Deon "Saxman" Yates CD Project
First I want to let you know that $2 from every CD sold, for the life of the project, will go to a Phi Beta Sigma Education Scholarship Fund!
Now, for some of you reading this you may have heard my music before ... but for those that haven't, I’ve been playing music for a long time and have been a professional recording artist since 2009. I have been very blessed with opportunities to perform all over the world and with some well known artists in the world of music, especially in contemporary jazz. One of the highlight of my career was being selected to perform at the 2017 Conclave for the greatest fraternity in the world, Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Incorporated which I am a proud member of. I have also been fortunate to have my music played on several radio stations around the world and millions of times on streaming services like Pandora and Spotify. People often think that because our songs are played on the radio or a gazillion times on the Internet that we artists make a lot of money. Well for most of us, that just isn't true. If I was a chart topping Pop, Country or Hip Hop artist then maybe because they literally have thousands of radio stations playing their music hundreds of times a day. Us smooth jazz cats have less than 125 radio stations in the entire United States that play our music. As you can imagine, trying to get on those few stations is very hard to say the least. My top songs have over a million plays combined now but I barely get paid anything for that. For instance, I have a song that was played on Spotify last quarter (3 month period) 238,992 times and I received a whopping $4.30. This is definitely not sour grapes but so much work gets put into musical projects and there will often be very little back in return. We make our money mostly on performing and record sales. So why be a recording artist in the first place?
As I said earlier, I have been blessed to do something that I love and perform with and meet so many wonderful people. Some of the artist that have appeared on my last couple of projects include Nick Colionne, Maysa, Brian Simpson, Lin Rountree, Nils and Paul Brown. The one lesson I have learned, from those who I feel are successful in this business, is that making money is not the bottom line for doing this. As an artist we have been given a gift that can touch people in ways that you can't even imagine. It is truly a gift from God and as such we have no choice but to do it. Now if I can make a living playing music that would be great but the greatest compensation that I have received has been people coming up to me after a show and telling me that my performance uplifted or ministered to them. My father always told me “To whom much is given, much is required,” and I believe that. So Hopefully people will get something back from the new songs.
This will be my fifth recording project and will be released on my 50th birthday this June and I'm working with some great producers in order to bring you the best music that I possibly can. Over the last 10 years I have been paying my dues and cultivating relationships with some very gifted and talented folks and they have answered my call for support with the new project. Those of you who are real Smooth Jazz fans may know some of these names but if you don't please go look them up and support their music as well.
The first to sign on to be a producer on the project is Chris “Big Dog” Davis. Chris is a two-time Grammy nominated writer and producer and has ten Billboard #1 smooth jazz hits. He received a Grammy nomination in 2014 for his work with singer/songwriter “Maysa” on her Blue Velvet Soul CD. Chris and co-producer Gerald Albright received a Grammy nomination in 2015 for their CD “Slam Dunk” In the category of “Best Contemporary Instrumental Album.” Chris has worked with artist such as multi-Grammy nominated Gerald Albright, Will Downing, Phil Perry, Najee, Brian McKnight, Chante' Moore, the late Vesta Williams, gospel giant Kim Burrell, Floacist, Glenn Jones, Miki Howard, Melba Moore, Marion Meadows, George Clinton, Selena Johnson, Avant, Kim Waters, Rick Braun, Alex Bugnon and now Deon Yates.
Next I have a young man who, along with his lovely wife, have become a part of my extended family. Mr. Darren Rahn. With over 25 #1 radio singles and multiple Grammy nominations over the past 11 years as an artist, producer and mixing engineer, Darren Rahn has become urban jazz’s premiere sonic architect, the “go-to” guy for established genre greats and up and comers looking for their next sure-fire hit. In 2004, just as his own solo career was gaining steam, Rahn produced the hit cover “Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now” for bassist Wayman Tisdale; it was in the pole position on the airplay charts for four weeks and stayed in the Top 10 for nearly eight months. His subsequent production work on Tisdale’s Way Up! project led him to earn one of his Grammy nominations; the others came from his contributions as a producer and/or mixer for three Dave Koz projects: Greatest Hits, Hello Tomorrow and Summer Horns.
Another anointed musician and friend literally came on board the day before I created this campaign. My musical brother Mr. Jackiem Joyner. In Jackiem released his debut solo album, the independently produced, “This Time Around.” The album helped boost his profile, and in 2007 he signed to trumpeter Rick Braun's ARTizen Music Group in time to release his sophomore album, “Babysoul,” which earned Debut Artist of the Year honors from Smooth Jazz News. Two years later, his next project, “Lil Man Soul,” spawned two No. 1 singles on the Billboard chart and won the Song of the Year trophy for “I’m Waiting For You” from the American Smooth Jazz Awards. His self-titled 2010 album solidified his position as a consistent hit-maker.
I know you are thinking, “Can it get any better than this?” well it just might. It is not official yet but I have reached out to one of the people I have have come to love and respect very much in this industry. Not only for his abilities as a musician but for his spirit and passion. And yes, he and his wife are a part of my extended family now as well. In fact, our wives work together collecting and distributing toiletries and other supplies to the homeless. I'm talking about the legendary James Lloyd from the group Pieces of a Dream. We have spoken about the subject of him writing and producing a track for my new project. No we just have to close the deal!
As you may be able to tell already, this is going to be a hot project and I could really use your help bringing it to light. I have yet to hit the #1 spot on Billboard or get a Grammy nomination but I am confident that if anybody can get me there it is you and the team I have assembled to produce this record. So I am reaching out to see if anyone in the great wide world would be kind enough to help me continue on my path in music to try and get to the next stage. Everything I have recorded prior to this has been self-funded, but this time it is looking like that is going to be out of reach. So if you could help me out then you would be doing me the biggest favor!
$25,000 sounds like a lot of money, and it is, but let's put things into perspective.... I have a combined total of 20,000 friends and or followers on social media, if only 5% of those people donated $25, and in return received an autographed copy of the CD, I would meet my goal. So that’s it. I really hope you guys are up for helping me out with this as it means everything to me to be able to make my next CD!