015 Getting Signed With John Shaw | The Gemini Project Podcast | Transcript
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015 Getting Signed With John Shaw | The Gemini Project Podcast | Transcript



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Welcome to The Gemini Project - Where we interview singer/songwriters and bands from all over the world to share with you their secrets that will enable you to take your music to the next level.
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In session 015 of The Gemini Project Podcast, Adam chats with John Shaw, a Perth based musician who has just got signed to a label in the USA. Adam talks with John about how exactly he went about achieving this.

For more on this episode head over to http://thegeminiproject.com.au/015

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015 Getting Signed With John Shaw | The Gemini Project Podcast | Transcript 015 Getting Signed With John Shaw | The Gemini Project Podcast | Transcript Document Transcript

  • 015 Getting Signed With John Shaw | The Gemini Project Podcast Shownotes at : http://thegeminiproject.com.au/015 THE GEMINI PROJECT PODCAST SESSION 15 Interview with John Shaw By Adam SpencerAdam: Welcome to The Gemini Project Podcast Session #15. In this episode I have a chat with JohnShaw, a Perth-based musician who has just got signed in the United States. Let’s get into it.Recorded introduction: Soundcheck. Welcome to The Gemini Project Podcast, where your host, AdamSpencer, and his special guests share their secrets on how to take your music business to the next level.Visit thegeminiproject.com.au or find us on Facebook to take the next step. Now strap yourselves in.It’s showtime! (music)Adam: Hi guys. My name is Adam Spencer and welcome to The Gemini Project Podcast. It’s apleasure to have you here. If this is your first time listening, I encourage you to head back on and listento our previous episodes with Brian Lizotte, Carl Wockner from the Sunshine Coast, Amber Lawrence –a country music sensation, and many, many more. And also, many, many more to come. So, if youhave been listening, you know, welcome and thank you so much for coming on this journey with us.It is our mission to help independent musicians all over Australia and all over the world. Let’s be a littlebit bold there and, you know. We want to build a community that’s gonna help musicians, you know,working at the little bits and pieces without them having to spend 20 years, you know, working outwhat works and what doesn’t. We just go ahead and find the people that are doing a great job, youknow, industry professionals and artists as well, that are doing a great job with their music, doingsomething different, doing something creative in the way that they are promoting themselves. Andwe are going to have a chat with them. And we are going to find out what’s working and what’s notworking, and have them share their experience with you. That’s our goal and that is our mission. We 1
  • really want to see independent artists come together and, you know, a very, very strong community tohelp each other push their music forward and out into the world.So that’s enough of that. This week on the show we have John Shaw. John is a Perth-based musicianas I mentioned in the intro, and he’s just been signed into a label in the United States and will bemoving over there shortly. I have a chat with John about, you know, what he did leading up to thatand how exactly he got signed. And we’re gonna keep tabs on John and see how he’s going, see howhis career progresses, and we may even get him on the show again after he’s been over to the U.S.And so, that’s it for me guys. I’ve got a couple of things to mention after the interview finishes. But fornow, let’s get into the interview with John Shaw:So, John, can you, just for our listeners, can you just give us a little bit of a background on who JohnShaw is so we can get a bit of a feel for you?John: Well, I’m a pop, pop rock, R&B artist from Perth, Australia.Adam: Yup.John: Basically, I’m a singer/songwriter as well, so I write all my own music. I don’t know…Adam: No, that’s awesome. Like, if anyone wants to know about John Shaw, I’m gonna throw somelinks in the shownotes for you guys. I might have caught you a little bit off guard, but if anyone wantsto know about John Shaw, I’m gonna link up a Facebook video that John has just thrown up in the lastweek, where he puts his face to the camera and says, “This is me and this is what I’m all about. Andthis is where I’m heading.” And I wanna just touch on that just real quick with you, John, and find outwhat your inspiration behind that was.John: Basically, I got a lot of exciting news and stuff coming up over this, you know, over 2013 and Ihadn’t really, before, kind of like put my face out there to like fans and stuff that I have on my Twitterand my Facebook and everything. And it works as kinda like making it a little bit more personal andjust let them know, you know, that this is what’s coming up and, you know. ‘Cos at the end of theday, they’re the ones that are gonna follow me through this. They’re the ones that are gonna get methrough this. They’re the ones that are gonna help me make a career out of, you know, what I wannado. So if I’m not with them as much as they’re with me, then I’m not really gonna get as far as I’d like.So…Adam: Yeah. 2
