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Think superstar artists didn’t tour their butt off and hustle to make it big? Read this email from Jewel…

April 1, 2010

This is an email Jewel wrote to her fans but in her own words, describing how she became successful.

Think successful artists didn’t tour their asses off and promote, promote, promote along the way?

Read this – I guarantee it will inspire you!

Also, in other news, if you’re looking to promote your music to radio, film/tv or press, hit me up. My April is looking really jammed but I might have time to squeeze in a few new projects.

Jennifer

****

Posted in From Jewel on March 11, 2010

I’d like to tell you all the story of you.

While I watched my own career blossom, I got to see the mirror

image of my fans blossom, and we grew together, and because of each

other.

When I was young and getting discovered, I was terrified of

living in my car forever, but I was also terrified by fame. My

solution? Make a folk album. I thought if I could have a career like

my heroes John Prine or Tom Waits, with a cool cult following, and

make a good living, then that would be the thing to do. Boy did I

have no idea how far that folk album would take me.

Before I got discovered, reason I loved singing in the coffee

shops in San Diego was because it made me feel less alone. When I sang

on that tiny stage, I could see and feel the hearts of the few people

who came to see me, and I could talk about my worst fears, my worst

insecurities. I could express my rage and my doubt and my unabashed

hope – all because I could see in the eyes of those listening that

they felt the exact same way. A bond was formed when I sang, telling

secrets on myself – that was special.

As you know, I grew up singing in bars, doing cover songs. I

didn’t experience what I’m talking about here. When I sang my own

songs and got to tell my own truth, it was like magic – it was like

being in church. It felt like being forgiven. It was like confessing

my sins, and for doing so, I was rewarded with the kindness strangers

offered, I suppose, because they saw themselves in me, too. It felt

like medicine at a time when I so badly needed positive reinforcement.

The more I told the truth, the better I felt, the closer people felt

to me, and the less I felt alone. It was just a raw human experience.

I didn’t know that before I released my first album, there fans

were already using the newly formed internet to spread the word about

me. I just packed up my guitar, and began doing relentless tours that

I called ‘residency tours’ throughout the country.

My idea was to try and recreate what I had done in San Diego, by

playing the same coffee shop the same night of the week for a month in

a given city. So I did this circuit that was grueling. I played the

C’est What? Cafe in Toronto every Monday, Boston Kendel Street Cafe

every Tuesday, The Last Drop Cafe in Philadelphia every Wednesday, The

XX in NYC every Thursday, the book store every Saturday in DC, and

then I would drive it all over again and do it every week for a month.

I would then move to another region like the northwest, and do it all

over again.

I only sang in front of a few folks, but I was able to form a

small loyal following, provided they didn’t walk out during Pieces Of

You (the most misunderstood, yet plainly obvious song I’ve ever

written). The more I toured the more industry insiders told me I would

never make it, I’d never get played on the radio, Nirvana and Sound

Garden were God, and it wasn’t cool to be sensitive and care. I guess

that’s when the fight came out in me. I had lived through hell, and I

still found it in my heart to care and to have hope because the most

genuinely desperate must. It’s the spoiled slackers, in my view, who

could cling to their cool veils of cynicism, because they could afford

to be cynical with their comfortable lives. I was on the edge of the

abyss, and staring into it, I knew the only thing that would keep me

from falling in and being lost forever was if I dared to have faith. I

fought like hell for the right to hope.

The world was full of grunge bands and angst on TV and in the

movies, but what I saw in front of me touring was different. I saw

something different in the faces of those who I sang for. The tide

felt like it was going to change, and the press just didnt know it

yet. People didn’t want to hurt- they wanted to feel better, just like

I did. And just like me they were willing to fight for it. I began to

feel like maybe I could beat the odds. Maybe, just maybe, I could

stick my foot in the door of the male dominated music business,

because I felt like I had a small but fierce army that was marching

with me.

I began to hand out flyers after I sang, with local radio

stations numbers on them, and I asked people to call and request me.

I sang in college campuses everywhere I went, and passed out my

flyers, and because of the web, I was aware that I was not alone.

There were folks out there that cared about my music and about me, a

complete stranger, and they were trying to help me. I began to call

them my Every Day Angels and amazingly we were a force to be reckoned

with.

As my career began to break, I became a bit scared. Fame really

scared me because I had always been so introverted, and I was afraid I

was creating a monster I may not be able to control. The media scared

me, and I wasn’t sure how to interact with them. But my online fan

community always let me be myself, and I tried to continue to tell the

truth in my writing, and I began to feel I could have a two way

conversation with fans as I grew bigger.

I realized IDOLOTRY is what scared me about fame, because it was

jut that, an idle worship. It does not help anyone grow- the worshiped

become frozen in a mythological caricature that was immovable, (and

usually resulted in falling off said pedestal) and being a sycophant

or worshipper of said idol offered no self-examination or self

empowerment. I wanted a different relationship with my fans- one that

empowered fans- one that let me off the hook! I wanted to be human and

grow and make mistakes and be imperfect, and I wanted fans to rely and

look to each other for answers to their hopes and prayers- not to me.

