How can “self-help songs,” well, help your self?
My six singer-songwriter albums all contain original tunes of “song therapy.”
They often contain positive messages of motivation, transformation, and inspiration.
It’s my way of helping you through challenges and tough times with songs of encouragement.
In many ways, my songs are “coaches” in lyrical form.
Stephen Oliver said (used with his permission) “I just received my copy of your new CD, “The Great Something”. As soon as I got into my home office (I’m a freelance writer), I put it on the stereo. I’m listening to it as I write. Now I’m in a quandary. I can’t decide whether it’s incredible or ‘merely’ fantastic. Either way, I love it. I’ve already added it to my night time playlist, along with all your other CDs.”
And Jimbo Berkey said (used with his permission) “After listening to your newest album, “The Great Something,” I am convinced that it is the most powerful and compelling message that anyone who hasn’t begun this journey could ever encounter.” (Jimbo went on to buy 20 more copies of the CD to give out to people.)
Let me explain how you can use self-help songs like the ones on The Great Something in your life:
When you are facing a situation where someone or something is about to “set you off,” take a breath. The self-help song “The Hook” (on my One More Day album) contains the message “Don’t Take the Hook!” It’s a reminder that you don’t have to take the bait. In general, whenever you get upset, it’s when you went unconscious. Something or someone flipped your internal switch and you got mad or sad. The song “Don’t Take the Hook” is your reminder that you have choice; you don’t have to get engaged or outraged. You can always walk away. You can even walk away singing, “Don’t take the hook!”
“The Glad Game”
But if you do take the hook and find yourself upset, you can always play The Glad Game to recover. I wrote this self-help song because of the famous book, and many movie adaptations of it, called Pollyanna. “The Glad Game” (on The Great Something album) is your reminder that you can find the good in any situation or person. You may have to really look. But it’s always there. Always. This upbeat swing-rock-dance song will show you the way.
“Look for the Light”
One way to find the good, or play The Glad Game, is to “Look For the Light.” This self-help song, also on The Great Something album, is a reminder that there is light (or good, or glad, or positive) in any and every situation. This song was born when someone asked me how to handle political fighting and opinion conflicts that split people. I spontaneously said, “Look for the light.” There are always people doing good things, and good causes you can find and support. But you may need to pause and look for it.
You’ll find yet another way to use lyrics as affirmations in my self-help song “Empowerment” on my album The Healing Song. This instrumental cried out for my voice, so I allowed inspiration to guide me in speaking hypnotic commands of inner strength. Listening to this track alone can strengthen your mental core, so you can have, do, or be, whatever you imagine and work toward. I listen to this song every time it shuffles up on my playlist. It’s powerful.
“There’ll Be Days”
After my private songwriting lesson with rock legend Melissa Etheridge, all of my music became more focused. The self-help song “There’ll Be Days” (also on my latest album, The Great Something) is my favorite song for conveying wisdom in a traditional singer-songwriter folk format. It’s a reminder that some days will be tough, and some will be tender, but you can get through them all if you smile and remember this song. I know it doesn’t sound humble at all, but I think this song is pure genius. At least I can’t stop listening to it. It’s hauntingly beautiful.
“The Great Something”
When you need reminded that you aren’t alone, and that the dark night of the soul will pass, you might listen to “The Great Something” (the title track on The Great Something album). This self-help song was directly inspired by my lesson with Melissa Etheridge. She advised me to write in the first person. I took her advice to heart and wrote the most personal, raw, and revealing song of my life so far. I listened to it earlier today to remind myself that “The Great Something” – what others might call Divine, Universe, Nature, Gaia or something else – is with you always.
Everybody has thoughts, but not everybody knows they are not their thoughts. The self-help song “Some Thoughts,” on my One More Day album, is an upbeat tune reminding you that some thoughts serve you and some thoughts suck. But you can play the jukebox in your mind and just select a different song/thought at any time.
The self-help song “You Gotta” (on my album titled Sun Will Rise) is a pep-talk in song. With saxophone, guitar and an upbeat drum (by the drummer with the same name as me), this one is designed to urge you to get up, get moving, and move toward your dreams. “You gotta dream, dare, grow and go” is an affirmation and command. After all, any dream you want to attract requires movement from you, as life is a co-creation.
