California pop artist Joel Piper is quickly becoming an artist to follow. The former lead singer and drummer of hardcore band Confide recently released his debut album as a solo artist, “Dying To Live,” (following an EP), and people are continuing to take notice. With little more than the support of his fans, the album debuted at #17 on the iTunes pop charts. We got a chance to talk to the humble artist about how he got to where he is, where he’s hoping to go, and what other independent artists can do to connect with fans and promote their music.
What was it like starting to release music as a solo artist after having been part of Confide for so many years?
I’m basically doing everything the same as when I was in a band. We always had to do everything ourselves, which I actually like. I am very hands on with every part of my music career—as much as I can be—whether it’s with videos, graphics, marketing, etc. It’s actually easier doing things on my own now because I have full control of what goes on, so there are no miscommunications.
I’ve always had a unique and authentic connection with my fans. I’m thankful because I’ve joined band after band after band through the years, and my fans have continued to stick with me and support whatever music I write and pursue.
You released your most recent album Dying To Live this summer. Did you have a marketing plan in place for its release?
To be honest, I wasn’t sure what to expect from it, if anything. I was guessing that it would hit some sort of Billboard chart at least, but I didn’t expect to get top 17 on the iTunes Pop chart, a manager, and some other opportunities, within one day of the release. I just let my fans know 2 weeks before the release that it was coming. My fans and I are so close that I can treat self-releases like that. I only was able to market to my twitter fan base considering my Facebook page wouldn’t even work half the time during the week of the release…
How do you feel about streaming? Do you put your music on streaming sites? Or do you think that artists aren’t fairly compensated for streams?
My EP is on basically every streaming site, but I have left Dying To Live off of particular streaming sites after hearing about the shady business and unfair pay system these companies practice. For now it’s not a bother to me to not be on certain sites because if people want to stream my album they can just go to another site. I don’t care about the money as much as the principle of the matter. For now I’d rather they hear the music for free on YouTube than get ripped off by a company that lies.
You’re very active on Facebook and Twitter. What are some specific ways you use these social media channels to connect with your fans and promote your music?
Some ways I’ve used social medias to promote were having fans leave iTunes reviews and in return I would personally email them an exclusive mp3 of an unreleased cover song for free. I don’t really make contests as much as I should. I usually just write a few tweets announcing a cd release and the core fans are right there re-tweeting, sharing, and spreading the news by word of mouth. One way I gained an original small core fan base (that is constantly growing) was by hanging out and meeting almost every single one of my fans on tour with my old bands throughout the years—building almost personal relationships with them. I just love people, and they are the reason I can do what I do.
What are your goals as an artist?
I will continue to write music for and connect with people everywhere, and one day wish to become a household name as an artist showing people hope, love and passion. I have had this vision since I was a toddler, and have never strayed from it.
Why does TuneCore work for you?
Straight out of the gates TuneCore allowed me to release music to the biggest music store on earth—iTunes—and all other digital platforms. That right there is, to me, the most powerful tool for any unsigned artist. Many friends wish they weren’t on labels and could self-release their music through TuneCore.
What advice would you give other independent artists?
It’s all about understanding and connecting to people. Figure out how to fit into peoples’ lives instead of trying to make them fit into yours.
If there is an authentic purpose to the music you are making and you never quit doing what you love, I promise opportunity will come one step at a time, as it has for me 🙂
People can see when you’re genuinely passionate about something you’re doing. And if it’s good they will want to be a part of it.
I am constantly staying out of my comfort zone too. I have made some great connections by accident just because I stay out of my comfort zone and make friends everywhere I go. I am so thankful for all the opportunities a few specific people have given me in the last 2 years. It’s all getting me closer to breaking through as an artist. I’ll never give up. And now I have a great team building behind me.
What can your fans look forward to next?
Music video and possibly a single beginning to go to radio 🙂
We are working on song placements right now in many areas too. Things are looking very positive, and we cannot wait to see what comes of Dying To Live these next few months!