As I became successful, I was receiving gifts and so much love,

and I felt like my life had turned around. I mean my life REALLY

turned around! My fans and me really pulled it off, and I was safe,

and comfortable, and I was being showered in gifts from fans. But I

felt guilty, because I didnt need gifts as much as other people in

the world that I knew. I decided to ask my EDAs to take whatever they

wanted to send me for my birthday, and instead give to someone who

needed it. And in typical fashion, they went above and beyond by

organizing the most amazing acts of kindness. Funds were raised to

help a local San Diegan get a handy cap vehicle that was sorely

needed. On my birthday I received a bound folder of page after page,

documenting community service and charitable acts committed by my

fans. It was the best present ever.

I even had an EDA who happened to be a lawyer help me with a

lawsuit I was facing, when I desperately needed the help. He worked

tirelessly in a time that was really hard for me. It was very touching.

Life being life, it never stays the same, and soon I experienced

some of my hardest years around 2003 – and all I have ever been able

to say about it was what I expressed in GOODBYE ALICE IN WONDERLAND. I

lost faith for a while, and as my world seemed to shatter, I had to go

back inside myself and try to challenge myself once again to find a

way not to become cynical or bitter. I wanted to be stronger, not

broken by what life had dealt me, but it took me a while to find my

way out of a dark hole. I didn’t trust anyone, and while I still made

music (because it still is what heals me) , I lost touch for a while

with everyone but Ty as I tried to put myself back together again, and

I’m glad to report, I feel good. I am not broken. We only are if we

let ourselves be.

In just a few short years the current age of the internet is so

exciting, as I feel I am able to return to a even more personal

relationship with my fans, in an even more direct way.

There are many new fans that I have, and I want to welcome

them. Some of you are country, some of you are pop and some of you

are rock, with a secret soft spot for whatever it is I am – but all of

you must love lyrics, otherwise you wouldnt be here.

I want to introduce all my new fans to the best fan community I

have ever heard about- and I want to invite you all to become EDAs.

I have created a Twitter account for you, and as you join it,

you will be added to the list. Click HERE to follow.

I will commit to figuring out a date to do another free fan

concert for you all, if you want to organize it yourselves again, (you

guys want to pick a name?) We will work it around my schedule like

last time of course, and I look forward to figuring out a good venue

where and when that it can happen!

Lastly, as EDAs, I would like to share with you what I would

like our call to arms to be:

Be kind to each other.

We have a rare community that is truly diverse – respect

everyone’s differences here. No matter the political, religious or social

orientation, we are all the same and trying to figure life out.

Build each other up, don’t tear each other down.

This is a hard enough world; we can all use a place thats

positive.

Dare to be honest with each other; you will be rewarded for it.

Tell secrets on yourselves, you will feel much better.

Be miracles for each other.

This community is what you make of it. The charitable acts, and

the course of the EDAs is up to you – it’s yours. Some of you need

jobs, while others may know someone who needs an employee. Some of you

create artwork, while some of you may need a logo for your own

business. Some of you need medical advice; some of you are doctors.

And some of you need someone just to listen. Pay attention to each

other, and if you run across something thats easy to give, give it.

We are all connected on this crazy web, and we can really take

advantage of it. I can personally attest to the fact that profound

change happens in small ways – and what you can do with your own hands

is POWERFUL.

I look forward to more years of making more music. I really feel

my best creative years are ahead of me, and with you guys backing me

up, I feel confident there will always be a place for me.

Finally, below is some more in-depth info about the EDAs that

Alan wrote, please feel free to read it if you want. Its really cool.

Lastly, I want to thank each of you, and especially my original

EDAs for continuing to be a miracle in my life. I dont think any of

you will ever know how my life has changed because of you. I was no

one special – just a scruffy kid that got turned away from a million

places. You all made me feel special. It gave me courage and I began

to dare to learn to shine my little light while I sang and when I

wrote. I am no different than each of you. It sounds corny, but it’s

true – we all just need to dare to shine.

xxj

EDA History (originally written and posted in 1998)

In 1994, a couple of San Diego based members of an Internet

discussion group that focused on women in music began a side

discussion about the virtually unknown San Diego coffeehouse singer-

songwriter, Jewel Kilcher. Upon hearing Jewel several months later at

The Kendall Cafe in Cambridge, Jeff, tech-savvy listserv owner, was

intrigued enough to create the first internet discussion group

dedicated to the discussion of Jewel’s music and performances. The

jewel@smoe.org mailing list/discussion group, was officially launched

the following

day on Sunday, February 19th, 1995.

