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The Unstarving Musician

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The Unstarving Musician features weekly interviews with independent musicians, songwriters, producers, and music industry professionals who share their experience and expertise on recording, touring, marketing, the business of music, and more. This is all intended to help you, the independent DIY music artists create a sustainable and profitable music career.

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The Unstarving Musician features weekly interviews with independent musicians, songwriters, producers, and music industry professionals who share their experience and expertise on recording, touring, marketing, the business of music, and more. This is all intended to help you, the independent DIY music artists create a sustainable and profitable music career.

iTunes Ratings

8 Ratings
Average Ratings
7
1
0
0
0

One of the best music podcasts available

By Jaraorah - Oct 04 2018
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Fantastic show with a fantastic host. Robonzo is doing great things for any musician by hosting this podcast. I’ve learned so much from it and have applied so much that I’ve learned to my own career and band. If you love music and want to learn more, discover new artists and do more to advance your career, listen to this.

Great topic

By Crazyharp - Dec 08 2017
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Thanks so much for sharing, love the topic

iTunes Ratings

8 Ratings
Average Ratings
7
1
0
0
0

One of the best music podcasts available

By Jaraorah - Oct 04 2018
Read more
Fantastic show with a fantastic host. Robonzo is doing great things for any musician by hosting this podcast. I’ve learned so much from it and have applied so much that I’ve learned to my own career and band. If you love music and want to learn more, discover new artists and do more to advance your career, listen to this.

Great topic

By Crazyharp - Dec 08 2017
Read more
Thanks so much for sharing, love the topic
Cover image of The Unstarving Musician

The Unstarving Musician

Latest release on Sep 18, 2020

The Best Episodes Ranked Using User Listens

Updated by OwlTail 8 days ago

Rank #1: Producer, Musician, and Songwriter – Jamie Hill

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Jamie Hill is a producer, musician, and songwriter with a soft spot for vulnerable voices. To clarify, Jamie says he’s specifically interested in female voices, gay voices, trans voices, and brown voices. He also prefers socially conscious artists and art over entertainment.

He’s co host of the podcast Misfit Stars, along side his singing songwriting spouse Shannon Curtis. Jamie says the podcast is for their community. It’s also a vehicle for their career that involves Patreon and community-only episodes. As Jamie puts it, the more ways you give your community to support you, the more likely they are to support you.

“Not all art necessarily has to be money making endeavors. It’s still very important to do stuff, just because you believe in it, and because you want to signal boost it in the world.” –Jamie Hill

Where marketing is concerned, Jamie employs straight forward tactics for finding studio production clients and opportunity. He’s first and foremost all about creating art and sharing his creations. Jamie and his wife Shannon  are fans of attending open mics, where he says they finds amazing artists and sometimes clients for his studio.

Jamie recommends writing a book if you want to sell something. His wife did just that with her book on how to make money in house concerts. This book has introduced Jamie and his wife to prospective clients and new friends. He’s currently writing a book of essays on how to create a better DIY artist career.

On a personal note, Jamie shares a story surrounding his sobriety.

This episode features a sample of Jamie’s production work, a song called Continental Divide (by Shannon Curtis).

[Full Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. If you purchase products using these links, I’ll earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks for your support!]

SHOW NOTES RELATED EPISODES RESOURCES FOR MUSICIANS

More resources for musicians

Jan 04 2019

1hr 8mins

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Rank #2: House Concert Tours & Community – Shannon Curtis

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Shannon Curtis has made house concerts the anchor of her music career since 2011. She tried the traditional route of touring cafes, college shows, and clubs. Her assessment of that traditional route is that it was really a slog. Growth was slow. In 2011 that all changed when a fan invited her to perform in her living room for donations. Shannon told me that performance was a transformative and wonderful time. She also said that evening was filled with everything that drives her to create. Shannon had several West Coast shows booked at that time in 2011. Following that house show, she decided to email her list to see if anyone else was interested in hosting a house concert. One year into doing house concerts, she abandoned all those cafe, college, and club shows. She's now on her 7th house concert tour. In the process of doing these tours, her email address has grown exponentially. She's adamant that her email more than anything else has made the tours possible. Shannon's house concert tours are community driven. Shows are hosted by people who already know and support her music. She doesn’t play house concert hosts who host multiple shows a year. Her growing community members are the hosts of her house shows. Most of her new hosts are people who have attended one of her house concerts. Shannon admits to incorporating social media in her marketing, but her email does much more to help her stay connected with fans. She stays truly connected by sharing personal thoughts, opinions, and reactions to the world around her. Her community clearly loves this. For Shannon, it’s simply a way to create honest human connections. She refers to her fans as members and supporters of her community. She’s not crazy about the word fan, sighting that the word creates an artificial division. This is part of how she makes her community inclusive. This inclusiveness is how Shannon nurtures lasting relationships. Her latest release Both at the Same Time includes a companion book that Shannon calls a deeper dive and meditation on the album’s themes. Yet another example of Shannon’s quest create real community for her supporters. Shannon also shares insights into her Spotify windowing strategy, the business of house concerts, personal songs, merchandising, and of course connecting with her audiences at the shows.

Read bonus content related to this episode

SHOW NOTES RESOURCES FOR MUSICIANS

Disclosure (pardon the interruption): Products and books listed below may contain affiliate links. If you purchase using these links, I’ll earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks for your support!

More resources for musicians

RELATED EPISODES

Nov 09 2018

49mins

Play

Rank #3: Tapping into the House Concert Scene–Robonzo

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I’ve been fascinated with house concerts for years, but my interest went up recently following my interview with Ezra Vancil for The Unstarving Musician’s Podcast. Then Ray Prim made an appearance on the podcast, and shared his experience with house concerts in the Austin area. And then self-proclaimed ambassador of house concerts Tom Meny came on to the podcast. He clued me in to tidbits and resources that got elevated my interest even more.

Since these interviews, I’ve spoken with Amy Killingsworth who founded and co-produces Amy & Gary’s House Concerts. Amy gave me the host perspective, so I’m privy to all kinds of firsthand information lately.   Soon I hope to have indie artist Shannon Curtis on the podcast. She does most of her performing at house concerts, and has written a popular book on the subject matter.

No Booker, No Bouncer, No Bartender: How I Made $25K On A 2-Month House Concert Tour (And How You Can Too), by Shannon Curtis

No Booker, No Bouncer, No Bartender: How I Made $25K On A 2-Month House Concert Tour (And How You Can Too), by Shannon Curtis

FYI: The book title listed above contains an affiliate link. If you purchase using that link, I’ll earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. I appreciate your support!

 

Tapping into the House Concert Scene

As Ray Prim told me, it’s not necessarily easy learning about and becoming part of the house concert scene. (Here my conversation with Ray in this episode.) In fact, Ray compares it to the Luminati. Here are some helpful tips I’ve recently gathered.

House Concert Hosts Want to be Found

House concert hosts are invested in growing their own networks. This is because they must draw consistent attendance in order to have successful events. A successful event for hosts is a good experience for guests and the artists that perform them. While many hosts are well established, it will never hurt for them to grow their attendee list and their artist database. In many or most cases, hosts are sharing their events on Facebook and sites like Meetup.com and Eventbrite. Note that in spite of the sharing on social sites, these are private events, by invitation and/or RSVP only. House concerts are not public events, and are not promoted as such (nor should they be, for legal reasons).

