Elvira Kalnik / Blog

If you want it to be done right, do it yourself.

A few years ago, when I started working on one of my albums, I decided to let others manage an entire production process. Many talented and super skilled musicians were involved as well as engineers and producers. Everything was professionally done with a crystal clear sound and perfect performance of super skilled musicians. Everything seems perfect, right? Wrong! As a songwriter and a performer, I have my vision, sense and style, and you will probably agree with me that if your heart aligns with electronic dance music you would have difficulties to accept ballad style for your song and wise versa. It has nothing to do with liking or disliking specific genre. I can listen to any kind of music. It has to do with your feelings. If you cannot feel the style, you can't nail your performance in this style, period! However, I've done this mistake thinking that if I'm a skilled singer, I can sing anything. Yes I can, but why would I? I rather enjoy the process of creation and put all my feelings and love into it. The best way to succeed is to find like minded people, but what if you have to wait for them forever? Last year, I came to a recording studio with my new song "I wish to practice me". The title is very symbolic with my new philosophy: "If you want it done right, do it yourself", but I didn't think about it that day. It came to me after weeks of trying to explain to the studio engineer, who was in denial, the style and feeling of the song. Yet, it didn't come out the way I wanted. I became tired of it and decided to become a music engineer:) Crazy, right! On the top of 6 years of my musical education and many years of experience, I went to learn music production in New York. Wow! It was the best crazy thing I've done recently. Now, I do a full production by myself and have released a song "I wish to practice me" on my own, and it sounds the way I want, and I am proud to put my name on it. Listen to it, and I hope you will like "I wish to practice me". It had a long way, and it came to you:) https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/i-wish-to-practice-me/id634301648?i=634301809

I'm very gratetul to my teachers. I mean people, who created obstacles for me. It pushed me into another dimention of thinking and helped me to grow and develope myself personally and professionally. And it feels soooooo good!

Love, Elvira Kalnik.

Open the road for your talent.

I am an independant artist and had a long way to discover all on my own. I am constanly working on all aspects in a musical field and would like to share what I've learned. I have been writing about different ways for creative people to move forward and being successful with what ever they do. Today, I would like to put more into it by sharing the most important thing on how to open the road for your talent. No, I won't tell you what steps to take since everyone has own way, and there is no formula to follow. I want to focus on the mind power, which is the number one motivator. I have been doing the same mistake again and again and expected different results until I realized that no building can be build without fundament. I am sure, everyone of you made the same mistake like trying to do many things at ones: writing, recording, promoting, setting up million accounts online, not sleeping, not eating etc. without noticeable results:) Now, I would like you to answer a question: "On the scale from 0 to 10, how much do you believe in your desired outcome?" Do you doubt it? Here we go, that is the moment, when you put fundament for your "building". If there is a little doubt in a successful outcome, there is no way to be there. You can meet every biggest industry professional, get your music on every popular website, MTV, Radio, but it won't work until you believe in what you are doing. You got a talent. Do you have to prove it? Not at all. You just have to know it by heart, feel it with every cell of your body and be happy about what you have. When you are greatful for what you have, you open positive flow into your life. Don't waste your time and energy on "trying to get there":) Instead, be here, be present in this world. Alike attracts alike. How many times have you heard someone complaining about how much was done without a result? Positive outcome can be achieved only through a positive vibe. Good luck likes happy people. I heard many times something like that: "Oh! If I had some amount of money, I would be able to solve the problem", or "If I had right people in my team, I would be successful". These are external things. External things can never make you happy! More over, how can you attract these things and people into your life with negative approach? You can create happiness inside of you by believing in yourself, visualizing desired outcome and knowing you are there already, it just takes some time and work. All doors will be open to you by your own internal happiness. Just be ridiculously happy about what you're doing, and solutions will come. All of a sudden, you will notice new people in your life, new ideas, information, events... As you change, external things change as well. important to remember that people come and go, but only those who believe in you will stay. Regardless if someone believes in you or not, stay on track. It doesn't matter what you say, or do, there will always be someone to criticize you, or give you unpleasant remarks. It's ok. Let them talk. Don't think about it and don't let anybody "rain" into your happy sunny successful projects:) I remember, I was so excited about a song I wrote, that I called one of my friend to share my happiness. I said: "You know, I just wrote a very beautiful song! I'm so happy about it!", and she replied:"Don't you think about yourself too much?". Well, be prepared to discover that some of whom you concidered as friends, are really not. Needless to worry about it since real friends will always be happy for you. Don't let any bitter remarks disappoint you and prevent you from being excited about what you are doing. "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” - Mahatma Gandhi. Needless to say more :-) I would like to hear your thoughts. Please feel free to comment, or contact me directly: contact@elvirakalnik.com

Elvira Kalnik.

