Thursday, August 30, 2012

Disappointed Designer Didn't Get It in Writing; Attorney Debra Rainey to the Rescue Again!!!

Yes, this is a long one, so I suggest you sit yourself down somewhere so you can read and listen to everything! PLEASE take notes. 

Last Sunday, yes, on the Lord’s day, I received a comment on the blog entitled, “Indies: Wipe Away Your Crocodile Tears and Get a Contract Next Time”.  In so many words, the lady mentioned the situation I described in the blog, happened to her on a different level. I immediately friended her and in a matter of minutes, she outlined the matter, but at the end, capped it off with, “I’m okay with it in my spirit. I wish I read your blog before it all happened, but I still feel as though our meeting was ordained by God.”

I’m going to tell you what happened, but before I do so, I just want to say, we need your help because we want to see another 10,000 hits on this blog before the year closes. There are two G+ buttons up in here people!!!!!!  (Hmmmm…reminds me of a song. Y’all gon make me lose my mind, up in here, up in here. LOL! (Sigh…I Digress----But, let’s get back on topic!)) Yes…I will need you to click on those. If you don’t have a Google+ profile, you can click until you get carpal tunnel, and it won’t happen for you or me.  Please create a profile over there. Thank you! Click the Share link on the right for Facebook and Twitter.  (Don’t be Greedy. Tell a friend.) Geez…y’all ought to be tired of me giving you the extended tour every time you come to the blog. Last, but definitely not least, click the JOIN button and Friend me on Facebook

So this is what happened.  The designer never made a contract of any sort with anyone from an internationally known gospel artist’s camp, however says she was contacted by his image consultant with a request to create 3 custom pieces.  Out the gate, on the creation tip, she has spent $150 of HER OWN MONEY! No guarantee – just a request to make them to POSSIBLY gain their biz.  Instead of going with what the designer made, folks from his camp told her they would go with something more basic which was about 75% cheaper than what she had invested, resulting in LOSS #1.

Now with the success of the cheaper item, although monies were lost, there is a request to do a fancier hat for the famous Christian artist. No direction was given to the designer but to design whatever she felt would be appropriate, but after it was sent in (all this is Fedex, again on the designer’s dime) she gets the, “This wasn’t what I was picturing for the artist,” type of response to her design. In an effort to be in good grace with the artist, and promote her brand in conjunction with the artist’s image and numerous photo ops, the young lady AGAIN mails in another hat, this time supposedly, for a “LIVE RECORDING”. The phone hasn’t rung for two weeks. LOSSES #2 & #3.

The disappointed designer says, during the entire time, she never spoke with the artist. It was always the back up singer/image consultant doing the talking. The designer is now upset saying she never even got a shout out on her FB fan page, on an Instagram or even a Tweet or blog mention. 

Okay, I’m about to share these two, very thorough responses in video form. The first is brought to us by Renee Norris-Jones who has had an illustrious professional career as a manufacturer of handcrafted gift items that have sold worldwide. Some of her past clients have included Oprah, and the theatrical production of Phantom of the Opera. Presently, she is the business manager of Debra Rainey Law, located in Pennsylvania and the Producer of the "For the People" legal information talk show at which airs on Tuesdays from 8-9 p.m. Over the years, Renee has always found time to dedicate countless hours to small businesses, to assist them with understanding the nature of their businesses and making them more profitable. In addition to being an online instructor, for the School of Design, Renee is also studying full-time for her Ph.D. (Renee also holds a BS in Accounting and Marketing and a Masters in Interior Architecture from Drexel University).'s Attorney Debra Rainey the "Compassionate Attorney" again with the legal information our subscriber should have had before all of this happened. 

Thank you again Renee and Debra! Our subscribers are very thankful for you sharing your expertise with us. Blessings to all!
Arielle a.k.a. Determinator1

Life Through Arts takes place every second Friday in Dallas. Next one up is Friday, Sept. 14, 2012. For further details, hit up Phea Shelton-Kennedy on Facebook 

Yours truly will be speaking at the 23rd Texas GAG. Prepare to JOIN us Nov. 22-24, 2012 in Dallas, TX. For further details, please visit the TEXAS GAG website. Artists, come on out and have your one-on-one time with executives who manage and market major artists. And yes, there will be major artists there too! Go on and register for the Artists Showcase and start getting yourself together!

Monday, August 27, 2012

The Gospel Announcers' Guild: Have You Considered Joining?

