Marina V reveals that the help you need promoting your voice may be closer than you think.
It seemed like a logical first step to take: phone the manager of a modest venue and ask to open for an act of a similar genre.
Wouldn’t any singer wanting to “break-in” do the same? After all, Marina had a good track record – several successful gigs in America’s Midwest.
But this was LA.
Her request was greeted with laughter: “If you don’t bring thirty of your own fans with you, it’s never going to happen”.
Marina knew only one person – her musical partner.
After wiping away the tears, Marina decided dedicate herself to building the business side of her music, to learn, to network…to not accept defeat.
Just two years later, not only is Marina fully established in LA, she’s performed at the Kodak Theater, released several CD’s and had her music featured in films and on TV. Marina is now traveling internationally and has more gigs than she can count.
She even returned to that original LA venue – with more than thirty fans.
Over the next three weeks, Marina will be sharing with VoiceCouncil readers the mechanics of her promotion success.*
The Gig you get is your Opportunity
After my initial defeat in LA, I began going to the concerts of other artists. I tried to meet as many people as I could, to get to know my new surroundings.
At one of these concerts, I met a man who was in charge of booking artists for weekend gigs at Borders book stores.
These would be unpaid gigs. There would be no guarantees on the size of the audience, nor prospects of good crowd reactions. Furthermore, while some of the stores would be close, I would have to be willing to travel to more distant locations.
Should I do it?
There was no question: this was my opportunity to start to develop a fan base.
I did 125 shows at Borders over two years!
You might think that doing these gigs was musically “scraping the bottom of the barrel”.
However, these store gigs provided me with a unique educational experience: I would always know immediately if I had succeeded in connecting with people – if people didn’t like my music, they could simply get up and leave!
This gave me a fabulous way to experiment with my repertoire and to try different ways of connecting with the audience. My goal was to keep their attention. Besides sharing my music, I told stories to lead people into my world.
Of course I also set up a table with CDs on it – and a jar so that that people could put money in and buy a CD while I was playing.
The Next Step
It wasn’t too long before I noticed that sometimes the same people would come back to hear me – with their friends.
It was then that a fan asked the simple question that launched me into an entirely new dimension of my musical promotion:
“Is there anything I can do to help?”
Answering this question with creativity and sensitivity has been helped others and propelled my career forward.
I hope you will check out my article next week on the value of harnessing fan power.
In the meantime, consider the opportunities you have to perform right now.
They may not be the venues you ideally want, but they are places where you can experiment with your connection to your audience – and that is what you want.
The goal is to build your fan base and you can do that anywhere – even in a bookstore.
Marina V is a singer/pianist/songwriter with an incredible life story involving a journey from her native Russia to the USA. Marina’s music is a magical blend of her angelic voice, hooky melodies, thoughtful lyrics, and fresh chord progressions, which make this new artist truly special. “If the Beatles & Tori Amos had a child raised in Russia by Tchaikovsky, that would be me” muses Marina V.
*Written by Gregory A. Barker in conversation with Marina V.
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