Monday, July 10, 2017


I observe a lot when it comes to new artists, behavior and notice things that are done all in the name of getting their name out there, some good, some great and some that makes me cringe. If you want to get heard, you have to not only use your business sense but you have to use your common sense. There's more to being heard than good music and having a voice. If you want people to pay attention, there are some things that you, as not only an artist, but as a person, need to pay attention to as well. I thought I'd get some input from some friends on the business, some well known names, some new artists, songwriters, someone from radio and someone from the business side of the industry. Check out what they had to say when it comes to making a name for yourself in the music business. Lots of good insight here about what to do and what not do and some advice that just might help someone along the way. That's the point of this article and it's also why Lovin' Lyrics is here, to help new artists however we can.

Thanks to everyone who took their time to contribute their thoughts and shared their personal advice. If something one of these people help you, please be sure to let them know on social media that it was helpful. I've included their social media pages for your information. They all handle their own accounts and do not rely on social media managers so they do respond personally.

~ Jenn

Follow me on Twitter at @Lovinlyrics and here on Facebook.

Duane Allen
The Oak Ridge Boys, Grand Ole Opry Member, Country Music Hall of Fame Member, ACM, CMA , Dove and Grammy Award winner.

 Hits include "Elvira", "Bobbie Sue" and "Y'all Come Back Saloon"

Twitter - @DuaneAllen
Facebook - Duane Allen Fan Page 

"The main thing I tell young artists is to never give up on their dream. Sing every time you get the chance. You learn something about how to communicate every time you sing. If you are just singing to entertain people, sing something familiar. If you are hoping to get a recording deal, record new songs, don't record favors for anyone, including yourself. Record the best new songs you can find. Always be on time. Arrive at your show with plenty of time to thank people who brought you there. Always thank the helpers and security."

Joe Bonsall 
The Oak Ridge Boys, Grand Ole Opry Member, Country Music Hall of Fame Member, ACM, CMA , Dove and Grammy Award winner, Published Author

 Hits include "Elvira", "Bobbie Sue"and"Y'all Come Back Saloon"

Twitter - @JoeBonsall

"If Duane responded, then you already have the best advice…. I will add one thing… don’t sign anything EVER without a good music lawyer!!!"

T. Graham Brown 
Singer/Songwriter - has performed on the Grand Ole Opry 200+ times. 

Hits include "Darlene", "Come as You Were" and "I Tell It Like It Used To Be"

Twitter - @TGrahamBrown1
Facebook - TGrahamBrown1

If I was sitting in a living room with you or across a table from you and you asked my advice, this is what I would say..... if you want to be professional singer, songwriter or musician, make sure you love it so much, you just can't do anything else! Realize that if you are making a living doing what you love, you have the BEST job in the world. Why? Because your job is making a living  making people happy.  It is the BEST job in the world. Treat people with respect, everyone you meet.  From radio folks to promoters to other artists to audiences, especially audiences! Be thankful every time you walk out on a stage that they're there, waiting for you! It's another chance to make people happy!  Without them, you wouldn't have a job!  Really the only way you can make people happy is for you to be happy.  That will come if you pay attention and notice what's going on in your life and around you.  The days, months and years go by so quickly, like the blink of an eye!  Care about the folks that you're working with, appreciate their talent and hard work.  I guess I'm trying to say, live in the moment as much as possible and you'll create great memories that will last a lifetime.  Give everyone your best, every interview, every show, every time.  If you sing, play or write, try to do it almost every day. The more you practice your talent, the better you'll be. And the better you are, the more you'll get to do what you love.  It may sound simple or silly, but I know that it's true. One last thing.....if this is what you want, with all your heart......keep at it........NEVER EVER GIVE UP!!!

Good luck!! Keep the faith and spread it gently.

Steve Holy 
Singer / Songwriter

Hits include "Good Morning Beautiful", "Brand New Girlfriend" and "Love Don't Run"

Twitter - @SteveHoly
Facebook - SteveHoly

"Listen to your label. When you reach that moment where you figure it all out, use your own ideas and make the label think it was all their idea. Do a lot of listening. My father, Hank Holy, always told me ' Life's a pay attention game.'"

