Merch Tables and Other Necessities….

Merch Tables and Other Necessitites…

by Sass Jordan, Artist – The Lowry Agency

High Road Easy

As an artist/performer in the slash and burn world of making a living playing music today, you have to have a fairly high level of people skills. There are a few performers that can get away with not saying or relating much-basically doing it through the music, but most of us need to develop a congenial type of relationship with our fans. We realize that it is not an easy thing for most people to come out and spend their well-earned cash – a lot of them are raising families and just trying to get along in today’s climate – not a particularly small task in this uncertain world. The skills I am talking about are related to making a fan feel included, making them feel they are part of the process. In fact, they are, in more ways than I can list, not the least of which is if there is no audience there is no show.

One of the best ways to create an on- going and loyal relationship with your fans is to sell your merchandise after the show. This way people get an opportunity to exchange a couple of words, get things signed, and get a pic with you. These things need to be set up properly, however, or you run the risk of having a bit of chaos on your hands. Assuming you and your crew know what you are doing, I think it’s an awesome way of understanding your audience, and getting a feel for the type of people that like your music and vibe. The more successful you are, the less easy it is to do this, of course, but then you can get into VIP packages for fans, where a select group (usually contest winners) can come and get things signed, pics taken and maybe even a little mini-concert before the big show. The only time I think it’s right to not do a signing is if you are too tired (bad for the voice), there is no security or professional set-up, or you have to travel immediately following the performance.

You do what you do FOR the public, for your fans, for your audience. Cultivating a meaningful relationship with the people who buy your wares is worth the time and the effort, and is a way of thanking them, as well.

Performance Series Part Two – Connecting With An Audience

Performance Series Part Two – Connecting With An Audience

by Sass Jordan – Artist, The Lowry Agency

Why Did You

Ahhh … the eternal question – how to connect with an audience?

For me, and audience is a collective energy. It ceases to be a bunch of different personalities, as it is impossible to relate one to one in a gathering of more than 3 or 4 individuals. So the audience is ONE person – a bunch of individuals that become ONE, kinda like the Borg on Star Trek. The thing about it is that each collective has a unique ‘personality’ that is created by the combination of all the individual personalities participating, including the performers.

So, the way I look at it is, how does this collective feel to me? Is it happy? Is it melancholy? Is it full of energy? Is it bored, or distracted? Is it aggressive? Is it drunk? Does it have a youthful feel, or an older feel? The feelings are subtle, but they are always there. As a performer, your job is to sense the atmosphere, and to guide it to wherever you want to go. I personally feel that my objective as an artist is to help people to express their feelings in a safe environment, and to feel uplifted by doing so. It is impossible to articulate how that happens in words, but the intent that you have makes a huge difference. You, as a performer, are in a powerful position to influence a collective ‘mood’, and it is therefore your responsibility to take that seriously. You can incite a riot, or a love – fest, and anything in between. You can also leave everyone utterly un-touched.

The primary  thing to remember on a stage is that the impression you give off is how people will interpret you. This includes your clothing and the way you hold your body. Confidence makes a massive difference to the collective’s interpretation of your abilities. It you feel a lack of confidence, it will show, and it will make people uncomfortable for you. They won’t know why they are feeling so uncertain and unsure themselves, necessarily, but you can be sure they won’t be enjoying themselves!

Finally, the more you believe in the song you are singing, and relating it to your OWN emotions, the more the collective will feel the same way. Emotion is the most powerful thing in the Universe, in my opinion, and it’s what makes music a Universal language. Music IS emotion. Singing IS emotion. Brilliant playing of a musical instrument IS emotion. The audience wants to be moved, to forget their troubles and tribulations, and to be assured that they are not alone in the feelings that they have. We are all the same underneath our skins and our belief systems. We all want to feel a part of something. When you, as a performer, connect with those feelings inside of yourself, you will communicate them to the collective. Connecting with an audience is as simple and as difficult as connecting with your own feelings and emotions.

That is what makes the difference between a great performer and an average one.

Performance Series Part One-Preparing For The Show

Performance Series Part One-Preparing For The Show

by Sass Jordan – Artist, The Lowry Agency

“Make You A Believer” From the CD “Racine”

In the great and glorious world of rock shows, there are a million ways to prepare for tonight’s show, but only a couple that guarantee you play your best game. Having been performing on stages in every kind of venue known to man and beast for the better part of 34 years, I have a tip or two for you …

Let’s start with the assumption that you are doing a one – off, as tours are so few and far between these days that the majority of the people reading this are likely to be doing the ‘showcase’ type gig, one where you have that one show to prove yourself and to interest the people that might matter in your near future, including agents, managers, sponsors and of course, more than anything else – fans. You have to turn all those people who might work with you into fans, or they will never have the motivation to do their best to get you and your work out there in a big way.

