and he was unbelievable" or "She was unbelievable". That word of mouth is still what gets doors to open for you because every time you play you're already advertising yourself. I think that a lot of times people are looking for some kind of shortcut, some kind of a marketing trick, but there is no way to forsake the process. If you want to be great there's a cost, there's a sacrifice, and it's all doable. There's a lot of great quotes in my book that will inspire people to reach and strive for that excellence, and there's a quote towards the end of my book which says "The rarest thing a man ever does is the best he can". I thought that was such a powerful quote because that's true. The rarest thing a man ever does is the best he can because there's always so much more in them than they're giving out.
There's a Thomas Edison quote I use in the book which says "Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work" (laughs). When it comes down to it, this is all hard work. There's another quote by Charles Schwab that says "A man succeeds at almost anything for which he has unlimited enthusiasm". That enthusiasm is that attitude, is "I wanna be great", "I wanna keep practising", "I wanna keep doing this". Here's another than one that I have in the book by a guy named James Roche, which says "Real success in any endeavour demands more from an individual than most people are willing to offer". Not more than they are capable of offering.
You mentioned word of mouth, which is obviously very important. For word of mouth to happen though, you have to get off your arse, get out there and actually play. A lot of musicians just play in the bedroom or the garage, and nobody's gonna hear you there. You got to get out there.
You got to get out there, and that's why it's hard work. There's a part of you that has to sit and practice to get great, and then there's a part of you that has to go out there and go onstage and act boldly and have courage and go and show up and sit in and play and meet musicians. If you're the world's greatest bassist or drummer but you're playing in the bottom of the basement and nobody knows who you are, it's not gonna happen. You've gotta get out there. There's a difference between confidence and arrogance; confidence is just knowing that you know what you're doing without having a bad attitude about it, while arrogance is letting everybody know how great you are and how great you think you are with a very cocky spirit and nobody likes that. You need to be confident, but confidence doesn't mean that you can't be humble. You can be humble but still be extremely confident, because you know you're proficient at what you do.
There's a Mark Twain quote I use in the book, and it sums up my life in general. It says "All that's needed is confidence and ignorance, and with that success is assured", because I had an equal amount of confidence. I was so ignorant though that I believed it was all possible. In other words, I was ignorant enough to believe I could just go for it and what I was dreaming happened because you don't realise how hard it really is, but you have enough confidence to pursue it. It's a mixture of both, but the one thing you never want is arrogance. If I was gonna choose between two bass players to recommend for a gig and they were both equally, incredibly talented, and one was totally humble and a real servant and the other wanted people to serve him and was arrogant and difficult, I would go with the person who was humble. It's simple.
And like you said, to make it as a musician you have to be reliable.
"Really the most obvious mistake that musicians make is one that has plagued our industry since its inception, which is the drinking, the partying, the drugs - the things that destroy people's careers."
There's several chapters in the book where I deal with all of those things. "The Art Of Self-Management", and learning how to be professional and reliable and easy to work with and flexible and pliable... All those things have everything to do with succeeding. There's a reason why I wrote a 440-page book about it, and that's because there's a lot of things that people overlook. In fact, on the very back cover of the book there's a barcode you scan. They're called QR codes and look like barcodes; if you scan it with your smartphone, it takes you to what I call "The Big Gig Quiz". It's a fifty-question quiz where you answer "Yes" or "No" to these questions, and based on your answers it determines what your chances of succeeding are. They're all based on questions that really have you thinking about the big picture, because there's many aspects and components to success. I equate it to a puzzle; if you have a five hundred piece puzzle, the corners are the easiest to find. You start with the corners and then you get the outer edges and those are the easiest to find, but then all those other pieces are a lot more mysterious. They're a lot harder to find, and it's that way in the music industry or succeeding at anything. Once you get past the obvious pieces, then a lot of people are clueless and they don't know. They think they have all of their puzzle together, but they're missing four hundred pieces and they wonder why things haven't happened or why they haven't had a break.
That's because there's many parts of the puzzle that aren't pieced together, but in their mind they're delusional. They think those pieces are already there, but they're unaware that those pieces are necessary. All those twenty-two chapters - "The Art Of Self-Management", "The Art Of Marketing", "The Art Of Sponsorship" and so on - are all really insightful chapters that teach musicians all the business aspects that you have to think about. The art of business skills you have to develop and the art of personal skills you have to develop, because if you have fifty people auditioning for the same job and they're all equally capable, how do you nail it down if you're the musical director or if you're the recording star? You're going to use a bunch of other criteria to narrow it down, and it's gonna come down to things like your personality, things like your work ethic and your experience and what you look like and how professional you appear. There's so many other components, but people think you just have to play well. If it were that easy, everyone would be doing it.
'The Big Gig' is published by Alfred Publishing. How did that come to fruition?
They published my other books. I've published three very successful books with them; the first one was 'The Commandments Of R&B Drumming', a comprehensive guide to soul, funk and hip hop, and the second one was 'The Commandments Of Early Rhythm And Blues Drumming' which delved into the earlier periods of rhythm and blues. Then I had 'The Commandments Of Drumming Play-Along Book', and so I've had a long relationship with Alfred. They just really believed in the vision of this book. They have thousands of instructional books out there, and instructional DVDs and sheet music and every kind of learning opportunity in the world to learn your instrument. There's virtually nothing out there though that teaches musicians how to take that dream from an infant stage to the main stage, and how to achieve greatness with it and how to live out their dreams. You've got all these publishers selling and music schools teaching people how to play music, but they're not teaching them how to dream and how to fulfil a dream. The hardest part is fulfilling the dream, and there's a process to that. There's a lot to it, but for those to succeed in other areas and other professions in life there are similar strategies that people who've been successful have applied.