  • John: Yeah. Basically I just wanted to let them all know, you know, that this is me. This is what I’mdoing. I’d like to, yeah, just keep on a personal basis with as many fans as I can.Adam: And is that, I mean – this is a little bit off of what I want to talk about – but is that somethingthat you want to do in the future and continue to do?John: Yeah, definitely. I mean, yeah, I will try to keep in contact with as many people as you can. Ithink if it ever got to the point where, you know, I had thousands or even millions of fans, then I thinkI’d be spending hours on day on Twitter…Adam: Yeah.John: …just talking to everyone and all that kind of stuff. I don’t know, I think it’s great. I think it’skind of essential. I think it’s part of the job.Adam: Yup. I didn’t mention this to you before the show, but like the Twitter following that you have,I mean, it’s pretty impressive. Just from doing gigging over there in Perth, is that how you’ve kind ofgrown that Twitter base?John: Yeah. It’s a little bit of both. I mean, it’s more, I’d say from YouTube videos and more fromFacebook and everything like that.Adam: Yup.John: I haven’t done too many gigs around Perth as of late, just because I’ve been so preoccupiedwith the single and basically all the kind of stuff like moving back and forth with conversations fromthe U.S. and like just trying to sort of ______ things up behind the scenes.Adam: Yeah.John: So I haven’t really had the chance to go out and do some of the gigs as of late. So, most of allthe followers and all the fans that I get have come from just videos that I’ve just quickly put togetheror just basically just marketing over at Facebook and just promoting, all that kind of stuff and justexpanding it pretty much.Adam: Yeah. Okay. Awesome. And you mentioned in there that you’ve been busy kind of talkingback and forth between the USA, and that’s really what I want to talk to you today about is the recordlabel that you’ve actually just recently signed to over in their Florida-based label called SoonSoom, is 3
  • that right?John: Yup, that’s right.Adam: And, for our listeners, I mean, that’s kind of the dream, almost, for any musician to be signedto a label. You know, that’s what everyone aims for, but whether they get it or not is a different story.And I want to just delve into your story a little bit about…John: Yup.Adam: …how you went about, you know, fostering that opportunity for yourself. Was it an activething? Did you actively go out and find it or was it a case of you got lucky?John: I would say it was both…Adam: Yup.John: …because it’s all about you gotta market yourself, you know? You gotta put yourself out thereto be found. You know, the chances of someone finding you, if you’re not putting yourself out there, isjust ridiculously remote. The amount of people who want this as a career or have this as a dream isjust, it’s unreal, so you’ve gotta be able to put yourself out there. You know, I tried to do as much as Icould. I can’t stress enough how important it is to get an account on almost every social networkingsite possible and just market your music from there. What I did was I created a Facebook account formy music, I created a SoundCloud, MySpace, YouTube, Tumblr even, everything.And basically, what I did one day was I was on SoundCloud and I just tracked some like original stuffthat I put on there, just copyrighted it with the government and all that kind of stuff. That’s reallyimportant to make sure you do as well so you don’t get stung. Yeah, I just basically put all my stuff onthere and one day I just tracked on SoundCloud and started following all these record labels,producers, basically just went on, on that and pretty much followed them and hoped, you know, if Ifollow them then it will come up on theirs that this person has followed you. And the chance is, youknow, they might click on me, might listen to my music. And yeah, one producer did. It was prettyunreal. I mean, they’re not a major label so they didn’t have the, you know, the money to fund myflight over there, but what they did was they ended up signing me to their label. And then just aboutthree months ago I flew over there and recorded my first single, which is now on iTunes so… it’s kind ofamazing…Adam: Nice. 4
