Living Your Best Life : Part 3

FAME! or ‘Being a ZZZ list very minor celebrity’

I am in no way famous…yet… but I am not a complete nobody either! I have no great desire to be as famous as Adele and I have no dilutions of my current state in life. But I am prepared for life as a VERY minor celebrity and life in the public eye in general. Basically, If you Google me, I am prepared for there not to be anything embarrassing or potentially shaming there.

I am well enough known in Cardiff that very rarely someone will know who I am, they will not know my name but they will have seen me busking or have seen me play a gig. Every now and again I get to meet someone who knows my name and is really excited to see me! That’s awesome and makes me feel like how Beyoncé feels leaving the house every morning.

In Mindy Kaling’s latest book ‘Why Not Me’ she has a chapter on ‘becoming a little bit famous’. I don’t have my own tv show, or am actually famous in anyway. But I am prepared for it in case it happens! Here’s how:

 

I try not to be rude to strangers.

If I become the next Adele but with a harp, I don’t want there to be a gabble of people who are like ‘She’s really rude in person’. I’m not 100% perfect gang, but I’m trying!

I’m always ‘On’ in public

If you meet me in public and I am not a wonderful ball of sunshine and joy then I’m probably very ill or sleepy! I always try to make a lasting impression with everyone I meet in public so that they actually remember who I am if they become a client or they can tell their friends ‘She’s amazing in person’ when I win a Britt…

I don’t put anything too rude online

Look, I’m a 22 year old millennial with an iphone. If I post or send something rude or inappropriate or revealing it will haunt me until I die! I feel I covered this in the Social media part of this series but it’s really important and I feel like other people my age are not as paranoid about this… This is mainly because you can google me and there I am!

Try not to be too political online

I realised a while back that I am a complete idiot and can not argue for the life of me! so I try and avoid conflict online as much as possible. Mostly because it’s a complete waste of time and there is way too much reading for me.

 

I don’t expect a Grammy nomination, I’m just prepared for being googled by strangers!

 

Homework:

Here’s a fun exercise, write a ridiculous tweet and then don’t tweet it.

Class Dismissed!

 

My socials:

Youtube

Google+

Website

Facebook page

Twitter

The Gram!

Google Business! 

Living Your ‘Best’ Life: Part 2 (Tweet Like Yo Mama’s Retweeting)

Social media.

I know! ‘Finally Something I can use in my business and day to day life! Thanks Sam’… well.. I would hope you were reading this out of the joy of reading all my typos and poor grammar but sure, this one is a practical one. Enjoy.

My Mother follows me on all my social media. Luckily my mother is not Kris Jenner but instead a normal person who I have to talk to sometimes and would like to be able to make eye contact with for the rest of our lives. Therefore, I say one simple phrase before tweeting, Facebook-ing or Instagram-ing.

My Mother will probably read this

 

yep. It stops me from posting anything horrific.

The Second phrase that passes through my head is

Will a Client See This?

Here’s a tip for all business owners, don’t complain about your clients on social media. It’s unprofessional and will not look good. Don’t even complain about them to strangers! You need a best friend who is silenced into secrecy due to blackmail or other shenanigans.

I’m very lucky because all my clients, be they the Hilton Cardiff or the bride getting married in 2018 or my student are all great and you will never know if I’m telling the truth or not because I am a professional! (they are all wonderful though!)

Quality, Quantity and Quiet Contemplation.

There are different tactics I use for different social medias and I think that it’s really good to lay them out for others trying to expand their brand and all that nonsense!

So here’s a breakdown.

Facebook:

Facebook is my ‘homebase’ it’s where I post all the important things and all the things I would like my audience to see, be it photos or events. The rule is ONE post a day, I schedule mine so that there isn’t a bunch in one day (except for 13th March, where there were about 5! sorry about that!). I usually end up posting about 4 posts a week. Blog post, Video link, Gig update and then maybe a photo or something miscellaneous. It’s strictly business because it’s the first thing a lot of new clients or audience see and it’s the most widely used social media!

