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How do you build an authentic connection with your fans? Can you be true to yourself and your art and still build a viable fan base? What does it take to build your music career in 2023 and beyond?
In this episode of The New Music Industry Podcast, you’ll be hearing from partner at Collective Entertainment and founder of #iVoted Festival, Emily White.
- 00:17 – Preamble
- 00:58 – Today’s guest, Emily White
- 01:10 – An artist’s email list is their retirement plan
- 05:23 – Who is Zoë Keating?
- 09:22 – Getting a booking agent is harder than getting a record contract?
- 12:56 – Why our opinion on your music doesn’t matter
- 15:24 – You’re the CEO of your own music career
- 18:56 – Why should artists learn to record and produce themselves?
- 20:46 – Spend one hour per day on your communication
- 24:22 – What is the last YouTube video Emily watched?
- 24:36 – What is Emily’s daily routine like?
- 27:19 – What is the greatest challenge Emily has overcome?
- 31:38 – What is the greatest victory Emily has experienced?
- 33:03 – What books have helped Emily on her journey?
- 34:33 – How to connect with Emily
- 35:10 – Closing thoughts
- Productivity, Performance & Profits Blackbook: The first of its kind – David’s new premium book covering productivity, featuring content from Music Entrepreneur HQ, his personal blog, his many books, and even Start Your Year the Right Way, which is included in its entirety. Be fully unleashed in accomplishing your dreams and desires!
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David: Hey, it’s David Andrew Wiebe in the lab. Well, it happened again. I tried filming and recording an interview with Zoom. And my audio kept cutting out throughout, so what you’re about to hear, it’s all fixed up and repaired. It sounds great. I had to spend a lot of time doing this in the studio.
Not that you care too much about the gory details, but sometimes we do go to extraordinary lengths to make this happen for you. This does unfortunately mean you’re not going to get to enjoy the video portion of the interview, though. It would’ve been entirely way too much work for me to try to line up my lip movements with the newly recorded tracks.
But that’s all. Otherwise, the interview is, every bit as value adding as when I originally recorded it, so I hope you enjoy.
Today I’m joined by partner at Collective Entertainment, founder of #IVoted Festival and number one Amazon bestselling author, Emily White. How are you today, Emily?
Emily: I’m okay, David. Thanks so much for having me.
David: Yeah, thanks for joining me today. We’re going to jump right in, and the quote that I know you for and have probably even referenced or stolen at times is “an artist’s email list is their retirement plan.” This is something that makes an appearance in your book as well, and it’s a full mic drop moment. But I would love for you to elaborate on why email lists are so important.
Emily: Yes, definitely. You know, tech companies are the most valuable companies in the world because they have all of our data and you know. I’m not saying don’t be on social media or Spotify or anything like that, but I had the privilege of interviewing Seth Godin, last year, who of course invented permission marketing and he said it better than I do.
You know, on those platforms, you are the product. And why are these multi-billion-dollar platforms? Because they have all our data, right? They have your fan’s email addresses, often their mobile phone numbers more often than not their locations. So it’s not always the most like sexy, exciting thing, but artists and industry people really need to think of themselves as tech companies.
You know, I started working with The Dresden Dolls, almost 20 years ago, which was pretty wild. And when they were, you know, a local band, but a local band on the rise in Boston, they weren’t getting booked at traditional venues because it was a very rock scene at that time. And so they were playing art galleries and lofts and all sort of, all sorts of alternative spaces.
So, the singer of the band, Amanda Palmer, started an email list. Really, I think just BCCing fans. I don’t even know if like, email list software really existed then.
She was starting to build a small team at the time. But she said to me one day like, well, what happens if you go away? What if my attorney goes away? What if my booking agent goes away? This is my only direct pipeline to my audience to let them know about my shows and music.
In fact, I just got a e-blast from her this morning and I almost sent it to a university that I guest lecture at, because I’m like, she does such a good job with it. Like I couldn’t stop looking at this photo of her with her son and her son’s learning to play piano.
