I thought it was interesting to see my YouTube videos that have the most views. They show really interesting parts of my journey and my growth, and I wanted to share it with you.
1. Turn Your Lights Down Low (Bob Marley ft. Lauryn Hill) @ Speak Easy - 24,630 views
The song that would change my life. This is probably the best I’ve ever done the DJ part. You can hear all the words and I actually really sing parts of it…in essence this can only practically be done at this slow acoustic tempo, which is not always the case. Otherwise it’s almost a str8 DJ ting. I wasn’t thinking about image too hard then. Just threw on a shirt from the closet. I was becoming more comfortable with being M.E.
2. The Last Time (Eric Benet) - 20,463
This was when I discovered I could do YouTube cover videos, and that doing arbitrary songs that no one else did was a good way to get attention, and of course doing top 40 songs as they are released or about to be released (the now traditional way). First heard Kevin Ross, a friend from Berklee, sing this song, and ever since then I fell in love with it. The Philippines apparently loves it too. I got most of my hits on this vid, from that country.
3. Turn Your Lights Down Low (Bob Marley ft. Lauryn Hill) at Berklee - 16,262 views
This was the first time I ever performed it like this, and it was a really magical moment in my career. I got lost in this performance, and totally didn’t remember anything that happened. That’s the way it should be. It was validating and I’ll never ever forget it. This song would soon become the cover benchmark for my version of Reggae-Soul. I have performed it so much I may shelf it for a while, but it has really been good to me. Thanks Bob and Lauryn.
4. I Believe in you and me (Popularly covered by Whitney Houston) - 5,222 views
Ok, so cover videos really work. Since I know, I should do more. It will be done, I promise. One step at a time. I perform this song at weddings a lot, and my friend Christopher Smith did the track. So I decided to make a vid in ma pink polo, lol.
5. Forbidden Love by Third World - 4,783
I have to thank the guitarist in the video, Kenroy Mullings aka Shortman, for sharing this acoustic version with me. It compliments the vocal so well, yet is so independently interesting musically. I absolutely love it, and this video gained some YouTube popularity with the reggae community. I’ve added it to the repertoire. Thanks to the great musicians who came before me aka Reggae Legends Third World et al.
This post really was to show my progress over the years, and to tell you thanks for all the support you have always given me on this journey. And for anyone who is new to me, I’m not a cover singer. I have original songs, like 'Love In Di Mawnin' and 'You Used 2 Love Me'. Check em out too. Luv unnu.
As an independent and totally self-managed artist, there are no other managers or publicists to shield and deflect crazy groupies, requests for inappropriate musical collaborations, awkward Facebook friend requests and all the opinions of your non-musical friends who just decided that they want to become your manager. At this point you have to ask yourself, ‘Am I a gracious musician?’.
The Encarta World English Dictionary defines 'Gracious' as:
a. Kind and Polite: full of tact, kindness and politeness.
This is a characteristic that hopefully you acquired while growing up, unlikely you will learn in school, but is one of the most important characteristics any person, especially musicians should work on developing. It can make or break a musical career when absent, and when present, garner you the most support you have ever had.
How does this translate to my life?
Do you remember that person who sent you the long Facebook message about how much they loved your music, and you didn’t respond? Or maybe you just said, “Cool”. Or the person you cursed out not so nicely by email, when they forcefully share their opinion? Well now that email or Facebook message is permanent, and you can’t take it back. The gracious musician doesn’t do that, and here are the reasons:
1.You are your business - And by being a business it means the customer is ALWAYS right. You function as that senior manager that actually cares about the face of the company, and not the disgruntled employee working for a little money. Pick your battles. Learn to back away and just say, thank you.
2. People Need to feel validated - Oprah Winfrey reminded me of this in her final show. She said that everyone from the garbage collector to the doctor wants to feel validated. The same thing applies to your supporters. They actually like you, which is why they critique your work. They watch your youtube videos, and their comments actually are the most valuable thing you have. Know your strengths, but listen to your supporters to learn about your weaknesses. Thank them for taking the time to check out your stuff, even if you disagreed with what they had to say. Your ability to sift through the noise, take the good, and smile and nod will differentiate you from the rest.
3. The Conversion Factor - Like a good business, every good customer service experience will be validated by someone telling someone else. The conversation will go something like this,
"I emailed X artist and told them all the things I didn’t like about their new song, and you know they listened to me? I think that’s so cool and humble of them. I’m gonna buy their next album".
From a business stand point converting one non-believer to a believer is one of your many goals as a working musician. By no means am I asking you to be a fake hypocrite, but you don’t need to be the defensive person that jumps on everything with a justification. When you become famous, that’s gonna leave you with a lot of things to justify.
