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Recording Musician & Published Author! Ask me anything on Music, Creativity, Balance of Time, Finding Inspiration, my Breathing Technique, Exercises, etc.

Vaughn Edward
Feb 11, 2018

RECORDING MUSICIAN, VOCALIST, PIANIST, SAXOPHONIST, HAND DRUMMER and PUBLISHED AUTHOR for YA FANTASY

I grew up practicing 5-10 hours a day, and listening to music in most other hours of the day. Ask me anything about creativity, being inspired, practice tips, work ethic, music theory, simple exercises for diction, etc! You can even ask me about my YA Fantasy novel, WARRIOR CHILDREN, as well as my photography that I sell!

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With over 20 years performing professionally, Vaughn has toured around the country from coast to coast, touring the Caribbean and even landing a gig in the Philippines! He is a Pop musician with a background in:  pop, jazz, blues, funk, rock, ska, reggae, latin n salsa, brazilian, african, chilean, orchestra, big band, country, alternative, folk and zydeco.

Performances & Credits:  Webster University Jazz Series, Washington University Vocal Dept, Duke University Jazz Series, MO Botanical Gardens, Mississippi Nights in St. Louis, DNA Lounge in San Francisco, Casting for Community Musicals in Chicago. Previously, Vaughn performed in bands that opened up for The Roots, Porno For Pyros, Fishbone, The Toasters (Twice in NC and MO), and The Pie Tasters. He also played a concert with Actor/Pianist Chevy Chase.

​2018:  Will be finishing Exercise Book for Vocalists and Instrumentalists. Exercises in all keys.

2018:  Will be publishing second book in YA Fantasy series, WARRIOR CHILDREN: Sons of the Red Planet.

2017:  Published first book in YA Fantasy series, WARRIOR CHILDREN: Legendary Three.

2016: Recorded Pop & Rap Album "One More Day" with all original songs.

2016: Won "Best Pop Song" for Dec 2016 with The Akademia.

2016:  Co-Produced and Recorded and Mixed down a Country album for an artist in California, with Vaughn's keyboard and sax parts, and some back-up vocals.

2014: He was sponsored and featured by Rude Boy Magazine.

2014: He Scored and Arranged the music to a new musical, entitled "Thunder Bay" written by Courtney Weixel, based off of rock songs from the 90's.

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WEBSTITE:  http://www.vaughnedward.com

FACEBOOK:  http://www.facebook.com/vaughnedwardmusic

SUPPORT MY ART:  http://www.patreon.com/vaughnedward


Vaughn Edward says:

This AMA will end Feb 18, 2018 1PM EST

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Conversation (62)

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Do you ever feel that despite so much experience and hard work in creating and composing music, you haven't got what you deserve so far?

Feb 18, 12:01AM EST0

While recording your rap album, did you use real instruments, or was it all computers for the drum beats?

Feb 17, 10:05PM EST0

There are two Rap songs on my album. The rest are Pop songs. It was all real instruments. Not that I am opposed to computer drum beats, but for these songs, it needed real instruments. The beats for the songs are like Fusion Jazz beats, with fast rap over the top. The drums are wild and bombastic at times.

On my song, The Wild Ones (Rap), there is even a keyboard and electric guitar solo. The 2 Rap songs are "The Wild Ones" and "The Hungry Wolf". Here is the link to hear and purchase those songs:

https://www.vaughnedward.com/music

For the Pop songs, it was mostly real instruments. In our studio, we combine real instruments with computer technology. Sometimes, we take sampled sounds like bells, whistles or air waves, and we place them in parts of songs for an effect.

Last edited @ Feb 17, 10:33PM EST.
Feb 17, 10:30PM EST0

Where can one find your Pop & Rap Album "One More Day" with all original songs?

Feb 16, 5:28PM EST0

Hi David! Here is a link to my website. It has the songs there, which you can purchase and download. I used to have them up on iTunes and everywhere, sold around the world. But for now, until I decide differently, I have it only on my website.

Link for "One More Day" album":  https://www.vaughnedward.com/music

Feb 16, 7:27PM EST0

Could you mention a time on stage when you felt scared or frightened? Why was it for?

