The Music Mag: Unsigned UK Music News, Reviews & Promotion
Didi Benami finished American Idol’s ninth season as a top-ten finalist. After several years refining her craft she’s due to release her debut album entitled ‘Reverie’ on September 30th, 2014. Didi draws emotion and inspiration from the likes of Joni Mitchell and Stevie Nicks, gracefully fusing folk, soul and rock to form her sound.
The Tennessee based 27 year old singer songwriter’s troubled childhood and the tragic loss of her best friend drove Didi forward in forming this record resulting in powerful melodies, hypnotic guitars and stunning vocals.
When questioned on her difficult upbringing Didi Benami said “Throughout my life I’ve always turned to music to help me get from moment to moment, and so I try to write songs that will inspire or empower others that way.” Her gripping delivery of ‘Terrified’ was what drew in and captivated audiences all around the world.
Released independently and made in collaboration with Billy Mohler, Reverie achieves that stirring spirit thanks both to Benami’s poetic and boldly personal lyrics and a masterful voice that’s at turns sweet and soulfully dusky.
Born in New York and raised in Knoxville, Benami began honing her vocals by singing in school events and in church choirs. However at age 14, she had to move away from tension at home and live with a relative, and even took on minimum wage jobs to save up for college. Flash forward a decade and a half and Didi is a great example of perseverance and hard work paying off.
Reverie is the start of a much brighter future for Didi Benami. From the opening track titled ‘Trouble’, right through to ‘Hummingbird’, Didi displays magnificent control over her vocals and the hauntingly powerful tracks will remain with you long after you’ve finished listening.
Her songs on the album communicate hope and beauty through pain and dissolution. As Didi says “My dream for this album is to somehow communicate the battle of both darkness and the light that exists inside as well as outside ourselves.”
Shid Latta is an up and coming rap artist from Baltimore, Maryland. Having been featured on The Music Mag before, with his single ‘Bet That’, he returns with the release of his third album ‘Love + Other Drugs’.
Shid Latta says Love + Other Drugs is “about my life over the past few years and the ups and downs/pleasure and pain that comes with being in love and the use and distribution of drugs. They are both very similar and can create and/or destroy lives.”
With the help of executive producer Al Steed of P. Star Productions, L+ODs will be a mix of Rap, Hip Hop, Rock and Electronic/Pop. It features the acclaimed single Bet That (produced by Sibling Jointz). It will also feature a rap/rock cover of ‘Tainted Love’ (based on the Marilyn Manson version), a rap cover of ‘Separate Ways’ by Journey, as well as skits featuring clips from the movie Love and Other Drugs. As a true modern entrepreneur, Shid will also be launching IV.II.O. Clothing Company (pronounced EYE-VEE-OH) this fall.
Powerful, energetic, sick and real: Shid Latta’s 3rd album ‘Love + Other Drugs’ certainly delivers. You can listen to his new single from the album titled ‘How it is’, produced by Belgium Dj and producer Evolution MS / @EVOLUTIONMS here.
If you’re reading this post then it’s quite likely that you’re an aspiring musician. If so, keep reading, you’re in the right place to pick up a few tips on how to get music heard online and gain new fans.
The Music Mag began back in 2009 to help promote and review artists like yourselves and we’ve compiled this list to try and help you to promote your music for free (or almost free).
15/ Be a socialite and get involved with hashtags
Let’s start with an obvious one. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram (among others) are absolutely essential for any musician. Social media is a fantastic way to stay in touch with your fans, gain new followers, and essentially get more people to hear your music online.
Getting to know popular hashtags that you can get involved with is a great opportunity to reach new people.
Why not try recording a cover of an old classic and share your video on Twitter using the hashtag #throwbackthursday & #tbt. The more creative you can be with your ‘throwback’, the more shares and interaction you’re likely to get.
Or how about writing a song about someone or something that’s very current – look what happened when Mac Miller wrote a song about Donald Trump.
