If you perform for family and friends, they will always think you are great. If you are a big fish in a little pond, try not to lose site of where you fit in a bigger pond. I have recently encountered artists who are “full” of themselves and don’t have a grip on reality. It’s a very dangerous place to be if you want to succeed in the “big” pond. Keep developing your talents and skills and be realistic about where you are. Otherwise, you’re just wasting time living in your own delusional world. It takes a lot to be in the “big” pond. Compare yourselves to the successful performers. Who could you be on the stage with and hold your own? You need to be that good to be in that world. Otherwise, make music your hobby. There is nothing wrong with that. If you’re looking to “make it big”, get opinions about your performance and talents from people who know the business. Everybody doesn’t have to be a star. Everybody isn’t made to be a star. I’m just saying, be realistic about where you are and decide where you want to go with your music. Be humble and seek your musical goal.
I believe if you have music in your soul, there is no escape. It’s a need that has a force of it’s own. There is no point in wasting time trying to deny it, just accept it and enjoy the process. The journey of music can be very satisfying. The journey reaching for fame can be very empty, and the music business can within itself be very frustrating. However, the journey of music is what it’s all about! I have never enjoyed my personal music journey more. I spent years educating myself so that I would have a diversified career. It has worked for me – not to mention how much I always enjoy learning and getting better. Enjoy the music and let it take you on a wonderful journey!
Well, the last time I wrote on my blog was when I was taking a day of rest! I was so busy after that getting ready for the concert that I didn’t have time to blog! Bottom line is we had a fabulous concert and sold out with a standing ovation from a full house! It was a wonderful evening. It was worth all the work and time it took to put it together. Music is about giving. We had a joyful night of sprinkling a little glitter over a very receptive audience. I will try to back up a little and catch you up on the final days before and after the concert.
I took a day of rest from the Concert on Sunday to enjoy Mother’s Day. It’s important to give yourself a break when you’re working very hard. Sometimes you just need to refresh yourself and your creative energy. It’s okay to take time away from music without guilt. I’ve learned that one the hard way. Music can be – and often is – an obsession with us artists. I tend to be a perfectionist and an overachiever. I’ve always been good at work. I do know if I work hard enough, I can make things happen. So I have struggled to have a balanced life. I work hard now, but I also know how and when I need to backoff. Take time to live and chill out. You’ll come back better than before! So, after some rest – I’m back better than before!
One of the important things is to make a concert profitable for you. Keep in mind, if you don’t make a profit from your concert, it is called a “hobby”. Selling your CD’s at the concert is important to the bottom line. Each of the artists that will perform at our 6/20 Concert at The Red Clay Theatre and Arts Center has recorded a CD or several CD’s – or they are in the process of finishing their CD’s to sell the night of the concert.
I personally have CD’s to sell, so I need to make sure I have enough copies for the sales table. I am also working on a new project in the studio. My goal is to finish up an EP to sell that night as well. It’s getting a little tight since we are 6 weeks away. So, we have been spending a good amount of time to get the recordings finished, mixed, mastered, packaged and ready for the market. More about that recording process tomorrow!
I wrote press releases for the 6/20 concert and got them out first to all the Metropolitan Atlanta magazines. Most magazines are monthly and the time to send your materials for them is the end of a month and the beginning of the next month for the upcoming issue, i.e. late April/early May for the June issue. You can learn about how to put together a press release and the proper format online. You want to write a few paragraphs about your upcoming event and a good photograph. I’ll send them to the newspapers as well about a month before 6/20, i.e. 5/20. Promotion of your event is almost as important as rehearsals. It is usually not the nature of most of the creative/musical personality to think business. However, if you want your music to be your living, you must think business. Promotion brings ticket sales. Ticket sales equals money. Money to the venue and money to the artists performing. Money equals income for your music. Take care of your business……Now back to rehearsals!
I met with the stage manager last night to talk about the logistics of the 6/20 concert! There are so many things to coordinate when you have a number of artists in the same show. We have five artists in the first set and a band in the 2nd set along with a string section for 3 songs. We have to map out the space on the stage as well as the physical needs (instruments, amps, mikes, cords) of each artist. There is much to coordinate and think about to make things run smoothy. We’re also doing an audio recording as well as video taping the show. It’s a lot of people to coordinate.
The soundcheck is very important to coordinate with each individual’s schedule and needs. I’ve been emailing and calling people to get everything lined up! Sometimes I do wonder what I’ve gotten myself into. When I was with Atlantic Records and Warner Bros. Records, I had my people. Now I’m all the people and doing everything. All the details can be a bit much. “I can handle it,” I tell myself every morning as I hit the computer and the phones.
