It’s Challenging To Support Indie Artists

14344678_167200017054114_3322610379642491515_nI have been working in a varieties of ways to support the underground, independent, unknown artists since the days of Flava Coffee House 2003-2008 to now the days after Flava.  Before closing the doors of Flava I got into online promotions and marketing for a variety of artists but heavy in the literary industry.  In 2008 I hosted a literary conference at Flava Coffee House and it was a great success with Authors and Fans of Literature flying in for a 3 day weekend event including folks and Authors from Seattle.

The literary conference was a success because there was a team that was created by the co-host of this event and everyone put in the hard work to promote and invite people to pay attention, to join the event and to take part in the excitement of the whole experience. This took place back in the days when MySpace was the place to hangout and Facebook was just being created.

Fast forwarding to 2017, a new year in the game of creative soulz, I  have decided to embark on a new beginning for myself personally and professionally.  I made the decision to move to Vegas, the Entertainment Capitol of the World.  I have colleagues there along with a “following” from my great connection to Sherry Gordy (Berry Gordy of Motown’s daughter) and Lillian Rice of The Love The Muzic Entertainment and Productions. Plus my business partner, Marc VanClaggett Owner and CEO of Marlex Records relocated to Vegas with our Indie Record Label.

I had come up with what I believe is a great concept for an ongoing Indie Artists Showcase where there would be no more that 3 acts spotlighted.  The goal was and is to fly artists in from around the country, provide lodging for them and an professional showcase to be featured and paid for their performance.  After processing if I could do this in Seattle with my business partner Jace ECAj of Black Stax, we decided that Seattle struggles in supporting the culturally diverse art seen and artists walk away disappoint more often then not.  So I had a grand idea, why not do it in Vegas…So Flava’s Lounge is birthed and will take place in Las Vegas< NV with the support of my colleagues who also loves the concept.

Now how do we fund this concept and get if off the ground.  Every business needs money to build from, and I am not a person with a lot of money, so where will the MONEY come from or where SHOULD it come from. I feel that anyone that believes in the concept that I come up with and the artists I support in a variety of ways on my radio shows and promoting to my networks a several social media sites…they should come on board with me and help me raise the funds to support the beginnings of Flava’s Lounge.  I feel we the people should be our own investors…But They Don’t or very few have stepped up to support the concept and need.  I am so extremely grateful to those that have give and in-kind gift and I am still hopeful that others will come on board. 

14225527_162217300885719_8365955627218739920_nBefore my Daddy’s passing last year, he gave $100.00 a month towards Unity Through Arts Exchange/Flava’s Lounge because he believed in it and wanted to show his support in hopes that will encourage others to join in.  I have tried to encourage especially Indie Artists to join me in building by everyone giving a $1.00 to $5.00/$10.00 a month and we could raise a significant amount in a short amount of time…What a struggle, the numbers will not come on board with this concept and join me in building a foundation for ARTISTS.

I have wondered is it because they do not give  because there is a lack of trust in me?  I have been consistent over 10 years in doing the work…shouldn’t that be proof that I am sincere in what I want to do in support of great talents.  I shake my head in disbelief and with lack of understanding on what I need to say and do to get people on board with Unity Through Arts Exchange/Flava’s Lounge.

I am the face of FLAVA’S LOUNGE #VEGAS, but the project is for Quality Indie Artists that have Mastered their Craft and ready to hit a stage in Vegas. flavas-lounge-vegas-1 I came up with Flava’s Lounge based off of conversations that I have had time and time again, with disappointed Indie Artists from here in Seattle where I am, to across the United States to even around The Globe…Indie Artists are treated like the industry’s step children, than with the support and respect that many of them deserve.  I want to make sure everyone that needs to and deserves to gets paid, to be apart of Flava’s Lounge.  I do not want to base the responsibilities on what is made at the door, and I don’t want to seek any investor who I will need to payback with interest, immediately after the show.  I have heard horrible stories about both ways.

Tell me, am I wrong for believing that we can united to create our own lane? Am I wrong for wanting to raise the funds to pay for the venue, light & sound person, pay the band and DJ and pay 3 amazing featured performers?  It feels like I am wrong to want to do this, or I am not famous enough for people to come on board.

So I face a great challenge in supporting Indie Artists.  Everything that I do in support of Indie Artists, I pay for from my own money with no reimbursement from anywhere.  Does it make me bitter, no just frustrated.  I want to build with others and give others, I would like to have a planning committee to help make the decisions of how this  will come together and who should be chosen for the event.  It would be awesome to build this to the point, where I can hire staff and turn it into a profit making business that grows and grows in it’s capabilities.

We live in an era where people feel “entitled” and want this handed to them verses working hard with the right people to created opportunities.  I personally and professionally feel that the digital era has taken the value away from paying for Art…Once upon a time you knew when a new album, 45, book or movie was going to come out and you saved the money to purchase the product and the experience.  Now it’s all about digital downloads and everything needs to be purchased online verses an actual store.  I also believe the digital downloads looses sales because not everyone has the capability to buy online or they do not feel comfortable in buying online.  So how does that dilemma get resolved?

