Season 2 Episode 5: How to Get Noticed
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Hello and welcome to the third episode of Teen Jazz Radio! I'm Shannon Kennedy, your host and I'd like to thank you for taking the time out of your day to listen in.
Today on the show I'm going to answer another question submitted by one of our listeners and I'm also going to feature the music of Tobi, Jim Stubblefield and Teen Jazz Artist, Sean Winter.
I know many of you are listening to this podcast for different reasons - some of you may be here for the advice offered as part of this episode and some of you may be listening to check out the music we feature as part of the show. So, as I mentioned in the last episode, I'm going to try and space the music and the advice out evenly throughout the podcast so that there's a little something for everyone in the show.
In this particular podcast, however, I think that the advice can be applied to almost any industry, so if you're listening in, just change a few of the words to suit what you do and hopefully you'll find it helpful!
So let's get started.
Recently one of our artists submitted the question, "How do I get noticed?"
This is a really great question that I'm sure a lot of you have, but as much as we'd all like it to be, the answer isn't really that simple. There are three main points that I want to make in regards to this question and I might actually follow up each of those points with a separate blog post on Teen Jazz just because I have so much to say about them. In fact, I may even add a few additional points in another post just because this is a big question.
There are a lot of different things one should do to get noticed, so I'm going to begin with the most simple and most obvious.
Are you ready?
Learn your craft.
Your instrument, your voice - I mean this goes for anything! It may be for writing, composing, photography, dance, acting, marketing, you know, whatever. This advice is really universal.
If you want to get noticed, be good at what you do. Period.
Of course, there is a lot more to it than that, but that's really what you want to start with because it gives you such a strong foundation for everything else. And here's why.
Getting noticed and getting out there is important, but you shouldn't rush into. First, you really need to learn your instrument, refine your writing and composition skills, develop your vocal style, and work on your "artist persona" or stage presence first. Whatever it is that you're trying to do in music (or anything else), develop it and work on it before you try to get noticed for it.
I know that there's a lot of varied opinions on this particular subject - some say that you shouldn't go out and play before you're truly ready while others say that you should get out there as soon as possible. My personal opinion is that is should be somewhere in the middle.
I don't think that you should wait until you play and perform perfectly because 1) there's no such thing as a perfect performance because there is always room for improvement and 2) the only way you'll get the kind of experience you need to pull off a near-perfect performance is by performing.
It is a bit of a Catch-22. It's hard to perform without experience, but you can't get experience without performing.
The point is that there is a "happy medium." Work out a few songs (at least 3-5) that you can play at jam sessions or as part of other opportunities to sit in. Once you get comfortable with where those songs are at, start adding a few more in and increase your repertoire.
If you're not totally comfortable with the idea of performing in front of a live audience just yet, there are other ways to go about it. Two of the most popular are YouTube and Soundcloud.
With YouTube you can create a video of yourself singing/playing a song and share it with your friends. Soundcloud is similar, but instead of a video, it's an audio recording (and it's great for those that might be camera shy).
Just be aware that when you post things on the Internet, you may get a bit of trolling. If you get negative feedback, just ignore it if it isn't constructive. It's unfortunate, but it comes with the territory. Look for positive feedback or feedback that may provide you with information on what you can improve.
So, before I continue with this episode's question, I'd like to feature our first artist for this session. The first song I'm going to play you is the live version of "Halfway There" by Tobi, a talented young singer-songwriter from the UK.
- Get Tobi's "Halfway There" from the Album Spirit In Me -
Once again that was "Halfway There - Live" by Tobi Earnshaw. You can learn more about Tobi and his music at http://www.tobiofficial.com/.
Continuing with our question "how do I get noticed?"
Once you've become comfortable with your playing or singing, the next step is to get involved in a community of other musicians/peers.
Become an active member of an online or local community whether it's being a regular attendee of local concerts, a helpful member of a forum, a regular and constructive commenter on blogs, etc. Ultimately, you want to do a little bit of everything but that opens a whole different can of worms as far as balancing the business and creative aspects of your career.
Just do what you can - each an everyday work a little bit at building your community and at improving your music abilities. It's a never-ending process, so just take it a step at a time.
