ARTIST NAME: Jerome Lee
SONG TITLE: First Peace After The Rain
SONG TITLE: The Suits
GENRE: Soul / Easy Listening / Jazz
Tell us how you develop your sound and style to make it different from other musicians.
I would say that my sound was developed over the years through the lessons I took on both electric bass guitar and on acoustic upright bass.
To play and to get a good tone on the upright bass is demanding in its own way.
Electric bass guitars are different as the wood used during construction and the electronics used during construction did affect my playing sound and style.
Once I found the basses that gave me the opportunity to express myself freely on the instrument, developing my own style came naturally and as such, developed into my own signature style.
Tell us your opinion on the way new artists are coming up and the frequent release of songs.
New artists are coming up in a media-fueled world. They hear music differently and approach it differently in the cases where they did not grow up playing musical instruments.
The sound they’re creating is a departure from the past for sure. I have watched the world of online music sales change the way people enjoy their music.
Once upon a time, the sale of full albums was the goal of many artists, but the à la carte way of music consumption today has changed that to a degree.
With that in mind; to release songs on a frequent basis has been a career strategy for many independent artists.
I would say that being aware of the marketplace new artists are releasing their music to should be carefully considered and measured as to not over-saturate their listeners with too many singles within a short period of time.
Tell us your experience as a musician.
It has been the greatest exchange between myself and the men, women, and children on the different islands and continents around the world that have introduced me to musical, emotional, and performance experiences that are hard to describe. It has been an astounding experience for me.
Tell us your opinion on streaming and digital download of songs.
Since the advent of the Internet, the introduction of the ability to give music listeners a wide-ranging choice of how to receive their music has become absolutely gigantic.
When true 5G wireless technology and beyond becomes commonplace it will be hard to imagine the new platforms that will emerge for online music interactions and sales.
And while I think that legal streaming and downloading of music is a good thing, I am glad to see that some more serious attention is being paid to the content creators for their works being made available through streaming and the increased attention to the financial compensation for their works on that platform.
Tell us your goals and plans.
Ah yes, goals and plans. It is good to have them. I plan on continuing to make good music for as long as I can. If I can retire and still play music 10 years from now then that is a blessing indeed.
But I do have a quiet goal of somehow being able to help other independent artists in the music industry move forward with their works. I’ll see how that goes as we move forward.
Tell us five current artists that are your favorite.
I like Esperanza Spalding, Tom Chappell, Rebecca Harrold, Johnny Hyatt, and The Outcome.
Tell us your best song up to date.
My single song titled “The Suits.”
Tell us your dream and hope for the future.
A world of less strife and more love and sharing between the people who live on the planet – When there is less strife, the positive exchange of goods, services, and the arts between people is increased to the benefit of everyone.
A world that wants to educate its people as they grow – And I hope for good health for myself and for us all.
Tell us what has changed in the music industry.
Without a doubt, the advent of the Internet has changed the music industry to such a degree that I think at some point in the future we will not see business conducted in the same manner as it was before ever again.
And the clever and creative use of media playback devices now being used on stage by many artists is also a game-changer in the industry.
Tell us your opinion on television/radio stations playing the same songs from established artists and giving little chances to independent artists.
While that has been something of a standard industry practice for decades now, there could be some light at the end of the tunnel for independent artists.
I think it may have already begun with the FCC allocation of some FM radio frequencies that were temporarily auctioned off at much lower costs a couple of years ago to those who were seeking to keep radio what it originally was meant to be; a local or community outreach to people living nearby.
With this FCC allocation, it allows smaller local community radio stations to flourish and choose their own playlists which often include their own local music artists. It is a slow process, but I like where it is going.
Tell us the challenges independent artists are facing and how to tackle them.
Independent artists are facing an ever-changing music world. It has caused many artists to think along the lines of being an online startup business really. Because that is what the online music industry has done; on the one hand there is a lot of opportunities to get financial traction on the web, and on the other hand there is a vast and seemingly overwhelming amount of competition to contend with for each artist.
