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Rock Revival pt 3 - Davina Robinson
By James Moore - 11/25/2011 - 02:31 AM EST

1) Your new album is called "Black Rock Warrior Queen", and it contains some pretty powerful material. Tell us about what you bring to the table and where you'd like the project to go.

Thank you. This album is harder-edged than my first release ("The Blazing Heart" EP). There are pop/-rock, blues-rock, funk rock and hard rock tunes with themes ranging from secret love and break-up revenge to self-forgiveness, war and overcoming setbacks. Some of the songs have humorous aspects, some have tinges of anger and some are reflective pieces. On the whole, I think the album has a classic rock feel but I think all generations of rock lovers can find something they can relate to and get into. I have high hopes for this album to take me up a notch, and lead to bigger opportunities and major exposure. The album is a solid collection with a consistent sound, yet leaves room for diversity. My goals for the next year are to perform at least one high-profile festival, do another mini-tour, release a single in Japanese for my Japanese fans and write material for an acoustic album.

2) What do you feel are some of the ways that indie musicians should adapt and change in today's music industry? What qualities should a successful artist have?

First and foremost, artists must change their mindset. Yes, you're an artist, but these days, you also have to be your own promoter and business manager. Don't wait for someone to do it for you. When you're wearing your "artist hat", create something meaningful, but when you're wearing your "business hat", think of that creation as a product to sell, and how you're going to sell it. Another area is research and strategy. Pay attention to trends in the industry. Read trade publications and blogs. Indie musicians should always try to stay up-to-date regarding new sites and tools to promote themselves, and take advantage of new offerings. Also check out what successful bands are doing; take an idea and adapt it to your situation. Does the band collaborate with other artists? Does the band do merch giveaways? What kinds of events and venues do they play? How do they keep their fans engaged? Is the band's image in sync with their music? How does this particular band stand out from others? Study and learn from those who seem to be doing it right. Yet another area is communication. Communication is key to letting people know that you even exist. Don't rely on people "discovering" you. You have to make people know who you are. This means introducing yourself to media (journalists, bloggers, radio DJs etc.), and industry reps, as well as introducing yourself to potential fans through social networks. And of course you don't want your current fans to forget about you. Communicating with your fans on a regular basis (on your social networks, your blog, newsletter, website, etc.) about recent releases or upcoming gigs will show them that you care. All in all, your communications with media, potential fans and current fans will indicate an effort, and people are more likely to remember and want to help promote those who make that effort. Don't overdo it, but find a consistent rhythm that fans can rely on. And to do all this, the first quality an artist must have is confidence in their music. If YOU are not confident in and enthusiastic about your music, no one else will be. Other qualities for artists are dedication, consistency and attention to detail. You have to keep plugging yourself, do your research and connect with people. Take some time each day to devote to these areas. Pay attention and make sure your presentations (website, EPK, etc.) are free of typos and spelling mistakes. Make sure it looks professional. First impressions are important.

3) What have you found works well for you as far as promotion goes?

I'm grateful for social networking, and it's helped me a lot, but I find that going out and meeting people also works wonders. For example, when there is a local event (most likely posted on Facebook) that a lot of people will be attending, I try to be there if my schedule allows. I also frequent bars and clubs that cater to rock fans, on a rotating basis. And when I go to these events and bars, I make sure to bring some flyers for an upcoming gig, or at the very least, some postcards with my photo, name and URLs to hand out or to leave at the bar/club/venue. This has worked for me in getting my name out locally. If people consistently hear your name and then see you in person, at some point, they will be curious enough to come and check out a show, or at least check out your website. Online networking is very important, but I have found that personal networking, even in this internet age, is just as important. I was never great at small talk, not much of a "socialite" and am actually shy at heart, but I learned to fight through that, for the sake of my music.

4) Who in music do you most admire most and why?

There are many I admire, but I guess the one I admire most is probably Pink. She's a great singer, songwriter and perfomer, and she seems very genuine as a person. She's got a spunky personality and she's been in this business for a while, so she's proven her longevity. And that can be difficult for a solo female artist. There are lots of artists who come off as fake in front of the cameras, but you don't get that sense about Pink; she writes about and sings her life like it's an open book. You never feel as if she has created a "character" to market herself as - she's just her natural self. I admire her ability to combine her artistry and brand in a very smart and accessible way.

5) Do you have any advice for independent musicians who may feel disillusioned or discouraged at times?

There will always be people who love your music, AND WITHOUT A DOUBT, people who hate your music. Be grateful for your fans and show them your appreciation, and take criticism as a way to improve your product. You won't get anywhere if you take the criticism personally and give up. You need to have realistic expectations; don't expect to "be discovered", and don't compare your lack of progress against other artists, because everyone has their own situation they need to overcome. You set yourself up for disappointments with idealistic expectations. Be "cautiously optimistic". Always remember that there is no such thing as smooth sailing in this industry, and it's easy to lose confidence in what you're doing. There will always be obstacles to your progress. Some might be external, and some might be internal. When I feel disillusioned or discouraged, I go back and re-read the positive reviews I've gotten, to remind myself that I'm not wasting my time with music. I try to remind myself why I'm doing music in the first place: because I love to do it, and I would miss it if I quit. I think about the time, money and effort I've invested; if I quit, all of that would have been for nothing. The biggest thing that helps me is thinking about my fans. All the time and effort I've put into establishing a fan base, all the interactions with fans who pay to come out to a show, all the people who've purchased my music and tell me they're waiting for more - it would be an insult to the fans if I quit. Here you have a group of people who genuinely like your music and want to hear more, and you betray them by quitting? It's their support that keeps me going. You have to keep reminding yourself that this is not a race, it's a marathon. The ones who can't handle it fall by the wayside, and only the ones who are physically and mentally capable will go the distance. Getting there will take a lot of preparation and training, but it can be done. You have to make the commitment to yourself and to your fans that you WILL go the distance, no matter what the obstacles, and no matter how long it takes. Consistency from beginning to end!

6) What are your thoughts on file sharing? Does it affect independent artists negatively or positively?

As a songwriter and as the sole financial backer of my music, I don't like the idea of file sharing. It costs a lot of money to produce a quality project, and you hope that you'll make enough in sales to produce the next one. When someone shares your hard and expensive work, you lose your financial ability to do so. However, as a business manager, I think file sharing can be good for exposure. It's better for your music to be out there for free, than to not be out there at all. Someone LIKES the music, and that's why they're sharing it. This is a good thing, so just hope that it leads to some exposure that translates into album sales. I usually offer one or two songs as free downloads for people who sign up for my mailing list. These days, it's a given that a free download should be offered, even for just a short period of time, and when artists are working on a project, they should always put that into consideration. In general, I think it's a positive effect.

7) How can music fans keep tabs on Davina Robinson?

My website always has the most up-to-date news and info at my home page. Or they can check out my social networks: Facebook Twitter Youtube Reverbnation

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