I’m not here to preach to the choir. Most of you that read my stuff get it. This is an outlet though, and I’m human… not everything is peachy. This stems from a bit of frustration I have had over the past well.. years, really. However, I had a good conversation with a really good friend today all about how authenticity and being absolutely vulnerable is a superpower that people fear taking ownership of. Not this guy.

I’m one that – I dunno – just feel it’s easier and way more cool being honest. Especially in consideration of the role I am in, typically looked up to as a source of knowledge, wisdom and the answers on how to pull through, be strong and stay positive – I’ll be the first to admit, I’m right there with you on seeking answers. I’m wicked human. I’m often in just as much of a tailspin as the next person. Often finding myself selling off things to make rent, buy groceries and dog food for my dog. Why? Series of poor financial decisions, poor judgement, poor financial education, poor control. I’m a disaster in some areas of my life. However, I’m proud of my mindset. Perspective changes outcomes. I’m an eternal optimist. And I’ll never change that. I will achieve big things.

I don’t confine myself to lanes. I read a quote from George Stroumboulopoulos the other day, check it out… follow this human on twitter and IG @strombo

Dawg2HrVwAAHqYj.jpg A lot of people, some, who feel they’re very close to me, just do not understand that part of my brain. My mind works in a special way, maybe some of you can relate to it. This is how I experience the thought process, my experience so don’t get hung up on the little things. These are just a few ways I live. Deemed successful or not, this is my creative mind and an explanation as to why I operate in the way that I do. Unfortunately, it’s ironic that the people that should read this won’t… but for those of you who do… pass it along. It’s helpful in understanding people that consider themselves artists, creators, musicians, authors or otherwise artsy and dreaming. Often times, these “dreamers” are the once that change the world.

  1. Say yes and then figure it out
    • Yup. This has definitely gotten me in a lot of shit financially speaking. However if I hadn’t taken risks without knowing the full outcome I wouldn’t be where I am today, good or bad. Rich or poor, I’m on a mission to improve the quality of life of the professionals in the music industry.
  2. Try everything at least once (with some exceptions. Don’t do drugs. We are talking experiences… and this flows into the next point)
    • Again, I tend to get distracted with things and find other things to move me further away from the end goal. As a creative, the fear of success is actually a reality. I don’t want to actually finish that song, finish that poem, finish that book… because then what? You know? From a creative’s mindset, the journey is what I really enjoy. Not the final project. That part sucks. That just means I have to face the music. It’s so much easier to just talk about the things I’m up to… you know? However, if you try a bunch of things, sure you’ll take some time… but much alike dating, you figure out what you’re meant to do. I’d rather do what I’m supposed to do in the world than hate my life waking up each day waiting for Friday, the vacation or bedtime.
  3. Do something that scares you!
    • If you’re only doing things that are in your wheelhouse, you’re only limiting yourself. Experience stuff that’ll expand your mind, expand your physical ability, expand your borders. Reach out and positively change some one else’s life.
  4. Absolutely own everything you do, good or bad.
    • You’ll feel empowered when you take control of your life. For example, let’s take your financial situation (believe me, I know… I’m working on turning that ship around). When you look at every situation you find yourself in and saying ” How is this situation completely 100% my fault?” good or bad.
  5. Say what you feel
    • Cut the passive aggressive BS out of your life and be direct. If you expect me to understand you better do a damn good job of explaining said thing. Otherwise, – well… what do they say about assuming things…

 

Thank you for reading. Please share this message. The more understanding and tolerance we give to others, the greater amount of respect between each other we’ll start to see. The funny thing about respect is that with generation gaps and value systems in the modern first world, older populations have a famed affinity with unconditional respect, regardless of whether or not it’s reciprocated. That’s right, respect your elders – even if they treat you like shit. They’re invincible. Well, I’m here to piss a few folks off, because they’re not invincible. They’re human. Just like me. Just like all of us, regardless of age, status, ethnicity, colour, gender, orientation… anything…

Let’s all just listen a little more and this world will fill up with love and respect in no time.

Peace and love, friends.

xoI am trying to hear you, but your actions are deafening

 

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

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The irony is unmatched, eh?

Canadian hip hop, r&b, soul, spoken word, beats, rap and all other sub-genres of urban music got a huge break Sunday at the 2018 JUNO Awards in Vancouver, BC.

