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Archive: May 2014

Four Steps You Can Take to Book Gigs

Posted on May 30, 2014 by admin

To be a successful artist, you have to start small. That means playing live. Tracking down a gig can be as easy as finding a birthday party to play. If you put a little effort into finding a gig, you can finally take your talent to a test audience.

  1. Get Your Music Out ThereHaving music available for listening is probably the most important thing for an artist to do. You’ll hear endless stories about big breaks coming due to slipping a cassette tape demo to the right person. Nowadays, it’s more likely that you’ll slip a link to the right person. This brings us to the first point: even if you have to record it in your closet on your computer, get your music out there! It’s the first step to potentially booking a show. Bandcamp and Soundcloud are two of the most widely-used sites to host your music files. Better yet, posting performance videos on sites like TalentWatch will showcase your performance skills. 
  2. Make Yourself Known Network in every sense of the word! A basic fan page on Facebook will help you spread the word, even if it is just to your friends and family at first. It’s also a convenient place to put links to new music you are working on, and advertise that you are ready to play live in the hopes that someone will take you up on the offer. Social media has made it so easy to declare yourself an artist, but that same technology also makes it easy to get lost in the crowd. Networking in real life has great potential to help you book gigs. Attending local shows allows you to meet other artists and figure out who is curating all the gigs that you could potentially play.  
  3. Make a Personal Video or Electronic Press KitYou want people to know who you are, and there’s no easier way to do that than making a personal video. It won’t take too much of your jam session time to outline a little about yourself or your band, explain it in a video, and post it online – and it will be immensely helpful for people who need to research a soloist or  band before booking them. You can add other elements to the video such as snippets of some of your performances.  You can separate yourself from the throng of other artists who only have a few photos to bolster their music by making a bio video and putting the link on your social networks. The people who book shows will be thankful for all the information – it makes filling a support slot with a likeminded artist a lot easier.   
  4. Don’t Be Afraid To Ask You have the tools at your disposal: social media, friends, and phone calls. If you feel like you have perfected your songs, or at least have them worked out enough to play live, start advertising that you are available. Ask your network if there’s any bill you can hop on. Tell your friends or parents to keep their ears open for opportunities. If you want to play a show, don’t be afraid to ask people if they are willing to let you play their next party. There’s something to be said for a little persistence. Calling local venues, even if you haven’t had any luck so far, will at least keep your name fresh in the minds of people who work there. You lose nothing by asking, and can potentially book a gig. If there is a local artist you admire, you can always ask them to consider you if they ever need a support act. That method is how Jonathan Richman, front man of The Modern Lovers who later went on to star in “There’s Something About Mary,” got his first gig opening for The Velvet Underground. 

    Put in the effort, and you’ll be playing live in no time! A little work goes a long way when it comes to hunting down shows.

The Top 3 Reasons to Enter Music Competitions

Posted on May 23, 2014 by admin

TWFBMusicContestPicMusic competitions don’t always enter the minds of artists. Perhaps they are too busy trying to perfect their craft, or maybe they just think competitions aren’t worth the effort. Not true – music competitions are extremely helpful in growing as a performer and can help careers take flight.

1. Challenging Yourself

A competition isn’t just a place to show off your talents- it’s a place to help you grow as an artist. In talent competitions, both online and off, musicians can showcase the songs that make them special.

What you get from entering a music contest is motivation; motivation to improve your skills, give your best performance, with the opportunity to come out swinging and impress anyone within earshot.  Even if you don’t win, you may get feedback which could prove to be invaluable. That’s not something you will get if your audience consists of family and friends only.

2. Increasing Exposure

Jennifer Hudson, who didn’t even make the top 5 on her season of American Idol, is now an Oscar and Grammy winner. The American public never forgot her performance, and it paid off big time when she embarked on her post-Idol career. But even if you aren’t on a widely televised competition, you still gain exposure. Videos of competition performances, such as the videos contestants post on TalentWatch, are passed around social media with regularity. It only takes the right person to see it for a big break: like an Ellen, Queen Latifah, or a Good Morning America host – who often cull TV segments from the internet.

Industry professionals often use competitions to extend their reach and sniff out new talent. With every competition you enter, the pros take notice. Audience members turn into fans, and word of mouth increases. A talent competition is a great place to start building your fan base, and to network with people who can give you a big boost when the time is right.

3. Getting Discovered

Iceland’s Of Monsters And Men were a brand new band when they entered, and won, the annual Músíktilraunir competition in their home country; now they’ve played on SNL and you can’t turn on the radio without hearing them. Do we even need to mention One Direction? The boy band started as individual contestants on the UK version of “X Factor” and are now five of the most famous young people in the world – all because they received vital advice from Simon Cowell, who put them together as a group.

Many now-famous stars were once competition contestants: Justin Timberlake, Aaliyah, Adam Sandler, Rosie O’Donnell, and Destiny’s Child all were on the original “Star Search.” And although none of them were the big winners that day, they learned from the experience and went on to stardom anyway. Getting discovered can only occur when all the right pieces are in place – when your skills are honed from experience, and when your performance is exposed to the right people. All of this can happen if you step out of your comfort zone and enter a music contest.