Free music sites vs. buying music.

This old story always sounds up to date since nobody found any solution to stop "free music sites". It's amazing how artists survive these days. In order to produce a song, artist spend lot of time and money, and then finds his/her song offered to fans as a free download at some unknown website! I want to see the reaction of any company, whose product would be offered for free by random person online. Why it happens to musicians? Abviously, artists send their music to different sources for promotion, but ther are many people, who call them selves "Industry", take advantage of artists. These "free sites" don't own anything. They offer free music in order to collect information from fans and share it with companies that spam people. Since these sites collect data, they are a great source for advertisement. Companies pay in order to advertise on these sites. Perfect! Free music sites make money without producing anything, but stilling music from independent artists, who work very hard. Believe me, if I wouldn't be an artist, I wouldn't know what it takes. As I said, nobody found solution for this problem yet, and it gets worse. I think, there is only one way to stop it, and this way called honesty and integrity. Everybody likes "Free lunch", but if fans won't support musicians, who would? Think for a moment: it cost $0.99 to download a song. To produce a song cost approximately $990.00 + promotion + distribution and so on. To produce a shirt, cost about $0.50, but to buy it, you have to pay $50.00. Are there any comments? I don't think so, but if there are, please feel free to share your thoughts. Maybe you know the answer...

Importance of a professional and functional website.

I am writing this, because I want to share my excitement about a website www.elvirak.com that was built for me recently by "Symbols" (www.symbols.co.il). It is obvious, if you run business, you need a website, but I would say, it's not enough just to have a website. It is imperative to have a functional and professionally looking website. There are tons of options on the Internet to creat a website by yourself with templates ant tools for less, or for free, and there are tons of "dead" websites that are disfunctional and boring. After all, you will have to pay to host your website. I decided to go Pro and must say, it worth every penny I've spent. I got a beautiful, functional website with all features I could dream about: music player, links to Facebook, Twitter, selling function, news updates, gallery, mailing list and more. Design is amazing. It's a clean looking website, but at the same time, it has all bells and whistles. I totally love it:)

Weekly tip for creative people.

How to present your work to listeners? I am not talking about promotion and distribution of music. I mean a process an artist is going through while giving a song, or an album to others in person. It doesn't matter who you share your product with. You should treat every person with respect and view all people like potential fans. When I went to CDBABY meeting in NY, I brought CD's with my music to give away to other artists. During the meeting, all musicians were walking around and sharing their music with each other for feedback and possible collaboration. It was a nice event, I was inspired by people there, especially by speech of Derek Sivers, who used to be a president of the CDBABY at this time. All of a sudden, somebody inserted one headphone into my left ear and started playing his music. He looked as if he just won a Grammy award. Holding this damn headphone inside of my ear, he asked: "So, how do you like it?" Well. I didn't. Especially, I didn't like the fact that somebody, without even introducing himself used my ear against my will :-) When I came back home, I listened to the CDs that other artists gave me at the meeting and wrote emails to them thanking them and giving a feedback on their music, but I didn't remember the music of this strange artist I listened to with my left ear. Even if I listened to it with my right ear, it still wouldn't sound right :-) It wasn't right to do such a thing at the first place. The right thing would be to come prepared having CDs and business cards with contact information. The next day, I've received a lot of positive words regarding my music and an offer for collaboration. Why? 1. I politely introduced myself. 2. I showed my interest and respect to other artists before giving them my CDs. 3. I've listened to their music and wrote them about it. When you start the conversation, make sure the person is listening to you. Don't chase ofter people shoveling you music in their faces, or even worse, raping their ears with a bad quality headphones on the middle of some noisy place. How to make someone listening? Ask them about their work and listen to them. If you ask a question thinking about your music at this moment, it won't work. People sense other's thoughts. Be a good listener. Don't worry, the person will ask you about your music when he/she will be completely and totally satisfied by your attention. Remember. All artists have a lot to share. That is why we create. Being heard is a very important aspect of a fair conversation. Every creative person is a "book" of interesting stories. I, personally, falling in love with people and their creations. Power is in a moment. These moments will never repeat. Try to feel what people feel. If you an artist, you will understand what I am talking about.

Feel free to comment, share, contact me... I would love to hear your story.

Have a great week. I love you, creative people:)

Back to School.

