“Success Story” is a new periodic feature where we’ll be chronicling some of the successes that Artists on our site have found. If you have a success story of your own, e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org with “Success Story” in the subject line and tell us how ReverbNation has helped you out!
We first ran across TAIS (an acronym that stands for Truth Arises In Search) when we tweeted a link to an interview he did with Audible Hype a while back. In the interview, it was easy to tell that he works really hard to promote himself, engage fans and put out a steady stream of great music to keep people coming back for more, and we decided to share the link because he seemed like a great example of an artist who knew how to DIY.
We were surprised when we got a tweet from him a few weeks later that he’s going to be performing at the Red Gorilla Music Fest in Austin, TX, this Friday (March 19th), and that he received the opportunity through us!
We decided to hook up with TAIS via e-mail and ask him some questions about his music and how he promotes it, and how he got his spot at Red Gorilla.
How did you get into music? How long have you been rapping?
Music has always been one of those things I’ve been around since I was a kid, so it’s something I’ve always been into, I guess. I remember riding in my car seat listening to my dad blast music, and being able to predict what rhyme word would come next. I guess you could say I’ve been rapping since then.
It wasn’t until high-school that I started taking the art of rapping seriously. It’s been about 12 years all together. Did I just date myself?
How did you know when you were getting successful? Did you ever reach a point where you were like, “I have to do so much business this year, or I’m out”?
I knew I was getting successful when I dropped the common definition of “success” and decided to adopt my own definition of it. I realized that “success” is a relevant term that changes with the definer. Once I personally defined what success was to me, it gave me encouragement to keep on because I knew I couldn’t fail anymore. I define being successful as waking up in the morning. As along as I can keep doing that, everything else is icing on the cake.
What advice would you give to artists who are trying to find their own definitions of success?
I would tell artists to decide what type of artist they want to be: (a) One who appreciates and creates art for the sake of art or (b) One who does it to define who they are.
Person A will appreciate and create art just because it is art, and with that, they don’t get caught up in being successful or making it. This person might have 8 jobs just to pay for that moment of creation or appreciation. The main point is the creative process, not the fruits of the labor.
Person B is defined by what they make, so they are always toying with the idea of “making it”. This person is defined with how they are perceived, and what people are saying about them. It causes the agitation or frustration of having to be a certain way or be on a certain level at certain point. They have not mastered the concept of art.
How do you usually promote a project that you’re trying to get out there? Do you have a set plan that you always follow?
First, I try to send a clear message to the people that speak my language. It makes no sense to try and reach the world, if the only half the world will listen anyway. It is a waste of time and of energy. Second, I map out my goals, ideas, and plans on a whiteboard and keep a backup copy on a piece of paper. Third, follow them as close as I can until I get the result that I want. Does that happen all the time? No. But… I do get more results than if I didn’t follow the plan. You know the saying, “You plan to fail, if you fail to plan”? That is my motto in music, and life in general.
Do you have ways that you usually keep in touch with current fans?
Yeah, I’m not that hard of a guy to keep in touch with because my iPhone is literally glued to my hand at all times. I’m always on one of the websites talking to someone, or I’m on my e-mail sending something out. I’m very social by nature and I think that helps. I LOVE talking! But I do have an email list that I send out every week or so, just to keep people posted on what is going on with me.
How do you convert audience members to fans? For instance, this Red Gorilla thing. How to you turn an opportunity like that into more opportunities?
The key is to be genuine. I think the best way to get people to listen to you is to listen to them. I listen to what people want and try to deliver it how they want it. People genuinely miss DOPE Hip-Hop shows and being captivated by emcees, so I try to provide that at shows. With that, people are more open and they see that it’s not something I’m doing for fun. It’s something I do with purpose. That provides me with the opportunity to connect with the person on a level of understanding. After that connection is established, I make sure I have a way for people to keep that connection with me (i.e., flyers, stickers, T-shirts, CDs, e-mail lists, etc.)
How did you get involved with the Red Gorilla festival?
When I was in SXSW last year, one of the guys at Red Gorilla saw me perform with The Park and Keelay & Zaire. Once I got off stage he reached out to me, and over the year we kept in contact. When I asked him how they went about booking for their festival, he pointed me to ReverbNation, and told me all the info was there. This was the start of a beautiful relationship between TAIS and ReverbNation.
How long have you been using ReverbNation?
I’ve been using Reverbnation for about three months now (I know, I’m a newbie). I used to use other sites, but once I was directed to RN, I stopped using all the others.
I’m using RN for pretty much ALL aspects of my online presence: promotion, tracking, sales, etc. The tools that it gives artists make it a one-stop shop for every part of what makes an artist successful. I like ReverbNation because it gives artists useful tools and doesn’t overcharge the artist to use them. Not only do they get what it means to be independent in the world of social media, but they have helped make the idea tangible.
What is your favorite ReverbNation tool? How do you use it?
ReverbNation has a lot of great tools, how could you ask me to choose a favorite? How cruel! If I had to choose one, I would say the Stats tool. I say that because it allows you to keep track of your online presence on the world wide web. It is an effective tool because it lets you know what your strengths are, but also what your weaknesses are as well. I think as artists, we like to think that we are always on our game, but that might not be the case all the time. The Stats tool lets you know exactly what it is that needs to be worked on, and HOW (key word) to effectively do it
Got a success story of your own? Let us know about it and we might post it right here in the future! E-mail us at email@example.com to tell us about your success story!