“Everybody’s Going thru Something”
The most popular music video I ever had created is the one made to breathe life into the self-help song, “Everybody’s Going thru Something” (on my very first album, Strut!). I wrote this song to remind us that we all have dreams and we all have pains. If we can be more understanding, we can bring more peace to the world. (See the music video at the end of this post.)
The smokey-bluesy-jazzie self-help song “Remember” (on the album Reflection) is a hypnotic-poetic ballad revealing the creativity technique I used to make numerous albums. The technique is called The Remembering Process and Daniel Barrett, my producer, and I wrote a book explaining it called, naturally enough, The Remembering Process. With baritone saxophone and a smooth groove, this spoken word song offers you another way to enjoy creativity. For some reason I want to say this song is really hip.
If this intrigues you, please see All Healing Music, the portal for almost all of my healing music (many recorded with Guitar Monk Mathew Dixon) and self-help songs (all recorded with my band of legends: Daniel Barrett, drummer Joe Vitale, Glenn Fukunaga).
Remember, what you listen to also programs you.
PPS – You may also be interested in a blog post I wrote last year about Motivational Songs at http://www.mrfire.com/music/motivational-songs/
My latest music video is a six minute behind-the-scenes look at the making of my sixth singer-songwriter album, The Great Something. There are lessons in it about going for your dreams, asking for what you want, hanging in there, and more. You’ll meet my band of legends, hear a little of my new music, discover the unusual creative process that helped me write songs, etc. You’ll also find me talking about the person I dedicated the new album to: rock icon Melissa Etheridge. I’m proud of this new music video. I hope it inspires you, too. Here it is:
I’m going to share a hot off the press story with you here. Then we can look at how to apply the principles in it to your life.
I just finished recording my sixth singer-songwriter album. It’s called The Great Something.
While the previous five albums all reveal a musician growing in confidence and ability, each one better than the last, this latest one broke all boundaries.
The songs are better than ever.
The singing is hands down the best ever.
The music is stellar, going from swing to ballad to rock to (as my drummer put it) “improvised symphony of genius.”
Why is this album so much better than all the others?
I used everything I teach about self-help, goal-setting, and manifestation to create this album; from setting a clear intention to gathering my band of legends, to taking action on the ideas and opportunities that arose as I moved toward the recording date.
While all these elements are part of what make The Law of Attraction work in your favor, clearly the biggest turning point for me was attracting my private two-hour songwriting lesson with rock icon Melissa Etheridge.
I’ve already written four blog posts about my time with her. (See PS below for links to those “Attracting Melissa Etheridge” articles.) I won’t repeat myself (much) here, but I openly declare that my time with Melissa deeply influenced this entire album.
In fact, I’ve dedicated it to her.
Let me explain:
First, I used some of her music dynamics to create new songs.
The song “Melissa Said” is, as my producer called it, “The greatest thank you card of all time.” It’s an original song I wrote for Melissa, using some of the arrangements she shared with me about making music. My band got goose bumps listening to my homage to Melissa. It is stellar. It is three minutes of gratitude. (Wait till Melissa hears it!)
Second, the title track song was directly influenced by my time with Melissa.
While Melissa was too wise to tell me what to do, her feedback helped me learn lessons for myself. It was the Socratic method. Socrates didn’t give you the answer. He helped you think of it on your own. Being with Melissa helped me realize the title track song (and the album) needed to be called The Great Something, my phrase for God or the Divine. (It was originally going to be called The Miracle.) That insight redirected the entire album.
Third, and more importantly, Melissa urged me to write from the first person.
“The Great Something,” the title track song, is raw. It’s from my view of life, my hard times, and my discovery of The Great Something. The band was blown away with the power and depth of it. It is riveting. It is revealing. That is a direct result of taking to heart what Melissa told me about writing in the first person.
Fourth, when I was with Melissa, I shared the opening lines of a song that had come to me in my sleep.