Feb 13, 1:44PM EST0

Yesssss... it was years ago, and it was the first time I was singing my original songs, publicly. I was at an open mic, and I was so nervous. With something so new, I had no idea what to expect, how I would feel, or what the people would think.

With that kind of fear and nervousness, the throat constricts, and the sound gets stopped in the nose and throat, instead of the sound being on the outside of the body, where it is resonant and full. That's what happened to me. It was horrible  ^_^  and being so nervous, I messed up the chord changes on the keys, even though it was my own songs.

When the mind is not in the game, nothing works  ^_^

Feb 13, 2:13PM EST0

Would you say composing when feeling sad has brought you richer musical themes?

Feb 13, 12:48PM EST0

The point of view I come from when I compose is not from a sad or happy or angry point of view. Those feelings may exist, but there is something greater than feeling and emotion. This space I talk about, and this energy, is more expansive and more creative than emotion.

Before I write in my books, or before I do photography, or prior to composing songs, I place myself in the Zone, where no thoughts exist. I use some kind of technique, a breathing technique, meditation or light visualization to expand my awareness and place me in the space where creativity is born.

Once in this space of no thought, no mind, creativity flows, often too fast for me to capture it all. It transforms the old pent-up emotions as well.

This is how I wrote my books. I was in Chicago, and I was sitting on my floor, and after doing a 45minute meditation, I zoned out. In that split-second moment, the entire story for my books was dropped into my mind. I just sat there, watching the story write itself. I then sat down and wrote what I was seeing.

In the early days, when I was just learning music and practicing for hours and hours, I would reach this state of creativity of no mind, no thought, only after practicing for hours. After practicing for so long, I would zone out, and everything was expansive. That was when creativity started. Now, I bypass those hours of practice, because I force myself into this space volunteerily, by using a technique.

And it is in this state of Awareness that I reside when I compose or write. It is where creativity flows, where everything is richer and deeper for me.

Last edited @ Feb 13, 4:32PM EST.
Feb 13, 3:15PM EST0

What has been your inspiration in the music industry so far?

Feb 13, 10:32AM EST0

My inspirations were many, but it can be broken down into 2 things...

In the beginning:  In the beginning, musicians who were successful, or musicians who were just amazing, inspired me! The energy created by their music and the goals they conquered kept me pushing myself.

Now: It is the people who inspire me! Over the years, I have seen how music affects others. It affects the musicians, and it affects the listeners. It drains the lethargy out of those who listen, and it brings them to a space where life is understandable, relatable and livable. Music gives hope. Scientifically, it changes the brainwaves in everyone involved, the musicians and the listeners. When I see how music affects everyone in a positive way, it gives me hope and inspires me to keep trekking!

Feb 13, 1:21PM EST0

Name 5 top things that 20 years of experience in the music industry have brought you?

Feb 12, 8:20PM EST0

1) It has brought me the confidence to do my own thing, rather than do other peoples' things. I am now writing my own songs, marketing my own music and books, and helping others to get on their own path, whatever that is.

2) Experience has led me to trust myself and my instincts. Back in the day, I didn't have that trust in in myself. There was always a fear or doubt. Nowadays, I feel good about walking into most musical situations and playing and jamming with whatever band or musician is onstage. In the end, it usually sounds like we practiced for months together. This can only happen though, if one trusts themselves. Then, the fear dissipates. It just doesn't exist.

3) I now have an experienced eye and ear, so that I can easily point others in the right direction, those who are beginning or in the intermediate level. I too am still progressing, and always will be, but since I have traveled many roads, I can save others some hassle.

4) I have developed a backbone of thick skin. If it doesn't work or if it seems like it is taking a long time, it doesn't bother me like it did 15 or 10 years ago. If I am criticized, it's okay. Opinions circulate the Earth and always will. Everyone has an opinion about everything. However, I have learned to let them roll off me, while I keep walking and doing my own thing. Thankfully, peoples' opinions don't always have to mean anything ^_^  ...what matters is what we think and feel about ourselves.

