Updated: Jan 2, 2019
I LOVE MISSY ELLIOT! Shout out to her for being an exception to my general rule of thumb and thanks so much for the FOLLOW! Hey everybody click her pic to connect with her on INSTAGRAM! So..A Struggling Artist is a talented and hard working singer/writer/composer who doesn’t currently have the funds or resources to elevate or reboot their career. Notice I said "CURRENTLY".... meaning that making the right moves could change all that. If they are famous but haven't had a hit record for awhile usually their name can get them up and running again but unfortunately not at the level they were at years prior; especially if they've been away from the spotlight for over ten or twenty plus years. Struggling Music Artists don’t have the luxury of having a paid team of managers, agents, lawyers, PR, studio time, songwriting software, advertising, music videos, industry contacts, publishers, photographers, makeup artists, etc, etc…And until they do have all or some of those things they must do things the hard way…often the cheap way…Usually making desperate business decisions with crappy, misleading or unconnected people. There are basically two types of a struggling music artists. Both have one thing in common and that is that they both are interested in achieving fame and success and therefore they are constantly working towards those goals.
Wait...Have yall seen this music video of Monica and Missy Elliot doing their own So Gone Challenge?
Struggling Artist Type ONE: They've never experienced fame or grammy nominations because they are starting from scratch. They need to develop their talent, gain experience and exposure, get connected, record songs, get gigs, pay for equipment and studio time and much more. They usually must work a job or two to support their dream job. The best thing that could happen to a struggling music artist who is multi talented is to be recognized by a well connected music biz executive, entertainment lawyer, producer, publisher or middle man such as the record label's A&R person.
Struggling Artist Type TWO: They have already experienced fame and grammy nominations but that was a long time ago. Maybe they took a break from music to start a family. Some ran into hardships in life after fame dwindled. They still have an advantage because they are what I call legendary entertainers. They can still get booked to perform concerts, they still get invited to speak at fundraisers, they may still appear in commercials, perhaps a few TV reality shows, perhaps their life story may air on the Lifetime TV network, etc and all this because their name is still very valuable even years later. When they were at the height of their fame they were always in the spotlight and they made consistent money from record sales, concerts and endorsements. They were backed by a team at their record label who saw them as a money making machine. They were able to get industry folks to invest in their success back then because the return on that investment was expected to be great enough for everybody to have a few cars, homes and other luxuries. (Please note that those singers who also wrote and published the songs that made them famous many years ago will always have income...maybe not as big as it use to be but every time their music is used they get paid.) But later when that fame dwindles away and nobody wants to risk investing in that legendary singer/act any longer then the singer must eventually take matters into their own hands. They no-longer have the money or lifestyle that fame provided but they will always be a grammy nominated legendary entertainer who had hit songs from back in the day that their generation still enjoys listening to and the new generation becomes familiar with them through their parent's family vacation playlist entitled "old school jams" lol... or through popular remakes. So these legendary entertainers become struggling artists because all though they are familiar with fame, they are not as familiar with today's style of branding and promotion and often they are too old to dress and move the way they use to back then. They are not famous ENOUGH to pack a concert venue on their own like they use to so these days you'll find them SHARING a concert ticket with other legendary entertainers who must unite and travel all over the country and even the world to perform their classics for fans just like me who would pay to relive those days. Often they'll put out new music on their own using social media and they may earn a few extra bucks that way but not nearly a fraction of what they earned during the early years. So they have a struggle of a different kind. They still have connections, respect and even a fan following however you'll find that their personal lives are similar to the lives of a Type ONE artists. They no longer have "rich people problems". These days many of them are more likely to have broke people's problems. There are a few exceptions tho...for example Missy Elliot is doing it BIG as of 2016 but then again she was way more than just a music artist. Being a writer/publisher is the gift that keeps on giving.
Besides the differences I mentioned between the two types of struggling artists, most everything I mentioned in the first paragraph of this blog may be true for BOTH categories. If you are a legendary follower of mine or even a Type ONE artist please weigh in on this blog using the comment area below. I'd like to know if I've accurately described your experience.
My podcast entitled "Singing Flat With Sally b" was created so that legendary music artists such as Faith Evans, Kurtis Blow and others we've had on our show can share their knowledge about the entertainment and music biz and hopefully gain new fans from within the newer generation. It's really cool to hear them talk about their road to success and how different it is for today's talent. New episodes of my show will be released this fall. My show is currently available on iTunes, Blog Talk Radio, SoundCloud and of course right here at SingingFLAT.com. Join our MAILING LIST to be alerted about our latest blogs and podcasts.
I encourage all music artists to write or co-write their own music and/or lyrics and to read their publishing contract carefully so that they get PAID fairly and forever. Be willing to work for others before launching yourself because it's so much easier to grow the fame of already established music artists by writing songs that become hits on their album. Don't have too much pride to piggy back off the success of a superstar! There is no shame in riding their coattails if the credit can bring you instant recognition. Eventually you'll be able to build connections and gain industry respect so that you can be in a better position to come from behind the shadows and establish a name and brand of your own. In a future blog I will write about other ways to get your foot in the door. Check out my interview with Faith Evans as she describes how working behind other more established artists lead to her big break.
To the "Type TWO" legendary artists...how do you feel about releasing a 2016 or 2017 remix of your greatest hits? I'd love to help you with that. I know many of you have new music that sounds great! But honestly when I attend your concert I'd like to be able to sing along and reminisce as I watch you perform your classics and I'm wondering if having a younger producer remix it and put it back out will make a difference in concert and record sales. Just me being curious. Hit me up!
And last but not least....I recommend that all artists stay current about music trends by reading music biz books, networking and keeping up with what's hot on the Billboard charts; Also, and this is just one more piece of advice for "Type ONE" artists...you should really consider tuning in to hear the legendary music artists at SingingFlat.com share their stories. I know I've mentioned this but I can't stress it enough because their words of wisdom will help you avoid some of the pitfalls of the entertainment industry and get you thinking about your next move. Even though the industry has changed since they were putting out hits, their feedback still applies. Investing in a Great Voice Coach will also help. I happen to know one who specializes in pop and R&b genres Lol...Um that would be ME.... Yours in music! - sb. SingingFLAT.com