Being Hopeful Over Optimistic on Future Faith

calendarApril 10, 2018

The other day a friend accused me of optimism. This didn?t sit well. We were talking (ponderously) about the future of religion, and I said the church will outlast every dire trend. The church rose against all odds from the start, stirred to life by Jesus? resurrection?an impossibility that nevertheless happened. Predictions about the terminal decline of faith never pan out.

My friend said that sounds too optimistic. I protested: It?s not optimism but hope. Optimism looks on the bright side, expecting every happy outcome, sometimes despite evidence. Hope is an attitude about the long haul: God will prevail no matter how much we mess it up it the meantime.

Optimism has been linked to health benefits. Optimists are certainly more fun than glum fatalists. But a ginned-up optimism can be dangerous form of wishful thinking, a misreading of human nature. In 2007, upbeat consumerism ignored the toxic facts of housing bubbles and subprime mortgages. The Great Recession inexcusably resulted.

We?re optimistic that technology will solve our problems. But tech?s revolutionaries underestimated the web?s dark side and disinformation. Utopian dreams relied on a frictionless, one-dimensional view of complex human nature. Now we?re facing the consequences, with A. I. on the march.

Hope makes room for a skeptical view of human conduct—a doctrine of sin?while expecting the cosmic story eventually to turn out right. It?s not a passive waiting game. ?Active? hope, says eco-philosopher Joanna Macy, draws on our inner strengths and power of choice. We have a say in personal change and social reform. Active hope doesn?t depend on optimism. It admits the painful brokenness of the times. But it shows a ?readiness to discover the size and strength of our hearts, our quickness of mind, our steadiness of purpose,? she says with co-author Chris Johnstone in ?Active Hope: How to Face the Mess We?re in without Going Crazy.?

In Christian terms, these strengths are gifts of God. They accompany people into the risky, unknown, providential future. ?God has the power to give you a kind of inner equilibrium through your pain,? said Dr. King. Divine messages filter into the real world, the political world, where the Resurrection happened if it happened at all. Because of the risen Jesus, hope believes God will ultimately heal creation. This belief has the power to dissipate anxiety and unleash creativity to get on with the work?a converted spirit, a social gospel, with help for despair.

Is that hopelessly optimistic? To me it?s an enduring hope.

By Ray Waddle
The Tennessean
April 7, 2018

Veterans Day

calendarNovember 12, 2017

I’m a Vietnam era veteran.

My father retired from the Army after 30 years of service to his country.. On his headstone at Fort Sill Army cemetery it reads, “CMJ Otis A Smith, WWII, Korea & Vietnam. He fought in all 3 wars.

My oldest brother was a bona fide war hero. My son, Michael Scott Alexander Smith wrote a piece on him several years before he passed away and I promise you it is worth the read.

Thanks to all the veterans who have served our country in the past and those who are currently serving.

God Bless America

My Uncle Bob

My uncle Bob is a war hero who rides a motorcycle. It took me four decades to realize, accept, and finally to admit that he was the former and to even care about the latter. He did not graduate from high school; rather, like his father before him, he dropped out to become a patriot. Within a few years he was designated soldier of the year. At 24 he was the platoon leader of the 9th infantry in Vietnam. This was a group of which movies and documentaries?not legends?are made. Amid rice patties men were shot in twain and mama?s boys were picked off the planet by other mama?s boys who spoke another language (doesn?t the enemy always speak another language?). Future presidents were watching it from another angle and even another country while my uncle watched it from just a few feet away in a jungle he could previously have never imagined.

Comprehension was washed away with blood of the unknown comrades, felled by orders that often failed them. Hearts became hardened and egos swelled and so little was accomplished that the next generation would never even try to understand it. What was it all about? Who won? How and When and Why? Many do not even know or care where?just a little time into the past and this is all you get: interrogatives.

So after a silver star, four bronze stars, two purple hearts (with the declining of others lest he be sent home) and the Vietnamese cross of gallantry (with special permission from the President to wear a foreign medal), my uncle returned to the states where beatniks and hippies threw rocks at him. Even loyalists spat on him out of frustration for the waste of time and money?never mind the life lost among both the quick and the dead. So it was immediately that he closed the iron door to this chapter of life and gave away the awards and accolades and never responded to any questions or flattery or charity ever again.

That is, until last year. That is when he found out that a ?grateful nation? would finally support him in retirement and pay medical bills and pensions long due. And with few left to understand the extent of his honors, Uncle Bob would humble himself to explain to me how there are no such thing as heroes?only fools who got lucky. The action of having his watch blown off his arm happened quickly. To almost lose his mind is what took a long time. But the heart is a resilient organ, and time it?s only healing agent.

