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I love how artists are soo stuck in their comfort zone. They won’t do anything that will allow them to feel uncomfortable. They fear the fear. They don’t take chances anymore. They don’t even chance the chance! Whatever that means. When I was 18-19 years old, I travelled. I had maybe $200 in cash on me and my friends and I travelled to Canada. For some reason, they didn’t need a passport. I had an ID on me that was it. It was fun because I didn’t know how to drive in kilometers, and thankfully they took US dollars but they gave me loonies and toonies back! It was an experience and a half. After spending the night in a hotel, we left and drove through Canada to NY to NJ then to NYC. At that point, I took chances. I met a friend of a friend who just happened to be a famous model. She convinced me to stay in NYC and I ended up getting involved in the model world. Yea me RIGHT!? WHAT! I won’t name names but I met, hung out, and did some pretty crazy things with some famous people. I NEVER thought I was model savvy. I knew nothing about it! But I was encouraged and thought I could think big with this. This was back in 1997. After about a month, things started to get really crazy. The model friend I was staying with, her parents came to visit. They ended up kicking everyone out of the house because they didn’t approve of the way we were living. I had a backpack on my back. I ended up hanging out at the brownstone across the street while her roommate came home. After like 10 hours he finally came home. I called him over and told him what happened. She had no idea we were locked out because she was so high and passed out; she didn’t know what was going on. But, thankfully while being out there, I had made a few “friends”. They were all aspiring actors, singers, writers, models, and we were all soo very young; we all just had big dreams. Most of them are famous now. Anyway, the roommate invited me to a party that night. I was NOT in the mood to party. As we were all being invited in, I declined and left. He was stunned cuz I had nowhere to go. I thought to myself, why did I do that? I could have stayed, toughed it out, and maybe I would have made it. But instead, I spent my last night in NYC on the street. Two gay bums watched over me all night while they were getting high. I had to sleep. BUT, they had a mattress and for some odd reason, I trusted them. After I woke up, they were still up, making sure I was ok. It was 1 time in a million this would ever happen. I can say I got very lucky, or they understood what I was going through. I am not sure. After I thanked them, I had to figure out what to do. They did advise me to call my parents. I ended up collect calling my parents from a payphone and asking them for money. I took a Greyhound back to Chicago for $100 I borrowed from my parents. They sent it to a Western Union in a central location in NY City which was nowhere close to Greenwich Village. However, I made it work and I got home. It took about 17 hours. But it was a great feeling going back home. I don’t think I ate for 3 days since that moment. At that moment, I knew I could survive almost anything. After I got home, I realized that was a crazy situation. BUT, I learned to dream big. After a year or so I decided to go into radio. That was a supported decision and I was extremely successful. The stories I have for that will be in the next blog though lol That was starting a new chapter in my life of the hustle I had to go through in that industry. Thanks for reading!
I find myself surrounded with younger adults these days. Young minds, young blood, young industry. The people I work with are mostly young adults. The guys and gals I meet are young adults. Heck my son is only 8 and I’m with him the majority of my life. Sometimes I just gotta hang with the big kids every now and then for sanity lol I never thought 37 would mean being in between. I am young, fun, spontaneous, spunky…all that jazz. But, I am content, patient, relaxed, understanding, and growing to being mature. I look at this as the rise of a music career. It takes growth, and time to marinate the craft. It also takes a lot of trial and error to see what goals need to be changed and why. Without being in between, how can you see both sides? I refer to the aging of cheese or fine wine. It takes better notice when we have patience to allow it to sit, develop, and become the amazingness it is supposed to be. I have seen only a couple of my artists allow this to set. They don’t know it yet but life throws major curve balls and all I am trying to do is prepare them to hit the ball hard so they can get a home run. Music evolves and that is the maturity of growth. It has a longevity that we need to understand how to deal with its personality at that specific time. If an artist cannot figure out how to reach their goals today, clearly that is what I am for. But if they know and still don’t do it, they haven’t aged enough to see that it takes dedication, patience, hard work, spontaneity, upstanding, and curve balls.
