Gretchen Menn Takes Flight

Gretchen Menn

I had the opportunity to speak with recording artist, Gretchen Menn today. The California native has packed more diversity into her young life than many folks do over the course of many decades.

She is graduate of Smith College in Massachusetts with a degree in music. She is also a pilot!

Music is her life passion and she is happily invested in an active career as a full-time musician, but there was a time when she worked as a full-time pilot in order to support her music habit.

Women may have come a long way from the Suffrage movement at the turn of the 20th Century, but Gretchen found herself to be the only female enrolled in her class in flight school. She noted that even in today’s world, women often have to be over-qualified to be considered equal to men. All that did was make this talented young woman more on top of her game.

And that has served her well in the music industry. “Female artists don’t have the icons that male musicians do but the next generation will be different. So many women are now involved in the music industry.”

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This gorgeous red head oozes talent from the first chord she plays. So much talent, in fact that she was tapped to play in the Ladies Rise Up and Rock Show March 23rd in San Francisco. It’s a prestigious honor that only a select few of the Bay area’s top female acts have had bestowed upon. Menn takes it all in characteristic humility and grace. She loves meeting, supporting and collaborating with other female musicians and finds the camaraderie and willingness to help one another in their careers to be refreshing.

Whether in the cockpit or on stage, this talented rising star commands much respect and attention and continues to fly high. Don’t miss the opportunity to see her live at the inaugural LADIES RISE UP & ROCK event at the Regency Lodge in San Francisco, California, on Saturday March 23, 2013 at 7:30pm.

Here’s a teaser of what to expect from Gretchen:

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Stop Promoting Yourself!

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Somewhere in your childhood someone told you to put others before yourself. It’s a practice that is considered to be good manners, but it has to be taught to us because, well, by nature humans don’t tend to be other-centered. This stems from our survival instinct but in the business world and specifically in the music business world, putting others first is not only good manners, its good business practice.

Being in a band is different in some ways from being in a traditional business. Promotions is a huge part of any band’s work load and as such, often keeps you in a mind-set of constantly promoting you, you, you. It’s true you have to get word out about your gigs. No doubt about that. But I am continually amazed by the sheer volume of bands who limit their social media presence to simply talking about THEM.

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Social media by nature is SOCIAL.  It’s a conversation. It’s about engagement. You want to draw your fans in to you, make them feel a part of your entourage and help them to get to know you. You want to HEAR what they have to say because you can deeply benefit from that knowledge.

I’ve said it before and I swear it will be written on my grave: Twitter is THE most effective social media platform, (at this time), for the music industry. Yeah, I know, everyone’s on Facebook. BUT the people on Twitter want to hear news, want to engage and want to interact. Facebook is finicky. If you have to make a choice, choose Twitter. If you don’t have to choose one or the other then do both but recognize that they are vastly different platforms and target the messages for each individually. That lazy automated crap where your Facebook posts to your Twitter page is non-sense. Knock it off.  You have to have an active presence on both, accept that, and then make a plan of action.

My challenge to you is to get really good at promoting others.

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Think about everyone around you. Your fans, venues, promoters, blog writers, radio stations and a myriad of other businesses and individuals have helped your band along the way. Think about bands you have shared the stage with. These wonderful people give you a jumping off point. Mention THEM in your Facebook, Twitter and blog posts. Promote other bands shows. Give shout outs to your fans, tagging them. Make sure to publicly show appreciation for the venues who offer you stage time. Also, post funny or interesting material that people will benefit from.

You know what that will do for you? It will get you recognized. Do you know what people see when you post about yourself continually? NOTHING. Nobody reads those posts. However, when you have something good to say about others, when you post information that is useful to those who follow you, it puts you on the map and people become interested in what you have to say. You look good in the eyes of those following you. Your clout and status grows.

So often bands only post about upcoming shows. BORING.

Reach out and talk to your followers. Ask them questions. Give them special shout outs. Putting others first always puts you at the top of the charts. Trust me, this works. But you’re not doing this as a ploy to get people to like or follow or retweet you.  Do it sincerely for the right reasons – putting others first. Yes, you will benefit from it, but so will they and that is key. All that good energy you create will surely show up in attendance at shows and the number of people who share your information with their friends.

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The key to social media is ENGAGEMENT. You don’t want a one-sided conversation where you blast news about yourself to your audience. You want to get your fans talking to you. I will warn you that it takes time and consistency to get folks talking. Creativity is essential here. Find your own style and run with it. Your fans will love discussing all sorts of things with you. What a great way to find out what city folks want you to play, what songs are their favorite.

This is a time-consuming effort. It’s good if each member of the band will accept certain responsibilities. Just remember, that as time consuming as it surely is, this is a huge part of making it in the music business. You need talent and a great live show; you also need an ever-growing, positive social media presence.

Get used to living on social media. Your star will only shine brighter. Be personal with your entourage. Connect in every way possible. Your fans will love you for it and music professionals you work with will respect you. Win, win.

Not So Innocent