Anyone who has ever taken the risk of releasing their own CD knows it is a mixture of stress, joy, and more stress along a steep learning curve, especially with the rapidly changing music industry. While most people spend the precious week before the “Big Day” pulling out their hair as they try to clone themselves to complete all the necessary tasks, Meghan Morrison took a breath to reflect and share what she has learned along the way, as she prepares to release, “We Are All Born Naked.”. Hopefully it is helpful to anyone else out there who is planning on taking on the weary and wonderful task of releasing a CD. We look forward to hearing what Meghan has learned on the other side of the release.
In Meghan’s Words…
It is Wednesday, September 21st and there are only 7 days until my CD Release. The clock is ticking! Being still in the thick of it, I have been asked to share some reflections on what I have learned thus far about the process. To be honest, I think I’ve learned more about who I am as an artist, than the process itself… but maybe that’s the best thing to have learned! Releasing an album isn’t just about selling CDs, it’s about knowing who you are and what you want to say. Then declaring it to the world … with confidence.
There are so many things to think about when putting out a new record and most of them have nothing to do with the music: What will the album artwork look like? Who is going to make/design it? Will we do Cds or just download cards? We need a new website design to match the album… what should that look like? Should there be a video to coincide with the release? How can we make that happen on no-budget? What will the concept be? How do we get lots of people to come to the launch party? How can we get the event out to the press? How do we get the press out to the show? We need to update our bio … oh and photos! We need a new band photo so that we can have an up to date one sheet to send out to reviewers, radio, and venues for that tour we need to book to follow up the release with! Where are we going to play? How are we going to get there? Where will we stay when we’re there? … Can we afford this?
In the end it all comes down to one question: who are you as an artist? The answer to that question guides you when you create your music and it is the best compass to guide you through everything else. It helps you make the right decisions on who to hire to help you with your PR campaign, record your album, create your artwork, choose the right venues to play in, and take your photos. When you have people who ‘get’ what you’re doing and are passionate about your art, they do a much better job when representing you. But, if you don’t know who you are as an artist, how can you expect them to?
If you are managing these tasks on your own and you don’t know what you’re trying to tell the world (that would be me and my last album … *le sigh*), the process of ‘figuring it out’ and ‘making it happen’ will teach you more and more each time. Before you choose album artwork just because it’s cool, or accept an offer from someone that can help with the business side of things, ask yourself: Is this/are they consistent with who I am as an artist? Don’t settle on something until you can say yes.
I know I haven’t done this release completely ‘right’ or ‘by the book’, but I know that doing some things ‘wrong’ by established standards is right for me as an artist and I am proud of the album coming out at the end of the month. The process is the product. The process and the product are the artist.
Meghan’s release is happening Wednesday, September 28th, at The Velvet Underground, Toronto, ON.