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#951049 - 03/19/12 07:37 PM Unique person in a unique market. Need advice.  
Joined: Aug 2005
Posts: 47
Olivia Lynn Offline
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Olivia Lynn  Offline
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Joined: Aug 2005
Posts: 47
Minneapolis,MN
I have come to realize that I am in a unique position and I'm wondering how I should play this out. I am a black woman ( bi racial actually) and I am a piano player. Now off the top of your head, name me any black, female, new age type pianist.....if u can, I'm surprised. Alicia Keys comes close, but she sings, I don't. Most people in this industry are white men and women. I feel I'm in a class by myself somewhat, and I wonder if this could hinder or help my sales once I put my indie career in full swing. I think of singer Tina Marie. She was white, sounded soulful, so they purposely left her picture off of her first album cover, wanting the music to sell itself, which it did! I have ready shown my face to the social media, so that's not an issue. Would it be wrong of me, to play the "race card" so to speak, making it known to others who aren't familiar with me that I am black, or should I stay in the shadows somewhat and let the music speak for itself? For example, limit my pics on my own website, album covers, posters for shows, etc. Any thoughts on this would be appreciated. Thanks!
Olivia Lynn
http://OliviaLynn.com


http://OliviaLynn.com
pianist and composer
#951051 - 03/19/12 07:53 PM Re: Unique person in a unique market. Need advice. [Re: Olivia Lynn]  
Joined: Dec 2008
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John Lawrence Schick Offline
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John Lawrence Schick  Offline
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PA
Not unique Olivia, but maybe a bit unusual. Let your music speak for itself.

New age piano music may go well in film music libraries. Take a gander at Music Library Report: http://www.musiclibraryreport.com/

Good luck, John smile

#951053 - 03/19/12 08:15 PM Re: Unique person in a unique market. Need advice. [Re: John Lawrence Schick]  
Joined: Sep 2007
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Mark Kaufman Offline
Mark Kaufman  Offline

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Minneapolis
Hi Olivia, looks like we're neighbors. smile

I don't think your race is going to be an issue when it comes to creating New Age piano music. Then again, I've been disappointed before by the shallowness we human beings can display. But whether or not it affects people's perception of you, I would suggest just being you. I really don't think being a black female will either help or hurt in that field, so I wouldn't make a point of your color, and I certainly wouldn't hide it. Good luck! Here's to the day when we never worry about such things.


#951055 - 03/19/12 08:29 PM Re: Unique person in a unique market. Need advice. [Re: Olivia Lynn]  
Joined: May 2006
Posts: 7,782
Colin Ward Offline
Colin Ward  Offline

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Saint Petersburg. FL
Interesting point of view!

I am speaking as me, not as a marketing expert. We are who we are. No amount of leaving photos off CD covers is going to change that for long.

The music business is pretty much open from a race standpoint. There have been many, many black stars over the years. As a percentage, maybe more than the general population. I think in this day and age, it is neither a disadvantage nor an advantage. The type of music you perform will be a much bigger influence. If you did something like rap that is more popular with black audiences, you might get pigeonholed to some extent. Otherwise, do whatever you are good at. I am not sure where a non-singing pianist fits though.....maybe supporting a singer in a band??


Colin

I try to critique as if you mean business.....

http://colinwardmusic.com/

http://rosewoodcreekband.com/


#951113 - 03/20/12 03:38 AM Re: Unique person in a unique market. Need advice. [Re: Colin Ward]  
Joined: Aug 2005
Posts: 47
Olivia Lynn Offline
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Olivia Lynn  Offline
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Joined: Aug 2005
Posts: 47
Minneapolis,MN
The answer seems to be about the same! I thank you guys for your input. I feel better about this now. :-) if anyone else cares to reply, I'm all ears!


http://OliviaLynn.com
pianist and composer
#951115 - 03/20/12 05:00 AM Re: Unique person in a unique market. Need advice. [Re: Olivia Lynn]  
Joined: Sep 2005
Posts: 3,650
WriterTomYeager Offline
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WriterTomYeager  Offline
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Harrisonburg,Virtginia
J.K.ROWLING used her initials for her Harry Potter books because publishers said books by men sell better..Obviously she never said she was a man-she just didnt advertise that she was a woman-lol.....Smart gal.

