Whether you’re singing at a wedding, a neighborhood block party or performing in a musical theatre gig, it doesn’t hurt to have materials on hand for a little self-promotion. Even if your holding a brainstorming showcase for family, friends, and a few industry contacts having something to hand out, take home, and share with others is a must. It gives your work a life outside of your live performance.
CD or DVD
One of the best tools is either a CD with three of your strongest songs or a basic press kit. The kit should be a DVD that contains a performance clip, bio, press clippings, photos and the three songs.
You need to invest in creating a website that serves as home base, a place where friends, fans and industry contacts can go to learn more about you and find out where you’ll be performing next.
Your CD should contain a minimum of three songs, those you consider to be your strongest. You should include no more than five pieces; otherwise you’re giving too much away. The goal is to turn people on to your work and make them want to hear more. These should be original songs, not necessarily written by you, but something that is fresh to the ear of your listeners and potential fans.
If you’re determined to share much more than three songs, have a CD available with the additional songs on hand for $10 or whatever you feel is reasonable. The goal is to give them a taste to whet the appetite and not give them too much to digest too quickly. But it doesn’t hurt to have product on hand just in case somebody wants more.
Make sure the CD is of the highest quality possible. Remember that many people are lacking in imagination. So, the fuller the sound and sharper the quality the better your chances to get demo work, more gigs, more sales, and positive word of mouth press.
Don’t forget to properly label your CD. You want to be sure to clearly label the tracks with song titles and proper credits. Include accurate contact information, with phone number, email address, and website address.
If you can’t fit everything on a DVD for your press kit or choose not to make sure your three-song CD is part of the package.
Include at least one publicity photo. You want to make sure people know what you look like. You can include a gallery of performance shots, the purpose of your publicity shot is to allow people to put a face with a voice. Make sure to properly identify yourself in the photo, with your name and contact info at the bottom.
Your press photo represents who you are, what you want to project or communicate as an artist. Ask people you trust what they feel you project to get a consensus of how you can be best presented. Then process that info and go with what you feel best lines up with what you’re about. Check out music magazines, artist websites, and CD covers for ideas. Pay attention to the quality of your photos. Work with a photographer who understands what it is you want to project. Don’t let anyone try to make you something you are not comfortable with. You want a photographer that listen to you and focuses on the image you wish to share.
It’s All About You
Keep your bio simple, direct, and uniquely you. Briefly tell the story of why you sing or how you came to find your voice and offer two or three of your greatest accomplishments.
Use language that capsules and captures the feel for who you are. Think of trying to create a buzz about you. Get a couple friends or a voice teacher or musical director, people that know you as a singer and personality, to help you create your bio-buzz. You might choose a few quick highlights and present yourself in a simple, catchy one-two-three this-is-me sort of motif.
Be catchy, hooky, use active verbs, fun words – but make it absolutely true to who you are!
Road Work And Gig Gab
If you have any clippings of your work as a lead singer, back up vocalist, band member, performer, actor; voice over talent, musician – include it in a format that highlights references to you. You can list captions from various sources so that if someone wants to read more about you they can go to that source.
Cover letters are often seen as a necessary evil. That’s why I think calling it a welcome letter helps you as its author to frame it in a friendly one-to-one approach. Make sure it’s dated so that if your kit is being sent out or distributed at a gig it will remind those who receive it when it was created.
Be very clear about your objectives as an artist. If you’re seeking a recording deal, want to do musical theatre, are looking to join a band – whatever the case – let people know where you’re headed so they can help you get there if possible.
Make sure to include all the appropriate contacts in your letter and follow up as necessary after two to three weeks. Don’t forget to include any upcoming performances!
Remember your pet kit, minus the welcome letter, can all be included on one DVD. Otherwise it is a packet with your CD, photos, bio, clippings and welcome letter put together in a portfolio.
Freebies And More Giveaways
Whenever you gig look for other freebies to share with your audience such as T-shirts or trinkets of some kind, any fun item to promote yourself. This are simple giveaways to show appreciation while self-promoting.
You can also hold a drawing for a gift pack that might include a T-shirt or promo item and your CD. The drawing would be taken from a list of email addresses from those in attendance at your gig. Depending on the situation, there could be a sign-up list for people to writer down their names and email address or snail mail address if they wish.
Gathering this info can be used to get the word out about upcoming performances, a new CD, thank you notes, or even to solicit feedback. It’s all about creating open lines of clear communication and creating circles of connections.
Don’t forget to periodically hold a community event of some kind where you and other artists give back for a good cause. Maybe it’s animals rights or to help the local animal shelter. So you ask people to bring cat food and dog food that will be donated. Maybe it’s to support your local food bank, so they bring a canned good. Whatever the case, don’t forget to give. What you give defines who you are and what you offer that gives life’s bigger picture greater detail and a more interesting while making it all more entertaining!