Attend a House Concert

Attending house concerts is a great way to meet one or more hosts. I say one or more, because there may be hosts in attendance. There may also be aspiring house concert hosts in attendance. The performing artist is undoubtedly going to know something about they house concerts community. Even if you happen to meet a performing artist at their first house concert ever, they are probably on the cusp of learning more about the community at large. This is all schmoozing and networking 101, but you get the idea. Meet some hosts, fans and artists. Ask questions and be helpful to others when the opportunities arise.

Regularly Send Notes of Inquiry to Hosts

I’ll lead this tip with something Amy Killingsworth of Gary & Amy’s House Concerts says, which is that it’s all about being nice. Thoughtful communication is key here. Amy also shares a story about an artist who contacts her regularly. You want to hear this story, and you can hear it in this episode. The moral of Amy’s story is that nice, thoughtful, persistent communication to the right host can get you plugged into the scene.

You Can Build Your Own House Concert Network

Shannon Curtis has built her own house concert network by sharing her interest with her own community (i.e. her email list). She has built upon this at her house concert shows. This is all detailed nicely in her aforementioned book.

House Concerts are Big Audience Growth Opportunities

As Shannon Curtis says, house concerts done right are an opportunity to grow your audience by as many as 20 people per night. How many days and how many gigs at cafes and bars does it take to grow this much? Because a house concert is a true listening event, it’s an event conducive to making connections with your audience. As the performing artist at a house concert, you have an opportunity to speak with new fans before and after your performance. Audience interest in speaking with you will be primed by your performance and your onstage stories. They’ll also be primed to join your community email list and buy your merch–bonus.

 

The House Concert Experience and the Fan Perspective

I said it before and I’ll say it again.

House concerts are listening events, not parties.

If your a fan of live music, this is a plus. If you like talking and networking, you can do that, just not during the performance. House concerts are often structured with an intermission, during which time the performing artist does a meet and greet. And they want to meet and get to know you. If you’re in attendance, you’re a true music fan. Artists are also typically hanging out with attendees before and after their performance, so you’ll have plenty of opportunity for one-on-one time. Artists love this! They truly want to get to know their fans. The smart ones will also have merchandise for sale, and will want to stay in touch with you via email. Savvy artists can even speak to you about hosting your own house concert.

Best Practices

Done right, house concerts are by invitation and RSVP only. Again, there are legal reasons for this (additional info can be found in the show notes listing of resources). In order to meet attendance goals that make for a successful event, hosts should invite double the number of people they want to attend. Murphy’s Law will dictate that not everyone will be able to attend, some will cancel, and a small percentage will no-show.

As the host, don’t try to do too much. BYOB and potluck meals are common place. Go the extra mile if you enjoy and can afford the added expense of entertaining. Attend other house concerts and learn from other hosts. Talk to other hosts. Borrow what works for you.

As a performer, unless you’re dealing with an experienced and established host, learn everything you can about producing a successful house concert, so that you can guide and educate your host. Promote your availability for house concerts on your website, on social, at your shows, and at house concerts. Buy Shannon Curtis’ book (mentioned above and in the show notes) for additional info and resources.

While some house concerts allow children, all will have an age limit. A crying infant will quickly kill the vibe of the otherwise intimate performances. Even a cute well-behaved 5-year old can be a problem, as they can effortlessly draw attention away from an artist performance. Performing artists and hosts want shows to be about audience/artist connection. This is what makes a truly successful house concert event.

How Artists Gets Paid

House concerts are donation based events. The common practice is for hosts to recommend a donation of $20, with the expectation that all guests pay something. Shannon Curtis has a brilliant twist on this which she details in her book. Her suggestion is to not recommend a donation amount, but to communicate that the event is donation based. She argues that this removes a donation ceiling in the minds of attendees, instead encouraging them to give what they feel the performance was worth.  Again, see Shannon’s book for a more detailed explanation. As with getting paid for any gig, there is an art to the pitch. In this case, there’s an art to pitching the donation. It may start with the artist explaining the donation basis to the host. In the other cases it starts with an experienced host announcing and consistently communicating that the show is donation based. The culmination is an announcement by the host at the end of your show. The best hosts will mention this fact in all emails and social posts about the event. Effective communication of the donation based aspect is very important to the success of house concert shows. It ensures that you the artist get paid, and it ensures that hosts are able to hold future house concerts that attract quality artists.

Getting Booked

In addition to promoting your interest in and availability for house concerts to fans and hosts, you can join house concert networks. I’m going out on a limb here by say that this is your least desirable means of obtaining bookings. That said, I know there are artists who rely on this approach and who have success with it. The downsides are that it may involve a paid subscription, and you won’t necessarily find all of the best hosts in these networks. Again there are exceptions, but building your own relationships within your own network is going to work best every time. Shannon Curtis has this figured out also. Again–read her book! You can organize a tour in a way that’s very different from traditional venue touring. Do it right, and you’ll organize a much more successful tour doing house concerts.

If you’re in a rock, pop or dance band that typically performs shows that involve amplified volume and large ensembles, you may be thinking that house concerts won’t work for you. You’d be right, but that said, artists like Ray Prim are creating alternate ensembles and solo repertoires that are better suited for house concerts.  My recommendation is to look at your band and consider two adjustments. First, create a configuration that works for house concerts. By this I mean a three-piece configuration, perhaps a duo. Five-piece bands or bigger are not typically going to work for house concerts. It’s too much gear and too much personnel. Second, create acoustic versions of your existing material. Leverage existing material, but consider additions to your repertoire. This will make you house concert ready, plus it can make you a better musician. Scaling down creates space and playing acoustically or at lower amplified volumes enables musicians to hear more.

Advice for Aspiring Hosts

Amy Killingsworth says you should attend a house concert if you’re thinking of hosting one. Meet and chat with the host, borrow ideas from them, and use the parts you like to create your own experience. Amy loves to entertain. She goes an extra mile with little things like fresh flowers, but says that one needn’t do everything she does to create a quality house concert experience. I believe what Amy is saying here, is that one should create their own brand of house concert. Put your personality on it. Let it be a work-in-progress until you feel you’ve got it dialed in.

If You Want More

I  hope it gives you some fresh insight on house concerts. If you want a little more right now, see the related episodes and resources listed in the show notes for this episode of The Unstarving Musician’s Podcast. If you want more in the future, join the Unstarving Musician community.

SHOW NOTES

Rex Brown Pat DiNizio The Smithereens FEM Podcast Ray Prim Ezra Vancil Tom Meny Shannon Curtis DIY Musician’s Podcast #134: Shannon Curtis

RELATED EPISODES

Rock Photographer Neil Zlozower On Being & Shooting the Best A Profitable Musician Summit–Bree Noble Why musician Ray Prim has a day job, and loves it! House Concert Ambassador Tom Meny House Concert Host Amy Killingsworth

RESOURCES FOR MUSICIANS

The Unstarving Musician’s Guide to Getting Paid Gigs, by Robonzo Growth Farming the Seth Godin Way, a FREE ebook by D Grant Smith More resources for musicians

Aug 03 2018

33mins

Play

Rank #4: The Music Industry is About Money, Not Talent – Rock Talk Podcast Host Sommer Sharon

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In 2011 Sommer Sharon started a Facebook page and Twitter account for a music promotions project. It was a project born of sheer interest, but things started to get interesting when Joe Satriani followed her Twitter account. Satriani was her fourth follower. Her interest suddenly became a business.

