JC Cassis Photo Credit: Alex Green

Man, I have been a busy, busy bee! But SO many exciting things are happening right now! I’ll list as many as I can remember, completely out of order:

1. Had an AWESOME show on Saturday night at the Art for Progress Clash of the Artists. Everyone who was there said it was my best show ever, and I agree. I practiced more for this show than I have for any other show EVER since I finally actually have the time to practice, and I think it REALLY helped. Not only was I more vocally prepared, but my lyrics were cemented into my head to the point where they were on autopilot and I could do all my dancing around and getting on and off stage and interacting with the audience without missing a beat or a word. I’m also trying to practice as much as possible so that I don’t get so overwhelmingly out of breath during shows, like I have in the past. I think the practicing really helped with that too, since I didn’t get quite so out of breath this time, and I was still moving around a lot and singing at full volume. Also, practicing more has given me the time and opportunity to find better ways and places to breath during a song so I feel more comfortable. Here’s a tip for all you singers out there: sometimes it’s better to inhale less often. You don’t always need to re-fill on breath when you’re only half empty. I find it helpful to just sing to the end of a breath and then breathe again, unless there are too many words between breaths. But I used to think I should inhale whenever possible, and that’s definitely not true.

2. Also through practicing, I finally got the chance to start hammering out what moves I should do during my songs. After watching many pop performances, it became clear that it’s really helpful to have recognizable, highly imitable dance moves to do on the chorus of the song. Just makes things a bit more cohesive and gives you something concrete to do in terms of movement, which makes the performance look more polished and well thought out. Yay.

3. Got my music uploaded to both Pump Audio and Rumblefish, two licensing companies that will hopefully help get my music placed in various media including commercials, internet video, TV and film. I really want to get my new material out into the world, so hopefully that will help! Also got my music onto MusicSupervisor.com, another licensing company. Just need to get it into every other possible licensing company now, and hopefully those placements will start rolling in!

4. Also finally put my music on Podsafe Music Network, a site where you can upload your music so podcasters will know they can use it in their podcasts. Hopefully will bring in more exposure.If you’re a podcaster, you can grab my music from PMN here: http://www.musicalley.com/music/listeners/searchResults.php?SearchString=JC+Cassis&go2=Search+Keywords

5. Indeed, just a few days after putting my music on PMN, I was approached on facebook by someone who wants to add my music to his online radio station, LongIslandOnlineRadio.com. He says they get about 2,000 listeners a day and are trying to get up to 50,000 listeners/day. At this point, any exposure is critical and exciting, so I’m pumped!

6. Finally, after months of wanting to, I GOT MY OWN WIRELESS MIC!!! It is such a godsend. It has made my performance SO much better and SO much more fun. There have been so many times when I’ve had to perform with a regular, corded mic, where I’ve tripped on the cord, stepped on the cord, not been able to dance or go out in the audience because of the cord, etc etc. It’s like a leash, and I’m not the kind of performer who needs to be on a leash!  (I know my friend Michael is laughing at that!) But seriously, having the freedom to dance however I want and go wherever I want without having to worry about a cord is SO AMAZING. If you are a performer who moves around, GET A WIRELESS MIC RIGHT NOW. You’ll be so glad you did!

7. I was approached to have my song used in a film project! Unfortunately it’s super low-budget so there’s no pay, but I’m so glad about it anyway. What happened was that my friend in the NYC music scene whom I knew randomly through another friend in the acting world, acted in a film project, and when the creator of the film needed music similar to mine, my friend suggested she check out my music. She did, and then she wrote to me on facebook asking to use my music in her film, I said yes, she picked “Anything You Want” for the film, and now she’s going to put it in her film and invite me to the premier! This is the first time I’ll have an experience like this and I’m so excited. Here’s the trailer for the film (it doesn’t have my song in it, but the full movie will!):

So that’s what’s been going on! And on top of that I STILL need to make the music video for Everybody’s Crazy in New York and edit it together, book some shows, etc etc etc. The work never ends. But it’s all good and I know it will be fruitful!

So when I googled “Kokopax,” the company that used my song, I found the video above! It’s on their company’s home page too! (www.kokopax.com) I think the song fits perfectly and really enhances the video, so I’m glad it worked out. Also, I wrote the company a thank you email and got one right back from the owner of the company, telling me how they’d picked my song and been really happy with it. That was awesome. So if you’re having or already have a baby, check out Kokopax when you need to buy a baby carrier or diaper bag! Is that me selling out? Hahaha.

In other news, I just went into the studio and had “Friday Night Forever” mixed and mastered, and it sounds truly excellent. We transformed one of my voice parts in the song into a robot voice and it adds so much to the song. This is the song I’ll be submitting to the latest ReverbNation promo campaign, so I don’t want to put it up anywhere else just yet, but I hope to get back in the studio to finish “Good Time” and “Hold For Your Lovin'” this Sunday so at least I’ll be able to put those out for you to hear. I am soooooo close to finishing all the tracks for my album, and I’m already getting lots of great ideas for sassy, fun pop songs for the next record.

I’m also looking forward to finishing doing all the solitary work of making all the tracks and recording vocals so I can start collaborating and performing like mad, and sending my demo around to industry people. That’s when the fun part will really start!

Today, after about a YEAR of having my music in three music libraries/licensing companies, I finally received the letter I’ve always been waiting for: one that said a song of mine had been licensed in someone’s project and I got paid for it!!! I’ve finally popped my licensing cherry and hopefully this will be one of many licensing successes to come. Since I’ve been so busy finding my sound, writing a ton and putting together my CD, I haven’t had a chance to get into really pushing my songs for licensing opportunities (which bring in exposure and money!) just yet, but I’m so glad that something was finally used and paid for, and it is always great to receive unexpected checks in the mail.

The statement wasn’t that detailed and just said that the instrumental for “Chocolate Cake” was used in someone’s “video,” but I really want to track down the person who used it to see the song in action–that would be so cool! I also want to send them a thank you note, haha! I can’t wait to get my new music in the licensing world and see how it does, since it’s so different from the first stuff I put out.

In other news, I’ve got to put the pedal to the metal and get a new song done and ready to release because Reverb Nation is doing another sponsored song promotional campaign and if I get selected, I’ll be in the running to win 500 bucks through getting people to vote for me online, and luckily my friends, family and fans have always been wonderful about voting for me in online competitions, so I really hope I can get enough support to win. $500 would cover a significant portion of the costs to record more material, or it could go towards a PR campaign, which I so desperately need to help kickstart things to the next level.

The longer I do this, the more I realize there really is at least a small part time living to be made at it, through finding paid performances, doing sponsored song programs, singing on other people’s demos, and licensing music, in addition to selling music and merch, and if you’re willing to put a lot of time and effort into it, it can be a significant income. You do have to spend the time hustling, but that time spent will bring in money one way or another. That is a really nice thing to know.

So now I just need to finish recording vocals for my album, make the album art, compile the demo, get hard copies of the demo and the album, rehearse for the show in December, prep for my third show at Spence, and start hitting the blogs hard for publicity etc. The exciting part is about to begin!!

Follow me on Twitter for all the up-to-the-minute-updates: twitter.com/jccassis.

Music! After months of trying to juggle EVERYTHING about my music career at once–songwriting, organizing my band, setting up rehearsals and booking shows, making my website, recording, promotion, etc etc etc, it dawned on me that the key to all of this, the one thing I need above everything else, right now, is as many great recordings of great songs as possible. The single most important thing I should be doing, and should get done as soon as possible, is finish writing and making as many great songs as possible, and put them out for people to hear. No one will care how good my pictures or website or marketing efforts are if my music sucks or isn’t available to hear, but if I have great songs they can listen to and nothing else, those great songs will still make an impression.

So right now, I am doing everything I can to finish my album this month. So far I’ve got 6 recordings out, one more recording ready to go to the studio, two more tracks ready for vocals, and three or four more songs written and ready to be made. The goal is to have all the rest of the tracks for the remaining songs made by 9/10/09, when I go away for a few days, so that when I come back, I can just record the rest of the vocals over the course of about ten days, then take them into the studio to get finished so I can release them. Once allllll the work is done making the songs, I will pick the four best for my demo and get demo cd’s printed up to give out to industry contacts, as well as probably print up full albums to sell and give away at shows. Then I will focus my efforts sharply on publicity and shows, hitting up the music blogs hard, trying to get my songs licensed for use in film and TV, and making music videos. I hope that this will garner some positive press, which will bring more awareness of my music and more fans into the fold. Sitting here thinking about this is making me realize how much time it will all take, which is a little daunting to think about, but hey, every dream worth living takes a lotta lotta work, and I have no way of knowing what will come at the end of all this effort, but the point is that I’m making music I’m really proud of and excited about and I expect it to do really well once it gets out there. All the people I’ve showed it to have really enjoyed it, and I don’t see why bloggers and industry folk should be any different. I’m prepared for some harsh feedback from some people, but mostly I expect positive feedback.

Also, since I specifically started this blog with the intention of shedding light on how things actually happen for me, now might be a good time to mention how my networking is going. I don’t think it’s prudent to name names of people I’m talking about since they’re industry folk and I wouldn’t want to upset them in any way by attributing any comments to them that they didn’t want on a blog, so I’ll have to protect identities here in case things ever develop which would make that necessary. But in short, here are some networking things that have happened recently:

-At a music networking event, I met a lovely music lawyer as well as a fabulous DJ who helps select acts for SXSW, a very important music festival.

-I have a friend who’s signed to a major label and with whom I’m talking at length and in detail about this friend’s experiences in this friend’s position, which is fascinating and helpful.

-Through people being aware that I want to make music my full time career, I have been put in touch with a very successful and sweet music manager, and an awesome producer, and I’ve been hooked up with an awesome paying gig, and invited to do lots of cool shows.

The take home message about all this is:

1. Be as good as you can possibly be at what you do. Do whatever it takes to make your music amazing.

2. Talk about it constantly. Let people know you’re constantly working, producing and moving things forward. Then when they hear of things and people that can help you, they’ll hook you up.

3. People in the music industry are really, really nice and approachable and cool, so don’t be afraid of them or think they’re inaccessible. You just have to approach them the right way and you’ll be all set.

I haven’t entered into any working relationships with these people yet, but as I get ready to take things to the next level once I have my demo and album ready, these will be excellent people to know and talk to, and they could end up being extremely helpful, even pivotal, in my career. So in short, I’m feeling good about how building my contacts in the industry is going, and all it’s taken is some networking, chatting, making new friends, reconnecting with old ones, and having fun the whole time!