4. Don’t Stoop to their Level - You really don’t need to show your ugly side to the supporter. So this is where being a person and a product becomes difficult. This feeling of being mute. Your music is one of your voices, and you are not mute, but you don’t need to be a raving angry lunatic, especially on Twitter or Facebook. Be the bigger person.
5. They Only See a Snap Shot - Probably the most important take away point is that the supporter rarely has the time to know everything about you, unless they are the die hard fans, and the die hard fans rarely annoy you because they love and validate you so much. Everyone else gets pieces of you. Only you know everything that is going on. Only you can connect all the dots in your head that they can’t see. Remember that as you write you gracious reply, because all their suggestions are only to help you become better.
Stay humble. Work hard. Be gracious. Trust me it works.
I am Mario Evon, Jamaican Reggae-Soul Singer/Songwriter. Graduate of Berklee College of Music in Music Business/Management and Songwriter. Music Business Consultant, Stage coach and lover of life.
As an independent artist, and truly a social media connoisseur, if there is new media, I have probably tried it or signed up for it. It’s cool to know what the internet can do for you, especially when you are doing it all yourself. As much as I’d love to explain what each of these sites do, I will let you have a go at it yourself. There are category headings, and each platform beneath a heading comes with its own set of pros and cons. Some are completely free, some free with limitations and others require payment, but usually for good reason. Hopefully this post will reach that person who really didn’t know a particular site existed, and once that person reads this blog then I would have done my job. Enjoy, and sometimes it really is just easier to Do-It-Yourself, and there are so many tools now to do it:
Today I’m in a weird mood of mixed emotions, that are so diverse I can’t even put my finger on any one really. I feel overwhelmed and confused, yet relaxed and reflective. A little annoyed but extremely grateful, slightly stuffy and a little gym achey. Scattered…So much so that I don’t even know how I feel. A bit antisocial, but not so much that I want to stay inside, but outside is too cold. I could watch tv, but I don’t feel like, and I have easily 10-15 other things that are more important to do.
This Wednesday is one of the biggest performance nights in my career. I made it to the FINAL ROUND of Amateur Night at the Apollo. I’m excited, maybe even a little nervous, but actually just grateful to be able to share my gift on that stage, and with the calibre of performers I will be sharing it with. It’s validating. I’m actually proud of myself, and trust me, I’m really hard to please.
The truth is that in just under 3 months I will be returning home to Jamaica, maybe for good. The year in NY has sprinted by, to a point I only anticipated a few months ago. Now I’m here thinking about plane tickets, new visa statuses, sorting boxes and packing barrels, all while the weather starts to get cold. I’m trying to raise funds for my debut album with my Kickstarter campaign, and I’m nurturing it like a newborn baby. Emails, networking, songwriting, collaborations, YouTube videos, blogs…Life. Music life. Life life. Nothing no one has done before, but just a whole lot of everything going on all at once.
In my confused state, I must say that I have learned so much about myself, people and life in this year, I don’t even know how to express it in words. I’ve read about passion in books, but this year I really felt passion. I really felt the worth of taking a risk and of making sacrifices for what you want. Standing for what you believe in. Just really doing you, and doing it as best as you can. Regrets…I have few now. Self-belief I am filled with. Scattered right now, but truly happy and blessed to be doing what I love.
Many uncertainties are ahead of me, but I can’t say I really care about their outcomes. I’m just glad to be in this moment. This journey has taught me to enjoy a moment. Relish in it as if it were my last. There is no security in what I think may happen, or what I even want to happen. The only security I have is in this moment, and all I can do is enjoy it and live it in the most righteous way I can.
Enjoy your moments. No moment is permanent. Enjoy your friends. Enjoy your family. Live and enjoy your life…because there is only one, so love it.
Both Jamaican singers have been creating names for themselves, Davis well known for her collaboration on ‘Someone Loves You Honey’ with Anthony B, as well as for her solo work, dancing and acting talents. She has also sang background for many artistes including Kymani Marley, Alborosie and Shaggy. Evon also has sang backgrounds for notable Jamaican acts including Benjy Myaz, Stevie Face, Alaine and Cezar. He recently made it to the final round of Amateur Night at the Apollo, in Harlem, NY, and is currently working on his debut album. Both performers share the experience of opening on the main stage at the Jamaica Jazz & Blues Festival, Evon in 2010 and Davis in 2011.
This is the first time the two Jamaican singers have ever collaborated, even though they have been friends for years through the entertainment world.
This acoustic version of the song is available for FREE DOWNLOAD (Click the little down arrow to the right of the sound wave above), and the full version of the song is COMING SOON!! Enjoy this soulful combination, and look out for more from both of these diverse singers in the near future.
You all know how tempted I was to title this blog ‘M.E. Rocked the Mic’, aka ‘Mario Evon Rocked the Mic’ for the newbies, but my built-in grammar correction wouldn’t allow it.