Musicians and music industry pros started to take notice of her work. This lead to the development of a great music network that included bands and solo artists from around the globe, publicists, magazine owners, radio hosts, and promoters.

Among those who took notice was Screamer Magazine, which lead to a writing gig, and new acquaintances in music. Before she knew it, Sommer was booking a weekly concert series, festivals, shows all over the midwest, and entertainment for Harley Davidson events.

Sommer has since become host/creator of the Rock Talk Podcast. The podcast has become a platform where she's leveraging her digital marketing expertise and music journalism experience to champion women in the music industry and arts. Our conversation also digs into the state of Rock Talk the podcast, Sommer's interest and work in music, technology, and women's advocacy.

"The industry is about money, not talent.”

I believe it was Sommer who recently said to me, "The industry is about money, not talent.” Although she wouldn’t be the first to make this observation, we got a kick out of discussing it. It’s a sentiment that we tend to agree with on many levels.

When I asked her to talk about the beginnings of her music interest, she shares a childhood story involving a 3rd grade girl with crazy hair, a Care Bears radio, and an Iron Maiden cassette. It's a story that provided inspiration for the intro of her Rock Talk Podcast. Hear the full story in this episode.

SHOW NOTES Tom Tom Magazine Margo Z, Cover Artist of Van Halen’s 1984 Jay Vigon, Artist Designer @chickenfootjoe Joe Satriani on Twitter  Screamer Magazine Bullet Boys Performer Magazine Revolver Magazine Royal Bliss The Brassy Broadcast with Jen Edds Greg Marra Iconoclast Music Podcast Mira Goto Susan Rogers Lori Lee Love Your Story Lisa Leuschner Andersen Kid Andersen Sleigh Consulting Libsyn podcast hosting Rock Talk Podcast Facebook Page Rock Talk Podcast on Instagram Rock Talk on Apple Podcasts RESOURCES FOR MUSICIANS

The Unstarving Musician’s Guide to Getting Paid Gigs ConvertKit – Awesome email marketing solution, something every musician needs! DreamHost – Been using this web hosting service forever. Love them, trust them! More resources – Deals on musician resources.

Feb 09 2018

49mins

Play

Rank #5: Unstarving Musician’s Guide to Getting Paid Gigs–Chapters 5 & 6 (Ep 114)

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This is the third installment and re-release of The Unstarving Musician’s Guide to Getting Paid Gigs. The episode is dedicated to chapters five and six, in which I discuss the importance of managing your gig schedule and boosting that revenue stream.

Episode Highlights

Gaining control of your gig schedule, creating multiple sources of income, and increasing your demand are among the topics I explore in chapters five and six.

  • How to carefully manage your schedule while working with multiple bands
  • The various benefits of working with multiple bands
  • How to share the marketing load
  • Tips on how to meet and work with other musicians
  • The right questions to ask when considering new venues
  • The benefits of subbing and how to do it successfully
3 Key Points

1. Staying creative requires routine, discipline and practice. 2. Surround yourself with good musicians and be a nice person in return. 3. Everything is easier when you’re well practiced and good at your craft.

Quotable

“Every new musician you meet is a likely asset to your network. Being a nice person [to other musicians] will pay dividends.” –Robonzo, The Unstarving Musician’s Guide to Getting Paid Gigs

“If you want to fill your gig calendar, you’ll give yourself a huge advantage by having a good learning and practice routine. Take lessons and practice, practice, practice.” –Robonzo, The Unstarving Musician’s Guide to Getting Paid Gigs

“Build your confidence account by taking your playing seriously. It’ll help you get the good gigs and lots of them.” –Robonzo, The Unstarving Musician’s Guide to Getting Paid Gigs

Mentioned in this Episode Related Episodes

Visit UnstarvingMusician.com for more content related to this episode.

Aug 02 2019

27mins

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Rank #6: Songwriting and the Truth About Saying Yes–Hannah Holbrook

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Hannah Holbrook is a solo artist and member of the sibling quartet SHEL. She and her sisters are considered virtuosos, and their collective tastes create an exciting and eclectic sound that the band calls alternative pop.  This episode is a conversation about SHEL, their relationship with a noteworthy Nashville label, and why they went independent. We also get into questions about how SHEL self-produces their music videos, establishing a presence in Nashville, business management of SHEL, film projects, Hannah’s solo career, relationships, photographers, songwriting, and more.

Here are some particularly important takeaways from our conversation.

On writing good songs

Hannah confessed that she’s writing 10 songs for every one that has potential for the next SHEL album. This brings to mind a quote I paraphrased during our chat. It goes something like, “Writers have to write a lot of bad pages before one good one emerges.” Hannah and I agreed that if she’s getting one good candidate for every 10 songs she writes, she’s doing really well.

On saying yes

I asked Hannah about relationships, as I gathered that she’d somewhat recently seen one come to an end. She commented on the many new friends she’s made in Nashville, using words like “community” and “life giving.” In listening to our recorded conversation I hear an indirect and perhaps unintentional commentary on the life of a music artist. For those who create art and actually find success, there are choices that don’t always come easy. Choices about saying yes to one thing, and no to another. These same choices are intertwined with those we make to create our circle of influence or those that determine how and where to spend our time. The time I spent speaking with Hannah? In a single word? Gratitude.

You can find Hannah on Facebook @HannahOnTheKeys.

And bonus… Hear Hannah’s solo track First Flight at the end of this episode. Her piano playing is nothing short of exquisite.

SHOW NOTES

SHEL Enter Sandman (SHEL Official Video) Diana Maher, Publisher Brent Maher, Producer XTC Squeeze Republic Records Big Machine Label Group Dave Stuart The Band Perry Mira Goto Episode 12 / Episode 46 Let Every Woman Know Anthony Scarlotti Photography Art Hefron Photography Depth Perception (Official Trailer) Late Bloomer EP by Hannah Holbrook

RESOURCES FOR MUSICIANS

The Unstarving Musician’s Guide to Getting Paid Gigs, by Robonzo Growth Farming the Seth Godin Way, a FREE ebook by D Grant Smith The Profitable Musicians Summit More resources for musicians

May 18 2018

46mins

Play

Rank #7: Chapters 1-2 of The Unstarving Musician's Guide (Ep 105)

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This episode is a two chapter reading of The Unstarving Musician’s Guide to Getting Paid Gigs. These chapters were the first two podcast episodes I ever recorded.

(I’m reflecting on the original podcast for the book while visiting Greve, Italy. My wife and I are celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary.)

Also in this episode, I respond to listener emails that discuss finding the right musicians to work with, teaching music for the right reasons, and one regular listeners take on the podcast.

