By Cari Cole
Just recently one of the artists I work with took a big risk.
She stepped up to the big time.
Here’s her story:
When I met her, I could feel her talent, it was just oozing out of her. She was ready for the next level, but there were some vital pieces that needed to be put in place to get her on the frontlines.
The first step was looking at her brand and online presence. As we worked together we upleveled her image with a killer photo shoot and some awesome Photoshop work from the photographer. We designed the image to be not only stunningly captivating, but to tell a story, exude who she is as an artist. This one step immediately put her way above everyone else out there.
The second step was to uplevel her artistry – seriously. We put her on a daily vocal regimen to deepen her practice and to step up her songwriting. Suddenly she found herself even doubting her writing (it’s not easy to look at your songs under a microscope). As we moved through the songs and dug deeper into her message and vision, we were able to more accurately nail her artist brand as well as seriously step up her writing in the process. The result? Songs that expressed her message and had more of “her” in them that spoke boldly, bravely and had the highest level of craft in them.
The third step was to find a producer that would not only “get who she was” but would possibly help carve a sound for her. We spent some time researching who to work with (reviewed the artists she liked and who produced them). The first wall most artists hit is “I can’t get THAT producer” – and it may be true. Because first your material and your voice has to be on a certain level, and you have to be ready as an artist to write your breakthrough record, otherwise it’s a waste of time for everybody involved – and you need a budget (crowdfunding sure makes that easier these days!). So you can see how the process of step-by-step preparation is key. You can’t leave any steps out or it won’t fly.
Next we whittled it down based on producers that actually produced “breakthrough” records for female artists like her. Once we identified that, the next hurdle was ….omg, am-I-good-enough and how-am-I-going-to-afford-that.
Or in plain words … fear.
I knew that she was ready because she had it in her, and because we had completed the preparatory work.
I told her to go for it.
She did (shaking in her big girl boots all the way)!
And now? She is in the process of recording the record of her life, with the producer of her dreams and it’s going to be epic.
So how can this all apply to you? Momma Cari’s got your back…
Here’s my quick and dirty 5-step process to get your voice and music ready for the big time.
1. Uplevel Your Image.
Why is this image so freakin’ important? Because people see you before they hear you. Your image has to speak for you. It’s more than just having a flattering or cool look. It’s about finding an image that truly speaks to who you are as an artist and to your brand. Don’t rush this piece.
2. Daily Habits + Practices.
Daily practice is the key to great musicianship. If you want to impress people all you have to do is do your daily practice: vocal technique, piano/guitar, rehearse your songs and write songs. Every day. Make it non-negotiable. Your competition does.
3. Songwriting Craft.
You can’t get away with B level songs and expect to hit the big time no matter what you think. Don’t fool yourself by listening to B level songs that other artists put out. Listen to the songs that broke them through. That’s your bar. And if you need help, get it. Don’t screw with this and get professional feedback. It’s not enough for you to love it.
4. Finding the Right Producer.
Finding producers is not hard. They are more accessible than you think. And with the advent of crowdfunding you can raise the money to afford the best. You also don’t have to live in a major music town, we do records by Skype or Google Hangout now all over the world. I think the hardest part is convincing yourself that you ARE worth the big time.
5. Stepping Past Your Fear.
When you’re ready (and you’re going to need to get feedback to really know). Then you’re going to have to push past your fear and go for it regardless of how you feel (because, you’re never going to feel 100% ready, ever). That’s just how the cookie crumbles. It’s always terrifying to go to that next level, just do it.
Share your thoughts in the comments below!! I’d love to hear your plans to step up your music in 2019!