From what I have experienced, it seems to be better to have a live music working situation in place to couple with an online music artist presence. Playing live as an independent artist seems to work well with a carefully crafted online presence and that seems to be one good way of tackling some of the obstacles in the industry.
Share your press release and reviews with us.
National Endowment for the Arts – Jerome Lee
Bass Musician Magazine Interview Online with Jerome Lee
WSPR Simple Pleasures Radio Artist Spotlight On-Air Interview – Jerome Lee
Indie Music Interviews – Jerome Lee
Indie Spoonful Reviews “The Suits” – Jerome Lee
NeuFutur Magazine Review “The Suits” – Jerome Lee
The Music Butcher Music Blog Review “The Suits” – Jerome Lee
Sister Dorothy’s Music Blog Review “The Suits” – Jerome Lee
Tell us your opinion on using social media to promote music online.
Social media has a good place for artists to promote their music online.
But I think social media sites should be used wisely, and I think that artists should be careful not to rely on social media websites to be their sole place of web exposure.
Social media websites can change without notice to the user, and your data can be in jeopardy if you do not monitor the site.
Instead, an official website with an assigned web address for the artist is still the best online foundation for any independent artist.
Tell us about your music career.
My music career has been one of the most traveled experiences that I could have imagined.
Being able to play, read, and write music has allowed me to venture out into the world and create and share music with other artists with confidence; any language barrier was always overcome instead by communicating with each other by playing music together.
I have been fortunate to have played and recorded so many different styles of music with a lot of people, and I am glad that much of the recorded music made is still available for people to discover and enjoy.
Tell us what still motivates you to go on with your music career.
I still love to play the bass. It is a joy to simply continue to do just that.
But career-wise I still hear the words of my wonderful songwriter/teacher Pete Luboff ring in my ears; “All it takes is one good song to change your entire life”. I would say that statement has continued to motivate me to keep going forward.
Tell us about you as a person.
I love music, and I love to create new music. I like a lot of major music artists, and I like a lot of lesser-known independent artists as well.
I like history, and I like to know where things come from a lot of times.
I also read all of the manuals to all of my gear and software, guess I’m just that way.
Elaborate on the story behind the song.
This song and its spirit came through me as a realization of a life experience that so many of us as people have shared. When we are encountering rain that falls straight down with real intensity in our lives, especially when we are outdoors, those moments in the rain bring about many thoughts in the mind that can be challenging to us.
But when the rain stops suddenly, there is a peace in those moments that is singular each time we encounter them. There is a quiet stillness, and when one is outside not even the birds or other animals are heard for several moments.
It is during these moments of quiet and serenity after an intense rain where the origin of this song arose within me and allowed me to respond to its peace and beauty.
It mirrors what happens in our own lives as we encounter our own intensely raining moments.
But when the rain stops, as it always does, we have a sense of peace within us once again.
Tell us the process involved in making this song.
The process in making “First Peace After The Rain” was a fun one for me.
The bass line came along first, and I got an opportunity to play an electric upright bass with percussionist/drummer and friend Daniel Kloza and experiment and have a bit of fun at a local rehearsal room.
I played the bass line and told Daniel which direction my arrangement was going and he learned it and played the whole song in a short time.
I took the rehearsal recording home of the two of us playing the song and my ideas grew from there.
I took a while to record and arrange the music. But the lyrics came to me quickly and I had to write them down on the spot. I am glad that I did because they are now on the recording that you hear today. It’s not often that song lyrics flow through me and I don’t make any revisions or changes to them. But it happened this time, and I feel glad that I felt in touch with the spiritual side of myself when it happened.
Tell us about your future music projects.
Here in early 2019 I am currently working and playing bass on a new music project this time led by the great guitarist Johnny Hyatt; his music is high energy rock and roll, and hard rock.
I am also in the beginning recording stages for my next single release.
Tell us if you will change the style of your music to get signed.
