Yesterday I played in the lobby of the Sheraton again, and that went fine.
I had heard about a meet and greet opportunity with DJs that was happening in the afternoon, so I stopped my performing and went to that.
I had already met a great guy who had done many cool things in his already long career as a record label owner and DJ and other things, in Canada.
He was interested in Blues music so he wasn't my guy, but he was still a great guy to know.
So he told me that these DJs in this ballroom, from all over America, all of them with particular and peculiar interests and specialties, would not all be truly interested in my music and that I shouldn't waste my CDs on them.
He said, "the CDs today won't even make it on the plane....maybe they'll each take four or five that they're really excited about....the rest will be left behind."
Okay, point well taken.
So I hit the room with a strategy in my mind.
I put my guitar over in one corner where I could keep an eye on it.
The DJs were each at a little table and you stood in line to speak to a DJ for a minute or two and then you got out of the way for the next hopeful artist.
I sat down with each DJ with a copy of my Sidney book, and just one or two copies of High Priestess And The Renegade and a couple copies of Songs From The Open Road.
I asked them right away what sort of music they were interested in and hoping to find.
I told them that if I wasn't a good fit I didn't want to waste their time with my spiel.
This worked beautifully because if they said they were mostly interested in Celtic music I could just wish them well and get out of their way.
But it also worked beautifully when, for an example, a guy started by saying, "Well the name of my program out of Boston is My Back Pages."
My hearted leaped.
I asked why he calls it that.
He said, "I've just always been a Bob Dylan freak and I'm always looking for music with that kind of meaning and passion."
I almost burst into tears.
I said, "Okay, well, I'm your girl."
I started to explain about my career and my recordings and then he stopped me and said, "You don't have to work this hard. I was already sold when my friends and I saw you playing in the lobby. You have such a strong voice. I just knew I wanted to hear your music. When you sat down, I was already hooked."
I told him that he didn't have to take the CDs, that I could take his address in my little notebook I had with me, and I could mail him materials later.
He said he really wanted them both.
I said he had to promise not to just dump them.
He said, "Are you going to make everyone beg for a CD here?"
I said, "Yes."
He said, "Good strategy!"
So I went around the room making them beg.
If they didn't start begging after about thirty seconds, I politely wished them well and took one of their cards.
Using this strategy I was totally out of CDs by the end of the meetings.
I know for a fact that every CD went to a potentially loving home.
Then I ran into some other artists, as I was leaving the ballroom with my guitar and my empty hands.
These artists were saying that the situation was too intimidating, too overwhelming.
They were telling each other, "Just politely put a CD on each person's desk and don't try to talk too much."
Some were saying that nobody wants CDs and that these DJs were saying "no thanks" to their CDs.
You can't all be at the same place along your journey, and I have done tons of radio appearances all over the US and Europe, as you well know.
And I am who I am, at the age I am, and all that plays into my ability now to cut through the bullshit and really have wonderful immediate conversations as if we've known each other all along.
To keep this all in perspective, I'll add in the story of the DJ from Madison, Wisconsin.
I was born in Madison so I kicked off with this tidbit.
The DJ was a tall thin young man, very well dressed, with a disdainful expression that seemed permanent on his face.
The minute I opened my mouth, and maybe the minute I sat down in his chair, I knew this guy didn't like me.
It's like I rubbed him the wrong way.
He actually said to me, "Weren't you the one playing in the lobby?"
And I could just tell that he thought that was an easy reason to dismiss me.
Well, the truth was that I didn't like him either.
So, I asked him what kind of music he was interested in for his station.
He said "acoustic songwriter music mostly'.
I said that I use electric guitars in my music which makes it more "alternative".
I said, "Do you want to hear more about this? Do you think you might be interested?"
He looked me right in the eyes and said, "Probably not. I think I'll pass."
I did not say, "Good 'cause I don't like you anyway."
I didn't say that.
I just politely wished him well and moved on.
All in all it was the single most uplifting thing I've ever done in my career as far as promotional activities go.
All the independent radio people in one room? Or at least a whole bunch of cool ones.....it was absolutely exhilarating.
One funny thing is that the other artists I ran into on the way out of the room, I realize now, are not used to seeing me that happy.
I'm always happy at my shows, but those artists, even the ones from Minneapolis, never come to my shows.
But I was flying high as I walked out of that ballroom and I think it was disconcerting to them to see me like that.
They were saying things to me like, "Geez, how are you doing? You look like you're having a pretty good day!"
I just answered honestly, "yeah, I am."
And I wished them good luck with their efforts as well.
It ain't easy.
I am so grateful to be here.
I feel that I was meant one hundred percent to be here right now.
I am loving every minute of it.
It's nine in the morning and I'm listening to Love Train playing in the hostel lobby where I get to eat their delicious free pastries and drink their delicious coffee with heavy cream.
One more thing, last night I got the suggestion from a homeless guy with a cardboard sign, "Miss, you're looking good. You should take that guitar of yours over to the French Quarter tonight and busk. They gonna love you over there. You could make some good money."
I gave him a dollar to thank him for his great suggestion.
I went there on my way home to the hostel.
I was so tired but I figured I'd get a crab cake and a glass of wine in one of the many wonderful seafood cafes.
I did it!
I played and met a whole bunch of fun people.
I made thirty dollars in tips which covered my nice crab cake dinner.
Speaking of money.
I see that my success is happening and has happened and that I have a lot to be so grateful for in my current career.
I still have ninety dollars left.
And I have two hundred in the bank exactly to pay the hostel bill at the end.
I may not have the last thirty to pay for my checked bag on the way back but maybe they'll let me carry it on and the guitar too.
I'm going to busk again today.