Alyssa Trahan Responds to Unstarving Musician Survey

Alyssa Trahan recently participated in a survey for the forthcoming second edition of The Unstarving Musician’s Guide to Getting Paid Gigs. I decided to conduct the surveys by phone and to make an episode of this particular conversation, because Alyssa’s responses are so insightful and inspiring. As a side note, Alyssa is is now an official two-timer, this being her second conversation with me for the podcast. The format is a little different, because I was conducting the interview based on survey questions. Consequently, I sound like I’m reading questions from a script, all while diligently taking notes. Kind of silly if you think about it, since we were recording. At the time, however, I didn’t know I’d end up using the conversation for a podcast episode. It turns out I’m using a few of the conversations I had for the survey as episode material. This was a particularly good conversation though. Alyssa is firing on all cylinders, in my humble opinion. There are of course things she could be doing better, which she admits; but she’s still killing it. Alyssa discusses some of the pandemic driven struggles she’s experienced over the past year. She shares several openly vulnerable moments, and this is one of the many things I love about her.

There was a ton of valuable stuff in this conversation. Possibly my favorite was what Alyssa had to say about new music release strategy as it relates to video and the importance of content in general.

Please enjoy this conversation with Alyssa Trahan.

Mentioned in this Episode

Bandzoogle Store, Celebrating 17 Years By Giving

Unison’s Emergency Mental Health for the Music Community Campaign

Unison Benevolent Fund

The Unstarving Musician’s Guide to Getting Paid Gigs: How to Get Booked and Paid What You’re Worth, Over and Over Again!

Robonzo 0:02
This is the Unstarving Musician podcast. I’m your host Robonzo. The podcast features conversations with me, indie music artists and industry professionals. And it’s all intended to help other indie music artists be better at marketing business, the creative process and all the other things that empower us to do more of what we love. Make music.

Robonzo 0:25
Thank you for joining me for yet another episode, we’re getting pretty close to 200 here. I can’t believe it. I’m honored though to have you, even if it’s the first time you’ve ever been here. And if it is, you’re in for a treat, because my guest today is Alyssa Trahan.

Robonzo 0:39
Before we get to that, if you love this podcast, or if you think you’re gonna love this episode, or you end up loving it, please subscribe or follow. They’re changing the lingo. It’s gonna be follow pretty soon, but please subscribe or follow the podcast. Tell your friends. It really does help other indie musicians and indie music fans find the podcast, which is a great way to support. And speaking of supporting the podcast, if you’re an indie musician, consider signing up for the Unstarving Musician community, which you can do at Unstarving musician.com. By the time you hear this, you will be getting a new little goodie for joining. But the thing that you always get is insights, tips, tricks I guess. Good stuff that will make your music journey a little easier. And it’s not just from me, but it’s, you know, my experience, plus the experience and insights of the hundreds of other musicians that I’ve spoken to as part of this podcast and the Unstarving Musician project musicians like Alyssa Trahan. So yeah, you get an occasional email for me. Plus, you’ll find out about the latest episodes. And there’s that new goodie I was talking about. It is in the form of a sample of survey questions I sent out to musicians, including Alyssa Trahan, and I provide the answers that Alyssa and some of her peers gave to some questions that I was really interested in knowing the answers to, and I think you’ll be interested too. I learned a lot from these. And I know you’re gonna like it. So yeah, Unstarving musician.com, sign up for the community. It’s free, you can unsubscribe at any time, and it’s a great way to support the podcast.

Robonzo 2:22
So Alyssa is now an official two timer. She’s my guest for this episode, as I said, and this is her second conversation for the podcast, making her two timer, and I couldn’t be happier to share it with you. The format is a little bit different in that our chat was part of that survey I mentioned to you. I was doing it for the second edition of the Unstarving Musician’s Guide to Getting Paid Gigs books that I wrote a while back. Working on a greatly expanded version, a new and improved one. So if if I sound like I’m reading questions I am. Funny thing is I always do, but because I was diligently taking notes, I was typing, which is also kind of silly, if you think about it, since we were recording. But I wasn’t sure I was going to use this as a podcast episode. But turns out, I’m using a few of the conversations I had for the survey as episode material. And this one came out great. Other than the fact that I sound like I’m reading, but this is a good one. Alyssa is firing on all cylinders, in my humble opinion. There are of course things she could be doing better which she confesses, but still, she’s killing it. Alyssa shares, among other things, the struggles she’s had, much of which have been pandemic related. But she shares a lot of openly vulnerable moments. One of the things I love about her. As we all know many musicians are struggling right now. So yeah, we can, we can feel for her. We can relate. There was a ton of good stuff in the conversation though. Possibly my favorite was what Alyssa had to share on the music release strategy as it relates to video and the importance of content in general. But man Alyssa shared a lot of important and useful insights. All right, then. That’s it. Please enjoy this conversation with me and Alyssa Trahan.

