Brutally Honest #49: Now What?

So I’ve got this little record that I’ve made, and I like it and I think it represents my songs and my self fairly well. Little elves in a big CD tree are baking up a thousand copies of this sucker as we speak, so very soon I’ll have many boxes of CDs in my garage. Even though the album is available digitally and is therefore “released” already, the process of manufacturing physical copies has made the whole thing much more real. I’ve spent so much of my life planning my music career, and in my mind I always thought the most important thing was to have a record. I just knew if that I could get a good record made, I could begin my ascent into the pantheon of the great cult artists. The sole plan I’ve been following for quite a while is “get this damn thing done,” but now that damn thing really is done.

My friend Dony Wynn (who played drums and percussion on this little record) posed a question that his mentor Robert Palmer (yes, Robert Palmer, rest his soul) always asked him when they’d finish something: “Okay now, what we gonna about it?” A very important, relevant question. Guess what? I dunno. I have no f-bombing clue what comes next. I’ve never done this before! I don’t have a marketing budget, nor do I know where and how to market what I do. That’s why you don’t see a whole calendar full of Luke Leverett shows, because I don’t rightly know where I should be playing. New Braunfels residents aren’t already clamoring for someone to bring live indie pop back into the bars of NB. This in New Nashfels Texas, and a non-Texas Country/Red Dirt/Americana artist is not currently in demand. The bar scene is pretty set on providing the basic genres and no others. Where do I go instead? What kind of people need to hear a record like mine, and where are they likely to be hanging out? Do I have to travel to find them? Can I afford to tour? Can I afford not to tour? Should I stay in Texas, or set my sights elsewhere?

I don’t want to squander any opportunities that I should pursue, but I also don’t want to waste time/energy/money on things that won’t be absolutely awesome and amazing for me and for my fans (both current and hypothetical). I’d like to sell some copies of my record, but I’m reluctant to pursue a thing like a local happy hour gig because I’m not sure that people at happy hour would really want me there. I’m very interested in creating powerful experiences for my audience, in giving intense and honest performances. I know that I should only book shows that let me be that kind of performer, but I don’t know where to even start.

I’m not saying all of this to be a whiny Starving Artist. I’m just trying to give an honest assesment of the problems that I will have to deal with in order to get where I want to go. The fact is, there’s not a readily available template that I can just, you know, follow. There’s no single correct business model for me to adopt, and there seems to be an infinite number of ways not to succeed. It’s scary as hell. Of course, the worst thing I can do is spend the next 6 months thinking about what to do. Staying at home and doing nothing because of fear is the absolute surest way to keep myself from acheiving my goals. In a lot of ways, that’s what I’ve done before. It’s the one option that I’m not willing to take anymore. So what we gonna do about it? I don’t know. Something.

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    photo of  Luke Leverett
    New Braunfels, Texas Phone: 830-708-5883