Sunday night was crazy. I went out to Jersey to see the debut of the film that used my song, “Anything You Want.” It was quite intense. VERY dark movie, but my song was used just the way I expected, as the background music for a scene portraying a photography shoot of a model. Everyone liked my song and another filmmaker who was there is interested in using my stuff in her films because of it, so that was great.
After that, I went to my friend’s birthday party, where I performed on the dancefloor, then I ran off to Posh bar to do the 11:30 show with Mimi Imfurst and Go-Go Harder Faster Stronger. (Sometimes I wonder if I should have a crazy stage name, but I don’t want to be called anything other than JC, and hey, Britney and Madonna use their real names!)
The show at Posh was so much fun, and another important reminder that being out there on the scene makes such a difference in my career. That night, I got a lot of sign ups to the mailing list, met a fabulous DJ (DJ Scotty Rox) who is super sweet, loves the same music I do, and wants to play my music in the clubs! I sold my CDs and made new friends, including the fabulous and hilarious drag queen, Blackie O (I cannot get over these amazing names!!!), and met the manager of Posh, who is interested in having a lot more shows/programming there, and it was great to find out that he’s a really sweet and approachable guy who loves what I do. Once you get out there, you find that the people who control access to the stages you want to perform on are really not scary or mean at all. In fact, they’ve been nothing but friendly and fun so far!
4. This singer/songwriter/producer was also in the Songwriters Hall of Fame New Writers Showcase at the Bitter End.
5. Peter Dunn hosts karaoke on Tuesday nights at Barracuda sometimes.
6. Peter invited me to do karaoke at Barracuda with him.
7. I went to Barracuda to do karaoke with Peter.
8. At Barracuda, I ran into the singer/songwriter/producer.
9. He introduced me to the owner of Barracuda, who had been to the Songwriters Hall of Fame show and loved my set.
10. THE OWNER OF BARRACUDA ASKED ME TO PERFORM AT BARRACUDA AND ELMO LOUNGE!!! These are both totally awesome gay venues. Who else came up in gay venues, you ask? Madonna, Bette Midler, Lady Gaga, the list goes on. VERY exciting.
12. Mimi Imfurst, the host of karaoke that night, loves that song and all the 90’s songs I sang there.
13. I won the karaoke contest and $100.
14. Mimi Imfurst asked me to sing with her on a future project she’s concocting, as well as BE HER SPECIAL GUEST this Sunday at Posh, where she wants me to sing “Show Me Love” and an original song of mine.
15. Posh is another fun gay club in Hell’s Kitchen, and I think this show is going to be REALLY fun and effective for expanding my fan base and proving that I can be a great entertainer for a gay club crowd, which will hopefully lead to more gigs and more fanbase expansion!
I’ve been wondering how and wanting to break into performing in gay clubs for a long time, and assuming that it would be really hard, when really, it’s just like anything else: once you’ve done the work to get good, it’s who you know. I did the Songwriters Hall of Fame showcase because I knew Peter Bliss. At the networking event and showcase, I met the singer/songwriter/producer. At Barracuda, he introduced me to the owner and I got to know Mimi Imfurst, who hooked me up with the show on Sunday. It’s also the old adage: 90% of life is showing up. If I hadn’t gone to Anna’s show or the networking event, I wouldn’t know Peter or the singer/songwriter/producer. If I hadn’t gone to karaoke, I wouldn’t have met the owner of Barracuda or Mimi Imfurst. Once I was there, all I had to do was be friendly and sing well, and from that I booked three gigs. Makes me wonder what the hell would happen if I went out to these kinds of things every single night! Maybe I should!
Also, I am VERY excited about the fact that the following chain of events also happened recently:
1. I went out with my dear friend Elijah to Sugarland in Brooklyn.
2. Sugarland is an AWESOME little gay club that is the perfect size, has a great crowd, plays great music, and has live performances on a little stage on the dancefloor that are very similar to what I do.
3. I asked someone how I get to perform there. He told me to talk to the bartender.
4. I talked to the bartender about what I do and asked how to perform there.
5. He booked me into the once-monthly showcase, Street Smart, on April 25th, from which he often culls acts for the dancefloor performances. If I impress him there, I’ll get to perform again at Sugarland!
So, the awesome news is that it seems if I just get out there and do what I do best (singing, performing, talking to people, chasing the opportunities I want), the results can be really amazing, easy and quick. Hoo. Ray.