Robonzo 4:13
What do you think the number one reason is that other musicians don’t get good gigs?

Alyssa Trahan 4:19
Oh, boy. I think the number one reason would be not appearing professional. I mean, I know when I was first starting out, I didn’t have like the website and the social media presence and like a resume if you will. But once I got all those things put in place, it was much, much easier to book gigs and especially now a venue wants to go to your website, your Facebook, your Instagram, your YouTube. If you have music out they want to see what your numbers are like. That’s the first thing they want to do. So I make sure that I have you know a great looking website. Everything is like a package deal. Almost like everything makes sense together. And I’ve been told by multiple venues that that is a very great thing to have. And I know a lot of people that say, Oh, well, I don’t really want a website, I don’t really want to do the social media thing. But then that prevents them from getting gigs.

Robonzo 5:15
And when you say resume you talking about like an EPK? Or just a whole package, like you say, makes up your resume for the venue’s.

Alyssa Trahan 5:21
I mean, like past gigs, like, I’ve booked a lot of venues that I’ll go in and say, hey, I’ve played at these so and so venues around these areas, they’re very similar to your venue, I think we’d be a good fit. Or also like, hey, I’ve opened for so and so and so and so, my bands, and I would love to play for you. So just to have like a track record of gigs [Sure.] know that you’re not just, I don’t want to say a newbie, but they know that you’re serious that you’re, you’re taking this seriously. And that you’re you’re going to be professional when you show up, you know, what you’re doing?

Robonzo 5:54
Was starting out locally a good or part of your approach for building a fan based community.

Alyssa Trahan 6:02
Totally, yeah, I absolutely. Starting out locally was huge for me. And actually, basically how I got into playing my own gigs was I was invited by a local musician, where I’m from, he was a pretty prominent local musician. And we had some friends in common. And he invited me to play at his show as as kind of like a guest, I guess. And that really just got the ball rolling. For me, that really allowed me to kind of make a name for myself locally. And then once I, you know, got my feet wet locally, I could then look at moving to Nashville, which is what I did. And it was just great to start out in the hometown have that support and just grow from there.

Robonzo 6:43
Was hometown, I forget New York, or somewhere in that

Alyssa Trahan 6:45
Rochester New York. Yeah, so upstate pretty far from the city. So it’s like, if you’re looking at New York, like a shoe, it’s the top of the foot.

Robonzo 6:53
Okay. Yeah it’s been a while since we spoke, um the story’s coming back to me about moving to Nashville. [Yeah.] So when I mentioned collaboration apps, there’s a new, I don’t know if you saw this article I wrote for Forbes, but there’s kind of a newer breed of them, that allow musicians to collaborate with each other and also collaborate with their fans or allow their fans to collaborate with them. Have you ever used anything like that? Or have any familiarity with them?

Alyssa Trahan 7:25
Um, really, the only like collaboration I’ve done electronically would be co writing over zoom or Skype. And I’ve also done some writing sessions where we, we throw tracks back and forth over email, and do it that way. I haven’t really done any apps that allow that, but I think that sounds like a cool thing.

Robonzo 7:46
Yeah, just, you know, FYI, the one of the things that’s happening with some of those platforms is it’s a new way to engage fans, and to find out what they want, musically from you. So it’s kind of interesting worth worth exploring.

Alyssa Trahan 8:02
Totally.

Robonzo 8:03
Are using any community building platforms like Patreon, or Bandcamp, or some other one where you have subscription based patronage.