Melissa liked what she heard. Because of that, I felt encouraged to complete the song. I did. It is the most hauntingly beautiful thing I’ve ever penned. It’s called “Hey You,” and it’s designed to heal any hurting heart. Guitar Monk Mathew Dixon added his sweet guitar on it and it is deliciously healing.
Fifth, Melissa taught me to feel my message when I sang.
As a result, my singing on a singer-songwriter ballad I wrote was, as my producer called it, “Sinatra-est.” It was probably the highest compliment he could give me. My voice compared even remotely to Frank Sinatra’s was enough to make me speechless. I just followed what Melissa taught me and felt the song as I sang it.
Obviously, I absorbed Melissa’s wisdom and vibe and infused it into this new album.
But we aren’t done with the album yet.
I’m hoping to have Grammy nominated saxophone great Mindi Abair add her happy sax to my “Glad Game” swing song.
I’m hoping Grammy nominated singer Ruthie Foster will add her soaring vocals to the spiritual I wrote called “Look for the Light.”
And I’m hoping Melissa Etheridge will add voice or guitar to any track.
I have big dreams for this new album. As Daniel Barrett, producer (and coauthor of the book, The Remembering Process) told me, “You can’t think average thoughts and expect extraordinary results.”
So, I’m thinking BIG.
This post isn’t about getting you to buy my new album. It isn’t completed yet, let alone ready for sale.
Instead, I’m sharing all of this with you to demonstrate how the Law of Attraction, magic, and miracles work.
Here’s a quick recap:
I’m sure you can do this, too.
You have a dream, don’t you?
You could set an intention for it, gather allies, and start to move toward it, right?
Are there any real excuses or limitations for doing what you really want to do, if you really want to do it?
Isn’t today a good day to begin?
The Great Something says YES!
PS – Here are the links to my four blog posts about my songwriting lesson with rock icon Melissa Etheridge:
Note: In case you are curious, samples of my five singer-songwriter albums are here: http://www.cdbaby.com/Artist/JoeVitale1
Back on September 1st I wrote about how I used the Law of Attraction and the Law of Right Action to attract legendary singer-songwriter-guitarist Melissa Etheridge.
At that time I hadn’t met her yet or had my songwriting lesson with her.
Well, now I have.
As I write this in Los Angeles, I had my session with her yesterday, at her home.
She met me outside her door, hugged me, gave me that Melissa million dollar smile, and said, “I didn’t know you were a fan.”
A “fan” is an understatement.
I’m a fan-atic.
I’ve been in awe of her performing and her music since around 1995.
To be standing with her was surreal.
As it turns out, Melissa is a fan of my work, as well as the work of the rest of the teachers from the movie The Secret. She’s personal friends with Tony Robbins. (Tony introduced ho’oponopono to her and her sweet spouse.)
She reads all the deep-end metaphysical books. She says she began around 2003 by picking up Ken Wilber’s The Theory of Everything, which is like learning how to swim by being dropped in the Atlantic ocean.
Her spirituality and understanding of manifestation has helped her awaken and achieve even greater levels of success in more recent years.
She told me that laying on her back, with cancer, and watching the movie The Secret, forced her to think about what she wanted in her life.
“If I am this powerful being who gave myself cancer and can create whatever I want, then I want healed, I want to make more music, and I want to win an Oscar.”
Of course, she went on and did all of that.
My time with Melissa was about songwriting, but she began it by asking about my life in music, my books, and then showing me her guitar collection.
Her favorite guitars are in the trailer that goes on the road with her. But she has a guitar room with them lining the walls like playable art.
And she has a studio with old and new and prototype guitars. (Ovation is releasing a ME electric in January). She also has more guitars in storage.
Of course, I related, understood, and told her of my own collection, which she says she wants to see one day.
We went in her home studio to focus on my actual lesson.
We each had a guitar. I had my songbook, where I jot ideas and snippets and songs. She said the songbook is sacred. (Later, I had her sign mine, making it even more priceless to me.)
From there she had me pick a song idea. She wanted to know the why for writing a song.
“What’s important to say in the song? Why do you want to write it? What’s the intention for it?”
She told me how she wrote some of her own songs, first thinking about why she wanted to write them.
She explained that for her song, Pulse, she wanted people to know that the person who went into a nightclub and shot dozens of people did so because he was in pain.
