Social Media

Week 7- "Smile (Or Make A Really 'Cool' Face)"

Welcome! So I got a bit smarter in the past week- the title is now at the top, you don't even have to scroll! And that revelation only took me a month and a half! 

So anyways, down to business. This week I'm going to talk about the importance of image in the music industry (and all other industries for that matter). Before we begin, let me clarify that I am not basing image off of "Attractiveness" or some other subjective and useless term. I'm talking about making yourself into an established and conceptualized "brand" of sorts. A very good friend and advisor of mine Danielle Kolachik (You can and should go see her unbelievable photography- Danielle has taken countless pictures for me, including two album covers!) introduced me to this idea about a year ago and I have had a great time incorporating it into every decision I make these days. Basically, your brand is your personality taking shape as a business. It's something you want your audience to support and buy into, and like I have mentioned in past blogs, they will eventually come to know you as you've branded yourself. Are you very artsy and down to earth and you wear a silk scarf 365 days a year? Perfect, make that look iconic. Are you very introverted and you don't really have a distinguishing feature? Well that sounds somewhat unfortunate, but if you go and own that, you are now unique with your image. Simply conveying who you are goes a long way with people. After all, a fan doesn't want to feel like they only know your music but not you. If you're quirky and they're quirky, they won't have to work too hard to love your sound because they've already signed on to you as a person. What Danielle loves to have me think about is the small details for things, like color scheme (if you're not familiar check this out), and really figure out what colors speak to my personality and how that will affect the viewer. We also talk about things like hand positioning in pictures as well as when speaking to a fan and the way that your hands can show the demeanor you bring into an environment. If you really want to know more about this, I am not the expert, I am just a student, but there's countless articles online detailing creative ideas for branding in businesses of all varieties. Branding comes into play at every turn of musicianship. The website that you are currently reading on was designed with very specific concepts and colors in mind (yes, yes, I know the blog is black and white, but legibility is important too, there's always a balance to find). Realistically, the only restriction on designing anything for your brand is that it has to speak to YOU. It's not going to matter if I or someone else doesn't quite gel with it, if it's authentic and it embodies you, it's bound to find it's place in people's hearts. So stay at it, don't be deterred by some opposition at the start, it's part of defining yourself and your image. 

That's this weeks post! Little shorter but I think you all get the point. Also, if you're looking for a killer photographer/videographer, wanted to give a shoutout to my friend Kevin Prunty- he's an Arlington graduate currently studying film at Pace in NYC and I promise you he is great at what he does and he has a fun time doing it so hit him up! Anyways, thanks for reading everyone, see you next week!

-Jamie

Jamie's Blog Week 4

Hey everyone, another busy week but better to be busy when you're trying to make your way up in the world. Hope all my friends in school or at work can feel the same way. So let's get down to this week's topic;

"How To Handle Success"

I was reading over my past posts and I realized that in week 2, I talked about all types of failure and dealing with those feelings, but I totally forgot to mention the (much more fun) counterpart. What do you do when things go your way? Your band got the gig, they picked your song, you're playing the venue you always dreamed of! First of all, congrats! Success is never an accident, or luck, so don't write it off or take away from your achievements. You worked hard to get to where you are, appreciate it! However, the tricky thing with success is that it usually marks the ending of a period, rather than the beginning of a new one. Success is that "release" feeling where we take a load off, and revel in a bit of our glory (born from weeks, months, or years of frustration and perseverance), and I'm not here to say that it's not deserved, but remember- strike while the iron is hot. You're confident, keen, and on top of your game. You're entitled to your day or two of satisfaction, but these windows of opportunity are gratifying for a reason-they're only occasional. I could compare it to building a house of cards, it's a magical feeling when you've stacked up the second level, but the longer you wait to keep constructing it, the more likely that something will happen to set you back. Enjoy that analogy, it's probably one of the last one's i'll try to force in the blog. Anyways, so how do you build on the success? Same way you got there in the first place, only at a higher level (Now my analogy makes more sense). You'll contact bigger venues, strive to sell more music, get a record deal with an established label, etc. It's a slow process, but you'll be riding a strong wave if you coast off the successes you achieve (is that an analogy too? I hope not). I may not be the example of someone who has built their career, but I do know that I am much farther along in my development than I was a year ago. I didn't believe I could ever reach labels, or open for well known artists, it just wasn't something I could picture. But when I got small chances, opportunities, I turned them into bigger ones, and kept working at it. I think the secret is constantly being motivated by the feeling of success, without ever letting it consume you. I have always been afraid of coming off as conceited, so I tend not to broadcast every small step I take on the journey, but I do think about it as I spend hours searching for new places to gig or making new connections, and knowing the accomplishment that I will feel when something fits into it's place. If I can suggest a piece of advice for other artists in my place, it's that I firmly believe that the artists who exercise a healthy work ethic while staying happy are the ones who rise to the top. It's not easy by any means, but that's why we're allowed to be proud of our successes. We dedicate our lives to them, and they give us direction in our lives. Fair tradeoff to me. 