"When on a radio tour, remember names and just when you've had enough, you're tired and want to give up, remember how fortunate you are to be in that position in the first place."

"Cowboy Troy"
Singer - Member of Big and Rich's Muzik Mafia

Songs Include "I Play Chicken with the Train", "If You Don't Wanna Love Me (With Sarah Buxton) and "Cash in the Cookie Jar"

Twitter - @CowboyTroy
Facebook - CowboyTroy

"My advice to new artists on growing your audience would be when using social media, your interactions with your fans should be more than just “listen to my single” or “buy my EP”.  Spend some time engaging your fans with different types of posts. Post things other than sales ads. Only posting sales ads will eventually get you cleaned out from someone’s friends list or unfollowed. You want to grow your audience? Try keeping things light-hearted when possible and compassionate when circumstances are appropriate."

Bridgette Tatum
 Singer / Hit Songwriter

Cuts include "She's Country" by Jason Aldean, "Loud" by Big n Rich,
and "Back" by Randy Houser

Solo songs include "I Like My Cowboys Dirty", "Some Things Need to Be Said" 
and "That's Love Y'all"

Twitter - @BridgetteTatum
Facebook - BridgetteTatumFans

"Learn to accept no. No is OK. Those aren't your "people. Always do something everyday for your career. Make a video! Start a chat! Answer questions! However, do NOT over saturate your fans with music. They know you play music. They wanna know YOU. Get creative! Use social media as much as possible. It's a valuable tool in the arts these days. Absolutely play venues where you can connect with writers/publishers/artists/labels. It doesn't always matter if only five people to play to as long as they are the RIGHT five people."

Leah Turner

Songs include "Take the Keys"and "Pull Me Back" 

Twitter - @LeahTurnerMusic
Facebook - LeahTurnerMusic

Advice someone once gave you that stuck with you - Never Give Up. Don't sit around and wait for it to happen, go and make it happen 

What to do - On radio tours, be ready to work and be in lots of cars, planes and hotels.

Performing - Always connect with the crowd, read your audience, and be real and honest.

Attracting fans - Always reply, always stop and say hi, always stop for the picture, the signature, the handshake or the hug. 

Kyle Jennings
Singer / Songwriter

Songs Include "Jesus, Jack Daniels and Me", "Freedom Strong" 
and "You Can Hear the Opry Cry"

Twitter - @KyleJennings13
Facebook - KyleJenningsMusic

"How to keep from giving up is simple. Don't give up. Let your heart lead your footsteps and succeed or fail you'll never be wrong. Live for what you do and understand there is more purpose in the journey than the destination. Take on every challenge with a full heart and an open mind and aspire to grow from every opportunity you can. Be a student if your craft indefinitely. Appreciate where you are right now, and value it, and give your best effort to each moment but don't disconnect from the hope and drive and ambition to continue down the road. It's a hard concept to completely encapsulate. It really comes down to your value system. Some people simply value commercial "chart success" and/or money as their measure of overall success, regardless of the cost. Some have deeper convictions and aspirations and value things like artistic integrity and over commercial success. Those types have a more comprehensive measure of "success" and I think in the long run find more joy in their work. They also understand it's a much longer and tougher road filled with twists and turns that continually challenge you and test your resiliency and shape your character. Regardless, nothing worth anything is easy. It's a long tenuous road and being passionate about all areas of music isn't just a plus, it's a pre-requisite. At the end of the day, whether you have aspirations as a player, vocalist, or songwriter, focus more on how you can be better tomorrow, than worrying about being good today. If you can acquire that mentality, success is just a matter of time."

