TPM 86 | Musical Skills

 

The pandemic taught us to be creative and utilize the available tools to keep generating income. In today’s episode, BRE, an electronic artist, producer, and entrepreneur, shares how her passion for music and working at a piano bar before the pandemic helped her found Live Sounds, an entertainment company where she is the leading performer, and create an entertainment platform called Shocast. It is pretty challenging to start a business. Still, it was made possible through her skills in music and cultivating it together with other skills she has, and taking the necessary steps allowed her to expand her income stream. She also talks about how challenging it can be to be in a very male-dominated space but being able to prove your talent and show other women that you can stand up and represent them will encourage women, especially the next generation, to come up and see less of this issue. Listen to this episode with BRE and learn from her about expanding your business and musical skills to open up new income streams!

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Open Up New Income Streams By Expanding Your Business And Musical Skills With BRE

I am here with another BRE. It’s crazy. I don’t think I’ve ever had another BRE. I had a Brianna on the show one time but she spelled it with an I. BRE, I love that. It’s very short. It’s distinctive, and that is her artist’s name and real name too. That works out well. She’s done so much in creating pathways for artists to make an income that she started for herself, and then was helping other artists do that. We will get into all of that. First, I would love to find out your backstory like how did you get into music and what made you decide to pursue that full-time, and that whole story up to where we are now.

First of all, thank you so much for having me. I’m excited to be here and talk about all this amazing stuff that you go over in your show. In regards to my story, I have been a musician and a songwriter since about the age of twelve. I went to an acting and singing competition when I was about thirteen years old and won. It was this random thing that I decided to do, and because of that, my parents decided that they wanted to move to Los Angeles for me to be in the industry, which is always interesting.

We came out here, and I pursued music for the next several years, unsuccessfully. I was putting all this effort in. I had a lot of managers and agents who were like, “We are going to make you into the next Taylor Swift, the next Demi Lovato, or the next Hayley Williams,” trying to mold me into something that they felt would be successful to no avail. I did that for about several years. I then was like, “I’m done with music. I’m done with all this. I need to leave.”

I moved to Texas. After that, I moved to New Zealand for about a couple of months. I need to get as far away from LA as possible. I left the country and went as far as I could, which was exactly what I needed to do because when I was there, I rediscovered my love for music as an art form rather than a catalyst for my success. I was like, “This is who I am.” Being an artist is an integral part of the fabric of my identity, and I need to reconnect with that as an art form. I was able to do that there.

At that point, when I was in New Zealand, I had a choice to go back to Texas or LA. I was like, “I’m going to go back to LA. I’m going to do this thing again.” I moved back and fell into dueling pianos. For those who are unfamiliar, it’s basically two people on a stage. We take requests, do a bunch of interactions with the audience, and play all kinds of music. I fell into doing that because I had looked up bars with pianos in them in New Zealand, and I found some bars and started doing residencies.

When I came back to LA, I did the exact same thing. I found a dueling piano bar called Howl at the Moon. I started working there, and then when the pandemic happened, I started looking into my artistry again since I had a break sometime to figure out creatively what I wanted to do. From that point on, I started a couple of businesses, and now I’m pursuing my artistry full-time.

That’s very cool. It amazes me what you are saying about the pandemic. It’s like, “I can’t do live performances,” and it’s great because it does make you take a break from that and like, “Now, I can look inward into my artistry and stuff,” but you weren’t doing that. You are like, “Let me start these businesses because I see this need in the marketplace.” What made you have the confidence to be like, “I can go ahead and start this business where I see a need?”

What’s interesting about the business is that I met my Cofounder, his name is Art Herrera. We met on a Facebook networking group for musicians. What was so cool about that is that he basically offered his services as a music consultant for free. He’s like, “We are in a pandemic. If anybody needs to talk about their art, I have time.” I was like, “Cool, I’m starting to figure out my artistry.” I reached out to him. Once we started talking, we connected well. He’s amazing and incredibly smart. He has a background in entrepreneurship.