I have applied all of those strategies to my life as a musician, as a speaker, as an author, as an educator and with God's grace I've been fortunate enough to be able to flourish in each one of those two endeavours. Just because you succeed as a musician doesn't mean you'll succeed as an educator or as an author. It's just like in the medical profession; just because you're a paediatrician doesn't mean that you're automatically a brain surgeon. They're all different fields of study, and with each one of them you have to prove yourself to a whole new set of people and a whole new set of understanding and learning. In my career, first I was a musician and then a motivational speaker, then a writer and then an educator, and with each of those areas I had to go through the same identical process to succeed at it. That's why I'm very familiar with what it takes to achieve these dreams, and how much perseverance and persistence and faith you have to have to see them come to pass. That's what I was willing to teach and share with other people, and because the very last chapter of the book is called "The Art Of Giving". To me the whole point in succeeding in what I've done is that I can impact and affect other people's lives positively because if the only thing that happened was that I succeeded for me and nobody else benefited from it, then my life would've been useless. My life's only useful if other people benefit from my gift, from my talent. If other people are impacted or if other people are inspired or encouraged or enlightened. If it was all about me, then I would've lived a life in vain and my impact will die the minute I die.
If I did it right though, I served people. I want to succeed to get to the top, but then I use that platform to help other people. What I succeed at then far surpasses my lifetime, and then it becomes something of great impact. It impacts the future and future generations, and that is the difference. There's another quote in the book by William James which says "The greatest use of life is to spend it for something that outlasts it", and then there's some other ones that I really love in that very last chapter of the book. It talks about making your life useful for other people, and let's see... I'm just thinking of the ones that I like the most... Here's another one: "The only thing that walks back from the tomb and refuses to be buried is the character of a man". This is true, because when a man survives him it cannot be buried. That was said by J. R. Miller, and then I like this other one by Nelson Henderson. "The true meaning of life is to plant trees under whose shade you do not expect to sit". This other one by Pericles says "What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monument, but what is woven into the lives of others". That really is what the whole last chapter is about. So you succeed, so you achieve these things and so you reach greatness, but what's the point of all of it? Eventually everybody's going to die, so what's the point if you just got to be king and you're rich and you're successful but nobody was impacted positively.
You can have two different encounters when you meet your favourite musician in the world. When you idolise somebody like your favourite actor, an athlete, musician and you're a young kid and you go to meet them, you can have two different encounters. You can encounter a guy that totally blows you off because he's arrogant and he can't be bothered with you and he makes you feel like crap, or you can meet somebody who's just loving and kind and embraces you and makes you feel special and important because of their humility, and that result changes your life. It's not a matter of gift or talent, because people who are great already have that gift or talent. It's just a matter of how they use it, and really how they honour God with it by how they treat others through their gift. To me, the whole purpose of my life is to impact as many people positively as I can on planet Earth with all of my skills and talents and with the platform that I've been given. That's the whole point for me, and that's what this book is all about. I didn't write this book so I could sell a million copies, and become a millionaire. I wrote this book because I was compelled to write it because it was something deep in my spirit to wanna communicate, to help people and make an impact on this world in a positive way through my experiences.
The motives were always right, and if your motive is right, if you make a great film to inspire people and you wanna make a great movie, it's gonna touch people and other people will tell people about it. That's what happened with that movie called 'The Blind Side' (2009), and the movie was made for the right reasons. It was a great story, it had a great motive, they wanted to give a great message and the movie did tremendously well because it came from a place of earnestness, of truth. For me, the reason why I want everybody to know about 'The Big Gig' is not because of the little money that I make from the book but because that book is gonna change their lives more than it is mine. Especially if they read it and apply what I teach in it, and I know because I've taught many people along the way these principles long before the book was out and I've seen them change a lot of lives. That's the motive for me doing this interview and that's the motive for me promoting it. The motive for promoting it is I know eventually that I'm not gonna be here - I'm gonna be six feet under like everybody else. The important thing is how much did my life impact future generations. Look at the impact people like Michaelangelo has on us, and people like Leonardo Da Vinci and the Wright brothers and Frank Sinatra. It doesn't matter what era. If somebody did something great like Einstein, their impact is being felt long after them and that's all we can really hope to do.
What future books do you possibly have in the pipeline?
I have so much to say. I'm gonna be writing more inspirational and more motivational books about every aspect of life, spirituality and this is my first real big one in terms of it's 440 pages. It has twenty-two chapters. The next one will not take me fifteen years because I've learned so much during the writing process. There were many other things I was struggling simultaneously, which is also why this took awhile to come out. It wasn't like somebody was just paying me money to write this book, but yeah, I actually have a ministry that I started for young adults to teach them how to fulfil their dreams based on biblical principles. I have a mentoring thing inside of me that I love. I mentor young people between the ages of eighteen and twenty-nine and teach them life skills and how to achieve their dreams, so there's gonna be many more. Books that are gonna come out of me in the coming years, but they all have to do with helping people to achieve greatness, helping people to live an excellent life and to live with the spirit of excellence and to become world-changers, and to impact this negative world with all the positive light they possibly can. There's lots of things I'm already drafting out, things from my experience of being a father, my experience of growing up as a kid without a father to my experience of growing up poor with a single mother who raised seven children. There's so many things that I have to share with people, and because I'm a teacher by nature they're gonna come out in various forms in book.
Thanks for speaking to me.
It's been my pleasure. Thank you so much for the honour of being interviewed, and listening to what I have to share. I look forward to seeing the interview.
Have a nice day, and take care.
Interview by Robert Gray
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