Even with all the neat social media sites out there, it is hard to make it in the gospel music industry without having some offline connection to a local network of industry professionals. Every major city in the country has its own Chamber of Commerce and if not monthly, at least quarterly, business networking meetings are set up for you to mingle with other professionals and see if you can possibly do business with each other. Also, there almost always is one major guest speaker who presents a topic of interest to all members, which is designed to improve the way business is handled by its members. There are different levels of memberships, which require different annual fees. A shrewd business man or woman makes sure when they are preparing a budget for their business, membership fees are always included. Consider it an investment in yourself. It's hard for people to consider doing business with you, if they don't know you. The same thing applies to your ministry. It becomes a business as soon as you pay someone to create a website, master your project, ask people to 'LIKE' your Facebook page, pay for lyrics, get a professional video done and studio time, etc.

The National GAG is an auxiliary of the GMWA (Gospel Music Workshop of America) and has been since October 1970. The GMWA was founded by the late Rev. James Cleveland in 1968. The following description of the GAG comes from their site: The Gospel Announcers Guild is a voluntary association of Religious Announcers who have come together to address their common needs as professional broadcasters. This organization was born out of the lack of emphasis and concern placed on religious broadcasting, as well as religious broadcasters, by the nation's major broadcast and record industry conventions and associations.

Some of the benefits of being a member of GAG, whether locally or nationally include: Receiving information about new technology and gospel entertainment trends, networking with major industry professionals and interacting with gospel announcers and major records labels.

On November 22-24, 2012, The Texas GAG will be celebrating its 23rd Anniversary in Dallas, Texas. If you are a gospel artist in the area or close by, then you really need to get down here. Expect to hear more and more about it in the coming months as the details for this year's Anniversary unfold. As always, there will be MAJOR GOSPEL ARTISTS and ANNOUNCERS in attendance, but the newest addition, will be the addition of the Spoken Word to the popular GAG showcase. (Last year, some of the Major Gospel Artists who came out and participated were, Myron Butler and Levi, The Neville Sisters, Norman Hutchins, Earnest Pugh, and Dr. Moses Tyson, Jr.)

If you are an artist who is ready to start networking with industry professionals capable of increasing your fan base, then I definitely encourage you to come out. If you are seeking constructive criticism of your most recent project, come out and be a part of the showcase. If you feel as though you are almost there, but can't quite find someone to share some of the industry secrets, someone was kind enough to share with them, to help get their foot in the door, then you need to come out to this event. But wait...if you have answered YES to all of these, before you come out, make sure you have a plan.

It won't be enough to make sure you are pretty or handsome. Trust me, it will help, but what will you do to make sure YOU remember your experience, and the people you meet, remember YOU?

This event will be taking place over a period of 3 days. There will be networking with light hors d'oeuvres and beverages, so be sure to bring a digital camera, but if you don't have one, a decent camera phone will do. You never know who you will meet, so if the opportunity presents itself don't be shy. Just walk up to Fred Hammond and say, "Excuse me brother, but may I take this picture with you and post it on my facebook page?" Let's be clear, I didn't say he would be there, but I'm just using this as an example. All joking aside though, there will also be artist showcases for you to participate in, provided you pre-register, and classes to attend. PLEASE HAVE YOUR OWN PENS AND WRITING PAPER OR I-PAD OR WHATEVER WITH YOU. (There will be enough paper to write on, but your experience will be taken more seriously by you, if you buy a special notebook, or reserve a special area on your electronic device, specifically for all notes related to this training.

Last week, I had the pleasure of speaking with Bro. Fitzgerald Davis, who has been the President of the Dallas/Ft.Worth Chapter of the Texas GAG and GMWA for the past 7 years. Bro. Fitzgerald is also the Chairman of all of the new artists showcases for this event. (HELLO INDIE GOSPEL ARTISTS - I am speaking directly to you now).

Before we go any further, I'd like for you to know that Bro. Fitzgerald is an artist himself and has been the minister of music at Greater Johnson Memorial in Lamesa, TX and Gospel Tabernacle Non-Denominational Church in Dallas, TX. He has also been the Choir Director and Business Manager of Trinity Temple Full Gospel Mass which recorded 7 live recordings on the Tyscot and Trisom record labels. On those recordings, he had the pleasure of working with Kirk Franklin, Carnell Murrell, Kim Burrell and Tommye Young WestWell. In his own words, this is pretty much what Bro. Fitzgerald had to say to us about the conference.

