In Conversation with Laura Cavacece

The Claim2Fame Podcast is a resource for artists

Every episode features successful artists and industry experts sharing compelling stories and valuable knowledge about the music industry hosted by CMA, ACM & CCMA Award-Winning Broadcaster Cliff Dumas.

Cliff talks to singer-songwriter and vocal coach Laura Cavacece

 

Laura Cavacece

Singer, Songwriter, Performer, NFL and NHL Anthem Performer, Producer, Actress, Rated one of Canada’s Top Vocal Coaches and Performance Mentors, Founder of Canada’s Largest Vocal Competition- Hidden Talent Canada.

Laura was born on June 2nd 1989 in Toronto, ONT. She has achieved more success than any other up and coming unsigned recording artist from Ontario, Canada. Her vocal talent was discovered at the early age of three. At the age of five, Laura was put into piano lessons but quickly chased after her bigger dream which was to sing. At age twelve, she won a factor grant of $2,000 to record her first 2 song demo CD. She co-wrote two original songs and recorded them right away to complete her 2 song demo package. At this point, Laura was invited by Jeff Healey himself to perform live with him on his stage at his very own HEALEY’S Bar, Toronto.

It was not long after that EMI RECORDS and UNIVERSAL MUSIC CANADA had Artist Development deals to offer Laura and her Music career. At the time, Laura’s parents acted as her management and agreed that it was too early to set her off into the “industry world and lifestyle” at such a young age. All offers were declined.

In the summer of 2006, Laura won a radio competition, 107.5 Kool FM Idol with a grand prize package of a 2 song recording deal. The prize consisted of $1,500 worth of studio time, professional photo shoot and 8 weeks of airplay on Barrie, Ont sponsored station, 107.5 Kool FM. For Barrie, ONT 2007 New Years Eve countdown, Laura had the privilege of rocking the stage, performing two songs in front of 10,000 people at Barrie’s City Hall. Televised on 2 channels, internationally. In 2007, Laura graduated from the Independent Music Production program at Seneca College@York University in Toronto. In the summer of 2009, Laura landed and the role and starred as Sharpay Evans in Bird Entertainments, High School Musical 2 on Stage! She performed for 8 weeks at Lester B. Pearson Theater in Brampton, Ont.

LAURA’S MUSIC CAREER TOOK A HUGE LEAP in 2009! She won an NFL Anthem contest on Toronto’s Breakfast Television winning the Grand Prize of singing the National Anthem at the Rogers Center in front of a sold-out NFL game when the Buffalo Bills took on the New York Jets.

It was not long after that the NFL and Buffalo Bills Entertainment management reached out to Laura again to invite her back on the field and request her to sing the Anthem once again for the Buffalo Bills, only this time IN Buffalo, New York. This took place in Sept 2012, then again in Oct 2013/2014. She is now on the Roster for an annual Anthem performance for NFL teams as well as the Toronto Maple Leafs and Toronto Marlie’s Hockey Team.

Laura has worked with an endless amount of successful International and Canadian recording artists such as Barenaked Ladies, Karl Wolf, Jeff Healey, Bryan Adams, Craig Smart and more.

Being a vocal coach for many years and an inspiration to many young and old aspiring artists out there; In early 2011, Laura sought to create a platform for all other aspiring talent called Hidden Talent Canada.

A singing competition like no other, based solely on the artist’s vocal ability and open to all ages. Laura takes the role as Founder/Executive Producer/ Main judge in Hidden Talent Canada as it’s currently in its 8th season. The organization is growing tremendously popular as each day passes being labeled now as “Canada’s Premier Vocal Competition.”

Learn To Brand Like Taylor Swift

By Cliff Dumas
CMA, ACM & CCMA Winning Broadcaster

How do you become a brand?

The Rock Star, Memorable Actress, Great Dad, The Nutrition Guru, The Honest and Wise Friend- memorable and easily identifiable personalities like these have achieved a key piece of success; they’ve transformed their personalities into a brand. As an artist, you need to know what your unique brand is and be able to express it confidently, authentically and consistently to connect through your music, engage meaningfully with fans and have a successful, long-lasting career. Your music is only the first step. Your audience wants to get to know you. What you reveal and how you represent yourself across all of your social platforms and media opportunities will help you craft your story and create your brand.

