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:
Brace yourself. This is the first time I’ve ever made this offer. It is limited to 10 people. It will transform your life. It is BIG. Details below…
“Joe Vitale is a true marketing, sales and promotion genius.”
– Dan Kennedy, in his book ‘No B.S. Marketing to the Affluent’
“Just when you think you understand how the world works Joe Vitale comes along and takes you to a whole new place. He’s engaging, entertaining, enlightening and – oh boy – does he ever stretch your thinking.” – Ian Percy, Reg. Psych. and member of both the US and Canadian Speaker Halls of Fame.
“No one else I know of could help someone come up with a Barnum-like Big Idea and then help them take it to fruition = becoming a huge phenomenon, which means BIG money, fame, recognition, and unique world positioning. See Joe Vitale’s outrageous list of accomplishments to know this is the real deal.” – David Garfinkel, Copywriter, Author, Consultant
What else is possible?
What’s left undone?
What can you attempt to attract or achieve that would stun even you?
Yes, you can stay comfy.
You earned it.
But we both know that life begins at the end of your comfort zone.
That’s where “the rush” is.
That’s why people do dare devil endurance feats and climb mountains and open businesses.
They want more.
That’s why people in Kuwait, already wealthy, open retail shops.
They are seeking the gusto of life.
They want to feel alive.
What’s your next dream?
While you think about your answer, allow me to share my own answer.
My own big dream is the desire for a vintage Gullwing.
That’s a Mercedes SL300 Gullwing.
That’s the iconic car considered by many as the world’s first super car.
Leading edge engineering.
Built in 1954-55 and sought today as investment grade masterpieces.
And fetching upwards to two million dollars.
I want one.
I want one because the desire for one is melting my limits about what I think is possible.
If a once homeless man like me can attract a vintage Gullwing, what else is possible?
It’s not about the Gullwing.
It’s about The Stretch.
So, what’s your Gullwing?
It doesn’t need to be a car.
It can be anything that makes you suck in air.
It can be anything you long for but have yet to achieve.
Anything that gives you chills.
Anything that makes you a little scared and a lot excited.
What’s your Gullwing?
What would you like to experience just because you want it?
I’m looking for 10 people to join a Gullwing Mastermind with me.
This is a full year program for creating miracles.
It’s what Napoleon Hill, author of Think and Grow Rich, declared was the key to success.
He wrote –
“The “Master Mind” may be defined as: ‘Coordination of knowledge and effort, in a spirit of harmony, between two or more people, for the attainment of a definite purpose.'” – Napoleon Hill
The Gullwing Mastermind private group that I am inviting you to join consists of –
And you will have the power of a mastermind to help you achieve your goals.
Some of the most successful people I know are in one or more mastermind groups.
I met a man recently who is in five masterminds.
These are powerful, inspiring, life changing.
You not only draw from my experience, but you have the collective power of the entire mastermind group on your side – the wisdom, energy, support, experience, education, resources, contacts, and more.
Obviously, this is a priceless experience.
But maybe you need to know more about me —
* I started as a homeless nobody, lived in poverty for a decade, and went on to fame and fortune. Today I live the lifestyle of the rich and famous. Incredibly successful people hunt me down for consultations and engagements, like the princess in Kuwait who paid me six figures to speak at her event, and the son of the man who produced The Beatles who wants me in a movie and television show he is producing.
* I wrote more books than most people read in a lifetime – about 50 so far, with numerous ones being bestsellers, such as The Attractor Factor and the recent The Secret Prayer. These books have become #1 bestsellers on Amazon, in the overall category of ALL books. I have been published in every way you can name, and have secrets and insights about each approach.
* I recorded multiple bestselling self-help programs, for the largest and most famous audio producer in the world, and saw many of them become record-breaking bestsellers – even out selling Earl Nightingale’s famous programs. I know how to create, package, and sell programs so the world hears about them.
* I pioneered Internet marketing, wrote one of the first books every published about it in the 1990s, created outrageous attention grabbing stunts like being the first to hypnotize someone live online, using the Internet to out sell a Harry Potter book, and selling a hefty package and making half a million dollars in three days.
* I traveled around the world, speaking in countries as diverse as Russia, Peru, Poland, and Kuwait, and of course being a keynote speaker at major events in the USA, including for the National Speakers Association, and at mega-wealth events with Donald Trump and Tony Robbins on the same bill as me.