I mean, there was a lot of other really great info in it too. You know, you could barely say “hi” to the two people in that band and myself at the time, without us saying, “would you like to sign up for the email list?” Amanda’s first solo album came out a few years later. They were signed to a major label subsidiary.
And I’m dating myself with the sales reference, but they sold like, you know, 10,000 copies. She sold like 10,000 copies in the first week, and a thousand were sold by the label, and 9,000 were sold, through the email list, which had bundles and high-end packages and easily cleared six figures in a few hours, let alone a day.
And then a few years after that, Amanda went on to raise the most money ever for a musician on Kickstarter. Over a million. And again, it took Seth Godin pointing something out to me. I guess I knew this, but again, took Seth pointing something out to me about an artist that I, you know, worked with intimately.
And he said that record was considered a failure by the major label subsidiary. It sold 20,000 copies, and then he said when she did her Kickstarter a few years later, guess how many backers there were? 20,000, right?
So, it’s how you use this data and keeping in mind, like, Instagram’s going to come and go. TikTok is going to come and go. Algorithms come and go. This is the only pipeline you have, you know, through text message lists. I really like the, the platform Community and of course good old email list. So, you know the powers and the data, and you have to take it as seriously, data collection at your shows and everywhere you go, take it as seriously as like your gear bag. You know?
David: I’ve often said that influencers often make aggressively mediocre money. There are those with small followings that are secretly killing it, and there are those with big followings that are secretly struggling. And I love Seth Godin’s statement that you brought up, which is that we are the product on social media.There are those with small followings that are secretly killing it, and there are those with big followings that are secretly struggling. Click To Tweet
Emily: Absolutely. 100%. Yeah. I feel like there’s something else I was going to say about that, but it’ll come to me.
David: Yeah, if it comes to you, feel free to chime in.
David: You open your book, How to Build a Sustainable Music Career and Collect All Revenue Streams by stating Zoë Keating is the only artist you know who doesn’t need to read the book.
And the thing that I was struck by in the foreword is just how self-aware Zoë seems to be. She doesn’t do videos because she doesn’t like them. She doesn’t make T-shirts because they’re not eco-friendly. And when asked whether she markets her music, her response was in effect, “I guess so.” So please elaborate on who Zoë is and her self-awareness when it comes to making career related decisions.
Emily: Yeah, so Zoë is a brilliant cellist and musician and songwriter and composer. I, you know, not to contradict what we just said, but you know, for context, she has like a million Twitter followers, has a really robust text list and email list. And, you know, she really defines building a sustainable music career.
And, you know, on one hand, I’m not saying like, don’t make music videos or don’t make T-shirts or whatever. But the reason that’s worked for her is… is that’s authentic to her. You know, she talks a while about feeling very sexualized and having her femininity really noticed early in her career and that made her not want to make videos.
And it made her want to be all about the music. And her aversion to physical merch has to do with the environment. You know? So, here’s someone that makes an excellent living. Knows how to communicate with her fans is all about going direct has almost has like the perfect career in the sense that she has a huge audience, but everybody feels like she’s their little secret.
She lost her husband to cancer a few years ago. She’s had a lot of tragic changes in her life, and she constantly figures out how to adjust and adapt to her situation. Whether it’s like she can’t really tour as much because she has to look after their child, you know?
So yeah, if you don’t know who Zoë is, she’s absolutely brilliant. Both musically and business-wise.
And I do want to give a shout out to my friend Gene Cook. Gene is probably another musician that doesn’t need to read the book, so I would say it’s Zoë and Gene.
David: Awesome. So not to negate the long to-do list artists have to do and at the same time be true to who you are. I think that’s what I’m hearing.
Emily: Oh my gosh. Authenticity is queen. You know whether it’s the first chapter or first episode of my podcast, Get Your Art Together. You know, like you need to make art that’s true to your soul, your spirit and in my experience, that’s what’s going to connect with people for the long term.Authenticity is queen. Click To Tweet
You know, oddly enough, when I was a manager, I never really set out to have a hit song. I was all about; do I love the music? Building a business around the artist and taking care of fans a very close second. And when hit songs would come, I would see ticket sales spike in certain markets.