I had started doing a livestream piano bar on Twitch. I was doing weekly shows where I would take requests. People would send in tips, and I would perform. We realized that there was a need there because there were a lot of companies that used to do live events with music in them and those had all obviously stopped because of the pandemic.

We decided to go ahead and start a virtual entertainment company called LiveSounds, where I would be the main performer, and then we ended up hiring other performers as well, eventually. We would put on very interactive, fun musical shows based around the piano bar concept. It was called Project Piano Bar, where people would be able to make requests. We would be able to play games with them and take the place of those live events and do them virtually live. To answer your question, getting the confidence, it’s about having the right collaborators at that moment. Starting a business by yourself is very possible, but it is also difficult. Having someone that you can bounce ideas off of, motivate you, and keep you going is amazing.

I also think that sometimes you have to go for it. The idea of starting a business can be very scary when you look at it as like, “A business, this big entity that I have to figure out,” when in reality, it starts as a project and an idea. You then take the necessary steps, and if you see that it has potential, I can make this a business. You then do it from there but I would encourage people not to be too scared about the idea of starting a business by doing it organically, doing what feels right to you, and seeing if there’s a need for it.

Don't be too scared about starting a business just by doing it organically, doing what feels right to you, and seeing if there's a need for it. Click To Tweet

That’s so true. A lot of people get caught up and are like, “I can’t start until I like get my LLC, my logo, and website.” No. Let’s make an offer and see if people accept it and want to do it.

That’s the most important thing I would say because if you start with, “Let’s get a logo, an LLC, a name,” and you haven’t identified what you are selling or if there is a need for it, then you are wasting a lot of time and money by trying to do all this preliminary stuff before you understand if your business is needed in the industry.

TPM 86 | Musical Skills

Musical Skills: If you haven’t identified what you’re selling or if there is a need for it, then you’re wasting a lot of time and money by trying to do all this preliminary stuff before you understand if your business is needed in the industry.

 

How did you guys find clients for LiveSounds? Did you already have a line on people that were looking for this?

It’s cold emails. We started off by looking at our own contacts, and something that I always recommend people to do is once you identify what you are offering and who the person is or who needs it. In our case, it was businesses and academic institutions that were used to doing live events and could no longer do them. Identify people in your network who would need that, and offer them the product for a discounted rate so that you can get some reviews, footage, and photos. Once you have that and you have the validation from your clients, then you are able to take that and then start cold emailing.

I’ve emailed thousands of people and literally by looking up businesses who have a good company culture, who would be more likely to do this, colleges that are known for throwing awesome student events, and scouring the internet, finding emails of the people who would be in control of creating those events and emailing them. You would be surprised. We got a lot of responses and people who were interested.

We had a good number of events that we did. If you word your emails correctly to not being like, “Give me your business,” rather than being like, “I want to offer you this thing that could be helpful for your students, and here’s why based on the research that I’ve done on your website,” you will be surprised about how many people will get back to you like that.

It’s because you are tailoring it to them and always thinking about what’s in it for them. We think we have nobody in our network that could be a perfect fit but when I start to think about it’s like, “My husband works for a university. My mom has a friend who started this big computer company.” If you think a few levels out of your network, you probably have contacts of people that you could start with. As you said, get those few people under your belt and get your testimonials and stuff. You then got some awesome things to send out in these cold emails like, “Look at this testimonial from this reputable place. Here’s a video that we did and that stuff.” Solid business building principles. You started that, and then you also started something else during the pandemic.

When we were doing LiveSounds, what we were doing is we were using a livestream platform to stream our performances but we were recognizing that. It’s because the piano bar is so interactive that we wanted to have a level of interaction with our audience that we weren’t able to have with the livestream. Livestream is a one-way video. People are communicating with you via chat.

