There comes a time when your faced with the question how much is too much? In today’s rapidly evolving society I find myself slowly wanting to slip away from the social eye and revert slightly back to days that resemble something like a “Leave It To Beaver episode
I spend most of my time divided between creating my art and trying to socially promote it, as well as just be social. Though it may seem simple, with all the amazing gadgets and devices we own today, it becomes more like the greatest juggling act known to man.
So what is the proper means of keeping your social status on the up and up?… and when is the point that you step away and say I need a break?
I think from an artist stand point its really tough to answer that question because there truly seems to not be a simple answer to that. As an artist we thrive now on social media to get our message out in real time, once an idea is birthed it can immediately be circulated amongst thousands at a time and begin a domino effect which today would be coined as “Going Viral”.
But at the same time, you have to ask yourself how much it too much? Not only by way of sharing but also in the time spent sitting in front of your screen or glued to your smart devices
This is where I find myself at times, my day is organized between graphic and web projects and my music, I have my days broken into a system but even with the system it can be really difficult to stay true to the nature of the beast and that’s when I have to ask myself is it too much? And what exactly is too much? I want to stay current and keep my digital outlets up to speed on the current “Randy Niles Reality” but I also want to remember that my name is Randy Niles and not Dennis Quad from Total Recall…lol
One thing I feel is missing is personal interaction, though it may not be possible to physically reach your audience at times, you sure enough can relate to them through effective communication.. just having a regular chat every once in a while, sharing info other than that of yourself or of your product(s) can make a whole world of difference… The tools we have today are truly amazing and effective, but there needs to be more responsibility in how we use and interact with them. There are times that I step away – a personal disconnect – just to get myself in check again… after a while the screen begins to blend in with your current environment, the fast paced ticker of information seeps so effortlessly into your underused brain functions that you could of sworn you heard about it 6 days earlier, all in all its an amazing process to conceive and experience all at the same time.
So how do you cope? Is it an issue for you at all?Whether you are an artist or not, do these thoughts ever enter your mind to the point that you want to disconnect?As a potential fan/customer do you have a limit as to how much you can actually digest from someone who is trying to grab your attention?Or does it not really matter to you that you may hear and see the same thing 20times 5-7days a week in order to grab your attention?
At what point do you “Socially Disconnect?” Let’s get social about it
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Just finished working on a few things and took a walk to clear my mind. The most interesting thing about what I do is the fact that it is not what everyone else does, but there is still enough community that does identify with what I do. The question is what do I do? Does it matter? Does it make a diffence? I’ve spent countless hrs of my life trying to figure out if all I did in life was follow a certain method would that make the difference? I never really got an answer…
Most of what I questioned as a kid was based on what others brought to the surface cause truth be told without a catalyst to snag on my heels, why would I really care to ask? So here I am a bigger version of what I used to be and I’m still plagued with the same environment. Though I am much wiser in my approach to decipher its code-like ways and move through with a bit more fluidity than say when I was 6. I try to do what I think is the best things to do, and encompass all that I believe should be, but I still find myself saying is this enough… is it enough in the music?, is it enough in my personal living? is it enough in my community? No matter what that frame of understanding, the reality of what I am seeking seems to always be slightly turned inward and not really reflect an integral view of my full understanding..
I’m at times baffled as it seems the nature of who I am and what I am becoming is just not enough to break the mold. My art / My music is an expression of all that I hope to be someday for others while on a journey of discovering who I am. But is that enough? When left up to others I guess not, I can only play audience but for so long, looking in the mirror and creating multiple expressions to overcome the idea that it’s still just me, humoring myself. There is no real conclusion to this but more a successive continuation of what I experience day to day, year to year… No matter how much better I become, it will only be accepted as reality when it means and coincides with that of another personal nature, opinion, thought, action, tradition, way of life, standard, well you get the point… The mind is just rambling let me get back to making music RN
So it’s been about a week and a half and I’m still riding on the high of being out on the road and playing for an amazing crowd of people which stretched from upper Westchester NY, to Upstate NY, to Philly, to Connecticut, and back to NYC.
My trip kicked off with a radio show interview and performance on Urban Talk Radio June 2nd in Harlem, NY and took me to Pawling NY, Binghamton NY, Cortland NY, pit stop in Marion NY, Utica NY, Yonkers NY, Philadelphia PA, Bridgeport CT, and back to NYC and each stop was a success all on its own. The best part about the trip was meeting all the amazing and great people I met along the way and spending quality time sharing with them while doing what I do.
