Hey guys. My name is Kyle Simmons. I’ve been an avid reader of MTT for almost a year now, and I’ve decided to come out of the closet and post. Background info on me: I’m currently at the University of Florida getting my Master’s degree in Business – Entrepreneurship. In addition, I’m a part-time gigging musician/singer-songwriter.
I’m writing this because I want to gather as much information possible to make the best possible decisions with my music in the coming months. Let’s call this a case study on the start-up of my music career.
This is my situation:
I’ve come to the point where many people at my shows would rather hear me play my own songs and want a CD. The problem is: I don’t have a CD. I’ve recorded one song in Nashville (at Sound Emporium Studios) with an “Artist Development Agency” that came across my Myspace and wanted to record one of my more “mature” songs, make it radio-friendly contemporary pop, and pitch it to labels. It was a great experience, but truth be told, I’m not even that enthusiastic about the song as it isn’t even really my style (my style is more acoustic, with lyrics attractive to a college-aged niche).
Other than that, I’ve only recorded roughly into the microphone jack of my laptop. You can listen to some at www.myspace.com/kylesimmonsmusic. Note: my music is for people who tend to enjoy Jimmy Buffett, Jack Johnson, Zac Brown, and Corey Smith; relaxed, drinking, and the occasionally humorous lyrics and style of music. All the songs on my Myspace now are older; I haven’t recorded my new, better stuff because I don’t want the quality of the recording to overshadow the songwriting/music.
Now, the big question:
Where do I go from here? I’ve got a ton of songs (over 50), and at least 14 that my fans (and I) really enjoy. I really want something that I’m proud of and can promote the sh** out of, but I don’t know where to start or what steps to take as far as recording. The main question is: do I invest in a home studio or a real studio with a producer and engineer?
Here are some points to consider:
- MOST IMPORTANT POINT- I don’t want to shortchange myself on quality – I’m a perfectionist and I want to create something that people will want to share with other people
- I don’t have much money – 2-3K is a ballpark figure
- I have limited production knowledge (but I’m always learning and I have a good ear)
- I don’t have many connections in the industry
- I’m constantly writing songs
- I really want to get involved with new music industry trends like social media, community and fan interaction, online guerilla marketing, distribution patterns, etc. In other words, Jonathan Coulton inspires me.
If you have any other questions about my situation, please ask. I’ll give you as much information possible.
All I want to do is hit the ground running and try to make a name for myself. I’m open to advice and suggestions. I’m even interested in making this an ongoing case study in which I post my progress and experiences for other aspiring musicians to learn from (if anyone thinks that may be a cool idea).
Anyways, I know most of the readers and contributors on MTT are going to have their hands full the next couple weeks with SXSW and I can’t wait to hear the ideas that come from the conference. Have a good one, and I appreciate anyone who takes the time to interact with this post!
Kyle Simmons is a full-time graduate student at the University of Florida studying Business-Entrepreneurship. He is also a part-time gigging musician and songwriter. The combination of these two identities makes him very poor at the moment, but he remains patient and hopeful for the future. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org, facebook.com/kylesimmonsmusic, or twitter.com/kylewsimmons.