5) I used to look at the overall picture and wonder why I was not at the level that I really wanted to be. I used to try and take on everything at once, and I would get discouraged, because the end goal seemed very daunting. Nowadays, I am organized and focused. I write my goals down. And although I still look at the end goal, I only set out to conquer small goals. As I conquer each small goal, I am constantly chipping away at the end goal. It gives me a feeling accomplishment, and it keeps my energy up, without getting discouraged.

Last edited @ Feb 13, 1:09PM EST.
Feb 13, 1:08PM EST0

Regarding Jazz: Which one is your favorite progression and why?

Feb 12, 11:04AM EST0

I don't think I have a favorite progression, actually. Maybe genres, instead. I really love Latin & Salsa! It's fun, no matter what the progression. It's fun, lively, mostly cheerful, and very easy for people to relate to it.

The Blues, with the II-V-I turnaround in the 9th and 10th bars. When I think back to Cannonball Adderley, Sonny Stitt or Charlie Parker playing the blues, it moves something in me. Although, I've had a lot of fun playing in blues bands, using the V-IV-I turnaround also.

Fusion Jazz speaks to me. Stuff that the Brecker Brothers did, and Miles Davis with his Bitches Brew album. And also the Chick Corea Elektric Band. The chord changes were all over the place, and that didn't matter to me. It was the sound and the intensity that I loved about it.

Feb 12, 11:25AM EST0
Show all 3 replies

What do you generally want to reflect with your songs?

Feb 12, 10:08AM EST0

The realness of the experiences put into the song. Each of my songs are from real experiences. And also to make it easy for people to relate to. Which, because I take from my experiences, I believe that others can relate.

Feb 12, 11:27AM EST0

How would you like to be remembered in the music industry?

Feb 11, 4:53PM EST0

For my authenticity and as an inspiration to others.

Authenticity:  I no longer take on projects that I do not want to do. It has to mean something to me, and it has to be rewarding for the people in some way.

Inspiration:  I like seeing the crowd enjoying themselves, to be placed in another dimension, so to say, when I perform. And if I am teaching somebody, I like seeing them progress and deepen in their skills, which also helps them in their lives. Or for those I do not teach, but who see me out in the world, or read about me. For the energy inside of them to be stirred and awakened, so that they desire to conquer themselves more and to set out on achieving all of their goals and dreams :)

Last edited @ Feb 11, 5:13PM EST.
Feb 11, 5:11PM EST0

Do you have any relationships at the moment? Are you dating anyone?

Feb 11, 3:44PM EST0

I do  ^_^  I have a wonderful husband who I met in the Bay Area in California. We have been married for a year now, and live in the Midwest!

Feb 11, 3:48PM EST0

Has your awarded “Best Pop Song” helped your career in any way since you won? How does this work for your publicity?

Feb 10, 7:29AM EST0

It has definitely helped me! Anything, small or big, that can give a boost to a musician or author or whatever your field is, is good. It is something I have been able to submit as something which stands out. It is the same as my published book (Warrior Children). It gets me into places at times, when a company or group sees that I have a book out there. Once you're a published author, a new world opens up.

However, it is not just the award that helps for publicity. It is the accumulation of everything I have done that helps with the overall picture and publicity. The award, my book, key places I performed, name bands I opened up for, etc. When I put all the small things together into one package, it looks like a big thing  ^_^

Last edited @ Feb 10, 11:58AM EST.
Feb 10, 11:53AM EST0

How do you mainly work within ethics in today’s musical industry? Has it been problematic for you so far?

Feb 10, 6:05AM EST0

It depends on what you are pinpointing as "ethics"...

1) For downloading and streaming music, I believe in paying a fair share to artists. Many artists have spent thousands of hours practicing their music, buying equipment and traveling thousands of miles, making people happy in the moments that they perform, only to make a few pennies. It can be a ruthless road at times for musicians, but we do it because our Heart has no choice in the matter. The Heart says, "Music is love, and love is music, and no matter what the battle, music shall exist and prevail." As for my own music, for now, I keep it on my own website www.vaughnedward.com for download and sale, instead of iTunes or other stores.

