The Serendipitous Road to NOT Becoming a Rock Star

Photos Courtsey of Raya Al-Hashmi, Raya on Assignment

Once a month on a Friday morning in the center or Portsmouth, New Hampshire, a community of artists, writers, filmmakers, dreamers, and creators come together to listen to each other’s stories, drink coffee, and share breakfast at the Music Hall Loft for CreativeMornings.

CreativeMornings started in NYC back in 2008. Since then, it has spread all over the world. Each month creative professionals are given a topic and an opportunity to speak about their own personal, and professional journeys to their community. On Friday, May 19th, PARMA CEO Bob Lord was the star of the morning with the topic SERENDIPITY.

Even in a fast-paced, tech-savvy world where anything you want to know is in the palm of your hands, it’s hard to keep track of what unique people and companies are doing day to day; let alone the impact they’re making in their community, or around the world. PARMA Recordings, which has been a part of the New Hampshire seacoast since 2008, and has hosted events such as the PARMA Music Festival in Portsmouth venues, like 3S Artspace, has recorded music with the Portsmouth Symphony Orchestra, composer Jonathan Santore, among other NH local artists, many of the Creative Mornings-ers didn’t know a record label was in their neighborhood.

With this mind, Bob shared his story of how he “became a rock star” through serendipitous events and life lessons. Now, those who know Bob Lord, know that he’s a self-proclaimed improviser, or, in other words, a winger. However, with an audience of 100 people watching, he came prepared with notes, slides, and of course, a reminder a to himself not to use profanity. To kick off the talk, Bob spoke about the rules his family ingrained in him from a young age, including,  “If you have an ugly baby, I’m going to tell you that you have an ugly baby,” which prompted laughter and surprised nods of truth in the rule.


Bob went on to tell stories about playing with his bands in high school, idolizing The Who, to working with a record company that wouldn’t let his band, Dreadnaught, make their own music, which lead to the future foundation of his own company. He told stories about writing the opening jingle for NHPR, to writing soft porn music (where the money for PARMA came from…no, really!), to working with MMC Records in Massachusetts under the direction of William Thomas Mckinley, where he learned how to run a record company with his own values. He reminisced about starting PARMA with just a few loyal hard workers, and about traveling the world, including being one of the first US music companies to travel to Cuba to make and record music with Cuban musicians. And, one of his favorite stories to tell, he circled back to his dream as a teen, where he had the opportunity to work and play with who his childhood idol, Pete Townshend of The Who.

Following the event, the Portsmouth community burst with reactions on all platforms…

The power of CreativeMornings is not just about bringing people together to get involved with the creative community and to see its impact, it’s also meant to inspire. As the founders of CreativeMornings say, “Everyone is creative.”

Reflecting back on the morning, Bob said, “The expansion of CreativeMornings into Portsmouth has clearly been a welcome addition to the seacoast,” and “To be greeted with a full house was a real treat. So was not getting yelled at for swearing profusely.” (his reminder only worked for the first half of the lecture)

Keep your eyes peeled on our Facebook and Twitter because we will be sharing the recorded lecture as soon as it’s available, which will also be cataloged on the global CreativeMornings page.

If you were at CreativeMornings: SERENDIPITY, tell us your favorite story.

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