She also explained that for the Al Gore slide show about global warning, she wanted people to know that “I have to change,” not anyone else.
I found her to be a deep thinker, cutting to the core with her messages.
I told her about wanting to tell people how they could be happy now, and manifest their lives using the Law of Attraction, and more.
She nodded, accepting my reasons.
From there, for Melissa, it all begins with what I call a brain dump.
“Just write words,” she said. “Let it be okay whatever comes.”
She also advised to “fall in love with words.”
She uses a paperback thesaurus to look up other words, so she isn’t using too common or too cliche of words.
While I had been using Masterwriter, a popular software for songwriters, I found using a printed thesaurus slower but more enlightening.
The time spent looking up a word gave my mind time to think, and the alternate words were often surprising and triggered other thoughts.
We began with me wanting to write a song about Miracles, since my new book is titled The Miracle.
But within minutes the song became about The Great Something, a concept I write about in my book The Secret Prayer.
Instead of saying God, or Divine, or Universe, I refer to the super power behind all of life as “The Great Something.”
Melissa loved “The Great Something”‘ because it made you want to know more.
In a song, it would make you want to listen.
I got excited watching the song unfold with Melissa’s help.
Melissa often writes pages of words and phrases, knowing that later she will edit them.
“Editing is the fun part,” she told me.
She pointed to the back cover of my album, One More Day, to the line, “Self-help messages in 3 minutes or so.”
“That’s the challenge,” she said, smiling bright. “To condense pages of ideas into a three minute song.”
“That’s why I’m here,” I said. 🙂
Her songwriting template, more often than not, is to write a verse, then go right to the chorus, then to a versus, chorus, bridge, and chorus again.
“It’s stating the problem in the verse, and often a solution in the chorus,” she explained. “The next verse might spell out the problem more, and the chorus will again offer the upbeat solution.”
One of the biggest insights for me was the idea of writing in the first person.
Melissa says that first person songs are more personal and hit home with people.
Second person, or ‘you’ oriented songs, are one step removed from the listener and have less impact.
More often than not, she writes in the first person.
I started to play with the idea of writing The Great Something song in the first person. I instantly felt more connected to the song, and felt more power in the message.
I also saw myself get more excited and inspired.
“Always write from inspiration,” she had told me earlier.
“Get to that place where you have tingles of excitement for whatever you are about to write,”she added. “Never write without the tingles.”
She doesn’t meditate but often walks in nature, looks at trees and flowers, reads some poetry, reviews songs from people she admires, from Bruce Springsteen to Neil Diamond, all to ignite her inspiration.
I told her I smoke cigars.
She didn’t seem to relate to that.
Of course, she lives in a state where cannabis is legal.
Later she asked me to sing for her.
Now try to imagine that.
I’m a star-struck beginner at singing, sitting in the home studio of a rock and roll legend who has the most soaring voice of all time, and she says, “Sing for me.”
That’s like having Elvis ask you to sing.
Well, I did.
I also played a little instrumental, to give her a sense of what Guitar Monk Mathew Dixon and I create.
I was off key, out of step, and out of tune, but I did it anyway.
Melissa smiled big and said she bets the recorded versions with the band are stellar.
I then asked about singing advice.
Melissa took a breath and gave me a long, wise, hypnotic answer about watching the Ed Sullivan Show on TV and being influenced by Tom Jones, Janis Joplin, Robert Plant and others.
She noticed their joy in singing was what was so captivating.
She went on to say she wanted her music to be ballsy, not girlie.
She didn’t want to sing head voice, though she could.
She wanted something deeper and harder.
I related and told her I often felt more comfortable singing with a baritone guitar, which lowered my voice into my chest.
“That’s a good place for your voice,” she said. “It’s at home there.”
She also gave advice on performing.
“Never perform sitting down,” she said. “It cuts off your breathing.”
“And always eat, be hydrated, and get plenty of rest, so you can deliver your performance with full power.”
I’ll be processing my time with Melissa Etheridge for the rest of my life.
I found her open, loving, generous, spiritual, fearless, talented, present, friendly and wise.
She even invited me to speak on her next cruise ship concert. (!)