We are getting radio play or whatever, but then I would see the ticket sales go back down as kind of those more fair-weather fans moved on to the next hit. So, it’s really all about creating great art and taking care of your fans and audience as much as possible.
Oh, and I also want to comment. When you mentioned Zoë talking about marketing, I reframed my question kind of into “artist speak” because I think my question initially was something like, “how do you market your music?” I don’t know. Maybe I said it better than that. Or I said, ” what do you think about marketing?” Or “how do you think about marketing?” She’s like, “I don’t, I really don’t think about it.” So, I just rephrased it and said, “when you have a release out, what do you do?”
Because that is marketing, even though it might sound like kind of a dirty word.
David: It’s true. Many musicians, if they’ve listened to my podcast, they should be familiar with all the lingo that I talk about all the time. But for many artists it seems like a world away to talk about marketing.
“Promo” maybe is a word that’s a little more common. Yeah. Marketing is less so for sure.
David: One of Zoë’s statements that caught my attention, I think it has weight to it, is that getting a record contract is hard, but getting a booking agent is even harder. But what is the opportunity of the modern era and what’s the right time for an artist to seek out representation and a team, if ever?
Emily: Sure. Well, that’s the last chapter of the book and the last episode of the podcast because, first you may not have these opportunities coming your way. If you want to get signed or want a manager or whatever. If you don’t have that in front of you right now, like it used to bother me in music business classes.
Like, should you go with a label, or should you not go with a label? I’m like, do you have an offer in front of you? So, you need to do that stuff, right? The book covers the entire modern music industry from recording to release or creation, distribution. And I feel weird saying this, but a lot of these tools have replaced people, right? When it comes to recording technology, when it comes to distribution, technology, even the dirty word of marketing. So that’s all in front of you.
And then if you want a team, the best way to get out there and build a career and exposure, awareness, and leverage is to do everything in the book, which is a step-by-step process.
And then if you have a team or you’re signed or whatever, I would say it’s just if not more important for you to do everything in the book, because you need to be collecting data from your fans. You need to be grabbing email addresses from journalists, podcasters like you, DJs playing your music.
Because what happens if like Amanda said, if that team goes away, if something falls apart, if it goes out of business. I was just interviewing Lachy on my podcast and about her career trajectory, which was so inspiring, and her manager passed away of COVID in 2020. You know, like people die. I was going to say, God forbid people die, but like people die, right?
So, if you’re relying on other people, the only thing we can count on is impermanence. I know it’s like death and taxes too, but all things are impermanent, right? So, you need to build it up as, as much as you can, whether you have a team, whether you don’t have a team, or whether you want a team.
David: I think Steve Pavlina liked to say change is the only constant.Change is the only constant. Click To Tweet
But the other reason I’m smiling and nodding along is this whole idea of hypothetical questions. One that came up in my ecosystem was if you had $10,000 or if you had $100,000 to market your album, how would you spend that budget? Totally legit question. Except they didn’t have $10,000 or $100,000 to spend.
So, I said, what’s the point? It’s going to change. Tomorrow we’ll have different marketing methods. ChatGPT has come along and upset the apple cart. It may not be everything people hoped it would be, but things change all the time.
Emily: It’s so true.
That’s why I’m constantly referring artists back to chapter one, right? Like, get your art together, like is the art great?
And then frankly, when folks buy the book directly from my website, I can see their domain. You know, just like an artist can, when someone buys something, I can see where they’re coming from and there’s managers from the biggest management companies in the world that have bought this book and I point that out to shine a light on, they’re trying to figure it out too. Right?
So, you could spend all your time trying to get a manager at Q Prime to pay attention. And I’m not saying don’t do that because I think they’re amazing. But you could also spend all your time creating great art and building your audience. And working your way up sustainably from there.
