Monday, November 30, 2009

Welcome to the hood!

My friend Tony brought over some of his home-made Tiramisu yesterday, and we got to talking. He and his wife bought a place just a few blocks away from us, and it feels like he's in the hood now.

Tony is one of the most talented musicians and producers that I know and have had the pleasure of working with, and when the conversation turned to business, and how to survive in a world where, as Tony said; 'Anyone with a computer can be a producer', I started thinking about neighbourhoods.

More specifically, the Internet is just a big, new neighbourhood. While strolling around, I've seen lots of signs, buy this, buy that, people shoving their wares in my face, but I've also made friends, met some great people, and learned a lot about the area where I hang out.

Having a successful business online, is the same as having a successful business off-line. Say you're a plumber. You find a place you like, you set up shop, you get to know your neighbours, you chat with other shopkeepers and people who live in your area, you do a bit of advertising and before you know it, someone's sink is clogged and you get the call.

It's a terribly old fashioned way of doing things in this 2.0 world, but I truly believe it works, and Rave On is living proof. We work with friends and neighbours, and people who happen to be visiting our neighbourhood, which now encompasses the world- how lucky are are we!?

Welcome to the hood Tony and Anna!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Muppets cover Bohemian Rhapsody ~ Brilliant

I am speechless, this is brilliant and a nice ending to a busy rainy Tuesday...

Friday, November 20, 2009

Got fear?

Just do it~

(Thanks Piper!)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Melissa Endean - The Big Reward - Play Live and Get Paid!

Well after two years of hard work, Melissa Endean is reaping the rewards. With an EP and two full length albums in her hands, she is moving forward at a nice speed.

The spotlight shines Sunday night at the Cellar Jazz Club, when Melissa and her full band, formally releases the album 'Authentic'.

Debuting at #2 on the charts in Eastern Canada, Authentic is a very welcome change of pace. The songs are heartfelt and joyful, and I'm not just saying that because I produced the album. Come out to the show, or buy the album and see for yourself.


On another note ~ I'm a lazy blogger this week, I have lots to post, but it is the perfect storm here, what with the release of Authentic, the Christmas album in my hands tomorrow and getting ready for the big show a month from tomorrow, not to mention a bit of life working it's way into the days, well, what can I say - stay tuned, much more to come!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Imogen Heap - I live vicariously through her....

Imogen can do no wrong.

I just tuned in to her live broadcast and watched her audition cellists for her upcoming gig. How clever is that anyway?

She is my hero. I know, I talk reverently about Daniel Lanois, Brian Eno and Bono but Imogen,, what can I say. She is all that and more...

I know, I make records, I wrangle the Internet, I can do what I like, mostly when I like; but like most, I also have another life of responsibility, not unwanted in anyway, but there all the same.

I thought that I thought outside the box, but Imogen is always one lovely step ahead. Imogen seems free.

It's good to have people to admire.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Social networking, what's working and what's not, for the Indie artist.

When I Twittered @Pipermckinnon to ask her if I could blog about her in relation to what artists should be doing ( ie:what's working and what's not), she wrote:

"Well, that's great! When you figure out what people 'Should' be doing, I will be the first in line for the information! "

I guess there are no real do's and don't outside of the obvious rules of polite company, but from my vantage point I am fortunate to be 'detached' enough to see what works and what doesn't in the world of social media and independent artists, but am also 'attached' enough to have some credibility when discussing it.

And I want to say off the top, that @pipermckinnon is working it. She's everywhere, writing about everything and using all the tools out there. I see her everywhere, and if I didn't already know she was an amazing artist, I would have been curious enough her to check her out.

So here it is, in the face of my last post about stress and learning how to relax, this post about getting to work on your career, something only you can do. And it is work, a lot of work.

Specifically I want to talk about fans, how to make them and how to keep them, because that is what will run your career as an independent artist 'the fan'. They will buy your stuff and pay your bills.

Just as I was sitting down to write, I remembered a link that Ariel had just sent out, so before started this I read it, and it fits in nicely with my post. Check it out, it's called '1000 true fans':


In short, Kevin Kelly hypothesizes that you only need 1000 true and loyal fans. An attainable and realistic goal. I believe this, and I want to let you know what I witness as working and not working in attracting and keeping those fans. I have said before that it is all about the relationship you have with people, and it's true, people want to be involved, they want to feel special and they want to know you care.

So here is my list of do's and don'ts, or 'making a fan and keeping a fan': Ready Set Go!

