*Cue Kriss Kross* The subject of this editorial has been on my mind for a minute… wrote a song about like to hear it? Here it go!!!

Add me, confirm me, follow me please
If you have a little time can you rate how I sing?

I had to stop after those two lines to write this. But seriously, what I’m ranting about today is the ever present (especially as it relates to music) “I’m about to do this or that” that you cannot escape from on any social network whether it is a “celebrity” or someone who aspires to be. I have certainly been guilty of using that phrase, I still probably use it from time to time but my problem is the incessant “I’m about to-ers”. You know the folks that out of the 24hours in each day that we’ve been allotted 18 of those hours they are on Twitter or Facebook talking about what they are going to do musically. Oh they are out there… some successful and some not so, some talented and some not so.

This may just be a personal hang up but I don’t care about the about, I care about the did or done. I care about the product. Sure I peek into the process is ok every now and then but often we’re not even talking about the process, we’re talking about talking about beginning the process if that makes sense? Maybe I’m old, maybe I come from a time and place where I like the curtain to open after the production has been well rehearsed. Maybe I don’t care about the minutiae of getting everyone on your “team” on a conference call or that you were about to practice but the drummer is late again. Who hangs around and watches the oven preheat? Matter of fact who hangs around and watches the oven bake? Put that timer on and when you hear the beep go take that cake out let it cool, put the icing on and call me when it’s ready.

Maybe it’s a mystery to me but I’ve played music for a longtime and if you play an instrument most of them require the use of two hands. So how does one equate excessive texting, tweeting, whatevering when you’re practicing, playing a gig, writing, recording or my favorite word “producing”? I’m not saying that you shouldn’t promote yourself, but at the same time I think that the end product is more important than anything you are about to do. Most of the music that I have gravitated has not been because the artists themselves have said to check it out, it has been because other people have enjoyed the music and recommended it. Let me say that again: other people, not you incessantly updating musician person.

There is a concept/practice in Indian Classical music called a Chilla were basically as a musician goes into a period of seclusion for 40 days or sometimes longer where you are basically cut off from the outside world and it is only you and your music. This practice is done to not only transform one’s music but one’s life. Some of my favorite artists of all time I believe participated in their own westernized form of a Chilla. Folks like Marvin, Miles, Jimi, Stevie, Sonny Rollins, John Coltrane, Richard Pryor, George Carlin, Prince, Janet and Michael and on and on. You can point to a time where their art was one way, you didn’t hear from them for a while and once they returned it was something completely different, it was like they had spent time with their music and themselves and they had something to say. Does anyone out there think that What’s Going On would have had the same impact if from June 1970 til January 1971 when the single was released Marvin constantly and consistently updated us about what he was about to do in regards to the recording?

Yes I know we live in a different time with a different amount access to artists and everyone but one thing I believe remains as important to us now as ever and that’s a little mystery wrapped up in the element of surprise. Who doesn’t like a surprise? Especially when it’s a pleasant one? A word of caution artists… if you take the time every now and then to shut everything down, go away and deal with just you and your music you might end up with something like this:

Ivan Orr is a multi-instrumentalist, composer, performer, and writer. A native of Charlottesville, Virginia Ivan was involved with the forming and nascent days of The Music Resource Center as its first Program Director. A graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University’s Department of Music, Ivan currently resides in Richmond, VA where he maintains an active performance and production schedule while serving as the Music Editor for Grown Folks Music, a position he has held since 2010.