Then the afternoon for my personal rehearsing for my own performance. Then in the evening, I have my teaching business. It’s all very important to me. Actually, I love being busy thanks to my upbringing.
However, it would be nice to lay in the hammock and ready a novel or a shallow magazine……oh well, maybe in a few months!
We had our first band rehearsal for the concert! Our band is “Eastern Standard”. They are one of the most successful local bands in Atlanta. Each one of the guys in the band is a professional music and an artist on their own with CD’s out on music market. You always want to surround yourself with great talent. These guys are extremely competent and very talented individually. They have been playing together for a number of years so they have that immediate musical communication with each other. I have had the good fortune of working with each of them individually on their singing and songwriting skills. I have never performed with them, but I am very excited about working with them for the 6/20 concert.
As an artist, you want to go into a rehearsal knowing what sound and arrangement you’re looking for with each song. Before rehearsal, I sent each of the musicians a recording of each song along with a lead sheet with the chords and lyrics. The musicians knew ahead of time what I was looking for. This gave them time to prepare and learn the songs. Each musician came in prepared and ready to contribute their own thoughts and talent to the material. This saves time and avoids confusion.
We rehearsed four songs for about 3 1/2 hours, and we all left feeling good about where we stand 7 weeks before the show. Not to mention, we had a good time “hanging” together and enjoyed some laughter and fun while we rehearsed. My advice is to surround yourself with very talented musicians who have a good work ethic. I am very blessed to have the guys playing with me. I hope you can make the concert to hear them!
So, I left off yesterday with finally getting to the music for the concert. Selecting the songs is important. My intention for any show is for the audience to have a good time. I want people to leave a show feeling better than when they came. I want them to take a little journey with me through a variety of emotions, but always coming out with a positive feeling. As I select the songs for the concert, that is my intention. As an artist and a writer, remember the listener and what they are experiencing through your songs. Be kind to their ears and their heart.
I have decided to share with everyone the final 7 weeks before my concert at The Red Clay Theatre and Arts Center in Duluth on Friday, June 20, 2014. I thought some of you might find it interesting how many details there are to make something like this happen. If you want to perform, I hope it will help you to see the process that you need to go through.
I started working on the concert several months ago. I have been on a performance hiatus for quite some time, and decided it was time again for me to share my music. I also wanted to introduce some of the artists I have been working with.
I met with Eddie Owen who has created this wonderful venue. It is an intimate theatre setting of 260 seats and a stage with a grand piano. They were voted on of the best new venues in Atlanta as well as Gwinnett County, and some of the best performers in the world play there. Eddie has a history of Eddie’s Attic that many of you know about, and he has a great passion for songwriters. This theatre doesn’t have a bad seat in the house, and the sound is of a very high quality. I couldn’t resist the venue. It was entirely too inviting, and it had a lot to do with my desire to perform again.
The first step was to select the artists. I chose five artist who have either already released CD’s to the public or are recording in the studio right now. They are: Chris Garner, Holly Gentry, Jay Budd, Lexi Street, Glen Smith and Heather Petero. Each one of the artist are professional and very accomplished. I also chose a band that is one of the most successful band’s in Atlanta, Eastern Standard. I had the good fortune to work with each of the band members privately on their music. Each of them is also a song writer and have their own individual CD’s out there. Every person in the show has something special to offer! I also found a cello player (Gail Burnett) and violinist (Elise Ziegenbein) to play with me on some of the songs. Playing with strings is one of my favorite things to do!
Make no doubt, that there is a lot of work to do for a concert that has nothing to do with the music. I have spent months writing bios for each of the performers, gathering their pictures and selecting the songs for the concert. I worked with the theatre to create posters and marketing materials. There were photo sessions as well.
I decided to video tape and record the concert. I have also organized two photographers coming to cover the event.
We decided to solicit Sponsors and put together a program for them. There were packages to put together for them and phone calls to make. We have been very fortunate to get some good support to carry out our desires for the concert. I found people very receptive to supporting the concert. It can be very humbling asking for support, and there are always people who say “no”. Learning how to take “no” is just a part of being in the music business. There is always a “yes” around the corner, so you have to just keep going.
There have been moments when I wondered what I have gotten myself into. The business part of a concert is very time-consuming. You have to put your business head on and just do it!
Finally, to the fun part – the music. I have written so many songs, and it took time to decide which ones to do. I found so much joy going through my catalog of music and starting to rehearse! …….more tomorrow……