Music Career Advice: “Be So Good They Can’t Ignore You”

This post was originally written and shared by Bas Grasmayer on the MUSIC x TECH x FUTURE newsletter. 

The 7 words that make up the title, a quote from Steve Martin, deserve to be an article of their own, on their own. It has come to be one of my favourite quotes for ‘making it’ in the music business.

I attend a lot of music business events and sometimes give lectures at schools, and I end up meeting a lot of artists who are asking the wrong questions. Questions like:

  • “How can I get this signed to a label?”
  • “How do I find a good booking agent?”
  • “How do I get people to buy my music?”

DaveMusic Career Advice: “Be So Good They Can’t Ignore You”
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Artist Spotlight: KingKLA$$

Through contrasting musical backgrounds, Brooklyn-raised, D.C.-based artist, KingKLA$$, aspires to create a new trend in music while cultivating a genre reminiscent of the New York nostalgia present in hip-hop. Drawing influences from 90’s funk, the rapper delivers candid lyrics over a laid back flow while evoking the sound of classic east coast hip-hop. We caught up with KingKla$$ to discuss  his new single, “Lucid,” the importance of social media for emerging artists, how he landed a feature on THUMP through ReverbNation, and his take on the impact of hip-hop culture in America.

DaveArtist Spotlight: KingKLA$$
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Invest, Create, Explore, Enjoy: Music Career Advice From Singer M. Maggie

From pop to soul and electronic R&B, New Orleans native M. Maggie is making heads turn. Her effortless croon, heartfelt lyrics, and jazzy flourishes have gotten her noticed by Pigeons and Planes, Buzzfeed, and Nylon Magazine. Her song “Trndsttr” reached #14 on the Dance chart on iTunes and has received over 2 million views on YouTube! That’s not all,  M. Maggie has been selected for several ReverbNation opportunities including Rock N’ Roll Marathon, School Night, and Bold Creative Media. We caught up with the singer to learn about her new single “My Love,” the benefits of collaborating with other artists, and her advice for artists just joining ReverbNation.

DaveInvest, Create, Explore, Enjoy: Music Career Advice From Singer M. Maggie
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Sync Licensing Advice From Hitcher Music

Here is something we can all agree on: historic forms of income like record sales for songwriters and artists are not what they used to be. There’s a new money maker in town: sync licensing. Songwriters can make some serious BANK from the placement of music in films, television programs, advertising campaigns, and video games. We sat down with Chase Misenheimer of Hitcher Music to learn about the latest developments and trends in sync licensing, the biggest misconception artists have when dealing with a licensing company, tips for approaching sync licensing, and more.

Hi Chase, thanks for joining our series. Can you tell us a little about yourself? How long have you been in music publishing?

Thanks for having me! I went to Belmont University in Nashville to study the music business. From there I moved to New York and worked at the ad agency mcgarrybowen as a music producer/supervisor. After about five years there, I switched sides to licensing over here at Hitcher. I also like to play drums in my spare time and pretend I’m good at it.

DaveSync Licensing Advice From Hitcher Music
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On the Rise: Joey Mack

What’s it like to hear your song featured on FOX’s hit series Empire? Just ask Cincinnati bred independent hip-hop artist Joey Mack who landed a sync placement for his raw single “Do It” via an exclusive ReverbNation opportunity. We caught up with Joey to get the lowdown on landing his first sync placement, being featured on This is 50 (50 Cent’s blog), his recent diagnosis of Schizophrenia and how music has served as a creative outlet.

Congratulations on landing a sync placement on FOX’s hit series Empire! How did this come about?

The beginning of 2016 I was invited by ReverbNation to be an artist under a development program called CONNECT. CONNECT gave me an incredible outlet which as a purely independent artist under zero management I was excited about and craved. I jumped at the idea to actually have people who believed in my craft and working in the background to help further my career. Daren Searcy, a CONNECT manager, worked his magic and landed me a sync placement with Hitcher. I was amazed and honored to be under the same roster as Run The Jewels and Killer Mike. Anyways, one day I remember specifically I had gotten fired from my current job with AT&T because I took a risk and left for Atlanta to meet with a highly accomplished songwriter, Sky Keeton. They didn’t like that I left to chase an opportunity so I happily accepted their reason to fire me. On the way home I checked my e-mail and saw a message from Daren about Hitcher interested in one of my songs. It was a song I originally released two years ago titled “Do It” and at that moment I just knew it would work out somehow. Fast forward to a few months later and Daren informs that we may have a bite through Empire. I took a few moments to actually realize what was happening, a song I wrote two years ago is going to now be on a hit TV series using my lyrics and broadcast to millions of people. I really just can’t explain in words how good it feels to land such a massive placement as my first one. I hope this can project my career as not only a recording and performing artist but now an established songwriter. Maybe one day I’ll write songs as a staff writer for a publishing company. All I know is November 30th of 2016 will be a day that I’ll never forget. My city is so underrated as a music hub even though we have had great people emerge from this city but no one in hip hop has really made an impact outside of Hi Tek and Mood & Lantana who signed to RCA and made it to BET. I just feel blessed and I pray it opens more doors for my career. I’m wanting to be that artist that can say I’m from Cincinnati, Ohio and we have so much talent here. I want my city to shine just like NY, ATL, CHI, CAL.