What we would do is we would get our audience on Zoom, have our audience on a Zoom thing, and then be livestreaming and having those two windows open. We were like, “This could be a business. We need to create a platform that is specifically made for entertainers who are wanting to do interactive performances online and making it for those people.” We made this platform called ShoCast. It has been a few years since we developed it. Now, it’s working, and we are hosting artists on it. It’s awesome.

It’s a platform made specifically for entertainment online. You are able to see and hear your audience. You are able to adjust your audience’s volume. One of the things that we found when we were doing research for this product was that people were using Zoom a lot for their performances but they are frustrated when you want to be able to hear your audience’s reaction, especially if you are a comedian, magician, or musician but when people would clap or laugh, it would always cut into the audio of the performer. Also, the quality of the video of the performer was the same quality video as the audience member, which is not necessary. You want to have a higher quality for your performer. We were finding that a lot of people were having these issues.

We basically addressed all of those in ShoCast. Here’s your audience adjust their volume, the performer has better video quality than the audience member, and you have a backstage area where you are able to bring people on and off the stage. You are able to sell tickets to your shows, and it doesn’t cost you anything. We put an amount on top of the ticket for the ticket buyer.

Again, we did a lot of research because of LiveSounds. We were talking to a lot of performers, saying, “What do you need? You are doing a lot of virtual performances. What are your frustrations? When it comes to the platforms you are using?” We took that information, and then we created ShoCast based on that.

You are using ShoCast when you are doing the LiveSounds performances?

Yes. What we’ve done is we’ve transitioned from LiveSounds. We’ve put that on the back burner. Now, we’re focusing on ShoCast. We aren’t doing as many LiveSounds performances now, but we are getting an onboarding artist onto ShoCast to help them start using it to continue to cultivate their audience. It allows for a more intimate connection with your audience when you are able to see them, rather than doing it over a livestream. That’s become our main focus at this point.

To go back to LiveSounds, do you think people are still doing virtual or wanting that virtual event anymore now that things are a little more open?

The need has gone down a lot, and that’s why we’ve transitioned from LiveSounds into Shocast because now what we are doing with ShoCast is instead of focusing on providing virtual events for corporate or academic, we are targeting artists who want to connect on a deeper level with their worldwide fan base who cannot come see them live. It’s like, you are not able to come to my concert but I can do a concert online for you, have a conversation with you from the stage, and create that intimate connection with you. Now, we are more focused on the artist’s ability to cultivate that strong fan base rather than the corporate need we had before.

It sounds like you’ve done all your research and figured out what people need but artists know about all the other options. I’ve interviewed Side Door, and Zoom is a thing. Where do you think you guys have niched down to be something different from those other options?

First of all, Zoom is made for business. Everyone who does a business conference usually does it over Zoom. What we have found in our interviews with both audience and artists is the idea of going on to Zoom to see a show when they were on Zoom for business. It’s tough to want to get your audience.

“Let’s go see a cool concert in a conference room.”

It’s made for business. Zoom is awesome. They know what they made, and it’s for business purposes. Trying to get your audience to come to Zoom, especially now that things are open. When they have been on Zoom all day, doing remote work is tough. It’s creating a product that’s specifically made for you to do a show that looks like a venue. We have the aesthetic down. We have the whole experience down to make it an entertainment experience.

Along with the features that I mentioned of being able to turn down your audience, the better quality, the backstage options, and also the ability to sell tickets, that’s where we feel we niche down. We are not trying to take over Zoom’s business. We will leave that to them but we are trying to cater to the artists who are finding frustration over Zoom and other platforms and bring them over to ShoCast.

Especially the sound too because Zoom is frustrating when it comes to the sound sometimes. It’s got the gating and all that stuff.

Which is perfect if you are in a conference and you have background noise but it is awful when you are trying to perform. They are not catering to that, and that’s fine. They know their business and who their customers are, and we do too. That’s why we focused on the audio portion of it. We have like patent-pending technology where we are able to adjust that volume to make it so that when you are performing, you are not having your audio cut in and out. It focuses on the audio, especially.

What about the aesthetic? Are you able to change that? Say your rock band, and you want a certain aesthetic or a folk duo. Can you change what the staging looks like?

