How Can My Band Shake the "Christian Rock" Tag?

Categories: Ask Fan Landers

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Are you a musician? Is your group having issues? Ask Fan Landers! Critic Jessica Hopper has played in and managed bands, toured internationally, booked shows, produced records, worked as a publicist, and is the author of The Girls' Guide to Rocking, a how-to for teen ladies. She is here to help you stop doing it wrong. Send your problems to her -- confidentiality is assured, unless you want to use your drama as a ticket to Internet microfame.

Dear Fan Landers,
We're a melodic indie pop band from a small college town in California. When our band first started, we had a great opportunity to put out two records on a record label that is known mainly for releasing Christian music. We figured it was a great way to get our music out into the world and it was; the label had great distro and treated us well. Even though we have since gone fully independent, we still can't seem to get any love from "cool" indie blogs and press outlets who cater directly to the people who would probably like our music, mainly I suspect, due to our former label associations, not to mention our home base in the hinterlands of California. How can we become "born again" in the eyes of the secular music press?
Daniel

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How to Grease the Wheels for Your Album's Success

Categories: Ask Fan Landers

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Are you a musician? Is your group having issues? Critic Jessica Hopper has played in and managed bands, toured internationally, booked shows, produced records, worked as a publicist, and is the author of The Girls' Guide to Rocking, a how-to for teen ladies. She is here to help you stop doing it wrong. Send your problems to her; confidentiality is assured, unless you want to use your drama as a ticket to Internet microfame.

Hey Fan!

My band Swearwords has been playing together for a while now -- we've put out two well-received EPs and have filled some of the crucial rooms in Chicago. This year, we'll be releasing our first full-length and touring the Midwest and both coasts. Any advice for keeping the momentum going and priming the pump before the next push? 

Best,

Neil

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How Can I Convince My Parents That My Band Isn't a Terrible Idea?

Categories: Ask Fan Landers

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Are you a musician? Is your group having issues? Critic Jessica Hopper has played in and managed bands, toured internationally, booked shows, produced records, worked as a publicist, and is the author of The Girls' Guide to Rocking, a how-to for teen ladies. She is here to help you stop doing it wrong. Send your problems to her; confidentiality is assured, unless you want to use your drama as a ticket to Internet microfame.

Fan,
I am in a small struggling band. We have been together for two months and we want to get our music out there and try to start booking local shows. The major problem is that we are all being kicked out of our houses soon, but we want to prove to our parents that we can make some money off of being in a band. How can we do what we love? Any suggestions?
 Stereo Type

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Schmoozing for Musicians 101, or Making Your Crippling Social Anxiety Work For You

Categories: Ask Fan Landers

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Are you a musician? Is your group having issues? Critic Jessica Hopper has played in and managed bands, toured internationally, booked shows, produced records, worked as a publicist, and is the author of The Girls' Guide to Rocking, a how-to for teen ladies. She is here to help you stop doing it wrong. Send your problems to her; confidentiality is assured, unless you want to use your drama as a ticket to Internet microfame.

Dear Fan,

Since I was a kid, I've suffered from bipolar type I, and while aspects of the disorder function as a boon to my musical output, social anxiety is holding me back a ton. I love performing, and I feel completely comfortable onstage, but the idea of "meeting people" and "networking" is terrifying to me and it's something I'm going to need to overcome to move farther forward.

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How Should I Promote My Shows?

Categories: Ask Fan Landers

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Are you a musician? Is your group having issues? Critic Jessica Hopper has played in and managed bands, toured internationally, booked shows, produced records, worked as a publicist, and is the author of The Girls' Guide to Rocking, a how-to for teen ladies. She is here to help you stop doing it wrong. Send your problems to her; confidentiality is assured, unless you want to use your drama as a ticket to Internet microfame.

Fan,

I work as a promoter for a club in the midwest and I've found there's a real disconnect between what some bands and venues expect -- what each of them see as each other's obligation to promote a show. Whether or not you play for money, glory or the love of art, there are people involved whose livelihoods depend on the show doing well. Besides the venue-owners, bartenders can have a great night or a lousy night depending on how well a show is attended. Door attendants, bar-backs and security might not even be scheduled if a band is booked who has a reputation of not having a following. Some bands seem to prefer to let the chips fall where they may because if they don't really try, they can't really fail.

Do you think a band should be responsible to bring the whole force of their following to every show, even if they aren't headlining? Should these things be outlined by the promoter/venue in advance? What show promotion tactics are best for bands?


Signed,

Please Keep My Name Out of It, I Have Already Complained Too Much

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Fan Landers: Should My Band Hire a Publicist?

Categories: Ask Fan Landers

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Are you a musician? Is your group having issues? Critic Jessica Hopper has played in and managed bands, toured internationally, booked shows, produced records, worked as a publicist, and is the author of The Girls' Guide to Rocking, a how-to for teen ladies. She is here to help you stop doing it wrong. Send your problems to her; confidentiality is assured, unless you want to use your drama as a ticket to Internet microfame.