How do we come together and make success stories for many in the Indie Artists Community…Can we build it together, or is that just out of the question? photostudio_1486519601739 I thank my Daddy and the few that have given to Unity Through Arts Exchange/Flava’s Lounge…Together we have raised $724.00 ($500.00 of it was gifted from Unity Through Arts Exchange)  I have set up a CD Account for the money that has been raised through  www.gofundme.com/flavaslounge along with in-kind gifts I receive in person, and through paypal and square.

I have been given information for an arts grant that I am going to apply for.  So send me good vibes that I will be among the ones selected.  It will help expand my radio show, host Flava’s Lounge and develop a strong promotional and marketing program for everything I do in support of local, national and international indie artists. And when I speak about Artists, I am speaking about Artists of all genres and all art forms.

At times I feel like giving up, but then I wake up and continue to promote and encourage people, Artists, Industry People, Fans and those that Follow me on Social Media to join me in building this foundation for Indie Artists, I am pulled into my purpose and mission…I am Grassroots but effective in so many ways and I want to keep this concept and project grassroots.

For Us By Us (Daymond John FUBU)  We really don’t need anyone but ourselves to build. Think about it…Jace ECAj and I have had a conversation many times over the years that goes like this “if everyone we knew and everyone on our social medias gave $1.00, that would amount to a great foundation to work from.”  When I speak to my business mentor she gets frustrated and says, Susan, you should be asking for $100.00 and not $1.00.”  I understand why she says this and I believe that it will get to that point where I can and will be able to request more…Today, my request is based more on united than the actually amount  donated.

I have had the opportunity to have a matching funds sponsor.  The requirements was to raise a certain dollar amount and by a certain number of people and they would match what was raise.  Well, you can guess that, that didn’t happen.

15027842_10211118395904561_8039522266613141828_nI would love some feedback from people on what I am trying to do in support of creating an Indie Artists Platform and Foundation of Financial Support.

We are living in a time where our country is falling apart, not coming together based on the person that somehow was voted into our presidential office.

People still don’t understand that we have power in uniting together to effect change.  I am here to advocate in making a change and placing value on Indie Artists and allowing them to be financially compensated for their creativity.  Could you imagine if ART did not exist?  No music, no books, no visual art, no creative chefs, no clothing designers…no colors and designs, no textures…Art is all around us every single day, I think we take that for granted.

I fight for Underground, Independent Artists, The Unknown Artists…I see them as amazing soulz that need a leg up for mass exposure.  I will continue to advocate for Unity Through Arts Exchange/Flava’s Lounge.  Several times before my Daddy passed in 2016, he told me that my ministry was with artists, and I take this very seriously, this is not a game nor pass time for me.

 

Again, I hope you will post your thoughts, I appreciate your feedback.

Learn more about Unity Through Arts Exchange and Flava’s Lounge by clicking the links below.

Unity Through Arts Exchange www.gofundme.com/flavamarlex  Building a support foundation for Artists from all art forms and genres.

unity through arts exchange

 

 

 

 

 

Flava’s Lounge #Vegas Meet & Greet, Open Mic and Showcase 2017 www.gofundme.com/flavaslounge 14089276_156657658108350_5120801965829790689_n

 

 

 

 

 

 

Flava NewsLady Flava of

Lady Flava News www.flavanews.com

FMarlex Artists Services www.fmarlexconsult ing.com

FCH206 Radio-Seattle, WA www.blogralkradio.com/fch205radio

8427_1037628756531_96041_nMarlex Records www.marlexrecords.com

Stay The Course and Put Your Package Together

Flava1

I thought I would share some thoughts with you tonight…In the years that I have been known as Lady Flava I have met some absolutely amazing creative souls in person and online…I have experienced some of the most hardest and hurtful experience of my life in working with artists but at the same time, I have experienced some of the most blessed experiences too.  I have had to learn the hard way that the arts & entertainment industry is not necessarily an honest and sincerely arena to be apart of and is full of ones looking out for self and willing to pimp others for self gain.

But as I make it sound hard and ugly and trust and believe I have seen only the tip of the ugly in this industry,  I too have been challenged by some of the BEST in the Indie arena that has taught me, mentor me and some even have believed in me.  I call what I do, God’s Calling.  It was not a life’s dream or even a goal…When I built Flava Coffee house 10 years ago…becoming a cheerleader and an advocate for artist came natural to me and honestly I found it challenging along with being so very exciting.

I share publicly my thoughts and conversations I have with industry people to help make you think…but it is also from spending time processing my own feelings on the topics I bring forth.  I have stayed my course, even when I stop to  tweak things, needing to make it fit into what my world can provide and to keep it where I will continue to love what I do.

Always talk about the fact, you never know who is watching and better yet, who is really paying attention until that day they reach out and let you know.  I have been blessed time and time again by this experience and in so, it has opened up doors for myself and in turn, it has opened up doors for some of artists that I am involved with.

