This guest post was written by Hudson K, a soulful dark and shiny electro-rock musician, who attended our Summer 2012 Digital Press Conference (DPC)…
Dear Ariel Hyatt:
You asked me how I felt about your CyberPR DPC (Digital Press Conference). You asked me what it was like from an “artist POV.” It took me a moment to figure out what POV stood for, but I think I got it. I also discovered what a DPC was when i accidentally tweeted “Hey, are you going to the DCP?” to @CarlaLynneHall. This may or may not be what you were looking for, but here is the answer in butt-naked glory. I’m not really sure that word is supposed to be hyphenated. How about BNG?
>What you may not know is that prior to my trip to NYC, life was continuing to remind me how false my sense of security was. My summer started with this:
Yeah, I smashed my fingers in one of the old windows in my old Victorian house Blue Bungalow. One trip to the ER and I was high on hydrocodone and contemplating my other skill sets. I came up with dog-walking. I guess everyone needs their hands for the work they do. Obviously, I was left feeling a little vulnerable.
The accident was followed up with a successful video release party for our newest single, “The Knife.” As you might guess, I was packing to leave for NYC with a healthy dose of anxiety as to whether my next experience would be of the yin or the yang variety.
The expression on my face might make you think I have conquered said vulnerability. Click on the word FIRE if you want to experience the burn. I think it will make you feel better.
To be totally honest, I had no expectations of what this trip would bring. I had not a single gig booked and only tentative plans to meet up with people. You Ariel, were one of those people. Trust me, you were high on my list, so when I got the invitation to come to your actual place of residence I rejoiced and also felt a twinge of fear for the reciprocal yang. For a moment I realized that I had an #epicfail when I contemplated how little PR I had done for “The Knife.” I thought, “Ariel is going to be so disappointed in me.” You taught me how to do this promotion thing, and I just couldn’t keep all my kites in the air.
I tucked my tail between my legs, pretended to have my shit together and ventured across mid-town Manhattan in the middle of the day. I kept thinking there just had to be a back road across town and why dear God why did I keep traveling at rush hour? But by Tuesday I had adapted to driving my minivan over bridges and through tunnels and was no longer taking on damage. You even let me bring a guest with me. You should know that Jill Cagney is a total asset to have at any party. More on that in a moment.
Walking through your neighborhood I felt a rush of importance. I felt like I was somewhere where things actually happened….no, wait, somewhere where people made things happen. It had to be true because the brownstone homes and the gardens were all stunning. I thought out loud to Jill, “this is where I want to live when I’m successful.” And, and…I could hear music coming out of your home.
(This is the part where I don’t tell you about how I slammed that same hand in your door. It hurt so bad I could feel the blood rushing to my face-but at that same moment a wonderful young gentleman greeted me and squeezed that same hand in a handshake…which caused me to completely forget his name, his face and whatever it was he was trying to say to me.) Nevertheless, nerves raging and hand throbbing, feeling vulnerable, I continued inward.
Walking into a room full of successful, motivated and organized people wearing nice clothes and smiling is absolutely devastating for an artist. Somehow it stirs up that little devil voice in my head that screams, “hey, dummy! See how motivated and successful these people are! They have real homes, real cars, real kitchens with ACTUAL food, (SHRIMP AND DIP!!!!) bathrooms and multiple levels!” I’m ashamed to admit I took a photo in your bathroom as a reminder that one day I may too have such luxury:
In these situations I suddenly feel like the ultra-hip outfit I pieced together from Goodwill and sisterly hand-me-downs just highlights my lack of adult responsibility and financial shrewdness. Needless to say, one word sums up how I normally feel in these situations: VULNERABLE.
Alas, Ariel, you must suspect that I’m not going to end this letter on a negative tirade of self-effacing nonsense. Because ultimately what happened was this: I looked at Jill’s face and saw her smiling. I bashed that little devil over the head and went out into your back yard and FREE BEER! I kid. But I saw you sitting at a table laughing and taking pictures with your iPhone in it’s cute little tape cassette look-a-like protector case. At that moment, I realized I need not feel vulnerable in situations like these. I mustered up my courage, starting with your interns behind the bar and slowly working my way through several strangers with my trusty Jill at my side. We conquered blogger after blogger in a friendly and enthusiastic manner. I didn’t bring any cards with me, so I was truthfully in it for the experience of meeting cool people.
Once I dismantled my vulnerability I got lucky. I bumped into Benji Rogers, CEO of Pledge Music, as he was walking out the door. I spotted the pile of records he had under his arm and started up a conversation. Benji took the time to get to know me, and he explained in very clear terms the difference between his company and Kickstarter. Because of that conversation I feel really solid in my decision to use PledgeMusic for our campaign. If you are interested to see how our campaign rolls out follow us here @hudsonkmusic or sign up for our newsletter here. I have to thank you Ariel, for the chance to meet Benji in person. What it all comes down to is people. You and Benji and all the other folks from Reverbnation all built empires from the ground up. You had to overcome your own fear and walk out on the plank. You are just like us. I feel it now. We are on the same team.
You see, artists are essentially terrible at events like these. We are intensely inward, hyper-analytical, sensitive and overly stimulated by free booze and food. We are acutely aware of the other artists in the area and don’t want to come off as “desperate” or “clingy” or too confident or as having low self esteem. We want our art to speak for us and we want you to like it. Or, alternatively, if you don’t like it we don’t want you to pretend you like it.
What I learned at your DCP was that, given a little space to chill out, we are all the same. Whether you are the musician, the blogger, the publicist or the CEO of some awesome start-up you are really just a human and are prone to vulnerability. Ariel, I had an epiphany in your kitchen and I only wish it had happened sooner. If you sense it in yourself, it probably exists in others. So, in that case, why not be the first person to walk up to a stranger and introduce yourself.