Hi, Fan,
I'm in a psychedelic punk band (think a Flaming Lips/Minutemen/Cake combo) and wrapping up work on a new self-released EP. I have this feeling that nobody is going to hear it outside of our small circle of friends. Our main goal is to have the EP reviewed in music magazines/websites/blogs in hopes that they would spread our music to at least a few other people and maybe get some attention from small festival promoters. We're on a pretty tight budget, but I've thought about contacting publicists who work for more prominent bands we dig, but I'm sure they wouldn't be interested in working with a mostly unknown band with such weird music. I figure we're going to need a publicist with connections to the right music reviewers to make this happen, but I don't know how to find a good one. Help!
Thanks a bunch,
Echos Myron


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I Signed To a Tiny Label Before My Album Blew Up. Should I Stick With Them?

Categories: Ask Fan Landers

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Are you a musician? Is your group having issues? Critic Jessica Hopper has played in and managed bands, toured internationally, booked shows, produced records, worked as a publicist, and is the author of The Girls' Guide to Rocking, a how-to for teen ladies. She is here to help you stop doing it wrong. Send your problems to her; confidentiality is assured, unless you want to use your drama as a ticket to Internet microfame.

Fan,
I'm an artist who put out a debut pop record last year that did relatively well. It sold enough to put me in the black and ended up with a good deal of great press. However, when I signed my initial deal I was relatively unknown and signed to a small subsidiary of a UK label with options for more records.

Since then the smaller subsidiary is dissolving and the larger label would like to take me on. Lots of this is good, I enjoy working with the label people for the most part and I know they will go to bat for me. However, I don't feel like I especially fit in with the roster on this larger label and there is a part of me that would like to use this opportunity to find an even larger worldwide label with more reach and artists I feel akin to. Do I stick with the people I have a decent working relationship with or do I take the risk of jumping ship?
L'Artiste

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Fan Landers: Desperately Seeking a Booking Agent and Un-flakey Bandmates

Categories: Ask Fan Landers

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Are you a musician? Is your group having issues? Critic Jessica Hopper has played in and managed bands, toured internationally, booked shows, produced records, worked as a publicist, and is the author of The Girls' Guide to Rocking, a how-to for teen ladies. She is here to help you stop doing it wrong. Send your problems to her; confidentiality is assured, unless you want to use your drama as a ticket to Internet microfame.

Hello Ms. Landers,
My band needs a booking agent. We've been playing shows in Chicago for five years, we have a new record and a publicist and we are building some momentum; we'd like to play tours. I have tried for 10 years to get good at booking tours, but I'm terrible and I need help. We're willing to work but we aren't young enough to do a year of bad show misery to build a nationwide fan base. We've gotten a couple unsolicited offers from young fledgling booking agents; they never seemed to be on our wavelength, and I didn't believe that they knew how to get us where we want to be playing. Does it make sense in our position to be waiting around for a "cool booking agent/agency"? Should we work with one of these kids and trade up in six months?

Thanks!
D


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I'm a White R&B Singer -- Should I Even Bother?

Categories: Ask Fan Landers

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Are you a musician? Is your group having issues? Critic Jessica Hopper has played in and managed bands, toured internationally, booked shows, produced records, worked as a publicist, and is the author of The Girls' Guide to Rocking, a how-to for teen ladies. She is here to help you stop doing it wrong. Send your problems to her; confidentiality is assured, unless you want to use your drama as a ticket to Internet microfame.

Dear Fan,

I'm a Brooklyn based Soul/Pop singer songwriter. I took a break this year from performing because I grew tired of constantly inundating my social media sites with "PLZ COME TO MAH SHOW" spam and I wanted to write fresh material to showcase. I want to make sure that I enter the new year right as far as hitting my target with all the new content. I obviously want to reach a larger audience and make them believers too. I am reminded, when visiting Pitchfork and other hip music blogs, that the odds are against being a white r&b singer in an industry where r&b is dead. So, how do I keep pushing this boulder up hill and making strides so that I show my talent in the right way? I know Russel Simmons isn't gonna show up on my doorstep and sign me, but I surely want blogs and real music lovers to recognize what I'm about. 


Confidentiality Requested


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Does Becoming a Dad Mean the Death of My Music Dream?

Categories: Ask Fan Landers

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Are you a musician? Is your group having issues? Critic Jessica Hopper has played in and managed bands, toured internationally, booked shows, produced records, worked as a publicist, and is the author of The Girls' Guide to Rocking, a how-to for teen ladies. She is here to help you stop doing it wrong. Send your problems to her; confidentiality is assured, unless you want to use your drama as a ticket to Internet microfame.

Dear Fan,
Long time reader, first time writer. I'm a 39 year old professional and father of a two-year-old. I've been writing and recording my own music for 20 years with very little to show for it other than a closet of unsold vinyl and a second bedroom full of synthesizers and guitars. My little boy sleeps in a crib in our bedroom because our second bedroom is full of the accoutrements of my music hobby. I am toying with the idea of putting all this gear in storage so our son can have his own bedroom, but that would pretty much be an admission that I am giving up and I know it would make me so unhappy. I devote maybe one or two nights a week to music so renting a practice space seems unjustifiable. How do I balance the dream of being a bedroom krautrock superstar with the realities of the lives of two full-time working parents?

Sign me,

"Dieter Zweite-Schlafzimmer"

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