In career, music
12Feb 10

     When my 1920’s – 1950’s Big Band/Swing/Lounge CD ” I’m Beginning To See The Light ” came out in 2005, I knew it was going to be difficult to get much promotion, since nobody knew who I was.  I didn’t have any famous person endorsing me, or any financial backing of any kind – I paid for everything myself, and people basically heard about me by word of mouth.  Friends, family and co-workers were wonderful – they came to my CD Release Party, bought CD’s either there, online at CD Baby, or from me directly, and they told their friends and families about me.

     My dream was just that people would like my CD, and that perhaps, with some luck, I would ” break even ” financially.  Well, I did get a lot of positive feedback  regarding the CD, and that made me very happy.  It is always great to hear that people like something you have done – it makes you feel that maybe you were right to believe in yourself for once,  to take a chance , and do something that is important to you, something you truly are passionate about.  Sadly, when virtually no one knows who you are, for the most part, nobody really cares to give you a chance, in ” the Industry. ”  I never even came anywhere close to ” breaking even ” in terms of the money I had to spend to make the CD.

     I remember my Dad being quite upset that the local Vancouver Radio Stations weren’t putting my songs into rotation.  He asked me about the whole ” Canadian Content ” thing on the radio stations, and he felt it was ridiculous that I couldn’t get anyone in my own city to care enough to play my CD.  It seemed as though if you weren’t either rich or famous, you would never be given a chance.  ( When you think about that, how can an “unknown” artist ever become known, if no one is willing to give them some exposure ? )

     On June 24th, 2005, I received an e-mail from a Radio Show Host in Buenos Aires, Argentina.  His name was José Luis Ajzenmesser, and he told me he had a radio show entitled ” La Guagua “, and at that time, it had been on the air for about 14 years, primarily playing Jazz.  He said he had come across some of my song clips online, and he really liked what he had heard.  He then asked if I would mind sending him a CD, so that he might play some of my songs on his show in future.  I had no idea who this man was, and I will admit, at first, I wasn’t sure about it all.  I am not in the habit of mailing things to complete strangers, and I didn’t know anything about him.

     After exchanging several more e-mails, and finding out that he truly did host a radio show, and genuinely liked my music, I decided to mail him a CD.  I thought perhaps he would listen to it, and maybe play one of my songs on his show some time, at best.  Well, after he received my CD and listened to the entire thing, he e-mailed me back, and told me how much he loved it.  Obviously, that made me feel good, since he hosted a Jazz  Show on the radio.  I thought it was very kind of him, and I didn’t think much more would come of it.

     I got yet another e-mail, telling me that he was going to dedicate half an hour of one of his shows to my CD, on Sept. 1st, 2005.  I could not believe it.  A complete stranger had heard bits of my songs online, and liked them so much that they were willing to play my songs for half an hour straight.  This was not in my city, or even my Country, but in Argentina.  I was completely blown away.  José was true to his word – he talked about me on his show, played 6 of my songs, and an online friend from Buenos Aires translated for a few of us while the show was on, so we’d know what he was saying about me.  That was one of the most amazing, kind things anyone has ever done for me.  He even played ” You Belong To Me ” ( my personal favourite ) twice, because he said he always loved that song since he was younger, and he enjoyed my version so much.

     I will never forget that wonderful man for dedicating that half hour of his show to me, and my CD.  It’s nice to know that somewhere in the world, a complete stranger was willing to take a chance on an ” unknown artist “, and play my music for his listeners. 

     I have to wonder if things will ever change here, though… why won’t radio stations support more local artists, and give them a chance to be heard ? It just seems wrong to get more support from a stranger than in your own city …. any thoughts ?

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