Soul Motivation Records

We make music that helps

At Soul Motivation Records, we make music that helps.

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The Mess Around (feat. Chela Mancuso): The New Single From Chris Swan!

Announcing the new single from Chris Swan and Soul Motivation Records...

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"I don't even miss how it use to be,
Not looking back on what I use to see,
Stronger now than I was before,
You can't take this life from me,
Don't mess around anymore.
"

The Mess Around (feat. Chela Mancuso)
Coming August 1st, 2018

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Pain Is Here!

Pain
The new single from Chris Swan is here!  

I have been a big dude my whole life. And as I get older, it has started to cause more and more pain in my life. Physical and emotional. My song "Pain" is dedicated to all the people who have had this struggle in their life. We know we need to change, but we just can't seem to do it. We know we are killing ourselves, but that still doesn't seem to be enough. I am here to tell you that you can change. It's closer than you think.

Click here or on the picture to get a FREE download of Pain!

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Pain: The Story Behind The Song

Hit play to hear what inspired my song Pain and what I hope you get out of it!  And be sure to share this video with those who you think need to hear it!

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You Deserve A Life Of Joy And Health

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"How come we know what to do, but we still don't do it."

I have been a big dude my whole life.  I think I joined Weight Watchers for the first time when I was 12.  The last time, when I was 39.  I have lost 100 pounds twice in my life, but could never keep the weight off.  Like so many others, I would always resort to old habits because I didn't have any other way to cope with my emotions.  Food was my reward, my companion, and my favorite thing in the world.  And when I turned 40, it showed.  I couldn't even weigh myself at home anymore.  My home scale only went up to 450 pounds.  I had crossed over into the 500's and I was miserable.

"Even though we want to be free, we still don't choose it."

My knees hurt.  Really bad.  I could barely get out of chairs or cars.  It became almost impossible to put on my socks and my shoes.  I was pre-diabetic.  I would wheeze constantly and  had developed adult onset asthma and had to use an inhaler daily.  I could barely walk more than 10 feet without being completely out of breath.  I had constant chest pains and frequent heart palpitations.  I had plantar fasciitis.  Sitting down hurt my knees.  Standing up hurt my feet.  I had poor circulation and numbness in my feet too.  I couldn't get an Uber because I was never sure if I would fit in the car.  I couldn't fly anywhere because I couldn't fit in the airplane seats.  I would break furniture all the time.  I was miserable, tortured and in constant pain.

"Whatever it takes, I will not refrain."

It was time to make a choice.  I had to get help and learn how to take care of myself again or I had to choose to die.  As miserable as I was, I didn't want to die.  I had a lot to live for and a lot I still wanted to accomplish.  It seemed so impossible to change but I started by talking about it to friends and family.  That led to finding some people who could help me.  I went to an amazing retreat and joined Overeaters Anonymous.  Once I learned more about my problem and all the other people out there who struggle the same way I do, I started to see hope.  I went all in and decided I would do whatever it took to save my life.  I started going to OA meetings, calling other OA members daily, I started reading and writing daily.  I also started meditating and praying everyday.  I can't really explain it, but an actual miracle happened to me.  All my emotional baggage was removed.  I finally felt loved, accepted and worthy.  I was finally able to stick to a meal plan, to care for myself and to realize I truly deserve to be happy.

My song "Pain" is dedicated to all the people who have had this struggle in their life.  We know we need to change, but we just can't seem to do it.  We know we are killing ourselves, but that still doesn't seem to be enough.  I am here to tell you that you can change.  It's closer than you think.  Do not give up on yourself.  Start talking about it.  Out loud to other people.  That is the first step to getting better.  You have to stop making excuses and admit it's a problem.  It gets so much better when you do, I promise.  If you need someone to talk to, I am always here.  And if you are ready to change, I highly encourage you to visit:  https://oa.org/.  It changed my life.  And it can change yours too.

"I will not be confined to this life of Pain."

Pain - The new single from Chris Swan.
Coming July 1, 2018!

Lost?  Not sure where to go next?

Pain: The New Single From Chris Swan

Announcing the new single from Chris Swan and Soul Motivation Records...

Pain Art.jpg

 

"I deserve a life of joy and health,
I deserve to live and love myself,

Whatever it takes, I will not refrain,
'Cuz I will not be confined to this life of pain."

Pain
Coming July 1st, 2018

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Creed and Vision Is Here!

Creed and Vision
The new single from Chris Swan is here!  

