For so many reasons, last night’s show at The Sugar Bar was an amazing experience – and I’m still recovering! 😉
If you were there, you know how much fun we had. Here’s a little video clip that I took of the audience with my Flip camera. Maybe you’ll see yourself!
If you couldn’t make it, the video will give you a little taste to hold you til the rest of the video is edited.
Thank you so much for a wonderful night.
I’m happy to announce that my next show will be on Wed, Sept 23rd at Sugar Bar, the lovely Upper West Side spot that’s owned by legendary songwriting duo Ashford & Simpson. You may remember their famous tunes “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”, “You’re All I Need to Get By”, “Reach Out and Touch (Somebody’s Hand)”, “Solid (As a Rock)”.
This show is a part of Make It Happen Entertainment’s “Rock & Soul” Series, “where the line between Rock & Soul blurs, morphs and merges while each genre maintains the integrity of the music!” Special thanks to Danny Brookings for booking this gig!
Sugar Bar’s website reads:
If you want sweet, Ashford & Simpson’s Sugar Bar can satisfy that tooth. Of course you can fill up on your sugar intake anywhere, but the Sugar Bar offers a different kind of sweet. We are talking sweet music, soul-stirring riffs, runs and melodies in a cozy environment, with delectable cuisine you can find only at Ashford & Simpson’s Sugar Bar. Presenting a fresh alternative to the mundane, the Sugar Bar, is an intimate full service restaurant, where every table has an excellent view of the stage.
Intimately immersed in big flavors, live performances, and our signature Sugartinis, an evening here might begin at the watering well where specialty cocktails and a selection of cultural appetizers set the mood and whet the appetite.
Carla Lynne Hall Solo Performance
Wednesday, September 23rd
Ashford & Simpson’s SUGAR BAR
254 W. 72nd St. (between Broadway & West End Ave.)
For dinner reservations, call (212) 579-0222
This venue has a great vibe, and I hope to see you there!
I first found Hugh MacLeod in my iGoogle “Motivational Quotes of the Day” widget, and went looking for the book that sparked the great quote. Imagine my surprise when I learned that the great quote came, not from a book, but from his BLOG gapingvoid! I later learned that Hugh is known for his prolific cartoons drawn on the back of business cards, as well as his refreshing creative perspective. His manifesto How to Be Creative is the most-read page on gapingvoid, and I highly recommend that you check it out. Hugh’s gapingvoid cartoon widget is also included below.
Keep Your Day Job
by Hugh MacLeod
I’m not just saying that for the usual reason i.e. because I think your idea will fail. I’m saying it because to suddenly quit one’s job in a big ol’ creative drama-queen moment is always, always, always in direct conflict with what I call “The Sex & Cash Theory”.
THE SEX & CASH THEORY: “The creative person basically has two kinds of jobs: One is the sexy, creative kind. Second is the kind that pays the bills. Sometimes the task in hand covers both bases, but not often. This tense duality will always play center stage. It will never be transcended.”
A good example is Phil, a NY photographer friend of mine. He does really wild stuff for the indie magazines- it pays nothing, but it allows him to build his portfolio. Then he’ll go off and shoot some catalogues for a while. Nothing too exciting, but it pays the bills.
Another example is somebody like Martin Amis. He writes “serious” novels, but he has to supplement his income by writing the occasional newspaper article for the London papers (novel royalties are bloody pathetic- even bestsellers like Amis aren’t immune).
Or actors. One year Travolta will be in an ultra-hip flick like Pulp Fiction (“Sex”), the next he’ll be in some dumb spy thriller (“Cash”).
Or painters. You spend one month painting blue pictures because that’s the color the celebrity collectors are buying this season (“Cash”), you spend the next month painting red pictures because secretly you despise the color blue and love the color red (“Sex”).
Or geeks. You spend you weekdays writing code for a faceless corporation (“Cash”), then you spend your evening and weekends writing anarchic, weird computer games to amuse your techie friends with (“Sex”).
It’s balancing the need to make a good living while still maintaining one’s creative sovereignty. My M.O. is gapingvoid (“Sex”), coupled with my day job (“Cash”).
I’m thinking about the young writer who has to wait tables to pay the bills, in spite of her writing appearing in all the cool and hip magazines…. who dreams of one day of not having her life divided so harshly.
Well, over time the ‘harshly’ bit might go away, but not the ‘divided’.
“This tense duality will always play center stage. It will never be transcended.”
