What musician's are saying...
I recently picked up Nyree's book and I can't express the impact this book has had on me. I've never felt so motivated and inspired to make music my main focus. I have a full time job, and at night is when the band comes out to play. I am a singer/songwriter who put a band together three years ago named Paige 23. Since then, I have been struggling to keep a focus on our goal to broaden our fan base and tighten our stage act and studio endeavors. I recently got into Ani DiFranco, and I admire her persistence and individuality. Yet there are no books that really cover her career and give you insight into what she's done. Nyree, on the other hand, has spelled it out for us in her book, and I wanted to thank her for sharing such valuable information with artists like me. Susan D'Auria, artist/songwriter
As a long-time songwriter who has never been able to get my songs into the right hands, I've taken tons of knowledge from you and I finally think I'm on the right track. You're music is equally as eloquent and uplifting, and I will continue to look for anything that has your name attached to it. For someone who is successful in her own right to have the desire to help others who are where you've been is quite refreshing and incredibly important. In the past six months, I have become one of your biggest fans, both as an author and a songwriter/musician. Thank you and best of luck, Scotty Wade, songwriter
I really like your book so much so that I am planning to adopt it as a textbook in my upcoming Music Industry classes. If you're ever down this way, please let me know. It would be great if you could drop by our School of Music and do a guest lecture for us. Mark McKean, Assistant Professor of Music, Music Industry Program, University of Southern Mississippi
I am a successful contemporary Jazz Pianist and I need to tell you how much I am enjoying your Book. I am sitting here looking at my music business book collection over 36 books and have to say I was very captivated from the first few paragraphs as I was standing in Borders. Your economics background must have shaped your outlook--money is not everything but you can't do much without it right. Your pro-active, steel-eyed approach is obviously something you've lived and so is your wonderful approach to personal growth. All your advice is just so darn good, especially the people youv'e interviewed and some the personal stories youv'e told. I hope this book redirects the lives of scores and scores of musicians. Great Job and keep going, Sincerely and Musically yours in Dallas, Ken Boome, www.kenboome.com.
My name is Jeff and I play in a band called Stirling Brig. I bought your book and wanted you to know that it has been a tremendous help. Just wanted you to know how much your efforts are appreciated. We just finished our first CD and are booking gigs and starting to really forge ahead with marketing. Thanks to you, this will be a much easier task. Eternally Grateful, Jeff from Stirling Brig
I just got your book about a week ago, it's so helpful! I'm just starting out on my persuit to musical happiness and success, the hardest thing is figuring out where to begin. I thank you for writing this book:-) Jess McDonough, artist/songwriter
Just brought your book today and just about read the whole thing in a few hours. I felt strangely attracted to this book. Put it down and then came back a week later to buy it. Glad I did. It's very inspiring. Thank you, Efacho, artist/songwriter
"I found your book to be by far the most useful of any book that I've read on how to succeed in this most exciting yet frustrating business. I especially appreciated the compact format of the book, packed with hundreds of helpful suggestions, lists, etc. You've succeeded in just the right balance of advice, suggestions, anecdotes and reference lists....Your suggestions are already beginning to pay off....It's the least I can do to thank you for providing us struggling musicians with a marvelous tool that will save us significant time and energy in our efforts to succeed as independent musicians."  Letter from reader "Papa Joe" Kretschmer of the Ditch Lilies
"Thanks for the time you have put in to making this resource. It is both practical and motivating. Your efforts are much appreciated."  Letter from reader Charles McClure of Vozuluzov
"It is great! She covered what I expected and more. My questions were answered clearly and honestly."  Tai K.
"Thanks, Nyree! I'm getting my music foundation together and in the process trying a lot of things. Your book has helped me organize myself. Thanks again."  Ann G.
"The book is great. My 16 year old son who a band. The information is really going to be helpful. I am going to be the manager and I was really at a loss for where to start. Now I have some direction. Thanks again for all your help."  Mark B.
Review from Jodi Krangle, Proprietess of
The Muse's Muse Songwriting Resource
She has an easy-to-read writing style, and the book itself is cleverly divided and organized so that it's easy to find just the part that interests you most just by flipping through it. She takes you through a Q&A at the very beginning about figuring out what you really want from your career (one of the most useful parts of this book, too! Make sure you take the test!). There's information on how to build up your performance and songwriting skills, venue options, booking yourself concerts, merchandising, building a fan base, promotional tips and even information on how best to take advantage of the internet. She has also patiently recorded a checklist of questions you should ask yourself as your own manager, booking agent, publicist, etc. Roles are clearly defined. Even if you're taking care of all of them at once, these things are still very important to know.
As a reference book, BOOKING, PROMOTING & MARKETING YOUR MUSIC is an invaluable resource and I highly recommend it to all of you. As encouragement, it's also invaluable. You CAN do it all if you really want to. It's possible - and nothing can stop you from going after your dreams. This book can help make that dream come true for you. Happy learning!
Nyree is quick to point out that major labels now look for successful independent musicians, instead of spending big money trying to find the next talent. She also shows you that you make more money doing things yourself at first, instead of hiring a manager and an agent. All of this is discussed in just the first chapter. Chapter two goes on to discuss the 11 key attributes to your success. All eleven of them are very wise, and would probably be helpful to read or recite everyday. Chapter three talks about how to put together a press kit, how to create databases, how to establish new contacts, etc. Chapter Four discusses improving your musical skills and how to stay creative...