If an artist is not willing to invest in him or herself, then they can forget about being taken seriously in this industry. Independent artists who have attended our conferences and anniversaries in the past, walk away with a ton of information and contacts, and we all know information is power, but how many of us put it to use when it is given to us. Yes...there are fees required to attend and participate in the showcase, but those fees are small in comparison to what we are giving away. There will be workshops packed with information for almost every genre of gospel entertainment you can think of; in fact, more classes have been added this year with a focus on educating artists who minister through rap and dance. Please don't attend with the idea of only going to one or two workshops and leaving before you get all the details that can help you in your ministry. Start preparing yourself now, to be with us for the entire weekend. Bring media kits you can pass on to the gospel announcers who will be there because there will be an opportunity for one on one time with industry executives and radio announcers. Another tip: Go ahead and put in an order for business cards specifically for this event to hand out to everyone you connect with. You'll need them, because there will be folks coming in from all over the State of Texas as well as major gospel recording artists from all over the country.

For more information about this year's Texas GAG 23rd Anniversary in Dallas, TX, please visit the site for details.  If you wish to participate in the Texas GAG Artists Showcase click on this link for the pre-registration form.

As you should already know, we will be posting details about the conference every time new information is provided. Consider us your secondary source for up to date information related to the Texas GAG 23rd Anniversary event.

Before I list any additional events you may wish to participate in, in the very near future, I encourage you to "LIKE" the sister Facebook page to this blog, Subscribe to our Youtube Channel, Friend me on Facebook, G+1 us on the right and at the very bottom of the blog, and follow us on Twitter. Also, if you are here, and you haven't already JOINED the BLOG, make sure you subscribe. We are about to start adding some contests, but if you are not subscribed, you won't be able to participate.

God Bless you!
Arielle a.k.a. Determinator1

Below are some additional events taking place in Texas.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Watch Our Google+ (Circles) Screencast

Google+ was launched in June 2011 and as of June 2012, now has over 250 million subscribers (150 million active). Whoa! Now here's another place where you can build your audience and fan base!

Below you'll find our tutorial. One of the things I failed to mention is that if you wish to follow businesses and celebrities here, they are very easy to locate. Just type in their name.

I stumbled across Google+ when I decided to use Blogger for my blog posts. At the bottom of my blog, I started to see the G+1 button; since that time, the G+1 button has been making its rounds and can be found at the bottom of just about anything on the internet, to help further promote that "THING", whatever it might be. In my case, over here on the blog, there's a button on the right and a tiny version all the way at the bottom of the post. PLEASE TAKE A MOMENT AND CLICK ON BOTH OF THOSE, to help promote this free marketing resource, the "Christian Artists' Promo Blog". Everything you need to know about Promoting yourself using this free service is in the screencast I created below.Let's get started. Don't stress about it, because this is some learning you can take in while you are doing something else. FIVE MINUTES Y'ALL is all that I need!

God Bless you. Muahhhhhhhh!!!!!! and Hugs!
Arielle a.k.a. Determinator1

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Attorney Debra Rainey Addresses the Angry Artist Who Didn't Get It in Writing

Forgive me people, but it's not that easy for me to let things like this go. It gets under my skin and is very irritating. Arguments and disagreements can be avoided with the proper paperwork. And if for some reason, your papers aren't "proper", a simple email or word document would be better than just trying to wing it and hope for the best. If you read this blog regularly, then you got Google right at your fingertips. Use it! Geesh!

Recently, a sponsor of one of my events try to back out of the deal at the last minute. She acted as if I had hypnotized her over the phone with my voice and made her say, YES, to the amount of money I requested. Thank God, over the years I have learned to shut my trap and listen, instead of mouthing off and asking if she had a fever or something. I'm an email filing away packrat, so you know I had our email conversations and a copy of the sponsorship letter attached to one of the previous emails she responded to with the YES! As soon as I forwarded to her, her fever went away and she was well again. Amen! I was happy that she pulled on through. (Lol!)

As I mentioned to you before,towards the end of 8/1/2012 post entitled, "Indies: Wipe Away Your Crocodile Tears and Get a Contract Next Time" our plan was to come back with an attorney's response to the "Angry Artist" we introduced you to on the same day. But before we get into Attorney Debra Rainey's response, I have to get my Keith Sweat on and ask you to do the following: G+1 this blog to the right and down below, towards the end, hit the JOIN button over there to the right with all the happy faces, Follow us on Twitter, then tweet us to let us know we need to follow you back, Like us on Facebook, and Subscribe to our awesome Youtube channel!