As soon as you accept this, I mean really accept this, for some reason your career starts moving ahead faster. I don’t know why this happens. It’s the people who refuse to cleave their lives this way- who just want to start Day One by quitting their current crappy day job and moving straight on over to best-selling author… Well, they never make it.
Anyway, it’s called “The Sex & Cash Theory”. Keep it under your pillow.
Hugh MacLeod is a cartoonist and professional blogger, known for his ideas about how “Web 2.0” affects advertising and marketing.
After a decade of working as an advertising copywriter, Hugh started blogging at gapingvoid.com in 2001. He first started off just publishing his cartoons, but as time wore on he started blogging about his other main interest i.e. marketing.
In 2005 he scored his first major blog marketing success with EnglishCut.com, a blog he started with Saville Row tailor, Thomas Mahon. It tripled Thomas’ sales within six months.
Since mid-2006 Hugh’s main occupation has been helping a small South African winery, Stormhoek “rise above the clutter” in the wine market by using Web 2.0 tools to get the word out. Sales have gone up fivefold since then, thanks to Hugh’s marketing efforts.
Since 2006 Hugh has been constantly engaged as a public speaker, giving talks in both Europe and the US, talking about Web 2.0 and the ramifications it has on business.
Hugh’s basic mantra about blog marketing is “Blogs are a good way to make things happen indirectly”, a point lost on many corporate types.
Photo credit: David Sifry
Carla vs Goliath: Quote of the Day
I think it’s important for every person from every background (not only musicians) to consider this thought:
“No one is coming.”
As depressing as this sounds at the outset, I find it empowering because it is the truth. While it would be lovely to have someone come and shower us with money and opportunities, that’s not the way the world works.
If you really take that thought in, and digest it, your response will make the difference in your career.
When we’re NOT expecting someone to take over the reins, only then can we understand that we are the only ones who can make anything happen. It’s up to us to create the energy and the heat for our career, which in turn will create those opportunities that we seek.
Investors and agents are more interested in how you handle your BUSINESS, and they’re mostly interested in how they’re going to get a return on their investment. If you’re not already creating $500,000 worth of excitement for your music, why should they invest $500,000 in you?
It’s easy to assume that you’ll make the big moves AFTER you get the investors, but if you’re not already making $500,000 moves and decisions now (in time and effort), how can you expect to be taken seriously??
“No one is coming.”
So what are you gonna do about that?
This post originally appeared as a comment response to Derek Sivers’ blog post: Nobody’s going to help you. Does that encourage you or discourage you? Derek got me all fired up, and after rereading what I wrote, it looked like a good rant to me 😉
Image Credit: Colin Dussault’s Blues Project, “The Hardest Working Band in Northeast Ohio!”
Motown’s Secrets of Success – DIY Style
by Carla Lynne Hall
Berry Gordy, the founder and CEO of legendary Motown Records developed a simple plan in the early days of his record company:
“I broke down my whole operation into three functions: Create, Make, Sell. I felt any business had to do that. Create something, Make something and then Sell it. Using this phrase as a slogan kept my thinking in focus.”
The Create phase was writing, producing, and recording. The Make phase was manufacturing and pressing of the records. The Sell phase involved placing records with distributors, getting airplay, marketing and advertising. After implementing this plan, distribution difficulties made him add,
“It had become very clear to me that my Create, Make and Sell slogan had to be revised. We had to now focus more on one thing: getting our money – collecting. Because I felt that Create and Make were pretty close to the same thing, I dropped the make and changed the slogan to Create, Sell and COLLECT.”
While the specific methods have changed since Berry Gordy ran Motown, the requirements for being a successful, recession-proof musician have not changed. If you’d like to increase your musical income, review this list to see where you can make improvements or additions to your current music marketing strategy:
Write killer songs
Have a great live show
Develop an identifiable image
Set realistic and tangible sales goals for your music
Perform/tour as much as possible
Contact the media on a regular basis
Go to music business networking events
Find paying gigs in non-traditional venues
Have a band blog with a solid domain name
Maintain and build your mailing list
Have CDs and merchandise at all shows
Sell your CDs on your website(s)
Sell your CDs on online retailers such as CDBaby.com and Amazon.com
Open for bigger acts traveling through your town
Always have an upcoming gig to promote
Hand out flyers all the time
Evaluate your results each month
Have a designated person at shows to sell CDs
Hire a competent accountant to help with your taxes
On August 31st, I had a fun and impromptu interview with Carl Worner and his sidekick Bob on their “Homegrown Radio NJ” podcast. In this podcast, I performed live, and even played CDs from my musical influences (Nil Lara and David Ryan Harris).