David: I tend to agree. I have a book that’s pre-release, but the manuscript is complete. It’s called The Renegade Musician, and I don’t get to this until part three of the book, but you cover it in chapter one of your book.
But basically, I said, people come to me all the time thinking that I’m going to have some intelligent comment about their music and perhaps if I’m not familiar with your style, and there’s just so many styles out there, and I don’t know who you’re influenced by, or any of your peers. Chances are the only comment I’m going to be able to make is on your production and everything else is moot.
But I made an earnest attempt at offering some valuable tips in the book as well, including Derek Sivers’ classic advice of if you can streamline your life to work on it 12 hours per day, do it. Do it sooner, do it earlier. Don’t wait years to get good at what you do.
Emily: 100%. And. You know, I get it’s natural. I get that it’s natural to ask what you think, or I think or Imogen Heap thinks or whatever, but it’s like, who cares what we think, you know? Did you write it for us, or did you write it for yourself?
And I just feel like, I know finding one’s flow is easier said than done, right? In art, in business, in both. But again, I feel like when you’re forcing it or trying to write a hit or trying… don’t get me wrong, there’s obviously like professional songwriters and pop songwriters that like do that and know how to do it.
But if you’re trying to write, you know, for a genre or you’re trying to write for a specific label, to me that’s not the point.
And I interviewed Justin Vernon from Bon Iver on my podcast and his story is famous, but it was interesting to hear more of the detail on it.
It’s like he tried for so hard for so many years, right? He tried so hard. He’d like go to Barnes & Noble and buy like the Indie Touring Bible, whatever, and like tried to book a tour and his whole life fell apart. His girlfriend broke up with him, his band broke up and he was like, I just gave up.
And I went up to my dad’s cabin in northern Wisconsin and this just flowed out of me. I’m not saying it’s easy, but it’s when he stopped trying that he wrote, the now iconic album For Emma, which has turned him into a global superstar.
David: Yeah. There is something magical to, I think, “surrender” is the best term for it. People sometimes use the term “letting go,” but you can’t let go. Things just are, but you can surrender everything in the moment and there’s a lot of freedom in that.
David: There’s a phrase in your book because it’s something I’ve been saying for a long time without knowing much about you and your work, and that’s “you’re the CEO of your own music career.”You’re the CEO of your own music career. Click To Tweet
I guess ideas are like that in that they’re deposited into the minds of many people, maybe even simultaneously, but I find it to be a very empowering statement. How can artists be the executives of their careers?
Emily: Odds are, because there’s so many artists and so much music out there, you don’t have a choice.
You have to be the CEO of your career. But I understand how attractive it might be, you know, as you start to build a team, like, okay, I’m done. I can just be the artist. And like really, you’re the CEO because you need to approve everything. Nothing should be done without your approval.
You should have transparent access to everything. I mean, your manager should almost be like the COO, the chief operating officer and executing and making this stuff happen. But ultimately, you’re calling the shots.
And I experienced this in business too, but I had a lot of artists on the podcast speak to this.
It’s like… When you sign a publishing deal or you sign a management contract, that’s actually when the work begins. So that’s the time you really need to dig in and also make sure you’re accountable. Make sure you’re writing back to your team, you’re staying on top of things. Talk to them about a process to make sure you’re preserving your mental health. Maybe that’s like nights and weekends off. Maybe you can be respectful to them about that as well.When you sign a publishing deal or you sign a management contract, that's actually when the work begins. Click To Tweet
And look, we all miss a message here or there. But if the team is spending time chasing you, then that’s less time and energy they have to move your career forward.
So ultimately, like the buck stops with you, as cheesy as that sounds.
David: I’m a big believer in wellbeing. I talk about it on my podcast perhaps more than I even should. But I do remind listeners and my students, if you’ve been slamming it hard for a while, it might be time to take the day off, watch a movie, go to the mountains, hit the hot springs if it’s available in your locality.
