Remember Little Richard

Remember Little Richard

Let’s not overlook Little Richard.

I first heard his music years ago at a Johnny Rockets in Atlanta and thought  – who is that?!

CNN’s documentary “Little Richard: I Am Everything” features Little Richard’s life story and his contributions to music as an innovative artist and cultural forerunner.

The film captures Little Richard’s captivating performances, percussive piano style and preacher’s swagger, and interviews from relatives, bandmates, lovers, and celebrities he influenced, such as Mick Jagger and Paul McCartney.

The documentary highlights Little Richard’s role in breaking boundaries in music by bringing together Black and white fans despite segregation laws and disapproving adults and his struggles with religion and his sexuality.

Little Richard broke down racial barriers in the music industry, particularly during a time of widespread segregation and discrimination. His success and impact as an African American artist challenged societal norms and opened doors for future generations.

Little Richard’s energetic and flamboyant performances, combined with his unique vocal style, marked a departure from the more conservative music of the time. His groundbreaking hits like “Tutti Frutti,” “Good Golly Miss Molly,” and “Long Tall Sally” demonstrated his raw talent and helped define the genre of rock and roll.

Overall, the film is a worthy tribute that explores the remarkable life of Little Richard who always struggled to liberate himself despite liberating others with his music and culture.

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#musicmonday #creativeeconomy #portfoliocareer #music

7 things to do in Little Rock

7 things to do in Little Rock

I had a fun and low key time in Little Rock. I grew up hearing about the Arkansas as Bill Clinton campaigned for the presidency.

I boiled everything down to 7 things you should probably do.

1. William J. Clinton Library and Museum

The museum is adjacent Arkansas River and the shaped like a bridge, a reference to Bill Clinton’s theme for his presidency: “Bridge to the 21st Century.” There’s a pedestrian bridge that I walked on that takes you to the other side of the river. You’ll get a nice view of the Little Rock skyline, too.

As soon as you walk into the museum, you’ll feel the openness, big windows, and sunshine. Greeting you is the gift store and presidential limousine. There were only a few people at the museum, so it felt like I had the whole place to myself. The main exhibit is modeled after Trinity College Library in Dublin. You’ll see stacks of blue binders everywhere, which represent a small percentage of the entire archive in the collection.


  • Orientation video narrated by President Clinton
  • Full replica of his Oval Office where you can sit at the desk and get a picture
  • Cabinet room with the long table and chairs
  • Clinton’s saxophones
  • State Dinner invitations, menus like the one the Clintons hosted for Václav Havel (the last President of Czechoslovakia) and his wife
  • Congressional Gold Medals for the Little Rock Nine
  • Metrics! Clinton showcases how many metrics improved during the 1990s like the number of democracies, fewer nuclear warheads, increased trade volume
  • Every year of his presidency has a large panel that shows what was going on in world events as well as his key accomplishments. For example, 1993 has a picture of Michael Jordan drenched in champagne as well as NAFTA being signed.
  • Some family history: I found the President’s itinerary for a trip he took to the Middle East on which my father joined him.
  • Other key achievements: Good Friday Agreement signed in Northern Ireland, Minimum wage increased, Dayton Peace Accord Signed, Welfare reform enacted.
  • Facing the panels are thematic coves where discrete topics are explored like Science and Technology, The Fight For Power (which examines Clinton’s impeachment).
  • Exhibits that extol Hillary Clinton’s work as First Lady and Al Gore as Vice President.


2. Central High School

This school was forced to desegregate in 1957 after a Supreme Court ruling. Nine black students that are known as the “Little Rock Nine” were not allowed to enter the school. The confrontation squared Governor Orval Faubus of Arkansas against President Dwight Eisenhower. The school is now a National Historic Landmark.

Schedule a tour and park at the visitor center or nearby. The school is majestic and has a reflection pool, with two staircases leading up to the main entrance area.

Across the street from the visitor center is a tranquil commemorative garden.

3. State Capitol

The Capitol Building is august and beautiful. It’s at the end of Capitol Street and there’s a large, grassy green mall in front of it. The building looks similar to the US Capitol. In fact, TV and filmmakers have used this building as a stand-in for the US capitol.

4. Old State House

If you want to learn about Arkansas political history, check out this museum.

It’s the original state capitol building with exhibits such as the “1836 House of Representatives Chamber” and “First Ladies of Arkansas: Women of Their Times.”

5. The Capital Hotel

Probably the nicest hotel in town. Two restaurants: Capital Bar & Grill, One Eleven.

I went to the bar & grill and ordered what the waiter recommended: Brussels sprouts, shrimp & grits, banana pudding. All pretty good.

