Which Person Would You Talk To?

We’ll be getting to today’s post in just a second, but bear with me for a moment while I tell you a little story.

People always ask, “If there was one person you could have a conversation with, who would it be?” Well, there’s been someone I would’ve loved to sit down and talk to for a long time – nearly a decade, in fact.

This person caught my attention years ago with his creative words, his ability to reach out and touch people and his perseverance. (Oh, and he’s a fair hand with an acoustic guitar, too.)

His work and creative career stirred my curiosity. I could see the parallels and similarities between his life and my own – and that of writers, freelancers and bloggers everywhere.

So one day I decided enough is enough. Time to pursue that conversation.

Kevin ParentAnd today, we have something very special for you here at Men with Pens – please enjoy my interview on creative careers with Québecois singer/songwriter Kevin Parent.

Wait, what?! Did you just say, “Who the hell is Kevin Parent?” Wow. Okay, time for an update:

Kevin Parent is one of those English-French blends (like myself) from a small town in the Gaspé region of Québec who chose to pursue a creative career in 1995. He’s been working hard at it ever since, with albums in both languages and nearly 20 years of experience under his belt.

(Oh, here’s my favorite album, Compilation, and here’s another fav of mine, Fangless Wolf Facing Winter – in English!)

His latest self-titled album has been in the top ten for weeks, and he’s been jetting around for television appearances and popping into radio stations all across the land.

It was an honor to speak with him – and now I’d like to share that conversation with you.

You see, celebrity-stardom aside, Kevin Parent is just a guy who lived through many of the same struggles you’ve had (or are having), from pursuing a creative career to building an audience to despairing you won’t make it to rejoicing you will to contemplating giving it all up.

Here’s what he had to say about it all when we sat down to talk. Enjoy.

James:Those of us who make a living as creative professionals often have a really hard time finding a balance between our base needs and our creative selves. For example, you’ve mentioned that you want to be paid for what you do, for the hours that go into your work and exposing yourself so much to your fans. Do you see your work as more art, more business – or something in between? And how do you balance those two desires, art and money?

Kevin Parent: I embrace the business side. I get it over with, because you know what? A lot people out there want to be real, true artists and pure and blah blah blah. But yet, they’ll apply for a grant from the Conseil des Arts, and that’s taxpayers’ money paying for that.

If you really, really want to invest time into creativity, you have to have money coming in from somewhere. You can’t live on thin air.

I may as well put it right up front. “Okay, here’s a show. It’s $30 a pop. Come and see me, sit down and I’ll sing for you all night long – but I have to pay my bread and butter, and I want my kid to go to school.” You get it out of the way, and then you can be yourself and let the creative juice flow.

I have no problem picking up a cheque. I don’t feel guilty that I’m selling my soul. Not at all. No.

Many artists don’t just feel guilty about the paycheck, they feel insecure about putting their work out there at all. What do you say to people who want to be creative but are holding themselves back?

I think it’s good to be insecure. It’s good to question yourself. Not in an egocentric way, but to put your own barrier pretty high up there to make sure of your quality of standard and that you’re freely being honest with yourself.

It’s a big mirror, criticism. It’s a very big mirror. It doesn’t embellish. You see your lines, that you’re tired, you see your grey hairs… Everything is amplified. But when you experience that, I think it’s a great window of opportunity for change and evolution. I think it’s wholesome.

My main concern are the more frustrated authors or singers or songwriters who have public power and who are critics. THOSE are the ones that I’m scared of, because THOSE people can really help you or hurt you.

I understand that they’re filters. Their job is to keep the crop healthy and send away the bad weeds. That’s good.

But I think that’s where we take it personally, when somebody really nails at our work publicly.

Sometimes you really want to grab the guy by the neck and say, “You fucker. Go get laid, come on. This is frustration, this is not called for.“

Does it ever get easier to be publicly tested in that way? You’ve been in the spotlight for over 15 years – does it get better?”

No, you don’t, and it’s good that you don’t get used to it. It’s like stage stress, before walking up on a TV show or a big opening act. It’s good not to get used to it because if you do, you start taking it for granted.

People respond to humans. They don’t respond to machines. They want something to be spontaneous, to be lively, to be spicy. If it’s expected, well what’s the point? “Here’s another singer or here’s another article…” Where’s the spice?

I think the spice comes from not taking it for granted and always wanting to be competitive towards yourself. Not competitive, but you know, to…

Always ask more of yourself.

Yeah! And it’s good. I think that’s what we’re there for.

Many people take advantage of that openness on another level, which is to say we’ve all had trouble with copyright law and keeping our work our own. How do you deal with copyright infringements and people stealing your work?

It’s funny. It’s a contradiction in that we want to use the vehicle to promote ourselves, but that same vehicle is used for piracy. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander, you know? It’s complex, and at some point even incestuous.

Here’s a way to compare it. You kneel down on your knees, sow seeds in the ground, work for your crop to grow and then you harvest. Alright, you have a pound of carrots that you can sell for five bucks.

But for bloggers or singers or artists who have digital material, there’s no control. That’s very frustrating. I hope it’s just a phase, and I think we’re just in the “creux de la vague “.

We’re being very hypocritical about it. We want to seduce people, we want to be nice, we want people to like us. If we have that, we’ll have their respect. We try to be low key, we can’t burst out in anger… but we do have frustrations, and god knows our girlfriends and boyfriends and children suffer from that.

I think it’s even worse for bloggers or authors because readers aren’t attached to the person, they’re attached to his way of writing. It must be even more frustrating.

I don’t know what’s going to come out of it, but honestly, no bullshit, it makes me really think about going back to school and finding a real job. If I’m an electrician and work for three hours, then I get paid for my fucking three hours, you know?

You put a lot of yourself in your songs. They’re very intimate. Intimate stories, intimate lyrics, intimate scenarios. Is there a particular reason you do that?

No, that’s venting. That’s self-therapy more than anything else. It’s just a way of making a personal update. Not all my songs are that deep or introspective, but it’s important for me to do that. It’s about fan bases more than project per project, so people grow with you and they grow through you. And you grow through them. It’s generational. And you know, that’s good.

We writers tend to change over time and find our place in the world, our voice. Do feel the flavor of your music has changed over the years you’ve written songs?

I think I played it safe with my last album of eight years ago. I think my next album might have more anger in it, because anger can come from accumulation, from not being able to let it out.

