Category: Artist Advice


If you are like me…a true music fan who loves an amazing live show…this article is for you!

Before I begin writing this article, I am going to turn on some really cool background music to set the right mood for myself. My goal tonight is to get thru this writing experience without it turning into a long winded –soapbox preaching – pontificating diatribe filled with expletive peppered rants. This is one of those subject matters (next to songwriting) that I am very passionate about..because next to music sales..it is one of the only revenue streams left for Bands and Solo Artists to make a living from that they have 100% control of.

Ok…are you ready? Here we go!

I want you to close your eyes and imagine the first concert that you ever went to…you saved your money for weeks to buy a ticket and to have some extra money to get a concert shirt to commemorate the whole experience. Now without sounding like I am trying to hypnotize you…I want to you to remember how you felt during the performance…the goose bumps that you got….the “holy shit” I can’t believe I am watching them perform feeling…that feeling you got like they were performing and singing to just you. Feels good huh? I too have the same memories of my first concert..I truly felt like I was part of something much bigger than myself..wow such a great feeling!

Now….let’s fast forward thru your prepubescent days to today!

You are now on stage performing your carefully crafted songs to an audience that is just standing there watching you…they are emotionless and ready to fall over from boredom….some of these fine folks are texting their friends..or better yet…they are Twittering about how bad your performance is to anyone who will listen to them. You of course are telling yourself in your head that the crowd sucks tonight and how the previous band really screwed up the mood in the venue tonight. Sucks huh?

But wait there’s more!

The rest of the band isn’t helping you…the bass player has his head up in the air during the whole performance (I think he is daydreaming about what is on TV right now). Your lead guitarist has been looking at his shoes the whole time and hasn’t once looked up to see what’s going on. Your drummer is in his own world theorizing macro-economics and parallel universes.

What’s wrong with this picture?

Your performance sounds like a train wreck…but do not fret…it is all fixable!

Ok…quick flash back to your first concert experience…let’s analyze why it was such an amazing experience so we can push your live show over the top.

Do you remember when you felt like you were the only person that they were performing and singing to in the venue? There is a reason for that!

The key to communication on stage is eye contact and body language…in other words…it’s not what you say…but how you say it or in this case…. sing it/perform it.

The reason why you felt like they were singing and performing to you is because the band mastered these performance principals. The lead singer when they looked at you while singing…he/she was also looking at the people behind you and to those to the left and right of you….everyone in the crowd felt a part of the experience. The rest of the musicians in the band also did this and you didn’t even realize it. Always remember that when you are on stage performing, the second you break eye contact with the audience…the communication with them stops.

As for body language, the correct body movements, hand gestures (reaching out to the crowd), hand on heart..etc….needs to be practiced before using in front of an audience (don’t want to look like a tool on stage). Have your band mates watch you perform for them and have them let you know if you are any good at it….practice makes perfect.

I recommend that you Google “Eye Contact” and “Body Language” for further tips and explanations on these subject matters since I can spend hours telling what you need to know.

I am going to be blunt here….

If you are not spending a lot of time pushing your live show performances to the limit, you are ripping off your customers and you should be ashamed of yourself. Every show that you perform has to be better than your previous one….why you ask? Because if it isn’t your audience will get bored of you and will stop coming to see you perform. Don’t you get bored? I love meatloaf….but I will be damned if I have to eat the same meatloaf 7 days a week for the rest of my life for dinner. So why should your audience have to as well?

What you need to do is this…start video taping your live shows and analyze them like you are in a Pro Football Team…find out what worked and what didn’t work from the audience’s perspective. Did you look like a tool on stage? Was someone playing sloppy on stage? Did your songs connect with the audience?

To truly make it as a live performance artist, you need to step up your game and make it a memorable “holy shit” experience for everyone involved.

Well…that’s all I have for you…hope you got something out of this article!

Love,

Daily Unsigned

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Work Ethic as an Artist

Ok…I need to need vent real quick….this has been on my mind for months now…and everyday it sits there….the more pissed off I am finding myself getting…

So….here you are hopefully…and I mean hopefully…busting your asses to get your band to the next level in your career path….promoting….writing songs…practicing hard….promoting…writing songs….all the grunt work shit you can think of…..then one day…you get some record label interest..and then that record label interest turns into your band actually getting signed…cool huh???

Think again….

If you are like any other band out there….you probably think that you can now sit back and let the record label, management team and agent do all of the work for you now….

Think again….

As hard as it was for you to get a record deal…now you have to work even harder to prove to them that you are worthy of that keeping that deal….your work ethic must be even stronger now…your business mind must be even sharper now…your music relationships need to be more solid now…your connections with your fan base needs to be perfect…this is not the time to sit back and let everyone else do the work for you.

