World-renowned clinical hypnotherapist Todd Newton signs with The Lowry Agency!

Nashville-based entertainment firm The Lowry Agency has officially announced the addition of internationally noted life coach and clinical hypnotherapist Todd Newton to their rapidly expanding client roster. Todd Newton will be working with The Lowry Agency as part of an exclusive speaking contract. The Lowry Agency will also be exclusively handling the promotion of Newton’s “Hypnotastic”, the exciting and hilarious stage hypnosis show currently on tour.

http://www.prlog.org/11066892-world-renowned-clinical-hypnotherapist-todd-newton-signs-with-the-lowry-agency.html

The Show .. What To Wear?

The Show.. What to Wear?

by Sass Jordan, The Lowry Agency Artist

I Want To Believe

Stage clothes .. the dreaded task …

Long ago and far away, there were once fascinating, flashy, shiny creatures that lived under lights and on stages with smoke and fire and loud, rhythmic noises .. we called them ‘Rock Stars’. They were akin to the mythical dragons that once roamed the earth, and they are now extinct. They wore colors and jewels and wonderful fabrics, they had astonishing manes of hair, and there was really nothing subtle about them … they were mighty, and they lived in magical lands that the rest of us had no access to except when we would go to see them do their thing on a stage or a television show.

FlashForward … Today. Now everyone you know is either in a band, has a family member in one, or a friend in one. Music has become ubiquitous everywhere you go, and EVERYONE thinks they can write it, play it and perform it. Or pretty much everyone. The general public has become so desensitized to almost everything that it takes a gargantuan effort of will and ambition just to be noticed at all! One of the old ways has survived, though, and that is the ‘image’ that you project. Your image is largely defined by the clothes you wear and the way you style your hair and makeup, and of course, last but not least, the way you carry yourself.

Finding the right clothes to express you AND your music is a tough task,  made all the more so these days by the mass availability of shiny, flashy clothing, which used to be the domain of rock stars and movie stars – but, like I mentioned, today, everyone’s a star, baby !!! Your choice of clothing has to reflect your style of music as well as be eye-catching, if you really want it to work for you. We went through the antithesis of this in the early ’90′s, with grunge and garage being the fashion, but in the end, I think people want their entertainers to give them something to aspire to themselves – albeit perhaps in a slightly more toned- down manner.

The guidelines I personally use for stage clothing are these …

1. Is it comfortable? Does it move with me or against me?

2. Is it restrictive in the diaphragm area?

3. Is it transparent? Is it reflective of light?

4. Will it get caught in the mic or stand or whatever?

5. DOES IT MAKE ME LOOK FAT? (LOL)

6. What is it saying about me in general?

When you are on a stage you don’t want to wear something that is going to make you blend into the background – you wanna wear something that is going to be eye catching .. it’s part of the show! Of course you will make mistakes and wonder how your friends could have let you be seen in public like that .. but hey, that’s why you need  new friends .. (joke). In the end, I try not to wear anything that is going to distract from my performance, either from my point of view or the audiences. I once saw a really great singer who was wearing a rather short dress onstage, and honestly, I spent so much of her performance worrying about people trying to look up her dress that I basically missed the show. Another time, the singer’s jeans were so tight that when he put his leg up on the monitor whilst singing, the whole seam split open, and left him hanging there, so to speak … it took me a whole week to recover from the sore muscles from laughing so hard and I remember NOTHING else about that show.

Picking The Right Professional or Team for your Career

Picking The Right Professional or Team for your Career

 

The power of social media has its pros and cons. The pros obviously are the ability to network and get your message out there. The cons are you don’t know whom you can trust. With so many people out there saying how great they are and making huge promises you have to be very careful about whom you choose to share your info with and put your hopes and dreams in the hands of. In the entertainment world it’s a crap shoot to begin with, so make sure you spend the time necessary researching the people who are offering their services to you or making huge claims about what they are going to do for you in the “industry”. Also make sure you research exactly what they do or the services they offer so you can decide if it’s really what you need as an artist.

