Jonathan Page is a first semester voice principal, hails from Los Angeles, and intends to declare professional music as his major. The following is his account of the most recent Q-Brew at Cafe 939.
I am a first semester voice principal here at Berklee. I’m sure you all think about the same question that I do every minute of every day: “How do I and/or my band get noticed?” I wish the answer were simple but we all know that the formula for success has many components. I knew that there were people who could answer my questions but they were not going to come to me. When I heard about a Q-Brew clinic happening at Cafe 939 about this very topic, I knew I couldn’t miss it. The panel featured Luke O’Neil (blogger for the Boston Globe, Boston Phoenix), Angie “C” Shaw (radio personality for WFNX), Michael Marotta (Boston Phoenix, the Pill, WFNX, Vanya Records), Sarah Rodman (covers popular music for the Boston Globe), and Anngelle Wood (music director for WZLX, organizer of Boston’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Rumble). I thought I was dreaming because these are the very people I need to come see my band and the wheels in my mind were racing a million miles–a-minute. The cool thing about this panel was there were no rules about what to ask or not to ask because all questions, for the panelists, were relevant and worth answering. The pressing question on my mind was: “What would it take for someone like you to come see someone like me?” Without hesitation the entire panel answered back with an emphatic “Email me!”
People have always told me that unless you are somewhat of a household name and/or have a following that the important people will not come out to the dives to come see you. Michael Marotta quickly disproved of this common misconception. He told me that he wants to be the first to hear the next big thing so it doesn’t matter whether you have 50 or four people at the show because good music is good music—period. The point Michael’s making is to get out there, which told me that I need to start knocking on some doors so that I can perform anywhere and everywhere that is willing to listen.
Don’t be afraid to contact your local station or newspaper with information for an upcoming event. Use any and all social media outlets to get the word out or post pictures and videos so people know what you look and sound like because word-of- mouth will make the difference between us and them. Be humble and do a free gig because free promotion is great promotion. I took a gig for a wedding and the payment was food but because I left a good impression with the client it led to four other gigs. As a performer I never really know who will be in the crowd. Maybe talent scouts are coming to see the main act of a local show but because my band is there who knows what might happen when we take the stage. You have to understand that this industry is about moments and sometimes when moments present themselves you have to reach out and grab them.
My next big question for the panelists was about presentation. For me I needed to know what my band needed to do to properly put our music in the right hands. Anngelle, Angie, and Luke all said that sending some sort of digital copy (mp3) is the best way to get listened to. Develop a “hub”site that will have quick links to your videos, pictures, and downloadable music. The easier you make it for people to get your music the better. I am so excited to get back to my band and get out there and do what we were made to do. Now you all know have a little insight at what it takes to get noticed. As an emerging artist the most important thing to remember is, if you gig they will come!