About the Book

The book is based on my personal experience and time I’ve spent talking to other musicians. I wrote it to help other musicians do what I did for so many years.

While living and working as a musician in the Dallas/Fort Worth and San Francisco Bay Area markets, I enjoyed the ability to gig at will when, where, and with whom I wanted. I’ve mostly worked in cover bands as a part time musician, but I’ve also worked with many original artists. The principles presented in The Unstarving Musician’s Guide to Getting Paid Gigs are transferable to original artists, songwriters, full-time musicians, actors, visual artists, etc.

The Unstarving Musician’s Guide to Getting Paid Gigs was available as a stand alone podcast. Now it will be available here in a series of episodes dedicated to the book.

hese recordings and those of the 10 chapters that followed were my very first foray in to podcasting. I did them from one of our first abodes in Panama, in a space that had subpar acoustics. How did I make it sound as good as it did? I reconstructed a fort from my childhood. A tent really. The resulting sound was good. I do, however, find amusement in the sound of my narration voice. It’s a little dramatic.

I hope you enjoy this reading of chapters 1 and 2 of The Unstarving Musician’s Guide to Getting Paid Gigs.

Episode Highlights

The episode begins with listener emails.

  • Rick asks for suggestions that will get him the opportunity to play with people that don’t have a lot of baggage
  • Rick also comments on my email about teaching online and teaching for the right reasons
  • Dave comments on my interview with Notelle and my penchant for the take-away

Chapter one of this podcast version for the book is the Forward and Introduction. The highlights and sections include…

  • My life outside of music
  • Who should read this book (or listen to this podcast episode)
  • A perspective on my music scene, past and present

Chapter two is all about getting paid. It covers the following topics.

  • Finding the right venues
  • Determining what you’re worth
  • Negotiating
3 Key Points
  1. If you’re facing challenges getting the gigs you want, I’m confident that you’ll find this book to be a good read.
  2. It helps to be really good (and entertaining); but being a good band is only part of the formula.
  3. Getting paid what you’re worth is an exercise in two things: asking for a booking at the right price, and knowing your market.
Tweetable Quotes
  • “It’s never too late to embrace and nurture the gifts that life gives us.” –Robonzo
  • “If you don’t have relationships with other bands and musicians in your area, start making friends.” –Robonzo
  • “If your band doesn’t draw a crowd, venues are not going to rebook you based on your stellar musicianship.” –Robonzo

I hope you enjoyed this podcast audio version of chapters one and two. Please visit UnstarvingMusician.com/book to learn more about the book and how to buy your copy.

Would you like to support the podcast? Join the UM community. Just go to UnstravingMusician.com and join right there on the homepage. If you’re an independent musician, you’ll be glad you joined, because I share stuff you can use in your music journey. It all comes from the combined experience of the hundreds of musicians I’ve talked to as part of the UM project. And it’s all free, just for being part of the community. Plus you’ll get tidbits about the latest episodes of this podcast.

Jun 02 2019

42mins

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Rank #8: Why DIY Recording is a Great Idea–Music Producer Mark Addison (Ep 99)

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Mark Addison is a big fan of DIY recording, a seasoned music producer, songwriter, and co-creator of the iconic Tips Concerts series of Austin Texas.

Topics discussed in this episode

  • Wendy Colonna and the history of Tips Concerts
  • Why Mark loves DIY recording
  • How he goes about selecting his work
  • His collaboration recording project with Jana Pochop
  • The many skills needed to succeed as an independent musician
  • The one thing that makes Austin so unique

Show Notes at UnstarvingMusician.com

Apr 19 2019

50mins

Play

Rank #9: SoFar Sounds Kansas City–Tony Di Silvestro

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Sofar Sounds is a global organization who’s mission is to reimagine live events through curated, secret performances in intimate settings; and they are attempting to do just that in over 350 cities around the world. My guest for this episode of the podcast is Tony Di Silvestro of Sofar Sounds Kansas City. I don’t typically seek out businesses or organizations to guest on the podcast, although some of my past guests are musicians who also happen to have a thriving business related to music and musicians (see Lee Oskar, David Barrett, and Carlos Castillo). In this case Tony reached out to me to express interest in sharing the Sofar Sounds Kansas City story with my listeners and readers. And after a phone conversation with him, I decided that Sofar Sounds is something that both music artists and fans should know about.

As for Tony, he wanted to get involved in the music and arts scene in Kansas City and has found Sofar Sounds a nice way to do so. Sofar caters to indie artists, but doesn’t shy away from noteworthys. For example, here are some names you might recognize–Yeah Yeah Yeahs front gal Karen O., Bastille, and Ed Sheeran. Impressive.

I’d love to know what you think as a listener, a reader, a fan, and/or as a music artist. Have you looked into Sofar Sounds in your city? Have you already had experience with them? Are you intrigued? I ask these questions because if Sofar Sounds is as cool as it appears to be, I'd love to help raise awareness among music artists and fans everywhere.

Why should artists & fans care?

Tony says that the surprise element keep Sofar shows fresh and unique. Shows are announced the week of the performance, and to an invitation-only list. You can apply to attend a show near you on their website (here's how it works). Tony also feels fans should appreciate the fact that Sofar showcases new artists. I imagine music artists also appreciate this. Also... the shows are affordable. In many cases, Sofar asks for a mere $10 donation. The cost of shows, however, varies by city and the performing artist.

    What about the music artists?

Music artists love playing a captive room, and that's what Sofar Sounds gives them. Sofar also gives its performing artists a high quality professional video of their performance, something Tony says artists really appreciate. He emphasizes that being part of Sofar is a great networking opportunity for music artists because of its global social presence. It's a great way for artists to get involved in multiple cities. Payments to performing artists can be just the pro video of their performance and/or a monetary payment. This too varies by city, and sometimes by performing artist.

The Sofar business model

While Sofar Sounds Kansas City is focused on producing shows at unique venues, every city has it's own vibe. Tony cites the intimacy of shows as a primary pillar of the Sofar Sounds model. The biggest opportunity for Sofar Kansas City to profit is more frequent shows and more artists who want to perform; but Tony will tell you that they're not in it primarily for profit. He says they're in it for the atmosphere and buzz being created. Keeping shows secret and keeping a cool buzz seem to genuinely motivate Tony. He goes on to explain that Sofar cities always start as non-profits. At the time of this podcast episode, Kansas is in transition to a for-profit mode of business. Sofar shows request fan donations starting at $1, and while show prices can vary, a $10 donation is common. Whether for profit or not, I'm sure that sustainability is part of the long term goal. I wish them tons of success.

SHOW NOTES

Sofar Sounds Sofar Sounds Kansas City Sofar Sounds Kansas City on Facebook Captiva Karen O Yeah Yeah Yeahs Sunday Assembly Ezra Vancil Boulevard Brewing Company

RESOURCES FOR MUSICIANS

The Unstarving Musician’s Guide to Getting Paid Gigs, by Robonzo Growth Farming the Seth Godin Way, a FREE ebook by D Grant Smith More resources for musicians

Apr 06 2018

40mins

Play

Rank #10: Crossing Paths with Jace Everett

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Jace Everett and I surely crossed paths in the 90's, a time when we both lived and played music in and around Fort Worth Texas. In fact, we both did some hanging out and performing at Bronco's Sports Bar. This is the same place at which I met Chris Raspante, and it was Chris who recommended I ask Jace to join me for an interview on the Unstarving Musician's Podcast. When I asked Jace how he and Chris knew one another, he playfully told me about playing in cover bands with Raspante, laughing about their quarrels over learning parts correctly. (band drama with a twist of OCD).