Identify your key character building blocks and strategically use them them throughout your performance, social media and other media opportunities (interviews).

How do you identify your “character building blocks”?

Start by create a list of things you are passionate about, your quirks, your important life stories then you can integrate them into your show and interviews. Love to cook? Let your fans know. Like sports? Share it with your audience. Have a great story about your first date or most memorable Christmas? Share it. Being vulnerable and revealing personal things about yourself will help you connect with your audience. The more your audience gets to know you the more they will like you, the more they like you the more they’ll become loyal to your brand. That translates into more downloads and concert ticket purchases. No one does this better than Taylor Swift. Taylor consistently communicates and connects with her fans on social media. This creates a more engaged fan based which leads to more revenue.

Taylor Swift’s social media savvy paved the way for album “1989” to sell more copies in its opening week than any album in the previous 12 years making Taylor the first and only performer to have three albums sell more than 1 million copies in a week.

How did social media help Taylor Swift break album sales records?

Taylor SwiftBetween Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram, Taylor Swift has more than 140 million followers or subscribers.

What’s the secret to “Branding” yourself?

Two things, a delicate balance of you and them. Too many brands and celebrities do nothing but talk about themselves on social (Kardashians), but Taylor Swift understands that her millennial audience grew up in the “sharing” culture.  Her Twitter feed is full of retweets of undiscovered artists covering her songs, of wedding videos using her songs and lots of fan collages sharing their love of her music and personal connection to who she is and what she stands for. On Instagram, she comments constantly on her fans’ posts, and during Christmas a few years ago  she chose a number of lucky fans and randomly sent gifts, which, of course, was documented on video and shared to the delight of fans which in turn create millions of extra views. The result is Taylor Swift’s effort and commitment to engaging her fans continues to deepening her connection to them further expanding her impressive fan base and strengthening her brand.

More recently Taylor showed up at the wedding of Max Singer (a longtime fan) and Kenya Smith. Taylor received a letter from Max’s sister Ali telling her how Max and Kenya got married in a hospital prior to their June 4 celebration — so their mother would’nt miss her son’s wedding before she passed away. Taylor Swift’s “Blank Space” was mom and son’s first dance song.

 

Congratulations Max and Kenya!!

A photo posted by Taylor Swift (@taylorswift) on

Winning branding begins with a clear message of who you are and what you stand for. The more concise your message, the more memorable it will be. Renowned companies utilize this formula. For example: Campbell’s Soup. Campbell’s is the brand and “Soup” is the category. Once a brand becomes a household name, the category designation can be dropped. There is no doubt about these brands: Taylor Swift, Disney, Google, Starbucks and Ryan Seacrest.

Just like everyday brands we’ve come to know and trust like Nike and Apple, your “personality brand” can represent you and earn audience loyalty. The more famous someone or something is, the fewer words are needed to identify them. Consider one-name celebrities like Oprah, Beyonce, Shaq, Sting and Madonna. They require no further introduction.

Brands deliver consistent experiences. This consistency earns the audience’s trust.

In order to set yourself apart from the rest, you must personalize your audience’s experience. Apple builds excitement every year in anticipation of its technological advances and every year its competitors rush to duplicate them. What’s distinctive about Apple? A consistent, quality user experience earns Apple supreme consumer loyalty.

Creating a great brand takes dedication:

The formula for success is quite simple: double your rate of failure.
–Thomas J. Watson, Sr. (founder of IBM)

Building brand recognition, trust and loyalty requires effort and once you’ve achieved it, the trick is to create momentum and consistency.
The average person will tell three people about a positive experience with a brand, but will share a negative experience with thirty three people!
Personality brands are powerful because your audience identifies with you on a personal level. Your fans have an emotional connection with you AND your music. Once you’ve earn that gift, you have to maintain integrity with the values that earned you their trust in the first place.

