Saturday, May 4, 2013

Kindiefest Takeaways #1: Laurie Berkner's tips for success

Last week I went to an amazing conference-- KindieFest, the Family Music Conference.  It's a conference for Independent Kids' Musicians.  This was the fifth year of the conference, and for the first time, it was held at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (in their brand new facility, the Peter Sharp Building.  BAM's association is part of its renewed interest in work for young audiences.

Now I hear you asking, "But Adam, you are not a kid's independent musician!  Why on earth would you go to a conference like this?"

(Go ahead.  Ask it.  I'll wait)

I went for a number of reasons.

Me and the amazing Ella Jenkins
• As a former presenter (director of RI's largest New Year's Eve Festival) I have an interest in booking conferences.
• As a clown and performer, the stuff being discussed was very pertinent for seeking out family audiences.  Yes, I don't sell CD's, and my guitar is shaped peculiarly like a clown nose (and I don't make music with it) but other than that, the audience/market and business tips are spot on.
• As a dad, I have an audience/enthusiast interest in kid's music.  Especially good kid's music.
• Ella Jenkins.

In case you don't know, Ella is one of the people who invented kid's music.  (Not Really)  But she was a pioneer in singing folk music for kids.  She's from Chicago, and my wife grew up listening to her.  And so did my son.  (Her songs were the soundtrack of his youngest years)  And she was keynoting!  'Nuf said.

I loved going to the conference, and being a part of the community.  I met great people, I was exposed to great music I hadn't heard of before, I met a couple of people who might end up presenting my own work, and MOST IMPORTANTLY I got a little jolt about performing/booking/being creative.

I learned a lot from the conference, and over the next few weeks I'll try to articulate a few of the takeaways I got.

Takeaway #1: Keep on keeping on.  Laurie Berkner (celebrated and very popular Kindie artist) talked about her meteoric rise, and gave some valuable tips for being a successful kindie artist (which could apply to all artists.  And all people/entrepreneurs)

1) Be yourself

2) Ask for help
• to do list cop
• publicist
If you are not getting help doing the things you aren't great at, you'll spend a lot of time being mediocre and unhappy.

3) Get lucky
•  She was working, wasn't going to take a party, she ended up taking it, it was Madonna's kids party, which led to a lot of celebrity kid's party's.

4) keep going
Things are crappy, things are great, just keep going and doing the thing you love

5) Know what you want to say yes and say no to   Keep control of your product.  Don't sell control of your product to somebody else.  She had the opportunity to do so, she said no, they ended up licensing the music anyway, and she made a lot without selling out.

Here's a couple of Kindie albums to try if you like:

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