That’s something we are going to be doing very soon. We have a lot of things in our pipeline. What I will say also is that as I have been focusing on my artistic career, art has taken up the mantle, and he’s the one who’s heading all of this as I’m providing more of the background information by talking to artists and bringing them over to him. We are in a complete partnership with this. As I needed to focus on my music, he’s like, “I’m taking it from here.”

What we are doing now is we are talking together about what features are most needed. The aesthetic of it is something we have in our pipeline. What we are wanting to focus on, though, is the ability to help musicians and performers, in general, make more money. We are going to be integrating tipping into the platform very soon and then also making sure that the functionality works best before we focus too much on the customization of the aesthetic.

What about the ability for them to sell merch afterward like a regular show? Do they need to put in a link to their merch or are you going to have any more integration with that?

That’s another thing we are going to be having very quickly in our pipeline. It’s going to be an integration with Shopify because they have a lot of ability to be able to easily embed a store into a platform. It’s like our monetization stage. What we are going to do is going to be integrating the tipping with either Venmo, PayPal, or something, as well as the embedding of a store like Shopify into the platform.

Can they sell tickets in advance?

Yes.

How does it interface with the ticket buyers? Does it have email reminders or in links and things like that?

What they do is they go onto the ShoCast platform, they buy a ticket for the show, and then they will get an email confirmation of their receipt, and then an email on the day of the show saying, “Here’s the link. Go ahead and log in.” All they have to do is click that link. They had to create a quick account where they put in their name, their email, and a password then they were done.

What’s great about ShoCast is that you don’t have to download an app, unlike Zoom, where you have to download something from the computer. This is all browser-based. You log in, and then you are brought into a waiting room where you are able to see either picture or video, whatever the performer sets, where you can watch that. While you are waiting for the show to open, you will see the full lineup of the artists who are going to be performing, including their pictures and their names, as well as a chat option. You can start chatting with other people in the waiting room as well as the artist before they open up the room, and then you are able to go into the venue.

If you have multiple artists performing, can they be in different locations?

What will happen with that is that what the artist and the audience sees is different. What’s cool about this is that the artist is able to see a backstage area. On your right-hand side, you have all the artists who are in the room but hidden from the audience. On the stage in the center, the audience is able to see that. They are able to interact with the performer. The person who is running the show, which could be a stage manager who’s offscreen or one of the performers, is able to bring those artists from offstage, bring them on stage at their leisure.

It is super cool. We’ve worked with improv troops. We have an improv troop in Chicago that is used basically this backstage and onstage feature to bring people in and out like they are jumping on and off the stage and doing a lot of interactive activities like that. This is literally for improv, comedy, musicians, magicians, whoever feels like they can cultivate a strong show and a strong audience online.

How fun. I love that idea. Have you had anyone use it in a hybrid way where they are performing in front of a real audience, and then they are also doing ShoCast?

We’ve had questions about that. Now, we are focusing mostly on the online portion to get that set and get it very customized for the online experience but eventually, what we would love to do is create a ShoCast app where you are able to interact on your phone while you are watching and have an online audience watching all that. We want to make sure we start off with where we are strongest, get that dialed down, get a lot of a huge customer base with that, and then start moving into the features for hybrid shows.

I’m excited to check this out. It’s very cool because it’s so tailored to artists.

Also, for podcasts, if you ever want to use it for a podcast.

I’m thinking that I could do a virtual summit. I will check into that because I’ve got thinking about doing one pretty soon again. That sounds really cool. Let’s switch over to your artist’s career because there’s so much talk about there too. You developed a lot of skills, which I love, and we talked about this before we started.

I’m super big on multiple streams of income and stacking your income and getting this solid base of these things that you can make money in and then stacking more things on top. You’ve developed your skillsets across the board. Is that something you were developing these all together at the same time or was it like, “I focused on this skill, and then I dialed that in, and then I moved to production,” or whatever?