* I invented Hypnotic Writing, Hypnotic Marketing, Buying Trances, The Secret Mirror, The Secret Reflection, Miracles Coaching, Wealth Trigger, Hyper-Wealth, and much more, all of which are staggeringly successful. I know how to generate ideas, package them, and market them to the masses.
* I wrote sales copy for more authors, speakers, consultants, CEOs, celebrities and more, than I care to remember, increasing their sales, improving real world numbers, and more. I’m talking everyone from The Red Cross to hospitals and non-profits to Abraham of Jerry and Esther Hicks fame. I created Hypnotic Writing and wrote a book explaining it.
* I have attracted national media exposure being on everything from Larry King Live (twice) to Donny Deutsch’s Big Idea show, to being on ABC, Fox, CNN, CNBC and more. I’ve been in the New York Times and Newsweek. I know the value of media exposure in establishing you as an authority and the “go to” person.
* I have been in 15 movies, with The Secret being the most famous, and three more coming out in 2016. And I got in one of the movies because of a mastermind.
* I am coming out with my own television show in 2016. It’s going to combine a TED-style talk with Oprah-style interviews and the selling power of QVC, and is designed to inspire people to go for their dreams.
* I wrote Attract Money Now and give it away as a list builder and gift to humanity. I also give away numerous other books, including The Miracles Manual and The Abundance Manifesto. I know the value of “karmic marketing” in helping the planet and yourself.
* I brought ho’oponopono to the world, through my books, Zero Limits and AT Zero, reaching an estimated 5,000,000 people.
* Near the age of 60 I recreated myself as a musician and, at my last count, recorded 15 albums. I called myself the world’s first self-help singer-songwriter to separate myself from the overwhelming competition. Reverbnation voted me #1 singer-songwriter. My music videos have attracted hundreds of thousands of views. I have over three hundred thousand fans. My albums with Guitar Monk Mathew Dixon have made more money than most musicians ever make in an entire career. I know how to reframe and repackage to market to success.
* I developed a spiritual approach to wealth, ignoring cutthroat methods and always focusing on a balanced, healthy approach to success, based on passion and purpose. I know how to create win-win-win negotiations and conduct business from the heart.
* I can listen to virtually anybody for about 20 minutes and see or create a unique money making idea specific to them. I have done it with friends and strangers, helping them create products, and with my own wife, helping her create a bestselling cookbook.
* I created a movement to end homelessness, raised funds for those in poverty, and compiled a book to help others who struggle. I know how to think big, confront limitations, and urge people to go for their highest ideals.
* I discovered the “missing secret” in self development, the idea of counter-intentions, and have been teaching it to people for over a decade, in my books, audios, and Miracles Coaching program. This one method alone can accelerate results for anyone.
* I’m considered an expert on the Law of Attraction, and know how to use it, teach it, and go beyond it. I’ve explained deeper concepts than it in my books and audio programs, such as The Awakening Course. Most people have a superficial or erroneous understanding of LOA. I help them get clear. I help them get results.
* I invented e-classes back in the 1990s, which everyone and his brother offers today. I know how to repackage material as an authentically new product.
* I wrote There’s A Customer Born Every Minute, the only business book on P.T. Barnum, the famous circus promoter who was also a speaker, writer, politician, entrepreneur, publicity genius, and more. Studying Barnum (and others like him, like Houdini, Branson, and Trump) gave me the ability to “Barnumize” almost any business by finding or creating the Big Idea and promoting it to the world for fame, fortune and immortality.
* I created the Rolls-Royce Phantom Mastermind, where people flew in from all over the world to spend a few hours with me in the famous luxury car, going to dinner, sharing, and getting coaching from me. ABC television news covered one of them. I know how to think bigger than big and light a fire under people to go for their dreams.
I could go on.
The point is, you not only will get the collective genius of the mastermind, but you will also draw from my own experience as well.
But I have to warn you –
This won’t be cheap and it won’t be for everybody.
After all, when I offered the Rolls-Royce Phantom Mastermind, people paid $5,000 to $7,500 each for just the evening with me.
An entire year will of course be a much larger investment.
If you qualify, we can arrange a payment plan, too.
If this idea makes your palms sweat, but makes your heart race with anticipation, then contact my assistant for details.
Write Suzanne at suzanne @ mrfire.com (close spaces to make it a workable email address).
