Hey everyone!

so here I am, a week later and soooo much has happened over the last 7 days!

Recap in video (+ some extra info 😉

 

Recap in text and links:

    • “Down By The Water” recording from my home practice got 3k views in 1 day! Never happened before! It got also very positive feedback on Instagram and got featured by @talentgram1! Here’s the video on Facebook. If you like it, please share!

 

    • Just for fun to share on Instagram, I made a short promo video for my track “From The Other Side” on the Ibiza Beats CD Vol. 10. I shared it with the producer of the compilation who really liked it and, with a few small changes, he decided to use it as an official promo for the whole CD! So out of 24 tracks, mine will be featured in the promo 🙂 So grateful!
      The main takeaway – don’t wait for things to come to you, create and initiate projects yourself!
      Here’s the video:

S

      • Songwriting Workshops – I finalized the content of the workshops and I’m in the process of offering them to music institutions! Have a look at www.messageofthesong.com and if you have any tips and ideas who would be interested in them, let me know!
      • I received the mix for the upcoming single/custom song “Heart on the Sleeve”  – and we decided to re-record it. Sometimes that happens, too. But we’ll make it great! 
      • I got invited to play at a ‘green’ event organized in Hilversum – the town I live (close to Amsterdam). It is now confirmed for 4 June and it will be a nice chance to promote my private Rainforest Fund tour! Stay tuned for more details…
      • I discovered “Smule” – a karaoke app (don’t laugh!) that enables you to share your recordings and sing with other more/less famous artists – including big stars like Ed Sheeran etc… This app is so much fun and sounds soo good that I’m inspired to record more covers and share them with you in the coming weeks/months! And also collaborate with other artists! I give you my first two recordings:

Well, there you have it! A snapshot of my morning yo-ooooooohm-ga practice!

WARNING: Do not expect to see ‘pretzels’ and other insane asanas! It’s just an imperfect practice lead by a soul in an imperfect body… (Do expect to see a lot of my butt though…) My practice is simple, not extreme. I usually do about 10 – 20 min of yoga in the morning to stretch the tight muscles after sleep and get some energy flowing in my body. 

It might not seem related to music but if you think about focus, energy, balance, endurance, practicing when you don’t feel like it, practicing regularly, practicing even when it looks like you will never be able to master it, accepting your current limitations and learning to go beyond them… it starts to sound like any endeavour, including that of a musician.

 

Why do I practice yoga?

Up until 2006 or so, I lived a very stressful life. Unwittingly, I was creating all the stress myself. I was in the ‘victim’ mode and felt that things were happening to me (rather than by me or through me). Eventually, health issues such as back problems and carpal tunnel syndrome caused me to be unable to play the piano or type on a computer keyboard. Each stroke on the keyboard (any keyboard!) sent electrical like shocks to the tips of my fingers, and also my forearms, upper arms, elbows, and back hurt… I had a carpal tunnel surgery on my left hand, but nothing improved. I felt crippled and paralyzed, and, without being able to play the piano and feeling miserable in my personal life, I just didn’t want to live anymore…

After the surgery,  I tried acupuncture treatment and that helped somewhat. But it wasn’t until I left my marriage and started a new life, taking some time to reflect on my way of being and thinking, that the pain started to recede. I realized that the only source of stress in my life was how I reacted to the external stimuli. Gradually leaving the ‘victim mode’ (things happening to me) and stepping into an empowered mode (things happenings by me and eventually through me). 

 

My First Yoga Class

After my marriage, I was in another relationship which crashed and burned, too, a couple of years later, essentially because I was still in the ‘victim mode’, living all tensed up…

Eventually, somehow I came across an ad for a “Yoga Day” event – just one day of yoga. So I went… After a day of practicing, meditating and discussing Buddhist views on life, including the concept of detachment, I felt a complete bliss for the first time in my life! I also think that for the first time ever I was able to properly relax and release tension in my body. Up until that point, I used to go to the gym regularly but I knew nothing of relaxation. I was just steaming ahead! 

 

Having felt so great after that day, I could never go back to how I had lived before. Gradually, I developed a regular yoga and meditation practice which help me relax and detach when I can’t control how things are going.

There are many lessons I have learned since then, but if there’s just one to share with you, then it’s the old Tibetan saying “If a problem has a solution, there’s no need to worry. If a problem doesn’t have a solution, then worrying doesn’t help. So why worry?”.  After all, we’re all ghosts riding meat covered skeletons made of stardust. So why worry, ever? 

So here are two things I wanna share with you tonight:

1. New Blogumentary:  PJ’s Artistic Journey – #pjsartisticjourney

I’ve decided to start documenting my artistic journey in blogs (and videos will most likely be a part of it) because I have found that when I share my experiences and insights on the path of developing my musical career, others (artists or non-artists) find it also valuable and even inspiring!  And I find it worthy as a review of the things I have done!