Emily: It’s so important. I couldn’t agree with you more. And I was interviewing Erin Knight on our recent season two podcast finale. I thought, I don’t know, I feel like we were like sisters from another mother or something, because I actually try not, for example, I try not to schedule any calls or meetings on Monday.
And on Tuesdays, I really try, you’re my first. Today’s Thursday, but like, this is at 2:00 PM Eastern, and you’re actually my first call of the day. I try to schedule things from like 1:00 PM on, and my point is, so I can have that Monday to get organized, be creative, let my mind wander in a good, and that’s not really, like, breaks, the brakes are really important too.
I get a full night’s sleep every night. I really try not to work on weekends. Selfishly, that makes me a better entrepreneur as well.
David: For a long time, and it’s still very much like this. I only made myself available to the public for ad hoc calls two to three times per week, and I had a lot of interviews to do, whether it was for my own show or for clients who requested blog posts, testimonials, or pre-interview scripts, even though I knew it was for money, I kept those boundaries.
I’m not going to take a call on Monday or Friday. I need these boundaries so I can take care of myself. And as you say, it really is about being in the right place at the right time to handle calls and questions.
I will never understand people who take business calls at the airport bathroom and make horrible deals on the spot because they’re unprepared and they’re not thinking, and they’re not in the right environment to make those decisions.
Emily: Or you could be like me, who travels with a yoga mat and will do yoga at the at the terminal, waiting for the flight. So, to each their own.
David: Amazing. Yeah, I love it.
As your book suggests, as much as possible, artists should learn recording skills, and I very much agree with that statement. As someone who’s learned a lot about producing over the years, I think there are still plenty of singers, songwriters, and instrumentalist out there who would bristle at the idea.
What’s the benefit of learning how to record and produce yourself?
Emily: Well, it’s going to save you money, and it’s going to save you time. And you can start to mess around with ideas yourself. Maybe you feel really good about the recording. You might not have to go out and get a producer or a traditional studio.
But even like, this with all due respect, like the most expensive pros in the world are going to give this advice too. It’s going to save us all time and energy and save you money. The more you can get done on your own.
And I’m obviously not Rick Rubin but in my little world, if I can figure out how to record a podcast and some recording basics, most people should be able to figure out how to record a demo.
It’s like any creative process, the more you play around with it. It feels weird to say the better you’re going to get, probably, because again, it’s creative, right? Like what sounds good to you might be different from what someone else is going for.
But yeah, it’s going to save you time and money in the long run.Learning how to record yourself is going to save you time and money in the long run. Click To Tweet
David: I was in the Calgary music scene for a while and one piece of advice that got thrown around was “don’t self-produce.” I think the implication was that we want the money to flow to writers, arrangers, producers, and engineers. I totally get that perspective, but at this point in the music industry, I don’t think there’s anyone who’s going to say, “well, we’re not going to touch you because you are self-produced. Especially if you show up with a stack of money to record with them next time.
Emily: Yeah, exactly. You wan to be as sufficient as possible and get an idea yourself of what’s working what isn’t before you head into a traditional studio.
David: This is another one of those, maybe not.\ “Twilight Zone” moments, but one where we’re kind of on the same wavelength.
I concluded last summer that I should be spending an hour, no more, no less on communication every day. It’s gone by the wayside in my life a bit because I’ve been very occupied serving my clients lately. Great practice for all of us to adopt. What are the benefits of answering emails and social media posts an hour per day.
Emily: Yeah, so if you love social media and industry work, I think you should set aside an hour a business day to do that, because otherwise it’s really easy to get sucked into being on social media all the time. I mean, those platforms are literally programmed to be addicting, you know, consuming tons of… you know, music business education, and then suddenly you’re not focused on getting your art together, right? Chapter one, or you’re losing sight of who you are as an artist. So, you don’t, you don’t want to get so obsessed with the industry and work and online stuff that you’re neglecting yourself as an artist.
And if you hate it, I’m using the word “hate.” You should also set aside an hour a business day to make sure you’re responding to email. Getting back to fans on social media and staying on top of things.Set aside an hour a business day to respond to email. Get back to fans on social media and stay on top of things. Click To Tweet
I mean, this is, on one hand probably a problem generally, with modern humans, and I get it, but like I just recorded season two of my podcast to my home city of Milwaukee.