In my personal life, I think I do express myself a bit better than I did. Before, when I hit emotions, I had to channel and catalyze. I had to sit down and say, “Okay, let me get this right. What word could I use to say this? How am I feeling right now?” And I would vent through writing.

Today, if something aggravates me or pisses me off, I voice it. I don’t have to write it. I don’t accumulate as much, and I think my work is affected by that. My certain zenness or happiness or fluidity in my day-to-day life influences my work for sure.

Elizabeth Gilbert, who wrote a book called Eat, Pray Love, once gave a TED speech that suggested creative people are pretty emotionally twisted. Do you think that’s true?

Definitely. I do believe that, and I don’t know why we do that. If there’s a nice paved road, I might take the detour that has thorns and bumps in it just for the fun of seeing how I’m going to get out of here.

If I imagine someone said to me, “Kevin, thank you very much for your services. It’s been a pleasure working with you, but we no longer need you. Here’s your retirement cheque, go build your house, put in a pool, and stay with your girlfriend for the rest of your life,” then I would probably kill myself.

[laughs] You wouldn’t be very happy, eh?

I wouldn’t know how to do that! Stability and emotional stability is something that is unknown. It’s freaky! I need a week, a month, but… It really saddens me, profoundly saddens me, and I’m unhappy to think of that.

I have to keep things going. I have to look out for others. I have to get in there. I gotta get back in the game. I have to be active. I have to be helping somebody else or asking somebody to help me or getting something done.

I have done that – I’ve walked through street after street in a snowstorm, looking for somebody who needs a push!

And yet, you’ve mentioned often, in your songs, in your interviews, that you feel a strong pull to recharge your batteries. Why is this quiet time so important to you?

I get fed up of seeing the same faces. I think it’s good to change, to reconnect and adapt to whatever environment you fall into.

There’s this contradiction that’s really part of us. Just look at our environment: nighttime, no sun, the moon. Daytime, the sun, no moon.

I find that even in a living environment, it’s also good and healthy to both stabilize yourself and then just change. “Okay, this pillow is different. Okay, this bed is like that.”

People tend to be caught up in their own personal image and their persona, and they forget that the water they’re drinking, the food that’s on their table or the table itself comes from elsewhere. When I reconnect with that source, I have a better understanding and a better respect of things in general.

Creative people often have sudden bursts of inspiration, and they often happen at the worst moments – when you’re in the shower, when you’re in the car, in the middle of the night… when do they happen to you?

Right before I wake up in the morning. Oh yeah, right before you open your eyes and your conscious kicks in, that cusp right there. It’s like, “Oooh, I have a symphony in my head and my god are my phrases fluid and connected and I’m so in awe with nature and life and the universe… Oh. Okay, I think I’m sleeping. I don’t think I have the energy to write it down.” It goes so fast, you can’t grasp it!

And when you do get up, then you think. Then your analytic brain kicks in, and you have so many distractions that you just lose that purity.

I think that when we’re writing, we’re trying to emulate that, trying to synthesize the purity we know we don’t have. But we know it does exist. And it’s kind of tough to… You know, if I could ….

Just grasp that moment, eh?

Yeah! Just once in a while…

I find I have those moments as well, and if you’re not right there with the pen or the keyboard, then you’ve lost it. And it feels like you’ve lost it forever.

I know!

And it’s kind of sad.

Yeah, but that’s our ego. That’s because we want to say, “Oh, I got it!! Heeyyy, I got it!”

To compare, think as if there’s a few canoes in the river, and the question is, who’s going to catch that salmon? Who’s gonna pull it… “Heeeyy, I got one! Heeeyyy, look at m-… Ahhh I lost it, ahhhh…”

A lot of people fish. Not everybody’s lucky, but the fish are there, and the fish will always be there. They always were there. It’s just a question of luck and of sharing, to each our turn. It all evens out at the end.

You know, some people are really lucky at catching those fish… but they have such twisted lives that it’s like, “Oh, keep it.”

You recently wrote in a medium that’s probably more familiar to our readers: an article about your home in Miguasha that was published in National Geographic Traveler as one of the world’s 50 destinations of a lifetime. That’s pretty impressive!

Well, my agent called me up and asked if I wanted to do that, and I said yes… but I didn’t really know what it was. So I didn’t have the pressure.

If I would’ve realized what we were talking about, I would’ve probably asked for help from others in trying to be clever and sly… But I didn’t, so I’m glad for that. It came from my heart.

My pride was that not many people from my hometown read it, but the people who did felt that it was a great token of appreciation for the region and that it can even help for economical reasons, for tourism.

For environmental purposes, it can be a tool, too, an added, “Okay guys. Don’t forget this nuclear uranium waste dump that you fuckers want to put in Bathhurst, New Brunswick on the Baie des Chaleurs, which is protected by UNESCO.”

You use your work to speak out on things that you feel are unjust, don’t you?

I try! You know, what’s the goal? To be alive, to be out there, to be in contact with people… I don’t write songs just for the purpose of packing time or to furnish empty spaces. I don’t write music for that. I want to write songs that mean something and at least have voice and opinion.

Just art for the beauty? That’s not for me.

How different was it for you to write that article versus writing a song?

I think it was pretty much the same. On my last album, there’s a song called Mon Pays, which is a song of hope I wrote to translate a portrait of how I see through my eyes, how I see my home town. It was good for me to reflect on family and my past, but it was more nostalgic for me to write that article than it was for me to write this song.

Plus, I was writing for people that I don’t think knew who I was, so there was a certain freedom in that. They had no concept of the person writing.

Is it nice to have that pressure off-…

It’s beautiful!

Writers and artists and bloggers often have times when they have to talk to themselves and say, “Don’t give up.” Can you tell me about one of those moments, for you?

Actually, it’s every morning when I wake up. I say thank you, every time… (sigh)…

That’s a tough one, isn’t it?

It is, but… I don’t really know what keeps me going. When I think of my family, that helps a lot. But if not…

You know, writing a song is like paying bills. You get fed up of seeing the bills and the invoices come in and once it’s paid, you feel good about it. You feel… better after. You feel accomplished. The desire of feeling accomplished is what stimulates me to stay alive.

Bloggers and writers have some rigid schedules they have to follow. On our blog, for example, we write three times a week, regularly, religiously. Do you ever burn out?

Yeah, you know what? I’d rather keep it spontaneous. For me, it’s like sex. Same thing. If I have to have it at certain hours in a certain part of the routine, forget about it. I’d rather not do it often, and when I do it, I mean it!