Those are my top priorities to be honest. I mean, other than my beautiful son, my job(s). But, you will always, always, always see me caring for my health in the most positive way; AND, music because that makes me healthy too. Think about it, what makes you happy these days? When I get lost working so hard on music management, I have to take some steps back. I literally need to focus on letting things go and naturally happen. Like a lot of people in this world, I want instant gratification. But that KILLS us. We need to let things happen after all the hard work we put into things like promotions, recording, rehearsals, shows, networking, videos, social network, project planning, writing, and the list seriously goes on. Where health and music come together is simply this. In order to maintain a healthy balance with your life and your music, you must work hard, then, take a breather. Find that time management so not only your physical self can relax, but, your mental self as well. You have to enjoy the music as it was meant to be enjoyed. Why do we love it so much in the first place? It heals, relaxes, puts us in a positive mood, or it can depress and get us through hard times. But all in all it is therapeutic. Try not to lose sight of your “WHY”. Always remember WHY you started your music business and that will keep you balanced with your health and music as a whole.
New Music Industry 2014 By Nikki Gavs, Music Manager
Without a doubt, the music industry has changed quite a bit in the past 20 years ago. It takes a lot more independence, business knowledge, creativity, and extreme hours of hard work to become a working artist. Not only does an independent artist have to build their brand, but they must gig, network, build their fan base, live stream, be a mastermind of social network, and independently make their music a business. The artist must be savvy on social network to promote themselves, their shows, and stay current every day. They also need to provide ultimate professionalism at gigs with the venue, promoters and the sound engineer. Putting together a show is its own business in itself with intense rehearsal, selling the required tickets, and making sure they are worth the promoter’s time so they can keep coming back. Social network has made it easier by promoting on Facebook and Twitter, gaining a YouTube reputation, and building a “buzz”. But, all of this intertwines with each other and if you don’t have all this in place, an artist may be overlooked. I know I fit in this new music industry wholeheartedly. I have been true to music ever since reading documentaries for book reports back in high school, to streaming LIVE music through a successful radio morning show in Chicago. I have a unique and creative way of decision making that can successfully guide an artist’s future career and help them achieve their goals. I understand today’s generation, and my focus is to stay genuine, stay creative, and to continue to evolve with the fans. When it is time to work with my artist on a project or on general business, I make sure they own up to the responsibility of how to handle tough situations. As a manager, I decide the end result, but, I never leave them out, and I consider our relationship a team. I fit into the decision process and always have a business mentality, oversee the brand, envision the longevity of the career goal, and choose what is within the best interest of my client. They need to understand their business and handle whatever comes their way, and not only am I a manager, but I am a mentor to help them learn and understand how to be a business owner. CJG Innovative is a no nonsense career boost to any artist that is looking to get to the next level. All of the coaches are highly skilled and experienced in the music business. Their expertise and guidance helps an artist understand the direction the industry is headed, and where the artist can take CJG’s knowledge and incorporate it into their business. Artist’s need CJG Innovative for guidance on how to be successful in today’s industry. Because they are a solution provider for the working musician, they assist with road blocks and growth that can excel anyone looking to make a living in the music industry. CJG understands the music business has changed and that the opportunities are not out there like they used to. They train and mentor an artist to become an entrepreneur by investing in them and learning to build their careers on their own without the help of false or predatory “record deals” which is extremely common today. CJG innovative is the reality of today’s music business; if anyone is interested in the truth on how to be successful, they are the company to look into.
