THE ARTIST: Jazz Garcelle
THE QUESTION: I’m currently working on my first EP. I don’t have any original material that I perform; so right now I only do covers. How do I build a bigger fan base even though I don’t yet have my own music for people to identify me with?
THE ANSWER: Great question Jazz. For this post I’d like to give the word “fan” a definition.
Fan: an individual who finds interest in what you do
A fan is a fan. If he or she likes what you do, they count as a fan. In other words, cover bands have fans too. Just because you’re not playing original music doesn’t mean people won’t like and follow what you do. You’re likely to make different types of fans than you would if you were playing original music, but you will still make fans.
With that said, you should be treating your “cover music” shows as a preview of your future “original music” shows.
1. Make Sure Your Covers Are Original
It sounds like a paradox, but it actually makes sense. If you’re covering Jason Mraz, don’t sound like Jason Mraz. Sound like you. Develop your own signature sound and make sure that translates into all of your covers. Hundreds of musicians post videos on YouTube everyday – videos where they cover some of the most popular music in pop culture. Only, they add a bit of originality and get thousands of hits. Just search Gotye’s “Sombody That I Use to Know” and you’ll see exactly what we mean.
2. Give A Sneak Peak
Start working 1 or 2 original songs into your sets. It’s a great way of sharing what’s to come. It makes you get out of your comfort zone and also helps bridge the gap between listeners who prefer originals to covers.
3. Pass Out That Promotional Material
You know the drill. We talk about it all the time in this blog. Pass out business cards. Put them on each table in the bar or club. Pass around that newsletter. If you want to make fans, put the effort into proactively making fans. Trust us, those emails will come in handy. Don’t know what we’re talking about? Read: ”DAVID WAX MUSEUM & THE MAILING LIST“. And remember: just because you do covers, doesn’t mean you don’t need a website.
4. Read Dan Fisk’s Article
“THE PROS & CONS OF PLAYING COVER GIGS“. We think it will help!