Observations and Music Merchandise


DeathtoStock_NotStock10Photo Credit: Death to Stock Photos

I had the privilege of working the merchandise booth recently for a friend, and I observed some aspects that made me a think a little deeper about the realm of sales and the point of purchase. I wanted to share what I was able to procure from this experience:

  1. Presentation is important. People are drawn to things that look good. That’s just a pretty obvious point to most things in life in general. Attractive people, attractive homes, attractive clothing- you name it. So make it pleasing to the eye. Even small touches like how it’s arranged or the orderliness could go a long way.  So give some thought to placement and the “how” behind it all.
  2. Sales can be low, so make it easy for people to purchase. People seem to be purchasing more online these days, so music merchandise tables are no different. With comments like “oh yeah, I can just buy this online,” there’s a definite sign that the times of purchasing have changed. With the ability to purchase later online, there’s no sense of urgency. I mean, I can worry about this later so no need to whip out cash or card now, right? Another thing to consider is making your price points visible. People who might be willing to give 5 or 25 should all be made to feel welcome. Create a legible sign. Let your sign show that this is the 5 dollar price point, this is the 10, this is the 20 and on to the package deal at 25-30. Oftentimes, people already have their spending limit in their mind. If you had something at their particular price level, they could purchase on the spot. Whether it’s an online store or a brick and mortar, make pricing easy to read and available. There’s nothing more unsettling than not knowing price and having to ask. No one likes to think- If I have to ask, then I must not be able to afford it. That’s isolating and arrogant on the part of the seller. Be proud of your product and be confident enough to know that it’s worth every penny.  
  3. Interaction is imperative. Be friendly and engage with all people who may come your way. Ask people how they are doing and engage them. People may want to chat for a bit. If so, they may linger and purchase something. It is important that you have someone work your merchandise table while you play. If people decide to purchase any merchandise during your set and your table is vacant, they may move on and not come back later in the evening. If your music is strictly online, then make yourself accessible somehow. People sometimes need help, so be around when they need it.  

So, consider the details, because they are important. Don’t minimize the preparation and attention you give to your merchandise and your merchandise table. If you actually take care about the tiny things, the larger things in your career and life may just take of themselves.

Be faithful in the small things 🙂

~lme

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Touring in Tulsa


 

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I recently returned from such an incredible first tour in the Tulsa, Oklahoma area.  I wanted to detail a little about our travels for that weekend of shows.  I would love to give a shout-out to the absolute greatest Airbnb hosts out in Tulsa.  If you’re ever in Tulsa, check out staying with Heather and her sweet family.  They were so supportive and kind to us.  Check out their listing here.

Our first day we set out West and drove through the Arkansas country.  Nikia Burns, my talented violinist, my best friend and jack-of-all-trades, Kayla Bogs made a fabulous team.   We arrived in town on a Thursday evening and got to catch the tail end of Jared Tyler’s show.  He recently played on the John Moreland album, so that’s pretty cool!  He also co-owns a violin shop in town called

Bright and early on Friday morning, we had the pleasure of playing Lakes Country 102.1 with Lou, Blake and Faith.  They were so welcoming, and we enjoyed playing live.  To hear the entire broadcast, visit this link.  It was fun to play on live radio for the first time- you really have to be able to think on your feet.  Hopefully they enjoyed the Paradise donuts we picked up on the way for them 🙂

We spent Friday in Tahlequah visiting the Cherokee Prison Museum, a local coffee shop and a music studio.  We invited people around town to our show for Saturday night at the Branch.  It was a great experience to actually meet people in the area and feel like we got a little taste of the local culture.  We especially loved the fabulous silver and turquoise rings we drooled over at the Cherokee gift shop later that day.  We headed back to Tulsa that evening to get ready for our gig at the Campbell Hotel in downtown Tulsa.  This is such a neat hotel, and they have recently renovated it and invite people from the community on a certain Saturday of the month.  A new friend, Scott Ayecock, from Folk Salad Radio, came out to hear us play live.  It was great meeting him and his wife and chatting about music.