Another piece of advice is to keep a look out for trending topics on Twitter. If you can post something shareable and it gets picked up by a few people the possibilities are endless. I’ve seen people have their tweets, videos and stories featured on major news websites and even in national papers because of getting involved with trending news topics.
14/ Online communities
Websites like Reddit, Digg and Stumbleupon are great for reaching people. Make sure to read the guidelines though, because on Reddit, for example, you need to have a ratio of 10-1 of other people’s content to your own content, else your account will be worthless – it’s to stop people going on there and shamelessly plugging their own things. Trust us, we know!
However, if you are clever there’s no reason why you can’t shamelessly plug yourself, but do so whilst also sharing other people’s content.
13/ Perform live online
What an age we live in… but live video streaming of music gigs is becoming bigger and some websites have even been created with that specific focus in mind. Stageit is designed so that you can specifically hold a gig from wherever you like, be it in front of your computer screen, in the park, wherever you like – as long as you have access to a webcam and microphone you can get music heard online for free!
The great thing with Stageit, is that it’s free to use and you can sell tickets and even collect tips from people who watch! Imagine if you gained a good following via social media and then announced your live streaming performance just for them. It’s such a good way to make your fans feel valued and see an intimate online performance, you could even respond to the chat box between songs and interact with your fans.
12/ Paid advertisement on Google – for free!
That’s right Taylor, for free!
This is something I’ve done and it’s worked well. There’s no strings attached and you can get £75 worth of advertising credit for absolutely free! Just click here to request your coupon.
Once you’ve signed up to Adwords unfortunately you do have to add a method of payment, but they won’t take a dime from you as long as you make sure to check back and deactivate your advert once you’ve spent the £75 in free money.
After the boring stuff you can place an advert for whatever search you want. Say if you’re based in London you could add keywords such as “best band in london”, “rock band london”, “book a band uk”, etc. You can then set how much you’ll pay for each word. Google is very helpful and thorough with helping you set this up.
11/ Contact music blogs
That’s not an exactly accurate portrayal of music bloggers by the way – I don’t have a ‘stache.
Music blogs – just like this one – often feature unsigned music and love to hear from talented musicians. It’s important to remember that a websites and blogs generally receive a lot of emails from musicians, so here are a few pointers with how to featured:
☺ Send an introductory email, being fun and friendly.
☺ Be patient in waiting for a reply.
☺ Follow them and interact with them on Twitter/Facebook.
☺ If you’ve not heard back in a couple of weeks send them another little nudge.
Remember that music bloggers want to blog about music! So if you’re sending something that’s interesting or different, it’s all the more likely they’ll want to blog about it.
You can find tons of music blogs on Google just by searching for terms such as ‘Music blog’ ‘Music blog (location)’ and ‘submit my music’.
10/ BBC Introducing
This is one of the best ways to get your music on national radio. If your song is very well produced and of course, good enough, there is a decent chance that BBC Introducing will accept and play your submission. It might again take a bit of patience and most likely take several submissions, but keep at it!
The people at the BBC love finding talented and local musicians, but they have a lot of submissions to get through. This week alone there were over 1500 tracks uploaded, but it’s popular because it’s one of the best ways out there to get your music heard.
9/ Contact local radio stations
This can be a little long winded, but it’s more than worth it. Alan Partridge agrees. AHA!
There are a few ways to go about this. You can either go the long winded route and search through Yellow Pages and Google to find lots of radio stations, or you can look on lists like this one, which is a list of UK radio stations (or go herehere for stations in the USA).
Once you’ve found the radio stations that you want to apply for, you need to find the appropriate email and then drop them a line with a bit of info, links to your social pages and your music.
Hopefully they’ll get back in touch and you’ll have your music played on many radio stations. Be sure to make the most out of it by finding out when the song will be played and interacting with them on social media.
8/ Comment on stuff!
You meet someone, you talk to them, you become closer. That’s kind of the general way we form friendships with people, so it should be no different to talking with people and getting music heard online.