Many of our writers and readers feel it’s a struggle to convince their family that a creative career is a good choice. How supportive of your career choice have your friends and family been… especially during the tough times?

Mm. That’s a good question. I quit school because I wanted to write songs. But I had writing grants that helped me. They’re tough to get, but when you can get one or two, you get a bit of recognition from your friends and family who say, “Oh! Well, that’s good…! You got a grant?”

But you’re still on your own until you make something sustainable that’s worthwhile.

Did anybody ever suggest you give up your dream?

Oh, totally. In the beginning, I remember… [laughs] This guy, this guitar player… I wanted to ask him to gig with me. I didn’t even have time to open my mouth! He said, “Kevin, forget about it. Get a real job.” I could see the frustration and the lines on his face and the deception and all of the downsides.

But I think that when you’re true to yourself and you don’t bullshit yourself, fuck ‘em. You gotta do what you gotta to do. It’s like swimming across the lake. If you stop swimming, you’re gonna drown.

But you know… I honestly think sometimes of returning to school and getting a real job.

What job would you take up?

I don’t know. Probably something that gives me the same quality of life, the same balance – even pruning trees. I’d like to do something where I can stay in contact with the public, but have someone say, “Okay, 50 hours? Here’s your cheque.” I’d love that. But… that’s not the way it works.

At the end of the day, I think that there’s a certain beauty and reward of being able to take the pen and put down how you feel, to feel alive through lines. There are people out there who are happy to read you or get pissed off or have a reaction. We exist through writing, and that’s part of the reward.

On my deathbed, maybe I’m going to be glad that at least I gave it a shot. At least I cared. At least life meant something to me and I expressed it.

Because what you write down will live on, and there’s a beauty in sharing and of making part of history, even if it’s a little drop in the ocean. We’re making history when we write. It’s archives, it’s passing it on to another generation.

So it’s worth it to you.

It is. I think so. I do think so. But like I say, “Je peux pas parler pour les autres.” I can only speak for myself.

I just have one more question for you before you go… What’s the one question you’ve always been wanted to be asked?

That’s a tough one…

I really feel that a lot of people just don’t listen. For me, it’s not a particular question. If a question is linked to the present moment and there’s follow-up and interest on the follow-up, I think there are no wrong questions. They’re all good.

But I think there’s a lot of space-filling in what we do – at least, in what I do. And that saddens me a bit too. I feel that sometimes there’s this great, great opportunity to go deeper into certain subjects and to get to know somebody at a deeper level that would be even more comforting for a lot of people.

So whatever little snippets that I can pick up, or if I can find a little window that I can fit in, or reach out and create bonds with other people, I cherish those moments.

Thanks for the conversation, Kevin. Here’s to picking it up again soon.

Special thanks go to Éliane Lévesque of Tandem for her patience and assistance!

Post by James Chartrand

James Chartrand is an expert copywriter and the owner of Men with Pens and Damn Fine Words, the game-changing writing course for business owners. She loves the color blue, her kids, Nike sneakers and ice skating.

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  1. “Kevin Parent: I embrace the business side. I get it over with, because you know what? A lot people out there want to be real, true artists and pure and blah blah blah.”

    I love this. As soon as I read that my respect instantly increased for Kevin. Too many artists across all genres are focused on “art for the sake of art,” which I’ve always found interesting. After all, if nobody is willing to buy something it’s probably worthless.

    Solid interview guys! Nice to see team Quebec holding strong ;)

  2. “On my deathbed, maybe I’m going to be glad that at least I gave it a shot. At least I cared. At least life meant something to me and I expressed it.

    Because what you write down will live on, and there’s a beauty in sharing and of making part of history, even if it’s a little drop in the ocean.”

    This is such an important thought and one I really value personally – as a singer and musician myself (and now a blogger and coach) I can’t say it enough. We have to express the life and the magic that is inside us, share it and allow others to expand on it and make it bigger and more meaningful.

    As creative people it is vital to get out there and be that spark!

    Thanks Kevin and James..
    .-= Natalie The Tiny Soprano´s last blog ..Want A More Wildly Creative Life? Here’s 10 Easy Ways To Improvise! =-.

  3. Hmmm, may go and check out some of Kevin’s music.

    A great interview James. Love that he vents through his work. I agree with Justin, it’s also good to see some sound business sense thrown in too. Though, my favourite quote is:

    “At the end of the day, I think that there’s a certain beauty and reward of being able to take the pen and put down how you feel, to feel alive through lines. There are people out there who are happy to read you or get pissed off or have a reaction. We exist through writing, and that’s part of the reward.”

    Sums it up perfectly. We are very lucky to be able to earn a living doing something we love.
    .-= Sally B´s last blog ..New Year resolutions for your content =-.

  4. Creative people twisted? I think being creative can be a good excuse for certain behaviors! Picturing Earnest Hemmingway propping up the bar… But you definitely don’t have to be screwed up to be creative. Sensitive yes, screwed up no!

    Glad you got to interview your idol – he sounds like a lovely man and looks quite pleasant too:)

  5. James,

    Thanks for bringing Kevin to me. The last time I saw him I had to drive thirteen hours. This was soooo much less traffic!

    Kevin,

    This was charming, and definitely not the space-filler that some interviews can be. Nice to read about your writing process in-depth.

    If you happen by today and have time for one more, I’d love to ask what collaboration means to you. You wrote Down in Mexico, for instance, with another musician friend, Dan Georgescu; you’ve had an ever-changing roster including great artists like Tony Levin of King Crimson on your albums; and you spend a great deal of time doing multi-artist festivals, often performing music that’s not your own (I loved “Paint It Black” this summer!).

    Does collaborating with other musicians influence your work? And because it’s not the same gang every time—how does so much variety help you out, in your writing or in your performing/recording?

    I’m so glad you took the time to hang out here at Men With Pens. A pleasure to “hear” from you!

    Regards,

    Kelly
    .-= Kelly´s last blog ..Talent vs. Fate—Are You Good or Lucky? =-.

  6. Great interview with Kevin. It’s awesome to see him talk passionately about things he cares so much about. I must confess that I’ve been conditioned to see him look annoyed and pissed in TV interviews but I’m beginning to suspect that’s because traditional media ask the same insipid questions over and over.

    As for creative people being twisted, I can attest for that. I saw E.Gilbert’s TED talk shortly before I learned I suffered from Bipolar Disorder and what she said resounded so true it was scary. Some of us truly have mad places in our minds where a new idea will drag us in, regardless of the time or situation, lock the door and beat us senseless into creating something brilliant yet incoherent.

