Freedom To Choose

calendarJuly 4, 2012

Today is Independence Day in America.

I am grateful for the freedoms we all enjoy as citizens of this great nation. I’m also grateful for the many veterans who have fought for us to have these freedoms.

My dad was a career military man who fought in World War II, the Korean War and Vietnam. That is chiseled on his headstone in a military cemetery in Oklahoma.

My brother is a highly decorated Vietnam Vet and a bona-fide war hero.

I achieved the rank of captain in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam conflict before I was 24 years old.

As you can see, my family made a choice to proudly serve in the military.

Early next week you’re going to have an opportunity to make a choice. This choice is not a life and death decision like serving in the military can be, but it’s a choice that could put your life on a different path.

In case you missed it, I’ve been telling my life story over the course of several videos – my life as an artist manager and how I got to where I am today. You can get caught up here.

I’ve been doing this for a reason.

I want you to consider changing your life.

Enjoy the holidays, be safe and enjoy your freedom.

I’ll be in touch shortly.


Fixin’ to…

calendarJune 21, 2012

That’s a term my fellow Oklahomans use that means they are getting ready to do something, as in, “I’m fixin’ to go to town”. I don’t know who invented the phrase but I find myself using it quite a bit in casual conversations. I have a theory though. Country folks have a lot of wisdom. I believe they purposely made up the phrase to expand the meaning of something that would otherwise have a limited explanation. To Okies, fixin’ means more than the idea that we are about to do something. It implies that something will also be fixed as a result of us doing it. The phrase suggests that if we set out to do something it must have needed to be done – or fixed.

Most things I get ready to do really need to be done because something is not right if it’s left undone. It needs fixin’. Take the decision making process for example. Someone very wise once told me that we are the sum total of all of the decisions we ever made in our life. If that’s true, shouldn’t we get really good at making decisions if we want a better life?

I’m fixin’ to launch a program that will teach you how to succeed in the music business. Check it out and see if it can help you make a quality decision that may solve a problem in your life that needs to be fixed. Keep in mind, I’m a country boy..

Learn more here.

Send Nathan Lee to Prison

calendarJune 2, 2012

… to offer hope & reconciliation to the imprisoned.

A Singer who sings songs about desperation for those in despair, who no longer wish to be desperate.  A Songwriter who writes songs about brokenness for the brokenhearted, who no longer wish to be broken. (from his web site)












Tattooed, vocal cords sliced by the razor-like effect of too much bourbon and hard living…smoky bar rooms and sleepless nights, countless songs sung until the wee hours of the morning but a heart, nonetheless, that


Quick Update

calendarMay 23, 2012

Here’s a quick update on the big project we’ve been working on. If you haven’t yet, visit to stay in the loop.


calendarMay 8, 2012

If you’re an unsigned band or artist and not considering a Kickstarter campaign you need your head examined.  While there are numerous platforms for raising money other than Kickstarter, it seems that they are the most productive ones.  Amanda Palmer has raised over half a million dollars for her new project.  Others, while not raising close to that amount, have funded their new projects in a very short time.


If you’re not familiar, here’s the link to Kickstarter.  Understand that you can’t just put a lousy or half-baked description up and get results.  Study the successful projects that have been funded and discover the elements that made them work.  Half of the job is developing a compelling offer the other half is driving people to the site.

I’ll leave you with a quote from Amanda that I believe sums up the reality of where we are now in the music industry.

“The basic tenets of success in music are still true: have good songs, touch people, work hard. But as far as getting around from place to place… musicians are no longer traveling by limo with one-way glass protecting them from view. Now we’re all going on foot, door to door, in the open sunshine… with the internet as our magical, time-space defeating sidewalk.”


“Can I Pick Your Brain?”

calendarApril 22, 2012

I’ve had this question asked several times a week for many years. It seems to be a universal question from people who are interested in doing what I do – management of artists, speakers, comedians and authors. Sometimes I get the same question from someone who is already managing talent but who want to grow their expertise in artist development. In either case, my answer is always the same, I can’t teach you what I’ve learned from 30 years in the entertainment industry during a coffee or lunch meeting. I’ll bet you couldn’t teach what you know in a meeting or two either.

What I think people are really looking for when they ask this question is a short cut to understanding a very complex business. I can’t blame them. Another reason could be that they don’t understand the right (or better) question to ask about entering my profession. I want to help those who are seriously committed to learning the job of artist management but I’m not sure I can help them by allowing them to “pick my brain”. So, I’ve pondered the question for a long time and think I’ve come up with a solution.

I have been developing a teaching concept using the latest technology available to train people who are passionate about the field of Artist Management. It’s about ready to launch now. You can learn more about it and the role of artist manager here. Then when you see me we can just have lunch or coffee.


p.s. I think the better question for you to ask me is “How can I succeed as an Artist Manager?” The answer is “Here”.