When I am overwhelmed with a question about what to do next, I look back at a time when I was a college student. There are many people who influenced me, and I try to remember lessons that helped me in my musical career. Of course, my favorite lesson was a vocal. It was a long, interesting and sometimes funny process. I tried so hard, that my body temperature went up, and I felt like being at a steaming room. Without even thinking, I would gradually take off my clothes until I ended up having only a bra and pants on my body. My teacher used to joke about it that she's been getting a "complimentary performance" :-) Oh well. Good times. Also, I loved acting and dancing lessons, which were essential for my carrier as a performing artist. I've started writing songs when I was 14, but I felt I've been missing something. Music harmony and theory courses helped me a lot to open a horizon in music writing, which inspired me to experiment with musical styles. It was nice to learn from other musicians, writers and composers. All theory classes and practice were a preparation to the most important lesson: action. The best thing to learn is to perform. I remember my first debut in front of a thousand of people when I was 18. I was scarred to death, all my body was shaking and I felt that it was my first and a last time on a stage. I was close to an anxiety attack :-) By the end of my performance, I found out that nobody ate me, there were no thrown eggs and tomatoes at me and more over, I got flowers :-) I think, it was my best lesson. I've learned that my feelings were a result of my distractive thought that people came to judge me instead of thinking that they came to listen! It's very simple! People go to concerts to listen and be a part of it. They are not against you, they came to support you! In a worst case, if they don't like what they hear, they won't come again, but as you grow in your professionalism, they may come back and will turn into your most supportive fans since they saw you growing. You grow, and your audience grows with you. It's a journey, and the best way to walk it is to enjoy it and to be spontaneous :-)

Feel free to comment. I will be happy to hear about your experience.

Weekly tip for creative people.

How do you take a feedback? Do you get frustrated if someone tells you not what you whant to hear? Well, most of us are very sensitive. More over, sometimes we take a simple thought of an ignorant to consideration and get upset that we got criticized. What if this person is not an ignorant but a professional? Would you feel like a looser? Do you want to say that somebody just critisised you? Wrong! Any situation = 10% what really happened + 90% what you make out of it. If you view simple feedback as critisizm, you can kiss your self-esteem "good bye"! Just remember that everybody has a personal test, beliefs, points of view etc. You cannot be loved by everybody as well as you cannot love everybody. OK! I know it's hard to accept a negative feedback, but think about that: your creation is not you. So, if there is a rejection, or unpleasant feedback, it has nothing to do with you. It has to do with your project. Maybe your product doesn't fit a particular mindset, but it will definitely find a way to the right people. A most important thing is to love what you do. If you are excited about your "baby", so will be others since excitement is contagious. In this case, you probably won't need anybody's opinion. Would you? You simply wouldn't have a time to think about it. Be excited :-)

Please share your thoughts. I am interested to hear from you.

Weekly tip for creative people.

Give a song to your cousin! No! I am serious! Give your song to your cousin if you want to record an album in a two and a half months and get booked for a tour! That is exactly what happened to me after I gave a CD with my newly recorded song to my cousin Lina. She played it in her office, and some of her clients asked her if it's possible to "get this singer for a tour". Lina replyed with a humor: "it's impossible, but I'll try..." She called me and asked if it's possible to write and record an album in two and half months. I said:" Well, it's impossible, but I will try..." Her answer woke me up: "I don't care... You are going to perform in seven places! Do it!" After a few minutes of shoko-therapy with my cousin on the phone, I became totally motivated and ready to move and shake the world! My tour was a great success, and all I needed for this was a MOTIVATION. Everything is possible. So, don't lack yourself in a "realistic goals". You never know what you can accomplish. If you want to find out, just give your song to your cousin :-)

Good luck, and I would love to hear your story.

Weekly tip for creative people

No matter what you do, if you passionate about it, it will keep you moving forward. However, at some point, you may feel stuck. If you allow frustration take over, you loose your energy, which you need for creativity. When I feel overwhelmed, I take a break and going to the gym, or talk to someone I love, or do something that fuel my emotions with positive energy. At this moment, I try not to think about my music. I KNOW, the idea will come. This state of "knowing" gives excitment and drive to create.

Take a Risk!

What is the right way to success? How many times were you excited about an idea of a new crazy project and then, after some “thinking process” gradually backed up? Well, I`ve done it many times and every time, I ended up with a "0” result and disappointment about myself. Somebody would say it`s unwise to take an action without thinking. I agree as long as it is thinking about a plan and strategies of the goal. However, if you think: “To do, or not to do…”, you may get uncertain wether you can or cannot achieve your desired result, and an idea of gettting out of your comfort zone seems frightening. In other words, you will have to take RISK! Nobody likes it, neither do I, but I realized that taking risks is the only right way to success. Nobody can predict an outcome. In a worst case scenario, you`ll learn from your mistake and get an idea about which way to go and what to do in a future. At least, you will get SOME result and not a zero. Get out of your own way and BE SPONTANEOUS AND TAKE A RISK!

Good luck! I would like to hear your opinion.