And generally speaking, I don’t feel like artists, and even some industry people there are that great at writing folks back. And it’s like, I have email tracking people, I can see you that you’re getting my emails. And like that breaks my heart for my home city and a smaller market because this is not something I ever really think about or track.
But when I’m emailing, people in the national or international industry, I would say 98% of people write me back. So, if you’re in a smaller market and I’m getting a 50% response rate and I’m offering books to your radio station for free, or to your program or whatever, or I want to mentor students or I want to help, or I want to give my time…
I don’t know. Like if people aren’t interested, that’s totally fine, but I would rather know. And my bigger concern is seeing the ecosystem not work together, right? Seeing the music ecosystem not work together.
So, artists are the same way. I know plenty of, and I’ve asked them, I’m like, why didn’t you write back on this?
And the answer is insecurity, overthinking. And then “well, I’ll get to it later” and then they never get to it. Just reply to your emails people. Like when I was managing Brennan Benson, we were on tour in Europe and I remember his drummer was a fairly young guy and said, Silly Billy was his nickname.
Silly Billy’s like, “it’s like the more stuff we do, the more stuff we get,” right? But if you’re just sitting there and you’re not replying to things that come in, then you’re just going to be sitting there.The more stuff you do, the more stuff you get. Click To Tweet
David: One of Dan Kennedy’s wealth attraction principles is do something. Don’t just sit and think about it.
And if I were to add anything, I’d say communication is a challenge for everyone, but some people are more challenged than others. For some examples, watch…
Emily: Don’t overthink it! Sorry to talk over you, but it’s like, just keep it short and sweet. Respond, move on. You know?
David: …absolutely. Watch Glenn Fricker’s bad musician texts. Get a good laugh and maybe identify a few things you could be doing better in communication.
Emily: Exactly. I love it. And keep in mind, I don’t like it when the arts are competitive, but keep in mind, most people suck at email, right? Like most… especially artists. So that’s one way to get ahead is just to be replying to opportunities.
Now, this is the part of the podcast that is lovingly and jokingly called, “not the Tim Ferris segment.” Let’s start here. What was the last YouTube video you watched?
Emily: Oh, a yoga class I did this morning. Shout out to Jes Allen’s Patreon, which is excellent for on demand yoga.
What is your daily routine like?
Emily: Oh my gosh, that’s my next book. So, my routine starts the night before. I get a full night’s sleep every night. I try to go to bed fairly early, especially on weeknights, not as much on weekends.
And then I have a green smoothie first thing in the morning. And that’s not, I mean, I use local organic greens. I’m really obsessed with going to the farmer’s market every week. You can sweeten it with fruit and stuff, but that’s also not anything to overthink. I’ve been getting a lot of questions on like the smoothie recipe, and it’s not really about that. It’s about just getting some produce in you. First thing, like I just said, my parents’ house, they had some random kind of old looking store-bought celery. I threw that in there and like whatever fruit they had around, it’s just as good. Gets the job done.
And then I move first thing. So that could be an hour walk. That could be, going for, I do, I do run for an hour if I run, but we’re talking 20 miles, people. Like it’s about moving my body… the motivation is mental health and finding my own flow state as an entrepreneur. Or I swim for 40 minutes. That’s kind of equivalent to me as, and again, I swim easy. I’m not grinding it out. I’m also very good at listening to my body. So, this morning I did an hour of yoga, like I said, just on demand. Didn’t even leave the house for that.
But you know, I move first thing and then I have a healthy breakfast. Usually like two local organic eggs, whole wheat toast, maybe some avocado, olive oil, kimchi, and then I meditate for five minutes. And then I start my day, and then I also do five-minute meditations throughout the day.