Enjoy Home Grown Radio NJ on Cyber Ears!
The following essay was originally published September 18, 2001 in my snail mail newsletter, The Soulflower. Since then, the President and Mayor have changed, as well as my tattooed sweetie. In addition, The Soulflower went from snail mail to email. Regardless of the personnel and technological changes, the message has remained, and I’m happy to share it again, in its original form. – CLH
The Week After September 11th, 2001: A Musician’s Perspective
by Carla Lynne Hall
This morning I woke up spooning my sweetie. In the dawn’s shadow, I noticed his rumpled hair, and the symbol for chaos tattooed on the back of his neck. I took a deep whiff of him, and felt grateful and humbled. It hit me suddenly that there’s a woman on the other side of New York City who started her morning last Tuesday in a similar fashion. And in a single moment, her life was changed forever.
There’s nothing like a slap in the head to provide clarity. I feel like we weren’t paying attention before, but we sure are now. More than ever, I feel it’s important to keep true to your life, and the dreams that have brought you this far. Our consciousness as a nation has been raised. Many of us are thinking, what is important to me right now? Things that seemed so crucial last week don’t even rate a thought today. Other things that had been taken for granted have gained much importance. I read somewhere that there’s an old Russian custom in which people sit down to say goodbye before they take leave of one another. I mean really say goodbye. The practice came about from dangerous times when people knew that there was a chance that they might not see each other again. I thought it was quaint when I read it, but I’m digging that custom myself right now. I want everyone I love to know it, and dammit, I want to play music.
I’m a late bloomer in many senses of the word. I think of the many years that I spent thinking about being a working musician instead of just going for it. The time wasted dreaming about accompanying myself on guitar, but not actually doing it. The times that I was too nervous and scared to sign up for an open mic. Last month I participated in a “Month of Fear” experiment in which I overdosed on the things I was afraid of. For me, that was playing guitar in public. One month and eleven open mics later, I have conquered that fear. Until last Tuesday, I was proud of that accomplishment. Now all I can think of is, what took me so long? Why didn’t I do this before?
And I realized something: Life is too short to be afraid.
President George W. Bush and New York Mayor Guiliani urge for people to go back to work, to begin again. For some, that will take a while. There is no longer an understanding of “business as usual”. But to regain our strength as a nation, we must continue. How am I supposed to tell you to keep playing? How can I suggest that you get up and practice your instrument this morning? I feel guilty to speak of making music now, but I must. Because we are musicians, this is what we do. Others will look dumbfounded at you while you make plans for your next show. How dare you be able to think of getting a record deal at a time like this? I’ll tell you why: we all cope in our own way. We are feeling vulnerable now, but we cannot give up our lives.
If there is a backpocket dream you’re holding on to, by all means follow it. In the wake of last week’s tragedy, our excuses don’t amount to a hill of beans. If you don’t do it now, when will you? We can build a historical record of this time musically, and help those who cannot express themselves. It’s important for the bankers to return to Wall Street, but it’s just as important for musicians to write songs, play shows, and keep going. This is how we fight the good fight.
Ars longa, vida brevis: Life is short; art is long.
Focus on a Few
by Andrew Goodrich
My proposition to you is to spend less time worrying about the number of friends or followers you have on social networks. Instead, focus on fewer but more valuable people.
Online social networking tools can be powerful, but numbers are just numbers and don’t necessarily represent your real “reach.” Does having 500 friends on Facebook mean that 500 people are paying attention to what I do and value what I say? Maybe. Maybe not.
At worst, putting your faith in the stats can mislead you into taking steps you (and your bandmates) might not yet be ready for (e.g. We have 5,000 MySpace friends in Chicago, so we should divert our tour there!). Do those numbers really represent the group of people that will actually show up to a show when you make it into town? Or if you are leveraging your friend stats to try to get a label deal, do those numbers actually represent how many people will fork over the money to buy your album when it finally gets released? If not, do you know about how many will?
You know what I’m getting at. Even though it’s extremely tempting to use your friend statistics to measure success and reach, in reality I think those numbers are typically misrepresentative because the systems are so highly diluted.
Consider another scenario: I could fill my Rolodex with thousands of music industry contacts that I’ve managed to scour from websites, e-mails, chance meetings, etc. These people represent the movers in the industry, but unless I have developed relationships with those people on some kind of meaningful level, their information represents absolutely no value to me whatsoever.