Kind readers keep coming back, cool ones leave comments and awesome ones share my posts. Be kind, cool and awesome.

Artist Management 101

calendarMarch 27, 2012

I’ve finally done it.  At least I’ve started the process.  As many of you know I’ve talked about developing a video teaching series on Artist Management for some time now.  The idea of teaching what I have learned over the last 30 years evolved out of my desire to see more qualified artist managers in our industry.  I know from experience that the role of artist manager is vital to the success of artists.  I remember how difficult it was for me to get started in the entertainment industry, so I had to learn through trial and error.  Sometimes that kind of process produced a lot of pain for myself and others.  A shortcut sure would have been welcomed.  There simply wasn’t a way to learn how to succeed in my field back then, and it’s still that way today.

Now, amazing advancements in technology allows me to teach everything I have learned over the past 30 years.  Click here for the first installment,

Social Media

calendarMarch 22, 2011

Hello. Kyle here. I wanted to tell you about an experience I had with social media and the lesson learned from the experience.

Recently, I had an appointment with Vanderbilt Dermatology in Franklin, TN. After I had sat in the waiting room for 45 minutes past my scheduled appointment time, I decided I would Tweet out “I don’t know why I try to be on time to the doctor’s office. The Vanderbilt Dermatology Clinic in Franklin never runs on time.” As fate would have it, I was called back 5 minutes later. The very nice nurse practitioner explained she running late because she was working with a patient. Simple enough.

A couple weeks later, I got a voicemail from the office manager Meg saying she wanted to speak to me about my appointment. When I called Meg back, she said she had heard it was a little rough. I was curious how she had heard, and she explained that she saw my post on Twitter.

Let’s stop for a second and discuss that. Here is a big organization like Vanderbilt paying attention to social media and more importantly to what their patients are saying. They don’t have to do that. Let’s be honest, if my story influences someone to NOT go there, big deal. New patients will still walk in the doors and visit their clinic. Instead, they are taking to social media to be a part of the conversation.

Back to the story. I told Meg all that needed to happen was the front desk staff tell me they are running 30-45 minutes late, and she agreed. Amazing! Actually listening to their customers!!

By the way, Meg asked how a follow up visit that happened was, and I told her it was the exact opposite. I owed her a positive Tweet, which I did later that day.

This leads me to a couple of questions. What are you doing to pay attention to what’s being said about your brand, or band, on social media? Better yet, how are you engaging your fan, or customer, and listening to their needs?

Kyle Johnson

1 comment
calendarMarch 15, 2011

Hey. My name is Kyle Johnson, and I’m one of the associates here at Michael Smith and Associates. Matter of fact, I’m the only non-family member of the full time team. I started with MSA in August 2008. My primary duties here are the day-to-day management of all our artists as well as sales and marketing for Right Minded Records and Pure Blue Records.

I grew up working in a Christian bookstore in Jonesboro, AR. My parents started the store when I was a baby. When I was in the 8th grade, I became the manager of the music section purchasing and meeting with sales reps. I moved to Nashville in January 1998 and started at Word Entertainment. My dream was to move to the big city and play drums for Michael W. Smith or Steven Curtis Chapman. Even though that didn’t happen, I did get to play some for Rick Altizer, eventually starting a band with him (Dum Dog Run) and making the best music of my life! God always has better plans for us!

On a personal side, I’m married to the wonderful Caron, and we have a beautiful daughter named Molly Cate. I’m also a Mac Fan Boy and love any kind of gadgets. We are members of ClearView Baptist in Franklin, TN where I play drums with the worship team.

We have a great time here at MSA, and I look forward to writing more for the blog talking about different music news, social media tidbits and other things that I think are interesting.

Thanks for stopping by and write to say hi! God bless!

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I’m Frustrated With Me!

calendarDecember 31, 2010

Those of you who have visited my blog site from time to time have undoubtedly noticed that I’ve done a terrible job of blogging this year. That’s an understatement. I’ve basically not blogged.

Please understand, it’s difficult for me to write something compelling on a regular basis. That has never been one of my gifts. I talk a lot better than I write. But I know I can do better, so, I’m making a New Year’s Resolution. I’m going to write something on my blog on a regular basis in 2011. This time I’m going to blog about what I know best which is to teach what I have learned about artist development over the last 30 years. I hope some of you find it useful. I’ll even ask a few of the folks who work for me as well as some of my artists and friends to join in.

Over the last couple of years we’ve been thinking about launching an artist management course via the internet. We believe video will be the most effective teaching tool for our approach. After a lot of research it looks like the best concept will be “modules” of about 15 minutes on various topics dealing with the entertainment industry. We will be interviewing important people at record labels, booking agencies, management companies, music and book publishers, television and movie producers as well as artists and speakers. It would be great to have some feedback from you all about this idea.

Stay tuned. I hope to be making announcements soon.

Happy New Year!


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