Normally before I would talk to you, but I only got five seconds in before this, but I actually did a couple other five-minute meditations today before I wrote like an important email. I responded to an interview request for Hypebot because my thoughts are going to be better and clearer if I take that five minute meditation break.
So that’s what we’re calling the Emily routine.
David: Yeah, there are some excellent tips in there.
And I do find it funny too, how people obsess over the green smoothie recipe. Just throw some mixed greens in there, celery, apple, pear, whatever you want. Protein powder as a sweetener and you’re done.
Emily: Yeah, exactly.
David: Meditation is the same thing. Like how do you meditate? It doesn’t matter. Just put some music on, close your eyes and focus on your breathing. It’s good enough.
Emily: That’s exactly right. Close your eyes and focus on the breath, and people ask me all the time, like, what kind of meditation do you do? And it’s like, I’ve studied plenty of meditations and they all have one thing in common. You’re focused on one thing, right? You’re focused on the breath, or you’re focused on a mantra, or you’re focused on really any one of the senses. It’s all single pointed meditation. You’re exactly right.
David: What’s the greatest challenge you’ve overcome?
Emily: I’ll tell you what, I haven’t spoken about this publicly yet. But I had the hardest few days of my life last week.
The hardest, like longer time period I had was in 2020 when we were building #IVoted and all summer I was like, I know we have the experience and connections and expertise to do this. I just don’t want it to be the Fyre Fest of webcasting. Because that was a big pivot during the pandemic, it went on to become the largest digital concert in history. So, we were not the Fyre Fest of webcasting.
Last week was really hard. You know, like I had been recording my podcast in Milwaukee for the past six weeks. I was, to be honest, 50% there for traumatic reasons that I won’t get into. And I could have cancelled doing the podcast there because all that stuff happened before. And I was like, do I want to do this here? And I’m like, yeah, I do. I want to help artists here. So, I knew I was there for the right reasons.
Long story short, unfortunately I had to file a restraining order against one of the attendees. And testify in court, last week, which that’s a first for me.
We had asked for a four-year restraining order per the state law. And the court actually granted 10 years based on the evidence. And this person has continued to contact women in my audience, women guests of mine. I won’t share his name because I don’t want to cause more problems, but I am going to share this.I’m sharing it publicly here, right?
And then also check in with Women in Music and Girls Behind the Rock Show and find out if they have a legal fund and mentoring for when this happens to anyone. Right? Because, you know, I’m privileged I could afford an attorney. I knew how to work with an attorney.
And if I’m 23 and this happens, you don’t have money. I come from the music business. I work with attorneys all the time. So, I knew how to work as a team with my attorney. So, I’d love to mentor anyone else that has this experience.
And also, to spread the word on it because it sucked for a lot of reasons. It was the most scared I’d ever been, and no offense. Have you had any stalkers on your podcast? It’s like any income I made through… it’s also the first time I’d ever put myself out there publicly.
I’ve been really fortunate that speaking engagements and such had come to me, and this is the first time I’m like, okay, I’m going to do season two as a live ticket at event. And it’s like the first time I do, I end up testifying in court. It’s worth every penny for me to have hired the attorney, but any sponsorship money we made, any ticket sales, that all goes right out the door to the attorney.
So that was challenging. That was a lot. Thanks for my mini therapy session there. But last week was really hard. And, and just to wrap up on that. I was in Chicago for a bunch of meetings on Thursday. I had to testify on Friday. I had to teach a class on Friday afternoon that I was not prepared for.
And then I had my season finale podcast taping on Saturday. So, it was a lot to say the least. It was probably the first time in my life that I could empathize with being a parent because parents do so much, right? And then they work and they’re still like brushing their teeth and putting their pants on and all those things.
It was like I just was doing the things and now I’m finally back home in Brooklyn and got some Reiki last night. Doing yoga and just getting it, getting myself back on track.
David: Yeah. I relate to what you said a lot, not because I have a stalker, but mostly because probably the biggest challenge I’ve overcome was also recent.