2) If it is about copyright and use of lyrics and melodies, the musician has to be as honest as possible. I literally have a thousand melodies in my head, all the time. There is so much music improvisation going on in my head, and constant singing and whistling of my melodies. They are my melodies. However, every single musician has always borrowed from previous musicians. Music is learned by listening to other musicians. We absorb from everything in order to make an original of ourselves. Once, I was working on a melody for an original song, and I was playing it on the keyboard. A friend of mine walked in and listened for a bit and said, "That sounds familiar." I shook my head and said, "How? It's my own melody. I've been whistling this since I woke up." He pulled out his laptop and finally found a song that had a similar melody. I rolled my eyes and said, "F*** man, how did that happen? I've never even heard that song before." Ultimately, I scratched the melody I was working on and began working on something new. It's hard at times with things like this. I hear thousands of melodies and riffs, and my brain stores them all, and it organizes them into new things. I have a Pop song with electronics "Ghost in the Night". The chord changes on the Verses stemmed off of the jazz tune Autumn Leaves. However, I simplified the chords so much and twisted them around, that is completely different now. I did add tribute to Autumn Leaves by stating in my 2nd Verse, "The leaves were falling..."

3) For lyrics and songs that are radio-ready and compliant, the musician has to weigh out what he or she is willing to give up as an artist. I've written a couple of rap songs, and I am writing a third now. The first two songs, I made radio-ready, no curse words. They didn't need it anyway. The riffs and melodies and rhymes on my song "The Wild Ones" carries itself enough without cursing. However, this new song I am working on is very personal to me from my experiences, and in one part, it almost asks itself to have one curse word, just for the effect. I am still weighing it out, because if I put it in, the song cannot be played on air. If I do add the word in, I feel it is more powerful. What to do? hahaha... I am leaning on leaving it out and possibly finding a suitable substitute that is nearly as powerful. Or, I may just record two versions, one for radio, and one for album.

4) As for "sex, drugs and rock 'n roll"... I believe that the public, not the musicians, coined this. Surely, this type of behavior does happen a lot in the music industry. However, we have to realize that people are rebelling in every way to the norms of society. They want to escape the parameters that have been placed upon them. Music gives the musician and the listener that feeling of escape. With that, however, comes the chaos of being unleashed into a world where no boundaries exist. That is what music does for us. And when we find ourselves so free, many can't handle so much freedom in the moment. That is where the drugs and sex comes in. I once played a Reggae & Ska fest in North Carolina along the beach. That night, the lead singer was drunk, the 2nd guitar was coked up, and the drummer was high. I was completely sober, playing sax. It was a fun night, but the music surely wasn't as stable as it could have been. What to do? It's something we just have to shrug off our shoulders and go about our day happily, the next day. And in the future, if that is something we do not want on our gigs, we have to find musicians to work with who have the balls to be sober, for the sake of the music.

Last edited @ Feb 10, 12:04PM EST.
Feb 10, 9:44AM EST0

Have you ever thought on the future of music? What path do you think it will take?

Feb 9, 11:44AM EST0

I have! It's a long answer, so bare with me...

I studied music from early periods and watched how it changed from chant and tribal to folk, classical, blues, swing, bebop jazz, free jazz, funk, disco, rock and pop. Realizing, of course, there are so many other styles that it formed into, but too long of a list to place here.

Early on, decades ago, the legendary trumpeter, Miles Davis, veered from straight-ahead and cool jazz, to electric jazz. Following that, the iconic saxophonist, Michael Brecker, added electronics into his music, using the EWI (Electric Wind Instrument). Even symphonies have added some electric sounds to their orchestras.

Music in general, is constantly going to electric and electronics.

I have a friend who performed opera all over the world. She has a wonderful voice, and she is a good pianist. She teaches her daughter voice, but she said that she would rather have me teach her daughter, because I can also teach her how to chord, improvise and songwrite, and push her into the electronics field. The reason? Because music is ever-changing, and opera and classical music just isn't as popular as most other music anymore. It would be very hard for her daughter, according to her, to sustain herself as a musician in today's world. Nowadays, one has to know how to songwrite, create music through software, or play multiple instruments, just to survive and gig enough to make money. For, only the elite opera and symphony members are able to make the bread with the top companies in the world.

