If people believe what you’re saying, they will believe the song and attach to it.
A few weeks ago we let you know about Sarah Bella’s YouTube success –300,000 hits when YouTube featured her latest vid.
In fact, Sarah has been achieving success with her music for some time.
Is all of this attention just luck?
Sarah wants VoiceCouncil readers to know that talent, skill and “know-how” can work together to increase your own chances for promoting your voice.
What are your top tips for vocalists getting started on posting their music on YouTube?
Make it personal, but keep it short. The YouTube audience wants to know you’re posting the video for them.
What kind of video attracts viewers?
You will have much more success if you make a video specifically for YouTube rather than posting a live performance of your act at a local bar. If you speak a bit in the beginning, so they know the song is for them, you’re more likely to get comments and subscribers.
Besides your obvious talent, are there any other factors that have led to your high number of YouTube hits?
The biggest leap came when YouTube featured me on their homepage a few weeks ago. Obviously, this will make the number of hits jump. However, before the feature, I was able to get anywhere from 10 to 40 thousand hits.
How does one get featured by YouTube – is this pure luck? Or, are there things a vocalist can do to increase their chances?
With all vocalists on YouTube, I am sure luck plays a part. However, there are things one can do to increase their chances. If you make original music, you are eligible to become a YouTube partner. There are many benefits of partnering with YouTube and your chances of being featured are much higher now since your videos are brought to their attention. If you do cover songs, try to do top 40 songs that people are searching for. You’re more likely to gain exposure that way.
What other strategies will increase hits?
Little things like the key words you input on your video when uploading make a big difference. Simply having "music" won't get your video far. I use many words to help get my videos found.
Give us some examples of key words.
Depending on what type of music you are playing, the words will differ. I use words like "female", "singer/songwriter", "acoustic",
"pop", "folk" and even "Taylor Swift" or "Jewel." I know I am not Taylor or Jewel but if you make similar music and people are searching for their songs, your videos are likely to pop up— thus: more hits.
What career opportunities have opened up for you through YouTube?
There have been many; the most exciting offer came recently. I was given the opportunity to go down to Nashville and work with some really talented session players and a Grammy winning producer on two of my songs. I have also been offered deals from several independent labels although I decided none of them were right for me at this time.
Is there Money in YouTube itself?
I’m able to generate income through my partnership with YouTube and Google. Since I make original music, I was eligible to apply for a partnership with YouTube and I was approved. Now, Google ads appear alongside my videos and I am able to generate income by posting my original songs.
Let’s turn now to the actual song writing process. You've turned out over 100 original songs. What would you say are the most important factors in the process?
I know songwriting can turn very technical very fast, but in my opinion, the single most important factor is to have passion about what you’re saying, whether you have experienced it or not. I write songs for people on YouTube. They send me their stories and I turn them into songs. I have written everything from a bad breakup to a horrible incident of rape for my listeners. While many songwriters are trying to write a great hook and make it a hit, I try to keep it real. If people believe what you’re saying, they will believe the song and attach to it.
Are there practical things that help you in the process such as the space you compose in, time of day, certain disciplines, etc.?
Songs usually start at the most random places. If I’m not at home near my guitar, I use the voice recorder on my cell phone to capture whatever has started in my head so I don't forget. However, the bathroom is where I like to continue writing. It must be the acoustics, but that is where I love to sing and write.
Finally, are you surprised about what has happened for you on YouTube?
I never thought YouTube would become a part of my everyday life, but now it is. After reading the countless emails from viewers expressing how my songs either helped them or inspired them, I was hooked.
More about Sarah Bella: It’s not the typical story, I wasn't singing at age two, performing at age 4, or playing guitar at age six. In fact, I’ve kept quiet the majority of my life; I was listening. I've always been fascinated with music, especially lyrics, but didn't share my passion until later in life. As a young girl growing up in Southeast MI, I can clearly remember writing lyrics against the brick wall of my elementary school. Songwriting has always been something I have loved to do, but it wasn't until I finally picked up the guitar that something really clicked. Eventually I was persuaded to upload songs on YouTube and from there I have been able to gain a fan base. Now music is a part of my everyday life and opportunities are knocking everyday. I have no idea what the future holds but I just thank God for giving me an opportunity to even try.