1) DO realize that: "Marketing is not a campaign; it’s a commitment. If you want lifetime relationships with your consumers, you need to invest in them…genuinely…for life. Begin with investing in what we call “commitment to conversation” (monitoring, optimization, response, outreach etc.) (".

2) DON'T start something and then drop off the face of the earth. If you have to have away time, let your fans know. (I'm having a baby so won't be here for a while, I have the flu so will be away, I'm on vacation, or I'm reassessing if I can handle all this on my own etc.). Keep your fans involved.

3) DO realize that the Internet and it's new social media is based on instant gratification, so be quick! Get your show photos up pronto, get a quick tweet or blog out to thank fans for coming out to the show (right after the show!), ask fans what they thought of your new band/song/hair style. Your gig is not over when you've finished performing, unless you've got a PR team working for you, YOU have to follow up to stay connected.

4) DON'T over-estimate your own abilities. Be realistic and know your limitations. If you can't be online all the time, or keeping track of fan lists and emails, use a tool (reverbnation etc) or check out @sivers muckworks, or ask for help. Again, don't start something you can't finish, fans want to know you're there and that you're, well, dependable. They're invested in you. And so is the rest of your team, so be honest with yourself from the start, and only take on what you know you can follow through with.

5) DO keep a positive attitude, anything else will make this work seem more difficult than it is. It will soon become a habit, and once you get organized it will really be second nature.

6) DON'T feel like you need to give it all away. Fans don't want your burdens, they want light and easy day to day, as well as serious things, but not everyone needs to know what you do in bed at night, or hear about the fight you had with your girlfriend. Just because you can't always see your fans face to face, doesn't mean you won't suffer the consequences of inappropriate posts. You can lose fans just as fast as gaining them.

I could ramble on, but those are the main points I wanted to get across tonight, after a very insightful weekend.

Later skaters.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Saving time + making time = staying sane.

Well, it's crunch time for a lot of people. It's the middle of the semester, it's only weeks before Christmas, there's the panic of H1N1 and the pressure is on. Throw a full time job rehearsing and gigging along with your PR and attempts at being pro-active in your music career on top of all that and you have a great recipe for burn-out.

I'm not here to save your day with a magic remedy, but I want to offer a few hints that have helped me in my busy life:

1) Find ways to save time - there are lots of bits of good advice on the net and anything from paying bills on-line, to food shopping in bulk to reduce trips to the shops can help. I googled 'student time savers' and 'stressed out students', and found lots of cool articles, and loads of stuff in point form - short and sweet. Talk to other musicians and students and grads and even profs - everyone probably has a bit of good advice, learned through a similar experience. (In fact the act of talking about it will usually help a lot too!).

My tip of the day would be, learn how to scan. It's helpful in studying (scan for keys words or phrases in your readings) and scan through your emails and websites and only read what you need to and what is urgent. Everything else can wait. And if you're really stressed, cut out email all together, don't give more of yourself away than you need to in these times.

2) 'Self care' is huge and though you may think you don't have time, make it, even if it's only a few minutes a day to start. It's a habit you will need to get into, especially for later on, when you're touring and on the road. Teaching yourself how to relax without the aid of drugs or booze will be a lifesaver and will help with your career longevity. There are lots of health and 'how to deal with stress' sites on-line and even a few now that are specific to the musician. I have even written on the subject and email me if you would like a copy of the article.

My tip of the day would be exercise. It will help with your stress level and with your over all health. Even starting with a few minutes of deep breathing will help, and work up to some yoga or a run or swim. I just read an article by Black Sabbath Drummer Bill Ward, about his routine (

3) This could be included in self care, but it's more specific, do something you love. Doing something you love rarely feels like work. I don't mean rehearsing or practicing, unless that IS what you love - but just let go and jam around, cook something, watch your favorite movie, listen to your favorite music, get a tattoo, what ever does it for you - treat yourself, nobody else will - it's your job to take care of you.

My tip of the day would be to find out what you love to do, if you don't already know. Never picked up a brush? Try painting. Never made a pie? get on it! Want to play piano, guitar or uke? Head out to the music store and give it a go. Try something new or something you have always wanted to try - what are you waiting for? I write books. Want one?

When all else fails 'prioritize', do only what you really need to do, (NEED TO DO even if it means just eating and sleeping!), and REST, make sure you are getting enough sleep. Once you are back on your feet you can look at the other stuff and plan for the next curve life throws you.

So there you go, I wanted to keep this shortish, to save you some time - so will end here!

(Art by Rodney White)

Monday, November 2, 2009

Come One, Come all, Come short, Come tall....

This is going to be the best family Christmas event this year!

email for tickets

A fun way to start the week!