(*** Sidenote *** I worked biz for a top opera company in the Midwest and for a company that presented Classical music in San Francisco. All companies in that field are struggling to find a young audience between 20-35).

Another person close to me, who grew up singing classically and tutoring voice at a college in California, has said from time to time, "I stopped singing classical and switched to Pop, because there's no money in it. There's Heart, but the money is rare."

Music, for the longest time, has been on a paved path of electronics. Those who can adapt, chord and improvise and add electronics to what they already do, have a good chance. Not saying that those who purely play traditional cannot make it. Everyone can make it. But studies and experience has shown, that the world of electronics and technology is ever-expanding, not just in music, but in all avenues of our lives. Even in Japan, concerts sung solely by vocaloid voices, while holograms dance onstage, are very popular. A lot of Film Score, Anime, Cartoons and TV shows also use electronic music. It's just the world we live in.

Let me add... There is STILL great music coming out of opera houses and symphonies, and there are amazing bluegrass, blues, jazz, reggae and Latin bands out there. And this is very satisfying for many people. However, as a whole, in general, music all throughout the world is pushing through the sounds of electronica. From traditional jazz musicians becoming fusion artists, to Pop and Rap artists adding electronic sounds to their songs and symphonies adding electric guitars, music has always been headed down a path of electronics.

Last edited @ Feb 11, 1:06PM EST.
Feb 9, 12:24PM EST0

Do you have any particular advice to whom may we wanting to start in the music business?

Feb 9, 6:15AM EST0

1) Write your goals down. This is important. Do not just log your goals on your phone or onto your computer. Physically write them out, so you can see them every day. Be specific about what you want. Dream big, and every day, approach your goals as if you are a Warrior, something Ferocious and Fierce, that does not give up or get pounced on. Write these goals down every single day. Write them at least 3 times. It makes you think about them intensely. Place these goals in your sightline, for when you wake up, when you cook, or wherever you are at home.

2) Find like-minded people who are thirsting for it just as much as you are, people who are learning and want to learn. It's important to be around these people, because you feed off each other. Go online and join music groups, so that you have a constant conversation about music. Look up Facebook Groups or other online groups to chat about music. You never know. Someone online may just be able to point you in a direction that is just perfect for you!

3) Depending on what you want in the Music Business... if you want to create electronic music, then purchase the software to do so. FL Studio is very good. Logic Pro is very good also. If you cannot afford to take a class to learn the software, there are hundreds of videos on YouTube to learn.

4) If you want to learn an instrument, as soon as you finish reading this, look up music studios in your area that provide music lessons. In the very beginning, we all need a teacher to guide us. A teacher can tell us when we are out of tune, and they can provide the means to correct it. They can give exercises to build your stamina and technique. And best of all, they can provide encouragement where none exists.

5) If you are already taking music lessons, but you are still in beginning or intermediate level, go to a jam session or open mic. There, you will find people just like you. You can get over your fears of stage-fright by being in front of others and performing. You can connect with those people and learn from each other. Even if you do not play an instrument and you only create music through software, go to these jams regularly and meet people. You just might find a good connection to thrust you forward in your career.

6) If you are looking to be in the Administration part of Music Business... intern or apply for a job with an opera company, a symphony, or a company that does musical theatre. Or you can work for a concert series that produces rock, pop, blues or jazz. You can work in Development or the Box Office, or whatever department they may need you. Universities are always looking for people in the music or theatre department also. Sometimes, all you need is job experience in something and a thirst to do it, to get your foot in the door. There are thousands of companies worldwide, large and small, that you can apply to and learn first-hand the Biz aspect of music.

Last edited @ Feb 10, 3:31PM EST.
Feb 9, 10:36AM EST0

From the vast variety of instruments you’ve learned, which one do you prefer?

Feb 9, 3:18AM EST0

My voice! It took some time for me to realize that what I always wanted was for my voice to be out in the world. I always sang, even as a child, in choirs, both in school and in church.