So I haven’t posted a new blog in a while. So much has changed and so many things have happened; time really gets a hold of ya. I wanted to start out by saying the music business is hard. Nothing about it is easy. If anyone says it’s easy, they aren’t working it to the max and their reward is not going to be great. Also, there will be no longevity in their career because they didn’t learn anything. My artists have all been living, breathing, shitting, and sleeping their music careers. It could be the death of them. BUT, if they want it that bad, great things will come. This blog today is about thinking it is possible. It is possible to be successful, it is possible to be famous, it is possible to be rich, it is possible to be alive and live the life you want to. Why do others get where they want to and you can’t you ask?? Well, have you tried? Has anything inside you busted out with drive and energy towards your goals? What are you doing to make things happen for you? I know I have posted something like this before. I know in my heart if someone works hard enough, every day, to their fullest, great things will come to you. I have seen, I am watching it right now with my artists. This is not just a goal, this is life, and if you want something, you must say it is possible to get there.
Happy New Year!
Man, 2014 has been hit with a huge bang. Last month Mr.E had a few shows in California, an interview AND made a video while on vacation. Now THAT is dedication. His songs are soon to be up and running on over 200 plus worldwide music online stores so you can look out for our announcement when they are available. ProblemAddict opened up for Twista in December at Tailgators in Bolingbrook. What a night. It was a special evening because he was the only opener and he got paid for this one. A lot of the artists that want to get on the bill with bigger artists end up paying to play and this was a special deal. Now both artists are in the line-up for Stevie Stone Jan. 31st at Mojoes’ in Joliet. This should be a sick show.
Ellis Bailey strikes fast starting from 12 original fans through the online social sites and in 5 months he now has over 10,000 fans! This is a ground breaking movement for a D.I.Y. artist. He has worked hard to get them too.
There is so much work to be done and I will be ending this blog by saying this (and this is a quote from my music business coach:) “Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things~”-Ghezzi
When someone reaches out to me asking if I am a music manager, with no introduction of who they are, unrealistic views, no music to show that they have even TRIED, and no respect of being professional, at that time, I think to myself, you don’t need a manager. An artist will need a manager when they have done everything they have needed to do and some, and are unable to manage their own lives because of it. A manager manages; plain and simple. A manager doesn't make you famous. No one in their right mind will pay attention to you just because of talent alone. Not just by me, but by any notion that you would get noticed by a major record label, or an independent one. When someone tells me they know everything and they want to skip to the parts they feel is necessary, I'm sorry, if you knew everything, why are you reaching out to me? I am a couch. I teach artists the business, I guide them in the right directions, I help them climb that ladder, and I train them to be different and valuable to the industry. If you aren't willing to put time and effort into the music and the business, but think you can "make it" it’s a “lose – lose” situation. Because this is a lifetime commitment, and a competition to be that 1% that REALLY makes it, you have to push through the hard times. And because it will not happen fast, you have to already accept that this is what you want to do for the rest of your life without the goal of being rich and famous....nothing is easy and nothing is free whether its money, time, emotions, or sacrifice. I am an up and coming music manager. I am young, vibrant, energetic, and eager to learn. If you knew anything about the business, you would know that is the type of manager you really want. You do not want anyone that is ancient and rusty and only knows how the old ways were in music. They also only sign major artists that are already established so they can get the 15% from all the hard work you have done. An up and coming personal manager does it practically for free; and because they are crazy passionate about their artists. Those artists that have those managers are extremely lucky and blessed especially if you get one that knows that they are doing. As an artist, you must trust the process and climb that ladder as it allows you. But never, ever stop climbing no matter how difficult it may seem.
