Sunday Studio Session #2

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Today marks the second Sunday that TOPSHELF and I got together to make a track in his studio. And man it is a ton of fun but it is also a ton of work. This week we are working on finishing up the song from last week. Tweaking some lyrics, some deliveries, changing the beat, etc. Just cleaning it up and making more of a finished product.

I can say that I know understand what it is like for musicians when they make a song but they have to keep working on it because it isn’t perfect. That is exactly how I feel with my raps and the song write now. I honestly am very proud of what we have done so far, especially with my rapping, because this is the first track I have ever recorded.

Factoring that, I think it is really good.

But I have to remember that this is really the first thing I have ever recorded. And as such, it is not going to be anywhere perfect. It would be absolutely ridiculous to assume that it should be. And also really arrogant too. Namely, that I could just come in and make a rap and make it supposedly perfect without ever doing it before.

Yeah, no. That’s just not how it works.

Just like my twitch stream, my past and current jobs, school, and everything else, it takes time to get any good at what you do. Sure, you might have talent that is obvious when you start out and that it is clear that you can be really stellar at something in the future, but no matter what you need to put in some work.

Nothing happens instantly.

And that is totally okay, but that is just how life goes. Life is all about progression. As long as your craft is improving then that is a good sign. However, if it isn’t getting any better then that might be a cause for worry.

But, I think will keep getting better. In fact, I can already see how much better my raps are this week prior to last. My voice exudes so much more confidence than it did last week so I am quite excited to see where it will be a in a few weeks and then a few months. Especially when it comes to breath control. That is proving to be the hardest part. After you rap a lot of bars I start to get out of breath and then it gets so much harder to finish the track, or even sound good. And on top of that TOPSHELF always wants two takes from me when he records me rap, so after I finish the whole song then I need to do it again.

And I purposely record the whole song in one take. I want to make sure that I can rap the whole song to my twitch show live. Using studio magic is really good at times, but at other times it can be really bad because if I rap all my verses seperately where I have full breath before each verse, it is going to come out perfect and fast on the sound file, but when I perform it for my show or live then I won’t be able to do that.

And fuck that. If I record something I am damn going to make sure I can spit the whole thing live.

And if I can’t do that, then I won’t record it. In my opinion this is where real rap skill is, and if you cheat here, you cannot say you are a good rapper. I would rather not have as crazy raps but be able to say that I am being real then have it the other way around.

After all, rapping is probably one of the, if not the most pre-eminement, music genre that is all about live performance. After all, when you rap you are only using your voice. No instruments necessary etc. So in my opinion, if you want to say you are a really great rapper you should be able to spit live everything you record in the same manner.

With that said, I am extremely excited to see where this all goes. TOPSHELF and I are committed to meeting on Sundays and making a track a week so that we can bring it to not only the stream, but also to SoundCloud. At the very least this stuff will make the show much more fun, but who knows maybe it could get more popular, and if it does then that is just awesome for both of us!

But, we cannot predict the future, so we surely aren’t getting ahead of ourselves, but rather working on having a good time and improving our crafts, me as rapper so I can be a better entertainer for my twitch stream, and he so that he build his resume as a music producer and get his name out there to work with other artists as well.

And this track has really gotten better from last week. It is much more polished. The beat has been tweaked to be harder and as TOPSHELF says,

“more icey.”

Yeah that’s right, icey. (Because we are so cold.)

 

Well, I was originally going to post the track tonight, but in the end we changed some things up and it’s not quite finished. We have a much better track but there are too many things that just aren’t polished enough for me to post the link. But when, I do post it you will be able to listen to it at the Soundcloud below.

Soundcloud.com/countandtopshelf

So sorry! I wanted to have it done today, but that’s just how it goes sometimes. I would like to have posted it, but I would rather wait and then release something that is a bit more polished. I need to practice the new raps so I flow better. There are a few lyrical stumbles in the current track I have so I need to work on those before I’m comfortable posting it.

I will have it by next Sunday though, that is guaranteed. Thanks again for reading.

