Category Archive : Popular

Quiet Rebellion – Still Talking Scribble

WHAT’S THE STORY?: Shaun T. Hunter turned his back on a potentially lucrative deal back in the 1990s and forged his own path. A few albums later we have’ Quiet Rebellion’ and what becomes immediately clear is that this artist is seriously into his music. There are wonderful musical arrangements on the album and it should be pointed out that Shaun is also credited with having played every instrument on it. That in itself is an amazing achievement and gives you an insight into the man’s talent. The problem here is that the offering doesn’t experiment enough and doesn’t diversify enough. It stays within its own safety zone leaving us with an album full of songs that all sound very similar.
The album gets off to a cracking start with ‘Soon’ a slice of heightened musical contentment, before Shaun digs deeper imprinting his lyrical message on the next track and the title name of the album, ‘Still Talking Scribble’. The ambitious ‘Solo’ delivers a touching acapella and ‘A Little Help From You Goes a Long Way’ is a stand out track that begins beautifully with a simmering guitar riff which continues throughout the track. There is definitely an abundance of touching melodies at play here and to summarise, this album is a relaxed and enjoyable enough journey.…

How To Get Your First Gig

The gig. It’s the holy grail of musicianship. It’s the reason why you spend hours practising and writing songs. It’s your chance to show your family, friends and fans exactly what you’ve been doing in the basement for the past two months with your three best buddies. So how do you get your first live show?

First, make sure that you’re ready to play a gig. Aim to have a 30-minute set. Your performance – whether you’re an acoustic solo artist or a six-piece rock band – needs to be tight as well. How will you speak to your audience and what will you do onstage when guitars need tuning, strings break or sticks fly into the audience?

There are two main ways to get a gig:
1. Approach a venue
2. Ask a band if you can support them

If you approach a venue, make sure it’s suitable. A bar or music club is perfect. A pub with a back room can also work. If you’re just starting out, don’t waste time trying to contact big venues. They often have promoters to arrange their gigs.

Find an email address for the bar manager (check out the venue’s website) and say that you’re looking to play a gig. Don’t expect to get paid. It’s only when bands pull a decent crowd that venues pay them. Some music venues operate a ‘Pay To Play’ policy where you have to sell a number of tickets to friends and fans in advance. This is OK if you’ve got lots of people that want to come to your gig, but it can be stressful in the lead up to the gig if you can’t sell the tickets and lose the money. For example, the venue wants you to sell 50 tickets at £5 each. You have to give the venue £250 upfront, and then take the money back as you sell the tickets. If you only sell twenty tickets, then you’ve only made back £100, and therefore lost £150. Always check before you agree to play a gig.
If you know a good local band, then ask them if you can support them. Often, they communicate with the venue and you just turn up and play. You will also get to play in front of their fans as well as your own.

However you get your gig, make sure you promote it. Use Facebook, MySpace etc. Make flyers and posters and distribute them in appropriate places.

Finally, make sure you play well! The venue will want you back and you’ll pick up some fans!

How To Get Your First Gig
Key tips:
1. Don’t expect to get paid unless you bring a LOT of people.
2. Include lots of information and links to your songs online when emailing venues or bands.
3. Always be polite and friendly to venues, bands and promoters. You never know their connections.
4. Email first. Follow up with a phone call a week or so later if you haven’t heard anything.

Help! My album got a bad review

After spending months writing and recording your record, creating artwork and getting CDs pressed, you send your prized album to music journalists and editors, ready for fans to devour. You can’t help but imagine the promising quotes of greatness and guarantees of future accolades, destined to head up your latest press release. You pick up KerPlunk! magazine, full of excited anticipation: “Naff vocals, poor song writing, and the lyrical eloquence of a chav brawl.”

Your heart sinks a little, and then the anger kicks in. Who is this music journalist anyway? What do they know about your genre-defying blend of hip hop and Baroquian fugue? But before you buy every issue in your local shop and write a strongly worded letter to the editor, bear the following in mind…

1. If it’s a big, well-known publication, then the journalist must know at least a little of what they’re talking about…
2. And if it’s a tiny, unimportant publication, who’s gonna be reading it anyway?
3. A bad review is more memorable than an average review. Some readers will actively seek out the stuff that gets bad press. You’ll at least get some decent hits on YouTube and MySpace.
4. And a bad review is better than no review at all.
5. Sending a ranting email/letter to the editor or journalist will only result in you losing all credibility. Especially if they publish your tirade.
6. If you’ve sent out a CD for review, then expect a review. If you want 100% guaranteed praise, send it to your mum’s house.
7. Maybe your album really is terrible?

So, what can you do about it? No one likes their work being criticised, but if you thrust yourself into the ears of others, opinions will come flying back. Take note of their comments; can you improve?

Make sure you approach journalists and editors with the correct information in the preferred formats. Realise that there are some people out there who don’t like The Rolling Stones, Michael Jackson or Guns ‘n Roses – yet still these artists are massively popular. You’ll never win everyone’s vote. But then you only need a majority.…