Saturday, October 15, 2011, the Infinity 2 Beyond Group hosted their 6th Rock the Mic show in Long Island City, NY. Performers included yours truly, Nova Columbo, Duncan Daniels, Meaghan Farrell, Duncan Townsend, LGIT, J. Biz and Chupie to name a few. Chupie also doubled as the M.C. for the night, and DJ K Boogie held it down on the 1s and 2s.
Here is a peek at my 3 song showcase. A bit sick with a cold, my somber mood drove me into sad love song mania for the 1st two songs, then I did my original song, 'Love In Di Mawnin' to close out my set. Enrico de Trizio accompanied me on keys, and was a bit tired himself, which maybe explains how crazy he was feeling…You will see what I’m talking about. He was on a roll.
Song 1: Ordinary People - John Legend
Song 2: Someone Like You - Adele
My love for this song, caused me to try and learn it really quickly so I could perform it, and as emotionally invested as I was, I def jacked up the lyrics. Adele forgive me, and marketing gurus all over the world who are upset that I posted a video with me messing up lyrics…Get over it. These things happen in real life (but we do try to keep it to a minimum).
Song 3: Love In Di Mawnin’ - Mario Evon
Thankfully I wrote these lyrics, so I didn’t forget them. Ha.
Thanks for the support.
Supporters and friends, Zara Bee, Nyika and M.E.
PS Don’t forget to donate to the recording and production of my debut album by clicking here. Also check out more pics on Facebook.
So Apple recently launched an app called ‘Find My Friends’. Anyone who reads my posts knows I’m totally against location finders. I turn them off on my tweets. FourSquare might as well not exist, and if you know anymore about me, you might as well move into my house. We can watch movies and have tea and crumpets…-__- So here is my take on why I don’t need to be found:
Find My Friends App by Apple.
1. STALKERS…they are real!
So X stalker follows me on Twitter and/or FourSquare, and knows I just checked in to Wendy’s in location Y. Uhhm, so X Stalker may be a block away. X Stalker could come and kill me, or commit a super-stalker offense. And we know how much we hate those. Not only could it be terribly embarrassing, but violent, or even end in a divorce. Case in point:
Granted this is a rumour, and was a husband and wife situation, even the cheating wife doesn’t need to be found. I don’t condone cheating in any shape or form, but to the crazy half in a relationship, this may be like relationship gold. Someone is doing cartwheels now that their partner has a new iPhone 4S, and the ‘Find My Friends’ app -__-. For that person it now means their partner’s triflin’ ass can be found anywhere and at anytime…and they betta not turn it off, or it’s gonna be on! If you love me, trust me…THE END.
2. Mayor of MY bedroom?…Absolutely NOT!
So a Jamaican friend of mine wrote a hilarious tweet one day as it relates to FourSquare, saying that someone else was the mayor of their bedroom. Now this is a problem! Especially if I don’t even have a title for my own bedroom, and you just became the mayor?? It means someone be doing a lot of work in my bedroom and it surely ain’t me? This needs to be addressed. No checking in will be going on around here for any rewards or rankings. Rephrase: Nobady nah check een roun’ ere…not a backside!! (Much better). I will catch you with or without Foursquare, but preferably without, as this is not how I want to find out you are cheating on me…Dem tings just mek good people waan start war!
3. I really don’t care where you are
The flip side of all this is that a stalker may love these tools, but for me, I really don’t care where you are. If I need to be with you then I’ll speak to you about where and when we need to meet. Is there really any other reason for me to know where you are? I’m sure many have lots of reasons, but in all honesty I find it a bit intrusive. It’s called privacy for a reason. People need a little alone time. Soon it will not only be where you are, but what you are doing. "FourSquare Alert!: Mario is located in the downstairs bathroom. He is reading on the toilet"…This will probably come with customizable voices that read to you, and will come in as a push notification. SMH.
Conclusion: So outside of potential physical harm being done to me, people demoting me from my bedroom, and not actually caring where you are, I think location finders will definitely be taking a back seat in my social networking life. People should be found when they need to be, not when others want them to be. Have a good day finding your friends if that tickles your pickle, and I will use the toilet in peace :D
As some of you may know, I created and maintain a website called ToMyFutureSpouse.com. It’s a place where people can post anonymous love notes to their future husband or wife. I started the site last year, after I’d done a few status updates dedicated to my future wife and it seemed to catch on….
Time and time again I hear the saying ‘Time heals all’. Time really does nothing without resolution. If you hated someone 3 years ago for something, chances are you may still hate them for it if the situation hasn’t been resolved. So I say RESOLUTION HEALS ALL.
Resolution can come in many forms:
1. Coming to an agreement - this is the best form and usually means one or both parties accepts whatever it is that they did, and actually agree on it. It often means a friendship can potentially be mended.
