Artist Promotions – Times They Are A Changing

dont-ever-let-someone-tell-you-that-you-cant-do-somethingRiding the metro in Los Angeles you see talent and some people who are just beggars.  Yes, there is a difference between an artist and a beggar.  An artist doesn’t have to say “we are coming around with a hat and dream” after a performance in public.  An artist does what is necessary to improve their art on a daily basis.  It is not about gaining fame, money, or validation, but about crafting their skill.

This past Tuesday, a violinist and a guitarist were playing on the redline.  From the looks of these two young (20-something) African-American men they had just been riding up and down the redline playing popular songs such as The Fray (How To Save A Life), Michelle Branch (Everywhere), The Beatles (Here Comes The Sun).  Their honesty, conviction, and dedication to their harmonies and musical stylings had the train clapping after each song and numerous train riders giving them donations in their beat-up guitar case.  They didn’t ask for donations after each song; they just continued to play consecutively throughout the 30 minutes I road from the North Hollywood station to the 7th Street Expo Line connection.  This on the ground marketing isn’t a new thing, in fact, it was something that was designed before marketing was even considered a job.

So what is it about artist promotions that really creates a superstar like Taylor Swift?  Selena Gomez?  Mandy Moore?  Travis Wall?  Is it timing?  Is it having talent?  Is it hard work and dedication?  Is it having the right branding, marketing or promotions team? Working in event marketing the last few years, I’ve learned that you need a mix of things to make magic happen.  Here are my top five tips to bring your promotions to the next level:

  1.  Advertise Without Advertising – This goes for everything you do as an individual and as a company.  If you are an individual artist you want to show people why they should watch and pay attention.  You shouldn’t need to give a speech before your performance.  Let your talent speak for itself and let the curiosity of the audience make the choice to stop.  If you are a company promoting an event it should be about the people associated with the event (the talent), the people who have attended and their experiences as well as the business relationships you have with sponsors.  Each of these aspects always draws more attendees because they feel like they are missing out, or a new business who sees their direct competition tearing into another market that they haven’t touch yet.  Fear of missing out is a strong promotional tool and it is vital to show that in an advertising campaign.
  2. Be Active On Your Social Media – Yes posting regularly on your social media is important, but when I say be active on your social media I’m talking about interaction.  Following people or businesses that could increase your promotions on other platforms or bring you to the next level as an artist.  Also, interacting with your followers from Q&As to comments to videos that ask what they want to see from you.  As the saying goes, give the people what they want.
  3. A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words – Lots of promotional photos and videos are important.  It helps to develop marketing strategies, strong branding, and a cohesive platform on who you are and what you do as an artist or company.  Sit down and figure out what you want to show and present to the world and how you want to be represented.  Set-up photo and video shoots to stage promotional materials and constantly have someone dedicated to social media at events to get live shots and reactions from the audience and participants.  This is what is going to develop that concept of “fear of missing out” to drive attendance in the future.   Think about Coachella, LalaPalooza, or any awards show.  Each event has live streaming/broadcasting, they are constantly posting about the people at the shows and the talent that is performing.  It is always about showing someone something that could be their experience.
  4. The Personal You – Society is obsessed with people’s personal drama.  Think about Keeping Up With the Kardashians or The Bachelor.  The one thing about these types of shows is they help you invest in the people as they are sharing personal aspects of their lives to the audience.  Granted all of it is not real and probably a lot of it is staged, but the point I’m trying to make is let people get to know who you are – what you like (i.e. music, films), your friends and family, your favorite places…etc.  People want to feel connected especially if they are investing time and/or money.  Show them more than just your talent.
  5. Attraction – This may sound a little crazy, but bear with me.  No, I’m not talking about how attractive you are as a person, but what individuals are drawn to.  Think about when you see someone saving an animal that is in danger.  You are attracted to someone’s kindness.  Think about a new headshot with colors that make your features pop.  You are attracted to someone’s beauty.  Think about a big open space with no one around but nature.  You are attracted to the freedom.  Promotions are all about attraction.  What makes your audience tick?  What will get them to see the next show?  What will get your next follower to commit to what you put out?  Your audience is comprised of all different people from all walks of life.  You have to know who your audience is to make the impact you are looking for in this world.

