I know it’s been a long time but we are officially back in action on the blog front! We just wanted to say hello and have you check out our 1st episode in the Hey Cole coffeehouse series! This episode features Joanna Burns, Mal Blum, Rick Barry, Quincy Mumford and Kurt Scobie! Stay tuned for much more coming very soon!
Have you seen who is part of the 2012-2013 Hey Cole college roster? We have 29 incredible diverse acts that we are super excited about!
We hope you will take some time and check each of them out by watching the playlist below!
If your college campus is interested in having any of our artists perform please contact us anytime at either 267-988-4410 or email@example.com!
My name is Matt Szatkowski, pronounced Zat-Cow-Ski, the “S” is silent and unnecessary. I can legally drink and I’m currently suffering from Senioritis at Rider University in Lawrenceville, NJ. I’m a die hard Mets fan stuck in Phillies’ Country, However, i call home an, almost non-existent, town in Connecticut, called Orange. I’m a communications major with a focus on the lovely world of TV and Radio. When I’m not busy in the TV Studio, i also work on my Business of Sports minor. My ultimate goal is eventually doing play-by-play or to work for a live sports TV show.
So, “why are you here?”, you ask. Well, I’ve been playing guitar since i was about 13 years old, and have always had a passion for music. I can pick up pretty much any instrument and play something for you on it. Stuff like that has always just come naturally to me. I can play the guitar and sing at the same time, and people tell me I’m not half-bad. However, don’t be looking for me to pop up on the music scene anytime soon.
I’m here to help use my skills in editing and video production, combined with my knowledge of music, to help create a great media presence for Hey Cole!. With these talents combined with my vast knowledge of social media (It’s amazing how that’s considered knowledge, and a lot of companies actually look for skills in that area!), i hope to take Hey Cole! to infinity and beyond.
My musical taste is almost disconcernable. My all time favorite band is Blink 182. They were my inspiration to start playing guitar and to get into music. I’ve always been told that i act, and even sometimes dress, like i should have been in a 90’s pop-punk band. However, some days you’ll find me wallowing in my sorrows to a Dashboard Confessional album. The most important thing to me is keeping an open mind to new music. I always want to find fresh tracks to check out. So if you have any, please let me know.
This blog could hit a little too closely to home for a lot of bands and musicians. It’s alright to admit that you are a starving artist. Hey, it happens to the best of us. Here are just a few tips for you to maximize your profits and eventually overcome your debt.
Kickstarter: Crowdfunding has become one of the most popular ways for an artist to get money needed for a new project. This also makes the fans play an intimate role in helping their favorite bands achieve a common goal. For more information on these types of websites check out the Fan Funded Websites blog
Budget Your Earnings: Many people cringe when they hear the word “budget” but it is not as bad as it sounds. All you have to do is keep track of the money you are making and the money you are spending. Prioritize where you need the money to go to and nix those non-essentials that may not seem to cost a lot of money, but really add up. If it means to quit smoking, drinking, and eating out, then make it happen! If you can’t really afford it, don’t buy it. Also put a portion of your earnings in an emergency fund so you can prepare for any other troubles that lurk ahead.
Maximize Income: If you have free time on your hands, utilize that time to make more money. Play more gigs, market your music, sell more merch. It’s hard to get people to actually buy but you can try to be creative and versatile in your methods of making money.
Pay Off More Than the Minimum: Once you have money to pay off a portion of your debt, make sure to pay off more than the bare minimum. Get ahead of the payments and late fees and pay off as much as you can at one time. This way you won’t have to play catch up for the rest of your career.
The best way to stay out of debt is to have a plan so that you can avoid the common pitfalls that pertain to touring and recording when the timing isn’t right. When you create a budget for yourself comparing the money you make vs. the money you need to attain the next level of your success, your worries about falling into debt can become increasingly avoided.
So your album has been receiving a good amount of fanfare and you decide that you want to go on tour. Similarly to creating an album, there are three categories that must be checked off your list before you begin your tour: Preparing, Planning, and Promoting.
There is a laundry list of items that you will need before even considering going on the road, so be sure to invest your money in the proper equipment. First off is the vehicle that you will be taking from location to location. Will it fit everyone? Will it even function? Are you going to need to attach a trailer to the back to carry your instruments, amps, and props? Chances are you won’t have the money for a tour bus, but make sure you’ve assessed the room for everyone and everything. Proper equipment for playing venues is also very important. Make sure you’ve got stacks, mics, pickups, pedals, and anything that will make your show worthwhile.