Disclaimer: Attorney Debra Rainey is not your individual lawyer and is providing LEGAL INFORMATION as a response as opposed to LEGAL ADVICE. is an excerpt of what the "Angry Artist" sent to us several weeks ago:

"Too many artists are being ripped off by people wanting to take advantage of them by videotaping them illegally and not getting us to fill out a consent form, and then make it hard to request a copy of the footage! Ain’t that a biscuit! Proper protocol is that if you videotape someone, you need to have them sign some kind of talent release form that states that you are not going to sell them for profit. Actually, it’s the law and will hold up in civil court. The law is not going to allow you to make a profit off of someone else’s talent. More Artists need to learn how the law can protect you and learn to make smarter choices. Everybody who comes to you in Jesus Name is not about doing the right thing nor doing right by you all the time. You should not be paying for a copy of video footage from somebody you did not hire as your videographer. You have every right to take them to court so document meetings, phone calls, texts, so if you do have to file, you have your evidence about how you attempted to get the footage."

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Post to 100 FB Groups in 2 min.: Sign Up for Hootsuite

Right after I type this in, I am going to go on over to Hootsuite and schedule my announcement to go to all the groups I'm a member of. I'll apologize now for getting cut off at the end of my screencast below, but I hope you will forgive me. Life is about trying new things, and I wanted to use this new format to impart knowledge in a shorter period of time. Please don't laugh towards the end of the video when my voice gets chopped off, but you know it will get better with time. This is still very professional. LOL!

As always, I'm asking for your feedback and I'm giving you a short assignment. Be sure to click the G+1 button at the bottom of the blog, send me a friend request on Facebook, JOIN this blog by clicking the JOIN blog on the right, and LIKE the Facebook page which compliments this Blog. And oh....before I forget, be sure to subscribe to the Youtube channel. Expect to find a lot more educational videos added there as well as Indie Gospel Artists' videos and interviews.

Here are some opportunities coming up Y'all:

The Texas GAG November 22-24, 2012. Taking place in Dallas, TX. There are artists showcases, so go to this page for the details.

Love ya! And God Bless you on this Hump Day!
Arielle a.k.a. Determinator1

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Indies: Wipe Away Your Crocodile Tears and Get a Contract Next Time

According to,  a CONTRACT is an agreement between two parties that creates an obligation to do or refrain from doing a particular thing. The purpose of a contract is to establish the terms of the agreement by which the parties have fixed their rights and duties. Courts must enforce valid contracts, unless one party has legal grounds to bar enforcement.

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It's good to know you have some recourse if a seemingly beneficial opportunity to perform somewhere turns sour. But unless you have prepared yourself for your future engagement, by making sure your needs will be met, as well as prepared yourself to fulfill the needs of the promoter of the event, or venue manager, all hell may break loose before you have an opportunity to utter in song, "Jesus Loves Me, This I Know". Of course Jesus loves you, but DON'T BE A FOOL!

It's time for me to travel back in time again and recall a situation from my youth. When I was about 16 years old, hanging out in Harlem, some friends of mine introduced me to a gentleman  by the name of DJ Money Mike. At the time, I had my little singing group, and we were determined to get signed and be bigger than any of the hottest girl groups that existed during that time (maybe I'd compare us to idolizing the OMG Girlz of today). Of course there were a lot of false starts, and unfulfilled promises, but this was one of the days I decided to step out on my own, and away from the group. I had the Diana Ross bug in me and said to myself, maybe we can't get a break because they don't have the right look.

That's me on the right with the bright smile and loud striped sweater. LOL!

Well, DJ Money Mike had a situation he needed help with. He had a local access cable television show, and he needed me to sing the hook, "DJ Money Mike Shoooooooooooooooow, DJ Money Mike SHOOOOOOOOOOOOW". The second SHOW was in caps because once he kidnapped me and locked me inside the studio for a couple of hours, he kept demanding I sing the second one in 1st Soprano instead of second. (I've never been a 1st Soprano) IT WAS A DAYUM CIRCUS!!!!! He was a deep baritone, trying to sing my part to train me, so he could get what he took me into the studio for. After two hours, he reluctantly took what I produced and I left the studio without making arrangements for credit, payment, or anything. Heck...DJ Money Mike didn't even give me a cough drop after he wore my vocal chords out. Naive and excited, I immediately hooked up with my friends and told them about our production. We were all in the same age group, so they were excited too.

The way this story ends is, DJ Money Mike had my vocals over an instrumental on the opening and closing of his television show the following week and many weeks, years to follow. My name never showed up in the credits towards the end, and I eventually gave up on reaching his grandmother on the phone after several weeks of morning, noon and night calls.