What has happened in my journey is that I have a lot of interests rather than being like, “I need to develop this skill to help my music career.” It was like, “I find this thing interesting. I’m going to go ahead and take the time to learn about it and get relatively good at it,” and then finding out later, “This skill can translate into helping me with the other things that I’m doing as well.”

What I try to encourage musicians, artists, and anybody to do is identify their areas of interest and recognize that, even if it seems unrelated to their career. If you can get good at that, that could probably very much help you moving forward. It can help you in a lot of different random ways that you might not even be able to see now, but cultivating your gifts in that way, organically, as they come up is super helpful.

Identify your areas of interest and recognize that even if it seems unrelated to your career, if you can get good at that, that could help you move forward in many different, random ways. Click To Tweet

That is such a good point. I spoke to a group of college students a couple of years ago, and this is something that I tried to put forward to them to think about. What are the things that you love doing when you are not being paid to do them or when you have time? For me, I was obsessed with making mix tapes. Now, this is translated into playlisting and creating podcasts and things like that.

Originally, when I started the Women of Substance platform, it was an online radio, who knew that I could build a business with my obsession with making mix tapes? It’s not mixed tapes anymore but that exact skill of me being a good playlister, knowing what songs go well together, and things like that became a business that I started everything on and have built my business all the way from there until now.

There’s no way I could have known that. I started my online radio station as a total hobby because I was obsessed with mix tapes and playlisting, and that grew into something that eventually started making money, and then I started connecting with musicians, and now I’m here. We never know where it’s going to take you.

Keeping that in mind rather than being like, “This is not making me money. I shouldn’t do it.” If you look at any artist’s career, any business person’s career, the successful ones very rarely start out with, “I’m going to find something that’s going to make me the most money now and do it,” and they get successful. That very rarely happens. What mostly happens is that someone identifies their passion and does it because they love it, as you said. They are able to find ways over time to then monetize it and find again where the need is.

Identify your passion because it is your motivation to keep doing what you love, and then you can find ways to monetize it and find where the need is over time. Click To Tweet

The more that you can find what you love that will also give you the motivation to keep doing it because if you are doing something to make money, after time, you are going to lose that motivation and burn out. You are going to want to stop doing it but if you are doing something you absolutely love, you are intrinsically motivated to keep doing it because you enjoy it. You are able to better find income sources that come from that.

Let’s say you learn something to do for yourself or your own career, and you get good at it. For example, I learned to produce from home because I wanted to put music out and that thing but then you start doing it. People see you doing it and are like, “Could you record me? Could you produce me? Could you arrange for me?”

That was never the original intent but when you do it and you do it well and you did it for yourself because you wanted to and love it, people see that. That suddenly starts attracting these potential money-making things, and then you got to decide, “Do I want to do this for other people? Do I want to make money that way? Am I passionate about that?” It could also be like, “I could use a little extra money. I will do that.”

You then have the skill set to do it because you took the time to become good at it. Something you mentioned that’s important is to become good at it. If you are going to do something and you enjoy it, take it as far as you can go because that one thing that is not going to help is if you start dabbling in something and then don’t take the time to master it. Not having to become the best at it ever but if you are able to get to a point where you feel like, “I’m good at this enough that I could sell this,” then you’ve put yourself in a good position.

If you're going to do something and you enjoy it, take it as far as you can. Click To Tweet

I certainly was no amazing producer but I got to the point where it’s like, “I would put this out on the internet and not be embarrassed by it.” That’s my first level. That’s so funny. What are all the skills that you’ve developed that have helped your artist’s career that is hanging out in the background like, “I could make income from this?”

It has been quite a few. I have been doing this for several years now. I started producing my own music, as you were saying that you’ve done as well. I’ve started using Logic. I had started putting together my own tracks, and that has been a big one for me as well. I’m learning how to do video editing with Final Cut Pro to try to make lyric videos and music videos for myself.