If you were my client….and you pulled the “I am too cool for school” attitude…we would be done as there are way too many bands out there just as good as you are…with much stronger work ethics and business savvy.

No one in this industry is in a position to act like they are better than the next person….the personal relationships we make today….last a lifetime…remember that the same people you meet on your way up…will still be there when your career comes crashing down….if you treated that person like shit on the way up…trust that those people will remember…

As a signed band…you owe it to those unsigned bands behind you to act professional…be mentors and role models….treat the people you come in contact with on a daily basis with the utmost respect…I don’t care who they are….treat your fans better than you treat yourself…they are the reason why you are where you are in your career….continue to bust your ass on a daily basis….if you can’t do that…you truly don’t deserve to be in a signed band….pack up your shit and go home…

Thanks for letting me vent…I feel much better now!

Daily Unsigned

Great question right?  Let’s ask it again….Who is your demographic?

Daily Unsigned….What do you mean? What are you getting at?

Ok…it’s late (another 18 hour day) so we’re going to try and make this brief and hopefully noteworthy with some substance.

Everyday around the world…we are pummeled by companies like Pepsi, Coke, Trojan Condoms, Budweiser, Ford and the list goes on and on….and each of these companies specifically target their advertising to a customer base that they are trying to secure. Example….during sporting events on TV you will see more beer and car commercials than you would see like Tampax Tampons or FDS Spray (sorry ladies). And the same goes for shows like Oprah or Dr. Phil where you will see more commercials like…you guessed it…Tampax Tampons and not FDS…but Rug cleaning commercials and shit like that…

The point?

These companies know who their demographics are and where they are hiding…

You need to know this shit!

Ok….so you’re making music…..have a cool look….and you are spending many hours a day promoting your Myspace…Facebook and Twitter and every other digital media site you have in your arsenal…but for some reason your fan base isn’t growing and the slacker like friends that you do have…aren’t doing anything but remaining a stagnating waste of protoplasm in your friends list..

But why is this happening?

Another great question guys!

Here is why….you have been conditioned by your fellow band peers that getting a robot friend adder and adding all kinds of peeps on Myspace, Facebook and Twitter is going to make your plays go up….everyone is going to take notice of your band and they are going to sing your praises in the form of long editorial comments on your pages….YA Right!

The reality is Friend Adders do serve a purpose and that is helping you get to your destination of adding 400 friends that day a little faster…but that’s it guys…

Now this is where spending some time on determining who your demographic is comes in handy.
Our advice for you, start treating your band like a business…and spend the necessary time on finding out who your fans are…find out how old they are….where they live (country, state, city)…what bands they listen to…what they eat…wear…drive… you name it…We are  not in any way suggesting that you become a stalker…but find out who these people are…Once you know (Who, what, where and why) you can start developing a marketing plan and policy to secure their fanship.

Always remember that if you keep doing what you are doing..you are going to keep getting what you are getting…so quit acting like a jackass and get your shit done correctly!

Love,

Daily Unsigned

Ok…..so we are probably gonna piss off a lot of you out there in the “music business” but seriously….not going to be the first time…lol.

So…you are in an unsigned band and everyone around you (this includes your peers) are telling you how important it is to have a bio on your band and how that sweet bio is going to help you get signed and get your music career further….honestly….that is such BS!

***This is where we piss the “peeps” off ***

To be brutally honest….99% of the bios that are sent out to the press, label execs, music managers and blogs (that’s us) never get read and most of them are tossed in the trash can…

Why you ask? Because they are boring…terribly boring…and most of the time the content included in them are all fluff…..and we get 100’s of these crappy bio’s on a daily basis……ouch huh?

So…what is a band to do to get their information out there?!?!?!!

Glad you asked!

Here is a music industry secret…and if you are reading this…please tell all of your band friends out there so you can make all of our lives a little more happier…

We want you to imagine putting everything that is pertinent to your band all on one piece of paper…not multiple sheets….not both sides of the sheet….just one side of the paper…

Now imagine putting enough content on that one sheet of paper in a way that tells everyone why they need to know about your band….and do this in a way that a 5th Grader can understand it…lol…that’s it basic and to the point…..and imagine that the 5th Grader that is reading it has A.D.D. too…

Here is how you want to structure your band’s “One Sheet” and what content should be in it.