Bloggers, promoters, miscellaneous press and radio stations love to feel important and therefore love it when you interact with their articles (like this one, hint hint). Do it! Now you’ve done it, keep on doing it, you’ll stay in the mind of that person and build a relationship up with them by doing so.
Feel free once commenting on something the article has touched upon, to check out your thing which is related. The writer of the article will be happy for the comment and will hopefully then go and comment on, listen to, or share your music.
It’s crazy what you can get for 5 bucks these days (or about three fiddy in English Sterling). Fiverr is a website where everything costs a mere $5. The catch is that if you want extras you pay more, but a lot of the basic things are pretty damn good.
For example if you’re mastering isn’t quite down yet, you can get it professionally done right here for the cost of a glass of wine. Say what!
Or if you just want to have your music featured on a large music website like this one, you can do so by clicking here.
Fiverr has thousands of gigs available. Just head to the music section and search for what you’re looking for. Maybe stay away from this though. Seriously.
6/ Email marketing
This isn’t a picture of a chimp and Katy Perry’s boobs for no reason. Well, maybe the Katy Perry bit.
Mailchimp is a great example of a free program (up to a point) where you can add contacts and create mailing campaigns. I’ve seen musicians go around at gigs they’ve played afterwards and ask people to sign up for their mailing list, you can also add a signup section on your website and a link to signup in your description sections on Youtube.
As you build your mailing list, your emails will reach more people and each email will be more powerful.
I’d suggest starting out at maybe one email a month, as a sort of monthly update and make sure to have some cool and interesting info about upcoming gigs, contests, press, social media updates, etc. As you gain a larger list you could start mailing a bit more frequently, but you need to make sure you’re not filling people’s inbox’s else they’ll unsubscribe.
5/ Collaborate with other musicians
Think about it. You have x amount of followers, another person has x amount of different followers. If you collaborate with that artist, then the song you’ve made together will be shared to all of their followers, gaining you new fans! The same can be said the other way round, creating a win win situation for everybody.
Jut maybe don’t go for the glam rockers above.
I touched upon this earlier in the online communities section, but it definitely deserves it’s own spot.
There are a lot of covers on Youtube – and for a simple reason – music is amazing. People want to recreate a beautiful or powerful song themselves, because as soon as they hear it the song becomes part of them. It’s how music can move us and you should get involved!
You’ll need a webcam and your favourite trusty instrument(s); feel free to be creative and use margarine tubs if need be, but it needs to sound awesome. Once recorded upload it to your channel (making sure to fill in the description and tags properly), share it on social media, email your mailing list and also add it as a video reply to the original music video and other covers – this will help get you views and new subscribers to your channel!
Covers of songs can receive millions of views!
Blogs love covers as well, so once you’ve got it up there be sure to email your bloggers with a little press release of sorts about yourselves, what the cover meant to you and then promote your new album or single. This is where contacts can help. If you’ve built up good relationships with websites/blogs by interacting with them, when you let them know you’ve covered this great song, they’ll be more likely to feature it on their site.
3/ Try out new services
Don’t worry cat! New doesn’t always have to be so scary.
New social media services and websites that are based around streaming content are emerging all of the time. Do you remember when Chat Roulette started – granted that the majority of people just wanted to flash their privates at someone – but it added potential to get music across to new people, and musicians got on board.
This person recorded his Chat Roulette sessions, in which he played improvised piano to whomever wanted to watch. To this date the video has amassed over 12 million views. It’s all about being creative.
Yeah! Photography. Woo!
For musicians branding and marketing yourselves online is imperative. Perception is everything. If you have some shoddy photos and look like a half arsed attempt at a band/artist people may not take you seriously. If straight away they see that boom you have some cool, creative photos of you/your band, to go along with it, and well designed social channels that are branded with your logo or your pictures, then fans (and promoters) will take you seriously.
It may not instantly help you get your music heard, but it will help you stand out from the crowd.