[As a side note… If you're interested in learning more about balancing your music schedule, check out one of the most recent podcasts by David Hooper on the Music Marketing Podcast - I was actually involved in this particular episode and I definitely think it's something worth checking out if you're interested in learning more about how to balance it all out.]
But returning to the point - make sure that as a part of the communities you're involved in that you're actually contributing valuable content. Support other musicians around you by attending their performances, provide insightful comments on blogs or forums, and provide useful information on your social channels like Twitter and Facebook. Don't just post updates that serve to self-promote - talk about what others in your community are doing, share relevant industry news, take interest in what others are doing, and reply to comments.
So that's the end of point two.
The next artist I'd like to feature on today's show is Teen Jazz Artist, Contributor and Saxophonist Sean Winter. Sean perfectly illustrates the example I just gave above of building a community.
He is not only an active member of the Teen Jazz community (he has written two articles for us, comments on other posts, and shares them with his social network), but he is also a member of the forum Sax on the Web. And, based on what I've seen, he's also quite active in his local music community in British Columbia. He's probably also doing several other community based activities that I'm not aware - so good job, Sean!
We're going to feature Sean's rendition of "In a Sentimental Mood," one of my favorite standards.
- Sean Winter - In a Sentimental Mood -
Once again that was "In a Sentimental Mood" by Sean Winter. You can read more about Sean at Teen Jazz. I'll provide the link in the transcription at teenjazzradio.com.
And now for our final point on what it takes to get noticed.
Do something that makes you stand out from the crowd.
There are so many musicians vying for the same space as you and so you have to do something to set yourself apart. If you just have a website, a youtube channel or whatever, it's not enough to expect that people are going to find you. With music it's really not "build and they will come" - you have to constantly work on marketing, expand your network and hone your craft. And as I said before, it's a never-ending process.
If you stay in your comfort zone, or decide that you're doing "enough," you're just going to get lost in the crowd and you're not going to see any results. If you want to build a following, connect with fans, and make a living at music, you have to stand out.
Find out what your unique selling point is - that one thing that makes you different from all of the other musicians out there and just run with it. If being controversial works for you, be controversial. If certain costumes on stage work for you, by all means wear them. If you have a signature move that gets the audience going or a certain style that you're known for - do that.
So there you have it! If you'd like to add anything to what I've said about standing out or getting noticed, I'd absolutely love to hear it. You can join the conversation at teenjazzradio.com and leave your thoughts in the comments. I really look forward to reading them.
The last song I'd like to feature on today's episode is from Jim Stubblefield, a "fiery world fusion" guitarist. Jim Stubblefield has several albums out and an impressive biography having had his music featured as part of ESPN, HGTV, the History Channel's Modern Marvels, Elimidate, and many more television shows. He is also a co-founder of the group Incendio (which I had the pleasure of seeing perform this past weekend). Great job guys!
This is The Conquistador by Jim Stubblefield.
- Get Jim Stubblefield's "The Conquistador" from the album Inspiracion -
Once again, that was The Conquistador from the album Inspiracion by guitarist Jim Stubblefield. You can find out more about Jim at guitarraexotica.com.
Before I close out the show, I'd like to invite you all to check out Teen Jazz if you're interested in learning more about me, Shannon Kennedy or the community. It's TeenJazz.com and my website is Shannon-Kennedy.com.
Or if you just would like to say hello, come and say hi at our Facebook page - that's facebook.com/teenjazz. I promise to say hello back!
All the links that I've mentioned as part of the show will be up on Teen Jazz Radio, so if you're interested in learning more about these talented artists, please stop on by - I know they'll appreciate the love! You can leave comments on any of our posts at TeenJazzRadio.com.
And last but not least, we appreciate your iTunes reviews! If you've enjoyed our podcast, please help us get noticed on iTunes by writing us a review. Let us know if you've found our podcast valuable or if you've enjoyed some of the music we've featured as part of the show. We're so very thankful for those of you who have gone in and taken the time to write us reviews for Teen Jazz Radio.
Thank you again for tuning in the Teen Jazz Radio podcast from TeenJazzRadio.com.