by Gary Powell
This March 15, 2008 I shared my birth date with the SXSW Music Conference in Austin, Texas while serving as a panelist for their new “Quickies Session”. Instead of the typical panel full of self-serving musical contradictions and pandering, this experience was different. Not unlike “speed-dating”, each panelist sat, with no more than four pre-registered participants, for a twelve-minute jam session of ideas and brainstorming. Its subject being centered on studio production, there were few, if any, beginners participating in this panel. The main question I inferred from the participants was, “what do I do next?” That, of course, is the question for all of us regardless of where we are developmentally. Consequently, there were no questions about how to become a better musician. Being a competent musician seemed to be a given and that fact should, of course, never be a given. I found myself not talking about gear, recording techniques, how to work with singers, financial issues, producing, or my connections. I did find myself talking predominantly about creating relationships, which was the one skill or strategy noticeably absent from most of these participants. We humans have done a poor job of integrating our humanity within the technically evolutionary construct of the past two decades. “Future Shock” is now here, delivered and filled with all our many creative tools and technologies which are often isolating.
If born after 1981, then this isolation is possibly all you know. Unless humanity takes an overwhelming evolutionary leap backward, humans will be still, very unconsciously, be making decisions about whom to work with the same way we have in the previous hundred thousand years. It will and always has been about relationships. Who are our allies? Who are not our allies? Who can you trust and who can trust you?
Let me introduce you to Canadian singer/songwriter from Toronto, Kate Schutt, who was one of the participants at the “In the Studio” panel. Yes, I left that session with many CD’s handed to me from other participants. Two days later, however, Kate is the one who followed up with me by writing a personal note with her enclosed Artistshare download card. Her note made her music personal to me. Now I wanted to hear it. How simple was that?
Kate has also adopted and implemented the paradigm shift of Web 2.0 by including her audience in her music production ideas. You can go to her ArtistShare site and submit personal love stories from your own experiences. If chosen, Kate will write up to four songs drawn from her audiences’ own experiences to be released in August, 2008 on her album entitled, “The Telephone Game”.
Fortunately, Kate Schutt is also the real deal. Within her jazz leanings, she is a songwriter (and I don’t give that title lightly), arranger, guitarist and sings with a seductive and whispery vocal timbre. This is what we want to see; talented writers and performers who not only hone their craft and deepen their artistic expression, but also take the initiative in taking care of themselves rather than Waiting for Godot.
Other Helpful Links from the SXSW 2008 Convention Floor
- Find recording session musicians and collaborators using the online tools of file sharing and professional networking of INDABAMUSIC.
- SONGNUMBERS provides your music with a unique telephone number for listening and downloading songs to your customers.
- FIZZKICKS lets you create custom designed download cards for your music.
- MYXERTONES creates ringtones directly from your music.
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 License