  • John: …now on iTunes really, so…Adam: Yeah. And so, basically what you’re telling me is you’ve just put yourself out there in everysingle way that you could online, and so every single social network you could. I want to touch on thatjust quickly. I mean, I’m not saying that’s right or wrong, but what I try to tell people is to really focuson the big ones, the ones that are going to give you the highest return.John: Yeah, definitely.Adam: There’s two sides to that argument, obviously. One is that, yeah, definitely just focus on thebig ones and the whole 80-20 rule which is, you know, focus on the 20% and that’s where you get 80%of your results from, which would be just Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter pretty much…John: Yup.Adam: …and, you know, some of the other ones like ReverbNation. But then the other side of theargument is, well, yeah, that’s where everyone is looking. Everyone is just going to go with Facebookand Twitter so why don’t we capitalize on the outliers where there’s not as much competition, which isalso a valid point of view. But yeah, what you’ve done is great. I want to ask, have you done anyoffline marketing or has all your efforts just revolved around getting yourself out there online?John: Yeah. Well, most of it has been online. I did a lot of like, kind of in-the-field marketing when Iwas in the States. I was very fortunate to have like a team over there with the label that I couldassociate with, like a marketing group and all that kind of stuff.Adam: Right.John: So when I was over there, I played a few gigs, just a few live tours, casual ones around Orlando.I had people that were handing out flyers and stuff for me. And I’ve got like quite a few other paperthings, all that kind that fans like, so all that kind of stuff from that, which was awesome and I wish Icould do that a lot more and I probably should around Perth, but I’m trying to focus a lot more at themoment just on building an American-based fanbase just around the area that I’m moving to.Adam: Right. Yeah.John: So I haven’t done a lot of kind of like in-person promotions around where I am at the moment. 5
  • Adam: Okay. We’re getting a little bit off topic ‘cos I want to focus very heavily on how you gotsigned. But this offline marketing stuff for you, you had people handing out flyers for you, can we goa little bit into that like, was it just a case of you had someone just at a gig, you would just get someflyers printed up as this is you, “So you can find me on Facebook” and just putting them on tables orwould you hand them directly to the patrons? What did you do there?John: Yeah, handed them directly to the patrons.Adam: And did you get, I mean, was it a very high conversion rate? Were you seeing a lot of likescoming from that kind of thing?John: Yeah, definitely, especially after the radio gig as well and combined with all the gig flyers andeverything that we handed out probably had around 300-500 likes on Facebook and about 200followers from Twitter…Adam: Wow.John: …in…Adam: That’s great.John: …about a week, which was insane.Adam: That’s awesome.John: So, yeah, that was pretty overwhelming. It was a great feeling, you know, having those peoplethat took the effort to actually go into, you know, your networking sites and everything and just pressthe button, urged to hear more about it, you know? It was unreal.Adam: Yeah. So, let’s rewind it a fair bit and, say, before you got signed to a label and before you goton SoundCloud and all those other social networks putting yourself…John: Yup.Adam: …out there, in the years leading up to that, can we talk about the kind of things, first of all,how long have you been doing this before you got this amazing opportunity? And 2 – What was yourkind of, you know, your daily grind? I mean, was it just you just doing a few pub gigs here and there?So fill us in a bit there. 6
  • John: Oh, okay. Well, I started playing music when I was in year 8, so I would have been 12 or 13.Adam: Yup.John: I had a guitar lesson and then just for family reasons I couldn’t do any more lessons, so I juststarted teaching myself. So basically it was just about two years of learning just to play the guitar.And then, what happened was my mates they started a band and I joined the band. We didn’t have asinger or anything like that, so it was pretty ironic and then I said, “You know, I’ll sing. We’ll give it ashot.” We gave it a go and it worked out. So originally like back in, you know, high school, I was with aband with my mates and stuff. We played in a few battle-of-the-bands competitions, became overallwinners in a Starlight Foundation competition, which is a charity event. We became overall…Adam: Yup.John: …winners. And we entered in the year after that and we won Best Band. But after high schoolfinished up, you know, like uni started for everyone, you know, they kind of got a little bit distractedand weren’t as focused as I was. I thought, you know, that we could take it basically like to otherlevels. It got to the point where it was just a hobby for