 

Keep Smiling,

Count

Putting in Work

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As this year will soon mark my 4th year as a twitch streamer, I have been telling people in my stream that I now am a “senior streamer” as if it was my 4th year in high school or something. As such, I also have been telling my channel that I am not interested in making the mistakes of the past. Namely, pigeon-holing my channel into viewership based on one game.

To combat this I started playing multiple games on my stream. Call of Duty, Counter-Strike, Rainbow Six Siege, Rust, and others. But what I have realized is that Rainbow Six Siege is by far my best game to stream. I have many people come in to watch and hang out that otherwise do not enter the stream.

So that got me thinking.

I will do a sort of compromise. I will start my streams off with Rainbow Six Siege and play the game for however long I feel until I am getting tired of it (so as to not get sick of the game) and this way I will be able to satisfy my fans by giving them what they want, but also then get my stream rolling so that when I transfer over to another game later in the show I will already have my viewers.

I guess you could say it is a sort of trick.

But hear me out! It really isn’t as sinister as it sounds. Truthfully people watch twitch streamers for who they are, not so much the games the play. However, this is not to say that most people do not click on a show to see a game in the first place. So by playing the game most of my fans are looking for, but then by switching to another game later, lots of them will stay. Now, they might not have decided to come in at the beginning as I was not playing what they wanted, but now that they are watching they are content with my entertainment; which more or less stays static even though I play different games.

Thus, many fans continue to chill in the channel and have a good time watching me play a new game. In fact many fans of mine don’t even really watch. They just listen to me like a radio, so especially in that case the fact that I am switching games does not really matter.

But the point that I realized and that I writing here about is that I need to put some more work into my show. Just like at my day job where there lots of mundane tasks that are not fun but need to be done because they make the job work, so too did I understand that playing Rainbow Six Siege simply is the game that makes my stream work the best.

Thus, I really need to play it a little bit every single night.

Now, I am not going to burn myself out and get too sick of it like I did last year when I was playing 6-8 hours of Rainbow Six Siege every day. That was just way too much. But, I need to meet somewhere in the middle. Not play the game so much I hate it, but play it a little bit so that the majority of my viewers are happy.

So that is it, time to put in some more work and put a new level of dedication to Rainbow Six Siege as my main game for the show. I also think it would be better for the stream if there really is one game that I am extremely good at. Now my stream nows me when I say that my show is not about video games, and that is still something I largely believe to be true, but alas I am on twitch, and there is absolutely no way it would hurt to have one game that I am exceptional at.

I can’t be amazing at all video games, but I think it would be smart to be at least really good at one of them. And when it comes to Rainbow Six Siege I already have demonstrated that I can play at a very high skill level, so now it just takes time for me to play smart, study up, and get that skill back and then some.

Besides, it’s time to make some more highlights anyways.

 

See you in the chat, and keep smiling,

Nolan

In his footsteps

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When my Dad was young he worked for the Gilette company in the 1970s. He was hired in their pen division and he was a salesman. He would travel from store to store with the goal of creating new accounts and selling pens. My father quickly showed his prowess in the field and rose through the ranks to quickly becoming a top regional salesman.

Eventually there was the annual meeting where the company would announce new promotions and what was happening in the company. My dad attended the event thinking nothing new would be pertaining to him, but then it did. It was announced that he was the new Sales Training Representative for Gilette:

For the entire country.

This was a big fucking deal. My dad new he was good, but he could not believe he had gotten the job.

He was only 26.

He was the youngest sales training representative that the Gilette company had ever had, and my a long margin. Soon after around a dozen seasoned employees quit the company.  They had been working at Gilette for over 10+ years and they had so desperately worked and wanted my father’s new position but alas it was to no avail; he got the job. And worse for them, he was so young he could have conceivably held it for the rest of his life.

But my dad didn’t, he decided to quit shortly after. For a couple reasons. First, all those people that quit had friends in the company and while my dad did absolutely nothing other than do a fantastic job and earn that promotion, people despised him as he was the reason their friends had left the company.