The next part of the touring process is planning. Decide on where you even want to tour in the first place. Use your Facebook and Twitter to ask your fans where they want you to tour. If this is your first tour, you should stick with one region of the U.S. in particular to focus on, usually one close to your hometown. If you are based out of the Northeast, hit up major cities like Boston, New York and Philadelphia. An efficient method is to revisit that region every 6-8 weeks. This way you can gain a cult following at home. As you gain success on your tour, you will want to branch out beyond your local regions in order to spread your fanbase. Make sure that you build upon it slowly so that you gain fans as you tour. Be consistent in hitting up places that you’ve played before.
How long are you going to be on tour? More importantly, how long can you afford to be on the road? Be sure to budget your expenses like gas, tolls, food, lodging, and don’t forget to assess for the worst and keep a backup supply of cash if something goes wrong. Reach out to as many venues as possible. Make phone calls and inquire about the usual types of acts they hire to see if you can attract the best audience possible. Ask how big their venue is. You shouldn’t play a venue that is too big and will look empty. You want to pack the house. Also be sure to talk to other musicians and bands that you have worked with or are friends with and see if they want to swap gigs, or maybe even tour together. This can also help if you are looking for a place to stay when you are touring. Another resource you can use for lodging and minimizing expenses is CouchSurfing, where you can find a place to stay for free rather than spending money on a hotel.
If you want to make the most out of your tour, the key word is “Promotion”. Without promoting yourself or your shows, you will not exceed your expectations in any way. If a venue books you, ask about if they have a media list. That way you can send some sort of press release to local newspapers, radio stations, tv stations, etc. If you can book an interview with a local radio station that caters to your genre, that would be like winning the jackpot of promotion. Create promo flyers, posters, and stickers and bombard the town that you are about to play. Send some of your promo material to the venue you are playing so they can distribute it also.
Preparation, Planning, and Promotion are all very crucial to making your tour a success. If you are missing one, the entire trip can be a disaster. Once the 3 P’s are completed, you can start your tour. As one tour ends and you begin another, don’t be afraid to expand your locations. Don’t jump right to a national tour (especially if this is your first tour) but you can expand your tour by working your way down a coast or along a border. Hell if you’re feeling really frisky you could play a show or two in Canada! Just be aware of how long you are going to be away from home, how far you are going to go, and most importantly, how much is this going to cost you after it is all said and done.
This week, we feature Nashville resident and Ohio native Griffin House as the Artist of the Week. Griffin’s music has been compared with the likes of Matthew Perryman Jones and Dave Barnes.
Now here are some interesting facts about this infectious musician.
1. He didn’t begin playing guitar and writing song until he was eighteen.
2. He has shared the stage with John Mellencamp and the Cranberries.
3. He has six albums including: The Learner and No More Crazy Love Songs
4. He turned down a college golf scholarship.
5. Music journalist Bill Flanagan of MTV and VH1 raved about his album Lost and Found.
6. Lost and Found was recorded on a shoestring budget with Griffin’s friend doing the recording and producing, also it only took two takes.
7. His song “Waterfall” was featured in 2007 Rembrandt Oral Health commercial, nationally aired. His song “These Days “ was featured on Everwood. Also his song “Just a Dream appeared in Rescue Me. In addition his song “Better than Love” was featured on the hit series One Tree Hill.
SONG TO CHECK OUT:
Griffin House performing “I Remember”
Griffin House performing “Better Than Love”
1.) What led you to become a musician?
I’m one of those people who have always just known. I grew up singing in every choir club, talent show or living room I could and never even thought about another career path. I think it had something to do with my mom playing Shawn Colvin and Lyle Lovett CDs throughout my younger years, how can you not want to write songs like those guys? Of course there were times, mostly in college, when I questioned the path I was on and decided that I’d go work on a farm in France after graduation. But in the end, I graduated college and then cut Starry-Eyed, my first EP.
2.) What artists have influenced your music the most?
Well that answer kind of has 2 parts. The Dixie Chicks, Alanis Morissette, Trisha Yearwood, Shawn Colvin, and even super country acts like Martina McBride originally got me into singing itself. I sang those records over and over again. I remember the year I got a karaoke machine for Christmas and the tape it came with only had 3 songs on it; Friends in Low Places by Garth Brooks, I Will Always Love You by Whitney Houston and The Rose by Bette Midler. I sang that tape probably a thousand times.
