Hey bro, you think you could…
I’ve been getting quite the messages lately. Young artists asking me to play their music, check it out, help promote them…or just advice in general. I am not a promoter and am nowhere near being the best resource for information, but I can help point in the right direction. Most don’t necessarily know my past; my creative history, the paths we’ve chosen and the mistakes we’ve made.
This isn’t a bio entry. I hate ‘bios‘. I don’t like the idea of having to summarize myself, all while attempting to avoid sounding as pretentious as Bios usually come off. I get that a Bio is meant to sell a personality, resume your life’s work in a few sentences and then hope to seem as approachable while showing how different and better you are than the rest. Ugh.
So, without it being a bio entry, let me summarize where I’m from.
I used to do Improv comedy back in high school, hosted a bunch of shows and events, eventually won a regional variety show contest which led me to meet my brothers in arms from STK. That’s when I met Jay Dot & Sophyrum Mang and we instantly started making music together in October 2003.
Our first official album was released on August 31st 2012. Yeah, 9 years later. We put in so many hours of work, so many sleepless nights and hours on music which will (probably) never see the light of day. The biggest thing we wanted then was guidance – which still holds true today. I’m speaking specifically on an artistic/career level, the life guidance is a whole other blog entry on its own.
We looked for the best advice on how to market ourselves, on how to reach an audience and make them pay attention…still haven’t totally figured that part out yet, but we’re working on it.
The reality is, we had so many ideas, and still do, but getting them off the ground often seem(ed) so overwhelming. Where do you go for advice? Who do you contact? Will they want to help? Here’s a few short answers :
– The Internet.
– The community.
– Probably not.
The Internet, in 2013, is awe-strikingly different from where it was in 2003 – when we first started. A lot of new avenues have been established and platforms have been created in order to give artists a type of visibility they wouldn’t otherwise have. But that same platform also hosts Justin Bieber’s new song, or features Lil’ Weezy and Drakes new singles or interviews. So who’s gonna pay attention to this new up and coming artist?!
The community. Get to know your community. One of our biggest mistakes was that we secluded ourselves, imagining that we would to take over the world by storm. We were 16 years old and under…and it doesn’t work that way. EVEN if you get discovered and pushed to the moon by a major label (it rarely ever works that way), you’d still need a community who believes in you; because in this fair-weather, fickle music world, you’re only as hot as your last single. Right? Nope, not if you establish real, honest and well-intentioned relationships with your crowd and your community. Go out to shows, seek out local events. OPEN YOUR EYES. Walk downtown for one day, go to local shops. You’re bound to see flyers or stickers. Show interest in your local scene, as much as you’d like your future fans to seek you out. Become a fan again, as an artist. Go to shows, meet people and interact. You’re shy? Google them and follow them on Twitter and Facebook, there’s open channels for communication everywhere.
Keep an open eye, open mind and open heart.
Once you build those relationships, much like how a family guides their own, you too will learn. Watch, observe and ask questions (don’t tweet it unless you should, private messages often work best). Be sincere with your intentions though – if you think you’ll get away with taking advantage of a fellow human being, you’ll get sniffed out faster than a Nazi at a peace walk. People have instincts, they’ll probably be wary of you.
Artists are humans, above all. They feel more than your average corporate individual, in my humble opinion.
With that said, will they want to help? I said ‘probably not’ because most won’t. That’s not important though, and that shouldn’t be a focus. Your focus should be on those like-minded individuals, the ones you have grown to care for and actually care about you. Those are the ones who will be able to help and by help I mean ‘point you in the right directions’. Do Not EXPECT Anyone To Lift A Finger For You. It is not their duty, nor should it ever be(come). If they do, it is at their own will, as a compassionate and caring peer. Be grateful, be aware of their efforts and their time. So when you ask for help or advice, value it and use it accordingly. Don’t waste another person’s time because they won’t give it to you anymore if they you make them speak
just to hear them speak for nothing.
Remember, you will meet a million people in your life time. Some will stick around longer than others, but their advice – their guidance – has the potential to change the course of your life. Choose it accordingly, and give thanks to those who have shared their limitless knowledge and limited time with you. Not everyone will want to share their time, nor are they looking for friends. Not everyone will find you endearing, charming or even interesting. That’s perfectly fine and you should be thankful, for their actions determined yours. Don’t force anything, it needs to feel right. Life needs to feel right.
With that said, I want to give thanks to those who’ve shared with me and helped, directly or indirectly. The motivators and the depressors. My friends, acquaintances and loved ones who’ve given me their time, your presence will resonate in my actions.