them.Adam: Yeah.John: And I couldn’t let it go. It’s never been just a hobby for me. Ever since, you know, like being ableto perform that first time in front of like even 500 people, like, it was just insane. And having thatwinning feeling and the people just coming up to you and, you know, just saying, you know, howgreat you were, it’s unreal. Just ever since then, it’s a lifestyle for me. You know, at the moment I’mnot making any money from it, but if I can just make a living just from doing it, then yeah that’senough. Basically I was just doing, after high school I just started doing ______ mics just around, youknow, Perth. Nothing big, about two or three a week, three at the most.Adam: Yup.John: And then, yeah, it was just all online this year then it just happened. It’s kind of crazy like it allkinda happened so quick that I don’t really think about it too much, but…Adam: Yeah. I’m struggling to, I don’t know, pull a lesson out of this. I think the two things that arestanding out to me the most is: #1 – You need to have a good product. Your product, I mean, isyourself, like the talent that you have. The other thing is, I don’t know, luck is really jumping out at me. 7
  • John: Yeah.Adam: Because, I mean, what you did is you put out all these fills on all these different social networks,and it’s almost like doing a direct-mail campaign.John: Yup.Adam: When you do a direct-mail campaign, you shoot out a whole bunch of the same thing, a letterto all these people, all these potential prospects. You have no idea whether they’ve got interest in it.And then, maybe out of those hundred letters you send out, you get two people back that areinterested in it. It sounds very similar to what you’ve done here. You know, you’ve sent out all thisstuff to all these potential prospects, in a sense, and you’ve got a couple of opportunities back and youjust went ahead and grabbed those by the balls and actually just went 100% at it.John: Yeah.Adam: When you jumped up on SoundCloud and started following all these people, at that stagewhat did you have up? Did you have any original songs up or was it covers or…?John: Yeah. All the stuff I had on SoundCloud were all original songs.Adam: Right. But nothing had been actually recorded at a professional level at that point?John: I have a program called Logic that I use on my Apple, my iMac.Adam: Yup.John: And at that time, I couldn’t really use it too well. So all it was, was just like a guitar recording,vocal recording, and that was it. It was pretty much just an acoustic version of the songs that I’vewritten.Adam: Yeah, alright. Cool. I want to just ask a little bit more about Logic. So what exactly is that? Isthat just like… what’s the other Apple program?John: GarageBand?Adam: Yeah, GarageBand. 8
  • John: Yeah, it’s…Adam: Is it just basically that?John: Yeah, the same kind of deal. Logic’s just, it’s just a lot better, (laughter) pretty much.Adam: Yeah.John: It’s got just more plug-ins and all that kind of stuff that you can use just for creating effects andall that kind of stuff. I’m no audio engineer. Like, I can use it to the best that I can use it.Adam: Yup.John: But, you know, like I’ve been practicing a lot lately just with writing new songs and all that kindof stuff. I’m just kind of learning to play the piano now as well, just self teaching myself that, so I’mkinda getting a little bit better with that. So that’s kind of helping me with my writing as well. That’spretty much it. It’s like just practicing with the program. It’s just a lot easier to kind of put a songtogether once you can, you know, play other instruments and all that kind of stuff.Adam: Yeah. I was gonna ask, do you have any other, you know, recording equipment? What kind ofstuff did you have set up in your home, kind of studio, to get this stuff up on SoundCloud?John: All I had was, I had just a USB recording mic.Adam: Yup.John: And that was it. (laughter)Adam: Nice.John: So I just record like the guitar track first and then overlaying any more guitar tracks onto that.And then I just play it back and then sing the vocals over the top of that with the same microphone.Adam: Cool. And this is really good. I think people are gonna get a lot out of this. So you’ve recordedat home with just a USB mic, overlaid any tracks that you need to sing the vocal into it. And what kindof time period are we looking at? So you’ve already got it written. To actually record it all and get it upon SoundCloud, what kind of time span are we looking at? 9
