This is my first blog attempt so if it goes bad just know I am old and not sure what a "blog" really is. My English teachers will probably gasp at my writing skills and punctation or lack there of. So let me tell you what I hope to accomplish with The Georgia Songbirds, and what I have done so far.
First thank you to all the fans and artists who have been a part of this journey so far and for all of those who will be apart of this musical journey in the future. Without you we would not be here at all.
Being an "Independent Artist" just means you are paying for everything yourself. You learn as you go and you either give up, advance your career, or for those who are fortunate enough get paid for your hard work. Believe me I know that being a singer-songwriter is hard work. You put all of your feelings out there for strangers to hear hoping they will enjoy and/or appreciate all of your effort. Most times it is a thankless job, you feel like background noise or no one is listening at all. Let me tell you friend someone is listening. You may never meet them but you have changed their life, filled a void, or gave them something to think about. In the end that is all we can do as songwriters and artists. Be yourself and know that that should be enough.
I have been writing since I was 15 years old I am now 43. I have wondered why I continue do chase a dream that seems to be faster than me and then I came to the realization that as long as I can see it and continue to move it will never be out of reach. I started this podcast because I wanted to help other writers and artists get exposure where they might have a chance to get closer to that dream. We are all in this together and I think that sometimes us songwriter personalities forget that. We are so caught up in our own fears and insecurities that we won't reach out to others who probably have the same quirks and misconceptions that we have. When you write a song it is like your baby, you proud of it and you want to show it off. Remember this though it takes two to make a baby, and a family to raise it. Everyone needs help whether they will admit it or not. You can raise that baby by yourself and it may grow into something special it does happen, in most cases though you are alone with just you and that baby. Step out of your comfort zone, take a chance, you never know. If you fail so what everyone fails, if you fall get up and keep moving.
When I started this podcast I was afraid no one would want to listen, no one would want to share their music or their stories with me. What surprised me the most was not only did they want to talk with me and share their songs and stories but they were actually nervous. I try and make everyone as comfortable as possible when they visit the "Bird's Nest", that's what I call the gazebo, and I will help them anyway I can. Whether that's introducing them to other songwriters, videographers, promoters whoever I can think of. Or just being an ear for them to bounce ideas off of. I have even setup cowrites with guests that want to. I love cowriting and will continue to write for as long as I can.
The interviews still happen as frequently as I can get guests to come to the gazebo, but because of Covid I had to change strategies a little. I still have live guests and I honestly prefer it that way but now I will conduct Zoom interviews as well. Now if you know me I am horrible with technology and have a hard time with change, but I had to overcome those fears and figure it out. I'm still trying to figure that out by the way. That change however led me to find a way to fill those weeks that I didn't have a guest with some kind of content so I came up with the idea of The Georgia Songbirds Weekly Top 10 Countdown. Every week 14 artists try and stay in the countdown by getting the most votes. The top 10 move on to the next week and I will introduce 4 new songs from 4 new Artists. The one "rule" I have is I will only allow 1 song from an artist in the countdown at a time. If their song gets eliminated then they are free to send me another song and I will add it to the waiting list. If their song lasts 12 weeks in the countdown I will officially retire their song from the countdown and they can send me another song. All genres are welcome, from anywhere in the world. We have had artists from Norway, Australia, Canada, Spain, the UK and all over the United States. I create a poll for them to share with their fans, family, and friends. There is also a YouTube video with a minute preview of each artist in the countdown. I have also created a few Spotify Playlists for them to follow and share with everyone. Self promoting is hard for Artists but being that you are "Independent" who else will do it for you. So I hope by setting it up so that they have to promote themselves, it will force them to get out of that comfort zone and their careers will move forward. There is also an All-Time Vol 1&2, after about 100 songs I needed to add another playlist and will continue to do so as needed, it has all the songs that have ever been in the countdown and I update them weekly. I wanted to continue to support them when they get eliminated so this was how I figured I could do that. There is also a Weekly Countdown playlist with the week's current countdown. I update that one every week and when someone is eliminated from the countdown it will get removed from that playlist So there will only be at the most 14 songs at the most in that one. I also have got 3 online Radio stations playing the countdown in an effort to reach even more potential listeners for the artists and the podcast. Indie Music Radio USA, WFMC Jams, and Monies New Music out of the UK all play the countdown. Thank you to the stations that play the countdown because of them The Georgia Songbirds now reach 54 Countries and counting.
Now what else could I possibly do to help other songwriters out you may ask and believe me I ask myself that too. This is what I came up with so far.
1) I am building a studio to have guests come for interviews, I will still do them in the gazebo but some days it rains, or is just to cold to be out there very long. So "Songbird Studio" will offer another way for me to interview guests and make them fill comfortable. I am also hoping to put cameras in there and do some type of YouTube videos as well.
2) Playing off of the videos I would like to host house show types of concerts in the Studio, maybe even Songwriter series or if you have ever seen Austin City Limits a show like that. Slow internet is the first major obstacle but I'll figure out a way around that somehow
3) Last year I did a GA vs TN Songwriter Challenge, which GA won by the way, and it was such a huge success I would like to do that again but with another state this time. I'm currently in the works and trying to get the artists. The way it worked it was 8 GA VS 8 TN writers. They would get to go live from The Georgia Songbirds Facebook page, they would start by playing 3 songs the first round. They would get 1 point for each view, 2 points for likes, 3 points for shares and the one with the highest number would move forward. It was a lot of work but so much fun. Maybe this year we can get sponsors to help with it.
4) Open Mics and Songwriter Showdowns. I host an open Mic at Bradley's in Marietta every other Tuesday, and I have just started a Songwriters Showdown where the winner will get a one time paid gig, a one song Demo from Afterdark Studios, and their song will be played on the countdown and they get to come on the podcast.
5) More Radio stations. I am currently trying to get the countdown on more radio stations. More stations means more exposure, more opportunities to be heard by someone who otherwise may not have heard of you.
6) Spotify Playlists. We all know you won't get rich from Spotify but it does reach millions of people. I have created multiple Playlists and I am trying to build followers for them. If you're reading this please follow any of the playlists that you want it helps the artists and myself out tremendously. My goal is to become a curator for Spotify. If I get enough followers I will be able to, Then I can reach even more potential listeners and they will hear these Independent artists who deserve to be heard. Win win for everyone.
As you see I am trying to help out anyway I can. Everyone needs to support local artists, and musicians you should support other musicians out. There is enough to go around. All you have to do is follow them, like or subscribe to their music it costs you nothing. If you can't help your fellow artist out why should anyone help you. If you are stuck and can't figure out why ask yourself did you help another artist out or did you blow them off. You never know who you are talking too, they may be an award winning songwriter with contacts in the Professional Music Scene and you just blew a chance to forward your career. Networking is a key component for "Independent Artists", Cowriting is another. You would be surprised what you can get out of a good songwriting session. Sometimes it doesn't work and thats ok, just thank them for their time and move on. I have had a grammy nominated songwriter on the show and he was one of the nicest guys I have ever met. Remember 1st impressions do matter so be professional.
So that's it for my 1st "Blog" Keep a look out for more. You may see some from my kids as they do reviews of Movies or their favorite music. My blogs will get better but I doubt my grammar will. Thanks for your support, feel free to leave a review, message, or just say hi if you want. Just click that blue microphone at the bottom.