The second reason is more important. My Dad had encountered a man who owned his own store in Texas. My dad sold a good amount of merchandise to him, and the man really liked my dad. He mentioned to him one time that my dad was there that he did not see my dad remaining with the company. He told him that he was the type of man that ran his own business. He didn’t need to be told what to do, he would do what he wanted to do and he would take care of it.

My dad decided to follow suit. He abdicated his position and he took his knowledge of the pen business, and his nice gift pen pictured above that the company had given him prior, onward to his new life.

My dad then proceeded to live the American dream selling pens out of the back of a van: self-employed.

The first few years were tough, he didn’t make that much money, and at the beginning he moved back in with his parents. But quickly no one was laughing. My dad was killing it. He made more money than he knew what to do with and further since he was his own boss he did what he wanted with it. So what did he spend it on?

Well at one time my dad owned a corvette, a Lincoln, a small plane which he also became an instrument rated pilot with, a boat, and more. He lived the life. He found a way to make a living doing something that he was good at which he enjoyed but he found time in the days to make room for things that he wanted to pursue.

Then later on in life he met my mother, the two of them had me, and then the next chapter began.

It was about a year and a half ago before I moved back down to Los Angeles that my dad gave me his pen. And it means so much to me, because I am working to follow in his footsteps. Now I took a different route than my father. I went on to college, then I got my Masters Degree in D.C., I started a successful business with my parents, and then I worked in my own jobs in politics and sales.

But I wanted something more. And I wanted to be my own boss. And coincidentally, I too am 26.

So I said, like my dad, fuck it.

Time to quit and work on my own dream. And that is where I am at now. Blogging every morning, working at a local business every day, and then streaming every night. I keep myself busy and view this time in my life as the time to risk it and while I know that these few years are going to be bitter, full of work, and potentially uneventful; I have a high degree of belief that those years that come after are going to be much different.

Cheers to my father, for not just giving me such good support and for believing in me, but for inspiring me by showing me that it is truly possible to live the American Dream.

He did it, so I know I can too.

 

Keep Smiling,

Nolan

Sometimes there is no time

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Today has been non-stop. Last night I streamed two and a half hours over my normal time. It was two in the morning by the time I was done. And even worse, I was so wired it was hard to fall asleep. It’s all good though, sometimes that can be a great problem to have. The really is doing well, I am very pleased with what is happening so far.

But today I got up so late. I woke up, shaved, showered and rushed to work. Once at work I just got on the normal grind taking care of accounting and other mundane but necessary tasks to the business. Finally as the day neared its end I rushed over to a local cafe to meet with Tyler so we could work on the rap.

And it’s looking good guys, get ready for Sunday night.

But then I realized I hadn’t even blogged today. Crap, I need to write. Currently, Tyler is writing his own music while I type this up. After I am done with this post, then its back to the lab and we are going to continue working on our music.

Especially since I have been getting back into rap and rapping I have been listening to some new songs. A recent favorite of mine is “Nonstop” by Drake. And because this just embodies to me my work ethic right now. My life is literally nonstop. I wake up, go to work, take care of other work in between work and my show, and then I do my show.

That’s it. Almost every day. Occasionally I get a Saturday off and at least I get Sunday’s off. But that is only my day job, I never take a break with my twitch.

But this, is what I want.

I am extremely excited for this year because I have made the decision to go nonstop. And when this year is over I want to look back on it and say to myself that I made the right decision. And further, I want my friends, family, and my fans to look back on it and agree.

I suggested to Tyler that he do twitch streaming for about an hour every single day. He responded,

“yeah but that is a lot of work.”

I said, fuck yeah it is. It’s work. Look at what I’m doing right now. And right now he is looking over my shoulder as I type about him. Good. It’s time to work this year. We no longer have the time to waste time. So now its time to use our time.

My apologies though for writing this so late, I really need to get my blogs done in the morning. This way they aren’t rushed, because I hate comprising my blogs quality and when I have to fit it into a super packed window I can’t help but have this happen.

So I appreciate everyone bearing with me tonight on the flippancy of this post, I promise something better tomorrow.

Anyway, its back to working nonstop.

 

Keep Smiling,

Nolan