Saturday was a great field trip day.  We had brunch at Dilly Diner downtown Tulsa which was so yum!  After that, we headed to the Woodie Guthrie Center which I highly recommend to anyone visiting Tulsa.  It was a great place for some pre-gig inspiration as we walked through the exhibit, read inspiring quotes and learned a little about the man behind the music.  After this, we headed to our sweet friends house, the Jarrett’s, to get ready for our gig that evening in Tahlequah.

On Saturday evening, despite the rain, we had the pleasure of playing at the Branch in Tahlequah.  It was a nice restaurant and some old friends as well as new-found friends from Tahlequah came out to hear us play.  It was so great to have the support from them.

The people were the nicest souls ever and Tulsa was so receptive to music and opened their hearts to us.  They were super generous and hospitable, and I feel so blessed to have spent my first tour dates in Oklahoma.  Thanks Oklahoma for all you did to make us feel welcome!

~lme

30A Songwriters Fest Spotlight on Caroline Cotter


30A-Songwriters-Festival-2015-Lineup-Poster

I wanted to feature my next 30A Songwriters Fest songwriter, Caroline Cotter. With a voice as sweet as a budding flower and the fabulous content of a travel diary, she’ll pull you close like a warm embrace. Her music transports me to some farm in Connecticut as if were going to pick apples and get maple syrup or across the ocean to another country in Europe.  She’s a lovely storyteller, so you have to listen carefully to her lyrics or you’ll miss a page of the story.  Journey in C is one of my favorites. She sings, has harmony, snaps the whole song and it’s a travel dialogue. You know it’s a good song when you can just listen and there’s not even any instrumentation but the vocals. Love it! You can hear it here.

Her strong love of travel is something that connects me to her story. From her Biography online:  “Music has always been at the heart of Caroline’s life, alongside an insatiable passion for travel and global exploration.  In the past ten years, Caroline has lived in and traveled to 27 countries on five continents. While writing and recording Dreaming as I Do, she spent the last few years working for the Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE) in Portland, Maine. CIEE provided amazing opportunities for international community and travel, and further inspired Caroline’s songwriting.”

So, please check out her music and drift off into a world of peoples, places and ideas. I think you’ll find it absolutely perfect for daydreaming on a Tuesday afternoon.

~lme

cotter

The start of some 30A Songwriters Fest reviews


View More: http://jackieo.pass.us/annalise

Hello all,

I’ve been asked to play the well-known 30A Songwriters Festival in Florida in January 2016. It’s so exciting!  So with 8-9 weeks before the festival begins, I’d like to do a review each week on some fellow 30A Songwriters that will be playing at the Festival this year!  Today’s review is Annalise Emerick, a talented songwriter who has made a name and niche for herself in the music scene.  With a voice as soft and sweet as honey and songwriting that calms the soul, Annalise Emerick has found her sound.  She has taken care to document the world around her, allowing outsiders some insight into the mind of a whimsical wanderer.

From her bio on her site, the inspiration for her music is evident. “Eternally a free spirit with an insatiable wanderlust, Emerick comes by it honestly. ‘We moved around a lot when I was a kid, so I feel like my life on the road was kind of inevitable,’ she laughs. ‘I’m always exploring the notion of home musically, emotionally, and geographically.’ The singer claims a scattering of cities as her muse, growing up in the rich musical heritage of both Seattle and Austin before eventually making her way to Nashville to attend Belmont University. In Music City she honed her craft, but it was several charmed summers as a camp counselor in Maine and New Hampshire that inspired her relocate to Boston and start her musical career…..Now, three years after the release of her first EP, fresh off of a first place win in the New England Songwriter’s Competition and a relocation back to Nashville, Emerick returns with Field Notes, a folk-inspired, markedly more mature turn for the singer that demonstrates just how much her endless days on the road and years of hard work have fostered her growth as an artist and performer.

Annalise and I share a bio fact that we have both lived in Austin.  We’ve never met, but I bet we would get along in the music world.  I’m flattered to get to play in the same songwriter lineup as Annalise.  I wish her the best as she performs and perhaps I’ll run into her around the 30A stretch.  Enjoy all of her music here!

