Hey, how is your heart today? I’m in my little office cubby, writing to you as the afternoon sunlight streams through the windows, and I have to say my heart feels pretty good (major world political events notwithstanding).
I hesitate to call this a newsletter, simply because I don’t like the word. Any ideas for a better word for this mostly-monthly-updates?
This past month has been all about finding balance for me, finding the good habits and routines to keep my mind and body healthy as I work as much as I can. Since I’m just coming off a few months which included moving house and a lengthy trip to visit the US, I’ve been a bit all-over-the-place as I try to find that balance and those new routines. I love evaluating my habits and routines to make sure I’m pursuing the most sensible path – it makes me feel a bit more in-control of my direction and goals.
It has been quite a big week for me. On Monday, I had my new piano delivered!
The upshot of this is pretty much everything I needed to do this week that’s not *playing* this piano went out the window. This includes finishing an interview with a lovely member of the piano-press, properly re-writing my bio, following up with radio stations, reaching out to other members of the press, putting up singles for sale on my website, and figuring out how said website can take multiple currencies. You know, all the stuff I’m supposed to be doing as an indie musician, on top of practicing my instrument and creating new music for my next album.
I know. You should see my to-do list.
So why *is* this such a big deal? I mean, if you’re on social media with me you know I’m making a pretty big deal out of this.
David and I came to Auckland to settle almost a year ago (what?! I can’t *believe* it’s August already!). Up until about a month ago we were living in a house-sharing arrangement with five other people. An acoustic piano was just not a possibility, so I had a little Casio digital piano that I could play with headphones.
Let me tell you what every experienced pianist knows: NOTHING compares to the real thing. It’s hard to put into words, but if you consider that an acoustic piano is made of organic materials, it makes sense that it would respond in an organic way. A digital piano is, by nature, NOT organic. No matter how much money you put into buying a digital piano, it just can’t be as responsive as the real thing.
What’s more, because Wandering Soul has done well, David and I decided to invest….ah, who am I kidding? We splashed out. On a very nice piano. It’s a 1990 Yamaha C7, and my amazing new technician tells me I got an unbelievable deal on it. I think the seller loved my music (I played in her basement for about half an hour) and wanted to see this piano go to me….for 20% less than what she was asking for it.
For those who don’t know, the Yamaha C7 is the most common grand piano in recording studios around the world. It is a top-end piano, and this particular one is so spectacular I’m going to be able to record at home. This is definitely what I was hoping for, because it means I can release new music more often than once every few years, without shelling out a few grand to a recording studio every time I do it. Plus I can keep it immaculately well-taken-care-of, which honestly will give my piano a leg up on sound-quality over most recording studios here in Auckland.
Take into account that before we came to settle in Auckland, David and I were traveling for a year and I usually didn’t have a piano around.
Finally, I’ve never in my life gone so long without a piano I could play every day.
So yeah. It’s a big deal.
And finally, the moment you’ve all been waiting for. The big reveal.
I’m absolutely FLOORED and SO HONORED by this gorgeous review of Wandering Soul that just came in from international music writer Steve Sheppard over at One World Music Radio. Just about every new age solo piano album released comes across his desk for review, so I am especially overwhelmed by his enthusiastic, effusive writing about Wandering Soul! I’ve included the text of the entire review below, but to give you a sense, here are some tidbits:
“…she produces some of the most empowered and also tender passages you’re likely to hear.”
“…a truly delightful and thought provoking journey…”
“…One must truly applaud her rather wonderful style of being able to create such wonderful visuals within the mind’s eye…”
“I keep coming across favourites [tracks] and this is another, totally sublime in all ways.”
“I must say I loved every second of this release, now many will know I get many solo piano albums across my desk, but this is a real bar raiser, Wandering Soul is a quality album that I feel will reach the heart and minds of all who listen.
In my opinion this rates in the top 5 of my favourite solo piano offerings over the last couple of years, each track is crafted in the most professional way, to bring us the eager listener a truly marvellous and empowering experience, and as such is completely recommended.”
