Marina V shares how she’s realized the potential of her fan base.
It was in a Borders bookstore gig that a returning fan asked simple question: “Is there anything I can do to help?”
There certainly was. I needed my bio-cards handed out, assistance with setting up equipment and help spreading the word about my next gigs.
How should I respond to the question?
People want to participate in meaningful work and with a little thought and planning this can be turned into a wonderful opportunity for both the fan and the artist.
It does need to be managed with care and insight but I have to proclaim, loudly, that without the participation of my fans, I would not have been able to reach my goals.
My answer to that fan in Borders was a resounding “yes” and this continues to be my answer today.
Healthy Working Relationships with Fans
One key to maintaining healthy relationships with fans is to offer different levels of involvement; people can “plug in” to your musical journey in ways that they feel are most appropriate, with commitment levels that suit where they are at in their lives.
Some people merely want to hear more about you, to communicate their thoughts and to feel a part of a musical community.
So, I developed more interaction with my fans online: MySpace, Facebook and email lists. Setting up a forum was critical to helping people stay in touch with what I’ve been doing.
All of this communication has been very helpful in letting people know my latest news; after all, it is not good enough to merely have a website – it is about having people actually looking at it and interacting with it!
Going Deeper with Fans
But my work with fans goes way beyond this level. Fans help to manage my work on the web, moderate the forums, make important connections, sponsor recording sessions and host concerts.
That’s right: host concerts.
You see, I absolutely love live performance, so if a fan wants to sponsor a house concert, I’ll show up.
Imagine a private setting of twenty to fifty people who already love your music, or have been told by a friend that they must hear you—who wouldn’t want to perform?
These house concerts are a real delight for me, though often they are not actually in a house, as they frequently grow larger than the sponsoring fan first imagined.
Fans are in charge of organizing, promoting and ensuring that the event goes well. For them, it’s exciting to enable an artist they enjoy to come to their town; for me, it’s a built-in audience.
To ensure that the event comes off and that the fan is committed to the process (and that I don’t make a trip that I can’t afford!), we sign a short and simple contract.
I have to underscore how effective these concerts are: we all need to support ourselves and these gigs guarantee an income – consider the fact that many venues in larger centers like NYC take a large cut.
I want the kind of exposure that comes with New York City, so I do book myself into traditional venues—but I don’t make the trip without having some house concerts lined up too.
The Fan Team
I invite my fans to join my V-Team; you can see details of it here– and perhaps get some ideas for how you might work with the fantastic energy that fans can bring.
The work with my fans is the centerpiece of all that I do; however, it wouldn’t go anywhere without one other activity that I do entirely by myself…
I hope you will check out my article next week… (yes, I am going to keep you in suspense!)
Marina V is a singer/pianist/songwriter with an incredible life story involving a journey from her native Russia to the USA. Marina’s music is a magical blend of her angelic voice, hooky melodies, thoughtful lyrics, and fresh chord progressions, which make this new artist truly special. “If the Beatles & Tori Amos had a child raised in Russia by Tchaikovsky, that would be me” muses Marina V.
*Written by Gregory A. Barker in conversation with Marina V.
Sign up here for our ‘Monday Vocalist Motivator’ emails if you want to find out when the next part of this series comes out.