    Now the mad place is locked thanks to treatment and my creative process is much healthier… but I still see the lights under the door. :)

    Great interview! Thanks for posting it.
    .-= The Chatty DM´s last blog ..Primal/Within: Showdown at the Castle of the Overmind, Part 2 =-.

  7. I was envious of what you accomplished James -that talk of your dream.
    I’m wondering though if not-so-famous writers could accomplish their dream talk though it’s possible.
    .-= poch´s last blog ..Child Porn Worst Police Nightmare =-.

  8. @poch: It is possible. Whle far from being famous, I got to meet most of my idols of the Niche industry I write in (Role Playing Games designers), I got to interview a few, got invited for beers and was encouraged to write material for the games I’ve been playing for 25 years. I’m now published… So the dream talk is slowly morphing in a dream job.
    .-= The Chatty DM´s last blog ..Primal/Within: Showdown at the Castle of the Overmind, Part 2 =-.

  9. @Justin – Part of the interview that you don’t see here (hey, there were 12 pages worth, I had to cut SOME stuff!) was that Kevin seems to believe in what he does as a form of expression. You can tell he’s just not doing this for the money – it’s a lot of hard work and has its frustrations, for sure.

    And yet, he knows full well money doesn’t come out of thin air and that if he wants to continue fulfilling his passion, he has to bring in income from somewhere. I like that he understands it’s both business and art.

    @Natalie – I do feel that sharing history and putting forth something insightful is important and part of what we do. Storytellers and singers have always played an important role in history, and it’s pretty awesome to think that we truly are part of that.

    @Sally – We *are* lucky. But if you think about it, it’s not luck that let us do what we love for a living. It’s hard work, it’s effort, it’s time, it’s patience… I think we creative individuals are all very strong people in many ways.

    @Chatty – As I mentioned to you on Twitter, there’s nothing that makes a person open up and shine more than talking about interests, passions, what we love. I was tired of the same-old rockstar questions too – and I wanted to offer Kevin the chance to really talk about what he DOES, not who he is. It was a great conversation, all the way.

    As for Elizabeth, that TED talk really, really made me sit down and think for many weeks. Every single creative person I know is a little screwy, or oversensitive, or emotional… I couldn’t think of one person who wasn’t, who was truly creative.

    So I do think it’s part of us. I think that our emotions and our need to live life to its fullest with everything we have, our hearts on our sleeves, really is part of being creative.

    And I like me. So there :P

    @Kelly – You have a good point about collaboration. In the Quebec music industry, I tend to see many artists helping each other out, playing together, promoting events together… truly joining together to be one group of people who believe in what they do. Reminds me very much of all the joint ventures and partnerships we bloggers do around the net.

    (Plus they all get to be buddies and have fun, I imagine!)

    And yeah – we had a good time at that festival this summer, eh?

    @Poch – What’s interesting is that to Tandem and Kevin, I was an unknown. They had no idea who I was when I contacted them. I literally WAS someone not-so-famous in their circle, their niche. They deal with their usual peers – the radio stations. The television shows. The other media stars like Guy A Lepage.

    James Chartrand? Men with Pens? Who the fuck is that?

    So I had to persevere, believe in what I could offer, and that this was a goal I didn’t want to give up on. It was work. It took time and patience. It wasn’t a given.

    And I did have that conversation. We can accomplish anything if we believe.

  10. @Annabel – I missed your comment! (Apologies!!) Sneaky woman, using creative as an alibi…

    “Well, officer, you see… I’m creative, which means that…”

    Hehehe

  11. James,

    The number of times you said “no way” when that set began… I’d need a calculator to add them all up. Very memorable. Well worth the drive. :)

    And how could anyone say “who’s that” about the Men With Pens? Hmpf. That’s not right.

    Until later,

    Kelly
    .-= Kelly´s last blog ..Talent vs. Fate—Are You Good or Lucky? =-.

  12. Wow, fantastic interview! This is a man who doesn’t live Someday. He lives now and does it with passion. I can see why you were so excited to interview him!

    I especially like how he talks about evolution and examining and the problem of distribution and pirating. We want to make money from what we do but we want to sell it through a medium that most people can get the same thing for free.
    .-= Alex Fayle ¡ Someday Syndrome´s last blog ..Turning Your Goals Into Plans The Quick Method =-.

  13. Brett Legree says:

    Unfortunately, I think we’re always going to have copyright infringement with this kind of work.

    I mean, look at how many bricks and mortar companies are “off-shoring” workers to save a buck and pass the savings on to customers or shareholders.

    If it is “that easy” for some consumers to justify saving money and not worry about what happens to the lives of others, then it is also “that easy” for some consumers to just download the music or whatever and say “so what?”

    I don’t think it is right, but it is the reality.

    So what to do.

    Hmm.

    Create something unique – that’s always good.

    Create something with tangible value – that’s good too.

    Create something that can only be found locally – that’s key.

    I understand how you could do this if you were a plumber or something (pretty hard to unclog a toilet in Canada when the plumber lives in India), but I’m not sure how to do it as a songwriter.

    Only play certain songs at concerts, and don’t offer them as recordings?

    Or maybe do it like some writers do (e.g. Cory Doctorow) – give away the text for free, and count on people liking it so much that they’ll buy a copy of your book anyway.

    A “pirated” CD is not a lost sale, really – the pirate would never have purchased the music in the first place.

    But a free download from your web site converted into a real sale, is a found sale.
    .-= Brett Legree´s last blog ..6 weeks 2 days. =-.

  14. @ Brett – I’d be interested in knowing what Kevin’s thoughts are about your comment – personally, I’m not sure I agree, but then again, I’m not in the music industry so I’m loathe to extend my thoughts regarding a pirated CD not being a lost sale.

    I do want to learn more about what you mean with offshore work… expand?

    One thing is interesting – musicians can give shows. Pay per view. As Kevin mentioned, it’s a form of control. What can we bloggers and writers do to protect ourselves in the same way, I wonder?

    @ Alex – I had wanted to discuss copyright and piracy with Kevin specifically because of how often my own work here is ripped off and used elsewhere. I’ve had blog posts stolen, articles republished without attribution or credit and had whole books downloaded, changed a bit and resold. Bloody fucking frustrating for me. I can’t even begin to imagine how frustrating it is for musicians.

    He sure does live his life to the fullest, I believe. Follows his heart!