1. Band logo
2. Name of the Band.
3. Member names and what they do.
4. What kind of music.
5. Where to find your music…(Myspace, Purevolume, Reverbnation)
6. Where the band is from.
7. Average Age of the Band.
8. ****Don’t mention that you sound like Blink 182 meets Eminem**** When you compare yourself to another bands sound…..you are automatically setting the mood to the potential listener.
9. List of press accomplishments (if you have any quotes).
10. How many Myspace plays and friends you have. Include Twitter and Facebook info as well.
11. A brief description of what your band is about…No more than 30 words.
12. Contact information.
13. Any equipment or product endorsements.
14. How many shows or tours you have done.
15. If you sold large quantities of song downloads or EP’s mention it.
16. If you have radio play mention where and who.
17. What larger bands you have opened for.

Keep your shit as brief and to the point as much as possible.

We hope this helps all of you!

Ok…..so we are probably gonna piss off a lot of you out there in the “music business” but seriously….not going to be the first time…lol.

So…you are in an unsigned band and everyone around you (this includes your peers) are telling you how important it is to have a bio on your band and how that sweet bio is going to help you get signed and get your music career further….honestly….that is such BS!

***This is where we piss the “peeps” off ***

To be brutally honest….99% of the bios that are sent out to the press, label execs, music managers and blogs (that’s us) never get read and most of them are tossed in the trash can…

Why you ask? Because they are boring…terribly boring…and most of the time the content included in them are all fluff…..and we get 100’s of these crappy bio’s on a daily basis……ouch huh?

So…what is a band to do to get their information out there?!?!?!!

Glad you asked!

Here is a music industry secret…and if you are reading this…please tell all of your band friends out there so you can make all of our lives a little more happier…

We want you to imagine putting everything that is pertinent to your band all on one piece of paper…not multiple sheets….not both sides of the sheet….just one side of the paper…

Now imagine putting enough content on that one sheet of paper in a way that tells everyone why they need to know about your band….and do this in a way that a 5th Grader can understand it…lol…that’s it basic and to the point…..and imagine that the 5th Grader that is reading it has A.D.D. too…

Here is how you want to structure your band’s “One Sheet” and what content should be in it.

1. Band logo
2. Name of the Band.
3. Member names and what they do.
4. What kind of music.
5. Where to find your music…(Myspace, Purevolume, Reverbnation)
6. Where the band is from.
7. Average Age of the Band.
8. ****Don’t mention that you sound like Blink 182 meets Eminem**** When you compare yourself to another bands sound…..you are automatically setting the mood to the potential listener.
9. List of press accomplishments (if you have any quotes).
10. How many Myspace plays and friends you have. Include Twitter and Facebook info as well.
11. A brief description of what your band is about…No more than 30 words.
12. Contact information.
13. Any equipment or product endorsements.
14. How many shows or tours you have done.
15. If you sold large quantities of song downloads or EP’s mention it.
16. If you have radio play mention where and who.
17. What larger bands you have opened for.

Keep your shit as brief and to the point as much as possible.

We hope this helps all of you!

Tips on Being a Frontman

Lead Vocalist, Frontman (person) or Lead Singer are the terms used to describe a vocalist who sings the songs melody in front of musicians who accompany the singer playing the rhythm and backing music regardless of the type or size of the band. He or She is the MAIN singer of the band although there may be other singers who provide backing and harmony vocals. On occassion there are two or more Lead Vocalists who share the set between them, examples include ‘ABBA’ & ‘Fleetwood Mac’.

The Lead or Melody line refers to the songs main theme music and/or words, sounds, vocalizations that were written by a songwriter or composer to evoke or describe the image or story of the song.

Usually (but not always!) the lead vocalist is the main focus of the audiences attention. This is due partly to the fact that the front person is interpreting the lyrics which make up the story of the song, partly due to the singers charisma and partly due to the competence of the performer.

There are as many types and style of lead singer as there are styles and genres of music. All with their own particular appeal and personality. The skills required vary considerably depending on the type and style of music to be performed, i.e., an opera singer performing a lead role in front of a full orchestra requires great technical ability, excellent vocal talent, projection and stamina. Whereas a lead singer in a restaurant trio requires less projection and a more varied repertoire of ‘background style’ music.

So what does it take to become a lead singer?

Complete beginners should first consider their vocal qualities and the style of music to which it is suited, although this may change considerably with training and age. For instance a soft singing voice with no projecting ability will find it difficult if not impossible to be heard above a heavy rock band or full orchestra without amplification, whereas a strong operatic voice would overpower an acoustic duo unless the singer had considerable training and control.

Once the singer has identified the Style and Genre of music most suited to their voice and ability then some thought should be put into the songs to be performed, age of the singer and the types of venue that are suitable for the music. When reviewing these aspects of singing a complete re-think may be required, especially if your a 15 year old rock lover with a quiet voice!!