A Music Career Spanning Several Albums & Collaborations

Jace now calls Nashville home. It's home to his family and a music career spanning several albums and collaborations, the most recent of which is the 2017 release, Dust & Dirt, a collaboration with producer and principle co writer Dan Cohen. He's also been touring with Tonic and does a corporate band gig with members of Better Than Ezra, Tonic and Sugar Ray. Oh... he also wrote a song called Bad Things for a little HBO series called True Blood. Dust & Dirt was released to little or no fan fare, according to Jace, a statement telling of how he views today's music business. The album was for the most part made in his attic studio with the help of Dan Cohen. The self-released project was accompanied by a handful of videos, which you can find on Jace's YouTube channel. In discussing his latest album, Jace reflected on signing with EMI Nashville in 2003, and the Sony record deal that followed. He says that he was paid $32k/year in exchange for ownership of his publishing and 12 new songs per year. In 2000 and the few years that followed, he feels that it was easy to get a record deal. Although his EMI publishing deal ended a year later, he's happy to say that he's still making a living in music. EMI and Sony apparently didn't see Jace as commercially friendly country artist. He doesn't perceive himself as a commercially friendly artist, but I believe this is in fact where his artistry lies, within the music and art that he loves.

Jace has a truly light heart about music and his career, making fun of the fact that some music artists have been grossly overpaid in recent decades. He suggests that the music industry was in a bubble that finally burst, but makes no bones about feeling lucky and grateful for the fact that he makes a living writing and performing songs.

Jace is working on a couple of recording projects, including a new Jace Everett album. He also explores his love of words and interesting people on a podcast called Nashville Later with Jace Everett.

SHOW NOTES

JaceEverett.com Chris Raspante Bronco’s Sports Bar Jon Christopher Davis Dan Cohen Ryan Hoyle Tonic Gin Blossoms Vertical Horizon Better Than Ezra Nashville Later Podcast

RESOURCES FOR MUSICIANS

The Unstarving Musician’s Guide to Getting Paid Gigs, by Robonzo Growth Farming the Seth Godin Way, a FREE ebook by D Grant Smith More resources for musicians

Aug 17 2018

56mins

Play

Rank #11: Lisa Leuschner Andersen Has Been Gigging Since Age 7 and Has Opinions About Being a Full Time Career Musician

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On May 9th of 2017 I walked into Greaseland Studios to interview producer Kid Andersen. I was immediately blown away the abundance of musical gear everywhere. The next thing thing that came into my focus was the kitchen. Greaseland is also the home of Kid and Lisa Leuschner Anderson. There in the kitchen was a grand piano. Rather than thinking how rather odd it was to see a grand piano in a kitchen, my focus next shifted to the fact that there was a vocal lesson in progress. I'm not sure who the student was that day, but there at the grand piano was Lisa Leuschner Andersen.

At the outset of my plans to interview Lisa, I thought we'd spend most of our time talking about her vocal coaching business. It turned out that there was much more to discuss.

Lisa is the Queen of Greaseland, a vocal instructor, singer with Foreverland (San Francisco based tribute to the music of Michael Jackson), Alumni of American Idol seasons 2 and 3, and Showtime at The Apollo alumni. She’s also a dancer, Bitstrips enthusiast & artiste, and a really enjoyable storyteller.

Gigging professionally since age 7

Lisa comes from a musical family and has been gigging professionally since age 7. She's a major voice at Greaseland, having contributed vocals on just about every album ever recorded there. She also tells me that she hears every sound made at Greaseland Studios (from anywhere in the house), so I think it's safe to say that she's also the ear of Greaseland. I don't recall exactly when I initially decided she'd be a great contributor to this podcast, but her name came up during my recent interview with Rockin' Johnny Burgin. Lisa is Burgin's vocal coach.

"Everyone that knows me knows I’m a huge fan of Michael Jackson"

On how she got the gig with Foreverland, Lisa told me that it was the first time she had ever  auditioned for a gig. Up until then, she got gigs based on her reputation. She also tells the Foreverland story as if she "begged" for the gig. Lisa was determined, but begging is merely how she refers to the act of asking for the audition.

Lisa credits American Idol for the fact that she's a full time musician, but not for the reasons you might think. While rehearsing for her first season with AI, she quickly realized that she didn't have time for her then day job at a hotel. She very soon after quit that job and never looked back.

Today she sings in a number of live performance situations, does regular studio work Greaseland, and has a book of business as a vocal coach. One of my personal favorite things that Lisa does is something called Bedtime Jamz (#bedtimejamz on Facebook). Bedtime jamz are late night performances recorded on Facebook Live from Greaseland Studios. Kid is typically featured in these performances, along with whomever happens to be at Greaseland. These rather sporadic and impromptu performances are typically done with everyone sporting PJs. I'm hoping they'll make it a regular thing–it's truly entertaining.

On making the jump to career musician, Lisa says that going full time is wrought with peril. The peril she refers to are the various traps that can lead an artist into doing things she doesn't enjoy or otherwise regrets. She adds that there's absolutely no shame in keeping a day-job to supplement one's music income. Lisa has had personal dealings with the peril of going full time, but today comes across as fulfilled, happy and content. I heard this in her voice and her laughter.

You can learn more about and contact Lisa via her About Me page.

About.Me/Helleuw

Also on iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play Music, iHeartRadio, YouTube & Spotify

SHOW NOTES

Foreverland Lisa on SoundCloud Greaseland Studios Tommy Castro Band Bitstrips Kid Andersen All about Lisa Lisa performs Sweet Thing on American Idol Showtime at the Apollo Kid Andersen Episode 3 Rex Brown Episode 32 Rockin' Johnny Burgin Episode 31 Blues Music Awards Saturday Night Gospel Hour Reality - 11 songs by Lisa Leuschner Andersen Lisa Leuschner's Christmas album Sing Me Home BitStrips app Aki Kumar Episode 23 An Unstarving Musician Christmas Mix Kid Anderson on Facebook Love Your Story Podcast with Lori Lee

RESOURCES FOR MUSICIANS

The Unstarving Musician’s Guide to Getting Paid Gigs ConvertKit – Awesome email marketing solution, something every musician needs! DreamHost – Been using this web hosting service forever. Love them, trust them! More resources – Deals on musician resources.

Jan 11 2018

42mins

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Rank #12: From Collaborator to Solo Artist – Singer Songwriter Notelle (Ep 101)

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Nashville based singer songwriter Notelle recently made the move from longtime collaborator to solo artist. She’s known for heavy messy pop with an electronic edge.

In our conversation for this episode, Notelle is forthcoming with lessons she’s learning as a solo artist and advice that has served her well. She’s also forthcoming about her insecurities. We discuss imposter syndrome, leveraging uniqueness, the importance of work ethic, preparedness, and quality content.