Tory Lanez couldn’t have planned it better if he tried. Due to his absence at the awards show, Rascalz, Thrust, Checkmate, Kardinal and Choclair busted into “Northern Touch” in an impromptu self-proclaimed “takeover” of the JUNOS. This, much to the likely chagrin of the brass (and my parents) was a very radical and much needed shakeup in the musical landscape. I think is sad that a nation so proud of its heritage, proud of its diversity and proud of acceptance still has “-gasp- moments” when a group of artists take the microphone and lay down the facts like they did last night…

Its 2018. Let’s get real. Urban music is very much a part of our national identity and because of the talents that took the chance at the shake up last night, we are leaders in the urban space. Much love. Much respect. You’re true foot soldiers. We need more of that.

I had the pleasure of meeting one of these legends of Canadian Hip Hop, Kardinal Offishall this winter, when he hosted an event at NMC, interviewing another leader in the World Music genre, fellow Calgarian, Raghav.

Kardinal is hilarious, classy and it’s great to see him continue to give back to the music community and really help to continue to grow the hip hop movement.

So yeah. I wanted to not just base my argument solely off of opinion, even though I know a lot more than the ignorant, culturally narrowed-minded opposition… so here are three of my favourite arguments to counter those who deny urban music and its legitimacy in the industry.

1. “Rap is not music.”

Oh, is that so? Well, according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary definition music is:vocal, instrumental, or mechanical sounds having rhythm, melody, or harmony.

So if you believe rap is not music, you would be incorrect.

They tie lyrics together in multiple rhythms and rhyme schemes to a beat generally, but not always. Case closed.

2. “Rap Artists have no talent.”

Have you ever tried to fit 14 syllables into one sentence and line it up like poetry and craft stories around your experience?

No? Still not sold?

Okay. Watch this then – The Greatest Rhymers of All Time

3. “It’s just a bunch of gangster noise”

Awfully insecure, ignorant and insensitive, don’t you think? Here, watch this clip and tell me urban music hasn’t moved entire political, socio-economic and popular culture agendas. Straight Outta Compton – trailer

Urban music is charged by emotion. Rhythmically, lyrically and ingeniously it is an art form simply reserved for an elite class of forward thinking artists. Sure, there are some pretty shitty artists out there, like any industry. But generally speaking, the urban scene, especially in Canada is alive and well.

I find that most people fear change. These are typically the same people that horde, and share an incredibly narrow focused belief system about how the ways things are.

We fear what we don’t know.

And a lot of people don’t know urban music, hip hop and the like…

Tonight’s takeover was a huge step in alleviating that fear.

Thank you, Kardinal et al.

Okay, we have all been here before. Late at night, pull out the guitar…and … nothing.

What?!

“But this what I do.”

Nothing. No spark.

You can’t help but wonder what it is, pulling at every strand of self-doubt. Did I sleep funny? Maybe that pulled pork sandwich (or tempeh wrap for our plant based friends) had some funk to it… whatever the case may be. You’re just not feeling it.

Well, that does happen from time to time. However, for professional artists, that could mean sacrificing a paycheque or two. Not cool. Let’s discuss three effective remedies to kick that brain fog and get our performance back up to snuff so we can focus on doing what we do really well, creating music.

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    1. Reduce the screen time!
      We spend far too much time in front of time-wasters like Facebook,Instagram,
      Reddit and the like. If we took half the time we spent searching news feeds or watching cute cat videos as we did reading, painting, getting outside… imagine how much more effective our time on earth would be. The dopamine hits from hitting the like button and constantly being concerned about who is liking your posts and how many followers you have is an unhealthy way to live. I would encourage you to set a daily time limit and stick to it. No more than a couple hours. And shut ‘er down by 8 pm so you don’t screw up your sleep cycle. The anxious feeling we get from self-worth is heightened when we follow the social norm of online gratification, so remove yourself from that world and you’ll start to inspire creativity simply because you have more time to do so! Check my recent post about last weekend’s social detox I did here. Follow up post is in the works…images

 

  1. Move!
    • Seems simple, but activity has proven to excite the brain in areas related to creativity independent of mood. You can read the study here. According to the research, the study’s result show that exercise helped to improve mood in participants and also creativity independently. This is good news for folks who want to get out of “creative blocks”. My suggestion? Get up and walk around when you’re feeling a block on the creative flow. I’m actually hosting a clinic specifically designed to address inspiring artistic creativity through movement in Calgary. If you’re in town, check it out here! If not, that’s cool. Here’s the best warm up for getting some creative flow! Unknown-1
  2. Journal!