I recently did some research on a person who claims to be in the music industry. For the past year, this person has been making huge claims about how they are going to “change” the industry with a new platform. First of all, from what I understand, a platform like the one they hope to “change the industry” with already exists. I believe in practicing what I preach, and began to research this person.  I contacted a well-known, reputable friend who has been doing business on Music Row here in Nashville for more than 20 years, asking if they have ever heard of this person, their company or their work.  My friend is in the same area of the business as the person who is making the claims, and my friend sent an email out to all contacts. The result is that no one had ever heard of this person who claims to be “revolutionizing the industry”. There is no bio on them, no track record, no website, no clients, no proof of anything showing that they can do what they say they can do. Even worse, they are not listed on ASCAP, BMI, SESAC, Harry Fox or Music Row as what they say they are. Now you have to be listed with at least one of the following ASCAP, BMI, SESAC or Harry Fox to be what they say they are, so this leaves you with either (a) they are a fraud, (b) they don’t know what they are doing, or (c) they are possibly operating under a different name, which also means their online presence is a lie. They have been putting together a team of people who, like them, seem to have no real track record. You can see that in how they promote themselves on the web. Don’t work for a person, or hire a person who doesn’t have their own business together with proper imaging, websites, photos, content and most important – actual proof of their work. This is the entertainment industry. Image and proof of solid work is everything for everyone, not just the artists.

When picking out people you want to work with, please review and research them in detail. Never trust an online profile that doesn’t list any information about themselves, their company or who they work for. Ask their clients if they are happy with their service and make sure they have legitimate things happening for their clients. Make sure there is a proven track record for the service they claim to provide. If they don’t have anything to show for their success then it’s a big risk. Especially pay attention to how they behave online with their twitter and other social media accounts. If they behave unprofessionally – flirt, make huge promises, offer a special free of charge opportunity to a hundred different people for months on end, make false claims against another with no proof or get involved in mud slinging then run and run fast. That is not professional behavior and they will treat anyone like that, including you. It will hurt the chances for your career to be involved with someone who behaves improperly, especially in the music industry, where the reality is that the odds are already stacked against you. If their followers or fans grow at a very slow rate, that is also a sign. It means they have nothing to offer content wise. They aren’t adding value to the industry, so know one is paying attention. It takes more than listing followers and saying nice things.

Not everyone is a huge success or a huge business, that’s not the most important issue; making things happen is what’s important, proof of work. Finding a professional or a team that is hungry and works very hard is what matters the most. Never fall for promises that are huge; this business is too hard to make any kind of claims and promises – that is the reality.  When evaluating a person or company, let their work speak for them instead.

Please read our blog “It’s All About The Team Baby” by Sass Jordan, a Juno and Billboard award winning artist and former host of Canadian Idol for more on picking the right team! http://lowryagency.wordpress.com/2010/07/20/183/

Good Luck!

Filling the VO Void – 5 Tips for Taking Advantage of Downtime

Filling the VO Void
5 Tips for Taking Advantage of Downtime

By Dave Courvoisier, The Lowry Agency Voice Over Talent

What happened?
Every freelancer hits that wall.  The work…just…stops.  Nothing’s coming in.  Leads are long gone, and clients are clamming up.  Hopefully it’s just a day or two…a week or two at the most.

You’d go crazy trying to figure out why.  Sure, there may be some legitimate reasons: you’ve been slacking in your marketing, lead-generation, or referral “asks”…but sometimes you’re doing all that stuff – diligently – and still the work stops.

These moments are actually opportunities.  Remember all the things you put on the back burner when you were crazy-busy with that big narration project and six auditions/day?  Well, now’s the time to drag it out…now you have the time.

Since 80% of your VO business is marketing, and 20% is voicing anyway, this should not be a big surprise.  In fact this may be one of the reasons the work stopped coming in – while you were busy voicing projects, the lead-generating activity stopped.  It’s a nice predicament to be in, but the key is to be able to find the time to do both.

Take Advantage of the “Free” Time
Here’s a quick list of suggestions that will keep you “working” while you prepare for the next wave of paid gigs:

1)   Practice. In VO terms: audition.  Pick up what leads you can from pay-to-play sites, your agents, and web-searches.  That’s right, do a Google search for “VO jobs” or “voiceover needed”.  You’ll be surprised what comes up.  When those sources dry up, just read.  Practice on copy from Voices.com or Edge Studio.  They have reams of legitimate copy for practicing.  Record it.  Edit it.  Listen to it.  Send it to someone for a critique.  Play like it’s real, ‘cause it is.