And so on that icy cold day in December as I watched him strut away from me to the entrance of the airport with his white hair gleaming ermine-like in the sun, I gave a salute to him behind his back?a prayer of thanksgiving to God. Not just for making him, but for making him family. And when the doors closed I could still see in my mind?s eye the scars on his arms?the metals, not medals, that he silently forever bears. And for them you read this freely, just as I wrote it freely, and Uncle Bob rides on his Harley in peace.

My New Book

calendarFebruary 29, 2016

I?ve been busy working on some new projects and can finally share one of them with you.

I hear from artists and managers almost every day and they seem to ask the same question:

?How do I move my music career to the next level??

Almost everyone asks the same thing – ?Can I Pick Your Brian??

That question has haunted me for the last number of years and I finally decided to do something about it.

So, I wrote a book titled ?Can I Pick Your Brain? How to Develop a Path to Success in the Music Industry”

Screen Shot 2016-02-29 at 7.35.18 AM

The book breaks down and answers the three most common questions I get asked:

  • How do I get booked more frequently and at bigger and better venues?
  • How do I get my music played on the radio?
  • What steps should I take, and in what order, to move my career ahead?
  • The book is 3 chapters long and packed full of valuable answers and insights.

All you have to do to receive a free copy of my book is click here.

You will see a short video from me and be asked to opt in with your email address so that you can receive future messages from me about artist development.

I look forward to having a conversation with you about the music business.



Rock And A Heart Place

calendarMay 31, 2015

This is the new book from my longtime, good friend, Ken Mansfield. Ken has one of the most diverse and amazing careers in the music industry. He ran the Beatles record label, Apple Records, and produced some of the biggest names in Country music. He worked for Capitol Records early in his career then crashed and burned in the crazy world of Rock & Roll. He found Christ?s deliverance and mercy by the time I met him in early 1980?s. We share many great memories. He?s an incredible writer so check out his new book.

Artist Management Conference

calendarMay 22, 2015

Here’s a short video on our upcoming Artist Management Conference June 13 in Franklin, TN. Register here.

The Treasure: The Great Commission and Sponsorship

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calendarFebruary 11, 2015

Several months ago a ministry known as World Mission contacted me to help them assemble a team of Christian music artists to help with one of the most incredible ministry tools I have ever seen.

While I have always financially and prayerfully supported missionary work in Third World Countries, I have never been directly involved with mission work. And then God revealed The Treasure to me. Nothing has ever moved me so powerfully.

Manufactured on the Sea of Galilee, The Treasure is a field-tested solid-state digital audio Bible! The unit, which fits in the palm of your hand, has a built in solar panel with rechargeable batteries. It is very portable and lightweight at just 2.5? x 4? x 0.75?. Headphones and A/C adapter are optional.

The Treasure can literally go anywhere, and has been to rain forests, deserts, mountains and islands! It is practical for any country and climate.

The best part of The Treasure has nothing to do with its impressive physical attributes, but rather the content of what gets placed on its internal memory. To use layman?s terms?it is what?s under the hood that makes it so powerful. Each unit can hold more than 60 hours of audio material.

We currently have over 185 New Testaments recorded in an audio format that can be placed on The Treasures. Along with our partners we are adding new, fully recorded New Testament languages every month!

World Mission has access to around 5,000 languages. More than 200 languages have an entire New Testament available. As requests come in, more and more languages are being readied for The Treasure.

According to field studies, 70% of the world prefers a non-literate form of learning. The utter tragedy of this statistic means that more than half of the world does not have an adequate way in which to fully engage with the life transforming Word of God!

We realize the opportunity to distribute these powerful units to villages and rural areas is unlimited. In fact, we are witnessing an army of national leaders currently being empowered by this tool, enhancing their ministry efforts to unreached peoples.

Thousands are hearing the gospel for the first time, and many are coming to Christ. Each experience is unique but in most instances an oral learner will listen to The Treasure within a group of 8-12 people. (more…)

Webinar Next Week

calendarSeptember 5, 2014

We’ve had a great response to our webinar that’s happening next Tuesday (September 9th) on managing new artists.

It’s going to be a great time to hear case studies of new acts that I’ve signed to Michael Smith and Associates. We’re also going to hear from one of our Artist Management Training Course owners on his experience signing new acts.

Reserving your spot is easy. Just CLICK HERE and enter your name and email address.

You’ll get an email with how to listen to the webinar.

Make plans to join us next Tuesday night, September 9th, at 7 PM Central time.

Don’t forget to RSVP HERE and be ready to go at 7 Central time.