Change my style of music to get signed to a record deal?
I probably already have during my career with the many music bands that I’ve had the opportunity to work with.
The music they played was not necessarily my own personal style of music per se, but I was and still am willing to make sure that whichever band’s music I work with or record with has all that it needs style-wise for it to hopefully be a successful offering.
And in my own career, at this point it would be better for me to play the style of music that is in my heart these days, it feels better for me to do so.
Elaborate on this song.
My song “The Suits” is a commentary on both my own life experiences and the experiences of others who have encountered those in societies who are in control politically and financially and wear the suit garment.
The person in the song wonders what life might be if he/she too wears a suit garment, and in the song’s outro, you can hear that person thinking about the new and possibly better life situations that could be had from wearing a suit…
Tell us if you have a guideline or standard set for your music production.
I do have a high standard for my music production, and I am strict with myself when it comes to recording and publishing my own music for others to experience.
I also work on recordings made by several independent artists over the Internet, and that can vary from me either creating or recording bass lines for their material or sometimes it can be a request for either a mix-down or a mastering session for their music.
Tell us your preparation for a live performance and how you make sure the quality of sound is high.
When preparing for a live performance in public, rehearsals are key in finding sweet spots in the music for my bass sound.
I record most or all of any band rehearsals that I’m involved in on a portable digital audio recorder. Then at home and after listening to the rehearsal recordings I’ve made, if I need to make changes to my live bass sound I will carefully construct or modify the sounds that I have in my bass effects unit before the next band rehearsal. At that point, I am dialed in much better and I am then prepared to move forward to the live band performance.
Discuss how to live healthy.
Eat food that is good for you as often as possible, especially as one grows older. Several years ago, I was able to lose a good deal of weight by changing my diet and staying with an exercise regimen. And to this day, I have been able to keep the weight off of me.
Be careful of what you say out loud about yourself, and always show yourself respect and love so you can respect and love others.
Tell us if you are in control of your performance or you are still learning.
I am quietly celebrating my 50th year of bass playing, so I can say that I am in control of my performance at this point.
I am also glad that I was able to gain control of my performance as a performer and musician at an early age, so I feel very fortunate.
But truth be told I am always learning from the music itself as well as from other musicians because of the challenge presented to me to continue producing something new for myself and for other artists.
The learning potential from music seems to have no real boundaries, allowing artists to embark upon the artistic directions they wish to explore.
Tell us that precious moment you chose music as a career.
In high school sports as a senior, I suffered a broken bone injury to my hand.
My high school orchestra’s conductor was not very happy with me upon discovering this and told me in no uncertain terms that I had to make a serious choice right then between sports and music.
And I decided that it was going to be a career in music that I’d follow. When my career in military service ended, and as soon as I was a civilian again, I embarked on a career in music that so far has not wavered much. I have always kept professional music in my life to the best of my ability throughout the years.
Tell us the greatest feedback you have ever received on a song of yours.
I would have to say it is the recognition I received from the National Endowment for the Arts. I submitted my song titled “Time Gone Away” to them back in 2015 during their 50th-anniversary celebration. They accepted my song along with the text and graphics that I sent to them and they created a profile page of me on their website that has now been archived. That to me is very honorable feedback of my song without directly reviewing it publicly.
And I also must include Bryon William Harris of BWH Music Group for his excellent review of my single song titled “The Suits”. Bryon really got to the song’s undertone and meaning in his review, and he has truly understood the song’s character and meaning coming from me. It is a great review.
Tell us your side interest apart from music.
I love to travel, and I think that the many lands of the world are very beautiful places to visit and experience.
And I do like great food from the many nations that I have been fortunate enough to visit, and I would say that those culinary experiences are unforgettable.
I also like good films and documentaries.
And even in this digital age, I still like a good paper book to read.
Tell us the artist that influenced you.