    Oftentimes I feel like garbage at the end of the day. I feel as though I haven’t done anything at all. Have you even been there? There is a really easy way to track how productive you have been. Keep a journal and just close the day down with some thoughts and points of the things you did. Over time you’ll start to see how (un) productive you were… that way, you can manage it. For most people, we don’t track things so while we think we’re doing productive things, we really aren’t. If you see this trend, you can work towards improving upon it. We can’t manage what we’re not tracking, right? So give yourself a chance. I also found it amazing how easy things came to me when I wrote them down as goals and took behaviours that’d be intentional toward accomplishing them. I compiled it all into a workbook journal to help others get their shit together. I am officially releasing it this May in Toronto at Canadian Music Week. If you’d like an advance copy, just let me know.  mike@mikeschwartz.ca

There you have it. Three cool little tricks of the trade for you to keep up the creative flow. For those of you that are into reading, my favourite book ever for crushing the creative roadblocks is called “The War of Art”Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles by Steven Pressfield. Get it.

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Ok my friends. I’m out of here for now. I’m going to keep up the post per day to see what topics and time stick for the remainder of this week. I’m working through some things and have some exciting news to post about in due time, but until then… I hope your day or night is great.

Ciao,

M

I sound like a broken record when it comes to this cliche. But it’s a truth I’ve been realizing is more and more prevalent amongst the – and I’m going to take some heat for this one…- millennial crowd of the modern day workforce.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but is there a certain level of entitlement associated with the modern workforce nowadays? I feel like folks walk in fresh out of school expecting to land the job of their dreams and skip ahead of the rest of their peers based purely off of what texts they studied in ______________ bullshit university. It’s ridiculous. Especially in my field; health and wellness. You don’t just come out of kines and become the world’s greatest gift to fitness.

That’s what I want to speak to. From the perspective of both sides, us as wellness professionals and also the consumers of wellness, which is in theory, everyone (or at least in a perfect world it should be).

First; Wellness Professionals. 

Sure, you studied under ______________, the best homie in the business. You know how many years it took him or her to get to that position? Exactly. So, how are you even close? Earn your stripes. Imagine what your grandma would say! There is still a pecking order and good thing. Here’s why:

I can still walk into any fitness facility and pick out the newbie trainers. They’re the ones that gloat about how they murdered their client, a 35 year old mother of two with a vicious leg day that left them at the mercy of their power trip.

I can hear it now… poor Becky crawling out the front doors… and her ironfisted Personal Trainer shouting something like: “Hey! Do you think you’re walking to your car? You thought the work out was done? Ten more lunges. Finish strong. I wanna see you drag these sleds to your car before you go anywhere!”

I mean that’s grossly exaggerated, but it’s kinda scary how accurate that situation is. I’ll be sitting in a lunch room of a facility where us trainers converse – kind of like a watering hole – and you’d never believe he absurdity of some of those conversations.

Yeah I get it, a good workout can mean crippling your paying customers. But it can also mean knowing when not to do that. Listening to their words, watching their body language and not being so stuck on proving how awesome you are that you missed the 13 signs before said customer passed out because you didn’t think to ask if they had breakfast before they started sprinting, swinging kettle bells and kipping into burpees for time on that sick AMRAP, bro… (who else is envisioning a CrossFit box nightmare?). It’s simple, right? Then why the hell do we still see it?

Serisously, what’s the hang up? Do these people just not care?

I’d argue, yes… there’s some people out there that get into the business to fill their ego. These people are also the typical injury-prone athletes that maintain the “no pain, no gain” mantra that should have died with the dinosaurs (technically I guess they’re still alive…). But really, if you think like this, you’re going to hurt someone. It’s completely ridiculous. Know when to work in. Know when to work out. End of story. Pay attention to the people that are paying you, and stop pumping your ego.

Leave the Ego, learn the Confidence.

Why am I saying this from up atop a perch, a roost if you will –  of pure pedastilia? (yes I just made that word up)

I’ve been that guy. I was the guy that thought I had to break everyone in front of me. Why? Because as an athlete it’s all I knew training was. Then I got schooled by yoga. Then I got interested in other modalities that teach you how much more effective breathing patterns can be if you use them correctly. I learned how to come out of a “workout” feeling energized, not drained. I travelled to take courses. I went out of my way to incorporate everything I learned into my own practice before guinea pigging people that were paying for my professional services. I put the time in. Now, not to brag, ’cause holy hell I still have a long ways to go… but I am a perpetual student. I can’t wait for the day I get my Registered Yoga Teacher Training Certificate. I can’t wait to get another C.H.E.K certification. I am always on the prowl for new ways of thinking, moving and inspiring others to do the same. I have put in a dozen years and plan on putting another few dozen in. Knowledge is power when shared. And I wanna learn it all.