    @ Kelly – I only said “No way” repeatedly after I managed to close my mouth and remembered how to speak again. I blame the beer.

  15. I truly enjoyed reading this blog, being from Quebec I love Kevin Parent’s music but I also love your writing. You inspire and amuse me and always keep me interested and engaged!
    .-= Yosie Saint-Cyr´s last blog ..Social responsibility, social media – can’t I just run my business how I used to? (Part 2) =-.

  16. C’est pas tout les jours que je laisse les comment on français, mais c’est toujours merveilleuse de voir des artistes de la belle province qui on trouver succès après beaucoup to travaille. Félicitations! (svp excuses mes errors de grammaire – ca fait plusieurs année que j’habiter a la Québec!)

  17. James,

    Which you insisted I learn how to order. En français.

    “Just say ‘deux’ and point. You can do it!”

    *ahem* Way off-topic. Sorry ’bout that.

    Until later…
    .-= Kelly´s last blog ..Talent vs. Fate—Are You Good or Lucky? =-.

  18. Brett Legree says:

    I don’t know what Kevin would think, either. I know Radiohead tried a “pay what you want” thing a couple of years ago, and I can’t say I know if they deemed it a success.

    But it works for some folks (e.g. Cory) and businesses – for instance, the SAME Cafe http://www.soallmayeat.org/ you pay what you think the meal was worth, or you work in exchange for your food.

    To qualify my comment about a pirated CD not being a lost sale, and remember – I am not an expert here! – it isn’t too much different “functionally” from recording a radio broadcast (minus whatever the radio station pays the artist, of course).

    But then again, I believe that we as Canadians pay a sort of “piracy tax” on blank media, which is meant to compensate for lost sales.

    Again, I am not an expert, someone like Michael Geist would be better suited to answering these points.

    http://www.michaelgeist.ca/

    I’ll answer your last question first, and then answer your offshoring question.

    What can you do to protect yourself? Well, I don’t have a straight answer for that, but the fact is whether we like it or not, the model is changing, the world is changing and so forth.

    We cannot fall back on “the way it was before” when all you had was print media. Electronic distribution of media is a double-edged sword, it gives the creators the advantages of lower cost of entry and the ability to work from just about anywhere.

    But, since we can’t have our cake and eat it too, we have to contend with the dark side of electronic media, and change with it, somehow.

    Kind of like “offshoring” in the tech industry. I have read many cases of people who had their jobs sent overseas saying, “to hell with that!” and following the job over there.

    It happened and continues to happen in the IT sector, and it is starting to happen where I work too (Canadian nuclear).

    It is very likely that a lot of jobs from the Canadian nuclear industry will move overseas to India, where there will be a large centre of technological excellence.

    I have been spending a fair amount of time trying to figure out a way to position myself to take advantage of this, up to and including taking work over there.

    I know one thing, and that is simply complaining that my job went somewhere else will not bring it back. All I have to do is look at the automotive workers to see how well that didn’t work :(
    .-= Brett Legree´s last blog ..6 weeks 2 days. =-.

  19. Brett Legree says:

    (PS – I just left a big comment but it had two links in it for illustrative purposes, so you’ll have to fish it out of your spam…)
    .-= Brett Legree´s last blog ..6 weeks 2 days. =-.

  20. C’est un plaisir… et merci pour tes commentaires en francais… j’apprecie!
    .-= Yosie Saint-Cyr´s last blog ..Social responsibility, social media – can’t I just run my business how I used to? (Part 2) =-.

  21. I love it! I’m originally from Quebec, so it’s great to get some insight into other Quebec-er minds. :) I’m actually really glad to read that Kevin believes in embracing the business side. That whole purity thing is so outdated, man. ;)
    .-= Nathalie Lussier´s last blog ..Raw Food Gift Buying Guide for the Holidays =-.

  22. *stifled fan-girl squeal*

    I hadn’t heard of Kevin Parent before James introduced me to his music, but his heartfelt lyrics and smooth sound work like an aspirin and a bubble bath after long, hard days, and he’s quickly become one of my favorites. It’s a pleasure to “hear” him speak!

    Artists are definitely twisted. Think of how many writers of the past committed suicide, or were known drug abusers. Most people are messed up, creative or not, but it’s the true artists who can channel their twistedness into work that benefits others.

    Merci bien, James et Kevin. Y’all are inspiration incarnate. ;)

  23. Ahh, new faces, and French on my blog. (That’s a first, Kevin – be proud of being the instigator for that!) C’est cool au boute!

    @Yosie – De temps en temps, j’ai le goût de faire de quoi en français, ou traduire mon blogue. Je suis toujours un peu triste de manquer cette côté de ma vie et mes racines en ligne, alors merci d’en avoir apporté.

    @Kelly – HAHAHA, oh god, that’s so funny, I remember that! And you protested and refused and then walked off with your chin up and your back straight and came back with two cold beers, which you promptly handed me one of with an indignant sniff.

    Love it :) You’ll be just fine if you ever move up here.

    @Ed – Quand on parle du coeur, il n’a jamais de fautes. :)

  24. @Brett – just because I know the answer to the Radiohead question, they actually made more money on that than they would have had they gone through the traditional channels and paid all the royalties, etc. Apparently a good many of their fans paid what they would have normally, others paid a lot more, others a lot less. It wound up being slightly less in total than if you tallied up the same number of CDs sold – but the amount that got back to the band after cuts for packaging etc. would have been much less. So there you go!

  25. Brett Legree says:

    (Hey, thanks!)

    I thought I’d leave another comment, as a music lover, to give an example of how this could work.

    A while back, I was watching some YouTube videos and one of the videos had a nice music track. I looked in the comments to discover the artist.

    It was from a group called “Amanaska”, which is a project out of Australia by a man called Simon Lewis.

    I went to his web site, and he had listening samples available. I liked it very much, so I ordered a CD directly from his site.

    I could have chosen a digital download for less money, but I felt like having the physical CD, and I also wanted to give him a bit more for his work.

    I received a personal email from Simon the next day, in which he said he would put the CD in the mail that day, and he also said that he was happy to hear from me because it gave him fond memories of a visit he’d taken to Canada. He went on to say he hoped to return to Canada again for another visit soon.

    Perhaps this is the sort of thing one can do as a musician.

    Maybe Kevin also does this, but I’m not sure. I’ll check out his site when I get home tonight.

    As a sort of side note – you know, when an artist is “grounded”, “connected” (but not necessarily “small”), I would probably never download his or her music or whatever without paying.

    But if it is someone who seems kind of “above and beyond”, a mega-star like (say) Britney Spears, who has multiple mansions and suitcases full of money, well, it just wouldn’t seem like a big deal.

    I wonder why I think like that, and I wonder if anyone else would think the same way.
    .-= Brett Legree´s last blog ..6 weeks 2 days. =-.

  26. Brett Legree says:

    (Thanks Tei!)
    .-= Brett Legree´s last blog ..6 weeks 2 days. =-.

  27. @ Brett: In that, I agree. I think that if more musicians and artists put their personal connection into sales, there may be a larger effect than the current method of being untouchable.

    On the other hand, I wouldn’t wish ANYONE a life like mine, where you spend so much time maintaining connections, blogging, building relationships etc, that you don’t have the time for other things.

    Kevin gets vacation in Gaspé. It took me three years before I took a vacation, because I couldn’t leave my business – we don’t have agents.

    Of course, that’s our own fault, isn’t it? Who’s smarter here? I’d say the musicians, who DO control their lives and freelancing careers. They control when the shows are. How long. What days. Which CDs to release. When. How often.

    And they don’t have to be on Twitter or Facebook every day. Kudos to them.

    @ Rose – I told the people at Tandem I spread the music joy – now I have proof so they have to believe me! (Oh, and Tracey is memorizing all the French phonetics so she can sing along, lol)

    @ Nathalie – Insight into the Quebec mind… There’s a mission in and of itself, n’est pas? :)

  28. Brett,

    I’ve read (in Chris Anderson’s Free, I think?) that Radiohead was quite pleased with the results.

    As writers on the web we sure do get our stuff ripped off a lot. I think “like it or not” is pretty much the only answer. We put it out there, someone will take advantage of that. We’ve probably got to look on it as cyber-imitation, the new “sincerest form of flattery.” As you say the genie can’t be put back in the bottle.

    I also read (maybe also in Free) that some musicians are embracing and oddly, even encouraging pirated CDs, particularly when they’re trying to break into new markets. The theory being that a flood of your work getting onto the streets in China or South America (where buying a CD is just about passé) just before you head out on tour can boost ticket sales tremendously. Only for the very brave, but there is a lot of change in the wind, for sure.

    James,

    1. My French is way better than that. Just that I get tongue-tied en QC.

    2. I learned all my sacres right here. Today’s just the first clean French on your blog.

    Later…
    .-= Kelly´s last blog ..Talent vs. Fate—Are You Good or Lucky? =-.

  29. Hehe, I type too slowly and Tei beat me to the Radiohead thing.
    .-= Kelly´s last blog ..Talent vs. Fate—Are You Good or Lucky? =-.

  30. Jared Covington says:

    Wow! Kevin is brilliant, and his insights into songwriting, the music industry and the creative process are utterly unexpected (and right on!). Congratulations on making this happen, and hopefully you’ll treat us to more of the interview in a future post!

  31. Brett Legree says:

    @James,

    Networking and marketing yourself is very hard work, as you know. Where I work, the “superstars” have to give up a lot.

    To get to the top of your game will always require trade-offs, for sure. The rising stars in my company take the minimum allowable vacation, come in to work sick (and infect all of us!), spend evenings on the BlackBerry and the VPN, work weekends and so forth.

    I don’t have this kind of relationship with my current work as it is not my true passion (lucky for me, or my wife and kids would kill me).

    @Kelly,

    Since we’re talking musicians, I thought I’d share another one from my own personal experience.

    A few years back, I read about a German act called Eisbrecher who had released a new CD, with a twist. You bought the CD, and it came with two blank CD’s.

    They wanted you to burn the CD’s, and give them to two new people.

    I had never heard the music, but I was so intrigued that I bought a CD… burned it twice, and gave them away!

    Seems like their plan worked…
    .-= Brett Legree´s last blog ..6 weeks 2 days. =-.

  32. Also, regarding the CD as marketing tool comments:

    Kelly is right on regarding the promotional angle that many music artists are taking with CDs, as many of them make much more money from live shows. There is an interesting chart that plots the decline in recorded revenue vs. live revenue from the UK’s Times Online: http://labs.timesonline.co.uk/blog/2009/11/12/do-music-artists-do-better-in-a-world-with-illegal-file-sharing/ Radiohead is one of dozens of artists who are finding new revenue models that do not revolve around recorded music and physical products.

    I’m not sure how online writers translate that into a model beyond using blogs as marketing to drive potential customers to products that generate more revenue, but I think that the key lies in what Kevin was describing when he said, “make something sustainable that’s worthwhile.” Musicians create art that makes people want to connect with them on a deeper level (whether that is via a live show, or actually purchasing physical product, like Brett describes doing in his comment regarding the artist Simon Lewis), and I think that if your writing strives for something similar–connecting with your readers and not just talking to them–then you have a much better chance sustaining both yourself and your readers through your writing.

  33. Brett,

    I love that! A classic marketing “involvement device.” What a neat idea for musicians to get their fans more deeply involved.

    Jared,

    That reminds me also of Seth Godin’s theory that the book, the CD, the DVD, are all more like souvenirs today—touchstones for devoted fans.

    Later,

    Kelly
    .-= Kelly´s last blog ..Talent vs. Fate—Are You Good or Lucky? =-.

  34. @Jared/Kelly/Brett – You all are missing the seed of an idea that Kevin planted into my head. How can successful bloggers change the model?

    Start charging for the show.

    Stay tuned for Monday’s post.

  35. Hmmm…. Should I say “good luck with that” now, or wait ’til Monday? ;)
    .-= Kelly´s last blog ..Darlin’, I’ve Never Known Anyone Like You =-.

  36. Brett Legree says:

    @James,

    Yes, I was sort of waiting to see if you (or anyone) would mention that. There is a way. There are many ways, to do this. Online editions of newspapers are doing this, right now. They give you a taste, a teaser, and sell you access to the rest for a reasonable monthly fee.

    Or if I bought a hardcopy book from you, you could send me a stack of looseleaf paper with a pack of pens, and say, “please copy the text of this book twice and give it to your friends” :)

    j/k

    (Will see what you write on Monday.)
    .-= Brett Legree´s last blog ..6 weeks 2 days. =-.

  37. I hope I understood your comment… if I did… I wish I knew… I have been wondering how to do that for quite some time now because blogging is an art… a show many people provide religiously to so many other people looking for information or online entertainment… bloggers provide it for free!
    .-= Yosie Saint-Cyr´s last blog ..Social responsibility, social media – can’t I just run my business how I used to? (Part 2) =-.

  38. I understand what Bret is saying but most bloggers are not part of a newspaper or other publication… to be able to entice people to want to pay to read more… not sure that would work.

    I do not think people would want to change the model from free to pay to read a good blogger discuss issues. …the expectation is that blogging is free and anybody can do it (I wish some did not)… and that it has no bounderies.
    .-= Yosie Saint-Cyr´s last blog ..Social responsibility, social media – can’t I just run my business how I used to? (Part 2) =-.

  39. Brett Legree says:

    @Yosie,

    I figure it would depend on the particular blog theme.

    Maybe if you had a blog about writing fiction (for example), you might have been “giving away” little snippets of your book.

    Then, if people were enjoying it, you could have them sign up for a regular release that only they would receive, for a small fee.

    (I believe there are people already doing this.)

    If you had 1000 people and charged them $5/month each, you’d have something good happening.

    Combine “1000 true followers” with “micropayments”.

    Hmm…
    .-= Brett Legree´s last blog ..6 weeks 2 days. =-.

  40. Thanks Brett… very good ideas… I was thinking of doing a blog outside of my work and you just gave me something to think about.
    .-= Yosie Saint-Cyr´s last blog ..A failure of governance at THS =-.

  41. Giving things away might work in terms of promotion. But you can’t create a business out of giving things away. One way or another, you have to have a means of getting people to pay for something otherwise you won’t have much of a business.

    Stephen King gives away stories or parts of stories, but he’s making a zillion dollars from printed books people BUY in stores. The book give away thing is a promotional tactic.

    The only reason people are talking about this is that people have come to expect everything online to be free, including music, which people steal from the artists. Music “sharing” my ass. It’s theft and everyone knows it.

    If you have something worthwhile, it’s worth paying for. And you shouldn’t be afraid to charge for it. If people won’t buy it, you have a problem.

    For blogs, sure they’re free. But the point is to attract clients, create an audience so you can sell a product, get publicity for a business venture, etc.

    Ultimately, I think there will be a technological solution to outright theft. There better be, because right now you can’t protect anything online.
    .-= Dean Rieck\´s last blog ..What a successful freelance website looks like =-.

  42. I think I’d choose Albert Einstein to talk to. If nothing else, to listen to his thoughts on society, the future, and whatnot. To do this, I’d either want to bring him to this time, and acclimate him, or go to 1946 to talk to him.

  43. Brett Legree says:

    @Yosie,

    Good luck – hopefully my random thoughts will come to some use!

    @Dean,

    I must respectfully disagree – it is not theft (in many places).

    In your country (USA) and my country (Canada) and many other countries, it is legally called copyright infringement.

    I am not a lawyer, so I don’t know the back story as to why this is so – but I *suspect* it is not legally called theft because *no physical product has been taken from a vendor* – thus, no one has been prevented from buying or selling a real, physical copy of something.

    Downloading a digital copy of something is technically not much different from what we did back in the day – when we recorded music onto cassettes off the radio.

    Back then, at some point, my government (and I believe yours too) instituted a kind of tax at the behest of the recording industry.

    To compensate artists for the purported “piracy”, of course.

    But it also painted anyone who purchased blank media as a sort of “criminal”, if you think of it. We will assume that you might pirate something, so we will charge you for this.

    How is anyone to know what I will do with blank media?

    Why not put a tax on paper and pencils, you know, just in case I borrow a copy of your Stephen King novel and transcribe it word for word.

    Fundamentally, that’s the same thing, right?

    Anyway, let’s fast forward a bit to think about some of the reasons why media companies might be pursuing things a bit more aggressively today.

    Back in the 80’s or whatever, they really had no idea how many people were recording stuff – so they put the “flat tax” on all of us.

    (They also couldn’t have known that I borrowed your copy of “It” and transcribed it word for word.)

    However, today, there are ways to track when people download copyrighted material, like music, books or movies.

    The copyright holders know that, and they are able to figure out the “lost sales”, so to speak.

    And then, in spite of the fact that the legal systems in many countries (including yours and mine) do not consider this to be theft, the copyright holders are working very hard to convince people that it is theft.

    They are holding on to an archaic system, and they are losing. In fact, in my country, they have been trying to *increase* the tax on blank media – you know, to compensate the artists. I wonder how much of the tax the artists see, and who decides who gets how much.

    The question is, what is everyone going to do about it?

    Are you going to stand around crying, “but it’s theft!”, or are you going to innovate and be one of the leaders?
    .-= Brett Legree´s last blog ..6 weeks 2 days. =-.

  44. Brett Legree says:

    PS – there already exist technological solutions to outright theft, they are the little RFID tags that they put in clothes, CDs and so on at stores, that set off metal detectors.

    I very much doubt that anyone will ever be able to prevent copyright infringement, because even if you can stop me from stealing *ahem* copyright infringing your new e-book and emailing it to my buddies, I can legally buy it, and then transcribe it by hand, and distribute that.

    Similarly, I could buy your songs, play cover versions of them into a tape recorder, and distribute those.

    The horse is out of the barn, perhaps it is time to stop trying to catch it and figure out a better way.
    .-= Brett Legree´s last blog ..6 weeks 2 days. =-.

  45. Tracy (aka spiritwolf32) says:

    Awesome interview. I love that guy.

    And yes, James. I am learning how to sing his songs. Even if I don’t always know what he is saying on his French albums. I still love it. And I think you’re doing well with getting the word out about his music. If it weren’t for you I would have ever known him. He’s great.

    I love the part where he says we are making history when we write. I think that in itself is a great responsibility and makes me glad that I love to do what I do. Makes me feel that what I love to do is worth all the hassle that comes with it.

    Wonderful interview and merci! for bringing it to us.

    Okay, that’s all the French you get from me. I still don’t know enough. :D

  46. Mary E. Ulrich says:

    Like every “drop in the ocean” there are always ripples.

    Reading your interview felt like eavesdropping on a private conversation. You could feel the love and respect.

    I have to admit I’ve never heard of Kevin. I will check out his CD. I was shocked anyone would care if his CDs were published in English. Wow! That was new information. I’m going to have to learn more about the social, political and cultural issues in Quebec too.

    Natalie and Sally B both already quoted some of his great lines from the interview. I’ll add my favorite:

    “People respond to humans. They don’t respond to machines. They want something to be spontaneous, to be lively, to be spicy. If it’s expected, well what’s the point? “Here’s another singer or here’s another article…” Where’s the spice?
    I think the spice comes from not taking it for granted and always wanting to be competitive towards yourself. Not competitive, but you know, to…
    Always ask more of yourself.”

    Kevin and James, this was an amazing conversation. It had just enough “spice” about using your talents and passion as creative artists. It showed us how artists can use our medium (songs, writing, blogs…) to try and make sense of the world–for ourselves (crazy or otherwise), for other people (crazy or otherwise), and for business (crazy or otherwise).

    This interview also made me think of three things:

    1. I woud like to know more about the mechanics. How did you do the interview? (in person, on the phone, tape recorder, emailed questions…)

    2. I pictured “dualing guitars” with one of you singing in French, and one in English.

    3. James, there are so many memorable lines, maybe you could write them up and collaborate with Kevin on a verse or two on a “song for the creative artists.”

    i.e.
    “I understand that they’re filters. Their job is to keep the crop healthy and send away the bad weeds

    -If there’s a nice paved road, I might take the detour that has thorns and bumps in it just for the fun of seeing how I’m going to get out of here.

    -I’ve walked through street after street in a snowstorm, looking for somebody who needs a push!

    – There’s this contradiction that’s really part of us. Just look at our environment: nighttime, no sun, the moon. Daytime, the sun, no moon. (LOVE THIS)

    -Right before I wake up in the morning… I think that when we’re writing, we’re trying to emulate that, trying to synthesize the purity we know we don’t have. But we know it does exist. And it’s kind of tough to… You know, if I could ….
    Just grasp that moment, eh? (SEE, YOU ARE ALREADY FINISHING EACH OTHER’S SENTENCES)

    -To be alive, to be out there, to be in contact with people… I don’t write songs just for the purpose of packing time or to furnish empty spaces… I want to write songs that mean something and at least have voice and opinion

    …to feel alive through lines. (DOESN’T THIS DESCRIBE THE SOUL OF A WRITER?)

    There are people out there who are happy to read you or get pissed off or have a reaction. We exist through writing, and that’s part of the reward.
    On my deathbed, maybe I’m going to be glad that at least I gave it a shot. At least I cared. At least life meant something to me and I expressed it.
    Because what you write down will live on, and there’s a beauty in sharing and of making part of history, even if it’s a little drop in the ocean. We’re making history when we write. It’s archives, it’s passing it on to another generation.

  47. Wow, you guys are awesome. Check out the comments and conversations going on! (Makes me wonder – should we integrate threaded comments into MwP?)

    I think all of you have made such good comments here, thoughtful ones that clearly convey important points and things to think about. I won’t be able to cover them all, but…

    Dean, I’m with you. But I’m curious as to your thoughts about whether bloggers blog TOO much for free and thus, set themselves up for more work put in than what they get out?

    Brett, thinking about how musicians make sales… They launch a CD. One shot deal. They set up shows and concerts and *repeat* the songs on the CD. They don’t create new content, and they milk their songs for everything they can, making sure people hear the message so well that they can sing along and remember the words.

    Maybe the music industry is a different world. Maybe their model or parts of it can’t be applied to ours. But it truly is something to think about.

    Yosie, you can do anything, and there’s always a way. Trust me :)

    Jared, thank you for your part in this interview. It was long ago, but it had impact, as you can see. (or read!)

    Kelly, wait until Monday. I may need luck then ;)

    Mary,…

    You’d be amazed at the rift in Canada between French and English. It’s difficult to break into the other group when you become known in one. Different mindset, different culture, and requires essentially proving yourself all over again.

    As for your questions:

    1. I woud like to know more about the mechanics. How did you do the interview? (in person, on the phone, tape recorder, emailed questions…)

    I prepared a list of questions that I wanted to ask. Kevin called me up, I turned on the microphone and we started chatting, and by not too long into the conversation, those pages of questions were all spread out, I was working on improv in some of them and just going with the flow. It ended up being quite natural and taking a life of its own, which was great. Which was how it should be, no?

    2. I pictured “dualing guitars” with one of you singing in French, and one in English.

    Um. Well. May I just say that while I’m an admirable player, Kevin’s got several years experience on me. The French-English we could do, though.

    Quick story:

    K: “Oh – the interview’s going to be in English?”

    J, switches to French: “Well, we can do it in French if you prefer, of course.”

    K, in English: “No, no, that’s fine! I just have to switch the language in my head… been speaking so much French lately, so I might stumble a bit at first.”

    I know the feeling. Happens to me every day ;)

    3. James, there are so many memorable lines, maybe you could write them up and collaborate with Kevin on a verse or two on a “song for the creative artists.”

    Hey. I’m game for anything.

  48. James,

    Everywhere I’ve seen threaded comments brought in it’s reduced the interactions. Discourages digging through the whole conversation to add thoughts, which is what keeps things lively.

    My 2 cents – I wouldn’t do it.

    Later,

    Kelly
    .-= Kelly´s last blog ..Why *You* Should Work for FREE =-.

  49. Brett Legree says:

    @James,

    I think you are right with your point about different worlds – the problems might be happening because those worlds are colliding.

    (You know, kind of like what happens if you move to a different country and don’t conform to the local customs, but try to live the way you did before – it can cause “friction”, to put it nicely…)
    .-= Brett Legree´s last blog ..6 weeks 2 days. =-.

  50. This part:

    “But I think that when you’re true to yourself and you don’t bullshit yourself, fuck ‘em. You gotta do what you gotta to do. It’s like swimming across the lake. If you stop swimming, you’re gonna drown.”

    So close to what I’ve been telling my customers – “If you’re thrown out of a ship in the middle of the ocean with a lifering and the sharks start gathering, are you going to say, Jeepers! I never learned to swim, so I might as well drown?”

    Expanding your comfort boundaries to learn what you HAVE to understand for the next level – it’s kinda sorta the same thing. :)
    .-= Barbara Ling, Virtual Coach´s last blog ..Add your OWN INCREDIBLY inexpensive affiliate program to your WordPress blog! =-.

  51. That was an awesome interview! I can’t believe you gave that to all of us for free!

    You are definitely the real deal and get my subscription.

  52. I say don’t integrate the comments. Let’s keep things as they are, its worked great this long, hasn’t it?

    Seriously, these comments are more interesting than some of the blogs out there.

    Keep up the great work.

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