The Chili Pepper World

The Chili Pepper world
Hello folks,

I thought since a lot of people here don't live in Nashville, don't care to, or even some don't make trips, it might be interesting to share an experience with you of some people that are "finding other ways" around the normal conventions in music. 

The subject is a group of people I work with called "THE CHILI PEPPERS SONGWRITING CLUB' and they are located in Kalamazoo, Michigan. I was just up there for their 5th Anniversery, did private meetings, teachings, writing, and a show. I have been mentoring the group since the beginning and actually working with a few of them in the NSAI group that spawned it. I have done the same in several groups around the US and in Canada and see it as a very viable option in building a "Nashville type' group to their own (or your own) area. 

In almost every NSAI group I have ever attended, (have been to 75 of the 110 chapter workshops) there are usually people that want to go "above and beyond" what NSAI does. NSAI is a wonderful orginization and does many many incredible things. But for some people, meeting once a month, getting critiques, and doing a few events, just seems to whet the appetite of some of the overacheivers. And everyone can't always be in Nashville. They can't make the trips, or be as involved as they would like to be. So they form offshoot groups IN ADDITION to the NSAI groups.

That is the Chili Peppers. Started by Rene Mauve, a Mexican American musician, writer, and all around great dude, it always features five primary 'writers' and one or two "artists." The idea was to have regular writing nights, artist showcases, community outreach and become a face of songwriting in that area. In some ways it has become a "FARM TEAM" for artists trying to make a run at Nashville, most prominately, Warner Brothers Recording Artist FRANKIE BALLARD, who started with them, and ended up working with me, on his way to becoming a number one artist this year with his song "HELLUVA LIFE." Frankie got his writing chops and connections in Nashville through this group, namely Rene.

They would write once a week, usually a Rene's apartment (The Chili Peppers are chili pepper Christmas lights that would stay up all year long, and give it a 'creative glow." After a few months of doing this, they expanded to a local club, where they would do a once a month 'Write night' which would feature themselves, and other writers and artists drawn to the repuation of the "brand."

This covers one of the things NSAI has a limitation on. Due to the Nature of the not for profit orginization of NSAI,and liability rules they have to adhere to, they can't sponsor certain events, particularly those that serve alcohol. So a "branch off group" can do this on their own without the problems.This has been true for all the events  we have done together. I do my own workshops and private lessons, but am not representing NSAI soley. Of course, my pitches for NSAI are legendary, but I do have to be careful that they are not "implicated in my   madness." LOL!

The result over 5 years is several artists have come through the blanket of the Chili Peppers group. While they don't write every week now, they still pull together to write and recruit new people. The show this past Sunday featured 8 new people to the group. Writers, artists, musicians in blues and cover bands who are trying to discover their inner talents. It was very impressive and a lot of fun. I was a proud Grandfather!!!
The idea basically fits a formula I have always tried to instruct in the people I work with:


If people pull together to write, network, showcase, build awareness, it leads to more people knowing who they are. The more people that know about them, leads to multiple people who continue to spread the news. That puts them into PROXIMATY of others, that leads to OPPORTUNITIES.

The Chilli Pepper group are now being involved in local education, festivals, charity raising. They have been asked to speak at schools, perform in other clubs in the general area, and take their "brand" into multiple areas. Not everyone can be a "chili Pepper" but they can be part of the overall thrust of the group. This gives them opportunities to find and mentor new artists. Three of the people invovled this weekend were under the age of 16.
It gives people who are primarily "writers only" as opposed to "performers" the chance to build their catalogue and help others. If you are gonig to the trouble of writing something, getting recordings and promoting it, why not have an ARTIST INVOLVED IN IT at the same time? Still can pitch the song, still can use the demo, still can get it "out there."

Win-Win senario.

 So I salute the Peppers and am proud to be a part of that group. Their next year to two will be very interesting because they have some artists about to do some "very big things", which will again bring more attention to them. Momentum breeds momentum.

I would strongly encourage all of you to reach out in your own communities. The new contestants on THE VOICE and AMERICAN IDOL don't nessasarily come from New York, LA or Nashville. They might end up coming THROUGH one of those capitals, but there is no reason they cannot get their start, working with some of you in your own area.

Be your own FARM TEAM. Get out of the living room. Never know what might be happening right down the street.


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