2)   Listen to ads. I’m serious.  You’re already watching TV or driving your car with the radio on.  Don’t skip past the commercial spots!  Somebody voiced that spot.  Why wasn’t’ it you?  Listen to the nuances of the spot.  The writing.  The author’s intent.  How the talent handled the juxtaposition of the video and the copy.  Sometimes it even helps to transcribe the copy, and voice it yourself in your studio.  Can you approximate the read that got someone the job?  So you don’t have HIS/HER pipes…fine, play to your strengths.  How would you read it?  Record it.  Send it to a friend for an honest opinion.

3)   Visit VoiceBank.net and listen to all the demos you can stand.  These are people represented by agents.  They got on VoiceBank by no mistake.  The demos you hear there are representative of the talent who are getting work today.  How long is the demo?  What was the first thing you heard?  How many elements did the demo have?  How many different reads did you hear in the demo?  Does your current demo stack up?  If not, (3) could just as well be Redo your demo (the subject of a whole ‘nother blog!)

4)   Spruce up your marketing activity. Maybe you like to send postcards to prospects or regular clients to let them know you’re still alive. Maybe you’re an email maven.  Maybe your approach is to camp out on the social networks.  How’s your FaceBook profile looking?  Does it have lots of trigger words that the bots will find?  When’s the last time you tweeted ANYTHING, or contributed to a discussion on LinkedIn?  All those seemingly mundane actions spread your name out on the internet. Maybe you’ve forgotten your promise to make at least 10 calls/week to prospects.  WHATEVER your marketing duties are – get going!  The stuff you do today will bring work tomorrow or next week.

5)   Re-examine your audio chain and your studio.  This could be the time to make that re-arrangement in your physical space that will absolutely remove a mental roadblock to recording.  That strange crackling that pops up in your recordings?  Track it down.  When’s the last time you checked for an update on your software…or for that matter, this may be an opportunity to finally dig into the manual and find out what is the software keyboard shortcut you need for long-format narrations that will save you hours in the booth.

Get the drift?

There’s actually more…much more.  Like prospecting for a good agent…asking your steady clients for a referral to another possible client… doing good research on the internet to find your next “warm”-call target.

See? These are things that get lost in the shuffle when you’ve got your head in a big voice project.  ‘LOVE to have work.  But that job was not a “gimme”.  You did something right somewhere sometime to earn that job.  Now’s the time – when you have the time – to get back to the basics and make it happen again.

Writing Songs

Writing Songs

By Sass Jordan, The Lowry Agency Artist

Damaged

 

Writing songs is one of the main reasons I wanted to be a singer in the first place. I have ALWAYS had a lot to say, and what better way to say it than in a song? The thing that many people don’t realize is that writing songs is a skill, and needs to be developed as such. My first attempts were so clumsy in their construction as to be laughable from my current viewpoint – but we have to start somewhere! Some of the most magnificently skilled writers live and work in Nashville, Tn – and that is where I have had some fantastic writing experiences.

A song has to be written with a form in mind. There are myriad forms, many of which you will be familiar with, but only a couple of which you will find any resonance with. The particular genres that interest me, for example, are country rock, americana roots, hybrid and blues rock. I can write in the pop genre, but I’m only marginally good at it, mainly because it’s not as interesting to me as an artist/performer. I can hugely appreciate a good pop song, but I’m not that skilled at the craft. Look at people like Max Martin and the infinite genius of Tears For Fears – yes, Pure Pop for Now People indeed!

Are you targeting a specific goal, such as a particular radio format? You’ll have to study the way the majority of the songs that play on those stations are constructed.For example, listen to the songs of a band like Nickelback … it’s a certain style that they use in the structure and the songs are hugely crafted by the production approach. It’s shared by other bands like Shinedown, Theory of a Deadman, Default, Disturbed, Avenged Sevenfold, Hinder and Breaking Benjamin, to name just a few. They all have their roots in the ’90’s to me .. coming out of Seattle’s Alice In Chains and Soundgarden, but with more of a pop sensibility.

Lyrically, it’s tricky to walk the line between cornball, conceit, confusion and just plain crap. A great lyricist is a god, as far as I am concerned. One of my favorite things is to try to find ways to use cliches with a twist. A master of this approach would be someone like Elvis Costello, or Joni Mitchell. One of the most erudite songwriters ever, Joni is a master of painting the soundscape with words – her, Robbie Robertson, and John Forte, the story-tellers, among a great many others …

Songwriting, like song – listening, is so personal, and so powerful. Writing a song that touches many people is possibly one of the most wonderful achievements you can have as a musician and performer. It’s a gift … use it well. And thank you, from your potential audience…. me.