When I made my trip to Binghamton NY for my debut performance @ Cyber West Cafe on June 6th I didn’t know what to expect, this was my first time in this city and I had never played there before, it was a Wed night and truly the odds were against me being a new face in a new place
I decided to come a day early and do a small set as well armed myself with some promotional material and do what I do best – network and promote. After a long day of hitting the local area and finally landing in Cyber West Cafe and mingling with a few locals I had to leave everything else up to the powers that be for there was nothing more I could possibly do.
My nights rest was one that was riddled with constant distraction so sleep just wasn’t in the cards, would this affect my performance? Would it even matter? All these questions plagued my mind, but a new day was here and it was time to get in the ring or bow out. I show up at approximately 7pm for set up and sound check… Jeff the gracious owner of Cyber arrives to assist me in getting the sound all fleshed out, 7:45pm we are ready, showtime is 8pm… where are the people? LOL… Two lonely souls walk in, its 8pm the verdict is in… tonight is a bust.. But I do not continue my pace in with that frame of thought, I take stage and decide these two have now become the most important people in my life for the next hr, let the music begin…
As I start off my set with my opening song “Satellite” from the “Along the Way” Album I begin to imagine how cool it would of been to really pack this place out and have a full sized audience just grooving to my brand of indie-acoustically driven, folk, pop, rock, soul with a splash of jambandiness all balled under one roof… and then it happened, one by one I saw familiar faces from the day before, could this be? the people I chatted with and gave out flyers to began to walk in one by one – it was a moment I had not experienced before, before I knew it, there was a packed front house of listeners and watchers, and suddenly found myself in a whole new environment! It was show time!…. 3hrs later the show ended with full success… yes 3hrs later..lol I began @ 8pm and ended @ 11pm though this was not the typical time slot for an act who never played the venue before, there was a moment when I looked to the stage clock and realized I was already past an hr, when I told the crowd they said keep playing, I looked to Jeff by the soundboard, stepped to the mic and said, Jeff I think I’ve gone over – what now… Jeff responds keep playing! This was definitely a night I would never forget – The highlight of the night came when I decided to just improv a jam taking requests from the crowd for a topic to sing about, we came up with “Clouds & Birds” and so I proceeded to sing about Clouds & Birds ..Lol this turned into an epic song even with the Cyber crowd participating at certain points throughout the song…. 11pm arrives and I just sang my last note… the show was over and the night had just begun
As I begin to pack my things up and talk with some of the listeners, I quickly begin to realize the night was truly magical and these people had something even more magical about them, the love, sincerity, and over all honesty was just pouring out making for such an amazing connection, then I heard the words that would catapult the night into a whole new place… “Randy what are you doing tonight? We’re going for wings and beer!” I graciously accepted and ended up hanging to the wee hrs of the morning making more new friends than I had ever done in one night, oh and the wings were off the hook!
I met so many great people, words cannot describe the feeling that overwhelmed me that night, at this point I didn’t want the night to end but it was almost 3am and I knew I had a long week ahead of me, plus the bar shut its doors at 2am and standing outside singing Incubus songs with one of my new friends Joshua for the remaining bar crowd was falling short due to us only knowing the choruses of each song we ran through…Lol. The night ended and I made my way to my motel room, it was a good night. Amazingly this could of been the end of the tour, but it was just getting started… As I made my way through to the next cities, my experience was nothing more than a continuation of the start of the tour… meeting amazingly great people and elevating my set of music to newer levels with stops at mostly new places…I was on a roll and I didn’t want this train to stop.
My trip consisted of me sleeping in a motel for only one night for the remainder of the days of my trip I slept in my Subaru at rest stops, roughing it and just reconnecting with myself.. many of my nights were spent curled in the back seat, writing lyrics and just thinking about all this music stuff… and where it has taken my life… I don’t regret any of it for my travels have brought me to people and places I otherwise would not know of..that is one thing you truly cannot buy and its something I never take for granted…from Cortland, to Marion, a quick stop in Syracuse for some gas, juice, and sea-salt chips…
I found myself in Utica, NY where the experience just continued to get better, it was the Red Letter Mgmt Launch Party at Urban Headquarters and what a night that was, I shared the stage with 2 other great artists and shared the night with a group of amazing individuals who all came out in full support and kept the energy running on high all night long…. and past that cause when I walked out of that place it was 5:45am in the morning…LOL.