At 27 Notelle had reservations about being an open book of emotions in her debut solo artist recordings. She's become just that, an open book of emotions. She's now embraces it, and it’s working for her.

Episode Highlights
  • Notelle starts by discussing her most recent work, and the challenges of openly sharing her story
  • She shares her experience working with Altru Creative and her amazing PR rep
  • Notelle talks about the struggle of opening up and not feeling special enough for people to hear her story
  • What motivated Notelle to start a solo career
  • Notelle shares some incredible insight for other artists that may be contemplating a solo career move
  • Notelle shares great advice she received from mentors
  • Notelle's strategy for the next few years, including how she'll release music
  • Notelle discusses how it feels to do collaborative work with other artists and DJ's
3 Key Points
  1. Don’t be afraid to step out–realize that what you have is worth sharing
  2. Write and create what you like
  3. Be your unique you, and work hard!
Tweetable Quotes
  • “It doesn’t matter where you are on your perceived ladder of success or anybody else’s, everyone feels the exact same way.” – Notelle
  • “You, whoever you are, and whatever you have personality-wise, those are the biggest assets you have.” – Notelle
  • “Put your blinders on, and write what you like.” – Notelle
MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE

Visit UnstarvingMusician.com for bonus content related to this episode.

May 03 2019

50mins

Play

Rank #13: Rolling with Music Industry Changes Via Kickstarter–Tom Irwin

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Tom Irwin grew up admiring and learning songs by the likes of Grand Funk Railroad, Led Zeppelin, and Thin Lizzy. He was a participant of the 80s New Wave scene, but eventually found himself drawn to life as a solo artist. He’s been musically genrefied as folk rock and alt country. Willie Nelson once said to Tom about his band’s performance after they opened for Willie & Family in 2001, “I like your shirt, and your music, too.” Tom was wearing a Hank Williams, Sr. shirt.

He has recently worked with John Stirratt of Wilco, who was involved in the production of Tom’s latest release All That Love. He's a music journalist for the Illinois Times and a gigging machine. Music and journalism have helped him build a network of lifelong friends. Some of these friends have become studio collaborators.

Tom’s journey as a solo artist started after he witnessed fighting among his bandmates. These particular bandmates were also his best friends; and the fighting was an event he tells me he never wanted to experience again. The release of Tom's latest album was a long road traveled during changing times in the music industry. He rolled with the industry changes and eventually made his latest release happen with the help of a Kickstarter campaign that raised almost $10,000.  To hear Tom talk about this 5-year journey, you wouldn't get the impression that he found it all that challenging. He obviously learned some things along the way, but he comes across as nothing more than grateful and humble when discussing it.

The quintessential indie artist

I recorded our interview on a day when Internet service was down at my home studio. The audio isn’t great, but that’s mostly on my end. Tom (the important guy) sounds pretty good. I mention this because I'm so glad we went through with the interview, in spite of the tech issues. In the episode intro, I refer to Tom as a "statesman" of indie artists, but that was the wrong word. I should have said that Tom is the "quintessential" indie artist.

A music column that Tom writes for The Illinois Times is somewhat the reason that we connected. Tom met Rockin' Johnny Burgin at Central Blues and wrote a piece on him for the Times. They became fast friends. Rockin' Johnny told me I should have Tom on the podcast. This all strikes me as fairly typical. It seems that Tom has developed many friendships through music and journalism. This reminds of the savvy musician adage, "Be cool, and don't be a dick." As we spoke about his relationships and music journey, it became quickly evident that he is kind and genuinely pleasant to be around. A case in point is a chance meeting he had with John Stirrat of Wilco in 2012. Tom was playing at a venue called The Castle in Bloomington Illinois, opening for Candy Gold, a band featuring Ben E Carlos of Cheap Trick and Stirrat. Following a fortuitous mix up in performance scheduling, Stirrat arrived at the venue during Tom's set and liked what he heard. Stirrat appreciated Tom's music enough to engage in a conversation, and eventually to coproduce All That Love.

This point of Tom's journey could have been marred by the changing music industry. When the project was ready to market and distribute, both Tom and Stirrat were surprised by changes that meant labels were no longer providing a clear path to distribution. While All This Love was being created, all things distribution had changed. Labels were no longer investing in artists as they once had.  According to Tom, this came as a disappointing surprise to Stirrat. Things had changed, but Tom forged on–enter Kickstarter.

Kickstarter put Tom back in the driver's seat

A friend suggested to Tom that he look into Kickstarter. While I'm sure that all of Tom's recording projects have been important to him, this one had to be especially so. Not only was Stirrat co producing and performing on the record, but he also recruited Greg Wieczorek (aka G. Wiz).  The album was released in 2017. Where labels had cited lack of "bandwidth" on their part and lack of "traction" on Tom's part, Kickstarter put Tom back in the driver's seat. This was a familiar place for Tom, as he'd been marketing and distributing his own music for years. This time, however, it was on a bigger scale. The Kickstarter campaign, Tom says, gave him funds for media promotion and I'm sure helped with the finished product. Although he  learned some lessons about media promotion, it's clear that Tom is thankful for the success provided by his Kickstarter campaign. He shared with me that Kickstarter also helped him from a planning and accountability standpoint.

I got to go stick my head in the back room, and watch them make the sausage."

All That Love is available pretty much anywhere that digital music can be found–and on vinyl through Tom's website. On the subject of digital distribution and royalties, Tom gave me a better picture of what streaming does for an artist's paycheck. We had a good laugh talking about a recent statement from CD Baby that included a couple of album sales, followed by page after page of fractional streaming royalties. I'm reminded of a quote from a friend who regularly posts on Twitter: "Buy the music you like." A pleasant surprise for Tom is that vinyl sales are doing very well. Turns out people still appreciate a physical product version of their music. He shares advice on selecting the right company for producing vinyl versions of your album. According to Tom, there aren't a lot of companies to choose from, but he learned that location, weight, and shipping are worth careful consideration. In this case, Tom says that the company with the lowest price isn't necessarily the most cost effective choice. He chose to work with Fat Possum Records. This leads me to my favorite quote from our conversation. In recanting the day he took in-person delivery of the finished vinyl LP product, when he also got to see the Fat Possum production facilities, Tom said “I got to go stick my head in the back room, and watch them make the sausage."

You can also hear this podcast on Apple Podcasts, iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play Music, iHeartRadio, YouTube & Spotify.

SHOW NOTES

TomIrwinMusic.com Rockin’ Johnny Burgin IRS Records Electra Records John Stirratt Wilco Yep Roc Records Bloodshot Records Greg Wiz Single Lock Records Lannie Flowers Dave Da Silva Fat Possum Records Illinois Central Blues Club Illinois Central Railroad Tom’s Weekly Column in The Illinois Times Memphis Record Pressing NRBQ

RESOURCES FOR MUSICIANS

The Unstarving Musician’s Guide to Getting Paid Gigs, by Robonzo Growth Farming the Seth Godin Way, a FREE ebook by D Grant Smith More resources for musicians

Mar 02 2018

52mins

Play

Rank #14: Starting Over in Austin–Lara Price

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Lara Price is an Unstarving Musician’s Podcast alumni from early episode 4. Similar to my recent conversation with country singer songwriter Mira Goto, this is a progress update of sorts. It’s been almost one year since my last interview with Lara. At that time she had just made a big move from the San Francisco Bay Area to Austin, and she was still riding high on the release of her then newish album I Mean Business. This time around I happened to catch Lara near the 43rd anniversary of a very special flight on which she was a passenger. Lara was part of Operation Baby Lift, the mass evacuation of orphans to the US and other countries at the end of the Vietnam War.