  • John: I guess it depends on what kind of song it is. Like, if you have a more complex song, obviouslyyou’re gonna take a lot longer to record everything. But, you know, a simple like a four-chord song tolay the guitar track down, ‘cos you can either loop it or play it the whole way through, it will probablytake about 5 minutes at most to do that. And then, to record, if you know exactly where your song’sgoing, exactly the ins and outs of your song, it probably will take about 15 to 20 minutes to record it,probably. And then track it on SoundCloud. It probably takes about 5 minutes to 10 minutes toupload, so…Adam: Cool.John: …not long.Adam: That’s great. And this is gonna link back in with, you know, when we talked about puttingyour face to the camera to get some content up there for your fans. It’s really easy to do that, and it’sjust as easy to, you know, put together something new. You just put it out there and test it, and seewhat kind of feedback you get. And just throw something up on SoundCloud and link it up inFacebook. And just to keep that content fresh and keep putting something out there to keep yourcurrent fans engaged with what you’re doing.So… yeah. I mean, best of luck, John, with the label in America. I’m gonna keep my eye on you and seehow things, you know, progress from here and see all the great things that, you know, are in store foryou in 2013. I just want to thank you so much for coming on the show today.Where would you like people to go if they want to learn more about you? ‘Cos I remember you tellingme a few weeks back that your website is kind of under development, it’s not actually up yet. Is thatright?John: Yeah. So the website’s still under development, so that won’t go up probably not for anotherweek or two.Adam: Yup.John: So probably the best place will be just Facebook, which will just bewww.facebook.com/johnshawmusician, and then…Adam: Yup, okay. 10
  • John: …I’ve got links to my Twitter and all that kind of stuff just strewn from there.Adam: Alright, cool. I’ll link that up in the shownotes for people to check it out. Again, thank you somuch for coming on, John.John: Yeah. Thanks for having me Adam.Adam: Alright guys. That is Session 15 of The Gemini Project Podcast wrapped up with a pretty littlebow, all done, with John Shaw from Perth who is going ahead into amazing things. Keep your eye outfor John. There’s gonna be some links in the shownotes to that video that I mentioned, that he’s doneon Facebook that I think every artist should be putting out this kind of vide on a regular basis just tokeep a connection with their fans. The other thing is, I will have in the shownotes John’s new website.It’s just gone up and I have a link for that.And I mentioned just before the interview that there was a couple of things that I wanted to mention.So the first one is that I’m really looking for a little bit of support for what we’re doing at The GeminiProject Podcast, and the best way you can do that is, there’s links in the shownotes to iTunes whereyou can leave a rating and a review to help us help, you know, other artists discover what we’re doingand hopefully get some useful pieces of advice from the artists we’re interviewing, to help them growtheir business.The other thing that I would encourage you to do is that, in the shownotes for this episode as well, youwill find a link that will enable you to share this content with an artist or someone that you know thatcould benefit from what we’re sharing here on the show. So what you need to do is go to theshownotes which are at thegeminiproject.com.au/015 and you’ll land on the page with John’sYouTube video and his website, and just the things that we covered in this episode. And you’ll seedown the bottom where it says Facebook or Twitter, you can click those links and it will enable you todo a share and you can post on your friend’s Facebook page or in a private message or however youlike. But the goal for us here is to just help as many people as we can. So if you know someone, Iencourage you to share it with them.So, that’s it from me. Coming up on the show we have an expert in social media promotion. If youhave any question for him, I encourage you to shoot them through toquestions@thegeminiproject.com.au and we’ll have someone go through those and pick out the bestones. Also on the show we have coming, someone from Universal Music who is in the PR department.I’m a little bit vague on the details there just because I haven’t confirmed it yet. But again, if you havequestions for this kind of, you know, PR, getting some radio airplay, shoot those questions through toquestions@thegeminiproject.com.au. 11
  • Alright guys. That’s it for me this week. Until next time, it’s all for the love of music. Bye. (music) ENDJoin the others in The Gemini Community by joining us on Facebook and start takingyour music to the next level.Join us on FacebookFollow me on TwitterSubscribe to our updatesIf you loved the info shared here I encourage you to help others discover The GeminiProject on Facebook and/or Twitter and if you want to delve a little deeper you can dothat by leaving a comment below. What would you like to ask?Subscribe ● Click Here to Subscribe via iTunes and/or leave a review for the podcast ● Click Here to Subscribe via RSS 12