What would Wikipedia say about YOU? You are an artist, you have so much passion for what you write, sing, produce, record, and promote. But what would Wikipedia say about you that would include more than 2 sentences of a profile? What are your accomplishments? And what are your goals outside and inside the music industry? Even though Wikipedia isn’t exactly the library of information, do you have or are you working on things that can actually be put down on there? As a musician, it’s all about what have you done, what are you doing now, and what is coming up. So if you do not have a plan, you aren’t fulfilling your dreams, goals, and opportunities to be something greater than what your mom says about you. Some questions to ask yourself: Do you have stats, what projects are you working on, who are you working with, are you involved in anything, how are you being proactive with your lifestyle and your music lifestyle? If you go to the studio and record, is there enough information on there to make a paragraph and actually have it sound like an accomplishment? Probably not; but this is something to think about. When you are involved in something, it not only motivates you to be social, but it opens doors to other opportunities. For example, Kanye West didn’t just make beats by himself. When he was a producer he collaborated with many artists prior to perfecting and creating his high-pitched signature samples of soul music combining it with his own drum beats. But, not only that, he attended art school, painted, he moved to China to go to school and learned the language, he eventually met DJ No I.D and learned how to sample and program beats, he graduated from North Aurora High School, he created a beats group, he is a fashion designer, and the list goes on. The point here is that just because you do music doesn’t mean you can’t do other things. Those other things lead to music one way or another so expand your mind, get creative, start building an amazing portfolio for yourself and find things to do that will open doors for music opportunities. You will always keep music on your mind with everything you do.
You ever hear of hustling? Do you know what that term really means? How do you hustle? What is your strategy? When you think of hustling, do you think of drugs, sex, or could you hustle your music?
When you aren't getting those fans, you shouldn't be rapping or singing about how hard you hustle every day. And you sure shouldn’t throw in there how youre hustling drugs if that isn’t your lifestyle. People do that to think they relate to others more, but this is all negative message. I come from the city limits, Forest Park, Melrose Park, Maywood Park....anyone familiar with the West side of Chicago? My ass hustled every day to school because yea, I was 8 yo and scared, or I hustled to go to college so I can work my way towards my dreams...but, I wasn't raised in a wealthy family. My parents taught me to work for everything I want; and to do it tastefully, respectfully, and logically. And that is my hustle.
When you think of your music, how do you hustle it? Are fans coming to your shows? Is social networking..well, working? Why not? What are you NOT doing? What are you doing that is wrong? Are your fans connecting with the music or are they connecting with you at all?
When I hear artists sing about how they hustling every day but when they throw in there that they sling drugs and sorts of that nature and it isn’t true, there is a problem. You can “hustle” other things besides drugs and sex and all that “fame talk” that they think makes them hard. That negative “hustle” does nothing for professional artists. The term is getting old, and when you are making your way to the top, you will find you can talk about “YOUR” hustle and how you got there. Don’t Fake it to make it.
Instead of pretending you’re a “gangsta”, hustle your brand, your music, your skills, your talent, and hustle yourself like you are your best salesperson. No one will ever believe in you if you don’t believe in yourself.
Its inspirational to know you WANT to play shows. BUT, You need to go FIND THEM! No one knows where you want to play besides you. Not even your manager, wife, girlfriend, your mother, grandma, sister, brother....etc. Besides, you need to start networking for yourself, meeting the people in the industry, make friends, get on their bill, be an opening act.... What ever happened to your Hot List? Open Mic List? Have you been filling those out? Have you been accomplishing those goals? Why should you expect anyone to get you gigs when you haven't gotten any for yourself? Right now, you are just learning the music business. This is the time for you to really start learning it. In one year from now, you should be able to look back and say WOW, I have accomplished all of that, and be able to look back at all you have learned. You should be able to say, "I know how to do that". Because you are just learning, you should not have any expectations for anyone to ever hand you anything. That comes much later in your career; and that is ONLY if you are strong enough to stick to this career. Why do you think it is the 1% that actually makes it? Its because THAT 1% are the only ones that stuck with it for years and years and years because they LOVE it. Your mentality needs to NOT be "I want to be rich, famous, and do whatever I want". It should be, "I want to be successful personally, professionally, and continue to learn and growth within the music business regardless of what comes along with it."
If you are struggling with this, you need to learn to ask for help. Stop pretending you know everything and reach out to your coach, mentor, or close friends that are in the business. You need to start building a team and if you don't have anyone to support you, you are basically on your own. Nikki Gavs Entertainment Manager/Coach