UPDATE: CLICK HERE to listen to a replay of this webinar.

Artist Management Conference Update

calendarJune 13, 2014

Some of you already know about the Artist Management Conference I’m holding in the Nashville area June 21.

However, I want to open up registration for this conference to everyone who wants to learn about artist management and development.

This will be our sixth year of doing conferences. We have learned a lot from listening to you about what you need.

Many of our attendees from past conferences are running successful management companies of their own now, while others are artists who have grown exponentially in their knowledge about what it takes to grown a career in music.

We will have a great lineup of speakers including radio promotions guru, Chris Chicago, live performance coach, Tom Jackson, booking expert, JR Montes and educator, Dr. Sarita Stewart, professor of Music Business at Belmont University.

I will spend the day moderating the speakers, answering your questions and giving you my insights into the future of the music industry.

Registration for the all day event is just $99. This low rate is offered to you because you have connected with me in the past about artist management.

The last conference I held cost over $600, so this is a real bargain.

You can pay the fee at the conference registration desk but please email so we will have a head count.

Join likeminded people from all over the country for this intimate gathering and learn artist management from some of the best professionals in the business.

I won’t repeat this offer for another year so make your plans to join us and let Jan know you’re coming. She can also help you with any other information you may need.

Hope to see you here. We’ll be holding the conference at The People’s Church in Franklin, TN (suburb of Nashville) from 9am to 5pm.

Lessons From My Brother

1 comment
calendarFebruary 27, 2014

I just spent a week in Jacksonville, Florida with my older brother. He is dying from cancer. Watching him struggle with this awful disease, here’s what I realized about life:

  • Hug your brother
  • Spend time with your family
  • Make people smile
  • Make people laugh
  • Be nice
  • Play fair
  • Plan ahead
  • Read books
  • Call your friends
  • Pet your dog
  • Kiss your wife (often)
  • Love your neighbor
  • Tell the truth
  • Hurt no one
  • Respect your parents
  • Don’t hate
  • Don’t steal
  • Don’t lie
  • Tell people you love them
  • Pray (often)
  • Pray out loud
  • Share
  • Love God
  • Give generously
  • Look people in the eye
  • Do not covet
  • Don’t be selfish
  • Make a difference
  • Be courageous
  • Take your turn
  • Swing for the fence
  • Carry on
  • Dabble in something
  • Sing
  • Daydream
  • Think big
  • Have character
  • Study the Bible
  • Help out
  • Be humble
  • Serve
  • Learn new things
  • Do new things
  • Rotate your tires
  • Save money
  • Take Sundays off
  • Remember your life
  • Live with passion
  • Don’t always doubt
  • Be an encourager
  • Trust yourself
  • Be happy
  • Love your children
  • Renew your mind
  • See what’s beautiful
  • Embrace the ordinary
  • Scream sometimes
  • Wash other’s feet
  • Teach
  • Get shed of some things
  • Practice patience
  • Seek clarity
  • Be careful what you worship
  • Trust people
  • Believe in eternity
  • Live like you were dying
  • Trust in Jesus
  • Defend the weak
  • Practice regularly
  • Be disciplined
  • Don’t annoy
  • Pick up trash
  • Catch and release
  • Curse carefully
  • Be reverent
  • Relax
  • Be real
  • Entertain strangers
  • Don’t criticize
  • Be strong
  • Lift up people
  • Be proud
  • Say please and thank you
  • Clean up after yourself
  • Clean up after others
  • Expect the best
  • Anticipate disappointment
  • Be forgiving
  • Write something profound
  • Be in a play
  • Be a musician
  • Read a good poem
  • Change your hairstyle
  • Stay hip
  • Be faithful
  • Lay out in the shade
  • Go to church
  • Strive for holiness
  • Let things pass
  • Let things go
  • Be free
  • Don’t worry
  • Be happy
  • Let love flow

First Step On Your Journey

calendarDecember 16, 2013

I have been in artist management for over 30 years. One of the conclusions I have come to after leading so many careers/ministries is that an artist manager is not necessary (and a good one can’t be had by most artists) until the artist’s income reaches about a half a million dollars per year.

An artist manager is paid a percentage (usually 15%) of the artists gross income. It is simply not economically feasible for a manager to do the hard work for less. Therein lies the dilemma.

For the few lucky artists who find a qualified manager who is willing to do the work of developing them to that level there are untold others who will never attract one. What is one to do then?

Qualified managers are in short supply and learning how to do the job is relegated to on the job training – the proverbial school of hard knocks. Yet I do not know of one successful artist who succeeded without a good manager. (more…)