Over eight years ago I started planning my trip to Emerald City—the annual Portraits of White Concert. Not only did I have to travel the yellow brick road, I feel like I’ve had to BUILD the road. Though it’s been extremely satisfying to the artist in me, I’ll confess it’s taken a bit longer and has been harder than I imagined.
In order to keep my feet firmly planted on the path I put my plans up on my wall to help me stay organized. Details, details, details! A fan who visited my studio wanted to know more about my wall. It’s my yellow brick road. It’s my brain—on paper.
On this particular day, I was sitting in my studio facing the wall. I wasn’t alone. I had invited someone [Sharon] over to look at it with me and help me figure out how to actually DO all that’s on the wall. She is a new acquaintance in my life as a result of an event where I was the performer earlier this spring. From the moment I met her and heard her career story, I could tell she had some wisdom that I could benefit from. After sitting down to have coffee with her, I asked her if she’d mentor me. Fortunately, she immediately said yes!
Sitting in my studio, we enjoyed a root beer float together as I shared the history of Portraits of White and my current challenges with Covid and changes in my own energy level. I think we’ve all felt the effects of the pandemic and how it has changed our lives.
After more than an hour of conversation, her conclusion was clear. She said, “You need to hire someone. The business woman in you is competing with the artist in you. We need to free up the artist so you can BE the artist.”
“What position would I need to hire, IF I could hire someone?” I asked in response to Sharon’s observation.
“A Manager—or a Communications/Marketing Manager.”
I’m an independent musician surfing the waves of Covid and I just didn’t see how this could be possible. We put together one amazing Christmas show, but someone has to creatively and consistently tell people about it. One of the most challenging aspects for me is the marketing category, for sure. I juggle the fundraising, music arranging, the hiring of players, as well as overseeing the managing of sound, lighting and set design. At the end of long days, it can be hard to think about marketing.
Thankfully, I have wonderful help from a volunteer assistant, Cheryl Kennedy, in many different areas. Having Cheryl in my life is like having a spreadsheet with a personality. She helps to organize my chaos as she manages volunteer coordination, ticket sales, feeding the musicians, seating charts, mailings and anything else I can give her to do.
One of best things that came out of that meeting with Sharon is that I’ve been able to come up with my own creative marketing plan. Part of that plan is to create the weekly videos on YouTube, this blog and weekly podcast episodes on the Brand New Me podcast. On the podcast, I share excerpts from my journal. There are always emotions to sort through when you follow the yellow brick road toward your dream and the podcast shares my travels on an emotional level.
These are all part of the bricks that make up the yellow brick road. By the time we get to December, you’ll feel like you’re on the stage with me because you’ve been on the road with me.