The important aspect of her book to note is that just about everything is covered, even some of the legal things involved in music, such as business permits, tax registration certificate, seller's permit, fictitious name statement, taxes, UPC number, Copyrighting, etc. The book gives information on how to register with BMI, ASCAP, and SESAC. If you need to know how to go about putting a cover song on your album, it's in there too.
There is so much information in this book that I can't possibly go through all of it. I can tell you that I definitely recommend buying it for yourselves. There are at least five chapters devoted to touring (including what equipment to use, when to use your own equipment, what kind of money to expect to make at shows, when you should contact the gig, etc.), and if you are just starting out, then you really need to get this book.
Unlike most music business books I've thumbed through, read, or tried to read, there isn't much fluff in here at all. It's very straightforward, and arranged in a very easy to understand format. For those of you who do buy it, I suggest keeping it in an easily accessible place. Taking notes on it isn't really necessary, because the notes would be almost as long as the book. I do suggest following her suggestion about getting a pad of paper and a pen, though. It's a very eye-opening exercise that she has you do.
Nyree on the Run
Musician and author Nyree Belleville, who has built a successful independent musical career on her passionate vocal-and-piano music, recently returned from a Brazilian tour and immediately took off for performances in the Midwest and on the East Coast. Her Brazilian tour diary is online at www.nyree.com, and we recently talked with Nyree about the promotional tools she has used to get her musical career to the level it’s at now.
“Chapter 2 of my book is the Ten Rules of Successful Musicians,” Nyree says. “Following all those rules is what got me to the point where I could do this tour.”
“One of the best tips is to appreciate and respect your fans. My fans have enabled me to go all over the world. Everything great that has happened to my career has been because a fan has gotten involved,” Nyree said. “Playing with Crosby, Stills & Nash, Santana, and all these great people happened because a fan knew somebody. When you try just to sell yourself it never works. But when somebody’s really thrilled about something, they can sell it to anyone.”
Nyree said her current [East Coast] tour is also happening because of her fans. “Some people saw shows I did in Palo Alto, and they asked me when I was going to come to their town. My answer is always, ‘I’ll come to your town when you set something up, or help me set something up, because it’s gonna be really hard for me to get something good on my own.’”
Nyree continues, “There’s one rule in my book that I’m really into, and that’s rule 5: ‘Let go of the starving artist mentality.’ I don’t believe in the ‘standard route,’ and I think it rarely is successful for people and it just leads to burnt-out depression.”
“Playing the same coffeehouses and bars that everyone plays is lame,” Nyree said, “but people do it because it is the starving artist thing: ‘I’m such an artist, no one ever comes to see me, and I never make any money.’ Well, there are plenty of ways to go out there and make money; let’s sit down and think about what they are."
Nyree’s grass-roots promotional strategy has been very successful, both for her career and her pocketbook. “Two nights ago I did a show in an old barn about 45 minutes from downtown Chicago,” Nyree said. “We got great press – the front page of the big suburban newspaper – and it was a wonderful event. We had about 200 people there, and it was in suburban Illinois where I don’t know anybody. And they had to pay $15 each to see me!”
Nyree started her musical career at age 5, by learning to play piano and sing. In her late teens, she sang in a popular local band. When asked about how she was able to build a large fan base, Nyree said, “I was in a band called the Girl and I for three and a half years, and we played our butts off. We played every show we could get, five or six nights a week. A lot of the shows were great and some of them sucked, but we built up this huge fan base. It’s amazing to me how many great connections I made during that time.
“When I decided to go solo, I realized that I didn’t want to do all that again. So I sent an email to the people on our list, and I told people that the house concert thing is something that I want to do, and that if people were interested, we could set something up. And by the end of the day, I had 12 emails from people saying, ‘Oh yes, absolutely, I have to have you play.’”
Indeed, house concerts have become trendy, and Nyree has used them as a great source of revenue and promotion. But she makes sure it’s worth her while. “I’m actually pretty tough when it comes to house concerts. If you set a sliding scale from $5 to $15, people are going to pay $5. They don’t mean anything bad by it, but they’re going to pay $5,” Nyree said. “And if you don’t set a minimum number of people to be there, there are going to be 15 people there. So, let’s see, 15 people at $5 and you’ll make $75. I just did a house concert in Illinois three days ago. There were 90 people there who paid $15-$20 to see me, and I sold 30 CDs.”
In conclusion, Nyree describes what made her Brazilian tour such a success. “My current manager, who was a fan of mine before she was my manager, also is a Brazilian tour promoter in San Francisco,” Nyree said. “She brings in famous Brazilian artists to play the big venues in the City, and she called me last year to open for one of them. One thing led to another, and she ended up booking me a tour in Brazil, and it was just a wonderful experience. It was the perfect place to tour for me. Brazil’s never had a Tori Amos tour, or an Alanis tour or Jewel. I think what I do is different, but there’s never been anything like me there. I got to play with some absolutely amazing percussionists, and that lent enough Brazilian flavor to my music, and it was fun, new experience for all of us. And it all came about because I followed my own rules!"