So that’s why I feel as though we need to get back to an expectation that all of this takes time. I mean, if we’re teaching Lifestyle changes, let’s implement that same, long game strategy, right?

All of the above was only half of my time in the industry. You know, you hit a wall and see that you don’t know everything.. you get schooled. You eat a little pride, pick yourself up and look at it from one of two perspectives. Victim or ownership.

Ownership: Own Your Shit.

Owning or blaming? It’s easy to put the blame on externals, “The wind took the ball… I didn’t have my lucky shorts… my dog had a bad case of the hiccups…” (the last one is pretty true, Darwin gets these wicked little hiccup bursts after he wolfs down his food sometimes…) But really, think about the last situation that wasn’t favourable for you. Now, how was that outcome entirely your fault? I know, right? Tough to own it. But seriously, try that exercise out. It’s freeing.

As far as consumers of health and wellness go, the story is the same. However, in my experience I have found that most often it’s not that (especially the music industry) folks don’t want to get healthy, they just don’t know how, or where to start.

That’s where we, health professionals need to step up our game. Let’s educate and inform and give tools, resources and empowerment in the hands of the rest of the world that’s looking for answers.

I’m a part of a really sweet industry panel for Alberta Music next Wednesday night in Calgary.

It’s free for everyone. If you feel like donating, proceeds will go to the Unison Benevolent Fund, Amanda Power the Executive Director of Unison will be on the panel taking questions and providing her insight alongside myself, so if you’re in town, musician or not – free education. Check the event out here: Download YYC: Mental and Physical Wellbeing in the Music Industry

Feel free to comment, send me an email or get in touch on any of the socials if you’d like more info on anything to do with health and wellness.

I truly believe if you’re still reading this, you do care, and I’d like to remove the obstacles that kept you from being the most rad version of yourself in the past. You got see how awesome being healthy, happy and your best self truly is. But it starts with you.

‘Til next time,

Stay sweet!Untitled design-15

It’s so true.

Authenticity is just what the doctor ordered when it comes to the mindset of this young singer, songwriter and vocal coach hailing from Calgary, AB. My dear friend, Lisa Anderson is the epitome of finding and embracing one’s true identity.
Having been given the opportunity to work with her to help her achieve her health and fitness goals AND having the pleasure of creating music with her from behind the drum set, I can say in confidence that Lisa is leaps and bounds beyond her peers as far as the world of genuine artistry goes.

Please take a listen to our conversation as my latest Podcast is up and live.lisa-anderson

We hit areas of community, authenticity and of course delve into her very exciting 2017, with all the events planned for a fall release of her hotly anticipated second full-length album.

I’m holding an open request for submissions for all musicians and music industry professionals interested in bettering their lifestyle, or at least reading about it.

Basically I’m looking for an honest review, unbiased and constructive on my upcoming book – ” The Musicians Guide to Surviving the Rock Star Lifestyle” (available for pre-order here) from my immediate circle of influence. You know? People that don’t know me and won’t just say what I want to hear. I want to have a critical review from leaders in the industry; musicians, songwriters, producers, stage hands, tour managers, label reps… the works. Everyone who is anyone in the business that wants to know how to better themselves in the ways of movement, nutrition and mindset to elevate their performance.

Why? Well, this book is a passion project for me. I’m aiming to better the lifestyle of my fellow industry professionals and weekend warriors alike. If we can bring some general awareness towards the importance of health and how it relates to elite performance on and off-stage, I will be able to help more people that need my specific attention. We are trying to spearhead a health movement in an industry that has a reputation for exactly the opposite. You can be a part of this and help to remove that stigma. 

For anyone that provides a review I will gladly offer $100 worth of my services exercise or nutrition and provide you with a copy of the finished product.

This is bigger than you and me, people. Let’s help make you the best version of yourself.

Use the contact form to get in touch and I’ll send you the PDF

 

Chat soon!

Coach

It’s insane to think we are where we are. This group, The Sweets have something really special. 

Tonight we get to showcase our sound, our look, our stuff in front of a packed house at The Nite Owl, here in Calgary. Great venue, great vibe and in last night was any indication – tonight will be a huge step for our musical careers. 

I’m very excited to be a part of this experience with three of the most unsuspecting best friends in my life. 

Goes to show… Persistence is king. I’m a lucky man, but I earned this one. Hard work = luck. 

Can’t wait to play some rock and roll music for y’all tonight. Tickets are still available, check out JUNOfest.ca or visit http://www.ticketfly.com/purchase/mobile/index/1114235

Check out our video for “wild” the title track from our upcoming EP. 

http://youtu.be/H_jWr57ILzg

www.wearethesweets.com