It’s hard to say that it was just one artist who influenced me. I actually have an Influences Page at my website that addresses this. But to answer the question, I’d say it’s equal parts of influence between my music teachers Mr. Hart, Mr. Tomforde, and Mr. Earlanson during my early years on electric and upright acoustic bass; some of my friends named John, Jerome, Buster, and Gary who played the bass in my neighborhoods while I was growing up; and some of the established electric bass players like Monk Montgomery, Jerry Jemmott, Robert “Kool” Bell, Chuck Rainey, Ronnie Baker, Carol Kaye, Stanley Clarke, and Alphonso Johnson.
Tell us if you prefer singing as a solo artist to collaborating with others.
Over the years as I recorded with the music groups that I was in, singing felt like a natural thing for me to do. I found parts in the range of my vocal register with these groups that blended well with their music.
It is fun to collaborate with other artists as a vocalist, a nice exchange of ideas seems to flow.
But as a solo artist, there are some differences in the recording approach as on one hand I have free reign over what I would like to sing.
But on the other hand, with no other person there to bounce ideas off of, I have often allowed the songs themselves to dictate some of the vocal lines and melodies that I produce.
Most times though, I don’t feel a particular preference as long as I can sing my parts to the music and hopefully produce a good outcome.
Tell us the full details of this song.
I began with the lyrics on “The Suits” a long time ago. And I felt some music emerge from me to match the attitude of the song’s essence.
It was going to be a much angrier song at first, but the lyrics led me to the overall tone of the song that you hear today.
I recorded it in Steinberg Nuendo, which is a powerful audio workstation program. One thing that I am quietly happy with is the fact that I took the time on this song to attend to the drums very closely, and by using the MIDI step writing feature I was actually able to create more human-sounding drum rhythm patterns that had no repeat fills anywhere in the song. It takes a long time to do this, but I got better and faster as the MIDI step writing process went forward.
I have done my own mastering for a long time now, and I used the IK Multimedia T-Racks24 mastering suite.
Tell us the organization you will set up to fight a cause and state your reason for fighting the cause.
If I could one day, I would try to set up something to truly assist those who have no home, and fight to survive out in the elements.
I worked for a food bank for a couple of years back in the 1980s so I have seen the dilemma of people surviving in this manner up close.
And if I could start another organization, it would be one of a world musician exchange where musicians could live in another country for a year and share their creativity with the musicians residing there. I think that there would be even more new avenues of styles and creations of music if this kind of international exchange could take place.
Tell us your mood while performing.
Mostly it is ‘joy’ that I feel when I perform, and that joy has grown as I have become older. Each opportunity to perform music is very special indeed, so each time I am granted such an opportunity there is ‘joy’ for me whether I am performing as a solo artist or performing with a music group.
Tell us the mistakes to avoid in the music business.
Be early to everything. Practice at home and practice as often as one can to be proficient on a musical instrument(s).
Do read everything you can about the industry, and here, knowledge really is power.
And as independent musicians have been forced really to become their own startups in this digital and Internet era, careful and respectful placement of what is revealed and shared online as a solo artist or a music group is of a high priority to gain any longevity or mindshare with people.
Tell us your opinion on smoking, ‘health is wealth’ but people still smoke.
Yes, people do smoke, and it is worldwide. People do have a right and an opportunity to choose whether they smoke or not, and smoking has gone on for many thousands of years now.
State your artist’s name and elaborate on it.
Jerome Lee. It’s pretty simple really. In my family, many years ago my younger brother began to work in terrestrial radio and he had his own show. He used his first and middle names to identify himself with his radio audience.
I liked what he had done, so I asked my mother if it was alright for me to do the same thing with my own first and middle names to use for my blossoming music career. She said yes, and I have gone on with that name ever since, up until this day.
State the title of the song and the meaning.
“The Suits” is a reference and an observation from one person’s point of view from their interactions with those wearing a suit garment, and how they feel that their life might be possibly improved by wearing a suit themselves.
The title “First Peace After The Rain” describes the feelings so many of us have during heavy rain in our lives, and how there is peace for us when the heavy rain stops falling.