Alyssa Trahan 8:10
I am I’m on Patreon, which I started in January of this year, which I’m so thankful I did because I kid you not, my fans that are subscribed to my Patreon are literally the reason I’ve been able to pay my rent, pay for groceries, pay my utility bill, things like that. So it’s been a huge, huge blessing. And it’s fun too, because in there, I do live stream shows, I do, I give them like sneak peeks of the album I’m working on. So it’s really, really fun. And it’s been a great way to keep really connected to those fans, because a lot of those fans in there would come to multiple shows of mine. I’m used to seeing them a lot. We’re like family at this point. And it’s been weird to not see them. So now I feel like I can still connect with them. And I can also pay my bills. So that’s really great.

Robonzo 9:00
Yeah, That’s amazing. Cool. Glad to hear that.

Alyssa Trahan 9:02
Yeah.

Robonzo 9:04
Do you give music lessons? Or have you ever taught students and if so, do you do it online?

Alyssa Trahan 9:09
I’ve never done like, actual lessons. I’ve helped some friends learn some stuff. I’ve been thinking about doing that, but where I am in Nashville, there’s so many teachers already that are struggling to get students. So I kind of don’t want to jump in there and do that whole thing I guess.

Robonzo 9:33
Do those ones you talk about struggling do that? Are they mostly doing local students? Or are they like online and grabbing students from all over the world, or…?

Alyssa Trahan 9:40
They mostly do local students. I have a few friends that work in music stores, and they have students that way, but they’ve been affected terribly by the pandemic too. They’ve lost almost all their students. I do know some people that do it online, which seems to work okay. But they tell me that people typically prefer in person, so they end up not being able to keep a lot of students all the time. But, yeah.

Robonzo 10:06
Yeah, I guess the online thing is a different approach, now that I think about, because I’ve talked to some educators, but they’re, they’re kind of creating it sort of that content creation approach where they’re creating all these, you know, different courses, or modules or lessons or whatever. And so it’s for sort of mass consumption. But, but and then they all have their way of interacting with the students, which is, of course, good. [Mm hmm.] All right. What is your current marketing strategy for new releases, or at least your most recent strategy?

Alyssa Trahan 10:42
So obviously, we’ve had to do everything digitally. So I haven’t been able to do like release parties in person, and I haven’t really been able to do the radio visit thing. So the releases I’ve been putting out this year, I’ve put out, let’s see, three, under the pandemic now. And a big thing is announcing the release date and trying to get pre saves or pre ads on Spotify, Apple Music, all of those really pushing for those, because that helps you get on playlists, get your numbers up gets on the algorithm. So focusing on the pre saves, and then also trying to have a lot of content around the song. So what I’ve been doing for my most recent ones is I’ll have the actual song with, you know, the cover artwork and the photos around it that I can post on, say, Instagram, I’ll also have a lyric video, a music video and acoustic performance video and a behind the song video. And I’ve also done which I kind of tie this in with the behind the song video. But because I’ve been producing my own stuff all this year, just totally on my own in my studio, I’ll kind of do the making of video. And the fans have liked seeing that, which is really cool. But really just focusing on content. And I’ve also been working with a PR team that has been trying to get me into, you know, blogs and review sites and big platforms like that, which definitely helps. But it’s all just content content content.

Robonzo 12:09
Good to know. That’s cool. I like all the video stuff that you’re doing. It’s I don’t think I’ve had anybody yet. Both in just asking for personal reasons. And this question is kind of there for personal reasons, too. But in doing this survey, nobody’s really talking about these different pieces of video that they do. But the video is very important. It’s been kind of been a thorn, a bit of a thorn for me lately. So I’ve decided to move forward with the song and the video will just trail because I’m afraid it’s gonna not happen if I don’t. So how many times, I know you’re using a PR firm or person you just mentioned, have you done it before? Is this like, you know, one of many times you paid for PR in the past?

Alyssa Trahan 12:52
So this is the first PR company I’ve worked with, for real. I’ve had some friends in the past kind of help with it, but they weren’t, quote unquote, PR. So this is the first year that I’ve been working with them, which has been really cool, kind of a weird thing to get used to. Because again, they they want a lot of content too. So that’s a big reason that I’ve been putting out so much. So you know, they’re always like, Hey, we want you to do this, Hey, can you do this? Hey, can you do this? So it’s such…

Robonzo 13:20
They put you to work.