When I got my saxophone, I thought I wanted to be a jazz musician. It was the saxophone that taught me how to be a musician. Thousands of hours of practice. It got to a point that I felt I could walk down any alley if I had my saxophone in my hands, because I just felt powerful with it.

Then one day, I just didn't feel it anymore. My voice wanted to come to the forefront. And I pondered and meditated on it for a long time. And something internal kept reverberating within my thoughts. Within my thoughts, I constantly heard, "You must be powerful in your voice, without the crutch of an instrument in your hands."

Ever since that realization, my voice has given me a great joy!

Last edited @ Feb 9, 10:16PM EST.
Feb 9, 3:38PM EST0

In which special events would you like to perform your music?

Feb 8, 4:57PM EST0

I can't say that I have any special events that I would like to perform at. To me, music in and of itself is a special event!

I can say, I would love to perform around the world in many countries. I'd like to reach larger audiences, globally. Fests and arenas.

Last edited @ Feb 9, 10:17PM EST.
Feb 8, 6:44PM EST0
Show all 3 replies

How was your way of practicing at the very first beginning of your musical career? Has it changed until now?

Feb 8, 2:49PM EST0

It has definitely changed... I included a snapshot of an exercise I created for an Exercise book, which I will be releasing in 2018. This is how I have always practiced. I play the same pattern or exercise in every key. Once I learned it, I would practice another pattern in all keys. And so on.

In the beginning, I was a madman, practicing the saxophone for hours and hours, running through scales of all kinds in every key. I was practicing patterns, scales, licks and even parts of solos, in every key. I would set a metronome at a slow beat, then speed it up a few notches. I would keep speeding it up a few notches, until it was a very fast pace. I was practicing, learning how to solo and improvise. How to improve my technique and sound. And also learning when to use vibrato and how much or how sparingly I should use it.

Now when I practice, it is more to just keep my chops up on the sax. I still practice scales and patterns, but more as a warm-up.

Mostly, I am working on my voice. I do a breathing technique that puts me in the Zone and centers me. I then get on the keyboard and run through exercises and patterns in all keys, while singing those exercises as I play them. I am a firm believer that, as a vocalist, I should be able to sing everything I play on the keys, no matter how complicated it is.

After my technique, vocal exercises, I practice sliding up and down from one note to another. I also practice singing those same two notes, without sliding. This helps me to be aware when I am singing, to intentionally slide up or down, or not, instead of doing it without thinking. Meaning, I always know when I want to use a slide (or not), when I end a phrase.

When I finish my vocal exercises, I explore chord progressions on the keyboard, and I just improvise until ideas come for songwriting.

Last edited @ Feb 9, 10:21PM EST.
Feb 8, 4:36PM EST0

What inspired you to become an artist? Has music always been your dream since you were young?

Feb 8, 6:44AM EST0

In the beginning, I was inspired by other musicians, both known and unknown. Music has always put me into an altered state, where Time stops. This is where creativity exists. And this is where I always wanted to be.

Over time, I saw the effect which music and the arts had on people. The arts subdues people. Music can be intoxicating for the musician and for the listener. It changes others in the moment.

When I saw that others in the world can be changed by music, that it can take them to that space where Time stops, and only raw energy exists, I made it my dream to always continue performing.

I saw the effects it had on the elderly in nursing homes, and adults who danced to the music during gigs. I saw how music affected teens during ska concerts. And I saw how it affected students of mine over time.

In short, musicians inspired me in the beginning. Afterward, it was the people.

Feb 8, 11:49AM EST0

Have you ever planned on collaborating with any respectable photographers worldwide?

Feb 7, 7:08PM EST0

I've actually never thought about this, but that is a great question! Photography, for me, is very personal. I go out, mostly alone, sometimes with another, and without talking, I get into a Zone and snap away.

I like to bring the Oneness & Stillness of that captured moment, from a perfect object, to somebody's wall on canvas. And for me, that is very satisfying.

However, I suppose I would not be opposed to working with somebody. Depending on the project, and if it is somebody well-known. 

Last edited @ Feb 7, 7:36PM EST.
Feb 7, 7:26PM EST0