Friday, May 11, 2018
SO HERE'S WHY I SUPPORT INDEPENDENT ARTISTS ... AND WHY YOU SHOULD TOO
There is an endless sea of music out there to choose from and my primary choice of music is the independent artist. Don’t misunderstand, I love signed artists and listen to Top 40 too, but there is something special about an independent artist who hasn’t allowed themselves to get lost in the soul sucking vortex of today’s music industry.
I’m not talking the weekend garage band warrior or the guy who occasionally gets up on open mic night to impress the new girl of the week. I’m talking about the serious and determined artist who is out to make their music more than a hobby and don’t mind doing what it takes within reason to get it out there. They don’t have the backing of big bucks, they’re not the ones who pucker up to kiss the ass of an arrogant corporate suit who’s telling them what to sing, what to wear, how to look, to drop some weight, or that it would be best if you didn’t talk too much about the family because it’s not good for the image. They don’t have high paying radio promoters, they do it themselves and realize that their fans are their biggest and most honest promoters and they don’t have to feel the need to compete with the bigger name on their label.
I love the artists who stand by their creativity and aren’t willing to sell it to the highest bidder who’s going to take control of it and turn them into something that doesn’t even start to resemble who they are. They refuse to stand in line on the musical conveyor belt as another corporately packaged, look alike, sound alike, cookie cutter molded artist who won’t be around in 5-10 years. I love the guys who will play the hole in the wall venues barely taking home tips just to be heard. They realize the size of the venue doesn’t matter and neither does the size of the crowd because all it takes is one person to hear what they have to offer and change their lives. They don’t do it for the fame, the money or the attention, they do it because they love it and because it’s who they are. It isn’t always the voices that turn my head, it’s the drive and the willpower to get in the van and hit the road, not knowing what’s ahead, only knowing they have to move forward. They stand on that stage night after night and sing to a crowd of drunks who aren’t even listening to the music. It’s frustrating, but they do it with a smile on their face. They load up their merch tables with stacks of signed self-released CD’s they paid for themselves, cleverly designed t-shirts that they paid for themselves and signed headshots that they paid to have taken, and then stand at that table exhausted after their show shaking every hand, thanking every person for coming and posing for a million pictures. They don’t just bolt off the stage and become a bus hermit. Why? It’s part of the deal and most of them really don’t mind doing it. They seem to connect on a more personal level with their fans than high profile names. They tend to remember your face and your name and talk to you for more than the standard 5 minute shake and go.
The struggle to be heard is one of the most difficult roads to travel but these artists just pile their stuff in the van and head to the next gig, the next city, the next month, the next year and hope that someone will listen and tell someone about them and that the right ears will eventually hear. They don’t give up easily and if they do, then this wasn’t the right road for them anyway. To them it’s not a hobby, it’s their livelihood and puts food on their tables and pays the bills. They aren’t any less talented than someone in the Top 40 and being played on country radio, some are more talented, sound better and their music is better quality. They just haven’t had that break yet to give them the platform to make that life changing impression but they don’t give up. This is why I don’t give up on them.
Give an unheard name a chance, listen to new music, don’t compare it to what the industry tells you is good music. Every big name started in a small venue, every big name was once a local unknown. There’s room on your playlist for both.
Follow Jenn on Twitter at @Lovinlyrics