DaveOn the Rise: Joey Mack
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Artist You Should Know: Hy Brasil

We caught up with Hy Brasil to get the lowdown on their new single, “Let Go,” creative process, live shows, and the story behind their mythical band name.

Hi guys, before we start off can you please introduce yourselves?  

Absolutely, my name is Wyatt Hull, I’m the chanteur of refined bellowing for Hy Brasil, we are a mostly alt-rock specific band but at times genre confused. Currently we reside in Ventura California, about an hour up the coast from Los Angeles.

Where did you come up with the name Hy Brasil?  

Hy Brasil was the name of a supposed island once on all the ancient mariner maps but now has vanished. Its mythology is very similar to Atlantis but more fascinating because of the numerous eyewitness accounts of the island. The word was derived from “Breasal” which means “High King of the World”. I could nerd out more on the history but its ties to extraterrestrials are what really attracted me to the name. In one of the most famous & well documented UFO encounters, at a US military base in the UK’s Rendlesham Forest, Jim Penniston touched a grounded alien craft & received 16 pages of binary code burned into his mind that were later translated to “EXPLORATION OF HUMANITY 666 8100 52.0942532N 13.131269W (Hy Brasil) CONTINUOUS FOR PLANETARY ADVANCEMENT.” Which in a nutshell says that Aliens will someday return to the coordinates of the island of Hy Brasil for planetary advancement. Also if you rearrange the letters in my name Wyatt Hull the anagram is Hy Brasil.  

TylerArtist You Should Know: Hy Brasil
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Artist Session: The Upset Victory

Set to release their first full-length album, Cincinnati-based quintet The Upset Victory is turning heads with their uptempo, high energy brand of alt-pop. We recently got up with the band to discuss their latest single, “The Weekend (Bad Habits),” stripped down songwriting process, and more.

Hey guys, thanks for catching up with us! You just premiered “The Weekend (Bad Habits)” on MySpace Music and said, “”The Weekend” is a bit of a satire, urging one to embrace their inner demons or desires (bad habits).” What’s the story behind the track?

You’re absolutely right. Jason, our lead singer, said it best, “‘The Weekend’ is a bit of a satire, urging one to embrace their inner demons or desires (bad habits), whilst poking fun at the status-quo of “morality” — church and confession of sins. The song also points to our innate attraction to chaos, and our tendency to lust after something/someone despite knowing or being told it is “no good.” Lastly,  I feel, “The Weekend” is a reflection of my own life and the menace I have been.”

TylerArtist Session: The Upset Victory
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On the Radar: The Dirty Clergy

With a Independent Music Awards nomination and a new album out, Alabama-based garage rock band The Dirty Clergy needs to be on your next playlist. We caught up with the guys to get the lowdown on their new album Rattlesnake, Alabama music scene, influences, and more.

Hey guys! Let’s start off with a little introduction. Who is The Dirty Clergy?
The Dirty Clergy is a garage rock band from Winfield, AL. We began as a folk rock duo and that got boring really quick, so we blossomed into what we are now. A pretty loud, 5 piece, rock band.

Congratulations on being nominated for Best Indie/Alternative Rock Album of the Year at Independent Music Awards! Have you ever received a nomination before and what was your experience like?
This was our first nomination for any type of award. It was a nice experience. The people behind the IMA’s are super nice and they put on a great program for independent artists. They are really dedicated to helping boost the artists to the next level. It’s well organized and is held at the Lincoln Center each year. I look forward to working with these guys more and snagging some of those awards soon. Aside from the 32 hour drive up there and back in such a short period of time, everything was great.

What is the concept behind your Rattlesnake album?
It’s basically just taking you through the steps of a relationship. It’s not really arranged chronologically, but if someone wanted to attempt to put those songs in order they could. It’d take some lengthy listening though.

KevinOn the Radar: The Dirty Clergy
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