I like to make sure I have the tightest set list possible. If there are songs you have that are known in any way, those will be your feature songs – your set ‘hi-lites’, so to speak. You want to open super strong, because quite honestly, it’s like a comedian – if they don’t make you laugh in the first 15-30 seconds you will have a tepid reaction at best. If they can make you laugh immediately, it’s like it sets up your psyche to laugh at the rest of the stuff, even if it isn’t that funny. A comedy routine is front -loaded for a reason .. and it’s psychological! A rock show has to be the same way .. there is a flow that has to happen … come on super strong .. stay up …dip in the middle … and then build back up to a super strong finish.

You have to pace yourself, and you have to be ready to give everything you’ve got, every time you do it. Some days you’re gonna have more than other days, but no one else ever needs to know that. Physical prep for the show is pretty individual, but I’ll give you a run down of what I do ..

Start the day with a HEALTHY BREAKFAST .. this includes whole grains, eggs, nut butters, fruit, or my personal favorite, a green smoothie! Tons of vitamins, minerals and fiber PLUS a delicious taste .. what more could you ask for? Do your regular workout, or at least get in a brisk walk – you want to get the blood moving and the oxygen flowing through the system.

You’ll be doing a soundcheck, possibly traveling some distance, and perhaps some interviews, so you’ll be using your voice quite a bit day of show- something to remember in the weeks prior to the show. You want to have your voice on a work out schedule, just the same as your body. Try singing four of the songs that will be in the set every day for a couple of weeks prior to the show … this will train your vocal cords and get the songs deeply embedded into your subconscious, so that there will be no recall effort whatsoever.

Next, make sure you have your stage clothes ready to go- decide what you’re gonna wear the day before, try it on, make sure it looks good and is comfortable enough for you to move around in. Image is truly half the battle, or MORE! As Eddie Izzard says …”10% how you sing, 90% how you look doing it”!!! That is of course an exaggeration, but it’s something to keep in mind. There are a lot of huge stars today that are more about a look and a style than about great singing.

Get something light to eat about 2 hours before you play .. you want to have energy for the show – and drink a good amount of water through out the day, just to keep the vocal cords hydrated. Forty five to thirty minutes before show time,  clear the dressing room so you can do your voice warm up routine, and talk through the set with the band – let them know if you are going to talk to the crowd and certain points, or if you are gonna move anywhere they need to know about – (like into the audience etc) and when.

In the last couple of minutes before you go onstage, think about why you are doing this. Ask yourself why people should bother coming to see and hear you. Why you, and not one of the other billion acts out there these days? These are the moments to gather up all your energy, bring it up to your heart center .. fill it with the love you have for what you do, and the service you are providing- and then bring it up to your throat center – run onto the stage, and SING!!!!!

Self Promotion – Why It’s a Must

Self Promotion – Why It’s a Must

As I work with entertainers of all kinds, it amazes me how they have all this stuff going on and they don’t tell anyone.  I have them on my radio show and instead of creating a buzz and letting people know ahead of time, they maybe put one tweet out or do it just before they actually call in to the show.  The fans most likely missed the notification and couldn’t attend or listen because they weren’t forewarned and didn’t have enough time to tell their friends or plan to listen in. In this situation, the artist loses an opportunity to engage with the fans, and the fans lose out on hearing the latest and greatest from their favorite artist.

Part of growing your fan base is keeping on top of the updates regarding what you are up to.  The buzz is critically important to get people interested in you. This is especially true if you are looking for your big break.  The artist needs to find the time to take advantage of promoting any opportunities that come and promote it before AND after the event scheduled.  Be sure to send updates after the show so that people who missed it can get a chance to check it out.  This should be done for weeks before and after the scheduled event.  This not only makes you look busy which is key, but it also helps the people who are promoting you on their show, interview or magazine.  It boosts their ratings and numbers as well.  This is a win-win for both parties.  If you get good numbers for the people who showcase you, then they will be more than happy to work with you again.

Artists/entertainers need to seriously manage their PR opportunities and use it to the maximum advantage. You are only as relevant as the buzz around you.  Get your act together and promote what you have going on to the fullest extent!

Take note entertainers, if you aren’t paying someone to do this for you, it’s your responsibility to keep the buzz alive.  It’s a responsibility to your career and the fans who love you.