I’ve also learned the very basics of graphic design when it comes to creating social media content, learning about social media, and becoming better about what pops off on Instagram. What I found is that when I post live performance videos, those pop off a lot more than some of the other stuff that I post, so I post those a lot. It’s learning about what gets an audience on social media and learning more about fashion to try to find outfits for me to wear.

It has been a lot of those different things as well as Guerilla marketing techniques. When you are an independent artist, you are not coming in with label money behind you but some of the best campaigns come from having to be creative because you don’t have the money behind you. If you look at even movies like Blair Witch Project. It started with a very low budget but they were able to use it so creatively to create a buzz around it. I’ve tried to cultivate those different things, and I’m sure there are others but those are kind of the ones that come to mind of the different skillsets that I’ve learned over the years that I have been able to integrate into my artist’s career.

That’s awesome. What’s great is that you keep it in-house. You don’t have to pay other people. You can do as much of it yourself. We either have money or we have time but time is paying someone else, whereas maybe instead, if you are super busy with ShoCast, then you would have to hire some of that stuff out. It depends on where you are at. Are there certain things that you are like, “I’m never going to be good at this? This is not my zone of genius. I don’t like to do it that you do hire out?”

I’m a big proponent of recognizing your strengths and your weaknesses. If you want to put stuff out for fun and don’t have a huge, “I want to make money from this,” then you could do everything yourself, and as long as you don’t worry about the quality. I have learned how to produce, and I’m getting better at it. I don’t know anything about mixing. I don’t know how to mix my music to the level where it could be played on the radio or played on a playlist. I hire a mixer.

I also don’t know how to master my music, so I hire a master. Also, when it comes to graphic design for my album artwork, I can do graphic design for my social media post. I cannot do that for my album artwork. I’m not that creative in that way. I then hire someone else to do that as well. It’s understanding what your strengths and weaknesses are and being okay with admitting that you are not good at everything that is a big deal.

TPM 86 | Musical Skills

Musical Skills: Understanding what your strengths and weaknesses are and being okay with admitting that you’re not good at everything is a big deal.

 

We are so much on the same page. I hired on all those things because I’m not going to learn how to master them. It’s such a precision art.

It takes so many years to become good enough at it to have your stuff be at the level it needs to be to be played on the radio. I’m like, “I don’t have the time to learn all that. I can easily hire someone else to do that for me.”

TPM 86 | Musical Skills

Musical Skills: It takes so many years to become good enough at being a master. To have your stuff be at the level where it needs to be.

 

I always like to ask this when it comes to artists since you have so many talents, skills, and ways that you could learn income, what does your income look like? As far as a pie? How much of it is coming in from live performances, merch, and things like that?

I have a couple of different income streams. I also tend to think that a lot of artists are very similar like, “We have money coming in from a lot of different places to allow for the flexibility to do our art.” I’m not making a ton of money off of my art. I’ve gotten started on this new brand. A big portion of my funds comes from live performing with dueling pianos. I am gigging every single weekend, sometimes during the week as well. That’s the thing.

I also have a day job. I work at a dueling pianos company. They do entertainment, and I’m their Director of Virtual Events. It’s because I had experience creating my own company that I was able to be hired as a Director for them. I do their virtual events and work in quality control for them, helping them identify areas in their business that are maybe falling short and then helping fix those areas. Again, they are random skills that I’ve developed by owning my own company. That would take about another 50% of my income, so combining those two gives me not only enough money to live but also to save and then invest in my career. It’s a lot to juggle but the best-case scenario for me.

You are still keeping up all your performing chops because you are performing all the time. You are in the world. I did a livestream and made a show out of this. The idea of, “Should you have a plan B or is it good to have a second side hustle.” What I was saying about it is that you don’t want to be in a position with your art where you are so stressed out about money like, “Where is rent going to come from?”

It messes with your head, and it makes it hard for you to go out and get the gigs or get the sales that you need because you’ve got that desperation hanging out this dark cloud over you. People can feel it. When you are hiring someone for a job, you can tell when someone needs the job, whereas someone else has a job and wants a different job. It’s a totally different energy.