So instead of trying to befriend the masses, just befriend the individuals you can build genuine relationships with.
Pay attention to these people first and foremost, because they are the people that will go out and spread the word about what you do – especially if you have convinced them that you are a real, authentic, and valuable person. They are the ones that will actually show up to your shows and purchase your albums.
Plus, if you spend your time developing good relationships with smaller numbers of people, you’ve effectively reached thousands. Each one of those unique people that you now have a personal rapport with has the ability to reach and influence possibly hundreds of others. If you give them the tools to do so, they probably will. Now that you’ve developed a really core group of committed people around what you do, you can rely on them to represent you to more people than you could have ever reached by mass marketing in the beginning.
Don’t waste your time trying to reach the masses – that’s what your friends are for!
Andrew Goodrich is a recent graduate of Loyola University New Orleans. He’s an aspiring music business entrepreneur, casual musician and photographer, and an avid supporter of artists.
He has interned at Alan Ett Creative Group and 20th Century Fox’s Newman Scoring Stage and Post Production Department. In the future, he hopes to find himself where film and music meet.
Andrew is a regular contributor to the Artists House Music blog. Artists House Music is a free educational resource for musicians and music entrepreneurs.
Being self-employed as a freelance musician and music marketer, it often seems to other people that I’m always on vacation. While that sounds nice in theory, the reality is that I hustle like everyone else. My blessing is that I’ve chosen work that I love so it looks like play, but it’s still important for me to take time off, and learn new things. This summer I decided to “go back to school” and take jazz piano lessons.
While my piano classes just wrapped up, I can now play and sing “My Funny Valentine” by myself on the piano – okay, I can play it verrrry sloooowly, but that’s nothing that a little practice can’t fix! When I was in college, Jazz Piano (and a scary teacher, I admit) was the experience that scared me out of graduating from the University of Miami. But I’m happy to say that I’ve come full circle!
As a Studio Jazz and Vocal Major at UM, accompanying myself on piano for one song was a graduation concert requirement. Unfortunately, the only available jazz piano teacher and I seemed to have different opinions of my capabilities. He thought that I’d never amount to be more than just a chick singer. And at the time, I suppose that I agreed with him. I’d get frustrated and drop his class every semester, until I finally got a call to go on tour with the Spanish artist, Rafael. Touring Latin and South America seemed like a lot more fun than proving myself to a teacher who had once given me a D minus (!) for an arrangement project, so what did I do? I left school mid-semester and became a professional chick singer! Soon after, I moved to New York City, never to return to UM.
Of course, that experience did leave me with the feeling that I had chickened out, and that he had won, so I found a regular adult piano class after I moved to NY. For myself. Thanks to simple practice, I was the best student in the class. Frankly, I was FLABBERGASTED! I found myself angry at my former teacher for making me feel too stupid to play jazz piano, but most of all, I was angry at myself for believing him.
Taking private jazz piano again after all these years was a much better experience. My teacher happily taught me jazz piano basics, and his patience made all the difference. Most importantly, I know that I can do just about anything when I put my mind to it. And I’ll never again believe anyone who tells me anything different.
Sometime this year, I’ll have a gig in which I’ll play a song by myself on piano. Around that time, I’ll also be closer to completing the last three classes I need to graduate with a music degree. And those particular “incomplete experiences” will be put to bed. YAY!
So the life lesson here is: If anyone ever tells you that you can’t do something,
NEVER BELIEVE THE NAYSAYERS!!
Hope you’re enjoying the “Back to the Woodshed” series so far. Any kind of music info series by me would be incomplete without something from “Mr. Buzz Factor”, Bob Baker, so I’m reguesting his article today. I’ve been a fan of his writing for years, and he’s always been an inspiration to me. Enjoy!
The Kama Sutra of Music Marketing
by Bob Baker
Reprinted from Bob Baker’s Indie Music Promotion Blog
When was the last time you thought about music promotion and making love at the same time? Been a while? Well, by the time you finish reading this column, you may do it more often. (Thinking about the combination, that is. How often you “do it” is up to you 🙂
This whole idea started when I ran across an article by Desiree Gullan called “The Kama Sutra of Marketing.” (In case you don’t know, the Kuma Sutra is an ancient Indian text widely considered to be the first manual on love and human sexuality.)
It reminded me of an analogy I’ve often used: Marketing is a lot like dating.
But most self-promoting musicians don’t think of it that way. And because of that, they struggle to get noticed, connect with fans, and make more money.