I have struggled with being confident and I use to overcompensate by tearing myself down. My song "Creed and Vision" is a hip-hop mantra that we can all say to ourselves daily to remind us we need to be confident AND humble every day. And despite what I use to think, it is possible and even necessary to be both to become the people we were created to be.

Click here or on the picture to get a FREE download of Creed and Vision!

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Creed and Vision: The Story Behind The Song

Hit play to hear what inspired my song Creed and Vision and what I hope you get out of it!  And be sure to share this video with those who you think need to hear it!

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How To Be Confident And Humble At The Same Time

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"I want the confidence to be strong."

I have always struggled with confidence.  It probably has a lot to do with growing up as an overweight kid.  I always felt fat.  I always felt like I wasn't good enough.  I remember even praying to God over and over to come into my life and let me into heaven.  I thought I wasn't good enough and the only way to get in was to beg.  I've done a lot of counseling, reading and reflecting over the years and I'm finally getting to a place in my 40's where I like myself.  I have learned that I am enough, just as I am, because I am a creation of God.  That is where my worth comes from.  Not from other people, which is where I use to try to get it from being the people pleaser that I am.  I see God in my life every day, in little things, and that reminds me that I matter.  And since I matter, then I have the tools to be more confident and assertive in my life.  I'm still a people pleaser, but I am working on it.  I am learning to stand up for myself when I need to. 

"But the humility to be wrong."

My biggest fear of becoming confident was that I would become a jerk.  I saw confidence as a means to be cocky, to operate like the world revolves around you, and to walk all over the people in your life.  No way did I want to be that guy!  So to compensate, I would make sure I remained as humble as possible.  But then being humble started to mean putting myself down.  So in my efforts to not become a self-centered, arrogant person, I became a depressed, beaten down, and incredibly frustrated person.  I was miserable.

"I want to lead and listen, have the creed and vision."

I had to learn that it is ok to be confident.  Matter of fact, you can be confident and still be humble.  Confidence does not have to equal arrogance.  You can be confident in yourself, love and respect yourself deeply, and still be a humble servant to others.  I'd even say you HAVE to learn to love yourself first in order to be a humble servant to others.  I know from experience that tearing yourself down to lift others up only makes you a resentful, bitter person.  And a resentful, bitter person is not one who wants to serve.  This person becomes antisocial and selfish, becoming the complete opposite of the person you set out to be.

My song "Creed and Vision" is a hip-hop mantra that we can all say to ourselves daily to remind us we need to be confident AND humble every day.  And despite what I use to think, it is possible and even necessary to be both to become the people God created us to be.

"It's ok to know our strength.
It's ok to know our weakness.
We use our weakness to make each other stronger.
'Cuz if one shines, we all shine longer."

Creed and Vision - The new single from Chris Swan.
Coming June 1, 2018!

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Creed and Vision: The New Single From Chris Swan

Announcing the new single from Chris Swan and Soul Motivation Records...

Creed and Vision.jpg

 

"It's ok to know our strength,
It's ok to know our weakness.
We use our weakness to make each other stronger,
'Cuz if one shines, we all shine longer."

Creed and Vision
Coming June 1st, 2018

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H.O.P.E. Is Here!

H.O.P.E.
The new single from Chris Swan is here!  

Life is stressful. People are tense. The political climate in our country is volatile. And I don't think I have ever seen so much division in our country as I do now. And if you aren't careful, you can be easily swept up in this ball of stress and start to believe the world is doomed. But I am here to tell you that hope is alive and well.

Click here or on the picture to get a FREE download of H.O.P.E.!

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H.O.P.E.: The Story Behind The Song

Hit play to hear what inspired my song H.O.P.E. and what I hope you get out of it!  And be sure to share this video with those who you think need to hear it!

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How To Find Hope

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"I think we all could use some hope."

Life is stressful.  People are tense.  The political climate in our country is volatile.  And I don't think I have ever seen so much division in our country as I do now.  I think it's great that people are speaking up and sharing their truth.  But it's also frustrating to see so many people talking but not listening.  There is so much finger pointing going on, telling us who to blame for our problems.  And if you aren't careful, you can be easily swept up in this ball of stress and start to believe the world is doomed.  It's so easy to just focus on all the negativity, the bickering and the chaos.  It's everywhere.  It's on Facebook, Twitter, at the grocery store, at church.  Everywhere.  I've seen so many friends get lost in anger to the point it's hard to even talk to them any more.  And I think a lot of people are so consumed with the darkness that they can't see the light.  But I'm here to tell you, there is hope.  The world is still full of wonderful, caring people.  There are people doing amazing things every day to make the world a better place.  The world is still full of love, wonder, and adventure.  None of that has changed.  It's all still there but we've gotten so lost that it's hard to see it.