Our conversation opens with Lara’s reflections on her fate as an evacuee and how it has influenced her art. We also talk about starting over in Austin, and the journey of finding a new band. Lara had been a music fixture of the San Francisco Bay Area for about 20 years. She says that the process of establishing a new band she can call her own is something that hasn’t been without a few tears. Lara is a self-proclaimed optimist by nature, so she’s naturally upbeat about having met many great Austin musicians and having landed some great gigs. She was one of the local artists featured at the 2018 Red Gorilla Music Festival, and was excited to tell me that she landed a coveted gig on Austin’s Bergstrom International Airport music stage. Lara has her eye on a much bigger prize though–Austin City Limits.

I’d always thought of Lara as someone who favors blues as a genre. There’s no question that she loves the blues, but she confesses that she originally wanted to sing in a rock band. She also says the blues found her–lucky us. Lara’s returned to her roots in that she’s frequenting blues jams in the Austin area. She and I agree wholeheartedly that blues jams are a great place to network with other musicians. And as Lara points out, blues musicians are often into other things besides blues. As an indie artists, we should remember this anytime we’re feeling dismissive of the blues. Blues jams are a great place to network with other players, many of whom are into other genres. As Lara is quick to point out, blues ain’t easy. To that I’ll add, blues ain’t easy when it’s done right.

Lara says she wants to get back in the studio this year. She also wants to find the lineup for that band she can call her own. Much to my surprise, she anticipates that she might finally find her sound. I thought she found her sound long ago, but I’m now under the impression that this has been one of her ongoing quests in life. She points out that all of this will take time, and making time seems to be on the forefront of Lara’s mind. She recently made the big decision to get a day job. Austin is a place where Lara says she can hold a 9-to-5, focus on one music project, and live a more comfortable life. The super-expensive San Francisco Bay Area is unfortunately not among the most conducive places for artists to do such a thing, especially if their sole focus is making a living from their art.

SHOW NOTES

LaraPrice.com Mira Goto episode 45 Lara Price episode 4 Red Gorilla Music Festival I Mean Business by Lara Price Operation Baby Lift Ray Prim Band Redd Volkaert Ezra Vancil episode 42 Poor House Bistro of San Jose California

RESOURCES FOR MUSICIANS

The Unstarving Musician’s Guide to Getting Paid Gigs, by Robonzo Growth Farming the Seth Godin Way, a FREE ebook by D Grant Smith More resources for musicians

Apr 20 2018

47mins

Play

Rank #15: Take Control Of Your Music Career—Ryan Kairalla (Ep 129)

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Ryan Kairalla is an artist advocate, entertainment lawyer and host of the Break The Business Podcast. He leverages his background in law, business, education, and entertainment to enhance the careers independent music artists–and to pursue big ideas. With his network of partners, collaborators, mentors, and friends, Ryan brings people together to share helpful advice with music artists, content creators, and more.

We talk about his book, Break the Business: Declaring Your Independence and Achieving True Success in the Music Industry,which includes chapters on why you don’t want a record label, moving beyond the record label model and the sectors of your indie music empire. Ryan shares his thoughts on the shifts in the music industry and how indie artists can capitalize on them to propel their careers forward.

Episode Highlights

We start by talking about Ryan’s experience in music contracts and how that shifted his focus to supporting indie artists. We go on to discuss:

  • The ideal starting point for an indie musician
  • Taking advantage of live streaming to build fan engagement
  • Why musicians should get into podcasting (and how to do it)
  • Performance Rights Organizations and how they work
  • The value of acting or public speaking for musicians
Key Points
  • Everything you want to learn you can find for free or by asking for help.
  • Build a genuine connection with your fans. Be consistent both online and in person.
Quotable

“I have yet to read a record deal that I would advise a client to sign.” —Ryan Kairalla

“Podcasting offers content networking - building relationships with people in your industry by creating content that involves them.”

—Ryan Kairalla

“The music industry is shifting so much that musicians today are essentially influencers that happy to know how to carry a tune and play an Instagram. All the tools that an influencer uses - that’s what you need as an artist.”

—Ryan Kairalla

Nov 01 2019

37mins

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Rank #16: Distinguishing Your Band To Venues—David De Carion (Ep 157)

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Dave De Carion is a longtime friend from the San Francisco Bay area. He became a student musician of one of my bandmates and was soon leading his own cover band Severe Pleasure. Recently Dave got stuck in Hawaii given travel restrictions from the pandemic and has been looking at gig prospects on the island.

Dave markets to a great personal network, consistently books gigs for his band, and is always giving thought to how he can get even better gigs. We dive into tried and true marketing methods to stand out from all the other bands pitching to booking agents, why certain promotional materials work better than others, and the attitude of giving more than you get.

Episode Highlights

We start by talking about recently getting stranded in Hawaii (08:10) and go on to discuss:

  • (15:25) Learning bass later in life
  • (22:00) Tips for distinguishing your band to venues
  • (28:25) Pitching to booking agents
  • (37:00) The future of the band following reopening
  • (46:15) Giving more than you get 

For full show notes and resources go to UnstarvingMusician.com

May 29 2020

53mins

Play

Rank #17: Igniting Creativity and Restarting a Music Career–Glasys (Ep 120)

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In this episode I speak with pianist, synthesist, producer, vocalist and songwriter Glasys. We talk about his immigration from Israel to Portland, Oregon, discovering a new local music scene, and the pivotal moments that lead to touring and recording with Todd Rundgren.

I discovered Glasys while listening to the Music Business Hacks podcast and related to his big move from Israel to Portland, and how that affects your music career. In my case that was from Texas to California, and ultimately to Panama.

We talk about how he grew his audiences through posting videos on Reddit, and more. We also listen to People from his latest album, Defective Humanity.

Episode Highlights

Glasys and I start by talking about his two albums and the differences between creating them. We go on to discuss:

  • How he came to work with Todd Rundgren
  • The move from Israel to Portland, Oregon
  • Diving into the open mic scene in a new city
  • Growing his YouTube channel
  • Common traits of successful artists
  • Organizing a solo tour
  • Experimenting with different instruments
  • The technical details of creating your own videos (we discuss specific equipment)
  • Collaborating with T-Pain
Key Points
  • Get out of your comfort zone. It’s important to try new things, ways to promote your music, styles, etc.
  • Find a balance and avoid burnout.
Quotable

“I get kind of bored if I stick to my comfort zone. I enjoy challenging myself. You have to challenge yourself just the right amount so it’s not too overwhelming.” —Glasys

“I think the art suffers if you just keep repeating yourself.” —Glasys

Mentioned in this Episode Related Episodes Pledge your support for Unstarving Musician on Patreon

The Unstarving Musician is committed to sharing the best tips and information of other music professionals to help musicians do more of what they love – make music. Our weekly podcasts features in depth discussions with musicians and music space professionals discussing music creation, marketing, and business tips. All this is made possible by the contributions of individuals like you in our shared community who love making music.