Go to the second floor mezzanine and chill on the balcony that overlooks West Markham Street.

6. West Markham Street

Amble down this street to get a sense of the city’s vibe. Plenty of cafes, restaurants, people-watching.

7. Restaurants

These restaurants were recommended to me but I wasn’t able to try them:

On NPR’s Tiny Desk concerts

On NPR’s Tiny Desk concerts

NPR‘s Tiny Desk concerts have gone mainstream.

The Tiny Desk concert series has become a platform for pop artists to showcase their in-the-room musical skills and assert their performing prowess. Pop artists, such as Post Malone and Usher, use Tiny Desk performances to demonstrate their talent without lavish stage production and to reach a wide audience.

The format of the Tiny Desk series, with its focus on acoustic instruments and live performance, allows pop stars to present themselves as genre-transcending and authentic.

However, there are perils in this hybridity, as some performances may reveal a lack of depth and commitment to specific musical styles, causing songs to lose meaning and sound hollow.

I personally like the tiny desk concerts (see pictured) that feature jazz musicians. Bring the jazz club to the office…

When I hear people rave about Tiny Desk concerts, I encourage them to visit a local jazz club. There is intimacy and beauty when music is experienced in a small venue. Two of my favorites: Village Vanguard & Birdland – both in NYC.

Whenever we have a signature jazz music release, we like checking to see if Tiny Desk is interested in featuring the artist in a concert. In recent years, it’s gotten more difficult for indie artists to get booked. But I do appreciate how NPR does try to showcase different voices on its platform.

Bob Boilen, the creator of Tiny Desk, recently announced he’s leaving NPR in search of “new challenges.” Here’s hoping Tiny Desk remains committed to artists of sundry backgrounds. And that independent artists can still be featured in this charming corner of the Internet.

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#musicmonday #creatoreconomy #portfoliocareer

On NPR’s Tiny Desk concerts

Has TikTok killed the music video star?

Has TikTok killed the music video star? Pretty much.

Artists are shifting their focus from full-length music videos to short-form content on platforms like TikTok and YouTube Shorts.

Two key points:

1. Traditional music videos are losing their impact as attention has shifted to bite-sized vertical clips on platforms like TikTok. It used to be (~10 years ago) that an artist *had* to release a music video to separate from the pack. It’s what helped to separate the professional artist from the hobbyist. You’d make this fancy video, and then you’d “shop” it to various periodicals (BillboardRolling Stone) to see if they would premiere the video.

The rise of TikTok and YouTube Shorts has significantly lowered the barrier to creativity and expression for artists. This benefits independent artists/labels who don’t have big budgets to support releases.

The record label that I lead will have >100 releases this year. But maybe just 5 full music videos. Instead, our artists opt for short-form content. Sticky, quick content that will make TikTok’s for you page (FYP).

2. Investing in short clips instead of full-length music videos allows for more content, frequent engagement with fans, and a better understanding of what resonates before investing in a full video. With TikTok and YouTube shorts, artists can target specific audiences with a video, so there’s greater precision and the ability to achieve product/market fit.

Short-form videos are cheaper, easier to make, and you get more opportunities to see what’s going to resonate with the audience.

Let’s say an artist is readying to release her album.
Should she invest $50k in a full fledged music video?
Or $5k and make 10 quick 20 second videos?

It’s better to have options.

Produce. Distribute. See what sticks. Drive in that direction.

Another upshot from this trend is the impact on producers/directors of music videos. I know several who have moved away from this medium altogether to focus on advertisements, documentaries, films.

The long-form music video — as we know it — is a relic. Nice to have but not essential to breaking a track or artist.

Learn more ➡️

On NPR’s Tiny Desk concerts

On shorter songs

Have you ever noticed that songs these days are getting shorter?

Here comes the hook….

Here it comes again!

It’s no longer: Intro, Verse, Pre-chorus, Chorus, Verse…

Yep, songs today are getting shorter, with many under 2 minutes. This is a departure from the traditional 3-4 minute standard due to factors like attention span & evolving distribution priorities.

The historical limitation of vinyl records and radio’s focus on listener attention span played a role in shaping the length of songs. Shorter tracks with long intros & fades were preferred to keep the audience engaged.

Shorter songs have financial advantages as they pay out the same royalty rate as longer ones. This means that artists and labels can maximize royalties by encouraging repeated plays.

🎶: Short songs have become a trend in the music industry, but trends can change quickly….

I like me a good, long song:

  • Taylor Swift’s “All Too Well (10 Minute Version)”
  • Don McLean’s “American Pie.”
  • John Coltrane’s “My Favorite Things.”

Learn more ➡️

#musicmonday #music #creativeeconomy

On nu metal