1/ Get in touch with the local press
You’d be surprised at what the local press will write about, especially now that most have websites or blogs to go along with their publication. You just need to make your story local.
For example if you were born in this little town (or region) that has it’s own paper and website, get in touch and let them know what you’re doing now. They’ll most likely to be thrilled to pat someone on the back that has grown up where they have.
This will hopefully get you a story in the paper or on the website, with links to your music, as well as being shared socially to gain new fans.
If you can think of any other ways that you’d like to share, please comment using Facebook below.
Chris Jane is a Singer/Songwriter and Actress. She’s been featured in motion picture films, television network productions, and print publications such as American Idol, Law & Order SVU, CSI Miami, The Bounty Hunter, Brooklyn’s Finest, Transformers 2, The Wire, The Good Wife, Maxim/FHM.
She is actively recording her upcoming album “Girl No. 6″ set to release later this year. Chris Jane is more than an entertainer, she’s an artist with passion. Her voice delivers electric shocks that brilliantly connects the dots between Pop, Retro 80’s & 90’s R&B and EDM, all while producing a seductively soulful sound.
Meet your new favorite artist Chris Jane in her new single ‘The Only One‘:
With the beautiful singer back on X-factor for the show in 2014, we thought it was time to bring you some amazing and sexy new pictures of Cheryl Cole, just as we did when she had her new tattoo.
Cheryl has just released her new single ‘Crazy Stupid Love’, which is her 4th UK number 1 and more pictures from the shoot continue below:
Now let’s have a look at a few more Cheryl Cole pictures that aren’t from her latest shoot, but instead from the world of social media:
“If you don’t know who you are you’ll find out some day,” The lyrics exploded to life as the chorus to Paul Maged‘s song ‘Look at me’ kicks in.
His new album ‘Diamonds & Demons’ is a follow up to his debut record ‘In my time’ and is produced by multi-platinum producer Sean Gill.
Maged’s new music announces an exciting and uncompromising voice in Alternative Rock. His songs have depth and explore concepts, social issues and universal themes such as climate change, human warfare, religion and today’s evolving society, that are very passionate to Maged, creating a unique vision through his music.
Maged quickly found his niche in songwriting, which he had explored from early childhood. After his father suddenly passed away, he wrote the songs that would make up his first record, In My Time, a pop-rock album with a raw, garage band feel. One of the songs recorded for the album, “Falling Down,” would appear multiple times on MTV’s long running show “Think Again Sex Myths Revealed.”
“Look At Me” (awhich you can hear above), the first single from the album, has quickly generated positive buzz, including good feedback from thecutpricejukebox, which read “Look at Me is a stirring blast of bile against posers who have no substance. Propelled by the kind of guitar sound that Elvis Costello made popular, Look at Me is a monster of a mission statement.”
Look At Me is a biting view of elitism in today’s ‘ME’ society, encased in a punk rock/grunge skeleton.
Paul Maged is an artist for a new age, having taken the common definition of a Singer-Songwriter and blown it away, creating his own sound infused with punk, grunge, classic rock, indie pop and balladeer, in the form of an Alternative Rock Artist.
Even the best bands and artists can fail to impress if the venues they play in aren’t up-to-scratch. This is why it’s so important to focus on getting the fundamentals right when you’re creating a performance space.
Here are some top tips to bear in mind when you’re setting up a music venue.
Focus on the acoustics
It doesn’t matter how well you play if the acoustics in your venue aren’t right. When you’re choosing your PA system, you’ll need to think about how this will interact with the space. For example, does the venue have an echo? The shape of the room and the building materials and furnishings that are used in it all have an impact on this. Also, consider the sort of music you’ll be playing when choosing your sound equipment.
It’s only by selecting a PA system that suits your music and your venue that you’ll be able to wow your crowds.
There’s also the issue of positioning to think about. For example, is there room for a hanging PA system in your venue? It’s a good idea to play around with the location of your speakers to see what works best.