Twitter:

Anyone who follows me on twitter knows that I’m constantly tweeting! I’m like a harp playing Cher… but hopefully my tweets make sense. The main point about twitter and being a Singing Harpist (or musician/personality) is that you are a person! You are not a Bank, Museum, Large Chain Store or anything like that. You are an individual and posting vague and tedious updates about your work and only your work is not what twitter is for! Twitter is for having a conversation with others in your field, sharing what your excited about and connecting with others and new audiences.

My rule about following is this: If they are in my field, I know them personally, and/or they are involved in something I am passionate about then I will happily re-follow or follow-back. I recently unfollowed a bunch of people in my field as they weren’t following me back, it sounds childish but I’m not an accountant following Miley Cyrus, I’m a successful musician following another musician at the same level. I am not a fan, I’m a peer.

Twitter is also great for gigs and networking locally! I’ve gotten a few little radio bits and all sorts from it. It’s a great resource for musicians wishing to network and build an audience of peers!

Instagram:

I am not 15 years old, I know! shocker! but seriously, I am not a 15 year old girl and therefore can’t take 24 blurry pictures of my food and get 15000 followers. I’m not very popular on Instagram because until about a month ago I was using it like a normal person.

Everything I now know about Instagram I learnt from the smartest users of it. who are they? Male Fitness Models.

The Male Fitness Model’s way is: Every other photo be shirtless and holding the product you’re being paid to promote. It’s a professional photo but it needs to look like it was shot on a phone. Also intersperse it with pictures from those two photos shoots you did last year and then find that one photo you have before you where a gym obsessed vanity machine and put a fake inspirational quote under everything like ‘I’m always grinding’ or ‘Never give up’ or ‘Follow your dreams’… Also Use a million hashtags of everything visible in the photo. Also have an Audi but live with your mother (but don’t ever admit this!).

Then, Once You’ve done all of this, go and delete a photo from 2 months ago and repost it. Repeat.

Ok, ok… I’m being a bit mean. But it’s actually exactly how that small business model works on that social media.

My tactic is a little different. I gave up ‘hashtagging’ a hundred things in because it’s just not worth it. Just be chill, tag the essentials and take really nice, professional  grade photos. That last step is the hard one but I’ve found if I take a photo on my DSLR it makes the whole account look a lot nicer and means that I have lovely photos to share on all platforms!

Basically, I post on Instagram when I have something nice to put up, could be once a week could be a whole bunch at once. Doesn’t really matter, If you’re not a celebrity or being paid to take a picture with a product then there is not value in working hard on that platform.

Other Platforms:

Google+ : hahahahahha! I know right! Google+ more like Google+a-search-for-a-better-social-network! I only use Google+ because it helps my search results for people looking for me or for my services! (clever I know!)

Snapchat: If you would like to add me on snapchat it’s Sammie_Hickman. It’s mainly me lip-syncing while getting ready to go to gigs… Other businesses use it far more extensively, for example the Atlanta Orchestra is great at it and will record little snippets of rehearsals with is really nice to be able to see and hear!

Youtube: I love my youtube! I record in bulk, if you haven’t noticed! I do a recording session for an afternoon, then I cue up when I want the videos to be released and tadah! It all publishes one video a week and it means there’s always something new for my audience to listen each week without me having to record something every week!

My socials:

Youtube

Google+

Website

Facebook page

Twitter

The Gram!

Google Business! 

 

Living Your Best Life (or) Lifestyle Tips From a Clueless Person.

PART 1

this month I thought I would talk about living well in the 21st Century. I’m not going to talk about kale or crossfit (that’s for another time… when I start eating kale and doing crossfit). This week, I wanted to discuss all the things that I try and do in my life (online and off) that make me a ‘good grown-up’. Get ready gang! If you like discussions about female friendship, your mother following you on twitter, talking to fans and clients and the dizzyingly low-steaks world of INCREDIBLY minor fame then you are in for a treat!