So, here are some valuable lessons from the Kama Sutra you can apply to your music marketing efforts:
1) Don’t settle for anyone – search for your music fan soul mates
You’ve heard the jokes. “He’s not Mr. Right, but he’s Mr. Right Now.” When dating, especially if people feel desperate, they settle. Instead of finding the right match, they pursue relationships that have little long-term potential. “Well, it’s better than being alone,” they say.
Do you do the same with your music promotion? Are you out to catch the interest of anyone who will listen? Or are you more discerning? The best way to proceed with a music career is to first decide who your ideal fan is. Who is your music-related soul mate?
How old are they? Do they tend to be male or female? Where do they hang out online and off? Where do they shop? What magazines, blogs and web sites do they read?
Get a handle on who you want to attract. Then focus on reaching only those types of people.
2) Get to know your fans first
What do you do on a first date with someone you really think has potential? Do you talk endlessly about yourself and how great you are? Or do you listen a lot and have a two-way dialogue?
Sadly, most people feel the need to impress others with how cool they are. So they launch into a laundry list of everything they’ve accomplished in their lives. Unfortunately, this approach leaves the other person feeling more neglected than impressed.
It’s the same with music promotion. It’s not all about you and your needs. Get to know your audience and what their interests and concerns are. Listen more than you talk. Share some of yourself and your story as you get to know them better. Give your fans a chance to know, like and trust you.
3) Don’t forget foreplay
Okay. You’re excited. You met someone new who really likes you. You anticipate the potential pleasure you will both experience together so much, you can taste it. It’s time to move in for the grand finale, right?
Wait! Hold your horses, Casanova Carl (or Valerie Vixen). Ease into the blessed event. Warm each other up first.
From a marketing standpoint, that means you don’t have to be so quick to ask for the sale. Wine and dine your fans (figuratively) before you flash your “Buy Now” button. Tease them a little with samples and insights into your songs. Leave them wanting more!
Consumers generally need to be exposed to something they enjoy 7 to 10 times before they get out their wallet or credit card to make a purchase. So expect and allow for this delayed gratification as you promote yourself.
4) Be a great lover
When the time comes to consummate the relationship, make sure you deliver the best goods you can. Make it a joyful and stimulating experience for all concerned — one your fans will remember (and maybe even tell many others about) for years to come.
That means you must create an unforgettable experience (be it a CD, music download or live show) filled with benefits that make each fan feel good. Make yours the best music in your genre. Thrill your fan partners so much, they’ll want to recreate the experience again and again.
That’s your goal as a self-promoting musician: Create moments your fans will want to duplicate over and over – all the while telling their friends about you and the great time they had.
5) Contact them and ask for another date
Finally, don’t leave your fans hanging after your first meaningful encounter. Get back in touch soon to thank them and let them know how much you enjoyed the experience.
This means you must follow up after the sale. Why? Because, if it was good for both of you, you want the relationship to continue. You want to interact more and enjoy more positive experiences (including music and merchandise sales) together.
Therefore, you must put a huge emphasis on building and using a fan mailing list. Capture the name and email address of everyone who has a positive experience with your music. Then input those details into a database and send messages to your fan list on a regular basis.
See, there is a connection between the Kama Sutra and music marketing.
So, from now on, when you’re engaged in music promotion activities, I encourage you to think about dating and making love.
But vice versa … you might think twice about that one 🙂
Check out Bob’s free report, How to Recession Proof Your Music Career
Bob Baker is the author of “Guerrilla Music Marketing Handbook,” “Unleash the Artist Within” and “Branding Yourself Online.” He also publishes TheBuzzFactor.com, a web site, blog and e-zine that deliver free music marketing tips and self-promotion ideas to musicians of all kinds. Visit TheBuzzFactor.com for more details.
Bob has been a panelist at SXSW and the Nashville New Music Conference. He’s been featured in Music Connection, VIBE, American Songwriter, Canadian Musician and Electronic Musician magazines, among others.
In more recent years, Bob has cranked out several new books, reports and audio programs, including MySpace Music Marketing, and Guerrilla Music Marketing, Encore Edition, Unleash the Artist Within, and Branding Yourself Online
In addition to writing and presenting workshops, today Bob enjoys life with his girlfriend, Pooki, and his daughter, Kelli-Rae. He serves as president of the St. Louis Publishers Association, and continues to write and perform music as much as time allows. Curious about what Bob’s music sounds like? Take a listen to his old band, Roomful of Jimmys.