Justin and Ryan Harris - McKenzies Mill

Songs include "Houston", "Just Kickin' It", "God Bless the Southern Man" 
and "Middle of Nowhere"

Twitter - @McKenziesMill
Facebook - McKenziesMillFan

"I guess if there's one thing we have learned over 12 years in this town its the power of people. This industry, like any industry has an infrastructure in place…and that's not a “bad” thing. The quicker you embrace that, and not fight it, the better off you’ll be. Learning how to be true to yourself, true to your art, but not stubborn about the fact that you will need the help of many others along the way, the quicker you’ll have a fighting chance at forming a team in Nashville that can help you get to wherever it is that you want to go. Compromise and “selling out” are not synonymous. Bend but don’t break. You have to be able to look yourself in the mirror and feel good about the work you’re doing, but don’t let pride get the best of you either. It’s a slippery slope. Good Luck!"

Gary Quinn
 Singer / Songwriter (UK)

Songs include "He Don't Show Her Anymore", "Live Each Day" and "Shame"

Twitter - @GaryQuinnMusic
Facebook - GaryQuinnMusic

Advice someone once gave you that stuck with you - "Two of the biggest pieces of advice came from a family member call Mickey Tracey (my mother's cousin who's in the industry) and a country artist from Ireland that I looked up to, Eamon McCann. Eamon said "never compromise" and by that he meant never leave your beliefs of what you want to sound like and want to do. That might have meant I've turned down some 'big' opportunities but I would have ended up doing something I didn't really want to do. Mickey told me once "if there's no platform for you to showcase your talents...then go make one" and so I've been involved to helping set up a few events here and there in the UK and one of the main reasons I co-founded 'BUCKLE & BOOTS COUNTRY MUSIC FESTIVAL' in Manchester along with my friend Karl Hancock last year."

What to do - "It's important to budget radio promo and touring into an album / single release. No point having a great record if no one's going to hear it. As a songwriter performer, it's also important to test your new songs out on a small live crowd. Sometimes the song you've written in the bedroom can sound great to you (because you've invested so much in it) but does it fly when performed live? Do 'live streams' of you performing online to attract new fans, apply to play at all genre festivals, new some interesting covers (maybe mash them up with your own). Also, interact with fans online. Think to yourself how awesome you'd feel if one of your favorite acts replied to a tweet? It's no different regardless of what rung of the ladder you're on."

Attitude - "Simply treat others as you'd wish to be treated and have a really good work ethic. Also have a thick skin as rejection is part and parcel of the industry but have faith in yourself. If you don't have faith in yourself then how can you expect a label to? "

What not to do - "Don't continually email over and over again asking for someone to listen to your stuff. Don't give up on trying to succeed either, its a fine balance."

How to get your name out there - "Play everywhere and anywhere, even if it's in your front room 'live streaming'. Remember, if you don't have a platform then go a create one!"

Josh Pruno
Singer / Songwriter

Songs Include "That's My Cross", "23rd Psalm"and "Long Before I Did"

Twitter - @JoshPruno
Facebook - JoshPrunoMusic

"Here are a few thoughts from this Missouri Boy...and I preface with the fact I obviously don't have 'answers'. Not even close. Hell, I'm still trying to figure most of this out 😉 I will say that growing up with a Dad who was a college baseball coach helped prepare for a lot of the business side of music. It sounds funny I know...but a lot of what he used to preach to his kids (teams) was:

1- YOU NEVER KNOW WHO IS WATCHING. Whether there are 10 people in the crowd or 1000, it doesn't matter. Always know that you are on. Everything you do. Hidden in that is the fact that the majority of the time it's the little things they're watching. If they came out, chances are they know what you can do. What they don't know is how do you treat the people running sound? How do you respond when your monitor isn't working? How do you react to a crowd who isn't really listening? Etc...

2-ALWAYS SURROUND YOURSELF WITH PEOPLE WHO ARE MORE TALENTED THAN YOU. More or less, if you are the best musician in your band, player on your team, have nobody to push you to be better. I have been so fortunate to have guys in my band who are twice the musicians I am. I love the fact that they push me to be better. I have been so blessed to sit and write with some of the best writers in this town, all of who are so much better than me. I take every opportunity to be a 'sponge' that I can. As far as everything else goes, I only know to be yourself. Who are you? If you can't answer that, nothing else matters. Know who you are and what you are about. Be that. Don't preach it. Then if you're lucky someone comes into your life/career and toots your horn for you. Like anything/everything else in life, if you (personally) have to say it (put yourself over)...then you ain't it."