I’ll leave you with some lyrics from her song, Born this Way, a country-esque tune with ragtime vibes in it:

Nothing comes easy

To a travelin girl

And I’ll fight my way

Through a desert storm

But that’s how I like it

And that’s how it will stay

Because I was born

This way

 

Happy listening friends 🙂

~leah marie

 

Simple Love lyrics


honeysuckle

Just thought I would share some lyrics from a song I co-wrote with my friend, Denny Burton, who is back in Canada for the summer.  This song touches on the simplicity that should be at the base of a real relationship.  It’s really very simple and we convolute it.  And ultimately loving someone, despite requiring work, shouldn’t be agonizing.  If people are meant to be in our lives, they will be naturally. Love shouldn’t be forced and shoved like cramming as much you can into a crowded suitcase. Hopefully this song will be gracing listeners with its presence on one of my upcoming recording projects! Feel free to let me know your thoughts in the comment section below 🙂

Simple Love

Winter nights were growing cold

Lonely footprints in the snow

Faint light

Comin’ from my room

What once was fire in my soul

Are embers that I hardly hold

And I hope it changes soon

Yeah, I hope it changes soon

 

Summer in the valley

Winter in the Forest

Springtime in the mountains

And Autumn is the chorus

of my love, my love

For someone true

Oh simple love

I will wait for you

 

Warmer weather’s blowin in

Chasin out what might have been

there’s time for something new

Love in boxes that I own

I’ve been told they’ll find a home

Don’t try

But I do

Don’t try

But I do

 

Summer in the valley

Winter in the Forest

Springtime in the mountains

And Autumn is the chorus

of my love, my love

For someone true

Oh simple love

I will wait for you

 

Oh simple love

Just take your time

I’ll be still

and let you find

Me

here

 

Summer in the valley

Winter in the Forest

Springtime in the mountains

And Autumn is the chorus

of my love, my love

For someone true

Oh simple love

I will wait for you

~lme

Songstress Night at the Bluebird!


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Last week I had the pleasure of playing the Bluebird Cafe alongside several other talented female singer, songwriters at Chick Singer Night hosted by Jaclyn Brown.  I played alongside such talented ladies as Sam Hatmaker, Rhetta Jane and Peyton Parker.  It was so nice to be featured along with these ladies at one of the greatest intimate venues in Nashville.  It was great to have my mom in town for the show and then to pull my sister up onstage to sing my final song, Pilgrim, that my brother and I wrote together back in Texas years ago.

After my show, I had a moment to reflect on one aspect of the gig experience that I really enjoy.  It’s the post-show conversations.  Of course the music and the performing and selling merch go into it, but connecting with people is enjoyable to me.  Those conversations with new musician friends, visitors from other states, someone celebrating a birthday, sisters from New York, a couple from Gulf Shores and three gals from Scotland who were traveling around America for several weeks make it worthwhile.  It’s those moments with people that really bring me to a good place as an artist.  Take away the drama and the makeup and the stage and the lights and I really love the opportunities I have to connect with humanity.  I love to see the similarities in the human race as we are bonded through our shared love of music.  Despite the fact that there is a lot of bad out there, I continually meet people who redeem my view of humankind.  I realize there kind souls who want the same things for their families and just want to make a good life for themselves.  Human connection resonates with me just as much as the chords I play on my instruments.  As I begin booking my first tour for this fall, I hope I will make new friends, share stories with those on the road and come back richer from my experiences while sharing music in the great, big, wonderful, frightening, humbling and rad world we live in.

~lme

Something every musician must have


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Every serious musician, in some form or fashion, dreams of success, whether it’s being paid for their craft or fame that is far reaching and iconic.  Success is defined in various ways across a large spectrum, and they tell you to define that early in your career what that looks like for you. That’s not my point here, but that is just where we begin.