Alyssa Trahan 13:21
Yes. But I like that. I want that.

Robonzo 13:24
Yeah, that’s neat. I like it. Sorry, to interrupt. How is social media to help you get your work out into the world?

Alyssa Trahan 13:35
It has helped tremendously. I mean, I’m at the point now that I have fans in other states, other countries that otherwise would never have heard my stuff. Like I’ve established kind of a big following in Australia and Turkey. And it’s been so cool to see my music reach those areas, because otherwise, it’s like, how would they have ever heard my songs, you know, so it’s pretty crazy. But it’s so cool that anybody can discover your music at any time, just by scrolling on their phone, whether they click on a hashtag, or it’s, it’s shown to them under a suggestion. It’s, it’s crazy to me how you can connect with all these people all around the world. Just with like an app or a website. It’s crazy. So it’s definitely helped reach more people quicker too. Because, you know, with traditional PR and plans and all that kind of stuff. You could try to reach people over with radio, and like print sites and magazines, things like that, but put in social media and you can get over there in seconds. It’s crazy.

Robonzo 14:42
Yeah, is Do you find that some of those people are buying too?

Alyssa Trahan 14:46
Mm hmm. For sure. It’s, it’s crazy, like over in, especially in Turkey and Australia again. They are so engaged. They’re buying my stuff. Every time I announce a new song. They’re pre saving it. They watch all my stuff. They comment they like everything. So it’s crazy how engaged they are.

Robonzo 15:05
What are they, in Turkey I’m just curious, Are they expats? Or are they natives of Turkey?

Alyssa Trahan 15:11
They’re natives, I believe. I did a video with a guy that lives in Rochester. He is from Turkey. And he’s a huge influencer on YouTube. And he reached out to me and he said, Hey, like, I want to have you on my YouTube channel. Would you want to come on just a heads up, you might get a lot of fans from Turkey. And I was like, cool. That sounds like fun. So we did a video together. And it was so crazy. He’s got like hundreds of 1000s of subscribers like loyal subscribers. I did a super short video with him where I played just a snippet of a few songs of mine. And that day, and ever since it’s just been like, my analytics in Turkey are through the roof. I get. I’m not even kidding you. I get at least like five messages a day, from people in Turkey saying, Hey, we love this song of yours. Hey, we love this song. Hey, will you come to Turkey and do a show. Oh my gosh, I saw you in that video. It’s just insane. That one video just I blew up in Turkey. So I guess I have to tour in Turkey now.

Robonzo 16:11
That’s amazing. They’re, you know, there’s this artist, he is a blues artist. He’s He’s of Indian descent. And he decided to I don’t know if he created it, I think he might have, but create this genre called Bollywood blues. So he integrates that Bollywood sort of wimzie from his childhood with blues music. And he’s been on my podcast, like two and a half times, like one of them was a bit of a mini episode to announce a big Sony India thing. But and then Gaana’s a huge podcast platform in India. And that rolled out very recently. And I think because of his episodes, I’m like, wow I’m like, I mean, I’ve heard other people have to have a lot of number of listeners from from India with the introduction of Gaana. But I was kind of shocked I’m like, It must be because of him. So

Alyssa Trahan 17:06
It’s crazy, one one person one connection and then you’re just you’re like established in a country.

Robonzo 17:11
Yeah, I’ve heard stories like this in different arenas. But yeah, there’s like this one person this one moment this one platform you know, that changes everything. What’s been your number one challenge in keeping up with social?

Alyssa Trahan 17:26
I think the number one challenge is just the amount of content that’s already on all the social media platforms so trying to be heard and seen like through the noise, I guess you could say, I mean, especially here in Nashville there are I don’t even think I want to know how many other musicians are here trying to break through. But you know, you post let’s say you post I just released a new song, go buy my new song, at least 100 just that our are also posting Hey, I just released a new song. So just trying to stand out and trying to make your your brand your content, your everything memorable, so people keep coming back. I think that’s been really hard. And especially now under the pandemic, everyone’s focusing on social media, so it’s definitely become even more crowded. And just trying to find your space trying to find where you stand out best is definitely tricky.

Robonzo 18:26
Yeah, I imagine it plays tricks with your head too, because it looks all the more crowded. The search may feel literally different but I imagined just the overwhelm of knowing how crowded it is sort of can be distracting in and of itself.

Alyssa Trahan 18:41
Oh, for sure. It’s It’s so hard not to like click on a hashtag or click on someone’s profile and then compare yourself to theirs. Yeah, like, Oh shoot, they have like 2.7 million followers. And you’re like I do not. So it’s difficult.

Robonzo 19:03
We will be right back after this word about our affiliate partner, Bandzoogle.

Robonzo 19:09
Musician, website and direct to fan platform bandzoogle is celebrating their 17th anniversary by giving back to artists in need, using their newly launched integration with print on demand provider Printful The company has created exclusive merch for sale, donating all proceeds to the Unison Benevolent Fund, Canada’s leading music industry charity. There’ll be a link in the show notes to the Bandzoogle shop for this, but you should check out the merchant there’s a lot of cool stuff there. I looked at it today. T shirts, hoodies, stickers, masks, coffee mugs, all good stuff. They’re all available through a bandzoogle powered website and profits from all sales of the 17th anniversary merchandise will go directly to Unison’s emergency mental health for the music community campaign with bandzoogle matching donations up to 5000 Canadian dollars. There’ll be a link to unison’s emergency mental health for the music community campaign as well as a link to Unison Benevolent Fund for you to learn more. Bandzoogle is the most effective platform for musicians and bands to build their website and manage direct to fan marketing and sales powering over 55,000 websites. The all in one platform features powerful design options, a commission free store to sell, music merge and tickets, a built in mail lists tool, detailed fan data, integrations with social networks and more plans started just $8.29 a month, which includes a free custom domain name. Artists can try it for free at bandzoogle.com. And you can use the promo code Robonzo to get 15% off your first year subscription. That promo code again is Robonzo R O B O N Z O. And now back to my conversation with Alyssa Tran.

Robonzo 20:54
I’m thinking this is maybe a two fold question because back then and now but how do you make performances memorable for audiences?

Alyssa Trahan 21:02
Yeah, so before the pandemic, when in person shows were allowed, I really like to engage with fans as much as I can. So if there’s like, you know, a song that we can get them to clap along, I try to get them to clap along. If there’s a song that kind of requires some audience participation, I try to get them singing along with us. We try to keep the energy the whole time I, you know, I’ll point to people in the crowd, I’ll just interact with them. And I also like to make sure I stay after my shows and meet everyone that wants to meet me. So I’ll always have kind of like a mini meet and greet at my merch setup. And people can come up and just kind of hang out for a bit before I pack everything up. And I also like to make every show like its own event. So like I really take everything seriously, I show up and I’m sparkly decked out I’m, you know, I’m an artist, I’m trying to make it. So I’m not playing in arenas. But I’m acting the same way as if I were, even if it’s a really small venue somewhere that only holds like 50 people, I’m gonna put on a show like I’m singing at Nissan stadium. And now with live streams, I kind of have done the opposite. So a few live streams, I’ve actually been like, in my pajamas, or in a Snuggie to something that’s like totally opposite from what I do. In my live shows I did, it was called the Comfy Couch tour, where I did live streams. We started off with a little mini online tour five days in a row, a different social media platform every night to kind of pretend it was a different venue. And then we extended that every Sunday for 22 weeks. And it was just fun to like, show off my pajamas and my slippers and have like a cup of tea or something. And people seem to like that they thought it was silly because they used to see me and you know, bedazzled jackets and sparkly heels and things like that. And also, even on the live stream, I would make sure to engage with people. So answer questions, respond to comments, do requests if they want it? I’m just trying to keep that same energy even though it’s obviously a very different thing in person versus live stream?

Robonzo 23:10
Sure. What did you, did you learn anything interesting or surprising from the multi platform tour thing?

Alyssa Trahan 23:17
I did, I learned that every platform is a lot different. In terms of like the audience, you get on there, how they function, how they work, the quality. And I learned what my fans prefer best. And they prefer Facebook the best. So we we ended up doing when we extended it for 22 weeks, we did Facebook every Sunday. But they’re all so different, like really different, you would think that they were all pretty much the same on every platform. But I mean, they’re all they all have different settings, different qualities, different options, different like viewers that are allowed. So it was it was kind of tricky on the ones that I wasn’t familiar with.

Robonzo 23:56
That’s cool. It’s interesting, I would have expected it would be pretty different. But I don’t have the experience that you now have to know what are those differences? But do you include email as a way to maintain you know, communication with your fans and supporters?

Alyssa Trahan 24:11
I do, I have an email list. That’s been another great way to keep reaching people. But the only problem is some people will put like their work emails down. So then I’ll send out my email blasts. And I’ll get a couple responses saying oh, I’m not in the office due to COVID. You know, if you need to reach me, here’s my cell number. So that’s been kind of a bummer. But I do have, I do have a pretty big email list at this point that has been really helpful. And we found out that the email list is actually one of the top ways that we get impressions. So when I have a pre save up for a new song, my email list is where a lot of those end up coming from.

Robonzo 24:51
Specifically with pre saves.

Alyssa Trahan 24:53
Yeah, with pre saves or if I have say a new video, a lot of the impressions come from, you know, the clicks. Throughout the email,

Robonzo 25:02
That’s cool. It’s frustrating to talk to so many artists that don’t do it. And about half of those or more No, they should be paying more attention to it. And then there’s another half, that’s just like, Meh no, just… You’re killing me. Have you? Or do you use artists management of any kind?

Alyssa Trahan 25:23
I do. I have a manager that I started working with end of last year, I would say, or middle of last year, I guess. And that’s been really cool. I’ve been kind of, you know, building a team around me, which has been really, really great to just have, you know, people building you up, people that believe in you, like you believe in yourself. So it’s been a really cool thing.

Robonzo 25:45
What’s your, you’ve mentioned some, are there any challenges with live streaming that you haven’t already mentioned?

Alyssa Trahan 25:52
Yes, um, the fact that you need Wi Fi. We had one instance actually, where there was a really big storm here in Nashville, and we lost power. And we also lost cell service, I think one of the cell towers got knocked down or something. So I was supposed to have a live stream. And I ended up trying to get in touch with my manager. And I was like, I can’t even post on Facebook to tell everybody, I can’t do it. So he ended up having to, you know, post on Facebook for me and say, Hey, like, we can’t do it. Tonight. We’re gonna do it. Tomorrow, we lost power, we lost Wi Fi, we lost everything. There was a tree on my patio, it was it was pretty concerning. But so every time, you know, the weather would be not ideal, I get really nervous because we could lose power in any second. And we live in kind of an older building. So I don’t think the wires are very strong, I guess is the word. So anytime there’s like a thunderstorm. Really, really heavy rain, we lose power. It’s just a common thing, I guess. So every time we’d be doing a live stream, if there was thunder, lightning, I’d be like, Oh, no, guys, we might lose power in any second. It only happened once, thank God. But that’s that’s definitely something that I wasn’t anticipating.

Robonzo 27:08
Wow. I was thinking that through in my head and realizing that my scenario is different. I have not for live streams, but like for what we’re doing now, or I’m doing a podcast interview. And, you know, power goes out. And we’ve had a lot of this season, we’ve had a lot of power outages today, we’re actually not in the hurricane. But there’s a hurricane that’s hitting like the coast of Central America. So we’ve had a lot of rain and wind. So it’s a great day for the power to go out. But our building has a generator that powers one or one outlet in the house, which is for the refrigerator. But even if we ended up moving our Wi Fi router over there, because loss of power doesn’t mean loss of internet service necessarily. It has to be something pretty big going on. But there’s always this brief moment where there’s a click over between generator and power if it flickers, so I bought a battery backup. So that’s helping a lot. So you don’t get you know, you have time to plan for making that change. But I’m remembering Yeah, not everybody has a generator of any kind. So then the power goes out.

Alyssa Trahan 28:15
We’re in an apartment, so we rely on them.

Robonzo 28:20
Yeah, maybe, let’s see. I suppose a battery backup would be good, because at least it would give you, you know, maybe up to a half hour, depending on what you have to say. Okay, well, you know, you either finish or you can’t. But, but but you could get on social. So if you had like a battery backup for your Wi Fi connections, for instance, I suppose that could still work. You know, it’s just not. It’s not a day long solution. Right? Yeah. Interesting. Yeah, I bought an inexpensive one, but actually had it modified because it made this heartbeat that you couldn’t change through software. So I go inside and get rid of the the little speaker that would beep every time it was on battery. And like, I can’t have that going on, you know, all day. [Oh, gosh.] Yeah. Do you involve your fans and supporters in any facet of the creative process of your music or something else about? Maybe not the song specifically, but something else about what you that you do?

Alyssa Trahan 29:17
Yeah, I mean, I share a lot of like exclusive behind the scenes kind of stuff in my Patreon. So people in there get to vote on things. I share unreleased demos in there. So they get to tell me like, Oh, we really like the song. Oh, we really like this song. Or, oh, I want to hear like this on the song. We want to hear it more produced. We want to hear it stripped down. So that’s definitely the place where people get to get more involved. And I kind of I feel more comfortable sharing stuff in there because it’s exclusive and it’s not just like out for the entire world to dissect.

Robonzo 29:52
Yeah, that’s nice. That’s cool. Good thing to do. Have you taken any music lessons in the recent past?

Alyssa Trahan 30:00
Not in the recent past, I have done some watched some videos, I guess you could say I’ve been trying to better my skills at mixing. Like once I, you know, finish the whole track, I produced it, I usually send it to somebody to mix, but I want to get better so I can do it myself. So I’ve been watching a lot of like, online. I don’t know if I’d call them courses, but tutorials, I guess,

Robonzo 30:25
Like free content?

Alyssa Trahan 30:27
Yeah, yeah, just on how to, you know better my skills at mixing and just, you know, be able to do it on my own.

Robonzo 30:34
Do you use pro Logic or Pro Tools? I was about to tell you, I’m using logic but, I was about to, And I’m pretty new to it. I just, I think I sent you my song. But I did the drums and vocals at home, unfortunately, have a friend who’s a bonafide engineer who and music, you know, a great musician who added a lot to it. But it was about safe, you can come across something I shouldn’t watch, please forward. But

Alyssa Trahan 31:02
I work in Pro Tools, sorry. I actually, I tried to do Logic at one point because I knew someone that had it. And I can kind of mess around with it. And it was so crazy going from Pro Tools to logic because logic is almost too easy for me now, like I get confused, because it’s so simple. And I go back to Pro Tools. And I’m used to all these like, little tricks you have to know, little go arounds and just how the interface works. And I go to Logic, and I’m like, there’s no way it’s that easy.

Robonzo 31:32
Yeah, my, my primary collaborator for the song I did, he’s a Pro Tools guy said, but you know, I’m just I’m giving him files, and he’s passing files. But he says no problem. What’s the single most important thing that has helped me be a better vocalist?

Alyssa Trahan 31:45
So thing that has helped me be a better vocalist, probably just practicing a ton. I did end up taking some voice lessons before the pandemic, which was definitely a help. And just to get some tips on, you know, breathing and how to get the tone you want. But just singing a lot and hearing myself when I record. So let’s say I go in, I’m putting vocals down on a song, I can hear it in my head when I’m singing, obviously. And I think it sounds a certain way. But then I hear it through the headphones of what I recorded. And it’s always crazy, because I’ll be like, Oh, this is not how I thought it sounded in my head. Like I need to adjust how I’m singing it to make it sound like this. So that has been I think what’s really helped me grow the most is just recording and hearing myself and kind of being being the person that has to like fix all the mistakes I make. You know what I mean? Like, oh, I had a, I said this word here. I’m off key here. I didn’t breathe well enough here. And that kind of forced me to be better, I guess.

Robonzo 32:51
When did you take those lessons?

Alyssa Trahan 32:54
So I took those lessons. It was probably maybe December.

Robonzo 32:59
I would call that the recent past, by the way.

Alyssa Trahan 33:02
Oh, you would. Okay. I was like recent passes, like the last three months. It took two, which was really great. Um, but yeah, it was before the whole pandemic hit. So now it’s kind of like, how do you have voice lessons? If you can’t do them in person, you know, because you have to like, be with someone and see how they’re breathing. See how they’re, like shaping your mouth?

Robonzo 33:24
Have you ever worked with a career coach?

Alyssa Trahan 33:27
I haven’t know. I’ve had like mentors, I guess. But I’ve never worked with someone that like that’s their job.

Robonzo 33:34
That’s right. Yeah. You’ve had we talked about some of your mentors in the beginning, I think on your when you were on the podcast. I think. In your opinion, what’s the number one reason other artists, artists struggled stay focused on making music?

Alyssa Trahan 33:50
I think artists are often `times the people that get in their own heads too much. You know, we overthink things. We compare ourselves too much. We just we let ourselves get kind of depressed about things. So I think the number one reason is just overthinking. And not just following your gut following your heart. Like a lot of people say follow your gut. But take your head with you. And I kind of like that because especially in music, you get that gut feeling about something, follow it don’t get in your head and think oh, well, what if this? What if that maybe I should this maybe I should that? It’s just so easy to like, ruin things for yourself? You know?

Robonzo 34:28
Sure. Yeah. You mentioned practicing earlier. How often do you practice of any kind? I know you play multiple instruments and sing but how often? What’s your practice routine? Like? Or do you have a lot of By the way, a lot of people I’ve talked to like I don’t.

Alyssa Trahan 34:42
I mean, I don’t know if I can say that I quote unquote practice, unless I have like a song that I’m not the best at playing the part I need to get better. Like I just did a new demo where I had a co writer and he came up with this really cool guitar part that I wanted to learn so I could play it myself on a final track. So I had to practice that for a couple of weeks, and really nail that down, which I would just practice for like an hour every day until I really got it. But usually I just, I’m playing every single day when I’m recording and working on the album that I’m working on. So I feel like my practicing is just playing. When I’m not trying to practice I’m just playing and kind of getting better as a result.

Robonzo 35:23
What’s the number one thing you’re struggling with right now as a musician, or songwriter?

Alyssa Trahan 35:28
For me, which I kind of just talked about, but it’s this year has been really tough, obviously. And it’s been really hard to just kind of push all that out from like, you know, the pandemic, to the election to all the disasters that have happened, to some personal stuff I’ve had, it’s just like, it’s been hard to kind of push that out, focus on me and my music and not let it get me down, get distracted, get depressed, get frustrated. Just I’ve had to get better at like turning off my phone, staying off of Twitter and Instagram, and really just focusing on what’s happening in the moment and what I’m trying to do.

Robonzo 36:09
That’s a good thing to practice turning off the phone, and getting on social.

Alyssa Trahan 36:13
Yes, yes.

Robonzo 36:14
All right. That’s it. Thank you for listening. I know that was an abrupt ending. Like I said, I didn’t know I was going to use this as an episode. But hey, it was really great. I had so much fun re listening to that. We recorded that way back on November 3, which I guess isn’t that long ago, as I’m recording this for you. for the upcoming episode. It’s February 12. So there’s a little ways back, we’re reflecting on times past during the pandemic, right. And before I let you go, please check out my new single On Top Of The World at Robonzo.com. From there, you can stream it on your platform of choice, you can download it for free, you can buy it, but most of all, you can hear it. That’s robonzo.com and the song is called on top of the world.

Robonzo 37:02
The Unstarving Musician podcast is made possible through the support and generosity of listeners like you. One of the easiest ways to support the podcast, if you’re a musician is to join the Unstarving Musician community which you can do at you guessed it Unstarving musician.com. You can learn about other ways of offering support by visiting the Unstarving Musician, crowd sponsor page at Unstarving musician.com. forward slash crowd sponsor. And if you have feedback, please go to Unstarving musician.com to get all my contact info. You can text me, call me, email me, leave a voice message right there on that page. Just go down to the bottom of the page and you’ll find everything you need to know I really would love to hear any of your comments, suggestions, questions, whatever you’ve got. And you can find links to just about everything talked about in this episode at Unstarving musician.com forward slash podcast. All right, I’m peacing out. Thank you for listening and sharing with your musician friends and fellow indie music, bands. Peace, gratitude and a whole lotta love.

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