The moral of the story is, I might have had something to fall back on if I got something in writing. Once I left that studio, whatever he produced with his equipment was his. Sometimes we are so desperate for a break, that we fail to verbalize our true feelings about a situation. However, we are quick to blow up our friends' and church family members' phones hollering about how they need to pray to keep us from going Medieval on the person that wronged us. When you go to the store and make a purchase, you get a receipt. When you sign all the paperwork for your new car payment arrangement, you leave there with an agreement. If one of your loved ones takes sick and needs major surgery, you and your family members gather around to find out who in the family will have POWER OF ATTORNEY. If you have a contract with one of the cell phone companies, you sign off on an agreement stating you will pay their early termination fee if you leave the agreement early. You go to a restaurant and whip out your credit card, and the waiter comes back with a receipt which has "Merchant's Copy" on the bottom of it. Once you sign, you have agreed to pay for the food when  your card company bills you. The list goes on and on about contracts and agreements you may not have viewed as agreements, when in fact, that is exactly what they are;  call some of them mini-agreements if you wish.

Before I close, I will insert part of an email I received from a Christian Artist, and good friend of mine. I'll enter his or/her words, since the person would like to remain Anonymous, and then comment.

"Too many artists are being ripped off by people wanting to take advantage of them by videotaping them illegally and not getting us to fill out a consent form, and then make it hard to request a copy of the footage! Ain’t that a biscuit! Proper protocol is that if you videotape someone, you need to have them sign some kind of talent release form that states that you are not going to sell them for profit. Actually, it’s the law and will hold up in civil court. The law is not going to allow you to make a profit off of someone else’s talent. More Artists need to learn how the law can protect you and learn to make smarter choices. Everybody who comes to you in Jesus Name is not about doing the right thing nor doing right by you all the time. You should not be paying for a copy of video footage from somebody you did not hire as your videographer. You have every right to take them to court so document meetings, phone calls, texts, so if you do have to file, you have your evidence about how you attempted to get the footage."

My response to the Artist: Please understand, Jesus is making a real comeback in these harsh economic times. Apparently, even Snoop Dogg has changed his name to Snoop Lion and is supposed to be singing a Rasta, Conscious type of reggae now. Google that! You, as the person with the talent, have a gift one can capitalize on. You should ask the right questions before you get there. Is someone videotaping, will I get a copy, and if so, when? (Lord knows, some people won't get you a copy until the next year after constant calling and promising to put it in the mail.) Are copies being sold and do I get a percentage? You are right, if you have all of this in writing and signed (by the right person) it will hold up in court. However, consider the caveat. By the same token, if nothing is signed, and everything is implied, you have absolutely nothing to take to court. The court and the person who made the profits, will laugh in your face. Also, consider what position the omission of important considerations may place you in. (You might want to get an attorney, or consult with a paralegal.)

Ask yourself a question: What do you want to get out of it? Fred Hammond is coming to town, and you got selected as one of the opening acts. Fred Hammond left town, you don't have his contact information or his manager's, you don't have a copy of the video of yourself or him, when you post his performance on your page, you get a copyright infringement warning asking you to make sure you have the rights to post it. (We are just using him as an example y'all.) I know many of you recall when some of Kirk Franklin's back up singers claimed they never got paid.  If you don't, take a minute to read it. You can't make up this stuff, however, that suit didn't go anywhere. His paperwork, and that of the record label is what stood up in court. I don't know if the backup singers had a piece of paper at all to present.

From the promoter side, he or she may not feel as though they owe the artist anything, because they consider their participation in their event to be purely promotional. If you talk to a promoter, you will also get to hear them tell you about how much they invested in the event to make it possible. But the bottom line is this----You both need to agree to something and in writing. And in either case, if someone gives you something you don't feel comfortable with, have them modify it and don't sign it until you can agree wholeheartedly with the terms or the person you consult with agrees to it being in order.

As soon as I can get it up, I am going to send out a separate post with some sample forms in it which will allow you to just fill in the blanks. In the meantime, visit my artist's page, Kina Da Prophetic Poet and scroll down below the video to view the questions in the booking form. You can use it verbatim, or use it as a guide to create your own. Also, if you click on the link below for The Annual Texas GAG Conference, you will be able to review their forms for artists interested in participating in the showcases.

As always, aspiring artists, we've got a couple of opportunities we want to share with you taking place in the DFW area.

Yours truly will be speaking at two upcoming artist showcases and seminars:

And the Annual Texas GAG Conference taking place in Dallas November 22-24. Click here for details.

If you have an event you are promoting, please feel free to share the information with us by sending an email to

Within the week, we hope to have Attorney Debra Rainey of DebraRaineyLaw in Pennsylvania and start providing us with audio commentary for our blogs to help you see how things work on the legal side.

Everyone have a Blessed Day!
Arielle a.k.a. Determinator1