So do whatever you think will sell the most........

good luck

Tom

#951123 - 03/20/12 08:25 AM Re: Unique person in a unique market. Need advice. [Re: Olivia Lynn]  
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 2,798
Nigel Quin Offline
Nigel Quin  Offline

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Birmingham, UK
Hi Olivia

I would say above all be who you are. It sounds to me as if you should be exploiting your ‘uniqueness’, maybe get yourself (or join) a band let the people hear/see what you can do. It is good that you are thinking about how you might be perceived but dwelling on it too much could have a negative effect on you achieving your goals. Be yourself, if you do what you do well, then go for it, pics an’ all smile

Nige

#951312 - 03/21/12 12:11 PM Re: Unique person in a unique market. Need advice. [Re: Nigel Quin]  
Joined: Sep 2002
Posts: 2,704
Kurt Fortmeyer Offline
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Kurt Fortmeyer  Offline
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Joined: Sep 2002
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Tennessee
John Lawrence Schick had some great advice.


I love words. They say so much.

http://kurtfortmeyer.com
#951687 - 03/23/12 11:56 AM Re: Unique person in a unique market. Need advice. [Re: Kurt Fortmeyer]  
Joined: Aug 2005
Posts: 47
Olivia Lynn Offline
Serious Contributor
Olivia Lynn  Offline
Serious Contributor

Joined: Aug 2005
Posts: 47
Minneapolis,MN
thanks guys! I appreciate it!


http://OliviaLynn.com
pianist and composer
#951763 - 03/23/12 09:33 PM Re: Unique person in a unique market. Need advice. [Re: Olivia Lynn]  
Joined: Oct 2009
Posts: 351
Alek Offline
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Alek  Offline
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Ukraine
Olivia, honestly, I don't understand your doubts...as for me, exactly black people invented ALL THE MUSIC of XX century:
jazz, blues, soul, RnB, hip hop, so, everything else is based on a black music!
I like to meet with my friends and to have a listen to Louis Armstrong, BB King, Chuck Berry and other greats ( we listen to old vinyl).
And right now I watched at youtube BB King and Gary Moore The Thrill Is Gone...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iUaevnP1LLg
a must see, not just listen to, but to see it! Two great musicians one black and other white together created something!
And don't forget: Oscar Peterson didn't sing just played piano
and that was enough.


#952623 - 03/30/12 02:11 PM Re: Unique person in a unique market. Need advice. [Re: Alek]  
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 8,574
Mike Dunbar Offline
Mike Dunbar  Offline


JPF Mentor

Joined: Apr 2001
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Nashville Tennessee
Olivia,

It's the the quality of the cover image, whether you use your likeness or not, that will make a difference. You want a cover that conveys the genre and mood of the music. It needs to stand out among other covers, and needs to be memorable.

Hope that helps.

Mike


You've got to know your limitations. I don't know what your limitations are. I found out what mine were when I was twelve. I found out that there weren't too many limitations, if I did it my way. -Johnny Cash

It's only music.
-niteshift

Mike Dunbar Music

#952704 - 03/31/12 11:11 AM Re: Unique person in a unique market. Need advice. [Re: Mike Dunbar]  
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 18,182
Brian Austin Whitney Offline
Brian Austin Whitney  Offline


Top 10 Poster

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Indianapolis, IN USA
I don't think age, looks, race, gender, sexual orientation, religion or any other possible identifier I can think of would make the slightest negative difference in New Age music. If anything, being something less expected is likely an advantage rather than a disadvantage. So I wouldn't worry about it.

It's all about the music and how it makes people feel in that genre. It's about emotional connection. It may be true that the traits of BUYERS of that genre of music may be something to consider, (and any artist needs to know their audience very clearly and aim to please that audience) but if anything, knowing a little about that genre (I know a little about just about all genres at this point simply due to my long experience dealing with an amazing array of diverse genres) the fact that you have a slightly different viewpoint and inspiration set might make you a more interesting choice for someone who doesn't know you or your music. It's not just race, but anything you can use to set yourself apart of the generic norm (which is why people dress up, look strange, wear funny hats and clothes or costumes, or who create an exotic background (i.e. I used to be an undertaker or I climbed Mt. Everest and sang this song on top or my ancestor ruled a south american country or whatever) or who play against type (i.e. a white rapper, a black country singer, an asian metal guitarist or perhaps a mixed race new age pianist) to give someone a reason to notice them BEFORE they hear the music.

If you plan to gig out live, you should put yourself upfront in your advertising... that way you get full advantage for gigs. If you only plan to make music for CD's or TV/Film work, then you should choose an album cover that will attract your target audience. No matter what, as Mike says above, your image quality (whether it is your or anything else you choose) should be excellent. Photos on albums covers sell CD's as often as book sleeves sells books. If the person hasn't heard your music first, they visually first find you. Fortunately we're in a day and age where nearly any location (online or off) has a way to hear the music first, so your first track will likely sell your entire album or keep a music industry decision maker listening and looking further. Find out who you are beyond your race and make sure when they see you for the first time, ALL of you comes through, not just skin color, the least relevant part of who you really are.