Are you ready to fly?
Are you ready to stretch?
Are you ready to go for the biggest dreams of your life?
What’s your Gullwing?
PS – What would you do if you weren’t afraid?
Note: If this offer to join my Gullwing Mastermind ends up being too pricey for you at this time, remember that you can always join Miracles Coaching right now. And you can always read many of my books, such as Attract Money Now, for free.
Every month I answer questions from people in my Miracles Coaching program.
Been doing it for years.
The questions are always raw, in depth, fresh, sincere, and often surprising.
For example —
Every call is recorded, and the best of the questions and answers get put into a series of books called, The Miracles Manual. There are currently two volumes in the series with a third on the way. (All are free right here.)
Recently I had this question tossed at me —
“If you were forced to set all learning aside and could only teach one principle for the rest of your life – what one principle would host the most importance to you?”
“I can answer that question in only two words, ” I replied.
I went on to say, “If each of us would practice gratitude in the moment, all worries would vanish, all problems would resolve, all miracles would come easily — in fact, if we really were in gratitude in the moment, we’d realize we are already happy, already peaceful, and already living the miracle.”
Active Gratitude means noticing the good in every moment. When you actually come from gratitude, you wouldn’t judge the moment as good or bad because you’d realize the jury isn’t in yet and so every moment can be seen as good.
Active Gratitude means you live in a spirit of thankfulness, realizing all you have right now is a gift and a miracle in itself.
Active Gratitude means your meditation is gratitude, your process is gratitude, and your “technique” is gratitude.
Active Gratitude means giving thanks in each moment for the moment.
If each of us practiced Active Gratitude, we’d change ourselves and the planet and probably invite instant enlightenment.
We’d realize that in each moment the Universe is giving us so much that we rarely acknowledge — It is keeping us alive without our paying or doing a thing — that we would feel overwhelmed with love.
Active Gratitude would open our eyes to see the miracle of right now.
And from practicing Active Gratitude, we would have raised our vibration so all we attract in the future moments would be better and better, always raising the bar on the incredible beauty of the now.
Why don’t we practice Active Gratitude?
We are afraid.
We subconsciously think some version of this belief:
“If I’m happy and accept this moment as good, I won’t do anything to make my life better.”
But is that true?
I’ve discovered that when I am happy, content, and at peace, I tend to pursue my calling, my life path, and my life mission.
When I lived in fear, desperation and survival, all I attracted was more of the same.
The secret door to escape the mental torment of suffering is to begin the practice of praising.
In other words, look around and find what you are thankful for, and express it.
Yes, if I was backed into a corner and told I could only teach one thing, it’d be Active Gratitude.
And I’d be grateful for that, too.
Any more questions?
PS — Check out Miracles Coaching by clicking right here.
How do you attract more of what you want?
What do you do when it feels like nothing is working out for you?
Recently I interviewed Patricia Ryan Madson*, author of the book, Improv Wisdom. You might recall that I wrote about Patricia’s book on this blog on May 1st, exploring the question, “Without you, what would not get done?”
In my interview, Patricia said something that jarred me into a new reality.
She said, “In every moment, we are always receiving far more than we ever give.”
I had to reflect on her statement to truly get it:
In every moment, we are always receiving far more than we ever give.
Patricia went on to explain that right now you are receiving air, blood flow, support from a chair, technology from your computer or other device, light from the sun or your room lights, these words from me, and more.
But we take all of that for granted. All we stop and say thank you for is when someone gives you something or does something specifically for you. But what about everything else? The amount you are receiving right now is almost overwhelming.
Are you aware of it?
Are you grateful for it?
I had dinner one night with Paul Zane Pilzer*, author of The Next Millionaires. He explained over 300 people were involved in preparing our meal. He was referring to the farmers and pickers and distributors and carriers and restaurant owner and cooks and servers and more.
Imagine that. Over 300 people were working to deliver a meal!
I’ve been traveling a great deal again, for TV shows, movies, events, speaking gigs, music production and more. When I stop and think about all the “unseen helpers” who make sure me and my luggage get there on time, or all the “behind the scenes” people who do their jobs sight unseen so my face gets projected over the air to millions of televisions in homes nationwide, it is incredible.
In order to complete my fourth music album, more people were involved than just my band. I traveled to L.A. and Nashville so Grammy winners could mix and master the music. This is a lot to be grateful for, and can even feel overwhelming when you become aware of it all.