I’m really going to try to do these video blogs regularly since they’re fun, I have a LOT to say, and I think they’re a much better way to show my personality and let fans and potential fans get a feel for who I am as a person than just writing in a blog. I feel like people who meet me in person are far more interested in listening to my music than people who don’t know what I’m like in real life, so it’s important to let people I probably won’t ever get to meet in person know what I’m like through making videos. I know that my favorite artists are my favorite artists in significant part because I LOVE what I know of their personalities. By the same token, once I know something I don’t like about their personalities, it’s really hard to like them as much. Cases in point: Madonna seems smart, funny, thoughtful, and nice. I really like her and feel good about supporting her career. Kanye West did something really mean and rude to someone who didn’t deserve it at all (Taylor Swift). Though he makes great music and is not always like this, it’s hard not to think of how much that annoyed me when I think of him, which makes me less eager to support his career. Not everyone who sees these videos is going to like me, but that was never going to happen anyway. Some people will like me/these videos, and they’re the ones I’m going after. Enjoy!
Wow, I feel like I blog all the time and yet every time I go to post, I see it’s been two weeks since my last post. Ayayay.
So, the gig at R Bar last Thurs was so, so awesome. The venue looked and sounded great, and because the bar part isn’t separated completely from the music part, people in the bar who didn’t know us came in to watch the show, and they really loved it! It was so great. Having everyone in the bar come in to the back room doubled the size of our audience, and there was a lot of dancing and singing along, which was great. I noticed that that did not happen at all for the other acts, so I take that to mean that our sound was especially catchy and intriguing. Yay! There were stripper poles on the stage and I could go out and sing in the audience without getting feedback in the monitors, so it made for a much more movement- and audience interaction-friendly show, which was so awesome. At one point I even laid all the way down on the floor while singing a song. Can’t do that in other venues! Yay for R Bar’s setup!
We also did a cover of “Man in the Mirror” as a tribute to Michael Jackson. The amazing thing was, the time we played it on stage was the first time we’d ever played it together. We mentioned that maybe we should do it two days prior in rehearsal, and then the night before the show we were all emailing each other saying “I LEARNED MAN IN THE MIRROR!! DID YOU GUYS LEARN MAN IN THE MIRROR!?!??!” And everyone did. Yayyyyyyyyyyyy it was so rockin’!!!
Having my good pal Dan Freeman of Comandante Zero sub in on keys was soooooo great. He played the parts just like they are on my recordings, right down to playing the exact synth sounds that I use in Reason when I make the songs, and it sounded so great. The rest of the band sounded awesome as well, and most of the guys decided to dress alike, in skinny ties, vests and white shirts. My drummer joked that he was playing with the Jonas Brothers, but they looked awesome. For my part, I wore my big red feather headdress, crazy facepaint over my eyes, double fake fur cuffs, a studded shirt, zebra print leggings and knee high wrestling boots. So awesome. I will be posting some amazing pics and video of the show here very soon.
Musically we were really rockin’. It was the first time we did a full set of all dance-pop songs, none of the old stuff from the first album. I have been writing up a storm and it feels really good. What felt especially good was that this show was so great and the audience was so into it, that each time I finished a song, the audience really erupted into that kind of really sincere, excited cheering you get when people are really bowled over by what you just did. There’s nothing better than rocking out in the crowd, spitting the last line of a song hard into the mic clenched in your fist, then turning around and striding back onto the stage while people are screaming and clapping because you just rocked them. Aaaaaaaaaaah so awesome. Also, it was great to debut the three new songs I had not yet performed (Dance Dance Dance, Good Time and Anything You Want), because when I wrote Good Time, I was worried that musically it was too boring and repetitive (even though, while writing it, I listened to Lady Gaga’s “LoveGame” to see how repetitive and simple that track is, and it is really repetitive and simple, and people (including me) love it), but when we played it, people totally lost their shit over it. They LOVED it and they were singing along to the repeating parts, and it was awesome. It is so great and so helpful to be able to test my stuff out in front of audiences regularly, and it really builds my confidence when they love stuff that I wasn’t sure was good enough. Makes me trust my ear even more.
Just wanna mention, in case I ever get big, that I totally went up to the people I didn’t know in the bar and let them know that I was the ten o’clock act and I really hoped they would come in and watch. It was scary and a little awkward and totally unglamorous and un-diva like, but when you want success, you have to hustle for it, even if it’s uncomfortable. I’ve heard from people in the biz that Madonna was quite the hustler back in the day. So.
Because of the success of that show, I will be playing another show this Thursday July 16 at 10pm at Rebel, 251 West 30th Street, btw 7th and 8th avenues. Hope to see you there!
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.