Also, with that, I would not even see having a second job or a job to support you as a plan B. For me, my artistry is like, “This is what I’m going to do for the rest of my life. I’m going to figure out a way. Someday, I’m going to be really successful, and that will be the only thing that I have to do,” but to have that plan A, which is my only plan, I have nothing else that I’m going to do other than that.

I have to have money to support myself. That is a part of what makes it sustainable for you to do your art as long as you need to to become successful. It’s very rare that you have people who come in, have that viral hit within the first year of them making music, and then they are off to the races. This is a lot of times, an endurance game. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. You have to be able to live and support yourself long enough to develop the skillset you need to then become a successful artist.

What I think is great about what you are doing is that you are still like in the same world.

Yes, thankfully.

My other job is waiting tables, walking dogs or whatever. You have to switch these worlds. All the skills that you are getting in your day job and from art were translated between the two things. You are constantly building that skillset as you are working within it. The reason I said plan B is because, for me, business was plan B. I had no idea how I was going to become a musician because my college didn’t teach me how. It turned out that my plan B and my plan A merged to do what I was doing but I didn’t know that at that time. It can be very different. It can be like, “This is a side hustle. I’m always doing music. I’m doing this plan B but then maybe this can be part of plan A.”

Having that flexibility within yourself to be not so rigid that you are like, “I have to only do this even when other things come along,” to where you are like, “I like this.” It’s allowing that flexibility to then bring that in and having your plan adapt and grow as you adapt and grow. Our dreams change as we get older and as we have more life experience, and that’s totally okay. That’s a good thing.

If I still have the same dream that I had when I was twelve years old but it’s changed a little bit because now I also want to own businesses. My goal is when I become a very successful artist, I want to start other businesses, do investments, and have an investment portfolio. Your dream has to grow and change with you, and it’s a good thing to have that happen.

My idea of what I was going to do in music in my 20s was so different than it was in my 30s and 40s of what was going to happen. That doesn’t mean you are not going to do music. As a female artist in the industry, what do you find are the biggest challenges specifically for females?

It’s interesting. It’s being taken seriously, especially as a female performer, when you are in the live music industry, it’s very male-dominated and easy for men to be like, “She’s just a chick singer,” and also in production. I produced a song, and it’s one of my first songs that I had produced. My mixer sent this to somebody, and the guy was like, “It sounds like a demo. She should probably get a producer to help her.” I was like, “I don’t like that,” but it motivated me to get better. It was very frustrating. It hurt but I was like, “Cool. I needed to hear that because I’m going to prove you wrong. I don’t need to rely on somebody else. I can collaborate and work with other people but I don’t need to rely on somebody else to make my music for me.”

You see that a lot in the industry. You see a lot of men who will discount women and maybe think that they are not again to be taken seriously or as capable. The way to overcome that is coming in with so much confidence and knowing exactly who you are with the skillset that you bring in, and being able to firmly communicate that in a respectful way. I’ve found that doing that has helped, and I have been able not to have as many problems as some of my female friends. I come in with very aggressive energy like, “You will take me seriously.”

You’ve got that down. It is necessary a lot of times. When we talk about things specific to women in the industry, a lot of people are like, “They resonate with that.” I said something on Instagram and got this major pushback from somebody who is like, “I’ve never experienced any different treatment in the industry. Why should we even talk about being treated differently?”

“How long have you been in the industry?”

There’s that idea of if we bring this to light that we are being treated differently, then somehow that’s going to make it true or that’s making us less than. She wanted to ignore that there was any difference whatsoever.

That’s coming from a place of ignorance, in my opinion. Also, honestly, how long have you been in the industry? One time, I was at a jam that I go to, that’s wonderful but the sound guy was paying very close attention to the male singer who was asking for levels to change, and then when a female singer came up, she had to scream to get his attention for him to change the levels, and he didn’t change them correctly. Little things like that, and if you are not seeing that happening, then you probably aren’t in the industry, honestly.