I was even asked to sign a pair of undies from a new fan – history in the making…lol Truly and epic night, I hadn’t had so much fun with a group of people in a long time, and this trip was teaching me that very thing, that aside from doing this music thing.. and pounding the pavement so hard, there were times that I needed to let loose a bit and just relax… engaging with people is the most original form of communicating and sharing, its not just about the music, but about the relationships you create while doing what you do, and my trip was a great testimony to that… the love followed up with shows at Kerry Hall in Yonkers NY, and a stop at The Grape Room in Phildelphia, PA and a stop in at Acoustic Cafe in Bridgeport CT..all successes in garnering a new crowd of friends and fans I otherwise would not of known…
I could go on and on for days but I think your getting the picture here, every stop in every city I made was truly an overwhelming success and I can only thank those in which I met and made connections with along the way.. You all provided the steam that I needed to keep pushing this music thing and keep me pushing to continue on… this is just the beginning… Much Luv…RN
So where did I leave off? Oh yes wearing all the hats and handling or should I say multi-tasking between various tasks and positions. The daily life of an independent musician take two.
So its been a few days and I’ve probably sent out anywhere between 50-65 emails for booking opportunities, made over 30 phone calls, designed 10-20 different posters and promotional card designs for venues and outdoor promoting and ate more whole grain bars than…. hmmmm I don’t know… but as I sit here typing I am already receiving several notifications from many of the venues I have reached out to and its all looking good. When I started this I didn’t really know what would become of all the late night planning, the lost hrs of sleep, and the countless hrs of driving up and down the east coast, but I always knew this was what I wanted. There never really is a plan just constant circles of thought that continually gnaw at your conscious, provoking it at ever will to push even more. It takes a lot to really stay focused and on your path but its not hard, its never hard for hard is merely a perceived way of coining a situation that you are unfamiliar with at the present time… and well if I choose not to coin it as such then it no longer becomes such a daunting task for myself. My first taste of getting out there on my own was a trip to Alexandria, VA to open for an amazing fingerstyle guitarist from Minnesota and when my set was complete approx midnight I drove straight to Ohio for my following gig the next day. I didn’t know how demanding the road could be, I thought I could fight it straight through only to realize that I was falling asleep 4hrs in and if I wanted to even attempt doing this in the future I would surely need to pull over and rest up…before getting into some accident.
After 2 days of being out and making the late night drive back from Ohio to New York City, I realized that I just found my new drug, and that I was completely made for this. I knew from this point on I was on a new journey and not planning on looking back at all….RN
Wake up after a 2hr rest period… if I’m lucky… head to the bathroom…wash my face, brush my teeth, and take a cold hard look into the mirror and say…”Let’s Do It”. Grab a cup of herbal tea, walk to my desk, and begin to plan out the day as it needs. This is the daily routine and a must for me as my day is broken up into a series of tasks that usually a number of people would handle but its me and just me alone. I wave my hand over my MacBook Pro’s touch pad and the screen illuminates with multiple windows of information just waiting for me to attack.
I immediately begin sending out emails to booking agents and other prospective music outlets, working on the # game factor – if I send x within y amount of time I should garner z results by days end. It’s 7:45 am and my day has officially begun.
Being an independent musician is a very interesting pursuit, as not having a team to assist in all your affairs really keeps you on your toes and builds a certain level of character that you may of never knew existed in you.But as amazingly freeing and exciting things can get, its also a huge daily challenge as I’m in control of delegating my day something a company/corporation/boss,supervisor etc used to do.Contrary to belief it is much easier to just do a job that has already been mapped out for you, but its not as fulfilling and rewarding and this is why I do what I do.
It is now 9:50am and at this point I have sent out my daily mailings and have now moved over to my social networking sites ready to engage with my amazing network of people who keep me doing what I do.
Everything has a science to it, I chose the days that have the most traffic and post my campaigns and whereabouts strategically in hopes of gaining as much visual attention as possible, as I do this I have my Photoshop program launched and am creating/editing marketing products such as postcards, posters, and digital flyers to distribute and mail to venues and other musical outlets… As you can see my day just gets more involved but I truly love it.Wearing all the hats didn’t come by choice but I’ve always been the type to be in the position of handling all the affairs so this just translated into a very natural ability to take on. Oh… just got a phone call, its a booking agent from Upstate NY, we’ll continue this in a few…… RN