Doreen Taylor’s latest single charted on Billboard’s Top 100, and she collaborated on a new national anthem in honor of the US National Parks.
She tells Voice Council about her hard knocks in the music industry – from con man promoters to dodgy audience members.
Don’t get conned
Be careful who you want to hitch your wagon to. There are way too many people who are in this industry who want to take advantage of a young, emerging artist. I was not immune to being duped.
I encountered a “promoter” when I was starting out. He said all the right things and promised me the moon (like saying he was good friends with Garth Brooks and they were sitting in his suite at the Wynn in Vegas at that very moment listening to my music and he wanted me to open up for him!)
The stories became more and more ridiculous and each story came with a price tag for him to promote it but I NEVER saw any results. Anytime I would ask him about the progress he would get defensive and confrontational.
I wised up that he was a con-artist, but not after I had paid several thousands of dollars to him. All of which I saw NOTHING from. Since then, I learned he screwed others over as well.
Subscribers and likes aren’t everything
Everyone thinks they are a star. Numbers are a false indicator of someone’s talent and ability to make money. I know people who have over 500,000 followers but can’t even sell $0.05 of merchandise or music.
So many people feel that they can post stuff and walk away. I respond to almost 99% of comments and messages. If you connect with people they will always be loyal. That is a rare gift nowadays in the music industry!
Develop your own artistry
Development deals and recording contracts are pretty much a thing of the past. Labels want artists that have already done the initial hard work. They want artists with a pre-made following, proven track record for sales.
That means that indie artists need to learn how to navigate the industry landscape on their own and figure out how to market and brand themselves. There are a lot of very talented artists but they don’t know what to do with it.
Don’t overdo it. I always give as much of myself as possible on stage regardless of the show, genre or audience which has blown me out – vocally and physically.
The songs I write also tend to push my vocal boundaries which make for exciting music, but difficult live shows. That is okay when you are doing a one-night show but not when you are doing a tour and have 8 shows a week.
Prep for recording
Come prepared. Time is money so don’t waste it. Know your music and have a good idea of what you want to do BEFORE you get there. That way you are able to fine tune in the booth and not reinvent the wheel on your dime.
Let it flow
Don’t force it. The best music I have written has come easily. When I have had to force an idea it never ends up being a great tune. Music should be an extension of your innermost feelings. Open up, let it be authentic and the rest will follow.
I performed in most of the lounges in Atlantic City when I first crossed over to contemporary music. I had a one woman show where I performed chart topping hits, danced, DJ’ed, emceed. I did it all.
The gigs themselves weren’t weird, but some of the clientele definitely was. Almost every show, some very odd person would find their way into the lounge where I was performing. They were harmless for the most part, but I was always grateful to have security there!
One step at a time
Don’t leap out of your job. Start small. Take some lessons. Do some community theater. Audition for some shows. Do some open mics. Take some gigs. Find out if it is a career that you are cut out for.
The majority of artists have day jobs when they are starting out. Until you can afford to do music full time, don’t put your eggs in one basket.
My main advice is to create music because you LOVE it- not because you think it will make you rich or famous.