Haikaa and David: Being Independent Doesn’t Mean Walking Alone

I think there’s a bit of irony in the term “Independent Musicians” because I’ve never been so dependent in my life as I am as a musician.


Haikaa Yamamoto; Artist, Author, Musician, Life Coach

I depend on the kindness of fellow musicians and producers to record new songs, on graphic designers and webmasters to help me out with my digital platform, on friends who are bloggers and on friends in general to share my content, I depend directly on every single fan who purchases my music and the list goes on!!!

This state of “dependency” may have left me feeling rather vulnerable at times you know, but it also brought me out of my shell in a very positive way. When I decided to record my song “Work of Art” in as many languages as I could, I ended up doing versions in 20 languages with the help of more than 40 collaborators around the world. And that was just the beginning. As I expanded my digital presence, I got to meet lots of interesting and kind people who were nice to depend on!!!

One of them is David Mark Smith, an incredibly talented musician who created a network of 240 musicians from 33 different countries called Global Musicians Fishpond in just two years. I’m very happy to share his story here and I’m looking forward to seeing you swimming on this fishpond with us.

Independent Musicians; Never Walk Alone
by David Mark Smith

As a musician for the last 25 years, I realized a dream in January 2013 with the release of a lifetime’s writing; my band, My Lucky Fish, released our debut album “Best Thing”, and so came the end of the race, a goal met, another challenge completed. Little did I realize how much interaction and good people making an album entails, and that in fact it’s just the start of the process; now this thing needs to sell!

In 2010, my music partner Rachael Schoellen and I formed My Lucky Fish . In the name is an important story. At our first gig, a then 7-year-old girl, Vanessa, watched us for 2 hours, and presented me with “…my lucky fish, because I love you and your music and want you to be happy and lucky your whole life”. And so was born a brand, “My Lucky Fish”.

My Lucky Fish - David and Vanessa

David Smith, Founder of the Fish Pond, Vanessa, and the Lucky Fish

We took 2 years end to end, Rachael and myself co-writing 9 decent songs to be able to independently produce an album. During the process, I had the help of some amazing people; Ricky Furr, an amazing soundman, studio engineer, and producer out of Winchester, VA; Tom Graham, playing bass, a student at Shenandoah University; Doug Sharpe, fabulous lead guitarist; and guest slots for Jeremiah Shaw on cello, of the Juilliard School, and John Terrell on lead guitar, himself an amazing producer who ended up mastering the album. It was during that two-year period that I realized that an independent musician is never truly independent, but through hard work is blessed by some good luck, and the good nature and skills of those around them.

My Lucky Fish - Rachael

My Lucky Fish’s Rachael Schoellen

What better place to find a home for My Lucky Fish than a Fish Pond? And so it came to pass that during that period, in April 2011, off the back of a brand born of a child’s heart (thank you Vanessa) I launched Global Musicians Fish Pond. I say “I”, but it’s never really about self in this business. Formed from 5 high school bands, and the belief and determination of some really great former high schoolers (thanks Joe Demski (Behind Tomorrow) and Mike Frazier (Random Holiday) of Sherando in Stephens City, VA), the goal was to establish a global family, to give any musician and music listener who loves independent music a resource to publish, collaborate, be reviewed, and to enjoy a very real community atmosphere. I have so many good people to thank for the fact that in August 2013, we have become 240 musicians in 33 countries around the world.

Pranam Background 2

Pranam Bai Richter; the Fish Pond’s Head of Global Publicity

Joined by our Head of Global Publicity Pranam Bai Richter, in January 2013, we have reviewed billboard artists, and count among our number Gregg Wright (Michael Jackson’s former guitarist), Josh Doyle (formerly of the Dum Dums and winner of Guitar Center Singer Songwriter of the Year 2012), Queen Caveat (great alternative rock band featured on ABC’s Sunset Boulevard series in 2012), and Margo Rey (billboard top 20 artist in 2012 and top 30 artist in 2013). We have some of Berklee College of Music, Boston, MA, best musicians (see Deni Hlavinka, Chris West, and many more), and a rich vein of talent from Hollywood Musicians Institute in California (see Jonina Aradottir, Anna Yanova, and more). We have the amazing Haikaa in California, a true book-publishing, painting, recording artist and life coach. The list goes on. We are truly blessed, we are a growing family, and a force to be reckoned with.

Being in this business is hard. Calling yourself an independent musician is harder although the norm these days; however look around you and see how many people are right there with a similar story; one of hard work, positivity, and above all, passion for music and art. All I ask is that you come and check us out if you want to become part of our family. Musicians, and listeners are all welcome. We offer publicity, networking opportunities, chances for collaboration, reviews, and even a slot for partners for those ethical people who are known to be musician-friendly. It’s a family that we take very, very seriously indeed.

In closing; remember this…independent musician, okay, but never, ever walk alone. Visit us, join us support our cause. You’ll have a great time doing so, whether musician, music listener, or partner.

One world, one family, one musical heartbeat.

David Mark Smith
Founder and CEO
Global Musicians Fish Pond


You see, you are not alone. People like David strengthen my faith in music and in humanity.

Best of luck and see you next week!!!


In Diversity,
Normal is everything.