Welcome back the the "Cymphani Speaks" blog where I "Cymphani" share my experience being a professional in the music and entertainment industry. Lately, many people have been asking how they can move up to the next level in this business. That question is so loaded because I'm still navigating my way through it as well. But, one thing I am proud of is I have learned so much in this industry and I love giving back to curious minds. So, today's topic is UPGRADING YOUR VALUE AS AN ARTIST. But what does that mean? Upgrading your value simply means getting yourself a professional and visual aesthetic that makes you attractive to fans and other business prospects that may be interested in working with you. Being an attractive Business (Because yes you're a business) is what will bring in your sponsors, fans, and investors so I will help you understand what these prospects look for in an artist or a business. Let's GO!
Think about the main thing (other than money) that separates a Mainstream Artist from an Independent Artist. If you don't know what it is I'm definitely going to tell you because that's the whole reason I'm even writing this ya know lol. What separates the two is quality. Something very noticeable in the Independent World is the quality of the Music, Videos, Graphics, and even Performance. Quality is a major aspect of growth in every career that should be held to a very high standard. Quality is what separates who's dedicated and who's not. Quality will upgrade you to your highest level as an Independent Artist and here's why and how to do it.
In the Music Industry, there's so much talent but there are rarely artists that are different. When we think about the GOATS of Music like Michael Jackson, Prince, and Missy Elliot, or rappers like Old Dirty and Busta Rhymes what got these musicians noticed was that they were different. You know their look, and their sound yet we're always intrigued with the next song or album released. Being different in entertainment is highly effective and important. It not only gets you noticed but creates a long-term career because you're not just a trend or one-hit-wonder. So, please. Be Different.
Record In a Professional Studio or Have your Music Professionally Mixed and Mastered
The first step of this is your product and getting it as professional as possible. If you're serious about your career either start learning how to record high-quality music or go to a high-quality studio. Your music being the best quality it can be is a huge stamp in quality. I once talked with the manager of a well-known producer of one of the world's most popular stoner artists. After looking at all we've done the only advice he could give was to upgrade our quality. It took a while to accept that advice but when someone who is where you're working on getting gives you honest feedback it's best to swallow the pride pill and get to work.
Ways to build a high-quality studio: It doesn't take much equipment but it does take a great mic, lots of wall padding, and high-quality monitors to get a great sound. If you have that but can't engineer then the next step is to send those raw vocals to a great engineer for the next step. But I am a firm believer in being able to learn anything but until you learn those skills invest!
Work with the Best Videographers and Editors for your Music Videos, Live Performance Videos.
Your Music videos are the most important piece of content you can create. Your videos introduce your image to the world. Many times a fan becomes a fan because of your video even if they don't like the song. It's very important to work with professional videographers who work with the best cameras and also know how to shoot. There is an art to shooting footage and it must be done properly. The other side of that is editing. Every videographer can't edit so it's always important to study videos and ask questions before booking. Ask if they also edit and if you know a person who edits very well don't be afraid to ask the videographer to just shoot the footage and have the other person edit. It's your video so you must take control of the way you want it to look with that thought also realize a Director can also be an asset to your video set as they have a different eye than the videographer.
Only Post High-Quality Content
As a graduate in Graphic Arts and Web design, many people don't know that I didn't go to school for music. I spent a lot of my time even before discovering my musical talent learning about Graphics and how to create content starting at a very young age. I never knew why I was so intrigued by computers and technology but now being a Music Producer and Certified Marketing specialist I can only give credit to God for leading me on my path to learning about technology, and for a great reason because my skill in design has helped me greatly over the years. When you're an artist people will try to sell you on why you should buy a service from them and if you're not educated on what things should look and sound like on high levels you're sure to get scammed or sold very low-quality content. In the Entertainment industry there are millions of Advertisements all day every day but how do you stand out and get noticed if your content doesn't pop like these major platforms? It's very important to spend time studying high-quality content and connecting with professional companies that can bring your content and brand to the next level. You don't want to get overlooked because of a bad website or design. Always invest in the best quality for whatever you're working on. High-Quality Videos, Pictures, Memes, and everything you need to succeed as an artist is an important step in upgrading yourself to the next level. If you're unsure where you stand with your quality always ask a professional for an honest answer and compare to the best content creators online.
Ways you can upgrade on your own for free by using video apps, flyer apps, and content tools that are available online and in app stores.
Build Your Portfolio
Now that you've upgraded your quality let's talk about your portfolio. Your portfolio includes everything that you've done since you've been an artist. This portfolio includes your website/epk, your music, pics, videos, video performances, blogs, interviews, and all of your links. This information needs to be stored somewhere and easily accessible and yes ONLY THE HIGHEST QUALITY CONTENT MAKES THE CUT. You need all of this especially when you're independent and solo. You're going to want to promote yourself in a higher light and with confidence. Your portfolio should hold your most recent content and date back 2-3 years. It's okay to showcase your older quality since quality upgrades all the time but mostly this portfolio should hold the best for the most part.
Ways you can build a portfolio yourself: Using a DIY website builder is a great place to start a website or EPK. The best part is you don't need to know how to code anymore because most sites allow you to just upload pictures and videos from youtube.
Do an Online Clean Up
Cleaning up your online presence is the perfect way to get everything exactly how you want it. Looking fresh and professional. With your new website, epk, graphics, videos, and pictures this is the time to make your profiles stand out and be uniform. Make sure you choose the best profile picture and make sure your usernames are all the same if possible. Like, everyone knows they can find me everywhere @cymphanimusic and that my website is www.cymphanimusic.com. My platforms have been the same since 2015 when I started the company. You want to make sure you are easy to find everywhere. Also, go through your followers and get rid of any nonactive pages. When you are following users that are inactive and users are following you and are inactive it makes it difficult for the active users to see you. The algorithms of these sites can be tricky so you always want to make it as easy as possible to see your content.
The most challenging part of it all that I recognize with many artists is the ability to stay consistent. In anything consistency is key. Though there are challenges it's important to get ahead of what you can and create a plan to always be in motion. When I say "always be in motion" this doesn't mean you have to constantly be posting on social media and feeling like you always need to have something to post. Though it is important to be active on social media there has to be a balance between when you're active and when you're working on things that will make posting easier for you. Creating a plan, writing it down, and checking goals off is a great way of staying consistent. The minute you get an idea write it down, brainstorm on what it will take for you to complete the goal, and break that down into smaller steps. As you're doing this you'll see your vision following into place but you must stay consistent to be successful and if those steps involve money don't be afraid to invest.
Always Be In Learning Mode
The last piece of advice I'll give is to always be in a state of learning. Learn the business of music and the art of marketing. Learn ways to become better at your craft, study the greats, book consultations, watch youtube videos and read books. Everything that you need is available to you all you have to do is look for it. Don't get distracted by other artists, competition, and the ups and downs of life. Things will never be 100% perfect but through perseverance, you can do anything you set your mind to. Go at your pace but keep moving.
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