But as far as becoming a songwriter and an artist, I think I had my first breakthrough when I discovered Brandi Carlile. Her records have been the soundtracks of my life for the past 5 years or so. Patty Griffin songs also taught me a lot about songwriter as well as Ingrid Michaelson and women like Katie Herzig and Missy Higgins.
3.) Being a “self proclaimed” gypsy, what is your favorite city that you have lived in?
The next one of course! No, I’m just kidding. But the idea of being a gypsy just kind of came about when I was talking concepts for the EP, Starry-Eyed. I have moved a lot but my favorite city is always the one I’m in, until the end and then I’m quick to get out.
4.) What is the best part of the folk music genre?
This question makes me think of that quote by Louis Armstrong, “All music is folk music, I ain’t never heard no horse sing a song.” That is what is so special about music, everyone’s got a point of view and a different melody in their head but they’re all saying something and it comes from their heart. That’s all a good song is to me, folk-y or not.
5.) Is there a place you like to go or a hobby that you do to get away from it all?
Well the truth is about to come out; I love reality TV. Of course, I read too and I always have a book that I’m reading, I love going to the library and keeping up with Oprah’s massive book list. But when I really just want to do nothing but lie in bed and get away from it all I whip out the old Hulu and watching Survivor, America’s Next Top Model, Project Runway, nothing too trashy like Jersey Shore.
6.) What song do you love performing the most? (Original or Cover)
Usually whatever new song I’ve recently written. Right now it’s a new one I wrote called “Home.” Since it’s so fresh and true to what I’m living right now it means a lot when I sing it. There is nothing like debuting a new song to a crowd of people, it’s really not about if they like it or not but letting those emotions run free for the first time in public, it takes my breath away. Of course, it’s great if they happen to love the song too.
7.) When do you get inspired to write a song?
At the most inopportune times! Seriously, it’s never when I’m home laying on my bed contemplating the world. Usually when I’m driving, in the shower or working a shift at the restaurant where I serve tables. I find myself frantically singing lines into my phone or grabbing a piece of receipt paper to jot down a chorus.
Songwriting is a very delicate process for me. If I jump into an idea too soon I get overwhelmed and find myself stuck very quickly. What I’ve found to work better for me is when I get an idea I let it brew for a few days/weeks, just let it come out naturally. When the moment is right I can sit down and it will almost fall out of me. This isn’t always the case. With the new song I mentioned above, “Home,” I was feeling a little dramatic about my long distance boyfriend a few weeks ago and it came out of me before I even knew what was happening. But that is pretty rare for me.
8.) What is the hardest part of being a musician?
Momentum. If you want to be a working musician you can’t really take too much time off. People will forget about you. You need to release new things as much as you can and always have a project in the works. It’s a great life because you can keep your own hours, have other jobs to support yourself and not get too wrapped up in the music world. But if you don’t have self-motivation, you won’t get very far. I have had to dig very deep this year to keep the emails rolling, the songs coming and the people wanting more. Some days I just want to take a day off and go the park with my friends, and while there is time for that, the discipline you need to say no most days can be a struggle. It’s not all about writing great songs and having a pretty voice, it’s about motivation and momentum.
9.) How have you developed as an artist?
I think the biggest development I’ve made since the release of Starry-Eyed is my live show. I played gigs all through college but when I started doing it regularly, like every week, I learned a lot about my style as a live act and about my audience.
I’ve played to thousands and I’ve played to a bartender and every show is so different, you really have to learn how to make every venue work for you. I’ve failed more than a few times and walked away from a show feeling completely disappointed. But when you nail a room and leave with money in your pocket and no CDs left in your merch case, there’s nothing like it. Both of those realities keep me going.
10.) What plans do you have for the future?
Next month, October, I’m flying to Nashville to shoot my first music video. We’re doing “This Love Won’t Break Your Heart” the New Year’s Eve song on Starry-Eyed. Honestly, I could not be any more excited. I’m already feeling jitters. This song is one of the most important I’ve written and putting it in the hands of a production team is both terrifying and awesome. So look for a video release around Thanksgiving. Ah!
In a follow up from last week’s “You Want to Record an Album…Now What” we give you advice on what to do after you have recorded an album. Post-production is such an underrated portion of creating an album. The following is a list of important things that the general public fails to recognize, but need to be done to make the album a masterpiece:
Mixing: After you have recorded multiple tracks for your songs and want to add more effects to the tracks, this is the next step in the post-recording process. The mixing engineer will be the one responsible for syncing the tracks up together and making sure the levels are just right. Effects like reverb or distortion can be added at this stage as well. It is the tiny details added at this stage that make this one of the most vital steps in determining the quality of the album.
