the Life of a small “a” big “I” Indie artist.

Many of us aspire to be artists or songwriters of note... maybe not famous, but well-respected, working... well, I've been taking tiny baby steps towards that goal for awhile... but I'm finding out just what it means to say... for an Indie artist... it's DIY all the way.

A few days in the Life of a small “a” big “I” Indie artist.

The CD that we worked to put together over 8 months finally was complete at the end of April. Writing & recording, artwork, mastering, duplication, done. Hurrah!

-oh. Send 5 CDs to CD baby with a bank draft. Encompassed trip to bank and post office.

-oh. Send 5 CDs to CanTunes. Encompassed trip to post office.

-Ya, buy expensive padded envelopes, nice stationery for press kits

-okay, write one sheets, track list… on hold til get CD Baby web address for CD sales

-yes, get promo photo done, run off copies

-go through Indie Bible, select appropriate reviewers, radio stations, radio hosts…

-find the list of radio shows, reviewers & hosts I’d been making over the last 8 months, too

-look up each radio station on the net and get the name of the current music director

-write individually addressed cover letters to each MD at each radio station, each host of a radio show, each reviewer… try to be clever, fun, short, sassy… suggest a track that their listeners might particularly like

-address each envelope, to / from

-CD Baby is set-up! Hurrah!

-put album address on one sheets and track list, run off

-sign each letter, stuff each envelope…. laboriously remove expensive shrink wrapping from CD before putting it in envelope – note to self—always get 100 unwrapped CDs for promo purposes

-trip to post office, weigh a promo pack… spend $70 on postage

- put postage on envelopes

-make three trips to the mail box

oh yeah... update CD Baby page with bios, track lists, credits

-oh yeah… CD Baby is set-up…. now I have to update all the websites with the address… I hope I remember all the passwords. Upload a jpg of the cover to my server so I can link to it.

-my folk trio is starting to get bookings. Hurrah. Oh. Now I have to update all the websites with upcoming gigs. Oh. Now we move from rehearsing once a week to three times a week. We got an opp to sing in a Christmas concert series. Oh, they want a press kit. Now we need a bio, a demo, a song list, a promo photo. Recording time? We want to do more originals. Spend time arranging two songs for the next rehearsal. Make a list of places to call for potential bookings. Make the calls, make the bookings.

-look at that, I had another sign up for my ezine, The Shy Singer’. Oh. I haven’t put an issue out for awhile. Too busy. I should do that. Before I do that, though, I should revamp my website. Spend weekend revamping website. Looks good. Haven’t got newsletter done yet.

-fan mail. Yes, I get fan mail. Not a lot, but usually two or three emails a week, PM’s through various boards, messages on MySpace. All need to be answered. Set aside an hour at least once a week to answer.

-The Collaborators – the collabs are my internet band. It’s a group of 6 talented songwriters & musicians. We take turns producing each other’s work. I love them because they always give their best to every project. Because they work on my songs, I work on theirs. They are a top priority for me. I often mix / produce as well – that means downloading tracks, lining them up, mixing them in, rendering audio, uploading the updated version of the song. Plus singing, adding piano, synth, etc.

- I have 18 students. Each week I schedule their lessons, prepare for the sessions, choose music, answer their emails and calls, give them my full attention when we’re one-on-one. Not to mention keeping the ‘studio’ tidy.

-my co-writer, Michael Kavanagh. Mike is my songwriting partner. We meet at least once a week to brainstorm and write together. We talk business & marketing, throw ideas at each other. We are now working on a second country-folk CD and we’re talking about a Christmas CD too.

-my virtual client(s) – I have one steady client for whom I work as a ‘virtual assistant’. I edit/design & distribute two ezines a month for her, perform other administrative tasks, and meet with her once a week for an hour, by phone. At the moment we are working on writing an ebook – I set aside an hour each morning for the task of writing.

-my finances. Money drips in from various sources. I have to figure out what needs paying, when I’ll have the money to pay it, get to the bank, etc.

-my collaborators… I love the fact that I have the opportunity to work with talented lyricists, musicians and songwriters from all over the world. I probably have about 20 projects on the go, in various stages of completion. Some just require vocals, most require me to write music, record tracks, mix/produce. Each song probably takes, as the crow flies 3 to 7 days to produce. I rarely have the time anymore to work on one song on a consistent basis. I get an hour here or there. They are very patient with me… and I appreciate that very much...I hope I’m worth waiting for ;)

-my coaching & vocal practice – yes, I’m still coaching after 16 years of training. I need to sing at least an hour a day.

-my guitar lessons – I’d almost given up on playing the guitar due to the effects of carpal tunnel. However, my new guitar fits me much better… but I have to learn to play with a pick… and I also want to be as ergonomic as possible in playing. I should be practicing every day.

-my solo album… I really want to put together an ambient pop album… I’ve got the lyrics and sometimes even some music…. but it all needs to be developed – record tracks, etc.

-my songwriting boards… I belong to 5 songwriting boards which I try to visit at least a couple of times a week. I used to critique several songs a day…. I think I’m down to one or two a week, if I can.

-my blogs – my blogs are important… I like writing, it helps me sort out my thoughts & feel less scattered. I like sharing my journey, and I appreciate the messages and comments I get from my readers.

-my computer. memory is full. I picked up an external hard drive. I have to find the time to clean up my drives & back them up. I’m talking with my album producer about his building me a hard drive for my audio work.

-somewhere in there I need to do mundane things like buy groceries, cook, do laundry, tidy the house, pay bills…. and keep up with my family & friends… and go for a walk everyday… and sleep. Note to self: sleep is good.

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