In the words of Chris Gardner (Will Smith’s character in the Pursuit of Happyness), “If you want something, go get it.  Period.”

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Before The Sun Goes Down – An Album You Need In Your Life

31175If you haven’t heard of The New Respects you need to get on Spotify now and check out their latest album Before The Sun Goes Down.  This family band comprised of siblings Darius, Alexandria and Alexis Fitzgerald, as well as their cousin Jasmine Mullen, was listed as one of the top 10 artists you need to know in 2017 by Rolling Stones Magazine.  Their sound takes you back to the 70s with their electric grooves like Led Zepplin, soul like Aretha Franklin, and catchy lyrics like The Beatles.  Creating a new music genre all their own, they are breaking the mold and rules of what music can be in the 21st century by combining rock, soul, and pop music with acoustic lyrical overtones.

Recently signed to Credential Recordings, the Nashville-based group is making waves with their family affair by taking their positive views on life as well as reaching into society to bring back songs that have heart and meaning from the music to the lyrics.  These refreshing, hard-hitting lyrics are more than catchy pop, but send out messages about strength, challenges, and the push we have to give ourselves every day to be the best versions of us.  In the pre-chorus of their single, “Before The Sun Goes Down” it says:

“Maybe we won’t find the answers every time
But I wanna find a little peace of mind
There ain’t nothing wrong with working over time
So let’s make it right”

Another song that really stood out to me was “Come As You Are.”  It is a slow-moving lyrical wonderland that makes you feel like you are the last person on earth, but that one person who has your back is following you as someone to hold you up when you feel like falling down.

“I’ve been telling you for some time now
You’re not a burden, not weighing me down
So fight that voice that says you’re on your own
You don’t have to do this thing alone”

If you are looking for your music to have a little meaning, a lot of soul, and a dash of a groove, The New Respects have you covered.  Check out one of their videos below to help you get over the middle of the week.  It will have you energized in no time.

TAG! – 5 Grown Men & The Game That Connected Them The Last 28 Years

tagAs we get older, we sometimes lose our inner child.  The part of us that makes us fearless, unwillingness to take no for an answer, and the unwavering loyalty we have to the people we call our best friends.  As a kid, there is no thought process, judgment, or questioning of why we are friends with people; it is more of a way of life.  Moving forward usually means changes to our group of friends, not staying in touch with people that we assumed would be in our lives forever, and huge life adjustments like being in serious relationships or having kids of our own.  The kicker is we subconsciously make those choices by ignoring a phone call, not responding to a text, or deleting an email assuming that the person who reached out will try again.

Recently, I finished watching the movie TAG.  A film based on a true story of five friends that had been playing the same game of tag for the last 28 years.  Seriously, this story was in The Wall Street Journal and a slew of other major publications back in 2013.   These five men had moved to different areas of the country, got married, had children, and were heads of major corporations.  Once a year for an entire month they would show up in random places to tag one another just like when they were kids to avoid not being “it” for another year.  Can you imagine flying 800 miles to hide behind a car or creating an insane disguise just to tag your friend for the sake of not being “it” the next year?  The 11-month strategy and planning that goes into a game that has been happening for 28 years has to keep all of them sharp and a little paranoid but more importantly connected.

The moral of the movie had nothing to do with the game of tag, but more about how invaluable they believed their friendship was to each other.  We have the ability in the 21st century to stay in touch with people that are important to us no matter where they are in this world.  We use life as an excuse.  I’m too tired to text you back.  My kids are more important than responding to this email that will take 5 minutes.  I need to watch the new Game of Thrones episode with my significant other instead of taking this phone call for 10 minutes.  I read an article the other day that said there are 86,400 seconds in a day and the author said this: “Every day we get up we are blessed with this amount of time to connect with the people that matter.  There are no refunds, no exchanges, and no roll-over to the next day.  There are also no guarantees you will be around tomorrow to experience another 86,400 seconds.”