So unfortunately, I am going to have to head off to a voice lesson, but as always I hope this finds you all well and helps some of you, and if you want to tell me how you deal with success, I know I could learn something from you! Thanks!

-Jamie

Jamie's Blog Week 3

Hey there everyone! As always, welcome, and thank you for reading! I have to say I'm starting to enjoy this blogging experience. I was a bit skeptical from the start, worrying if anyone will read these, but what I'm finding is that even a few people connecting back to me makes it more than worth it. I hope that this weeks post serves you all well, and if it does, please reach out to me. I really do love hearing back from anyone! 

Week 3; "Should I Feel Bad About Self Promoting"?

While I am not entirely sure that I'm the right voice to tackle this, I know that this is a struggle for artists of all varieties and businesses alike. In my past blog posts, I have talked about the endless amounts of work that we will do to achieve the art that we have envisioned. Eventually, it gets finished, and sits in front of you on a kitchen table as a CD or on your computer screen accompanied by the iTunes toolbar and it's "Now What"? Well, this is the part where everyone has their own feelings, so I'll stop speaking universally and just speak to my own intuition. When I have invested hundreds of hours of my own time, I feel that promoting my work is not just necessary, but deserved. If I have created something that I believe is a quality album (EP, or any creation for that matter), I do believe that I would be doing myself a disservice by hiding it away upon completion and only telling people about it if they asked. The issue in my case is that even though I think of self promotion as necessary, I fear that I'm not getting my music out there, I'm just bothering friends who may have gotten a bit tired of my repetitive posts talking "Check this out, check that out", etc. Unfortunately, in this day and age, we tend to measure our likability based on our social media reach and the reactions of others. In my case, I have never had a large presence on social media. I've grown to understand how powerful it is, but I am by no means an expert. It does seem, however, that the more I use it, the more I wish there was a better way to reach people with an honest message.

I started to get off on a bit of a tangent (Better saved for another week), so let me refocus; I do not self promote because I think I am just "that good". I promote my work because I made it for other people. I promote my work because I do believe that some people out there will connect with my songs. I promote my work because I believe that the world always needs new music. I don't know if people see it that way, in fact I assume that for the most part they don't, because really it's not their job to constantly watch my every move. But the reality is part of being an artist is committing to expression and finding the eyes and ears of an audience who may or may not have a reaction to it. We need to stop feeling as if self promotion is taboo because it seems "conceited". The reality is everyone deserves to feel rewarded for achievements at least from time to time. The good news is that it is not hard to make someone feel valuable in the course of a day.  I know that it can change my day, my week, sometimes even my month getting a small compliment from someone who I didn't know even heard my music or was following my progress. It goes a long way, and I think you can do yourself a favor by being there for others, even just with a like on a post or a quick text. 

Thanks for reading everyone, I would say this post was a bit of a rollercoaster in terms of emotions for me, but I hope it finds you well and maybe offers some insight or some reassurance. I'm really hoping to hear other people's thoughts on this whether you're an artist or not, you definitely have valuable input into the conversation. Next post in 1 week!

-Jamie