Hey guys! I made a video about what can you do on the daily to help support and promote your favorite up-and-coming artist on social media. Let me give you a little peek behind the curtain with some insight on how you can be a part of an artist’s success story. Here it is, and I’ll put the text of the video down below for those of you who prefer to read rather than watch =)
Hey guys! My name is Rachel LaFond, and I am a pianist, composer, and a recording artist. I’m here to talk to you today about supporting your favorite new artist in some non-obvious ways. I’m not talking about buying the music, or listening to the music on your favorite streaming platform, attending performances, writing reviews – I’m talking about social media.
Fans on social media are actually incredibly important to new musicians today – what followers on social media choose to do or not do can literally make or break a music career.
So if you’re asking yourself what you can do to help support and promote an artist you really love on the daily, here it is. First of all, go follow that artist on all the social media platforms you use. I’m talking Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, anything you’ve got an account on.
Second, ‘like’ everything you see from that artist that seems to merit a like. If your favorite artist is like most artists I know, they’re posting about their music, or about their lives, or something they think is great, usually something worth liking.
Third, comment on your artist’s posts! Speaking for myself, I LOVE to have a chat with my fans on social media, and if I ask a question in a post, I’d genuinely like to hear what you think. Even just a more general, “This is really great, thanks for posting!” or “Congratulations!” can make a big difference.
Fourth and finally, if you think something your favorite artist has shared or created is really wonderful, share it with your own friends. If there’s a particular song by that artist that you just LOVE, you can listen to over and over, share that song with someone you think will love it as much as you do. For new artists, finding new listeners can be a bit of a slow process. By being a supporter in the early stages, you can really make huge difference for that artist.
So, we’ve got four things you can do on social media to support your favorite up-and-coming artist. Follow, like, comment, and share. These things are important because they are actually tracked by aggregator websites like nextbigsound.com, where radio stations and music blogs, and music reviewers can see how an artist is performing on social media. And if an artist is seeing a lot of growth and engagement from their fans on social media, they will be more likely to be written about, featured, and have their music played – these are the things that can MAKE a music career. So now you know what a big effect you can have, by simply clicking a little heart or thumbs up, by typing a few quick words.
Artists, please feel free to share this video with your fans if you agree with me and want your fans to know all this. And, if you haven’t yet, please come follow me on social media. My name is Rachel LaFond, and I’m on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. You can also visit my website at www.rachellafond.com to listen to some of my music, learn more about me as an artist, and sign up for my email list. Finally, my music is available on Spotify, iTunes, Amazon, my website…pretty much everywhere digital music is sold, so if you haven’t yet, go check me out. Thanks for watching/reading!
I’m excited to announce that I’ve been accepted at my very first radio station!
I’ve been accepted at Enlightened Piano Radio, which is this great co-op streaming radio station. They have a mobile app and everything, so if you like beautiful, piano-led music you should check it out at www.enlightenedpiano.com
This online platform and the prevalence of social media means you get to journey along with me as I learn all the ins-and-outs of the music business, and take my little daily baby steps. Do you want to hear more? I don’t want to bore you with all the little ins-and-outs, but seriously: every day I’m learning so many new things!
In other news, I submitted Why We Wander for the New Zealand Sounz Contemporary Awards a few days ago. Have you heard Why We Wander yet? It’s available to listen to in the player on my website. Go check it out and let me curate your earscape for the next six minutes or so. I’ve got a few other irons in the fire, and things will really start picking up once I get back home to Auckland. Stay tuned, and have a gorgeous rest of your weekend!
Today is the release date for Wandering Soul here in New Zealand! Wandering Soul is now available for purchase on my website here.
Wherever you live, if you purchase a digital download on my website (or have already) you will receive your music today. If it’s not May 15 where you live yet, Wandering Soul may not quite be live on major outlets. Take advantage of our time difference and nab yourself a copy on my website!
Let me set the soundtrack for your day, and tell me how it all makes you feel. What’s your favorite track? Help me create some buzz: if you’re feeling inspired, leave a review for Wandering Soul here on my website, on Amazon, on Facebook, or write a review on your own platform or blog. If you love my music, the best thing you can do is share my music around, write about it – help other people discover it. Even listening to Wandering Soul on Spotify or Pandora is helpful.
I’ll be going live on Facebook later today to talk about the story behind Wandering Soul, so keep your eyes peeled and think up some good questions for me!
I hope your day is a beautiful one.