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/
I spent two months trying to figure out my career – my rise from nothing to something – so I could explain it in some comprehensible way to the Austin, Texas writers group of the National Speakers Association.
I knew no one would care about my story unless I gave them something to care about.
I knew that the Law of Attraction alone wasn’t enough for most people.
Telling my birth, struggle years, first tiny successes and list of failures, shooting star moments and such, could be lengthy.
It might fit in an autobiography, but not in a short talk.
So I decided to answer the question, “Can people change?”
To begin, let’s look at the me of 1974.
Brace yourself –
I was broke, alone, unhappy, angry, and driven to be an author.
But my drive was more obsession than passion.
I modeled my life after self-destructive authors like Ernest Hemingway (who many said I resembled at the time) and Jack London.
And as a result of the unconscious belief that I needed to struggle, I went through homelessness and poverty and many “dark nights of the soul.”
I didn’t know that the Law of Attraction was in effect, matching my reality to my subconscious beliefs.
But, today, I am happy, successful, healthy, in a long term relationship, with fans around the world.
Look at me now –
This is what I wanted to explain to the Austin special interest writers group of NSA members.
With that in mind, I created “The APS Formula.”
“The APS Formula” is a 3-step strategy for going from nothing to something – like I did.
I delivered the formula at the private event for 12 people.
I stayed away from Law of Attraction and just focused on visible, practical, doable steps.
Afterwards, the group leader told me, “Out of a scale of 1-10, your presentation was a 17.”
I know you weren’t at the event. So I’m revealing the formula here for the time first ever in print.
Here it is:
The A stands for author/authority.
If you aren’t an authority, few will listen to you with any respect.
The best way to be an authority is to be an author-ity; write a book.
My 1984 book Zen and the Art of Writing proved I could write. Later books, such as Turbocharge Your Writing and Cyber Writing and Hypnotic Writing, all did the same thing.
My first clients all hired me for writing, including a businessman who paid me the largest fee of my life to write his book.
My first talks and classes were all on writing and publishing.
When the Internet came along, I wrote articles about copywriting, sales letters, marketing; and they were posted online. This made me one of the first cyber promoters and cyber copywriters.
Some people today still know me as a copywriter from this early period.
Today I’ve recreated myself as a musician. I wrote a little book, Healing Music, to establish my authority as a singer-songwriter.
And because of my self-help books, such as The Attractor Factor and The Key, I’m now considered a self-help, self-improvement, and spiritual teacher.
Again, you want to be an authority and being an author can do that for you.
The P stands for promote/product/passion.
I learned if I didn’t promote my own work, it died.
I also learned I had to create more product, which I did with Hypnotic Writing, Project Phineas, and others.
I also followed my passion, as when I wrote The Seven Lost Secrets of Success. I was on a mission. The book made people know me, like me, and want to do business with me. One company bought 19,000 copies of the book. (!)
Project Phineas was my home study course, recorded in my bedroom with pillows under the door. I recorded it with my passion for “Phineas,” P.T. Barnum’s first name. It eventually became my first Nightingale-Conant product, The Power of Outrageous Marketing.
It was my passion for metaphysics that led to Spiritual Marketing, which later became The Attractor Factor, which led to an invite for me to appear in the hit movie The Secret, which led to redirecting history for me.
Same with Zero Limits (and later, AT Zero) and my passion for ho’oponopono.
Same with P.T. Barnum and my book, There’s A Customer Born Every Minute.
These were all products that I was passionate about and heavily promoted.
I went on the cover of Austin All Natural magazine to promote myself as a musician, shortening a one-year program into three months to get it done and seize the publicity.
Again, you need to promote your book, create more product, and follow your passions.
The S stands for speaker/salesperson.
I found that I could reach people and sell people if I got on stage.
At first it was just breakfast groups. But those led to other groups. And adult education classes through Leisure Learning in Houston. I had six people in my first class and was so terrified I nearly passed out. But word got out that I was worth hearing.
And, over time, I got better.
I developed products to sell in the back of room at my talks, like Hypnotic Writing.
I’ve been a keynote speaker at the national NSA meeting.
I’ve spoken to 20,000 people live in Peru.
But I started with six people.
And I turned my success at speaking into a product too with Hypnotic Speaking.
The APS Formula is a greatly simplified explanation of my successes.
When I think about it even deeper, I intentionally and usually un-intentionally used all 10 of the steps I reveal in my book on P.T. Barnum.
Anyone wanting massive success should read, study and apply the steps in There’s A Customer Born Every Minute.
Finally, I also think “The Great Something” was behind my rise from nothing to something.
I wrote a song about it, with a little inspiration from Melissa Etheridge, and it is on my new album, The Great Something.
If I can go from homeless nobody to famous somebody, you, too, can achieve your dreams.
Yes, people can change.
At least start here, with The APS Formula.
PS – It’s always wise to get help. Check out my Miracles Coaching program.
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
I never intended to write a four part series about my private songwriting lesson with legendary singer-songwriter-guitarist Melissa Etheridge, but here we are.
I got so much out of my two hours with the rock icon last month that I’m still reflecting on it all.
In fact, friends claim that I mention Melissa in some way or other every fifteen minutes.
They’ve timed me. 🙂
One more session with her and I’ll be writing an entire book about all I’ve learned.
Anyway, in this episode I want to share what she taught me about singing, performing and becoming an overnight success.
Before we go there, I have to share a funny moment I had with her.
After Melissa showed me her book collection, guitar collection, and jigsaw puzzle she was working on, she walked me to a piano that her manager had given to her.
She played a few notes and asked me if I played.
“No,” I said. “I wanted a guitar when I was a kid. My father heard me and bought me an accordion. He didn’t want to hear rock, he wanted to hear polkas.”