Mastering: Mastering the tracks is the polishing of the mixed tracks for distribution. The songs must be formatted in a way to be duplicated, either through CD, Vinyl, or Computer files. Choose the right type of mixing and mastering engineer because this is the final cut of the post production process and it makes the album as a whole sound as perfectly dynamic and equalized as possible.
Artwork: Although the importance of this part of the pre-distribution has lost its clout in the digital age, it is still a necessity. It allows musicians to be visually creative, not just audibly creative. Although you or a friend could draw, paint, or photo your cover, it is always better to have a professional graphic designer to make the art neat and well developed. Check out these archived blogs about Album Art and Album Packaging.
Duplication/Digital Distribution: Duplication is getting copies made of your album with the same sound quality as the original. Even though you will be making the album available digitally, it is always good to have physical copies to distribute at your shows and promotional events.
Reminder: If you have used a Fan Funded Website to raise money for the making of your album you need to send out any incentives that were promised. This includes sending out any advance copies promised, both physical and digital.
Copyright/Performing Rights Organization: Send your album to the copyright office to make your work official. Become a member of BMI or ASCAP.
Release: The first date of the release schedule that you should set is the official release date. From there you should set up a series of dates to promote your new album. Have a Pre-Order as a way to tally how successful your album is going to be. Release your album on digital sites the Tuesday of that week and make sure you have a release show on that Friday or Saturday to kick off album sales. Three to four weeks before the release, you should send a press release to all relevant media outlets telling them about the album and the show. Spread the word through Social Media, Posters and Flyers as well. Be sure to have a lot of CDs available two weeks before your show so people can buy them right away and there will be no issues.
The methods used after recording the tracks to your album is, by far, one of the most overlooked pieces of the puzzle in making good music. The talents that sound engineers use to perfectly sync up every track to every song is well worth the money. By taking the time during the Post-Production process to polish off the recordings and making the songs sound as neat as possible, you can make your album a successful piece of art.
As an musician, you have an image. The way you look, the type of music you play, your lyrical content, and the way you perform at live shows. It is a way for you to be identified as an artist. In a recent blog, we discussed a few ways for musicians to develop their image. After establishing an image, the next step is figuring out how to develop your brand.
Many people think that a musician’s image and brand are interchangeable characteristics. This is a pretty common misperception because the two are so closely related. Basically, your image is the way people view you as an artist, and your brand is a way for you to use for image to help you make some money. Think of a brand as a selling platform built upon your image.
Your brand is way to sell yourself. It is way for you to associate your name and your music with a certain value. It helps separate you from other similar artists that are out there. And it creates a unique connection with fans. In turn, artists with brands that their fans identify with, proves to record labels, booking agents, managers, etc. that they are valuable clients.
If you have a dedicated following that supports you as an artist, they will likely be willing to spend money on your behalf. You can now make money in an assortment of ways. With a brand that fans can latch onto, you can make money selling albums, selling tickets to shows, and even selling other products. This is why your brand is considered a selling platform. Your brand is your entire movement, that incorporates your image, bringing it full-circle and gaining a loyal fan base eager to sink their teeth into anything with your name attached to it.
The main focus when creating a brand is coming up with a strategy and following through with it. In the blog about developing an image, we discussed the importance of having consistency throughout all the parts that make up your image. For example it doesn’t make sense for a death metal band to perform in all white. Their appearance would differ from the band’s music. It may seem insignificant, but it’s the little things that make an impact in developing a consistent image. Your brand is no different. Your brand should be reflective of your image, and just as consistent.
After experimenting and finding an identity and a brand that people can relate to, it is important to really take some time and consider how you can use this to your advantage.
These are just some example of things to think about when starting to really develop yourself as a brand. A good portion of this process will be trial and error. Figure out what works and what doesn’t. Most importantly, when you find something that works, try to stick with it. In a world where the Internet rules, and many independent artists have powerful cult followings, you may only be a step away from making some serious money. That is, if you brand yourself properly.
Keep your eyes on the future. Try to develop branding strategies, or at least brainstorm some ideas, long before you actually put them into effect. Coordinate your image and your brand, so that people can really build a connection with you. Branding is often an aspect of a musician’s career that gets overlooked, but if properly executed it can make a huge difference in the career path of an artist.