Friendship: ‘oh hi! I’m Sam’

The absolute worst thing about not being a student anymore is that you are not surrounded by people who are basically the same. You all wanted to come to this one institution, you are all around the same age and you are all passionate about the same thing. The minute Uni finishes you are on your own buddy! Your friendship group halves, everyone moves away, some go to Japan for two years, some go to Africa and others get on a PHD course and are way too busy to hang out with you because they’re doing a PHD!

So after Uni you have to make some new friends. ‘Great’ you think, ‘I love meeting new people!’. Except it’s not great, if fact it’s terrible! Because, surprise surprise, you work as a solo free-lance musician and there is no one ‘at the office’ or ‘at work’ for you to become friends with. Damn!

It’s ok, only a minor set back. You can meet new people through your hobbies! what’s that? Your only hobbies are watching tv and eating an entire cheesecake in the dark? well… this could be tricky.

The best ‘Friends’ you will get now are ‘professional’ ones, because in the music business ‘professional’ just means ‘there is a potential for us to work together but also you are a nice, fun person; let’s get lunch sometime!’ The best version of these relationships are with people in your field who do similar things to you, but not exactly the same as to be threatened by their success. This works in the same way that buying a house with your best friend is a million times better than buying a house with your boyfriend, more on that next! You have similar gigs and do things that are different but also very closely related and there is the possibility to collaborate on projects but there isn’t a pressure there and you won’t get upset if they work with someone else. These are great because your new ‘work-ish’ friend is a great resource for things you don’t know about and visa versa!

The absolute worst ‘new friends’ are people you meet at ‘network events’. They are great people and they are very good at their jobs but they are there for business. You will never get invited to their cool house-party or be asked to be their child’s God-parent because it is a far more transactional relationship. You have something that would be useful to their business and they have something that would be useful to yours. It’s great, it’s easy and it helps you move up the ladder of success. However, they are not your friends, they will not take you to hospital at 4am if you fall down a flight of stairs, but they will give you incredibly helpful tips on filling out your tax return! If you are talking to someone who can help your business grow make sure that you have something to help theirs otherwise it’s not fair to the other person and you’re just wasting their time! nothing is free.

Female Friendships: The Best Mistakes to Make in Your 20’s

I recently bought a house with my best friend. I’ve done this because, firstly, I didn’t want to buy a house alone and be a sad lonely woman with a bunch of cats and an incredibly long and expensive mortgage. Secondly, I wouldn’t trust a boy as far as I could throw him.

Me and my best friend decided last year, when we found out how cheap a mortgage would be in comparison to our ridiculous renting price, that we would buy a house in 3-5 years after we had saved up enough to put down a deposit. luckily my parents gave us the deposit (for legal reasons, they gave ME the deposit and I will get that back and then 50% of the property value if/when we sell the property) so we took it and bought a house.

It will be 1/3 of what we are currently paying in rent and we will save an incredible amount of money and will have paid it off completely in 10-15 years.

I will never have complete job stability because I work in ‘Show business’ where a ‘long term gig’ is something that lasts more than a month…

The reason I bought it with my long suffering housemate is because we’ve already been through it all. I have seen her openly weep and she has seen me poop my pants in our kitchen, mere inches away from our bathroom. So, if you’re going to share a house with someone for 10 years it might as well be someone who has seen you at your very worst. Like ROCK BOTTOM.

The test of a true friend is if they will see you do something horrifically embarrassing, for example buy a new rear reverse light for their car’s right side and then have the guy fitting it say ‘this car doesn’t have a right reverse light… it’s a 3 door’… If they don’t tease you about it for at least a day they are not your friend, they are a robot sent from the future to learn about mankind’s weaknesses!

