I had no idea how deeply I am apart of systemic racism until now

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*Image street art by Ruben Ubeiera / Ubiera Studio in collaboration with The Bushwick Collective!

I’m a privileged white gay American man — previously unaware of how deeply I am apart of systemic racism in this country. That said, I want to share all that I have learned this week about racial inequality, systemic oppression, and white supremacy in America.

I’m sharing this vital information because I recognize how we’re all on such different pages with our understanding of what’s really factoring into the problems we are continually facing in this country. I believe that we have to engage in continued education & conversation about all this and take responsibility wherever & however we can.

Here’s what I’ve learned so…

Spotify, Amazon, Google, and Pandora are “suing songwriters” — and I’m appalled.

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Photo by sgcreative on Unsplash

It’s important that everyone knows about this. The Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) recently ruled to increase streaming payouts to songwriters in the United States by 44%. So for the first time in 110 years, songwriters will get an increase in royalties based on how much the music business has changed in that time. Great news, right? Especially considering that streaming platforms like Spotify, Amazon & Apple Music are the ones making most of the money off of every songwriter and artist they have on their platform.

Now Spotify and Amazon — alongside Google and Pandora — have all submitted a legal objection against a ruling.

Confronting “My Hero, The Enemy”

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Gregory Douglass, Live from the Chapel

I’ve seen better days
And brighter dreams
Even in the throes of desire before you
I’ve grown melodies and poetry
Higher than I ever thought I could grow
Still, you’re my hero
You’re my hero, the enemy

*Lyrics from “My Hero, The Enemy” by Gregory Douglass

I use to make home movies when I was a kid before my life pivoted towards music. I loved suspense movies back then, so I applied what I learned and created amateur thrillers with my friends. …

“The Great Wide” potential of strength in numbers

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Gregory Douglass, Live from the Chapel

Long the days
Long the river wide
Fleeting is the time
And so it is

New terrain
Magnificent horizons
More than meets the eye
And so it is

*Lyrics from “The Great Wide” by Gregory Douglass

Believe it or not, I starred in a scripted “reality” web TV show alongside Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino back in 2011. The show was a Yobi TV production called New Stage that followed the contestants of an America Idol-type talent show behind the scenes. The Situation played the head judge — the Simon Cowell of the show, if you will — and I played a contestant who had made it all the way to the final top three. My character’s name was Gregory Douglass because I was ultimately playing myself, only a more fictional, scripted version of myself. It was kind of fun to play “me” because (spoiler alert!) …

Adapting to the “Automatic Children”

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Gregory Douglass, Live from the Chapel

Make way for the automatic children
Because we’ll fight, and we’ll fight
Until the death of it
With raging, semi-automatic reason

*Lyrics from “Every Evening After” by Gregory Douglass

I’ve always worn the word “indie” like a badge of honor. I’ve been a pioneer of the indie music movement throughout my entire career. At least that’s what many of my fans would say.

The truth is that I was indie by default. I really wanted a big fat record deal more than anything when I started out. I had graduated from a college preparatory school and skipped college altogether because I was hungry to hit the road and share my music with the world. I was gonna be a legendary rock star. Being indie was just temporary to get things rolling until I got “discovered.” …

Lessons from “The Lion Keeper”

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Gregory Douglass, Live from the Chapel

The lion keeper is still asleep
From this bird’s eye
Promises made
The lines we cross
The lion’s open mouth is calling you

*Lyrics from “Every Evening After” by Gregory Douglass

I was writing songs, recording albums, and touring all over the country throughout my 20’s — and I was killing it.

1999–2009 was my indie heyday. It was the hight of the DIY movement of independent music and Ani DiFranco was our ringleader. Her career was like a beacon of light to so many indie artists who were foregoing record deals altogether and just doing it all themselves, on their own. …

My “Black Lung” wake-up call

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Gregory Douglass, Live from the Chapel

Black lung, slowing down in a fragile body
Black lung, I’m not afraid to die
I’m afraid of living

*Lyrics from “Black Lung” by Gregory Douglass

I loved smoking cigarettes in high school.

I loved it so much that I sobbed hopelessly one day as I drove through the village of my boarding school in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire, chain-smoking Camel Lights behind the wheel, thinking, “I’ll never be able to quit. I’m just too addicted.”

A few weeks later, my lung collapsed.

I was enjoying a fresh Camel Light down by the docks on Lake Winnipesaukee with the other deviant student smokers just after the final dress rehearsal of our school musical that year Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum. I had a leading role (“Hero”) alongside Topher Grace (yes, that Topher Grace) who was playing “Pseudolus,” my faithful Roman slave. It was a particularly celebratory smoking session because we had all nailed our roles in the show. …

Bringing it on back to “The Garden”

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Gregory Douglass, Live from the Chapel

Just let me go, now let me go
Back to where I started
Just let me go, now let me go
Back to the garden

*Lyrics from “The Garden” by Gregory Douglass

I was such a prima donna as a kid. I loved to act, sing, create, direct, and star in my own home movies so I could be at the overall center of attention at all times. My favorite music teacher in elementary school actually took me aside one day and told me I needed to “tone it down” in class and give other students a chance to shine.

Apparently, my childhood ego was through the roof, but so was my self-confidence back then. It’s amazing how much as changed over the years as I have built my humble indie music empire. …

Why we “Complain” and what we can learn from it

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Gregory Douglass, Live from the Chapel

I want to live out for the moment
I want to live out for the day
But my heart is on fire
And I’m waiting in line
So I only complain

*Lyrics from “Complain” by Gregory Douglass

I use to have a recurring nightmare about Freddy Krueger when I was young. My cousin Tony Bob somehow got his hands on a copy of Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors, even though we were both way too young to be watching horror movies.

Tony Bob and I concocted a plan for him to sleep over one night so we could watch it while my mom was at choir practice. The plan worked like a charm. We popped Freddy Krueger into the VRC as soon as mom’s car disappeared from the driveway, and away we watched. I had never seen anything like it before. It was awesome. It was terrifying. …

What changed when I said “Enough With This”

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Gregory Douglass, Live from the Chapel

We always were two birds of a feather
Born to live and die here together
How you thought you were always so clever

*Lyrics from “Enough With This” by Gregory Douglass

When a major management opportunity came my way, I thought my life was about to change for the better — and it did, right after the soul-crushing defeat of disappointment.

A young ambitious dude named Jeff made his way to one of my album release shows in Burlington, Vermont one day. He had flown all the way out from Los Angeles after my music had come highly recommended to him by a mutual friend. He worked for Bill Silva Management and he was coming to see me perform for possible management consideration.


Gregory Douglass

Singer/songwriter, creative alchemist, and crusader of truth at gregorydouglass.com & patreon.com/gregorydouglass.

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