So today, I tell you and I encourage you to stay the course.  Put together your best package and be prepared to present it upon request or opportunity because you only have 1 time to make a first impression.  Push yourself to learn and grow, push yourself to be better than you were the day before.  Step outside your box and outside your comfort circle to expose yourself to the unknown to really know where you stand in the arena of the form creativity you have chosen to be apart of.

I will encourage to start today if you have not already started,  make it a priority to set aside money for your craft…the free options can only take you so far and at some point you will need money to work from to move you forward.  Take things to the next level as we talk about so frequently.

Always believe in yourself and be honest with yourself in what you create…find a neutral person to review your work/ project/ product to give you feedback on it’s relevance, quality and sell ability.  Once you step outside of yourself, you need it to be able to make it make sense to others for them to follow you, show support for you and then to dig in their pockets to show their support even further.

Do not half ass it…I saw a post that said, “if you put in half the effort be prepared for half the results.”  I see too many great talents that do not have the business part of their craft down and you need that if you want to be able to make money from your craft.  I encourage you to have your package ready and continue to update it as you evolve.

At times I felt like I have begged people to pay attention and to get involved in what I to this day still believe in, I believe in building a movement with others to take things further for artists…But in my dream and goal of building a movement, it has at time felt like I failed…but I stayed the course and in doing so it has opened up doors for me that I could never have imagined.  As I check the stats for my radio show…as of tonight, this is what is shows at 10:00pm on September 23, 2013…95,144 global listens…To me , this feels like a great achievement,  and for those artist that are played on FNRadio, that means you have had the potential to be heard by my global following.

This week takes me into an exciting time which I had not seen coming.  I am so excited to explore a partnership those higher up in the industry to gain more knowledge, hands on experience and being able to advocate for select artists to be able to take their music to the next level.  Let me just say that God is Good and doors are opening up.  I am deserving at this point in my life as I have built a known name and strong brand as a supporter of independent artist.  I have been open to absorbing all the knowledge that has been shared with me to grow into a recognized industry professional.

Stay the course…do it right…get your business package together…have a great attitude and be able to talk about who you are and what you do…be ready when the doors open to step through…and remember that you have only 1 time to make a first impression.

As my business partner Jace ECAj says, “Forward Movement”

Lady Flava
Flava News.FNRadio.Marlex Records and…TBA
Seattle, WA

My Thoughts on What Might Hold Some Creative Souls From Moving to the Next Level

Success-Failure-Sign

My beginnings of cheering artists began within the walls of my business, Flava Coffee House-Seattle, WA to establishing a globally recognized personality as Lady Flava of Flava News, I try to process why artists struggle to get beyond where they are today.  One day I will write a book and include my thoughts and observations in detail but this is just a taste of what I feel holds them back.

1)     Faith that they can and are deserving.

2)     Willingness to financially invest in themselves.

3)     Not understanding they are a business.  Not having the tools in hand to conduct themselves as such when faced with a potential business connection (whatever that may look like.)

4)     Not doing the needed research.

5)     Not working as a unit, as a team with the understanding of what needs to be done and what each person involved needs to commit to for the common goal.

6)     Be personable not personal…Be comfortable in talking to people and share what you do…give them enough to draw them in, then point them in the direction for the experience of your art online and in person.

7)     Lack of respect and support from the fans that claim to believe in their talent.

8)     Targeting the wrong audience who time and time again show their lack of support.

9)     If your approach as proven to not work, have the ability to think outside the box, to find creative ways to do it different with the possibility to obtain favorable results.

10) Karma (not being right by those that support them, using people.)

11) Showing lack of appreciation.

This is just a short list of my observations and opinions…

As you can see, I have put some thought into this.  I love the passion behind the creative souls…I too ponder why I am not able to make moves like I feel I should at this point in the game.  I have people tell me all the time that they love me, believe in me.  I was once told by a business mentor figure that I need to stop supporting starving artists and seek out those with some financial means to pay for my services.  Build my success and then reach back to help those that I am really passionate about.

I believe in building together for a common goal…that numbers are more powerful than struggling in going it on your own.  Recently I was told by a East Coast colleague that the reason some people don’t join with me is because they are waiting for me to build my own success before they get involve.

As I think about who I am and what I do in support of artists, I think about the similarities that artists and small business owners have.  At what point do we get it right after years of investing time, money, energy and perfecting our craft?

Do we project our shortcomings on others or do we accept responsibility for what we lack and do something about it?

Supporting artists that are not in the mainstream spotlight is such a challenge.  I love the challenge and feeling the passion.  On my journey as an artist cheerleader and mentor, I understand there is a need for so much more that goes beyond the passion and perfecting the craft.  Some artist will get it and some will never.  Some artists are easy to support and others aren’t.

Do we live in a world of people that live off the “I” factor or the “WE” factor.  Do we really not understand that needing money to grow is really NOT a TABOO topic, it is a necessary means.

I would love to hear your thoughts as to what I shared on this blog.

ALL ARTISTS START AS AN UNKNOWN CREATIVE SOUL…It starts with them as to how far they will go…

~Lady Flava of Flava News/Flava News Radio~

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