Not Everyone is Your Soulmate

Not everyone you meet will be your best-friend. Not everyone you’re friends with will ‘stay in touch’ with you. That’s just the way it is buddy!

 

Basically, make friends where you can but be realistic about their value in your life. Easy!

 

My socials:

Youtube

Google+

Website

Facebook page

Twitter

The Gram!

Google Business! 

Plan B (or) What To Do If It All Goes South

This week I have been very ill.

not hospitalised or anything, but I caught that bug that’s been ‘going around’ and lost my voice for the week. Which, as a Singing Harpist, is basically part of my whole deal!

I couldn’t sing anything below an F3 without it coming out silent and raspy (attractive I know!). The best thing about my work is that I don’t have to work that much. So I took Friday and Saturday off because that is when it was at it’s worst!

However, Sunday rolled around and I had a gig!

I had my usual spot at the Hilton 2-4pm, then I was performing at ‘Birkenstomp’ at 6pm for a 20 minute set.

Two years ago I would’ve been screwed. Singing is my main instrument, it’s the thing I love doing and feel most comfortably doing in front of people. Without singing at the same time I’m about an A+ harpist, I’m really good, but if I’m not singing at the same time it’s more like a fancy wedding reception than a set at a gig.

So faced with this problem I headed to the gig with my little busking harp.

I had my ipad with all my music on it and I had a good idea of what would work and what was completely out. Luckily, I could still hum a little, so I brought my kazoo.

I sat down, got introduced and said to the crowd ‘I can’t sing a note today, so I’m just going to do a nice little 20 minute set, feel free to talk amongst yourselves, it’s just gonna be a nice chill set’. And so I started, a little bit of Jazz, little bit of this; little bit of that. I even got to try out my new Deborah Hensen-Conant piece ‘Baroque Flamenco’, which was fun.

I finished my little flow and got a round of applause and looked up at the audience, ‘Shall we have a little sing along?’ I asked. I tried to sing… nothing came out of my mouth but hot air (at this point my housemate would say ‘what’s changed?’). I grabbed my kazoo out of my pocket and we all had a fantastic sing-a-long to ‘Downtown’ by Petula Clark. It got a big cheer at the end and everyone enjoyed themselves.

 

This is an instance where it has worked out that I’m good at both instruments. If I was still ‘only a singer’ I would’ve had to cancel my performance all together.

As a professional musician you have to have a back up plan. As a harpist, you have to have a harp friend you can refer your client too if you are ill, injured or can’t make the date. As a singer you need to be able to do that same. However, there are only about 4 singing harpists in the world, and we all live on different continents so it’s a tricky one to replace. It’s much easier to show up a little bit ill but still able to carry off a performance and cancel and try and find a replacement.

Here are some tips for assessing if ‘The show must go on’ for you:

  1. am I physically able to do it? (If you’ve broken something can you still play?)
  2. Will I be able to sort out repertoire in time? (changing rep can be tough for specific gigs!)
  3. will this do more damage than good? (If you sing now will it hurt your voice or are you well enough to get through it? This is the most important because if you are ill and then damage yourself further it puts you out of work for longer!)

Normally, I am perfectly happy to sing through a cold and my voice is completely fine but this week’s cold has taken me out for a little bit! It’s just a simple vocal tiredness that can be easily cured by not singing for a few days but If I’d have sung through this one it would’ve really damaged my voice a little more seriously.

This is what happens to pop stars today. Adele and Sam Smith are doing loads of concerts every night, getting little sleep, traveling non-stop and it wears on the voice and because the managers have no idea how much damage it does they just keep scheduling this exhausting tours that ruin even the best singers’.

Luckily, I always have another instrument to fall back on, so when I’m the next Adele and I get tired I can wow crowds with my fantastic dance moves and low gravely sick voice while playing glorious harp!

And that’s my Plan B!

My socials:

Youtube

Google+

Website

Facebook page

Twitter

The Gram!

Google Business!