Welcome to my first article for the wonderful Belles & Gals.
I am looking forward to sharing with you my views and opinions of the country music scene but more than that I hope that my articles will provide valuable and encouraging information to artists both old and new.
However, for my first column, I want to take the opportunity to introduce myself and welcome you to my world.
I am sure some of you will recognise me as a songwriter and some of you will have heard of me as an artist manager but who am I and why is country music so important to me?
Well, firstly country music has always been a part of my life. Growing up, at ten years old, I was taken to my very first country club. I think this was actually by accident because neither of my parents were big fans of country music and it certainly wasn’t music that I was raised on.
My dad was a huge fan of The Carpenters, REO Speedwagon and Foreigner. My mum adored David Cassidy and The Partridge Family so these were the tunes I was dancing around to growing up.
The country club was a new world to me though and I was hooked. The very first song I heard was Heads Carolina, Tails California by Jo Dee Messina so whilst not old county, this was what captured me and to this day is on heavy rotation on my play list.
I educated myself on country music and found George Strait, Alan Jackson, Diamond Rio, Reba McEntire, Tammy Wynette and Emmylou Harris on my own.
While my friends at school were dancing around to Take That and the latest boy bands from Smash Hits magazine, I was listening to Steve Earle!
It wasn’t until 5 years ago that country music became my job and I accidentally stumbled into that too!
At a local pub one evening, I met a band who were performing country covers and I was asked to write a review of them for a popular online blog.
Talking to the band that night, they said they didn’t have a manager and could I help them.
I’d never done it before but was definitely up for a challenge!
The success of that first taste of management made me wanting more. I loved the buzz of seeing the success that I was creating for someone else.
A lot of people don’t realise what a manager does for an artist and I will be featuring one of my future articles on the importance of a manager and a team.
The past two years have been the most successful of my career and I can only put that down to my experience and knowledge in the music industry that I have actively gone out and found. I say music industry because that’s exactly it. Not country music as a segment but music as a whole.
And I think this is where artists are going wrong. Music is a business and until you treat it as a business, success won’t happen.
Two years ago, I started managing Stuart Landon and The Angels With Dirty Faces and it has been a challenging yet rewarding two years with the greatest achievement coming only last Friday when Stuart’s debut solo single topped the charts on both iTunes and Amazon at Number 1.
Stuart is an incredibly talented artist and we promoted the hell out of the single.
And that is one thing that drives me crazy on the music scene. Promotion. A lack of!
So todays advice to artists is the following:
* Promotion is everything!
You can have the most incredible voice, the greatest song, a hooky chorus and a loyal fan base but if nobody knows about it then you may as well not release it.
When you are about to drop a new single or a new album you need to be promoting it a minimum of a month before. You need to create some hype. Contact your local radio stations, contact your local media and then expand. You may be releasing a country song to country radio but why not take your chances and contact other radio stations for interview and air play. You will be surprised who supports you.
* Treat the music industry as a business!
Business is hard and requires your time and dedication. In an industry swamped with people wanting to become an artist, you have to have a different business strategy so ask yourself:
• Am I different?
• What is my unique selling point?
You want to sell more records than your peers? You want to play bigger support shows? You want to attract interest from labels, talent agencies and gain more fans? Then work your business the best you can or you will quickly go bankrupt!
No one wants another Taylor Swift. We already have one and she’s great at what she does so why would we want another one. Be you and make what you do recognisable.
Recently, I have become a motivational speaker and with this role, I talk to corporate companies a lot about how their mindset effects their jobs and often they will feel too much pressure and in too much competition with their colleagues to have a positive mindset. They just can’t see how they can make a positive contribution when they are doing the same. They also can’t see how they can do anything different so it ends up becoming a negative catch 22 situation.
What I say to them is, if you are creating something truly unique and something that you believe to be honest and true to your values and living your truth then you really aren’t in competition with anyone else.
I see so much slander on the music scene and I really don’t understand it so I will leave you with this thought:
If you have time to focus on other people’s business, then you are not working hard enough on your own.
I would love to hear from you and hear about topics that you would like me to write about so please do comment and let me know.
Until next month,