Hobby or Career? Making Strong Choices to Power up Your Music Career
Based on the Podcast Episode: “Hobby or Career? Making Strong Choices to Power up Your Music Career with Isabel Rumble” – Episode 26, The Magic of Songwriting with Francesca de Valence
We discuss the first 12 months of an artist’s career including business and marketing strategies to have a sustainable career and making money, plus tips for recording your debut album and playing festivals. Read on for the summary, or listen to the full podcast conversation here. And if you want the mentorship and guidance that Isabel had to help you get similar results, check out Level Up Club here.
Finding your artistic sound and recording your debut album
The artist and producer share a big place of creativity together. The producer can take the music down a different path than you want. So finding the right producer is so important, especially for your first album.
You want to work with someone who hears what’s in your music and knows how to articulate your ideas to other musicians. And you want to align and resonate with them.
Isabel says of finding her producer and recording her debut album, Bird Be Brave, “To find my producer, I asked other artists who have music that I love, who they worked with and recommended. I knew I wanted to make an indie folk album and it evolved in a way that I couldn’t have expected.”
We have a listening habit of jumping from song to song on the radio or playlists. If you’re making an album, start listening to albums.
“I brought albums to my producer with ideas of how I could integrate these different elements into my songs. And then the producer had some suggestions too. These album references were really helpful in communicating the artistic sound and direction for the project.”
What artists want to do versus what they should be doing
When artists finish recording their album, they have a strong desire to share it immediately with the world. And if you want to simply make music for your own satisfaction as a hobby, then do that.
But if you have a bigger goal, to build profile and revenue opportunities for your music, then you’re playing in the business realm. And business needs goals and strategy!
When independent artists self-release their music, they need to be able to wear multiple hats. The creative asset-making hat and also the marketing and business strategy hat.
Here are some questions you might ask yourself to understand your goals and strategy: What are my goals for this release? Are they realistic goals? Are they measurable? And what am I going to do to achieve those goals? How can I reflect upon the results to tweak my plan moving forward?
If your goal is to reach a million people, then what’s your strategy to achieve this? There are steps that you have to take to get there.
“Before Level Up Club, I just thought I’d release my album. But the mentorship program helped me see more of the picture and we came up with a plan to release singles. This gave me the time to come up with different assets to support the release, which supported the album projects as a whole. These things would have been lost had I just released the album.”
Isabel changed her mindset from ‘I just want to get my album out there’ to ‘how am I going to share this with as many people as I can?’
Various strategic assets that support the project are a great way to build an audience and reach more people and keep people interested in each release.
“Having a live video was really helpful for me getting festival performance opportunities. And to help me build an audience in a different city.”
How to get booked for festivals in your first year as an artist
In her first year of releasing music and before her album release, Isabel played many folk festivals around Australia including Cygnet Folk Festival and Cobargo Folk Festival.
We asked her to share what tips she learnt in Level Up Club to getting on festival stages:
- It’s important to have great songs and a great set list that’s really well rehearsed
- Be a clear match for the style and genre of the festival
- Have a solid set of links ready to go
- Show that you’re active on socials
- Have a great live video
- Have a strong 50 word bio and 100 word bio ready to go
- Have something extra ready to offer if you’re asked – like running a workshop, etc.
How can we feel more empowered to share our artistic magic with the world?
We are here to share our gifts with the world. So what are you here to bring in and take out to the world?
Isabel says, “creating music is my purpose and if I wasn’t doing that, then I wouldn’t be contributing to the world in the best way that I could. My musical gift is warmth, connection and community. And slowing down.”
If you want to discover this for yourself, then get clear on your values and purpose as this is the foundation of everything we do as artists. And simply know that your music is an extension of that. And your assets are just an extension of that again. And your social media posts are an extension of that as well. If you are clear on your foundations, there will be a greater ease to your artistic expression.
Making money from your music
Many people think making money as a musician is a dirty thing. But it’s not. We need to be able to make money from our work, so that we can live and continue to thrive in our business. To be able to make money from your music is incredibly rewarding.
If you made $100,000 a year from your music, what would you do with that? What would that mean for you? You’d probably invest it back in the business – making music videos, more touring – right?
When people say they want to make more albums, do more collaborations, touring, they are saying that they want to reinvest in their business and create more opportunities for their business to grow.
Artists who are successful have a plan to make more money, to open up more opportunities and build a team. Can you imagine how much work you’d be creating, how many people you’d be employing if you were a financially successful artist?
We got to move out of this scarcity mindset.
Isabel says, “there’s a limiting belief about making money from the arts. It’s almost romanticized – the struggling artist”.
That amazing art will stem from struggles, is just a convenient story. We are as unlimited as we allow ourselves to be.
Timestamps for podcast audio:
4.22 – The transformation of an artist’s role in the online space
8:11 – One year in the life of an emerging artist
15: 00 – Space for business vs space for creating
20:30 – Isabel shares her biggest tips from her first year as an artist. The role of the producer in shaping the artist’s sound.
32:00 – Isabel shares her tips for getting booked to play festivals
38:00 – Some ways to feel centred when on the road
41:00 – The Magic of being an Artist. The magic we’re here to bring to the world.
48:10 – The sacrifices of being an artist
52:00 – Music business vs music hobby
50:50 – Isabel performs live “Bird Be Brave”
About Isabel Rumble:
Isabel Rumble weaves stories together with nuanced vocals to create a space of open-hearted intimacy and connection. Drawing upon a strong folk roots influence, Rumble offers a contemporary sound likened to Laura Marling and Mazzy Star, inviting listeners into a cocoon of reflection on the subtleties of love, nature and human relationships. Isabel’s intuitively crafted songs of her debut album “Bird Be Brave” define an observant and soul-stirring emerging young artist.
Contact Isabel: Website / Facebook / Instagram
Song Credit: “Bird Be Brave” – Written and Performed by Isabel Rumble.
Episode Show Notes:
Get your creativity, confidence, and songwriting output flowing. Join The Club and receive the support and structure to write 10 songs in 10 weeks and get feedback from a private peer community. This is THE essential writing practice that has changed the careers and lives of 1000s of songwriters worldwide.
Just getting started on your songwriting journey and need more hands-on support? Establish a firm foundation and develop your musical and lyric skills with our Beginner Songwriting Courses. They are the perfect place to begin and cover everything you need to know to write your first songs. You’ll receive lessons from Francesca directly!
Don’t struggle to write your next album – write an album a year with ease! Watch our Free Songwriting Masterclass.
Want more for your songwriting but don’t know where to go from here? Take the I Heart Songwriting Club Quiz to discover your next steps and inspire your way to writing better songs.
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Podcast theme song: “Put One Foot In Front Of The Other One” music and lyrics by Francesca de Valence
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