Thursday, January 19, 2012

Growing our musical business- Coyote Grace interview

               Coyote Grace photo: by Libby Bulloff 2011 (c)

We often get so focused on what is in front of us, we don’t stop to savor the successes that have occurred along the way. I wanted to check in with musical friends and former clients Coyote Grace to share in their own words what tips and  secrets they use to support  their  growing musical business:
Key to Interview:
TE: Tamra Engle
CG: Coyote Grace
MTC=Michael Connolly

TE: Your music offers listeners the roots of down home Americana with a bit of a twist. To listeners who have never heard of CG how do you describe your musical style:

ING: This question is probably every artist’s least favorite question, but I’ll try to have fun answering it:  Imagine Gillian Welch and James Taylor have a one-night stand. Then, the unplanned kid is adopted by Indigo Girls, has crazy cat-lady Joni Mitchell for a nanny, and grows up playing with the neighbor kids, Nickel Creek. Eventually, it falls in love and runs away to elope genderbendy heart-throb, Girlyman.  That bastard lovechild is Coyote Grace.

TE: Are there any  “little known secrets” about the CG family that folks might not know that you don’t mind sharing?

ING: We started as a sweet heart duo. A lot of our fan base may not be hip to the fact that we are no longer romantically involved, but the chemistry and history is still there. We are still best of friends and family to each other. Another little known fact is that our great friend and long time musical collaborator Michael Connolly has been in the wings and behind the scenes since the band’s beginnings. A man of many talents, we are honored to have him as a full time band member now (and in on this interview as well!).

TE: You began your career as buskers in Pike Place Market in Seattle in 2004, and recently you completed tours with the Indigo Girls and Girlyman. What unexpected lessons did you learn from working with these bands that have helped you develop your creative business?
ING: Touring with the Indigo Girls and Girlyman has given us the opportunity to attune our stage show for bigger venues and larger crowds -  from longer more involved sound checks to appealing to a crowd of hundreds as opposed to a packed pub.

Joe: Also, we’ve learned to not make fun of the sounds guys.  They are      god.

MTC:  Lessons of the road: It’s hard to keep up with a van driver that sleeps all day and drives all night. We are our own roadies.

TE: I understand you broke record sales for a opening band touring with the Indigo Girls?  Congratulations! Were you prepared for the increased demand of your merch inventory?  If not how did you handle it?

ING: We had reinforcements in the inventory department at home - aka MOM and DAD.
Joe: One time, we ran out of credit card slips and went to a Home depot to see if they had any on hand. That huge corporate store didn’t have any, but the hot dog vendor guy outside did.
MTC: It was his last day working there, so he freely gave them to us. Even though they were covered in hot dog grease, we were happy to take them.

TE: It is a really tough time economically & personally for artists establishing and growing their music business- Have you have to change how you do things as a result of the economic climate?

JOE:  Not really. The biggest impact we’ve seen at our level of the music industry is that quite a few of the venues in our circuit are closing. We’ve been able to find shows elsewhere, but it’s sad to see these sweet places go.

TE: What is the most important lesson you have learned about building the CG music business that prepared you for touring with larger touring acts.

ING:  Showing up is half the battle. Just keeping at it when others started to give up life on the road has seriously contributed to our success.

MTC: In 2008, we played a single show opening Indigo Girls in Seattle, and after that, we didn’t know what the next step would be. Two years later, Amy & Emily asked us to do a string of 3 tours with them all over the country, which was a slow but natural progression from playing that first show with them.

JOE :  But during that 2-year gap, we just kept doing what we do - playing shows, increasing our fan base in different cities and writing new songs till the right opportunity presented itself. They knew we were still out there and the buzz about us was growing in lots of grassroots communities.

TE: It seems like you are always on the road touring nationally.
Keeping balance in relationships  & routines is pretty hard when your on the road. Do you have tricks that you use to help you stay healthy and centered day to day?

Joe : Emergen-C emergen-C emergen-C  and try to get enough sleep!

ING: Small routines, no matter how trivial they are, help provide a sense of familiarity when you wake up in a different place every day. I bring my loose leaf tea and travel mug. And the nightstand beside whatever random bed I’m sleeping in looks exactly the same each night.

Joe: Yeah, I bring my house slippers on tour.

MTC: Knowing coffee will happen in the morning keeps me from feeling homesick.

ING: We also try and make sure our tours are no longer than 2 weeks because we really value home time and having a balance between home and tour.

TE:  Thank you for sharing your tips for growing your creative musical business.
Readers, we would love to hear what tips and tricks do you use to help you keep balance in your relationships and routines in the comment section below.
COYOTE GRACE: Backstage rehearsal w/ Indigo Girls and Julie Wolf
Video used by permission via: Coyote Grace

Buy this terrific CD!   

LINK: to video of green room jam w/ Indigo Girls

Picture Coyote Grace –4 © 2011 by Libby Bulloff.

LINK: to video of green room jam w/ Indigo Girls
Picture Coyote Grace –4 © 2011 by Libby Bulloff.
Video & Link used by permission Coyote Grace 2011

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