Wednesday, 25 April 2012

TV Radio and Force Multipliers

Yesterday I got together with an old band mate and now hopefully a full time drummer with the current project I am working on. We were rehashing past gigs and all the years that we played together. We recorded as a band, a tune that actually made it onto to local radio here in Cornwall. I didn’t know this until yesterday, but that song actually made it into standard rotation for a full week. That was over 5 years ago and the band broke up shortly after, but it was the first time I ever heard one of my songs being played on the radio.
Lately, I’ve been doing kind of a folk revival, revival type of thing. As a recording artist, a large part of the whole process is figuring out exactly who you are, what you want to say, and how and where you are going to go about saying it. I’ve been writing and performing for over 20 years, and recording for the last 10, mostly working as a solo act, but right now I am getting a good touring band together and building a fan base. I was recently interviewed on a local cable TV show and performed a few tunes. The interview was great for me personally. Being able to voice what it was that I was really doing, and being asked questions about how I was planning to pull it off, really solidified the ideas I had spinning around in my head, but up to that point, had never totally committed myself to. Most likely the show was not viewed by many, however there is now video that can be used. Those couple of hours of performing and talking are what would be considered a force multiplier.
A few months back one of my songs was played on an internet radio station in Northern Ontario at 3 in the morning. Once again most likely the listenership was modest. That being said though, the song was being heard in some far off place across the world. The DJ pronounced my name incorrectly. Hehir. It’s “Hare” not He-Hire. Get known and they'll know how to say it. They played the track right after the Scorpions though so that was cool.
Now I’ve submitted countless cds to local, college and internet radio stations. I've also been featured on Earbits radio and have made it onto their rotation on a limited scale, probably once a day or so. Earbits does not pay royalties, however it still gives the opportunity to be heard by a lot of people that would otherwise not know you at all. Along with Earbits, there's also been limited rotation on and their paid service available should I wish to do this in the future. Standard land radio rotation is not the easiest to get onto. There has to be a real buzz about your group for this to occur. TV and Radio are excellent avenues for exposure and one or the other can catapult a career to great heights. Having the right song at the right time reaching the right audience is the ultimate force multiplier. I've once heard that showing up to your local station with breakfast for the DJ's is an excellent way to start. I personally haven't done this but it is a thought.

Monday, 16 April 2012

How to make it in the music business

So you want to know how to make it in the music business.

I dream big, I always have. My goals are not normal and I’m good with that. I have a two and a half year Letterman goal that I started about a year ago. I’m on this journey and I plan to share it with whoever is willing to read this and go along with me. I will get there.

So why David Letterman? Well the way I see it is, if I’ve made it onto the David Letterman show it means that I have something of value out there being heard by everyone. In essence Letterman means I have reached my goal and I’ll finally be recognized for all the years of hard work that I have put into the music business. Plus whenever you do the Letterman week, you are also doing Good Morning America and SNL.

We’ll get more into Letterman in future posts, but today I’m going to provide some ideas and insight for you so that maybe your road, if you dream as large as I, isn’t so long getting to where you want to be. I started when I was 17 and now I’m 42, you do the math. Here we go!

Making a decision about your life and your career

I made a decision a long time ago that if I was going to spend all my energy on something and put in years focusing on a profession it might as well be music. In the end, if I were successful the payoff would be greater and the journey much more colorful. As my journey is still going, I would say I have not reached my final goal but I’ve seen some successes, lots of failures and tremendous colour.

Be patient with yourself.

During my childhood, I became lowly skilled at about 10 instruments, before settling on piano when I was 17. Looking back now if I would have stayed with the first one I chose, the Mandolin and not given up, then I would have been able to pick up Guitar, Banjo and Bass as a matter of course. So sticking with things and being patient with yourself first and foremost, is probably the most important step that needs to be realized.

Believe in yourself

I was fortunate enough to have been instructed by some iconic piano players. These mentors showed up at the right times in my life and helped to take me to the next step in my musical development. This pivot in my life, i'll call it, also occurred when my grade 9 english teacher read one of my short stories to the class. I knew from a young age that I had some ability to write, but her small action made me really believe it. I was fortunate enough to have these people in my life believe in me, and eventually I started to believe it too. So believing in your abilities, or at least the ability to believe in yourself is paramount to making it in this industry, find a mentor!

Work towards mastering your instrument

A great artist has taken the time to master her/his instrument. During my last year at Humber College in Toronto, where I learned Jazz piano, I was turned on to the great brilliant blind pianist Art Tatum. I got to thinking about how his blindness in some way gave him an extra edge as a piano player. With this in mind I started practicing piano in the dark. At first it was very difficult but after forcing myself to work like this for a couple of months, the piano and my fingers and my minds eye all became one.


Doing this for as long as I have, I can say truthfully there have been times when I thought the burning desire to follow my goals would just fizzle out. Somehow though it hasn’t and I’ve pushed through some fairly tough challenges. Anyone who’s ever “Made it” has a fire that can’t be put out. Its cliché I know but there is no other way to say it, you have to really want this with every particle of energy that encompasses your being.

Think Big

If you are going to have a goal or a “Dream”, another cliché and I apologize but that’s what people know, you might as well think in the largest realms possible. Why not, its yours to own and yours to get. How hard you are going to work at it to get it is completely up to you. Why not say, I’m going to do this and no one is going to stop me. No one can really stop you. Only you can stop it yourself.

Well I’ll leave it there for now. If you have a big heart and want to share it with the world then you should.

I’d really appreciate any comments or questions on this subject and my journey. If you dream big or have lofty goals then shout them out. All the world is a stage.