Yay!

I meant to write this chain of events down right when it happened, and then four days passed. Oops! But check this out:

1. Many weeks ago, I went to see my friend Anna Haas play a show at an event called Drinking for a Change.

2. At that show, I met one of the D4AC organizers, Peter Dunn.

3. I went to a Songwriters Hall of Fame networking meeting where I met a singer/songwriter/producer.

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.

11. At Barracuda, I sang my favorite song ever, “Show Me Love” by Robin S.

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.

Four on the Floor now available on iTunes!

Wow, so much to talk about!

My album, Four on the Floor, just dropped on iTunes, Amazon, and all other digital music retailers. I’m so excited! Please click this link, click “view on iTunes,” and write me a review: http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/four-on-the-floor/id352894867. That would help so much!!

Also, I just got the first-ever hard copy of my album in the mail the other day, and it looks so great! I’m so happy about that. Now it’s time to order a whole bunch of albums to send out to fans, friends, licensing folks, industry contacts, etc. People have already put in orders for them so I can’t wait to get them out there!

The other HUGE news is that I finally, after two and a half years, left my day job to pursue music full time. I’m so glad I took action on the most important thing in my life. This was absolutely the right decision at the right time for the right reasons and I’m so happy. I’m really looking forward to working on music stuff all day every day, whether it be writing, recording, producing, singing for other people’s projects, networking, etc etc. This is going to be awesome.

Finally, I wanted to share with you one of the best and funniest videos I’ve seen in a long time. This is my friend Danny from New York who now lives in LA and does NOT espouse the views expressed in this video. He’s playing a character, people! Now watch and be happy:

My hundreds of receipts for tax-deductible things from 2009.

So after putting together all my receipts from this year I found out that I spent a quarter of my total income before taxes this year on music-related stuff, which is about what I expected, but still, when you consider that most New Yorkers spend around a third to a half of their income on rent, then pay all the taxes we have to pay, the fact that I spent a quarter of my income on music stuff and still managed to save a bunch of money is pretty awesome. The expenses, from largest to smallest, were as follows:

Rent on my studio/office

Mixing and mastering my songs

Tech-related expenses (this was so high because I had to pay a tearjerkingly large amount of money to do data recovery and computer repair after my hard drive died this summer. Am I backing stuff up now? You bet your sweet ass I am. Holy shit!)

Deductible meals (networking, business relationship building, treating dancers and other favor-doing friends to meals in exchange for their help with my projects)

Site maintenance/hosting, songwriting contests, SonicBids submissions, payment for airplay on Jango.com

Transportation around NYC

Stage costumes/makeup

Business phone bill

Rehearsal space for my band

Show-related expenses (equipment purchases etc)

Deductible tickets to professionally enriching music shows/movies

Membership dues for Women in Music and Art for Progress

Music conference registration fees

Mailing CDs to fans and registration forms to music companies

The good news is, I expect many of these expenses to go down, but if I do end up doing shows in places I have to fly to, the overall amount of money I spend on my career might still go up this year. But it’s nice to know that I don’t expect to have my computer melt down again this year, and if it does, I still won’t need to do data recovery if I keep backing everything up, which will knock about $1000 off the bill for having my computer repaired. I am also being more frugal in general with how much I spend at restaurants, I don’t expect to enter any songwriting contests this year as they’ve largely been a waste of time, I’ll be drastically reducing my submissions through SonicBids since I find it better to just advance my career in free and productive ways, I’m being more frugal with my MTA and cab spending since monthly unlimited cards have gotten expensive enough that they don’t make sense for me anymore and I love walking anyway, I’ve got enough costume pieces and makeup that I won’t need that much more this year, and I won’t be performing as much with my band this year since I think it makes more sense to do solo shows/shows with a DJ playing my tracks. This should eliminate a lot of expense and hassle while making more room for more shows and promo that are actually effective in building my fanbase and getting my career off the ground. I’m excited!

So as you know, a while ago I wrote a PenTales short for the PenTales project, run by my ol’ college pal Steph Hodges and my new post-college pal Saskia Miller. Last night was the live event to celebrate all the PenTales pieces they compiled and have live readings, and after I and the others read our pieces, there was social time for everyone to meet each other. I ended up speaking to an awesome woman who’s a writer and knows some pretty amazing people, and we spoke about ways to get publicity. She told me that in her opinion there are basically two ways to get famous:

1. Associate yourself with someone famous

2. Do something so wild and crazy that people have to pay attention to you

In my short lifetime, I’ve definitely seen people be successful with both of those methods, but it was great to hear an experienced member of the media break it down so simply like that. We also clicked because we spoke about our frustration over how people’s life stories are always SO sugarcoated in the media, but they’re never true to life. Made me think perhaps one way to stand out is to tell my story as truthfully as possible and point out that I’m pretty much the only one doing it out there.

So, if you want to get famous, spend some time mentally sorting through your contacts and figure out who you know who knows someone famous, and find a way to get closer to that famous person yourself. (Not in an assholey-social-climbey way, of course, but by passing your work to them through your mutual contact or organically fostering a relationship. Disregard this important part of it at your own peril.) Aren’t you much more likely to pay attention to someone if someone famous is singing his/her praises, or at least talking about him/her a lot? Alternatively, spend some time thinking of something amazingly attention-grabbing that you could do, and do it. Just look how that worked out for Balloon Boy’s dad, haha! Of course you have to be pretty careful with what you do, because you don’t want the kind of fame that makes your life terrible, you want the kind that makes your life fun.

Another cool thing that happened at the party was that I got to talk to comedian and actor Seth Herzog (Role Models, The Ten, Stella, VH1, etc) at length and got to hear his story of how he got to where he is straight from him, with no media filter. One thing that was interesting was that he definitely made a point of talking about how he got lucky in multiple ways with his particular comedy career. For example, he’s very close friends with some members of the State, who started their careers with a popular show on MTV, and has continued to get various acting/writing/comedy/networking opportunities partially through knowing them, for many years. (Associate yourself with someone famous.) Also, he talked about how things really started to take off for him in 2002 or thereabouts, and he started his career in the early 90’s. So it was definitely not a fairytale, overnight thing. He worked and worked and worked, and finally, after about ten years, was able to live completely off of comedy-related work. So refreshing to hear a real, truthful success story straight from the horse’s mouth. It was also funny to find out how many of the same people he and I know. You don’t often expect that to be the case when you see someone on TV or the movies, but that’s the great thing about living in New York and being in the artistic community. 🙂 You’re always closer to a prominent person than you think.

I also wanted to plug PenTales in this post. I wasn’t aware of how awesome of a project it truly is until I went to the live event last night. It was SO WONDERFUL to listen to other people’s stories and tell my own, and so great to speak with everyone afterwards. I met such great people and it was a wonderful atmosphere, and I cannot recommend getting involved with PenTales highly enough. Do it!!! Tell ’em I sent ya.  www.PenTales.com

Also, based on all the value I got out of talking/networking at this one event that wasn’t even music-centric, I cannot WAIT to ramp up my networking time once the album and demo are finished! It’s going to be amazing!

So today, after like 3 months, I finally filmed one of the last parts of the ECNY video that still needed to be shot. Now I just have two more little pieces to do (hopefully next weekend) and it will be time to start editing it! The editing should be relatively quick since I’ve storyboarded it out in my head. I hope it doesn’t look too weird that part of it was filmed in blazing summer heat and sunshine and part of it was filmed in freezing cold rainy fall, hahaha but too bad.

For the shoot today, I choreographed another piece to go along with the chorus, grabbed some friends to come dance in it, taught it to them in a few minutes in my room, then we headed out to film. It was another laughtastic day because it’s pretty impossible to teach people my silly choreography then watch them do it all together and not just bust out laughing. We had a lot of fun today and it was great to have my dancer friends meet and dance with each other. As young artists it’s really important to collaborate and help each other with our projects and get to know each other so we can lift each other up, so it was a great feeling to see my artsy fartsy friends chatting, laughing and networking a few minutes into knowing each other. We froze our asses off outside since it was about 42 degrees, with wind and rain, and we had a lot of standing around to do between takes. We did the dance so many times and even though I’m not much of an anthlete, somehow my dances always end up being really athletically demanding, so by the end of it we were all pretty exhausted. Then we all had some awesome burgers at The Burger Joint and called it a night. I have some great footage to work with and I can’t wait to put the video together and get it out there already!

But for now, it’s back to finishing these last two tracks, starting to record vocals, and a really really unhealthy amount of networking at any CMJ-related event I can possibly get into this week. Ayayay.