There are 31,536,000 seconds in a year.  Use every second to connect.  Call your best friend from high school for 900 seconds, laugh through text in a college group chat and reminisce for 300 seconds, or spend 1800 seconds with your parents watching a sitcom on T.V.  Use the time that you have to relate to the people that made you who you are in this life.  To every person that made me who I am today – “I like you because you join in on my weirdness.”  I just have one question.  Are you ready to be “it”?

The Story of Another Us

Opening Scene to The Man In The High Castle Series

Opening Scene to The Man In The High Castle Series

Currently, I am obsessed with the show Man In The High Castle.  Just in case you have missed this epic piece of awesomeness, the whole basis of the show centers around Germany and Japan winning World War II.  In this alternate reality, Japan occupies the west side of the United States and Germany placed their home base on the east side.  Throughout each episode, the characters make choices that in turn affect not only their lives but everyone around them.  Whether it is in an alternate reality or real life each action has a reaction.  It could be good or bad, but it makes you question what would you do?

We all put ourselves into these scenarios thinking that we would do the “right thing” if the roles were reversed but it is human nature to react in self-preservation verse protection.  Of course, there are exceptions to that rule – a parent and a child or siblings, but if you think about it that is family.  If you had a choice to stop your family from getting shot versus 20 children who are strangers who are you going to choose?

The United States is throwing around hate left and right thinking that it is going to fix the issues we have as a country.  Is an egotistical and hateful man president – yes.  Did he get voted into office based on fear, hate, and hope for change – yes.  Now before you jump down my throat, I said hope for change, not hope for good change.  The majority of society doesn’t understand what real struggle is like and no I’m not talking about not having the latest iPhone.  I’m talking about not having enough food for your family even after working 12 hours a day week after week.  We go back to what I said at the beginning which is the majority of people do things for their own self-preservation, not for the greater good of society.  So, here is my political message – the sooner you understand others reasons for their choices and decisions, the better you can arm yourself with a defense to get them to see a different side that could be better for them.

We question the what if – What if the trade centers were never hit by terrorists would US soldiers be fighting in the Middle East?  If Hillary Clinton was president we think things would be different because she cares more about the people than about business?  We put hope into people making selfless acts, but 80% of people are not like that.  Living in Los Angeles I see it every day from the way most LA drivers put everyone at risk with their recklessness because they are late, to a young person not giving up their seat on the train for an older handicap adult who is fitting to stand up.  Don’t get me wrong I do the same thing when I see homeless people begging on the street.  LA numbs you to certain things as you see some people who really need help and others that are playing the system.  Plus, the first thing I think is I work hard for my money why would I give it to some random person I don’t know.  Society isn’t selfless.  In my entire 30 years of life, I have met one man who was selfless and that was my grandfather.  Someone who I’ve never known to act in his own self-interest but in everyone else’s.  We think about stories the way that they could be like it is a story of another us.  An image of hope.  The thought that an alternate reality could be better, but it could be worse in other ways.  The song by 5 Seconds of Summer (The Story of Another Us) goes:

“One last stitch and new beginnings
So take this heart, put yourself in it
The surprise ending I’m depending on
Could be the story of another us”

Be the change you want to see in others.  Be the inspiration to create hope for someone else.  Just like in physics for every action, there is a reaction.  Your choice could change the course of one person’s life which could change the whole world.  “…bet on people.  No matter what the world said, who they were, who they should be…One selfless act of love and hope.  That is what I put my money on.” – The Man In The High Castle

The Desperate Moment You Must Choose Your Direction…

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100s of Dog tags of men who lost their lives in the Pacific

There comes a time in every life where you must decide what is right.  Is it right to disregard others opinions?  Is it right to not hear another’s view?  Will you fight for what is right?  Or will you let others tell you what is right?  Will you embrace everything that is in your heart?  Or will you turn a blind eye in protest and use only words instead of action?  Each day you chose whether to move forward or to ignore what is right in front of you.  When you visit the National Cemetery in Washington DC or the Pacific National Cemetery in Honolulu look at the death dates.  Walking up and down aisle after aisle you see hundreds of men who lost their lives before it even began.  Freedom has a cost, and I believe that much of society has forgotten what that cost is today.