Finding the right style of music and musicians who are around the same age and competence is often the way a singer in training starts their career. A band is a TEAM who collaborate, learn and work together of which the singer is a part. He or she needs to be able to get on with the other musicians and be prepared to sing material that they may not particularly enjoy. The type of songs chosen have to be within the singers range and ability. Unless the singer is experienced, the songs to be performed should be chosen with the aid of a singing or music teacher to ensure that the voice is not overstretched or damaged through abuse.

When performing with other people the singer is required to sing in time and in tune with the music whilst expressing the lyrics to the song. Starting and stopping at the appropriate points in the song and learning to improvise when mistakes are made are essential talents that a singer must have if they wish to sing with a band or pursue a professional career.

Personality is another aspect that the singer is expected to express. This can be done in three ways, either through the emotive quality of the voice, via energy and movement or a combination of both. A singer does not need to be a great dancer to get attention from their audience, although all singers should be able to move expressively. This doesn’t mean you need to jump around the stage, a smooth hand gesture, sad smile or pointed ‘look’ at appropriate points in the song can be enough to capture the audience. Some people have an indefinable quality called Charisma which can draw the audience to watch and listen to them even when the songs performed or vocal style is not their particular cup of tea.

Communicating with the other musicians in the band is also an art that is usually learnt during the rehearsal process. The ability to slow down, speed up or stop the music by indicating to your fellow musicians can be achieved by signals that can be integrated into your performance so that the audience are unaware of your directions. The exception to this are singers who perform with Orchestras who take their directions from a Conductor.

Every singer has their own signals that their fellow band members watch out for, but there are a few standard signals that most professional musicians can identify.

Raised hand or digit circling quickly – speed up tempo (or repeat passage)
Raised hand or digit circling slowly – slow down tempo
Gentle hand gestures downwards – less volume
Raised arm – indicates ‘watch for ending’
Same arm dropped down sharply – STOP
Arm circling – repeat the previous passage.

An experienced band who share a rapport should know each others strengths and weaknesses. The singer can indicate their preferances with a nod or a look whilst the songs performed should flow effortlessly. If mistakes are made the professional band may often improvise making the mistake appear intentional or cover it with humor.

A frontman (or woman) is also expected to communicate with the audience during the course of the performance. Introducing the band, the songs and building a rapport with the people watching is all part of being a lead singer. You should always try to be true to yourself when talking to the audience. Some singers are happy ‘winging it’ and chatting away without any idea of what they are going to say beforehand, whilst others write and memorize (or take on stage) a script that remains the same for each performance and provides them with continuity in every show (even professional singers do this). If you don’t have much confidence or experience in performing in front of an audience, write some notes and practice these during each rehearsal or in front of friends and family.

‘Image’ also needs to be considered. When working with other musicians as a unit, what you wear and how you present yourselves should reflect the style of music you play. For instance, a rock band wearing tuxedo’s are unlikely to be taken seriously unless the effect is meant for ‘novelty value’ or the band is mainly performing covers at corporate functions. Whatever you wear should not restrict your breathing, movement or vocal apparatus.

Reliability and Consistency of performance is required from every singer, letting your audience or employer down will give you a bad reputation which will quickly spread and prevent you from finding quality employment.

Most experienced singers who are competent in their field of music can become a lead singer although wages will depend on their ability, professionalism and versatility. A good band can work practically anywhere from local pubs, clubs, festivals and theatres, whilst sight reading singers could find a neat sideline deputising for other singers and working as a backing vocalist or session singers for major artists and producers.

If the singer is also a lyricist or songwriter then collaborating with friends or advertising for like minded people to join them in performing their particular style of music, is how the band is formed. The singer can also be the driving force of the band, organizing the rehearsals, choosing the songs to be played and getting the gigs, although its far better if all members of the band make an equal effort.

Lead singers in bands performing original material can expect little or no initial pay unless they can build and retain a following, produce their own album or get signed by a record company. An excellent example of a long running unsigned UK band who pack out every venue are ‘The Hampsters’ who perform a mixture of both covers and original rock/blues material both live and on their self-produced albums.

The length of time a band is expected to play varies depending on whether they are performing covers or original material and if they are the main act or acting as a support act for the headliner. 15-40 mins is about average for original bands and support acts, headline acts can expect to play for approximately 30 – 90 minutes, whilst covers bands are often the only entertainment booked for the evening. 2 or 3 x 45 minute sets are usually sufficient although a few ‘extra’ songs should always be prepared in case of ‘encores’ – if you do run out of material – redo a song that was performed in the first half of the show!

The differences between a Lead Singer and a Solo Artist are actually quite small and mainly a matter of career choice. There are many instances of singers who started out as the front person in a band yet went on to become a solo artist, for example, Sting (X Police), George Michael (X Wham), Alison Moyet (X Yazoo).

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