Tag Archives: advice

TuneCore Artists Head Down to A3C Prepared!

It’s Day Two of A3C Festival 2015 and hip hop artists from all over have ascended to Atlanta to perform, shake hands, and, well, party! Before the festival kicked off, we reached out to some of our TuneCore MCs and producers to get a feel for how they’re planning on making the most of A3C this year, and grab their thoughts on what it means to be an in independent artist in 2015.

Per usual, our insightful community didn’t disappoint! Whether they’re veterans on the scene or they’ve head to Atlanta for the first time, take a look at what they had to say…

On making the most of A3C. . .

“I plan on going to as many conference panels as possible to network and get advice from industry veterans on how to improve what I’m currently doing and continue to improve my musical success.”

“Aside from the obvious answer of making connections and witnessing legends speak/perform, I find A3C and Atlanta in general, a huge inspiration for my song writing. The rich culture and southern lifestyle spark a different kind of creativity I wouldn’t normally experience at home in Canada.”
– Quake Matthews

“This is my first year at A3C, after doing SXSW four years in a row and having great success, I’m really excited to start the A3C chapter in my career. After the festival, I hope to gain the notice of music lovers that enjoy spreading the word on new artists as myself.”
Erreon Lee

“I plan on taking advantage of every opportunity to engage with the supporters of indie hip hop; performing as much as possible, building with people on a one-on-one level, etc. In terms of the “creative” side of things, I’m there to have fun and make sure I remain as visible as possible to those who I may want to engage with in the near future.”

“As an independent artist it’s key to be out and about networking. You don’t have a big team behind you, so you have to play street team sometimes down to the manager. We plan on killing shows and building with like minded artist with the same goals. A3C is the perfect opportunity to make more opportunities just have to apply yourself.”

As an independent artist I plan on making the most of my time at A3C this year by personally connecting with my current and potential fans. I already have a pretty nice fanbase in ATL, so I will be looking to expand on that. Other ways I will be making the most of my experience in A3C this year are by promoting with CDs, download cards and promotional flyers for the project I released this year through TuneCore. I will also have my personal artist/brand apparel on hand at every show and media event I attend. I’m scheduled to do tons of interviews and a few shows, so I plan to make the most of every opportunity. ”
Weasel Sims

“As an independent artist it’s hard getting your music heard and recognized. A3C gives upcoming independent artists a platform to be heard, so if I don’t connect with as many people and artists as possible I’d be wasting my time.”
Kidd Adamz

“In my eyes, the biggest thing that needs to happen during my time at A3C this year is  to go from a shy introverted artist to the very outgoing personable being that I am. The best way to do so is by meeting as many people as possible!”

On being an independent hip hop artist in 2015…

“Being an indie artist in 2015 has it’s ups and downs. As far as myself, I tend to try and look towards the positive, which is freedom. Sometimes the freedom to be you creatively makes a lot of difference – your sound, your look, and your perception always has a chance to be the next thing!”
Boxx A Million

“Being an [independent] hip hop artist, there are many obstacles and challenges – but it’s my job to continue to make interesting music and be as interactive with my fans as possible.”

“We’re the next wave of music. Of course labels will always be around, but everyday another indie artist is going viral without them. We’re the future.”
– Trev Rich

“As an independent artist in 2015 with the Internet at our fingertips, the power is in my hands. As much as I love the art, I understand that I’m a business. The more energy you invest into your business, the larger it can grow!”

“It means to be able to control your own future. Being able to ride the wave and keep up with the changes by releasing music whenever you choose to. It also means having a close relationship with your fans; they’re like your team.”
– Shawn Chrystopher

“Any thing is possible even without a label support if you work hard for it.”

“To have been signed to a boutique label before and to be independent and thriving at the same time is just a blessing from God. It’s an amazing opportunity and honor to be respected as an independent artist and it makes more sense business-wise for me at the moment; so the timing is perfect for me to succeed as a self-contained force. Shout out my team!”
– Super Spodee

From the TuneCore Community: Lessons & Advice on SXSW!

If you’ve ever been, you know firsthand that SXSW is a chaotic conference where instead of a few massive stages in a confined setting, you’re navigating venues and bars, and the festival grounds is downtown Austin itself. With 1/3 of artists performing at SXSW having distributed through TuneCore, we reached out to a group of Austin-bound indies to get their take on what lessons they’ve learned from performing years past and what advice they’d offer to those making their debut trip.

We’ve broken these lessons and tips into groups: TuneCore Artists who are making their second trip to SXSW, those who have played three or four times already, and those who are seasoned vets, having been to SXSW five or more times. Take note, TuneCore Artists!

Second Timers

Humming House (Americana)
Lessons: “We spent some time talking to our stage manager and the sound crew at our official SXSW showcase last year and learned a bit about what goes on behind the scenes. Become friends with the people working at your showcase and take into consideration what that week looks like for them. It’ll make everyone’s lives easier.”
Advice: “Go see some acts that you haven’t heard of or that you haven’t seen before. Be kind to the SXSW crew and treat Austin like it’s your home town; thousands of people descend on that city for three weeks straight and the transformation is absolutely wild. So live it up, but be considerate of the Austin denizens and the people around you!”

Sean C. Johnson (Hip Hop/Soul)
Lessons: “Plan, plan, plan! Look over the schedule for the week and highlight the shows and events you want to attend. Then plan your week around those. Last year I missed out on a lot of cool stuff because I didn’t know when and where it was happening.”
Advice: “Sleep when you get back home. Take this week to soak up as much of SXSW as possible and network with as many people as you can.”

