For the past two weekends I’ve performed at my friends’ parties, and both times it was excellent.  I really enjoy doing it because it’s always a well-attended gig where I don’t have to bring the audience, worry about pleasing bookers or venues, or anything else. I just come in with my portable, self-powered amp and mic, turn on my music, and sing and dance with everyone there! Each time I’ve done it people have really enjoyed it and been very impressed by and interested in my music, which makes me feel great and really boosts my confidence as a songwriter and performer.

At the party last weekend, someone said to me, “We were just debating whether your songs were originals or covers, because they sound like something we’d hear on the radio.” I was so excited to hear that, because of course the goal is to get my stuff on the radio, and it’s always so nice to have people think that the songs are so good that some professional must have written them. Well, technically a professional did (me), but it’s a compliment nonetheless. After the show I’ll go around collecting email addresses for the email list, and talk and network with the people who’ve just seen the show. It’s a great way to gain exposure and build my fanbase as well as practice my show. I hope to do as many parties as possible in the future!

If you’d like me to come play at your party or event, just let me know at talktojccassis AT gmail DOT com. I have all my own equipment and am not too loud for a small apartment, nor too quiet for a larger room or outdoor space, so it would mean no effort or inconvenience on your part, and it would really kick your party up to the next level!

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

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.