The last half of 2022 was the most challenging and very unexpected. The opportunity came up to go back to being a digital nomad for me, and I thought it was going to be fun, and yes, it was fun. In the early going, I started living out of Airbnbs, but as the months progressed, I ended up almost being scammed by a prospective landlord. I couldn’t make online payments with my bank card for a while. Got sued by a credit card company and ended up filing for consumer proposal. There was a lot that happened in a 30-to-50-day timeframe.
Emily: Yeah, I’m so sorry to hear that.
David: Well, thanks for saying that.
What’s the greatest victory you’ve experienced?
Emily: I think creating #IVoted. Not just like producing the largest digital concert in history, but the fact that we’ve done it seven, eight, nine times with some of the stuff that we’re planning. So, I’m just, this is not part of the vision when I entered music or whatever, but I’m really proud of taking the skills that I have in the music industry and applying it to increasing voter turnout.
And then I’m equally proud of our team. You know, like I lead a C-suite of all women. Our overall team is 92% BIPOC women, non-binary LGBTQ+. It’s been the biggest lesson of representation in my life. People ask me all the time how we’ve built such a diverse team and we’ve put like a tiny little bit of effort into it.
I’m on the board of Well Dunn, which provides paid entertainment industry internships and mentoring to underserved students. And so, we have a few Well Dunn interns, but otherwise they all come to us because they see themselves reflected in leadership.
So, I’m definitely excited to be revolutionizing voter turnout, but equally proud to be training and mentoring the next generation of activists and leaders.
David: And your bio reads like accomplishment after accomplishment after accomplishment. You’re a powerhouse, obviously.
Emily: Thank you. I’ve also just been around a while, so it adds up.
David: Are there any books that have helped you on your journey?
Emily: Yes. My favorite book is Steve Jobs, the Walter Isaacson definitive biography.
I feel really arrogant saying this, but I feel like I could empathize with Steve’s perspective on things. “Don’t you see what I see?” Or “don’t you understand why it should be like this?” Hopefully I’ve mellowed a little bit over the years.
But certainly, that book. And then I think my second favorite book ever is Why We Sleep. Sleep’s my number one health priority. In fact, this morning, I mean TMI, but I woke up not like super early, but I woke up because I had to pee and I started practicing yoga and I’m like, I’m really tired. I’m going to go back to bed. So, I went back to bed for another hour and a half so I can be sharp and present when I’m talking to you and doing everything I have to do today.
So yeah, I definitely check out the book Why We Sleep. I recommend it. Whenever I teach a college class and like the three students that ever read it always come up to me and are like, “Oh my gosh.” Now that I’m like, even just thinking about sleep or like being aware of it and kind of prioritizing it, they’re like, “I’m working less, I’m getting better grades. I’m happier, I’m more energetic.” It’s a very simple read.
And also, the author, Dr. Matthew Walker has a podcast with like eight-minute episodes. So, there’s really no excuse to not, educate yourself on what we spend a third of our lives doing.
David: If our listeners would like to connect with you, where can they find you?
Emily: Social media. I’m @emwizzle, W-I-Z-Z-L-E. And then there’s email list links, if you want to be in the loop on the book’s next edition.
And we might be doing a season three and season four podcast taping this year. And, I think we have an offer for season five, which would be early 2025, because my life is very structured around election years. So yeah, if you want to attend, if you wan to livestream, we try to solve musicians’ problems in real time.
You can find the email list link on my social media @emwizzle.
David: Thank you for your time and generosity, Emily. Is there anything else I should have asked?
Emily: No, I feel like we’re and I’m excited for your book and all the great things you’re doing, David. So, thank you so much for having me.
David: Thank you.
In closing, I wanted to recommend Emily’s book, How to Build a Sustainable Music Career and Collect All Revenue Streams. I really think it’s the perfect complement to the resources I’ve created. Whereas I’m basically the marketing, mindset, and productivity guy, Emily covers all the technical details of performance rights organizations, and recording, and contracts, and royalties and more.
So, check out the book. It’s How to Build a Sustainable Music Career and Collect All Revenue Streams.
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