Like countless other Internet discussion groups at the time,

the handful of initial subscribers enjoyed discussing their common

interest and keeping each other informed. They also circulated taped

live recordings and TV appearances (via snail mail, primarily) which

gave them a wider perspective on Jewel’s increasingly prolific output.

Through these initial efforts and upon the release of Jewel’s first

album, more people became interested and within the first year, the

list had grown substantially.

During that time, an organized effort to promote Jewel’s live

appearances began and listmembers began relentlessly calling radio

stations in support of Jewel’s first album, which at the time, was

going nowhere fast. Interest continued to grow and a handful of

listmember fansites were created over the course of the next year or

so, increasing her online presence. Jewel appreciated the support very

much and referred to them as her “Every Day Angels, a phrase taken

from her song, I’m Sensitive. The name stuck and became commonly

notated as EDAs.

Soon enough, EDAs began meeting each other at Jewel’s

performances and friendships beyond the daily email discussion began.

The EDA numbers continued to grow through 1995 and early 1996, but

unlike other rapidly growing Internet groups, the EDAs continue to be

one of the most intelligent, inspired and friendly places anywhere on

the Internet.

In mid-1996, a woman on the list suggested how enjoyable it

would be if Jewel were to perform a concert exclusively for this

discussion group. Timing was right. Jewel and her management agreed

that this would be a fun idea. The subscribers were informed that

Jewel would enjoy doing this provided the EDAs join her in Bearsville,

NY (where she’d soon be recording) and organize all details

themselves. After much organizational effort, a free private show was

planned for July 18th, 1996 at The Bearsville Theater in Woodstock,

NY. A second benefit show was also planned for the following night

with all proceeds going to help the struggling Bearsville Theater.

Hundreds of EDAs from all over North America converged in

Bearsville and spent several days camping together and experiencing

two of the most diverse and engaging performances of Jewel’s career.

The EDAs named the event “Jewelstock” and they created t-shirts,

buttons and came bearing gifts for each other in the form of music,

food and drink. After spending three days and nights together, many

attendees struck up permanent friendships and everyone who attended

left Bearsville significantly moved by the experience and Jewels

kindness. That such a diverse group of people could come together and

create something so great, all of them motivated by love of music and

a desire to share, without any monetary pressures or incentives,

speaks volumes about what the EDAs are all about.

The dynamics of the discussion group were forever changed by the

experience. Many EDAs began taking Jewel’s lyrics to heart and

manifested them in projects that helped to support each other as well

as to promote volunteer work improving their own communities. The EDAs

have accomplished impressive things over the past two years, many of

which have been selfless acts of kindness that have had profound

impacts on the recipients and the EDAs as a whole. A wonderful

example occurred in conjunction with Jewel’s 23rd birthday. Rather

than send gifts to Jewel, the EDAs were encouraged to effect positive

change in the world as their gift to Jewel. Sure enough, a perfect

opportunity presented itself. The entire EDA list organized to help a

severely injured hit and run victim from San Diego, who had no medical

insurance. He was in need of a van outfitted with special lift

equipment so that he could be mobile, return to work and resume a more

enjoyable life. The EDAs raised several thousand dollars, which was

donated to the fund and helped him accomplish these goals. San Diego

area EDAs also took it a step further, by spending time with him,

sharing favorite concert tapes, and bringing him to local concerts.

With the EDA numbers rapidly growing as Jewel’s first album

was taking off, several members began organizing a nonprofit

foundation (Every Day Angels Foundation aka EDAF) which promoted and

helped organize community volunteer work. These EDAs inspired many

projects including blood drives, clothing drives, volunteer work at

food banks, children’s hospitals and shelters, among many other worthy

endeavors.

EDA get-togethers have also taken on a life of their own. One

notable form of these events is “The Living Room Tours” (aka LRTs). An

ongoing project, where live performances are hosted at EDA homes, this

has been remarkably successful. The basic concept is to book touring

singer-songwriters directly into fans homes and promote the

performances cost free via email directly to those interested. Nearly

50 artists have participated in the Living Room Tours over the past

two summers and Ive yet to hear any of them refer to it as anything

but a positive experience. Having attended many LRT gigs and having

hosted two of the largest ones on Cape Cod, I wish I could do nothing

but LRT gigs! The concept dramatically changes the dynamics between

performers and audience in a most positive way. The musicians seem to

revel in the fact that everyone wants to listen and audiences

experience an immediacy and connection not experienced in any

traditional performance setting.

An annual EDA reunion in Bearsville has also been well attended

and smaller EDA parties and get-togethers are increasingly common.

EDAs often travel far and wide to attend these events. Thousands of

lives have been enriched through the efforts of The EDAs. Many feel

honored to be included and the recipients of The EDAs common good

will. MrBB

***

Jennifer Yeko
True Talent Management
http://www.truetalentmgmt.com

http://www.truetalentmgmt.wordpress.com – Read my music blog for advice on making it in the music business


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