Choose equipment you can trust
It pays off to select the best sound equipment you can afford. Luckily, it’s now easy to buy top-quality speakers, speaker cables, power cables and other items online from firms such as The Cable Company. High-end, reliable equipment will do justice to your music and give you more confidence on stage. After all, it means you won’t have to worry about embarrassing technical hitches.
Know your sound engineer
If you’ve ever been at the mercy of a bad sound engineer on stage, you’ll know how disastrous this can be. For this reason, make sure you don’t chance it with your soundman. All your hard work and preparation can be completely ruined if your engineer lets you down.
Set up an efficient ticket desk
The last thing you want is for your audience to be in a bad mood from the get go. This means it’s important to make sure they aren’t left queuing for long periods outside. Having an efficient ticketing system and a well planned box office will help ensure your shows get off to a good start.
Do your sound checks early
If possible, you should get your sound checks out of the way earlier in the day. It can appear unprofessional if you’re testing your setup as your audience arrives. Also, if there are any problems at this stage, it might be too late for you to fix them.
Think about security
Most of your gigs might be incident free, but it’s important to think about security just in case things get heated. Whether or not you need security personnel on standby will depend on the type and size of audience you’re playing to, as well as your budget.
However, if there’s a risk that things will kick off, it’s important to be able to react quickly and effectively. This can stop a few people from ruining the experience for everyone.
1. PINK FLOYD – THE WALL TOUR
Pink Floyd’s The Wall tour from 1980-81 was a tour like no one had ever seen before. It was not only the last performances of the original Floyd line up, but also a spectacular set of shows that Roger Waters claimed were miles ahead of anything ever achieved in rock ’n’ roll before. Working alongside acclaimed illustrator Gerald Scarfe and architect Mark Fisher, Waters set about trying to create one of the most impressive concept performances in music history. Along with Scarfe’s animations and giant inflatable puppets, the event crew built a giant wall brick by brick at the front of the stage, which eventually separated the band from the audience.
The New York Times reported in March 1980 that: “The Wall’ show remains a milestone in rock history though and there’s no point in denying it. Never again will one be able to accept the technical clumsiness, distorted sound and meagre visuals of most arena rock concerts as inevitable” and concluded that “the Wall’ show will be the touchstone against which all future rock spectacles must be measured.”
2. MICHAEL JACKSON – BAD TOUR
The Bad tour was actually very good. In fact it was exceptional. It was Michaela Jackson’s first ever world tour as a solo artist and while it wasn’t his largest or highest grossing tour (or even the highest grossing tour that year) it set a new benchmark in live entertainment and cemented Jackson as one of the world’s greatest ever live performers. With multiple costume changes, scores of dancers, music videos re-enacted on stage, outrageous choreography, cameos from Stevie Wonder and an unknown Sheryl Crow; combined with Jackson’s remarkable dancing, singing and unrivalled stage presence makes it one of the best live tours of all time.
3. THE ROLLING STONES – A BIGGER BANG TOUR
When the Rolling Stones set out on yet another mammoth world tour in 2005 a lot of people felt that it would surely be their last, having been on the road for over 40 years. The result was a rush for tickets to see one of the world’s most iconic bands. More than four and a half million people purchased tickets over 147 shows, grossing $558,255,524 and the Stones knew that they were going to have to put on a great show. They didn’t disappoint. The stage (designed by Mark Fisher who had worked on The Wall with Pink Floyd) was an 84-feet-tall multi-layered monster, resembling a giant cruise-ship more than a stage. An enormous central screen played video footage of the performers and animations, while huge flames and fireworks fired from the front of the stage. The highlight of the tour probably came at Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro, where an estimated two million people came out to see the free show.
