Growing up, I always have been known to be the shy girl who fades in the back. Once you get to know me I am very outgoing and energetic; it just takes times. Being a musician has taught me that persistence is key and necessary. Music has pushed me out of my comfort zone. I soon realized that writing music was great but if others weren’t hearing it, what was the reason for it. This made me change my mindset and put in the action needed to make my music spread. Persistence made me determined and not care if anyone thought anything strange of me. It all started when I first got to college. I had been writing music for awhile and I was annoyed that nothing was happening with it. I prayed asking God why nothing was happening with this passion He put in my heart. All I could hear Him saying was to take action. It hit me. God calls me to take action and He will do the rest. I started contacting every record label and producer I could find. It seemed like I was calling the whole world. Every response I got just knocked me down. Either they were too expensive or they wouldn’t take unsigned artists. I felt like it was hopeless. That moment taught me persistence. I started reaching beyond the calls and met up with the musicians that I knew. I was recommended one producer from a friend so I called him up and poured out my heart. For once, I found hope for my music. My producer, Billy Smiley, was ecstatic of working with me and all the details fell in place. After this one experience in my life, I started to become persistent in all areas of my life. I go after what I want. Recently, I really wanted to become involved with the marketing department at a recording studio so I searched one out. I continued to visit them until they saw that I would be an asset to the studio. I got the position and I kept working to get farther. The biggest lesson I learned is that God calls us to take action in all areas of our life. He will open and close doors to direct us in His way, but we have to keep pushing forward.
People always wonder how it is possible to balance life when being a musician and going to school. Not going to lie, my senior year of high school I considered the idea of not going to college. I can now look back and say that I would not be who I am if I didn’t attend Grand Canyon University. As a college student, there are many responsibilities one must attend to. Of course you must go to class and then you have to complete your homework and you should consider going to the gym so you don’t gain that Freshman 15. I added student leadership on top of all of that. My first glance at life was that I would never fit music in. God began to open up my eyes and teach me the moments to use my music. During the school week my routine is constant. It consists of class, homework, gym, leadership, and work. The weekends are even more fun because that is when I get to work on my music. My whole weekend is spent at church leading worship or in my room jamming out. My life is extremely busy, but waking up to quiet time with God I know I am unstoppable. When you are a musician going to college, you find time for music. The biggest lesson I have learned is that being in college has been the best decision for me as a musician. I have so many supporters just because we attend the same school. Whenever I have a concert/gig, I know my leadership team will be front and center. I think back to the amount of people that knew about my music before college, and now the amount is overwhelmingly higher. I cannot even begin to describe the support Grand Canyon University has been in my life as a musician. I would not have had the opportunity to perform at Creation Fest if it wasn’t for them. They encourage me to reach for my dreams and, yes, find my purpose. Don’t let the opportunity of a lifetime support slip through your hands. I could not be more grateful for my time as a student and musician.
I have grown up my entire life helping lead worship in some sort of way. I remember in Jr. High always having to get to school by 7 am so that we could rehearse for chapel. I do not remember a time in my life when I haven’t been a part of a worship team. I contemplated the idea of going to college to be a worship leader. I had been leading in my home church for quite some time and one Sunday morning my mindset got flipped upside down. I was singing and trying to get the congregation to worship God, but as I looked to the audience, all I saw were people on their phones or talking to their neighbors. I soon realized how angry this made me. Do these people not understand what worship is? That was the problem. I was struck with these feelings of irritation and missed the opportunity to help lead others and teach others of what worship is. I learned this myself when I began to help lead worship at Christ’s Church of the Valley in Arizona. I was in awe of the way the congregation worshiped God at CCV. It was unlike anything I’ve ever seen. When asking the leaders why this was, I learned it was because they worked so hard in making sure every aspect led people into a time of worship. There is a ton of controversy on worship because people believe it should just happen and doesn’t really need to be put together. While I do know the Spirit leads, I believe we are failing by not thinking through the details of creating a worship environment. As a worship leader, I fail by not giving my best and by not finding the best to share their talent in this. God created each of us with different talents. It is unfair of me to take the child-loving servant and tell them to play piano. As a worship leader, I strive to create a worship environment of excellence so that when it comes to service, everyone has the complete opportunity to worship in music.
Ever wonder what the trick is to getting booked for shows? Believe me, it is not easy! Every new, up and comer wants to learn how they can secure venues so they can begin getting their music out. Well, here are a few suggestions in learning how to find gigs and get booked. First, search Reverbnation and learn about the different venues in the area. Find out which venues will best suit your style of music. Never shoot down an option because you think it is not big enough. Accept every opportunity you can. This will build up your portfolio and more venues will be willing to book you.
Next, make the effort. Do not expect that opportunities will fall into your lap. If they do that’s great, but it is important to search out venues and make connections. Rather than shooting an email to a venue, actually go in to meet with the manager and give them a demo of your music. This will get the manager connected with you and they will remember you before any of the others who just simply sent an email.
Lastly, stay persistent. I cannot count how many times people say they have sent an email to a venue and haven’t heard anything back from them. Continue coming up with new music and a bigger portfolio and keep going back to the venue and showing them what you can do. Booking shows seem like such a headache, but if you go through the right steps, you will start seeing a broad array of locations just waiting to have someone like you perform for their audience.
Musicians are always trying to find new ways to make their name and music stick in a person’s head. Often times, music artists think that the only thing that matters, when making a name for yourself, is pushing out song after song after song. When talking to teenagers and young adults, it turns out that they just want to feel connected with a musician. This is why, I believe, stage presence is so important. It is easy to go out on stage and sing your set list straight through, but how can people truly see who you are and connect with you?
The first important thing about stage presence is to have fun! People go to concerts and shows to have an enjoyable time, but they want to see that you are having a blast as well. If you stand in the same spot the whole time with no interaction, people will remember you as boring and rude. But if you jump around and give people high-fives, they are going to love you forever.
The next important thing about stage presence is to share your story. When you signed up to perform music, you may not have thought that it would include sharing your heart, but your passionate stories always leave a lasting impression. If you are the songwriter, share the reason why you wrote that song. Let people see that you are just a normal person and experience heartache and joy just like them. If you are not the songwriter, just explain why the song is so meaningful to you. Don’t be surprised when emails start pouring in telling you how touched and changed they were by your story.