I have been in that one before with my all-female band, not just 1 female but 3 females. They triple ignore you.

They are like, “No.”

It’s frustrating, but I feel it’s gotten better. A lot more people are realizing that these issues happen and doing something about them and speaking out and all that stuff. Since I started talking about this stuff back in 2015, when I started my Female Entrepreneur Musician Podcast, I do think that things have gotten better but they are still there.

The thing that’s going to help continue to get this to be better is for women to see other women speaking out about it and also doing something about it. When you see a woman who stands up for herself in situations like this, it empowers you to stand up for yourself as well. “She did it. I can do it.” It’s that representation of women in the industry, as producers or as session musicians in very male-dominated spaces, doing the gig just as good, most of the time better than their male counterparts, is huge. It will help the next generation come up, and they will see less and less of this issue because of that.

When you see a woman who stands up for herself in situations, it empowers you to stand up for yourself. Click To Tweet
TPM 86 | Musical Skills

Musical Skills: Representation of women in the industry, as producers, and as session musicians in a male-dominated space are huge and will help the next generation come up.

 

I was talking to a female songwriter who has had tons of hits, and she was like, “I was the only female songwriter at Warner Chappell.” This was back in the late ’70s and early ’80s. It’s surprising but I don’t think it’s the case now. I still mean it’s male-dominated but it’s not nearly as much the case. I also think there are a lot of female songwriters who have come out as singer-songwriter artists to show people, “Females are awesome songwriters.”

Bebe Rexha, Charli XCX, Julia Michaels, and many incredible female songwriters. It’s a perfect example of that because you see a lot of females moving into the songwriting portion. We got to get more female producers. That is the next area that we need to see a lot more women coming into because that is very male-dominated but it’s cool because we are again seeing that wave, it’s happening.

TPM 86 | Musical Skills

Musical Skills: A lot of females are moving into the songwriting portion. We must get more female producers. But we must continue encouraging women, especially young girls, to know they can do it.

 

We have to continue to encourage women, especially young girls, to know that they can do it. I never saw an example of another female producer when I was young. I was so scared to start working with Logic and working in production because I never saw someone like me doing it, but now, we are seeing more examples of that, and it’s super important.

There are. It’s so great. My friend, Kris Bradley, Produced Like a Boss and the girls at SoundGirls.org. There are a lot of people trying to make waves in that space. Is there anything else you want to bring up or talk about while we are here? We talked about so much stuff, and it has all been educational to artists. Is there anything else you want to mention?

Check out my song Becoming Human. That’s probably the last thing I would mention. It is the first one that I’ve released under this new brand. My genre is electronic pop. It’s a mix of Florence + The Machine and Grimes. I call it Synth with Soul. If you like that music, check out Becoming Human on Spotify or wherever you stream music, and then keep an eye out for other songs that I have coming out but other than that, I have been so grateful to be able to talk about such important topics like this. Hopefully, people have gained something from this conversation.

How did they connect with you on social?

They can follow me at @BREMusicPage on pretty much every social, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. I never tweet, and I need to start doing that. I’ve heard it’s important. I am on TikTok as well.

You guys follow her, and what about your platform for musicians to perform?

To learn more about ShoCast, go to ShoCast.live. There’s a button on there where you can go ahead and get in contact with us. We can get you set up with an account. Again, it’s free to use, and it is such an awesome way to connect with your audience.

Thank you so much, BRE. This has been a lot of great energy, confidence, and, “You guys can do this,” I love it so much.

You can do it. Thank you.

 

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About BRE

TPM 86 | Musical SkillsBRE is an electronic artist, producer, and entrepreneur based out of Los Angeles, CA. Her music, described as ‘Synth with Soul’, is a combination of powerful vocals, melodic piano lines, and synth heavy production, resulting in a style that’s all her own. Along with her music pursuits, BRE is an entrepreneur, having started two companies during the pandemic that are still active today.