Monday, 29 November 2010

Juliet Kelly's Vocal Zone - December Playlist

I'm loving being a presenter for UK Jazz Radio!  It's great to help in some small way to give current jazz vocalists more exposure.  In December's show I focus on singers I believe are underrated.  Here's the playlist:

December - Underated (on air from Sat 4th Dec)

Sheila Jordan – Little Song/Blackbird (Little Song – High Note)
Frank Holder – As Long As I Live (Ballads Blues Bop – Mainstem)
Christine Tobin – Bye Bye (Secret Life of A Girl – Babel)
Vanessa Rubin – Simone (Pastiche – Novus)
Vanessa Rubin – Tenderly (Soul Eyes – Novus)
Vanessa Rubin – Yardbird Suite (I’m Glad There is You: A Tribute to Carmen McRae – Novus)
Beady Belle – Apron Strings (Belvedere - Universal)
Carmen Lundy – Moment to Moment (Moment to Moment - Arabesque)
Jacqui Dankworth – Sign Your Name (Courtney Pine’s Devotion – Destin-E)
Sheila Jordan – If I Should Lose You (Little Song – High Note)

For January's show the theme will be British vocalists.

Juliet Kelly's Vocal Zone - November Playlist

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Making Money From Music or 1,000 True Fans

I was a member of a panel last Monday at an event that was part of the London Jazz Festival organised by the Musicians' Union.  The topic was Marketing and Promoting Your Music and it turned out to be a very interesting and lively discussion.  Other panel members were David Jones (Promoter, Serious), Kit Downes (Musician, Kit Downes Trio), Steve Rubie (606 Club owner), Rick Finlay (Musician, Just East) and the panel was chaired very successfully by Dave Webster from the MU.  (If you're not a member of the MU, I'd urge you to become one.  They run lots of interesting free events like these.)

One of the ideas I brought up was the concept of "1,000 true fans" which I think is especially important in the niche genre of jazz.  Everybody has been talking about "the long tail" - the ability of music outlets to increase sales in the digital age because they have an endless catalogue with a huge amount of sales although most individual items are selling in very small amounts.

Although good news for the likes of Amazon, unfortunately this doesn't mean much for the thousands of jazz musicians who are selling very few CDs.  All it does is increase competition and reduce prices and therefore income.

The 1,000 True Fans idea argues that an artist only has to acquire one thousand real fans to make a living.  A "true fan" is someone who will buy every album you produce, go to as many gigs as possible even if it means travelling over long distances, buy any merchandise you produce and tell everyone they know (by word of mouth and online through social networking etc) just how fantastic you are!  Perhaps you have some of these wonderful people already but increasing that number to one thousand would ensure that you could make a reasonable living from your music.

But how do we attract these fans?  For me, the only answer is one by one.  I don't have the money or support of a record label to launch a PR and marketing campaign.  This means that I need to connect to every fan individually and directly.  If you show your fans that they are important to you and that their support and opinions count, eventually you will convert casual fans into "true fans".  Of course the downside of this is that you'll have less time to devote to your music.  Nurturing fans takes quite a bit of time.  It means staying engaged by responding quickly to all emails sent to you by fans through your website, setting up and monitoring accounts on myspace, facebook and twitter etc.  Most importantly, it means giving your time and energy at gigs by chatting to the audience members and signing CDs both during the intervals and at the end of the night (when really all you might feel like doing is collapsing in a heap somewhere with a large glass of something).  But I think it's worth it.  Do you?

More in-depth analysis of the concept here.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Juliet Kelly's Vocal Zone

My first radio show airs this Saturday at 8pm on the internet jazz radio station UK Jazz Radio!

Here's the official blurb:

Vocal Zone is jazz singer and songwriter Juliet Kelly’s new monthly show on UK Jazz Radio and will reflect the vocal contribution to the current vibrant jazz scene both in the UK and abroad.   Although acknowledging the great debt today’s singers owe to the jazz icons of the past, she will be focussing mainly on present-day established and rising stars.  Juliet is also keen to introduce you to under-rated and up-and-coming singers who have yet to hit the radar.

For the first show the theme was Standards and I played tracks by established artists from mostly the US although there were a couple from UK singers too.  The overall theme for Vocal Zone is to promote current artists, and hopefully encourage people to discover and support singers new to them by going out to see them live when they are performing nearby.

November Playlist - Standards:

Cassandra Wilson – Polkadots and Moonbeams (Cassandra Sings Standards – Verve)
Dianne Reeves – Exactly Like You  (That Day – Blue Note)
Tina May – Darn That Dream  (Fun – 33 Records)
Carmen Lundy – My Favourite Things  (Self Portrait – JVC)
Lizz Wright – I’m Confessin’  (Dreaming Wide Awake – Verve)
Liane Carroll – How Insensitive (ft John Parricelli & Bobby Wellins)  (Standard Issue – Splashpoint)
Patricia Barber – Bye Bye Blackbird  (Nightclub – Blue Note)
Dee Dee Bridgewater – Pretty Eyes  (Love and Peace – Verve)
Kurt Elling – I Like The Sunrise  (Nightmoves – Concord)

Next month the theme will be "Under-rated".  I will be playing tracks from vocalists I feel deserve more exposure/recognition.  Sadly it seems as if it's always the same voices that get airtime or column inches.  I'm not saying these singers are not deserving but why not spread the love!  It's the same story with instrumental bands but as this radio show is called Vocal Zone I'll reserve that argument for another time. :-)   One of the tracks I'll be playing in the next show is from an album by Christine Tobin.  It's a crime that it took SO long for her to eventually get a BBC Jazz Award in 2004.  She didn't win but she was nominated once again in 2008.  I'm not sure when she started singing but I know that when I was starting out in the mid-90's she was already an outstanding artist and it wasn't until a decade later that her talent was recognised by the "tastemakers".  Happily, Christine won the award second time round but jokes that she "put the kibosh on it" as that was also the year the BBC decided to stop sponsoring what was arguably one of the most respected awards in jazz...

But November is also the month of the London Jazz Festival to which the BBC still lends its support and long may that continue...  There are some fabulous bands to go and see between 12-21 November.  Sadly I'm not performing this year (sob!) but I'll will be showing my support by going out to see some great gigs starting with the Jazz on 3 Launch of the festival at Ronnie Scott's on Friday.

Monday, 1 November 2010

Gig Checklist (or Procrastination is the Thief of Time)

Last week I pre-recorded my first show for UK Jazz Radio.  Should be hitting the airwaves soon - will keep you posted!

I haven't completed all the "homework" for this week though...  When you were at school/college studying, did you ever do that thing where you procrastinated by buying and arranging new files or arranging folders on your computer and changing your desktop or screensaver instead of doing any real work?  Makes you feel as if you're doing something to get organised but in reality not much gets done!  Well, I've had that sort of week...  So I thought I'd post my efforts in creating an excellent gig checklist so that you'll have no excuse when it comes to arranging YOUR gigs/tour! :-D  Feel free to copy and share.

Gig Checklist





Marketing contact

Technical contact/
Sound engineer


Box office tel/
Ticket price

Fee/Guarantee/Door Split

Payment arrangements

Merchandise sales

Photo & copy deadline/

Number of flyers/posters

Parking and loading

Local newspaper contacts

Local radio contacts

Soundcheck time/
Doors open

Set times




Travel directions