“Parents!” Melissa said.
And from there we went into her home studio.
In my previous blog posts I shared what she taught me about writing songs. Her insights were revealing and inspiring. (See PS at end of this post for links.)
I told Melissa that one of the biggest fascinations for me was her singing.
I still remember her solo acoustic gig on Unplugged TV back in 1995.*
It shook me to the core.
Her explosive performance sent out ripples through time, and are still hitting my nerve endings today.
I want to sing like that, I thought. And I told Melissa so.
Of course, she asked me to sing for her.
And I (gulp) did.
It was actually easy to perform for her because she was entirely nonjudgmental.
She was patient, present, and eager.
But I was a nervous schoolboy compared to the powerhouse singing that Melissa does naturally.
So I asked her for any tips she could give me.
She told me about watching Ed Sullivan’s TV show and seeing house rockers, like Janice Joplin and Tom Jones.
“It was their joy in taking a song and belting it out,” Melissa explained. “Barbara Streisand, Johnny Mathis, Neil Diamond. I watched them perform. I always went with my feeling. I wanted to stand up and you know, SING.”
She went on to talk about where the power of a stirring performer comes from.
“Robert Plant’s singing like Janice Joplin,” Melissa said. “Janice Joplin’s singing like Memphis Minnie and Betsy Smith, and she’s singing like a black woman. All this rock and roll, and this popular music, comes from the slave era. It comes from this pain of I’m going to overcome this.”
“It comes from this pain of I’m going to overcome this.”
At this point Melissa pointed out that she heard a limiting belief in me.
She said that I thought I was too old to perform music and rock the world.
She reminded me that many people start entire new careers in their seventies. (I turn 63 today.)
“There’s an infinite stream of energy that can become whatever we want,” she told me. “And it’s up to us and the story we tell inside.
“So you’ve gotta believe it first,” she stressed. “You’ve gotta believe it first.”
I started to understand that much of Melissa’s on stage power comes from a decision.
She consciously intends to be electrifying.
“You’re gonna draw up this power, and you’re going to project it,” she said. “And be willing to let that energy come through you. I have an agreement, and I made it a long time ago, with the Universe, that I would be a conduit.”
Melissa explained that we are all energy and we project a vibrational field.
“It’s possible to gather this energy and let it go through us,” she continued. “But to do that, we’ve gotta have a clean channel. If you ever hear of anybody touring that lost their voice, it’s because they’re eating late at night, they’re doing all this stuff that’s going to come up and burn their voice.”
She went on to focus on the songs.
“What material are you working with?” she asked. “Are you singing, tonight I feel so weak. Then act what you are getting across. Be present for what you’re singing. If you’re singing a slow song, everybody’s got a hunger, then think about it, live it, have it be alive in you when you’re singing it.”
Melissa then focused on my new song, the one we were working on together, and a line from it.
“If you are singing, I’ve got a message from the Great Something, and I found it through my struggles and strifes, then put that intention in you as you’re singing. Think, I want to tell this story, and I want you to be moved by it because I want you to know the joy I’m having.”
Melissa explained that she first started singing when she was ten years old. She was in choirs in churches. The teacher would put her in the back because “I had such a weird voice.”
Weird voice? Melissa??
“In sixth grade I wrote a song, a protest song,” she continued. “And I sang that in a talent show that became a variety show around my hometown. We played at old folks’ homes, schools and prisons. And so I slowly started singing for people.
“I got in a band when I was in junior high, like eighth grade,” she continued. “A professional band that had grown guys and me. And we would have gigs on the weekends, at the officer’s club and these places. And so I sang other people’s songs. And that really helped me.”
At this point Melissa is explaining her decades of singing experience, and singing snippets to me as she continues.
You have to imagine my delight in being in her studio and witnessing this.
“First I sang Tammy Wynette, Sometimes it’s hard to be a woman, and then Stand by your man. I learned to sing from your gut; to when you start with the energy, when you get up, I’m singing from here, and then I would sing the guy’s songs.
“I would sing Roberta Flack. I remember the first time, ever I saw your face is the song, but it was the first time that I sang a song in my band, where usually people are dancing and talking and they’re not paying any attention to the band, we’re just there for their pleasure, that actually people would stop, look at me and then applaud.
“And then I realized that oh, a song grows. I’m telling a story. And I would captivate, I would see people paying attention and want to take that energy and keep it. So I had years and years and years and years and more years of singing in front of people.
That’s often what it takes to succeed:
Years, and years, and years, and years and more years.
“When I finally got out to California, I played for five years in the bars, with drunk people,” she continued. “When I finally got my record deal at the end of the 80’s, I would have 100 people in the bar that came to hear me and liked my original songs.”
Melissa summed up her story by saying, “You just get on the path, you just do it, and that’s your intention, and then you let The Great Something bring you the stuff.”
“You just get on the path, you just do it, and that’s your intention, and then you let The Great Something bring you the stuff.” – Melissa Etheridge
I was in awe of all the lifetime experience it took Melissa to get noticed, get a deal, and explode on the scene.
As with virtually every “overnight success” (including my own, as an author), it actually didn’t happen overnight.
Once again, I could continue with all I learned from this loving legend of rock.
But right now I have a new album to record.
I’m dedicating my new album to Melissa.
There may even be a song on it called “Melissa Said,” which will be a tribute to her. I’m currently drafting it using, of course, everything I’ve learned from her. I am forever grateful to her, and want her to know it.
I’m obviously still on fire from sitting with Melissa, so somebody bring me some water!
PS – Here are links to my previous posts about my private lesson with Melissa Etheridge:
Note: In case you are curious, samples of my five singer-songwriter albums are here:
* Brace yourself. Watch Melissa Etheridge on Unplugged TV 1995 here: