His book, Think and Grow Through Art and Music, finds success originating through cerebral suggestion
There are all kinds of music books lining bookstore shelves — real, virtual and otherwise — that instruct in the art of songwriting and share ways to pursue one’s musical muse. Jeff Tweedy’s recent book, How To Write One Song, is merely the latest example of how a novice might learn how to create and compose. That said, Think and Grow Through Art and Music, published by G&D Media, takes another tack, one that prepares the reader to concentrate on his or her attitude, aptitude and outlook in order to find the inspiration needed to pursue one’s passion. Written in cooperation with the Napoleon Hill Foundation — an organization dedicated to sharing the positive precepts that lead to happiness and success — author Randey W. Faulkner took the lessons he learned from the book Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill’s seminal manuscript originally published in 1937, and applied them to the art of making music.
Faulkner says that the book benefitted from conversations with a number of notable musicians he befriended over the years, thanks in large part to a friend who had been a concert promoter and often invited him to hang out backstage. In the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, Faulkner put that musical muscle to work and released two volumes of Moody Bluegrass, albums that found some of Nashville’s leading lights applying their efforts to bluegrass interpretations of music by the Moody Blues. As Faulkner explains, the project took some time to gestate.
“It took me 10 years of hanging around back stage at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival as well as other festivals to convince someone to take the time,” Faulkner recalls. “All of the people I knew in Telluride said they would play or sing on it. However no one wanted, or had the time, to re-write the Moody Blues orchestral-like sounds in the bluegrass format.” Nevertheless, taking a cue from Hayseed Dixie’s innovative album A Hillbilly Tribute to AC/DC, he found the motivation to pursue his project regardless.
“I was just making a record to give away to my friends,” Faulkner. insists. “No plan to ever sell it. When it came time to master, the engineer at Stations West said he could not master because these people all had record contracts. I would need to get release forms signed. So I hired an entertainment attorney to get the forms signed. In the process Rounder and Sugarhill Records came out of the woodwork wanting to buy my labor of love. I said no way, not for sale. However Rounder really kept on me.”
It was that combination of purpose and persistence that inspired Faulkner to write Think and Grow Through Art and Music. In the process, he shared any number of lessons learned from talking with such superstars as Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, Chet Atkins, Sheryl Crow, Eric Clapton, Willie Nelson, Eminem, Jimmy Buffett, Chaka Khan, Paul McCartney, Quincy Jones and others of an equally impressive stature. The takeaway is generally the same — preparation, passion and a desire to succeed are the tools need to unlock one’s reservoir of creativity and control.
“You could say this book started in 1908 and was completed in 2018, then published in 2020,” Faulkner suggests. “Starting in 1908, Napoleon Hill began interviewing successful people to write his science of success philosophy. I wrote mine over a 20 year period, performing interviews and research. I then merged his philosophy into one manuscript with what I had researched and what I had been told by several successful artists.”
While the book reads more like a how-to treatise on positive thinking and a spiritual guide to pursuing one’s quest for happiness, Faulkner insists that it’s always essential to develop a good mindset for a musician to succeed. “I believe the only limitations that upcoming artists have, are the ones he or she set up in their own mind,” he maintains. “I believe that if an aspiring artist with a burning desire reads, and applies, the principles in my book, their chances of becoming successful becomes ten times greater. You have to admit a ten times greater chance at success is a valuable asset.”
The book adds some interesting elements in the process, especially the QR codes that appear at the end of each chapter which summarize the narrative in some interesting and unusual ways. “By scanning the QR code, the reader can see, or hear, a 4-9 minute recap,” Faulkner explains. “A few of these are old black and white videos taken from reel to reel tapes that I spliced together, while some are of Napoleon Hill himself. Two are by Don Green, the CEO of The Napoleon Hill Foundation. Others are audio.”
Still, Faulkner admits that he faced several challenges when it came to create his narrative.
“I suppose my biggest hurdle was the fact that I thought I needed an Andrew Carnegie-type person to give me letters of introduction, so I could gain interviews,” he reflects. “It would have been nearly impossible for Napoleon Hill to interview U.S. Presidents, and men such as Henry Ford and Thomas Edison without Mr. Carnegie’s intros. That is why I first went to Chet Atkins. Just as I started getting traction with Chet, and he was understanding what I was trying to accomplish through the introductions, he suddenly became sick. Within four months Chet had gone to be with the Lord. I feel honored to have at least gleaned some wisdom from this incredible human being. After dealing with Chet’s loss, I was fortunate to be introduced to Les Paul by a long-standing member of the Les Paul Trio, Mr. Lou Pallo. As I mention in my book, Keith Richardson once dubbed Lou ‘The Man of A Million Chords.’ I’m sorry to say we regretfully lost Lou the end of October 2020.”
Ultimately though, the effort was well worth it. Faulkner is convinced that the book will provide a budding musician with the tools needed to find success in a business that can be both intimidating and overwhelming. As it suggests throughout, it takes a diehard determination to overcome the many obstacles.
“It will first instruct them on how to decide if they do or do not have the burning desire it takes to reach their plane of success,” Faulkner replied when asked how the book might help musicians achieve their quest. “It will guide them on how to ignore what ‘they say’ and therefore remain persistent. As Billy Ray Cyrus pointed out after reading Napoleon Hill’s book: ‘Persistence is to the character of man, as carbon is to steel.’ The reader will learn how to harness the power of his or her subconscious mind. This is the great power that Thomas Edison spoke of so often. We all use it. However, the power is in controlling it, which this book teaches the reader to do.”
Think and Grow Through Art and Music is available through Amazon or directly from the author. Email Faulkner directly at email@example.com for a personalized bookplate to affix to the inside cover.