That's just my opinion, I could be right.

Brian


Brian Austin Whitney
Founder
Just Plain Folks
jpfolkspro@aol.com
Skype: Brian Austin Whitney

"Don't sit around and wait for success to come to you... it doesn't know the way." -Brian Austin Whitney


#953476 - 04/05/12 04:10 PM Re: Unique person in a unique market. Need advice. [Re: Brian Austin Whitney]  
Joined: Apr 2012
Posts: 37
HoboSage Offline
Casual Observer
HoboSage  Offline
Casual Observer

Joined: Apr 2012
Posts: 37
Use the last name of "Chang" as a pseudonym and really mess with them. smile

Last edited by HoboSage; 04/05/12 04:12 PM.
#959106 - 05/10/12 03:14 PM Re: Unique person in a unique market. Need advice. [Re: HoboSage]  
Joined: Feb 2005
Posts: 6,117
Dave Rice Online content
Top 40 Poster
Dave Rice  Online Content
Top 40 Poster

Joined: Feb 2005
Posts: 6,117
Texas
Hi Olivia:

Sorry I'm late. You have received some interesting replies. I believe you should do what you believe is best for you. Other than your love for music and the genre you have chosen... you are probably in it to profit from it. It's your "product" and your "investment" and although I don't believe race has anything to do with it... if you believe it would help, go for it.

No doubt about it... you are unique... but aren't we all... LOL!
I look forward to the opportunity to hear your music... and wish you tons of success and happiness.

Dave

#967060 - 07/08/12 09:25 PM Re: Unique person in a unique market. Need advice. [Re: Dave Rice]  
Joined: Jun 2011
Posts: 2,536
Barry David Butler Offline
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Barry David Butler  Offline
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Sebring, Florida USA
Maybe write some lyrics and find a great singer.
Barry

#967681 - 07/14/12 07:25 PM Re: Unique person in a unique market. Need advice. [Re: Barry David Butler]  
Joined: Nov 2006
Posts: 8,463
BIG JIM MERRILEES Offline
BIG JIM MERRILEES  Offline

Top 20 Poster

Joined: Nov 2006
Posts: 8,463
Edinburgh, Scotland. UK
As far as I am concerned colour does not matter unless it clashes with the carpet...... you can always change the carpet.
Whether you are male or female has little bearing on being a great musician....it is the music you produce that counts.
My thoughts are that you should not pigeon hole yourself or commit to just one genre....you should attempt to master ALL genres and styles of music. Be versatile and above all be yourself.

#967999 - 07/16/12 10:58 PM Re: Unique person in a unique market. Need advice. [Re: BIG JIM MERRILEES]  
Joined: Dec 2000
Posts: 10,343
John Voorpostel Offline
Top 10 Poster
John Voorpostel  Offline
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Joined: Dec 2000
Posts: 10,343
If you are looking for someone to invest in your career, the only thing that seems to matter, apart from the obvious talent, product etc, is age.



If writing ever becomes work I think I'm going to have to stop

iAccountant --- Info L inc --- Taxboard
#968727 - 07/22/12 04:55 AM Re: Unique person in a unique market. Need advice. [Re: John Voorpostel]  
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 18,182
Brian Austin Whitney Offline
Brian Austin Whitney  Offline


Top 10 Poster

Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 18,182
Indianapolis, IN USA
John,

In New Age music, age doesn't matter. It's a totally different world than pop/country/rock/rap etc.

Brian


Brian Austin Whitney
Founder
Just Plain Folks
jpfolkspro@aol.com
Skype: Brian Austin Whitney

"Don't sit around and wait for success to come to you... it doesn't know the way." -Brian Austin Whitney


#968918 - 07/23/12 01:32 PM Re: Unique person in a unique market. Need advice. [Re: Brian Austin Whitney]  
Joined: Aug 2005
Posts: 47
Olivia Lynn Offline
Serious Contributor
Olivia Lynn  Offline
Serious Contributor

Joined: Aug 2005
Posts: 47
Minneapolis,MN
Wow! So many different comments. I truly do appreciate all of your thoughts and opinions on this topic. The varied answers I've heard from I'm definately taking to heart.
Alek and Mike, I do believe there's some truth to what you said. thank you!
HoboSage, LOL!
Dave, thank you for your response and well wishes!
Big Jim, not only do I compose piano music, but I used to write song lyrics in the R&B and Pop genres mostly. My inspiration died down over time so I don't do it as much now. Some of my lyrics are posted here on the site.
Brian, you give good words of wisdom as usual. Thank you!


http://OliviaLynn.com
pianist and composer

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