Music is the universal language. When you can’t find a way to relate to someone, you can always do it through your music. It’s a big world out there and you shouldn’t limit yourself to your own backyard when you think about your fan base. There are so many regions of the world where art and music is more celebrated than it is in the US. Oh, we love our entertainment here at home, but art…maybe not so much. Any artist promoting and marketing their music has surely noticed that it’s short attention span theater in the US. Better get to the point quickly, or you’ve lost your audience. If you’ve performed overseas you may have had a different experience. There seems to be a greater curiosity and genuine love of artists outside the US. The audiences are also more tolerant of the avant-garde. It’s a different, more open mind-set and an openness to different cultures.
When you travel throughout Europe you can speak to almost any young child in 5 or 6 different languages. They are taught several languages in school and can speak them proficiently. I was struck by this traveling around the world and especially in Italy and France. I could speak Italian pretty well and a bit of French but young children had mastered English and at least four other languages. That made them more open and curious about the cultures of those regions. Adolescents overseas had an amazing knowledge of pop culture in the US. This was before facebook so it wasn’t instant awareness, they had to actually seek it out. Many of the places where I performed as a musician and dancer had celebrations after concerts where entire towns would come out set up a large feasts in the town square and get to know the artists. I was completely stunned the first time it happened. It became a community event and I learned so much about each country that I visited. It made me open my mind to the possibilities through art and I felt insanely motivated to write and perform.
Brazil is a mecca of fabulous musicians. You can walk out on the beach in San Paolo and see people gathered with all types of instruments writing together till the early morning light. Every day is a new adventure in fantastic music, dance and visual art in all parts of the country. The lifestyle is very different and art is much more revered and respected as a general rule. Have you checked out Brazilian artists? How about Greek, Australian, Italian, German or French artists? There is SO much music to be discovered from around the globe and you should be seeking it out. Before you make the pronouncement, “There’s no great music anymore,” you really should be listening everyday to new music from ALL parts of the world in every genre. Go to International street fairs to discover art from places you’ve never been. Every city in the world holds street concerts and art fairs on a regular basis. Last week in Miami was a fantastic Street Fair featuring Brazilian Art. One of my favorite Brazilian Art Houses, Marton Estudio was on hand. Incredible hand crafted and innovative pieces of furniture and household items are it’s signature. Art masterfully crafted this way is wonderful inspiration for songwriting. If you aren’t getting out there to fill your mind with new ideas and art on a regular basis, you can become stale and one-dimensional in your marketing and in your writing. You are limiting your options by staying on the couch watching reality TV. Color, design, and creativity from other cultures can instantly give you a fresh approach to connecting to your fans through your social media and through your art.
Been to Charleston SC for the Spoleto Festival? If not, you are in luck because you can still get a ticket to the spring 2014 event. Charleston is a gorgeous historic city with a rich history and this festival is magic. Days filled with music, theater dance and art from around the globe take over the streets. Want to go for free? Volunteer for the event and you can take it all in for practically nothing. The festival was fashioned after the original event in Spoleto Italy. I performed there and what a gorgeous mountaintop city. Check out this brilliant performance by LEO-CIRCLE OF ELEVEN.
The death-defying 10 hour trip up the side of a mountain to Spoleto is an experience all its own and once you are there, you will never want to leave!The town is quaint, charming, and breathtakingly gorgeous; and the people are open and full of life. Spoleto is an ancient city in the Italian province of Perugia in east central Umbria on a foothill of the Apennines. Some of the best artists in the world perform there. A wonderful mix of remnants from its Roman and medieval pasts, Spoleto’s history actually goes back further to Bronze Age Umbria. Today, it’s best known for its annual summer Festival dei Due Mondi (Festival of Two Worlds or Spoleto Festival), honoring music, opera, theater and dance. Among the city’s many excellent historic sights are its first-century Roman amphitheatre, the 12th-century Duomo, 13th-century Ponte delle Torri aqueduct and the 14th-century hilltop fortress, Rocca Albornoziana. Think it might be inspiring to visit this amazing city?You bet it is…the views alone are magnificent.
So maybe you are thinking, well I’m nowhere near ready to tour outside the US and I can’t afford to visit. So…what about volunteering to teach music overseas? There are many programs set up where you can soak in the culture and give back at the same time. You just have to think globally to make it happen. Here is a list of programs available from Japan to Jamaica!
If you do travel out the country it helps to at least make an attempt at speaking the language of the country you are visiting. It goes a long way when locals know you are trying, even if your French or Italian leaves alot to be desired. People will go out of their way to help you, especially if you make an effort. It shows respect for a person’s country when you can speak a bit of the language. Maybe you will end up writing a song in another language, you never know?The point is don’t limit yourself and be closed-minded when you have so much inspiration all around you. If you develop a large fan base in another part of the world, that could lead to an amazing tour and an increase in your overall visibility within the Industry. If you are utilizing your music platforms and social media every day, there is no reason why you can’t reach out anywhere in the world. Start by finding International street fairs coming to your town. Broaden your thinking to include all people and cultures. You could have a song hit in another country and that could really jump-start your career. Localism is great and really important, but don’t limit your thinking to your home town. It’s a big world out there and YOU should be embracing it as an artist. Start reaching out, get out and go to an art fair, museum, festival or save your money for one amazing music festival in 2014. Check out the top 10 in the world…notice Rio is one of them. Divirta-se!