Currently, the United States of America is divided.  Relationships of families, friends, and colleagues are in disarray and instead of taking action we protest.  Protesting is a great tool to garner attention from the media, especially when it comes to the large masses.  One of the things I never understood about protesting is what happens after the march and the gathering has conclude?  Well, in the 21st century we then take to social media to spread our opinions.  We yell and argue with the people that we claim to care about instead of having discussions, and we shut off our ears to everyone else that doesn’t agree with our own views.  The saying goes “Evil triumphs only when good men do nothing,” but the real saying should be, Evil triumphs only when good people don’t take action.

Reading can be a great power in an administration that you don’t agree with their actions, their history, or their plans for the future of America.  Education Security nominee, Betsy DeVos is not someone I want in charge of our youth or education and it is more than just Trump nominating her.  She is a billionaire that inherited everything from Daddy, has no concept of the working man’s dollar and has had a privileged life, never struggling to pay off a student loan or worried that she is living in the right county for her children to get the best public education.  Of course, the majority of the government is filled with people just like her.   Living in their warped little bubble.  The biggest issue I have is she wants to privatize all public education and in turn will make education just like health care in this country.  Costs being astronomical, companies not making the best educational decisions or the needs of students when their bottom line is more important, and finally, for-profit charters that weed out the low performing and at-risk children to highlight only the gifted (Alan Singer, Huffington Post).

Society fears what Trump is going to do, but as Marie Curer said, “Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood.  Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.”  Personally, Vice-President Mike Pence‘s views are even worse than Trump’s.  Pence once said publicly “I long for the day that Roe v. Wade is sent to the ash heap of history.”  He is the epitome of an uncompassionate man who lacks the understanding, grace or knowledge to make an informed decision about women, LGBTs, or children.  His ideas on education, women’s rights or human decency is that of someone from the 1940s in a totalitarian government.  His views are the only right ones in his mind and everyone else is wrong.  Mr. Pence, for someone who has two daughters I question everything you stand for, and unlike you, I look deep into why a person does what they do, and I know your argument is going to be based on religion.  Well here is a little religious lesson for you, John 7.24 – “Look beneath the surface so you can judge correctly.”  Can you say you have experience anything a woman has gone through in her life?   Can you understand why thousands of women were protesting over the last week?  What if it was your daughter who needed an abortion because having the baby could kill her?  What if it was your daughter who was raped and was impregnated with a baby of the man that disregarded her as an object instead of a person?  The worst regret in life we can have is not the wrong things we did, but the “right” things we did for the wrong people.  Mr. Pence, you need to start looking in the mirror and question why you believe what you believe.

First thing I would like to state is no I did not vote for Trump and no I did not vote for Hilary.  Now, before you tell me that I wasted my vote and that it was protest vote not worth anything let me tell you that everyone’s vote in a democracy is worth something.  I took action in what I believed in and it was neither in favor of the democratic or republican candidates that were put in front of me (side note: Bernie Sanders all the way).  That is what makes us a democracy.  That is what makes us a free nation.  The freedom of choice.  People have died for us to have that choice.  Eleanor Roosevelt once said “Do what you feel in your heart to be right- for you’ll be criticized anyway.  You’ll be damned if you do, and damned if you don’t.”  Action is what matters.  Don’t just protest or post on social media what you feel is wrong.  Get involved by taking action.  Volunteer at an abusive woman’s shelter, donate to an arts program, raise funds by doing a 5K for endangered animals, or become a big brother/ sister to an underprivileged child.  Make a difference in more than just words.  Start to really listen to each other.  John Lennon said it best,

“You say you’ve got a real solution
Well, you know
We’d all love to see the plan”