I was a fan (fanatic) before meeting her in person.
Today I’m in love.
Hey Melissa, I want to come over – again!
PS – Please note that whenever you have an expert coach you, your experience and expertise leap in incalculable measures. Melissa Etheridge heard a limiting belief come out of my mouth that I didn’t hear and I was the one who said it. We all need a coach. Consider Miracles Coaching.
I’ll be 62 years old (young) at the end of this month.
While that means I’m a member of AARP, I can get discounts at certain stores, and my remaining hair is turning gray, it doesn’t mean that I have stopped growing.
In fact, I’m aging backwards.
In the last year alone I —
— attended a strongman training and bent a horseshoe, a steel bar, and a nail, all with my bare hands, and drove a spike through a board with my fist. I was the oldest person in the room, even older than the instructor, and probably the most inexperienced when it comes to feats of strength. But I attended anyway. I learned a lot, too, including the fact that virtually “Nothing is impossible.”
— attended an advanced guitar camp with legendary player Tommy Emmanuel. I was one of the oldest in the room, was surrounded by players far more advanced than me – including a 14 year old girl who dazzled everyone with her skills – but I attended anyway.
— attended an online class to learn how to play the baritone saxophone, wrote an article about playing for a sax mag, recorded an entire album of saxophone music, hired Grammy nominated sax sensation Mindi Abair to perform for me and tutor me, and more.
— discovered a synthophone — an alto sax turned into a midi instrument — and bought one and learned how to play it, using it to help make another healing music audio with Guitar Monk Mathew Dixon, called The Enlightenment Audio.
– went into the studio with one of my favorite singers in the entire world – Grammy nominated Ruthie Foster – and producer Daniel Barrett and created an album called Stretch! with me writing lyrics, playing baritone saxophone, and singing with Ruthie. Talk about a stretch! But I did it.
— traveled to Kuwait to speak to people interested in self-improvement and curious about positive psychology, but also traveled to numerous domestic spots, as well, including to one where we discussed my having my own television show in 2016.
— despite having written more books than most people read in their entire lifetime, I released several more, including the best selling The Secret Prayer and volume 3 of The Miracles Manual. And I just signed a publishing deal for my next book, coming out April 2016.
— and even though I’m an author of books designed to help people, I’m still buying and reading other people’s self-help books, too. I’m always searching for new authors, new voices, new books, new material, to help me expand my thinking and my life.
Why do I continue to invest in courses, books, audios, coaching, classes and more?
Why am I continuing to do this as I turn 62?
Because I’m still learning, growing, improving, stretching and discovering myself.
Because I don’t know it all and am eager to discover more about myself and life.
Because as long as I keep moving forward, they won’t throw dirt on my face.
I have no idea your age, and it doesn’t really matter.
My father is 90 and still enthusiastic about life.
He gets up earlier than you or me or the sun every morning and wallops a standing dummy five hundred times.
And that’s before he does light weight lifting, walking, and other exercise – with a hernia.
Actor Dick Van Dyke is 90 and still dancing.
Turn on the right music and he’ll start free styling it without a word or a prompt but with a gigantic bright smile on his happy face.
I’m sure you are younger than 90.
I’m reminding you to think big, do big, and move forward in big ways, no matter what your age.
Or, drop the “big” and just think, do, and move.
“There is a fountain of youth: it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age.” ― Sophia Loren
It’s the end of this year.
The new one is firing up.
Ready or not, here it comes.
What would you like to accomplish in 2016?
You can begin right now by signing up for a course, or a class, or coaching.
The idea is to joyfully experience life.
It’ll keep you young, bright, happy and healthy.
“You’re never too old to become younger.” – Mae West
And isn’t that what life is all about?
Happy Birthday to me.
Happy New Year to you.
Let’s make this new one rock.
PS — Consider my father. He’s 90 years old. He still gets up every morning and works out for two hours. He also is the primary caregiver of my ailing, bedridden mother. And, at 90, my father became an author. His book, The Most Contented Man, is on Amazon. He’s starting another book. He’s ninety. I’m sixty-two. Do you really have any excuses not to stretch and grow, learn and do?