"If you just open your eyes you'll see it's not so hard to cope with the bad now if you see it somehow."

Every day we have a choice.  What are we going to believe today?  Are we going to believe it's the end of the world?  That there is no way we can fix the damage that has been done?  That there is no way to find unity in such a divided world?  Or are we going to choose hope?  Are we going to choose to believe in people again?  Are we going to believe that love can truly conquer all?  Are we going to believe that we are going to be ok?  It's up to us to choose it every day.  We can't let someone else's agenda derail us.  We have to choose the enlightened path and stick to it.  Because we know at the end of the path, is all the hope we can stand.

"And if you want it then you got to give it."

Once we choose it, we can help change the climate around us.  How do we change it?  By giving.  If you want hope, then you have to give hope.  We have to share kindness with others around us.  We have to encourage the checkout person at the grocery store and tell them they are doing a great job.  We have to help the homeless man standing at the side of the road asking for money.  We have to smile.  We have to find joy.  We have to stop arguing on Facebook and start having face to face conversations.  And most of all, we have to LISTEN.  We need to stop talking and start listening.  Because we all want the same things.  We all want peace, joy and a happy life.  The only way we get to have those things is if we swallow our pride and listen to the hearts of those around us.  If you choose it, believe it and give it, hope will always be there promising a better day.  If you don't give up on hope, then it will never give up on you.

"You don't have to close your eyes no more, just look and see the dream you wished for."

H.O.P.E - The new single from Chris Swan.
Coming May 1, 2018!

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New Singles From Chris Swan Every Month!

Yep, you heard that right.  Starting May 1 2018, I will be releasing a new single every month up until the release of my new album in November.  Oh yea, I have a new album coming out in November!  I'm so excited for you to hear it.  It's all about the simple joys and complex heartaches that we all go through in life.  This album is me talking to you about the struggles I have as well as the moments of victory.  I want you to know you are not alone.  And I want you to know that there is always H.O.P.E.!

I know you will find peace, comfort and encouragement in these songs just like I do.  And with the power of music on your side, you are destined to live the amazing life you deserve!

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H.O.P.E.
The new single from Chris Swan
Coming May 1, 2018!

 

 

 

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Can Hip-hop Be Positive?

 
 
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When I use the term "positive hip-hop," I get some funny looks.  First of all, there are the hip-hop haters who still believe nothing good can come from hip-hop.  These are the people who heard a 2 Live Crew song in the 90's and think that that song represents everything that rap is.  And as much as 2 Live Crew has its place in the rap history books, hip-hop is so much more than "Me So Horny" and those of us who are real fans, know that.  But I also get funny looks from hip-hop heads when I use the term "positive hip-hop."  I think a lot of the heads think that hip-hop can't say anything meaningful if it's positive.  Like putting the term "positive" on something makes it corny and therefore meaningless. 

Can you be positive and still keep it real?

Hip-hop began as a way to get the party started.  It was music that was used to put us in a good mood.  That's why a lot of old-school hip-hop is so corny.  It was just a bunch of dudes (and, yes, a few girls too) having fun, partying, trying to out-do each other with words as they began to figure this new style of music out.  It was a good time.  One might even say it was "positive."  But then that style became cheesy.  It wasn't cool enough anymore and hip-hop had to fight back to remain relevant.  Hip-hop had to grow up and be cool again.  Hip-hop had to get real.  And it did.  This music told us stories that some of us lived every day and some of us couldn't believe were true.  Hip-hop showed the world what was really going on.  All the violence.  All the injustice.  All the ugly.  Hip-hop turned on the spotlight and pointed it right at the things we didn't want to think about.  It made us face it.  It made us deal with it.  It made us talk about it.

Hip-hop had to tell these stories.  Music needs to be real.  Music needs to speak to our hearts and minds and so hip-hop can't just be a party all the time.  It needs to have all of its voices heard.  But somewhere along the way, we forgot that hip-hop can still be a positive force.  It can show us the problems, but it can also show us the solutions.

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The music we love should not just be lost in a sea of frustration and anger.  It should not just be a tool to exploit our sins and give us an excuse to give up.  There is so much power in music and we can't forget to use that power for good too.  HIp-hop can show the world the way to freedom.  It can open up our minds and create a dialogue between all people.  It can be used to remind us of all the amazing things that happen in this world every day.  It can show us the possibility in our lives.  That's why hip-hop needs a positive voice.  We shouldn't look down on "positive hip-hop" as being a subpar form of music.  It should be lifted up as a hopeful resource that can bring the changes into our world that we really need. 