Also, I myself have often wondered how artists make it in the music business. What are the necessary steps, how long does it take, what does it take? 

Soooo, from now on, look for #pjsartisticjourney on my Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, to see the newest developments of my musical career – which in essence is simply my effort to make the most out of my gifts and talents by sharing them with the world.

Here’s the first of the series on Facebook. If the video doesn’t work (Facebook is just not there yet, like Youtube), click here.

PJ’s Artistic Journey-Episode 1

How consultations with an artist manager help an #independentartist
If you’d like to work with a manager but can’t afford to pay one full time yet, you may want to check out this video. I just finished my 3rd consultation session with the AR Vocal Agency and…

(excuse my throat clearing moments :)) Don’t know what it is ’cause I don’t have a cold at the moment! And honestly, I wasn’t that nervous 🙂 )

#pjsartisticjourney

Posted by Petra Jordan on Tuesday, May 2, 2017

 

2. How To Leap and Raise Your Value

As an artist working to create a sustainable career with my music, I often run into those that want me to play for free or tell me that it’s very hard to make a living as an artist, or that only a few make it, that it’s a hard business… bla bla bla… Gee, like I don’t know it!!!

What these naysayers never say (after all, they are naysayers) is how it IS possible to get there. If there are people making a decent living with their music, it must be possible, right? With that said, I just watched this video by Kyle Cease, one of my favorite speakers on the planet, and I can’t say enough about how much it spoke to me! And I think it might speak to you, too, so I’m sharing it here.

Go ahead, you wonderful creators, make a leap and raise your value!

It’s been 7 months since I quit my day job to work as a full-time artist. And I have not regretted this step for a single minute! The level of fulfillment from knowing that I’m working on developing my talents is the highest I could wish for!

There are challenges though, and that’s what I want to share with you. Not because I want to wine but because this stage of anyone’s journey of following their bliss is often not visible, communicated or celebrated! Yes, celebrated because, without this stage, you can’t pass onto the next one! It is one of the building blocks, and it’s an inevitable part of the foundations.


WHAT ARE THE CHALLENGES?

Mainly, the feeling that I do all of this for nothing… Wait, what? You just said you found the work fulfilling! And yes, I did say it and yes, I do find it fulfilling! What is hard to overcome is seeing that many of the activities I did over the last months are rather a long-term return on investment! Something I didn’t foresee when I set out to do them.

So if I can share something with another indie artist out there, when you set out on an indie artist journey, work on your craft, your brand, build your audience and determine your short term and long term goals and income streams! And don’t be shy to put dates next to them. It might look disappointing at first but it will also give you a better handle on things.

 

SHORTLIST OF THE THINGS I’VE DONE OVER THE LAST 7 MONTHS

 

So here’s a short list of things I’ve done over the last 7 months, most of which haven’t added much income to my wallet, mostly, but not only, because they tend to have a long-term return on investment character:

  • I’ve studied and got a certificate from a songwriting course with Berklee online – http://bit.ly/2niOwZ4
  • I’ve written my first custom song for a lady who won it as a prize in the Xmas House Concert I gave in December 2016.  This was a gift since I wanted to gain experience of writing for someone else. The result is she LOVES IT – calling it my best song 😉 Yesterday (22 April), I recorded the vocals and the song is in its final production stage (mixing/mastering/release) and it will be released as a single soon! I want to offer writing custom songs for others, too! And I thought I would have been done with it earlier but I set no deadline for myself and so here I am…
  • I’ve developed an initiative of a donation based Private Concert Tour in support of the Rainforest Fund (all info here – http://bit.ly/2niKzU2) and offered it to my audience via social media and the mailing list. I got a few likes and replies but that’s it… Why? I have yet to find out, but it probably needs more campaigning and a bigger audience than I have at the moment.
  • I’ve created a cover song program called “Pop gone Jazz” ( http://bit.ly/2oakNW2 ), which meant learning circa 20 new songs.  I’ve called about 50 – 60 hotels and event companies to offer them this program,  often hearing ‘we like your music and we’ll get back to you when an opportunity arises” – well, so far no one got back to me… Why? It might need more following up, maybe my brand is not well ‘groomed’ yet, maybe something else…
  • I’ve had one of my songs remixed for “Ibiza Beats Volume 10” Compilation CD – (for a very modest flat fee).  Nice to know my voice will be floating somewhere in Ibiza beach clubs… yet it probably won’t pay my bills. But hey, it’s a small success to celebrate!
  • I’ve played a number of open mics with a very positive response from the audience, often asking me to come back. It’s great to be wanted but these are all free gigs or they pay you tips only. In addition to small payment, the challenge I often face is that I’m a piano/keyboard player and if no piano is provided, I would have to rent a car to bring mine… which costs money, while the gig pay won’t cover it. Hmmm, not a good investment strategy. Therefore, you don’t see me performing as often as guitar players do…
  • I’ve approached beach clubs/bars/cafes/restaurants to play gigs… but so far got no replies…
  • I played 1 event that which was well paid – yet this had been arranged before I quit my day job…
  • I’ve updated my website and have kept my social media up to date… While this is fun, it does take up a significant amount of time. And I’ve learned that I have a lot of tweaking ahead of me yet!
  • I’ve spent a good amount of time learning about and researching legal questions concerning copyright/songwriting etc. – which I needed for the contracts for the remix and the custom song. This has been very helpful and revealing! Definitely a good investment of time and money! But it’s still an investment, not a return on it..
  • I’ve done Facebook Live performances where you as listeners have a chance to support my music by contributing into a virtual tip jar. This is a great way to perform for you guys and give you a chance to support my music… this needs consistency and development on my part. I pledge to work on it!
  • I’ve attended a couple more songwriting workshops and a Musicfair where I’ve made new contacts in the industry… This has proven a great step, especially because I work on the new single with a producer I met at the Musicfair!