“Wake Up to the Gifts” is the ninth maxim in Patricia’s wonderful and wise little book, Improv Wisdom. She asks us to look for the “unseen” gifts, like the screen and processor allowing you to read these words, or the planet giving you all you need to live and breathe right now.
She also asks us to understand the interdependence of all things.
I can’t write these words without you. You can’t read these words without me writing them.
But it goes further than that. We need the folks who made the computers you and I are using, the Internet providers, the electric company, the people making or delivering our food, handling our flights and our mail, and more. We also need the elements of life itself, that provide both you and me with all we need to stay alive.
You don’t achieve or attract anything by yourself.
Are you aware of that?
Are you grateful for that?
In Improv Wisdom, Patricia suggests you make “Thank you” your mantra.
Of course, in the book I coauthored with Dr. Hew Len, Zero Limits, we suggest you make the four phrases of ho’oponopono your mantra: “I’m sorry, please forgive me, thank you, I love you.”
Either way, these methods are tools to help you see what you are receiving is a miracle.
It also is your opportunity to give back.
Since you are receiving so much, what can you do to give more?
You’ll never be able to give in a way that balances all you receive. That’s the miraculous imbalance of life: it’s stacked in your favor.
Think about this. You are receiving so much right now — most of which you were unaware of and took for granted — that you can never give enough to tip the scales. You can never give more than you receive. You are simply receiving way too much.
Think about it this way…
Every time you turn on your TV and flip through the hundreds of channels, remember that those shows were written, produced, directed and performed just for YOU.
Every time you go to the theatre and see a movie or a play, remember that it was made just for YOU.
Every time you turn on the radio and hear your favorite music, commentators, DJs, guest speakers, etc., for your listening enjoyment, again it was all created just for YOU.
When you think about the world honing its craft for YOUR daily entertainment, that’s powerful.
Can you appreciate how much there is to be grateful for?
It might make you think twice before complaining about having to pay $10 for a movie ticket nowadays. After all, the movie you are about to see probably had a budget of millions of dollars. Your investment is very small compared to what it costs to create a multimillion dollar motion picture…JUST FOR YOU!
The “miraculous imbalance” is also a gift to you.
But you probably never thought about it before today.
And here’s where you can begin to attract more of what you want.
Back to our opening questions…
It begins by noticing everything you have already attracted.
The thing is, most people focus on what they got that they don’t want, or on want they want that they haven’t attracted yet.
That’s hardly a practical approach to success.
And if you know anything about the Law of Attraction, you know that’s the wrong place to put your attention.
When you notice and acknowledge what you are being given right now, you morph your energy and your mood into something far more magnetic, compelling and loving.
Noticing the good you are already receiving tunes your being into a “good magnet.” You can start attracting even more good because you’ve awakened to the good you have and are continuing to receive. This opens your eyes to the magnitude of life; the magic and miracles all around you.
So the next time you hear anyone say, “I’m not attracting what I want,” realize they are declaring their blindness and deafness to all they have been given and are still receiving. Your job isn’t to correct them. It’s to smile, look around, acknowledge the gifts, and find a way to give back.
That said, what can you do right now to give more?
* I interviewed Patricia Ryan Madson (as well as Paul Zane Pilzer) for members of Hypnotic Gold. These are member-only interviews that I’ve been doing for more than seven years now, amounting to well over 80 interviews. For more information, and to find out how to become a member of this select group, just click right here.
PS – One more story of gratitude: When I was growing up, Clint Walker was the cowboy television star I admired. I never stopped to consider how his famous TV series, Cheyenne, entertained me weekly, for years, and yet I paid nothing. It was broadcast right into my parent’s home. Free. Today I realize how grateful I am for Clint and his show. (And my TV set.) He later appeared in many movies, such as The Dirty Dozen and Night of the Grizzly. You might imagine my surprise when I learned Clint Walker is still with us, alive at 85, writing his autobiography, working on a second novel, and selling signed photos and more off his website at www.clintwalker.com. I wrote to Clint, to thank him for all he did to give me a positive role model all those childhood years. I haven’t heard from him yet, and may never. Still, I’m grateful. I’m pretty sure he is grateful for the “miraculous imbalance” in life, too. In the spirit of giving back, here’s Clint Walker from a few years ago sharing life and death stories about listening to your inner voice: