I’ve had a couple weeks away from my dayjob this month and I can’t believe how busy things have been–and how much I have yet to do!

I’ve put together a backing band for live shows and booked our first show for January 30th at 8:40pm at Public Assembly in Brooklyn (www.publicassemblynyc.com). The goal is to have one full-band show per month to start off, as well as do as many solo open mic performances as possible to drum up a fan base, make connections, and refine my performance/guitar skills.

I’ve taped half my YouTube cover videos that I wanted to do with a solo guitar accompaniment so far, and am doing the other half tomorrow. I’ll post those on YouTube asap and hopefully start getting lots of views!

I’ve revamped my website according to some of the helpful hints on www.ArielPublicity.com, and made it much better-looking and more user-friendly, so hopefully that will help me retain fans when random people come across my stuff on the internet and want to support me. BTW, as you’ll see, there’s a notice on the site to email me if you want a free mp3 of mine, so if any of you reading this want a free mp3, email me at talktojccassis AT gmail DOT com and lemme know! Don’t get annoyed if you’ve already bought my album–you got 13 tracks for the price of 10 because of the way iTunes prices albums. 🙂 But you can always get a free mp3 from me once I’ve made some new music!

With the remaining vacation time and beyond, my next set of goals is to finish/post those cover videos, book a February gig with the band, write and record new music for the next album, learn pro tools, make merchandise for my online store, and finish perfecting my guitar playing on the additional songs I’ve been learning for open mics, then get out there and play as much as possible. I also want to join Taxi, the independent A&R company, and see if I can get any cool opportunities through that. (www.taxi.com)

Wish me luck! I’m excited!
-JC

Food for thought: the average American watches 4 hours of TV per day. That’s right–FOUR hours, PER DAY.  If the average American spent 4 hours per day doing anything, ANYTHING more productive, can you imagine how much better of a nation we would be? If we spent four hours per day mentoring kids, or parenting our own, or helping animals, or standing up for human rights, or cleaning up the environment, or exercising, or learning new skills, or meeting our neighbors, or ANYTHING but watching TV? Jesus H. Christ–I can’t even get my head around what a different world it would be.

My point being, if you have a dream, like I have a dream, step number one to achieving that dream, no matter what it is, is TURNING OFF THE TV. Just do it. Even if Dr. Phil is in the middle of a sentence. Turn it off, get off the couch, eliminate TV watching as an option for a time filler in your mind, and go do the things you need to do to get where you want to go. Go do research on the internet. Go practice a skill. Go network with a contact. Go work out. Go keep yourself healthy. Go make a new contact. Get out of the house. Learn something. Do something. Achieve something. Make a “to do” list. Map out how you’re going to get where you want to go.

Even if you only watch an hour of TV a day, it adds up. That’s seven hours a week. In seven hours, you can do a lot. In seven hours, I could write seven songs, or reach out to a hundred music bloggers, or research a boatload of other artists’ career paths, or practice a new song on the guitar until it was perfect. Or expand my fan base.

Time is exceedingly valuable. I’ve come a long way in the two years I’ve been working on my music career, but it took thousands of hours, divided over hundreds of days. I haven’t watched four hours of TV in a single day in a LONG time, and I don’t plan on ever really doing it again in my life. I used as many of my free hours as possible to do things that would help me get somewhere in my music career, and in two years of putting my free hours to good use, I have made many new friends and contacts, kept up old friendships, learned web design, recording and music production, written an album, put my album up for sale on iTunes, Amazon, and many other sites, made four music videos, learned to play guitar, expanded my fan base, done shows, and on and on and on, all while holding down a full time dayjob.

Nobody who has ever made it at anything, especially music, has done it by sitting on their ass watching TV. Making it is a full time job. TV will not help you make it in any way, ever. So stop watching TV and start moving towards getting on it!

I have this annoying tic where as soon as I think of something I should do to try to get more exposure for my music, I think something self-defeatist like, “No, that wouldn’t help. It would never get the results I really want.” Then I have to remind myself, “Bullshit, JC, you haven’t even tried it! Why don’t you try it?” I remind myself that of course it hasn’t worked yet, because I haven’t tried it yet. But maybe if I gave it a real, honest, effort-filled shot, it would!

People are always talking about how hard it is to become a star in any field. “Sure that person succeeded,” they’ll say, “but for every person who succeeds, do you know how many people fail at that? A lot!” True, but what I want to know is: how many of those people who failed really, really tried, and gave it their all, and kept trying until they had absolutely exhausted their options? None, I think. Because I don’t think there really is a way to exhaust your options. If you run out of money, go make some more. If you run out of friends, go make some more. If you run out of jail, you better keep runnin’, baby!

My latest idea for what I’m going to try to get more exposure for my music is YouTube cover videos. There are a bunch of people on YouTube who’ve done them (Esmee Denters being the best-known) and some of them have gotten some great opportunities out of them. But all of the good ones who’ve made lots of videos have gotten hundreds of thousands if not millions of views, which is way more than I’ve gotten so far with my original music. And of course the idea is if you can get people to watch you sing covers, maybe they’ll watch your videos for your original music, too. Can’t hurt. And some of these people went from being total unknowns to being signed to major labels in a year to two years. Not bad at all!

For my cover videos, I’m going to do some of the all-time most watched songs, some of the most popular and searched-for songs of the moment, some classics, some of my personal favorites, and keep going as long as I can/need to to get where I want to go. The average person might fail at this because they might not do it at all or they might not do it long enough, but I’m going to do it and do it as long as I need to to get the results I want, and that’s what’ll make the difference. That, and picking the right songs and singing the hell out of them.

I’m a pop star. I’d say “aspiring pop star,” but doesn’t that sound pathetic? It does. So I’m a pop star. A tiny, relatively unknown pop star making her way up the ladder one rung at a time, but a pop star nonetheless. I make pop music. I have fake blonde hair. I dance. I have music videos. What other credentials do I need?

Anyway, even before I started on the journey of making pop music my career, I always wondered: HOW DO POP STARS BECOME POP STARS??!?!!? How does a normal person become Britney Spears or Madonna or Janet Jackson? How do you get from rural Louisiana or Michigan or Indiana to Madison Square Garden with 20,000 people screaming your name? On all the E! True Hollywood Stories and artist bios, they always skip over the few moments or months in a person’s life that led to them reaching the level of success they have reached. It’s always “Britney Jean Spears was born on December 2, 1981 in Kentwood, Louisiana…then she took dance classes…then she was on Mickey Mouse Club…then she had a number 1 album!”

I don’t know about you, but I’m interested in what happened between Mickey Mouse Club and the number one album. Whom did she meet? What did they tell her? How many times did she fail before she succeeded? What did she have to change about herself to get where she was going? How did she feel about it? With whom did she work, and what did they bring to the table?

The purpose of this blog is to demystify the process of becoming a pop star. Not as it was for Britney Spears, but as it will be for me. My biggest dream in life is to make a living making music people love, and to do it in a big, big way. If people with no parents, no money, no support, and no connections can do it, then so can I.

Along the way I’ll probably get pretty self-helpy as well, simply because it seems that every time I doubt something about myself and my prospects, I find a reason (or ten) not to, and I want to share that.

But mainly, I’ll detail every aspect of what happens to me along this journey: who I meet, what they say, what I learn, mistakes I make, how everything feels, my successes, my failures, dreams fulfilled and hopes dashed and plans changing.

By reading this blog, you’ll learn a lot about how to make progress in the music industry and what you can do to further your own career and life. Whether you want to be a pop star or not, you’ll realize you really can do whatever you want in your life and there is simply nothing holding you back, because you’ll see me put those ideas into practice before your very eyes.

So buckle your seatbelts. Prepare for takeoff!