 

SO WHAT’S NEXT?

WORKING WITH THE AR-MANAGEMENT, LONDON, UK

Having looked back, I’ve realized I needed help with determining how to go forward. So I started working with Anna Russel, the owner of the AR Management in London, UK (former clients include e.g. Groove Armada!).

This is a very exciting step with quite a few learnings and realizations in place already! As I found out, it takes about 3 years to ‘break an artist’ – i.e. to get them to a point of a sustainable music career. And that’s provided that things go well if you develop a right strategy and are consistent and disciplined in applying it!

This knowing is liberating and challenging at the same time! Liberating because I don’t create unrealistic expectations for myself to get it all done within like 6 months, and challenging because I realize I somehow need to support myself financially while working on the long-term goals, in parallel with short term goals. And that will probably including doing work that is not directly related to my music… which often makes me sad. But giving up is not an option, as the alternative would mean becoming a bitter and disappointed person, and that’s not good for this world. And so I continue to look into my heart when making decisions on each intersection, while the beat goes on

 

 

In my recent Facebook post, I asked: “WHY DOES SHAKTI HAVE SO MANY ARMS?” It was a rhetorical question, because she obviously must be an INDEPENDENT ARTIST!

Many of you are asking me when is my next album coming out? That is an excellent question because 1) I am thrilled that you want more of my music 2) I need to answer some of those questions myself!

Over the years, having worked as an indie artist either next to a day job or full time, I’ve learned that before a song appears to be freely enjoyed on Soundcloud, Youtube or as a shared mp3 file, there’s a hell of a lot of work that goes into it!

And that’s not only on the artistic level (which includes studying, practicing, writing, voice training, performing or recording (and learning how to work with all that recording hardware and software)) but especially on the not-so-artistic managerial level – though one can make an art of anything.

It was after reading this article, that I suddenly saw the amount of work we, indie artists, do, without often even thinking about it. So in honor of all the indies, who work their asses off to bring beautiful music to the world, here’s our
Incomplete Neverending Task List:

– Social media (posting, analyzing, replying to posts on Twitter, Facebook,
  Instagram, Youtube)
– Designing flyers, banners and other PR materials
– Marketing
– Advertising
– New gig research
– Dealing with computer issues
– Website updates and maintenance
– Contact list/database management
– Writing newsletters
– Corresponding with colleagues and industry contacts
– Learning and staying current on trends affecting our work as musicians
– Concepts and research for new projects
– SEO optimization (getting found in search engines)
– PR and media outreach
– Contacting venues and/or event organizations with performance offers
– Writing performance offers
– Accounting (or at least keeping track of the paperwork)
– Writing grant or sponsorship proposal
– Copyright and Legal Questions
– The list goes on…

In other words, what used to be run by the entire record label, is often run by a One Person Record Label = me = an OPRL (not to be confused with OPRAH, OPEL or OPAL…).

And when I look at it from that perspective, I suddenly feel like I just wrote up a list of positions that MY COMPANY IS HIRING for! And you know what, I AM HIRING! At this point, on volunteer basis in exchange for sharing your work with my audience and an interview via Facebook Live where you get to promote what you do to my audience!

If you want to be a part of my team, just CONTACT ME and let me know how you’d like to contribute to help me bring out more records, concerts, videos, merch or other cool stuff!

AS FOR SOCIAL MEDIA (notice I’m yelling here 🙂 –  You can also simply SHARE my posts whenever you feel like it! Social media has a HUGE (prononounce yuuudj) impact on helping indie artists with reaching new audience! So thank you, for every share <3

In my next blog post, I will be sharing with you more options how you can support my work as an indie singer/songwriter, performer, composer, human. Thank you <3