Hip-hop can save the world.

There is a place for all voices to be heard in the world of music.  If you are a hip-hop hater, take a second to remember the millions of people this music speaks to daily.  You don't have to like it, but you have to respect it and believe it is a crucial instrument of hope for a lot of people.  If you are a hip-hop head who thinks all positive music is corny, remember, the world is a harsh place.  And even if you don't feel like you need it today, the day will come that you will need a positive voice in your life.  And that voice would best be delivered through the music you love.  You don't have to like it, but you have to respect it.  Because somewhere right now positive hip-hop is changing someone's life, and it may just change yours someday too. 

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Embrace Music Streaming: Stop Fighting It!

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Music streaming sites like Spotify and Apple Music have the music business in a panic.  Most independent artists think it is impossible to make a living with music these days.  But I am here to tell you that is NOT TRUE!  Yes, the music business is changing, but there are lots of people making good money in the music business and there is no reason you can't be one of them.

I did a Facebook Live video about this subject and discussed the ways that artists can use streaming to their advantage.  This video is full of tips on how to make money with music streaming and how to use streaming to further your music career.  Streaming is here to stay so it is time to embrace it and use it to take your music to the world! 

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How I Learned To Love Music Again

It's weird how being a musician can actually make you hate music.  That sounds crazy, right?  But it really does happen to a lot of musicians.  It happened to me.  And it made my life so miserable.  I knew that I needed to change that.  And quick!

Just hit the PLAY button below to see how I learned to love music again!

The Making Of "Music To Succeed To"

I thought it would be fun to pull back the curtain and show you some footage from the making of Glossy Soul's "Music To Succeed To album!"

Just hit the PLAY button below to check it out!

What They Don't Tell You When You Want To Become A Musician

Being a musician is awesome but it comes with a lot of challenges.  I wanted to share a couple things I wish I knew when I was starting out.  

Just hit the PLAY button below to check it out!

Top 10 Smooth Jazz Pianists

I have been a fan of smooth jazz since college.  That feels like years ago now.  Oh yeah, it was a lot of years ago, I guess.  Anyhoo, I remember when I started listening to smooth jazz.  It was overwhelming trying to figure out where to start.  Who should I listen to?  Who are the great artists?  Who should I avoid?  I don't want to waste my time with lame artists, right?  Obviously, the best thing to do is just to dive in and find what you like.  But where do you start?

I got you covered.  Here is a list of my 10 favorite smooth jazz pianists.  I'll also include some key tracks and albums to start you out on your smooth jazz journey.  So light a candle.  Dim the lights.  And get ready to groove with the best of the best!

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#10
Gregg Karukas

Key Tracks:  Soul Kisses, Manhattan, Blue Touch

Key Album:  GK

 

 

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#9
Jonathan Fritzen

Key Tracks:  This Way That Way, Temple of Dreams, The Standard

Key Album:  Diamonds


 

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#8
David Benoit

Key Tracks:  Freedom at Midnight, Drive Time, Kei's Song

Key Album:  Heroes

 

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#7
Brian Culbertson

Key Tracks:  On My Mind, You're My Music, Modern Life

Key Album:  Dreams

 

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#6
Gene Harris

Key Tracks:  Sittin' Duck, Losalamitoslatinfunklovesong, Everything Happens To Me

Key Album:  Gene Harris and The Three Sounds Live at the 'It Club'

 

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#5
Bob Baldwin

Key Tracks:  Summer Breeze, Stand Tall, I Wanna Be Where You Are

Key Album:  Standing Tall

 

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#4
Bob James

Key Tracks:  Bali Run (Fourplay), 101 Eastbound (Fourplay), Since I Fell For You

Key Album:  Fourplay

 

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#3
Joe Sample

Key Tracks:  Street Life (The Crusaders), Chain Reaction (The Crusaders), Spellbound

Key Album:  Spellbound

 

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#2
Ramsey Lewis

Key Tracks:  The "In" Crowd, So What You Wanna Do, I'll Always Dream About You

Key Album:  The In Crowd

#1
Jeff Lorber

Key Tracks:  Ain't Nobody, Grasshopper, Do What It Takes
Key Album:  Kickin' It

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Want to hear more from these guys?  Get our secret playlist called "Smooth Jazz Piano's Best" featuring all of these great players!  Available absolutely free for Apple Music and Spotify users.  Just click the link below and start listening now!

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