4. U2 – 360° TOUR
U2’s tours have consistently been some of the largest, most spectacular tours known to the music world, but their 360° tour will take some beating. The invention of “The Claw” as a stage concept is one of the most impressive stages ever constructed and looked more like something from a sci-fi blockbuster than a platform for a rock band. It took 120 lorries to transport and stood 167 feet tall, smashing the world record for the largest stage set by the Rolling Stones on the A Bigger Bang tour. As with the first two entries on this list, Mark Fisher acted as the architect but this time with Willie Williams as the designer of the world’s first 360 degree stadium stages.
It was rumoured that the concept for the tour came about after U2 signed a “360” 12 year deal with Live Nation Music, giving them control of their touring, merchandise and website rights (in reality the deal was not a true “360” deal as no publishing or record label rights were signed over). It’s estimated that a massive 3,071,290 people attended the concerts between June 2009 and October 2010.
5. MADONNA – STICKY & SWEET TOUR
In 2008, just as U2 were in discussions with Live Nation Music concerning a massive new touring business deal, Madonna had already wrapped up her discussions with the company and was about to set off on her most ambitious and controversial tour to date. The impressive shows were split into four separate performance acts, each themed through different sets, costumes and songs. The tour became the highest ever grossing tour for a solo artist, taking over 300 million dollars and was attended by over 3,500,000 music fans. Madonna used the tour to make numerous, controversial political statements. She showed images of Republican presidential candidate John McCain alongside images of Adolf Hitler and took a number of opportunities to mock his running mate Sarah Palin and her husband. She also took the chance to place a tribute section to the recently deceased Michael Jackson into the show too.
Brenton is a lyrical artist, songwriter & shit-sayer, based in Miama, Flordia in the United States.
Here he said, the dream became more reality. “the lights came on, and I felt ready, it just felt natural.” Since his start, Brenton has opened for such artists as David Banner, Bone Thugs, Wale, J. Cole, B.O. B, Big K.R.I.T., CyHi The Prince, Kid Cudi, Big Sean, Method Man & Redman. He’s even done a small impromptu performance with, then newcomer, Asher Roth.
Listen to ‘Catch Up’ above, which is produced by Elite Producers.
Noted for his second mixtape, “The Brenton Brown Affair, Brenton reached an impressive 10,000 downloads in just under a week on DatPiff. Both of His music videos for “Peep The Sneaks” and “Lemme Know” broke the 20k mark in just a few days, adding to his growing buzz. Since working on music with notable names such as Joe Budden, Emilio Rojas Jaiden “The Cure” and producer Black The Beast, Brenton said he’s ready for his next steps. “I’m just ready to be heard, so keep your ears open.”
Avion Blackstone is a straight edge lyrical singer / songwriter from Austin, Texas. Her new single ‘Backstage Hero’ is out soon.
Born to a conservative family, Avion Blackstone grew up with first hand experience religious inequality. As a poet and pianist, she began writing music at the tender age of 3. Her style is an original pairing of big pop sound with layers of meaningful lyrics. Also being obsessed with symbolism, Avion writes her music including metaphors for life, gender and sex issues, as well as world events.
Avion has a strong following on Twitter due to her meaningful lyrics and interesting updates, often interacting directly with her fans. She calls her fans ‘Aviants’.
You can hear her music being played on Streetseekers radio, 98.2 The Beat, Beatsta and Blockz Radio. Her first radio interview on MJWJ’s ‘To Be Honest’ garnered high praise from the hosts for her quality music. You can watch for her two upcoming magazine spreads in The Underground Fix in November and in Blockz Mayhem’s inaugural issue this fall.
Although Avion would not describe her music as unique, but rather a representation of herself as an artist, industry people are comparing her to unique sound of Lady Gaga. Her songs are refreshing and deep with meaning while the quality of her music is equivalent to that of top tier stars. She credits her perfectionism…her fans credit her talent.
She is currently preparing for the release of Backstage Hero, a new single from her ‘Anything For Diamonds’ project, in the fall/winter of 2014. She resides in Austin TX with her kitten Egypt. You can stay updated on Avion’s music and events by following her on Twitter and Facebook.