Let’s talk about success in terms of non-monetary terms for a moment.  Let’s view success in terms of setting goals and achieving them one at a time.  Interestingly, success is not one moment or one mountaintop goal achieved.  Take it a step further and I say success is not an isolated event.  Rather, it is a culmination of many years of hard work peppered with moments of trying, doubting, finding a way and refusing to give up.  And even more momentous is that success is not isolated to an individual, despite the emphasis we place on one person.  If success was dependent on and resulting from one person, I think achievements could be made much faster without other factors involved.  I am nothing without the countless people who paid for my music lessons, friends and family who encouraged me along the way, people who told me not to quit, and those who held my hands when I felt lost and let me cry on their shoulders.

When you reach career milestone goals like playing at some amazing venue, selling out a show, or gaining traction in some way, don’t forget to remind yourself of one thing.  Repeat after me-“This moment is not just for myself.”  This moment is for all of them out there- all of you who were cheerleading, encouraging, hugging, praying, telling us not to quit and to stay the course.  We musicians are merely the vessels, the channels through which the gift comes.  It is not without the shoulders of giants that we are carried throughout all of our creative phases.

Dear artists and musicians of the world, please consider a new vision.  May we, especially musicians, learn to leave ego at the door.  If used properly, success can humble us instead of puffing up our vanity about how great we are to the world around us.  We should view it as giving back the gift to the world around us.  Something every musician should carry in their gear case….  Thankfulness for the gift and the ability to use it.

~lme

Upcoming Gig at Evins Mill


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Photo Courtesy: Marie Ellen Photography

Hello friends,

Wanted to let you know that I will be performing at the new music series, Music at the Mill, at Evins Mill Bed and Breakfast in Smithville, TN on February 21st at 8 pm.  The talented guitarist, Luke Metzger, will be joining me onstage for the evening.   Here is a write-up about the event for you to check out:

http://evinsmillevents.blogspot.com/2014/12/music-at-mill-sat-feb-21-2015.html

In addition to the concert, the “Music at the Mill” package includes hors d’oeuvres, four-course dinner and a hearty gourmet breakfast and is $295 to $360 per couple depending on the room reserved. Reservations for dinner & concert only are also available at $120 per couple. Call 615.269.3740 (Nashville) or 615.286.2090 (Smithville) for reservations.

True gifts


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The truest gift is not chosen by the receiver but bestowed by the Giver.”

I created this quote after contemplating a conversation I recently had with a coworker, Jon.  Jon and I were discussing holiday gifts.  He said he found it odd that people make lists to tell people what they want.  He said that a gift is something that the other person gives you and part of that gift is figuring out why they felt you might have wanted that gift or what the message might be in the gift.

Thinking back on that conversation, I realized that our talents and gifts, much like a holiday gift, are something that we should see as having been bestowed on us.  We should not look at what others have been given and say- I wish so much I had that gift instead of what I have been given.  Each of us has a talent, an offering, something we can contribute to society and share with others.  Our Maker infused each of us with these wonderful talents and part of our calling in life is to determine what some of those strongest gifts may be.  If we do not use those gifts for good, or if we aren’t grateful for them, we are devaluing the gift on some level.

And as my mother once told me when I was too proud to accept something from her… “Rejecting the gift saddens the giver.”

May we all be thankful and work with our gifts and may we also be people characterized by giving.

~lme

Recent Happenings


columnsI had the pleasure of playing the annual Southern Festival of Books in downtown Nashville a few weeks ago. It was a great festival put on by Humanities Tennessee that hosts writers, readers, publishers, literacy organizations, booksellers and more. Despite rain that came, I was given moments of reprieve to load and uload my gear, play a nice set, meet vance the great sound guy (who also does sound at the Acme Feed and Seed downtown Nashville) and play some music for some open ears. The banners hanging from the great architecture downtown made the event seem stately, astute and almost as if I had transported back to the Greco-Roman empire.

Closely tied to this, I realized how amazing it is that I live in a place with the opportunity to read, grow and dream. Not many have that opportunity. Not many have parents who taught them to read, explore a library and get lost within the adventure of a book. I’m so thankful to have had an upbringing like that. May the literacy numbers be higher every year as people are taught to read and think for themselves thanks to the hard work of various organizations. Thanks to Humanities Nashville for having me!

~lme

Feel free to say hello and let me know what other festivals around town you love to frequent and hear great live music!