Utopia Artists Launches ‘Dream Night’ Competitions on TalentWatch

Posted on May 16, 2014 by admin

Curtain background‘Dream Night,’ an opportunity for young musicians to showcase their unique skills for the chance to win prizes, a huge amount of exposure, and a potential slot on America’s Got Talent, started as the dream of one woman. Utopia Artists President, Wendy Kay, is an industry insider who books influential artists decades past but also has an ear for rising stars. Every season, Wendy receives a call from America’s Got Talent producers looking for contestants. Wendy had a vision, she’d find new young talent, hiding in plain sight throughout the world and help them get a crack at the big time. But how to facilitate those first few steps? Luckily for Wendy, TalentWatch was the perfect breeding ground for her ‘Dream Night’ competitions.

Wendy sets up ‘Dream Night’ competitions all around North America, where artists age 12-29 receive a day of mentoring and performing leading up to the choosing of one winner. Just last year, ‘Dream Night’ gave rise to multi-talented Zachary Lane during a contest in New Brunswick, Canada. The teen’s voice and performance stunned the internet and live audience – and prompted Wendy to personally coach the soon to be star.

‘Dream Night’ competitions are a huge benefit to artists such as Zachary. Winning can mean a private audition for America’s Got Talent and a chance to take it all the way and win on the show. ‘Dream Night’ also provides access to industry pros, publicity, and a career changing experience for young artists. But ‘Dream Night’ is also beneficial to the music industry personnel who use the contest to extend their reach and cull talent from the unknown throughout North America. Many of these performers would go unnoticed without ‘Dream Night.’

‘Dream Night’ begins online. Potential contestants upload videos of their performance on TalentWatch, along with a short bio video so voters can get a feel for the artist as a person. Registered users will pick the top 40 artists who will move on to the ‘Dream Night’ competition. One day before the live competition industry professionals work one-on-one with each of the 40 contestants and prepare them for a live performance.  On the night of the live performance, the top 20 finalists are announced and perform live with the winner selected by the 3 judges.  Early on, Wendy recognized the TalentWatch platform as a way to choose performers and kick-start the competition.

For this season’s ‘Dream Night’ contest in Enid, Oklahoma, Wendy has a special guest judge: 2011’s America’s Got Talent winner Landau Eugene Murphy Jr. Landau and Wendy, along with other industry pros, will coach the 20 live contestants before they hit the stage, providing important advice and a priceless look into the music industry. One winner will be chosen.

Winners receive $1,000, a professionally filmed and edited video of the performance, and most importantly, a private audition for America’s Got Talent. Wendy’s connection to the show makes this exclusive prize possible. The champion also shares a stage with a headlining act at a premier venue the following evening. The Oklahoma ‘Dream Night’ winner (along with the other finalists) will be the supporting act for 2011 “America’s Got Talent” winner Landau Eugene Murphy Jr. at a concert the next evening.  

Look for two more ‘Dream Night’ competitions – one in Florida, the other in New York – launching next month.

Music Is Supposed To Mean Something

Posted on May 9, 2014 by admin

RATStingcovercontestbanneFor decades, singers have used their voices to lash out against glaring problems in our society: Billie Holiday’s “Strange Fruit” lays bare American racism; Woody Guthrie’s “This Land Is Your Land,” one of our beloved folk songs, rails against poverty and hunger; anti-war protest songs set youth culture ablaze during the Vietnam war; and America’s beloved pop stars vowed to end African famine with “We Are The World.” Music has always been a vital art form to use in the fight against society’s ailments, and now you can add your voice to fray and help battle a terrible underground industry that ruins lives.

A New Cause

Human trafficking is not a new problem, but it is an evolving one. The United States is home to a large human trafficking industry, with thousands of voiceless people being forced into labor or exploited sexually – many of these are our own country’s runaways. What if you could shine a light on this huge, illicit industry that ruins the lives of so many? Now is the time to use your musical talents for a cause. Make music have real meaning again.

What You Can Do To Join The Fight

If you want to use your talents as a weapon against the shadowy human trafficking industry, now is the time. Cover any song by Sting or The Police, make a video for the song, and enter it in the Rock Against Trafficking Sting Cover Contest. Sting has been on the forefront of artist activism and human rights since the 1980s, working with Amnesty International, Live Earth, Live 8, and continues to donate his time and money to charities involved with human rights and ending poverty.

The videos will be judged by TalentWatch users and two music industry legends (names to be announced soon). If you win, you will be flown out to Malibu to record a song that will be included on Set Them Free, an album to raise awareness about the large and destructive force of human trafficking. That means your voice will be heard alongside legends such as Fergie, Slash, Steven Tyler, Heart, Julian Lennon, En Vogue, Glenn Hughes and Andy Fraser.

Enter The Rock Against Trafficking Sting Cover Contest

Here’s your opportunity to not only make a big difference in the fight against trafficking, but to also get to record in a professional production setting, spend some time in beautiful Malibu, and have the chance to catch the eye of not only a lot of listeners, but also the staff of BuTown Entertainment. You may even get a record deal if your work strikes the right chord with producer Gary Miller.

It all starts right now. If you or your band want to join the fight against human trafficking, join TalentWatch and get to work. See contest details here.