The three rules to becoming a personality brand:

ImportanceOfBranding_Banner from Music Clout1. Make sure your message is focused and easy to remember. Work on being engaging, don’t ramble. Craft interesting and relatable stories to describe your music, your life, your experiences, please don’t say, “Here’s a song I think you’ll like, it goes something like this”. Put some thought into what your are going to say regardless of whether it’s a 140 character tweet or song introduction during your performance.
2. Put in the time and commitment. Rehearse in front of friends, the mirror or record yourself on our iPhone/smart phone or iPad/tablet and critique yourself. How important is it to have compelling stories to tell about yourself and your music? It can be the difference between being memorable and forgettable. I recently worked with an artist for weeks to craft the moments between the songs to create a better overall performance experience for his fans and give him more confidence on stage. That artist was just signed by Sony Music!
3. Be authentic, honest and real and deliver a consistent quality experience to your fans.

*Photos from Elle.com & Musicclout.com

Why Do You Want A Career in Music? Great Post By Aaron Pritchett

By Cliff Dumas
CMA, ACM & CCMA Winning Broadcaster

If your reason for wanting a career in music is fame and fortune, you should rethink your strategy.

Instead ask, “Do I love making music, and is it my passion?” If your sole purpose for following a career in music is money, you are setting yourself up for disappointment. The first rule of successful entrepreneurship is to do what you love and success will follow. I know it’s easy to say but more challenging to implement especially when you have bills to pay. Here is a powerful and insightful Facebook post by Canadian Country artist Aaron Pritchett about why he makes music.

Tamar_Make_Up-Aaron_Pritchett-01FAaron Pritchett

I want to make a public statement that is truly coming from the heart.
I don’t make music to be rich. I don’t make music to be famous, popular or put on a pedestal.
I make music for two reasons:
1.) Because I LOVE making music!
and
2.) In hopes that fans, friends and family love what I (and my team) have created.
Even back when albums, records or whatever you want to call them, sold millions and made artists, record labels, agents, managers and everyone else in the music industry many MORE millions of dollars, I truly believe that the massive majority of those artists did it because of the same two reasons above. If not the second reason then for SURE the first.

I don’t sit and write songs, spent (and still spend) sometimes endless hours in studio recording, take 2 hours out of my life for a gig and play on a stage exerting all that energy, stress about the success (or lack of success sometimes) about a single or album, deal with all facets of the industry that may frustrate me and emotionally beat the shit out of me BECAUSE I HAVE TO! I do all of that because I LOVE to make music and I LOVE LOVE LOVE to entertain. It’s in my blood, folks. It really, honestly is. I can remember to when I was a very young boy, possibly around 3 or 4 and all I wanted to do was to make people laugh… make them feel good and happy. It’s my duty in life to do that. Music was my avenue to have people feel that way and it makes me feel good that I can help humans feel that. Fans, industry colleagues, family, anyone anywhere. It’s because I LOVE making music and making people happy.

It’s true, the industry is not what it once was when those aforementioned artists, record labels, agents, managers, industry types would all make a great amount of money off the success of a single and record. Nowadays, we get by with about 60% to 70% less income from the sale of music but in no way can I complain about that, though. It doesn’t matter. I’m truly happy and sincerely honoured to be able to say that people do download my music, some still buy CD’s (thankfully!) at places like HMV, etc. and have it make them happy. I’m truly happy for that.
That being said…. if you’d like to download my new song “Dirt Road In ‘Em” because you like it and it makes you feel good n’ happy then I would be much, much appreciative. Here’s the link.

Please help support other artists in Canada too! Such as…George Canyon, Brett Kissel, Madeline Merlo, Emerson Drive, Tim Hicks, Dean Brody, Paul Brandt, JoJo Mason, Cory Marquardt, Dallas Smith, Chad Brownlee, Jess Moskaluke, Jordan Macintosh, Carolyn Dawn Johnson, Cold Creek County, Bobby Wills and so many more!!!

A great supporter of Canadian Country artists that has great current charts and lots of info on all the artists is topcountry.ca. Check them out!!
Thank you for reading and THANK YOU for the support over the years!
Aaron

The take away?

Approach your music career with the right attitude, commitment and discipline needed to continually polish your skills and attain the success you are hoping for. The music industry isn’t easy; there is no magic template for success. The only constant is the time and energy you put into advancing your career through learned and practised skills. Explore resources, reach out to people you admire, make connections and most important make the music you love!

Enjoy ‘Light It Up” from Aaron:

Why You Should Release a Lyric Video for Your Next Single

By Cliff Dumas
CMA, ACM & CCMA Winning Broadcaster

Today’s technology allows artist to produce music videos at a fraction of the cost of even a few years ago. Everything from simple solo acoustic performances to full productions can now be done using an iPhone and simple software. A recent episode of the hit TV show Modern Family was shot completely on an iPhone 6! You can produce and release your own music, build a following and learn to monetize that audience.

Consider producing a lyric video, here’s why, according to Mike Baldo senior account manager of video services at The Orchard.

-Cliff

A version of this article originally appeared on The Daily Rind.

film reel purchased from shutterstockAs YouTube carves out a larger space in the music community, the way music videos are being made and consumed is changing. With millions of artists and creators collaborating constantly, stunning music videos have been made that sometimes challenge typical production conventions. Along with YouTube’s Music Key, there are now multiple forms a music video can take. This combined with a lower barrier to entry has given rise to excellent alternatives you can consider when deciding how to publish your music on an evolving video streaming platform.

Building off of YouTube Art Tracks

With the launch of YouTube Music Key, you’ve probably started to see an influx of Art Tracks in the system (here’s one if you haven’t seen them yet). These simple videos are a great way to get your full catalogue out to viewers and improve your chances for discovery. They expand your presence and give viewers more of your content to listen to. But you can do better.

Though a great addition to YouTube’s massive collection, Art Track videos provide a more passive viewing experience. Because the only visual is a static image, typical viewers press play, then move onto something else as they listen to the video in the background. This is still good because you’ve got them listening, but it cuts down on engagement and your potential to draw the viewer closer.
A creative, yet simple lyric video could give you that extra hook to keep the viewer around your video longer. These typically incorporate animated text synched with audio to guide the viewer through each song. There are some amazing, intricate lyric videos out there, but that doesn’t mean you have to necessarily go that far with yours. A clean and punchy lyric video with nothing but colorful moving text could be all you need to get your fans following along. This sets your video aside from other Art Tracks and gives you more of a unique viewing experience for your fans.

Alternatives to the MTV-style music video

Photo from Newnoisemagazine.com

For better or worse, the days of tuning into awesome, cinematic music videos on MTV have been swallowed whole by reality TV marathons (RIP). These music videos still exist in part on YouTube and VEVO, but they’re being consumed and advertised against differently than in the old days, making the ROI of a huge video production more questionable. This is both good and bad news depending on how you look at it.

Producing and shooting a classic MTV-style music video costs tens of thousands of dollars. When MTV was the only way to watch music videos, this was a painful but necessary struggle. Though these types of videos are still being made, they’re no longer the unshakable standard. Since YouTube broke down the barriers of entry for publishing videos to the world, indie artists and major labels alike have found better ways to create videos for their music.

By embracing a more open community of viewers and creators, many artists have turned to lyric videos as a fast and cost-effective alternative to full video production. Because lyric videos don’t necessarily require a live shoot, location, scheduling, and casting can be removed from the process. With less of a logistical headache, these videos are often faster to create and publish, which is huge if tight deadlines are imminent.

Though a great animator could still run up your production costs, you at least have options and some room to work with. By keeping your ideas simple, a good animator can get you an excellent lyric video relatively quickly and for much cheaper than a traditional music video shoot. Make no mistake though, lyric videos aren’t just a cheap hack for indie artists on a budget. Huge pop acts like One Direction and Ariana Grande have used lyric videos to premiere Top 40 singles, generating millions of views.

If you have the budget to hire a crew and shoot an amazing music video, by all means do it. These are clearly the heavy-hitters of the music video world, but not always in the best way. Conversely, not having that budget doesn’t mean you’re limited to just Art Tracks. If you can create something in the middle with a clever, catchy lyric video, you’ve set yourself apart.

Mike Baldo is the Senior Account Manager of Video Services at The Orchard a pioneering music, video and film distribution company and top-ranked Multi Channel Network operating in more than 25 global markets.