Patreon is a bit like Kickstarter, but instead of culminating in one large project, it’s a way of crowdfunding ongoing creative endeavors. Patreon also serves as a community site where supporters can communicate and discuss new creations.

Visit the Unstarving Musician Crowd Sponsor Page for more on supporting MUSICIAN RESOURCES Visit my Resources page for more musician resources. This episode is brought to you by Bandzoogle.

From garage bands to Grammy winners, Bandzoogle powers the websites for thousands of musicians around the world.

Plans start at just $8.29/month, which includes hosting and your own free custom domain name. Go to Bandzoogle.com to start your 30 day free trial. Use promo code “robonzo” to get 15% off the first year of any subscription.

*Full Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase products using these links, I’ll earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks for your support!

Sep 06 2019

48mins

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Rank #18: Rediscovering Me – Singer Songwriter Jennifer Vazquez

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Singer songwriter Jennifer Vazquez came to me out of the blue, the blue canvas of Twitter. I was checking my alerts, glancing at the feed and there she was, promoting her latest album Rediscovering Me.

Jennifer grew up in and around the Bronx of NY. She has spent a good deal of time in LA, but now calls Nashville home. Before we even spoke, I got a sense that Jennifer has a mindset built on giving and a belief in abundance. It’s true, and you’ll hear it in the stories she tells.

Here are a few of the interesting things we discuss.

  • How a super fan helped her tour Sweden and England
  • How (and why) she killed and then revived her solo artist persona
  • What improving as a songwriter means to Jennifer
  • What she learned at the recent Music Biz Conference in Nashville

Jennifer is all about investing in herself, facing fears, giving back and recognizing opportunity. She has a lot to offer musicians, songwriters and music fans.  She said at one point in our conversation, “When you feel like you can’t, that’s exactly when you should.” This typifies her view facing our fears.

Jennifer’s album Rediscovering Me features a track called I Believe, which can be heard at the end of this episode. Enjoy.

SHOW NOTES

JenniferVazquez.com Shelby Park (Site of Jennifer’s encounter with a turtle) Matt Farnsworth Voice Studio Joan Osborne Music Biz Conference 2018 Color Your Way to Calm Musicians on Call Miliman12 Photography

RESOURCES FOR MUSICIANS

The Unstarving Musician’s Guide to Getting Paid Gigs, by Robonzo Growth Farming the Seth Godin Way, a FREE ebook by D Grant Smith More resources for musicians

Jun 29 2018

55mins

Play

Rank #19: Do The Hard Thing First—David Andrew Wiebe (Ep 132)

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David Andrew Wiebe is not only a singer-songwriter, but also a music educator. He’s found a way to grow his music career and the business of his music through a project he calls Music Entrepreneur HQ. The website and podcast dedicated to this project provide resources and information for independent musicians.

His goal is to help musicians with booking better shows, music sales and streaming, digital marketing, licensing, placement, and making a better income. We talk about all of this, and how he weaves his own music into the picture, his personal experience with mastermind groups, personal development programs, and a whole lot more.

Episode Highlights

We start by talking about David’s experience running a mastermind and go on to discuss:

  • His approach to providing education for the entrepreneurial musician
  • What musicians should spend their time on
  • Staying creative
  • Aiming for single channel communication
  • Personal development for musicians
Key Points
  • Focus on your strengths and what matters most to you.
  • Above all, make good music.
  • Do the hard things first.
Quotable

“I’ve spent a lot of time creating things that I wanted to create, instead of investing significant resources into marketing it, getting the right landing page, the right colours and all that. Nothing wrong with that if that’s your passion - I need those people - but I create what I want to create.” —David Andrew Wiebe

“You know that thing that you’ve been putting off? The thing you’ve been meaning to do? The thing that’s giving you a pang in your gut? Yeah. Go and do that. The things that you’re often not doing, once you get them out of the way you’re free to enjoy your day.” —David Andrew Wiebe

Full show notes at UnstarvingMusician.com

Give your feedback at UnstarvingMusician.com/feedback.

Dec 06 2019

54mins

Play

Rank #20: Episode 94: Overcoming Creative Block and Getting Out of Our Own Heads

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Creative block is a thing, but it doesn't have to be. In this episode, I share the one tactic for overcoming creative block practiced by most music artists I've interviewed for this podcast. I also share tips for getting out of your own head, which can help you get out of your own way. I spoke with two indie artists earlier this week, each w ith unique situation. Both are on the cusp of big projects. Both want to move their careers forward. Both face obstacles. Their challenges are slightly different, but in both cases–their standing in their own way. It's a common dilemma. I do it all the time. These conversations reminded me of the following.

  • We need to get out of our own heads sometimes
  • Creativity is less about inspiration than it is about discipline

Getting Out of Your Own Head In the case of my two indie artist friends, accountability would be a huge help. Great places to find accountability are through coaching, mastermind groups, and songwriting groups. Each of these offers a slightly different approach to accountability, but all three offer an opportunity to get out of your own head. This naturally happens by virtue of interaction with peers and in some cases mentors. Adding accountability to the mix can also help establish, fine tune and achieve your career goals. Sometimes the only thing needed to get out of our own head is human contact. Depending on your situation, volunteering for another artist that inspires you might be the solution.

Hear how Jana Pochop did exactly this to propel her own career and side-hustle as a social media consultant for musicians. Click here to listen to our conversation on the podcast.

Or maybe all you need is to attend or host an open mic or pro jam. These are fantastic places to connect with people who can help and inspire you. Maybe a songwriting group is your thing. Songwriting groups not only motivate and provide accountability, but they can help you develop some needed discipline. This takes me to my next point. Creativity and Discipline Also inspired by the aforementioned calls, creative writers block and creative procrastination. If you’re not feeling inspired, stop waiting to feel inspired. Waiting for inspiration is procrastination at its finest. Instead, be proactive. Set an appointment with yourself to write. This is exactly what artists like Shannon Curtis and Lynz Crichton do. Make an appointment to write something crappy. It’s the only way you’ll every write anything good. Ten good pages for every one good one, right. Use a notepad or your phones voice memo app for moments of inspiration. A Daily Writing Practice Make a daily routine of object writing every morning. Do this before you look at your devices, before you check your social media or email. Put pen to paper and write something free form for 10 to 20 minutes. Set a timer and don’t edit yourself. Pete and Crystal Damore of Ordinary Elephant turned me on to object writing. Read about it here, and listen to my conversation with the Damore's here. Pete and Crystal also talk about songwriting workshops.

Here's a video explanation of object writing by Sarah Crookall.

If you’re interested in or need a little help getting started with a mastermind group, songwriting group, or coaching, contact me. I'm willing and able to provide you with useful guidance.

Show notes and related episodes at UnstarvingMusician.com.

Mar 18 2019

15mins

Play