Lyric Michelle (Hip Hop)
Lessons: “Always be prepared and have a plan for everything! What no one ever told me is that you might get separated from your group and that’s ok. You need to have a plan to what you are trying to accomplish and how.”
Advice: “This is the time to meet all the important people. Meeting Jay-Z would be incredible, but the person that booked Jay-Z, now that would be even better.”

LAB Records (Rock/Pop Label)
Lessons: “Be organized. Plans can change last minute and not everyone will have their mobile phone attached to them as on a normal working week. Be as flexible as possible with others but as punctual as possible with plans you have made.”
Advice: “Meet everyone you can – split into a couple of teams if it helps. Sometimes the most productive meetings can come from the most unlikely of sources!”

OptivioN (Alternative)
Lessons: “Have your housing arrangements ready.”
Advice: “Meet as many people possible. Don’t sleep.”

Joe Herter and the Rainbow Seekers (Folk/Rock)
Lessons: “Be prepared for lines at shows. Also, it really pays off to book a place to stay early in advance. If a better deal comes up, you can always sell your room to another band (there are websites that will help you with this).”
Advice: “SXSW can be really overwhelming. Don’t let the partying get the best of you. If you’re playing SX, then you’ve likely worked hard to get there, so make sure that you’re focused on playing your best. This also includes being healthy. Take care of your bodies! Also, SX presents an awesome opportunity to connect with other people. Attend other shows and try to make some friends. I always seem to find myself favoring a particular venue (one that hopefully provides free drinks for artists) that I spend most of my time at. When you party with a similar group of people over a few days, you’re bound to make some lasting friendships.”

Third & Fourth Timers

The Racer (Alternative)
Lessons: “Mass un-targeted flyering on the street is a waste of time and a significant source of litter. Renting a big house seems worth the extra money, but if it’s all cozy and comfy it’ll keep you away from all the action! Austin is a party, so have fun, but avoid the urge to treat this as a vacation. If this is going to be your career then this is a business trip.”
Advice: “Network! It can be a grind, but MAKE and KEEP plans to meet up with as many people/groups/companies as you can. They won’t all be worth it but you never know who you’ll run into. Also, travel light.”

Ben Aqua (Electronic)
Lessons: “Pace yourself! Spread your energy out over multiple days and rest and relax as much as possible so you don’t burn out/get sick/throw up everywhere.”
Advice: “Be friendly, kind, and loving to everybody you meet.”

Andrew Duhon (Folk/Blues)
Lessons: “I think I learned that its more about listening than performing. There’s a ton going on, and its coming from all over the map. There’s plenty to be inspired by. That, and I learned I need to call my Austin buddy sooner than later to reserve a spot on his couch before the other 5 friends with bands do.”
Advice: “Make a schedule for the morning panels you want to check out, but don’t bother doing so with the night music showcases. There’s so much music that going with the flow at night is as likely to put you in the right place as anything else. “

Vandaveer (Folk/Pop)
Lessons: “Take your own pillow and sunscreen. Eat lots of Torchy’s.”
Advice: “Assume you will achieve nothing at SXSW, then feel good about your experience matching your expectations. In the event things go exceedingly well, bask in your good fortune.”

PaperWhite (Pop)
Lessons: “SXSW is a crazy scene. Imagine the downtown area of a major city with the streets filled to the brim with people! I think it’s really easy for a band to get lost in the whole thing. Something I’ve noticed in the past that worked for me, was trying to have a specific focus on who I wanted to come to our shows, and to try to make meaningful connections with a few people rather than just trying to meet and play for as many people as humanly possible.”
Advice: “Have fun! Go see as many bands as you can. Be inspired, keep an open mind, and let it be something that fuels your creative energy!”

Dead Leaf Echo (Alternative/Pop)
Lessons: “Stay away from 6th St if possible. Give yourself enough time to get by the cops even if you have a parking permit most of the time they won’t let you by. Don’t trust a lot of the free food.”
Advice: “Go crazy but not on consecutive nights. Stay away from the big shows unless your playing them.”

Dre Prince (Hip Hop)
Lessons: “If you can make it then go. Even if you’re not playing or scheduled to play you might run into people who put on showcases for next year or they might ask you to fill in then.”
Advice: “Don’t be afraid to get out there and network & make things happen for yourself. You never know who you’ll run into.”

5+ Trippers

Nightmare Air (Rock/Alternative)
Lessons: “Networking is everything! Drink water. Texas can get cold at night in March so bring a long sleeve if you’ll be out all night…I’ve been freezing in a T shirt miles away from my hotel one too many SXSW nights.”
Advice: “Get out there, talk to people. Take cards, remember names, get contacts and follow up in the weeks after SXSW.”

The Octopus Project (Pop/Experimental)
Lessons: “Don’t kill yourself by trying to play a million shows! Pick a handful of good ones & stick with those. You won’t be completely exhausted & that will give you time to meet people & check out all the other fantastic folks playing! “
Advice: “Make as many friends as you can! There are literally thousands of people all converging in the same place that have your same interests & are in the exact same boat as you. Make buddies! Don’t try to get “discovered.” Just have fun!”

Bill Baird (Rock/Folk)
Lessons: “Don’t get distracted by the mayhem. There is a lot of corporate bullshit but just keep walking by it if it’s not your thing. Use the festival as an opportunity to introduce yourself to bands you like (go to their shows and say hi afterwards) and, most important, try to meet up with other like-minded folks from around the country, folks who you might not ordinarily get to see. The most valuable things are relationships you cultivate.”
Advice: “If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that you never really know what’s happening until after it’s finished.   That unassuming dude you met might actually be an amazing songwriter, an inspiring artist, a label owner, or might be friends with somebody like that.”