Rita Ballou
On Air Personality KOKE-FM Austin, TX and Music Blogger

Twitter - @RawhideVelvet

On Radio Tours:

Show up for an interview on time -- if you are even 15 minutes late it can screw up the entire day for someone else. 

Show up sober -- look, we get it. You are a rock star and it was a long night of jagerbombs and fireball, but be a grown up. This is our JOB and a place of business...this isn't the Waffle House after last call. Have some respect. If we have to be sober AT WORK, so should you.

Show up with your instrument -- be ready to play. Trust me, no one wants to listen to you talk unless you are cool like Radney Foster or Ray Wylie Hubbard...and guess what? They play AND sing. If they can, you damn well better.

Don't stink -- the studio is small...just like that van. We get it, things get ripe but a little Febreeze never hurt anyone.

Rita also saw this advice on a feature asking radio personnel the same thing so she included the following:

Rachel Yount Martin (Lone Star 102.5 - KHLB FM Radio): "For up and coming artists I'd say the big #1 is in-studio performances. It obviously helps to be talented, but if the listening audience gets to know you, they'll feel more of a connection with your music. And if you're playing a show in the area- even better! Maybe, hopefully for the radio station, that venue will consider advertising if they hear the interview and it helps turnout. Unfortunately for small market stations, some advertisers need convincing. #2 is your job is fun- I know we may be the 3rd radio station you've been to today, but don't forget to have fun with us! The listeners can't see how tired and bored you are on your radio tour, but they can hear it. Be mindful of your speaking voice as well as your singing voice. #3 is liners- they're super easy and worth reaching out to do. Not every station will want one, but I believe for the Texas artists especially, it's another tool that allows listeners to get to know you. "Hey, this is So-and-so from Frisco, Texas and you're about to hear my new single Blah on BBBB fm!" Obviously can't be done for everyone, but it's worth reaching out. Those are my big 3! Good music is obviously a given, but I hope that helps

Matt Ganssle (KYKX 105.7 - East Texas Best Country): "Encourage the artists to learn about radio and how our medium connects with fans deeper than spins. Be accessible for liners, appearances, radio shows, etc. Interact with station social media like a normal person. Never spam for requests - simply interact like a normal person, share relevant content and have fun with our mutual fans!"

Drew Bennett (KOKE-FM): "Have your artist voice liners and jock shouts for everyone on the air there. EVERYONE needs more of those. Send it along with the record. Otherwise, the occasional food surprise can be nice, but we all have to be careful. I know someone who used to live here in ATX who took some plugola and got black balled along with a station fine."

Dave Rose
Owner Deep South Entertainment, Management for Bruce Hornsby, Little Feat, Stryper, Parmalee, Jason Michael Carroll, Allison Moorer, LANco, Kasey Tyndall, Lee Roy Parnell, and The Warren Brothers, and Published Author. 

Twitter - @DaveRose9811
Facebook - DeepSouthEnt

Advice someone once gave you that stuck with you - "From various people, and in various forms, the advice that has stuck with me most consistently throughout my career is this: It’s about the music. It’s ALL about the music. Make great music, truly brilliant music – music that touches people’s soul – and the rest will take care of itself. Marketing, Branding, Touring, Merchandising, etc. – those are all important, but none of those things matter if the music doesn’t come first."

What to do - "Be nice – to everyone. Always. It’ll pay off many times over. And it just generally makes for a more enjoyable life"

What not to do - "The opposite would apply here. Don’t be an a**hole. And back to my original advice as well, put the music first. Be nice and make brilliant music and you’ll be amazed at the doors that’ll open. Seems simple, but I’ve seen first hand how it can work."

How to get your name out there - "Once you’ve got brilliant music, network, network, and network. Go to shows. Go to music conferences. Go to more shows. Meet local musicians. Go to industry networking events. No matter where you live, get involved in the local music community. Get to know as many people as you can. You’ve heard before that this business is all about relationships – it’s kind of true. Solid relationships can certainly help to kick start things."

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