So the decision was made; we’re going overseas. Awesome. Just saying it out loud made me excited as all hell. I didn’t wanna come home when we lived in Toronto and travelled for 12 months, so since then I’ve always been jealous of folks saying ‘Yeah, I’m going overseas next month’. Shit killed me. Now I was that annoying prick going on a holiday. Boom. Happy campers, we were.
But this wasn’t just a regular holiday. When the haze of excitement eventually passed, I realised how much work it would be to actually put this together. Not only did we need to arrange the logistics, but we had appointments to arrange. Where the fuck do we even start? That was the first thing that came to mind. So I thought logically. We were only going to visit cities where we had contacts; like I said, this wasn’t no umbrella-in-your-drink vacation. So we knew we had folks in Miami, Toronto, Atlanta (DJ Grain, now part of The Movement Fam, is in the A-Town) and New York that would be worth visiting. That’s a good starting point.
Emailing time. This is where my networking skills (or lack thereof) would really come into play. I hit up damn never everyone I knew to get them to put me in touch with damn near everyone they knew. Now, being that this is the music business and I was dealing with artists, producers and the like, I knew this could take a long ass time. Lucky it was like May and we didn’t plan to leave until September. This was a useful exercise, as it really showed who my friends were. I know that if I had some folks overseas who were coming out here, I’d do my best to put them in touch with everyone possible, so I was hoping for the same.
I gotta shout out Eternia, who probably spent a good hour or two of her precious time (the girl is busy!) putting together a list of damn near everyone she knew in Toronto and New York. That list was one of the most useful tools that I had at my disposal in planning this trip, and I can’t thank her enough. She’s a true friend, big ups! Also, my dudes Kevin Nottingham and Travis Glave (Wake Your Daughter Up! Blog) were invaluable, as they worked real hard to put us in touch with a gang of folks that came through the goods in the end.
So already, after talking with three main friends in the business in the US and Canada, I had things moving. Wow, this wasn’t looking to be so difficult after all. Or so it seemed. I would estimate that in total, I probably hit up around 100-150 individuals in all sectors of the music industry, all over Canada and the US (including Hawaii). I must have spent a week staying up til midnight after work every night sending emails like a crazy person. Not only to the folks I had been put in contact with, but hitting up random radio stations in cities all over the place (which I got a list of from Wikipedia, of all places). Once I had contacted everyone on my lists, all there was to do was wait.
Of course, this wasn’t just a once off activity. This was a constant thing from May until right up to when we left, and even while we were on the trip we were still trying to arrange meetings and stuff. I reckon I probably got a 5-10% response rate, which is probably better than most direct mail campaigns. So I was happy with that. Plus, you can’t really expect random folks to really wanna help out unknown artists from Australia on a whim (or an email); although that was how it panned out at times.
So with the contacting industry heads side of things underway, we had to get the logistics issues sorted (which we couldn’t do much with until meetings, radio spots, etc were locked in), and of course, finalising two mixtapes in the space of two to three months, all the while working full time. Goddamn.
Plug of the week: The homie DJ Hyphen in Seattle has a dope ass blog, The Audacity of Dope, and he featured both our mixtapes after we appeared on his show:
Notion – World Domi-NoTiOn (http://www.theaudacityofdope.com/2008/09/16/notion-world-domi-notion-mixtape/)
Cee & Bekah – The Soul Movement Volume 2 (http://www.theaudacityofdope.com/2008/09/17/cee-bekah-the-soul-movement-vol-2/)
So until next time, listen to Raheem DeVaughn. I am right now. He’s soothing. Pause.
The Movement Fam.