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Rachael Yamagata Shares Love & Music Entrepreneur Help

Rachael Yamagata

Rachael Yamagata

I have to admit to having some excitement about this podcast episode. I’ve been a big fan of Rachael Yamagata‘s music for a long time. Going back at least to 2003 when I first heard her self-titled EP and then in ’04 with the release of Happenstance.

Great musicians write songs that connect with our individual stories, and those stories become a soundtrack to our lives. Happenstance was that for me in many ways. The driving beat and stinging lyrics to Letter Read remain one of my favorite songs. It’s probably one of the best sad/breakup songs out there. Add her piano-driven, jazz-styled songwriting to the rest of that album with tracks like Under My Skin, Reason Why, and Be Be Your Love and you have plenty of reason to explore her songbook.

rachael-tightropewalkerThis past Friday, she released her latest album Tightrope Walker. It’s simply brilliant. And it’s already getting featured all over the place. The Appetizer Radio Show is showcasing it, as well a great indie radio platforms like Mountain Stage, NPR Music, and more.

I’ve wondered what it would be like to have a conversation with someone whose music I’ve followed for years but not ever talked with. I finally had the chance to find out. I want to give a big thanks to my good friend and past DIY Artist Route guest Chandler Coyle for helping to make this wonderful conversation happen. Chandler is a connector, and one of my favorite people.

Here’s what I discovered right away in talking with Rachael: the music connection is the tip of the iceberg. It’s really a heart connection that draws us towards the artists we love.

By heart connection I’m referring to the philosophies and ideals we live by. For me, I believe that love is the highest calling we can have. Inside of each of us is a garden. What we plant in our hearts turns to fruits we produce with our lives. My mantra each day is to plant love inside my heart and mind so that it can be reaped to give to others. This is the heart of Growth Farming.

There’s a principle of Like Attracting Like and that’s certainly something that every one of my friends who are past guests on the podcast have in common. We all believe that joining forces to help others is the path to take to succeed. Rachael is a wonderful example of just the heart and mind to do that for artists and entrepreneurs alike here.

Big Takeaways In This Podcast With Rachael Yamagata

My wife Mrs. Smith was very pleased to learn that, like her, Rachael is a very big cat fan. She shares a bit of insight into her love for her cats in this conversation. I thought that was just perfect. One day we’ll have to find a way to get Mrs. Smith and Ms. Yamagata together to compare cat notes, don’t you think?

Writing relationships in their ups is not always easy, but writing about the downs comes more naturally. Some people try to figure out why relationships go the way they do instead of just complaining about what didn’t work. For songwriters who dive into this side of the story, it takes on a whole new thing. We also learn why my friend William Fitzsimmons and Rachael should do a co-write together.

The entrepreneurial side of art and music is certainly within the grasp of any artist who wants to be successful. However, the ball is in your court. If you want to win in this realm, you have to learn everything you can about how to be a business with your music. It’s the realm of what Rachael refers to as “Artist As CEO.” She gives plenty of insights into how to make that happen here.

Patience is a struggle for everyone, especially artists. However, the process of learning an instrument shows us that we can adapt to changes and work towards improvement. She admits to writing a lot of really long and really bad songs early on in her career. We need to make mistakes often to be able to learn from them to grow.

Ultimately, her greatest desire as a person is to leave am impression on this world as someone who exhibited unexpected kindness. As she puts it, “I observe a lot and I love finding that thing that someone would really enjoy  that they don’t know how to ask for and get it into their world.”

Great Rachael Yamagata Quotes From The Podcast

” I think my calling card has always been just to remind people to connect with one another and we all have our stories and are much deeper than whatever masks we put on in daily life.”

“Emotions are so powerful and they hit you in a way that intellect doesn’t. You don’t have control over them often. You don’t always understand them.”

“I am so obsessed with my cats I have to be careful in conversations.”

“There’s a lot of studying we can do and a lot of direct connection with fans, who are your greatest asset as a DIY artist.”

Listen/Download this episode:

Rachael is a fantastic songwriter, musician and human being. This conversation really blessed my heart, encouraged and inspired me in a lot of ways. I hope you have a similar experience.

I also encourage you to dive into her latest album Tightrope Walker, and her deeper songbook. It’s some of the best music you will ever hear. Cheers!

Sponsor For This Podcast Piece

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Justin Wayne On The DIY Artist Route

justin-wayne-ill-micIndie radio show host and podcast creator Justin Wayne joined me for a fantastic conversation about music, the indie music revolution, success for indie and DIY musicians and more. He and I share a lot in common including creating music platforms that have grown tremendously over the years. Justin even has an “associate producer” named Puck, who is a cat. I have a similar position filled by my cat named Baby Girl.

I wanted to talk with Justin on the DIY Artist Route podcast because his insights into the growth of indie music from the perspective of a radio host. We both agree that the appeal indie and unsigned artists have to music fans who are searching for something commercial radio refuses to deliver is a powerful one. I talk a lot about how artists can grow their fan base and reach more people by getting on indie radio. Justin reiterates a lot of the things I talk about regularly on this blog, all without any prompt or suggestion. What I mean by that is us radio folks think a lot alike. His attitude and insight into how artists can reach out to radio iterates a lot of what I teach in The Indie Radio Course.

Justin Wayne is a really funny guy and I thoroughly enjoyed talking with him. Among the talking points made are his suggestion for what artists need to do in order to “get discovered” by radio platforms (i.e. get their submissions listened to and considered), the power that indie music has to change all of the music industry (for the better), what a musician’s job really is (far beyond just making music), and how partnering with people who believe in you is how you really gain the growth you want.

Here are just a few of the quotes found in the podcast:
“We get a lot of submissions and we see when we have a BCC email. If you’re not taking the time to at least check out the website for a brief moment to see if your music fits on my station, it’s kinda not worth my time to give it a listen. But it’s pretty easy to pick out the people who are taking the time to connect.”

“Have an experience with a radio platform before you start contacting people.”

“Radio guys love to talk about stuff. It’s nice to have something to talk about. So give us something interesting (when you make your submission). Listeners like it because they can go tell their friends.”

“It’s kinda like computer programming. You start small and figure out if it works and then you go from there. You don’t have to start out by recording a full 12 songs. Do 3 or 4 or 5 and make them really good and focus on that.”

“I would never tell an artist to change their style or what they’re doing if they’re really passionate about it. Because that’s the most important thing in my mind. That should come through.”

“When you’re building your team of your manager or even your friends who are helping you out, make sure they understand your passion and what you’re trying to do because there’s nothing more important. You’re trying to improve people’s lives, that’s really what a musician’s job is.”

“It’s sort of a religion. It’s like ‘Do you believe in Independent Music? Do you believe that it’s good?’ Yeah I do. ‘Have you taken Independent music as your personal savior?’ Ok then you’re in. It’s really like that. There are some people who don’t believe it’s good but that’s because they haven’t experienced it. Once they experience it, they’re like ‘yeah it’s great! Why would I want to listen to the (commercial) radio anymore?’”

This was a fantastic experience of indie music insight with Justin Wayne. Hear his indie music podcast The Justin Wayne Show here. Share this podcast with other musicians, indie music folks and anyone else you think can benefit from our discussion. Let me know what you think of this edition in the comments below.