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Rise pt 1 – Challenging Times, Man.

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Rise pt 1 – Challenging Times, Man.

I’ve been silent about what happened during our last trip to Florida. People have asked me, “How did it go?” My response has been pretty general. “Oh it was great! Pretty challenging, but that’s a good thing…right?” The truth is that I’ve been trying to wrap my mind around everything that happened. It was an emotionally rough yet awesome ride that I’m still processing through.

For those of you who didn’t know, my wife and I attended an urban leadership conference called Flavor Fest. The theme? RISE. Let me set this up for you:

Jeneil (my wife) and I had previously attended Flavor Fest back in 2012. That year, I was privileged to perform with Derek Minor, Tedashii, Flame and others. I felt like the small guy in the room next to these national Christian artists. All I had was my little song called White Rags and a lot of energy! (Awkward moment for me: Flame, who happened to be headlining the night, also did his then popular song “Surrender” in which he referenced throwing up his white flag over and over lol! Gotta love it.) It was GREAT experience overall. What really impacted me the most was the conference itself. The breakout sessions, the outreaches…everything inspired me to go home and really impact my city. So I did. Just a few months later, our church would have its first Christmas Breakfast that would provide food and toys to several hundred people. We would follow that up with summer camps for kids and a backpack giveaway. The ball was rolling and kept rolling for years. I think that somewhere along the way, the ball got too big for me and I got tired. For many different reasons, much of this new church activity to reach the community became my personal initiatives. And my wife and children were along for the ride. During this time, my personal music career also began to pick up. I released my new EP, did my first national tour called The Dreams To Reality Tour (Nov 2015-Jan 2016), and I was booked solid for the first three quarters of this year. I had also connected with a friend and owner of a record label who was interested in meeting me, seeing where I wanted to go with my music and wanted to lend his help and advise on a few things. I would also be performing during the concert this year too. I was ready for Flavor Fest. I was tired and ready to be recharged, fueled with vision, explore possible opportunities…you know…like last time! Yeeeaahh, about that…

I should have known when our hotel fiasco was happening that this wasn’t going to be like last year! Basically, we had three different hotel rooms within the first 24 hours. (Praise God for favor and customer service surveys. We later received some money back for all of our troubles.) But yeah, I should have known that it was going to be a season of growth. My wife and I decided to do attend the music business sessions because that’s the direction where we feel the Lord is leading us. We would ultimately like to be doing music full time. We attended the music business sessions and man were they challenging. I began to feel like I felt this past summer when I took a few kids to camp. I kept thinking, “I love this. I know it needs to be done. And I know that I’m not the person to do it.” You can probably see how this presents a slight problem. I’m a children’s ministry director AND I started an independent record label. Now, I feel like I’m not the person to do what it takes in order to make these things successful. If you take a deeper look into my life, you’ll find that student ministry and my ambition of starting an indie label has taken up most of my adult life! So if that’s not me, then what exactly am I supposed to be doing? Mind you, I’m already mentally tired and I need solutions. I definitely don’t need more equations. I figured, “Maybe a record label situation would be good for me. I could be a blessing to a label by being a great artist for them while they help me by providing resources and a larger platform. I could build my brand over time with a team!” My wife and I end up meeting with our new friend and record label owner. We gained some good insight, but it really wasn’t insight that a tired soul wanted to hear. We got some encouragement as well as some things that we desperately needed to improve on. The main thing was social media presence. This caught me by surprise…sort of. See, in a lot the circles that I run in, pretty much everyone tells me that they are following what God is doing in my life. This happens literally everywhere that I go. Everyone has their “superstar” and “don’t forget me” and “take me on tour” jokes (which by the way are always awkward for me).  I run in quite a few circles and this happens all the time. So when this person tells me that my social media presence is actually pretty bad, I’m like “whaaat?” But it was true. And it got confirmed later. This person had some really great things to say and even offered to help me develop into an artist that labels would start approaching, but in the end they weren’t ready to sign anyone yet and I had some homework to do – and I was tired.

And then came the humbling stage performance…

(click here to read part 2)

 

 

Jarrell Flowers

Jarrell is a hip hop artist and the founder of Freedom Music Group, an indie network building artistic communities that create disciples who change the world. Jarrell also serves in leadership at Faith Outreach Center International. He and his wife Jeneil are the proud parents of two beautiful girls, Nyomi and Liviya.

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