2. Agreeing to disagree - this is almost the worse, but is still resolution. Many truths are still revealed, and that can often be the truth that allows you to move on. You may never be friends again, but at least now you are absolutely sure it wasn’t meant to be.
The worse is not having any resolve. No resolution can be like a nagging knee pain. It acts up when you least expect it, and when you think it’s gone, something happens that aggravates it.
Makes me think it must be hard marrying or dating someone while still in love with someone else.
Must be hard not knowing why someone hates you, but knowing that they do.
Must be hard not knowing your parents, or knowing them but not knowing how they feel about you.
Life has many unresolved situations. I think if it means anything to you, instead of sitting and hoping time will heal, try to make resolve. The timing is key in when you attempt to do this, but while life and blood flows through your body, you should try make it happen. Nothing thrives better than a conscience at peace.
One of the beautiful things about life is the fact that when you are down, usually someone else important in your life is up. It is that weird unpredictable but necessary balance that allows us to help one another and make it to another day. Sometimes I wonder how one plan can be so divine.
We all have so much going on it’s hard to really say your burden is any heavier than someone elses, though many of us would like to think it is. It really isn’t. The person we think has it all physically may be emotionally broken, and some of the people who are physically not what they would like to be are more adjusted in other areas.
Balance…it’s something I definitely strive to achieve all the time, but some days I really feel out of whack. The things I have to do for myself overwhelm me, not to mention the other 10 or so lives floating around in my head, that I have some valuable input in. And I wouldn’t give these lives away for anything, because they edify me and help me to become a better person, and for that I’m grateful. Sometimes I just wonder how I keep up, or even how to keep up. Maintain sanity, and composure. Knowing that I can’t provide for someone something that they desire from me. Knowing that I hadn’t fulfilled an expectation they had of me. That I failed them in some way, in their eyes.
I guess this comes with adulthood. I’ve been an adult for a while, but I must say this is probably the biggest difference between adulthood and childhood. Children usually get to just enjoy life in a carefree way. Adults, we pay bills and worry about income and interpersonal dynamics. Kids get the pleasure of eating, sleeping and pooping. I wouldn’t want to go back there though. I think there is a carefree adult world somewhere out there as well.
So to everyone who feels out of balance, remember someone else is on their up when you are on our down, and the roles often quickly reverse. Keep your head up, and hang in there until it balances out.
“Remembering that you are going to die, is the best way I know, of avoiding the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.”—Steve Jobs
September 21-23, 2011 marked the time for another annual Caribbean Cultural Music Conference (CCMC) in NYC. I was honoured to be asked to be a panelist on a panel about Marketing and Brand building, which was perfect because I feel like that’s what most indie artists spend their lives doing, and for sure I dedicate a lot of my time to it.
Life is a funny lickle ting, because I remember seeing the promotion for last years conference and thinking it would be a great thing to be involved in, and the law of attraction clearly was in full effect, because here I was not only a panelist but also asked to perform on the artist showcase.
The conference was unfortunately not as well attended as it could have been, but extremely insightful, with good topics and presenters. Even a music business buff like myself learned many new things. I would definitely recommend it to artists, managers, or anyone else in the music industry, and most importantly even to persons outside of Caribbean music genres. This was definitely as good as any other music conference, as it had all the general information you would expect, but also a Caribbean perspective which is uncommon to find in such an event.
Overall I was just very honoured to be a part of this event, and to get an opportunity to showcase my abilities to a predominantly Caribbean audience, and for them to experience my Reggae-Soul.
Mario Evon at The Studio at Webster Hall - Photo by Karim Kiffin
The After party on Friday night had amazing performances by Ed Robinson and Ghost to name a few, and I got to close the show, which was a little crazy, because I performed after the legendary Ghost, who I’ve looked up to as a Jamaican artist for a while. Here are some highlights from my performance:
Very special thanks go out to Junior Forbes, Simone Harris and the rest of the team involved in the planning of this conference. Conferences are a huge undertaking, and they did a good job, and still managed to keep the event FREE, and created a forum to educate and unify the Caribbean community in NY. Great job y’all!! Also a huge thank you to my dedicated supporters…luv y’all, and mad love to my amazing band members - Enrico de Trizio (keys), Serghio Jansen (Guitar), Jonathan Rappaport (Bass), Shane ‘SF1’ Franklin (Percussion), Shawna Corso and Simone King (Background Vocalists). This is just a bunch of amazingly talented and down to earth individuals. Blessed to have a chance to perform with them.
Here are some more pics from the event:
Mario Evon in action - Photo by Karim Kiffin
Ed Robinson - Photo by Karim Kiffin
Ghost - Photo by Karim Kiffin
Mario Evon & Copeland Forbes - Photo by Tracy Smith
Enrico de Trizio (Keyboard player), Simone Harris and Kamau Amen, Music Business Consultants - Photo by Tracy Smith