Greetings, from London to the world!
And speaking of the world, I have been a member of a certain community for some time now, and I would like to tell you all about it.
The name of this organisation/group/ community/society/clan/cult (call it what you will), is the New Artist Spotlight. It has been around for close to two years, and I have been a part of it for almost that entire time. The New Artist Spotlight (or the NAS, as it is often nicknamed) is a community of budding young (and old, and everything in between) musicians and artists who have something to offer. It is entirely free, and is a fabulous stepping stone into the big, bad world of the music industry. It is however far more than a stepping stone. The simpler way to describe it, is "love and support". But not like a crutch, it is all utterly genuine. Having started with just a handful of artists, it has now grown to more than 500! That number continues to grow, as members rarely leave.
I mentioned the artists having something to offer. That thing is very simple and automatic to most. Support. Not blind support, but genuine love for other artists and their music. We, at the New Artist Spotlight (for I am a moderator as well as an artist in my own right) have so much to offer, such as many playlists on Spotify and Apple Music, interviews, a weekly Top 20 chart syndicated to many radio stations, weekly song reviews (by moi, in the form of Connolly's Corner), a weekly podcast, and so much more. The best thing about the NAS though, is the people. I am very much NOT a "community" kind of person. In fact the word makes me recoil. But I am guessing I had simply never come across the right one. This one seems entirely unique.
Being run entirely over the internet on a Discord server (don't let this put you off - it works incredibly smoothly and is quick to learn), this means that the scope is literally worldwide. Meaning the artists are from almost every country you could think of. One of the ways it is able to work so smoothly with this number of artists is that it is run by around 40 moderators. These "mods" (no Pete Townshend jokes - if you don't know, I Can't Explain) work tirelessly in different fields best suited to their individual talents, making very much the sum of its parts. I said "working", but this is a labour of love. Something few get from their "day job". The eventual plan is for the music to BE the day job for all the members of the NAS. And if the talent is there, there is no reason why not. It is a HARD business to get into, but the Spotlight (as it is affectionately known) offers more than anything else I have seen. In fact, I haven't seen anything even close.
The members of the New Artist Spotlight are close friends to me, with some almost like family! In fact, it wouldn't be out of place to call it the New Artist Spotlight Family - as lovey and gooey as that sounds. Before I "joined" what was a very simple setup at the time, I was "achieving" around 5 streams a day (a celebration cup of tea if it went into double figures), no one had heard of me, and no one had heard my music. And no one was ever GOING to. From what I had experienced previously, I had low hopes for the NAS. Then within days, it was quite normal for me to be reaching 30 or even 50 streams a day, and regularly receiving compliments about my music. This simply felt very good. It started to feel worth it. We, as artists put a frankly absurd amount of time and effort into our art and craft, and to get literally NOTHING back can be pretty debilitating. Feeling good was a rarity. Feeling stressed, useless and alone, was not. Very soon I was made a moderator. I got a bottle of Champagne and a medal. Okay, I did not. But it FELT like I did! I designed and set up the New Artist Spotlight website from scratch as well as the original playlist designs, then got to writing weekly reviews. It felt like a turning point, both for the group and for myself. Around a year ago I started mixing and producing for artists on the NAS, including its founder, Ed Eagle. And thus, my official career started to take off. I now regularly get at least 1,000 streams a day on Spotify alone, and quite often more than 2,000! Everything has been "on the up and up" in the last year, and I felt I simply had to say thank you. It was the only fair thing to do.
I suppose I could have just written a brief message saying "Thanks y'all, really appreciate it" - but that's not really my style. I realised it had to be musical in some way. I thought of quickly cobbling something together and recording it on my phone, then sending it out as a blanket message to everyone. I had something in 20 minutes. But I realised instantly that this could be a full song released to the public. I had basically written the whole song anyway. And then I had the lightbulb moment. What if I made it known what I was planning (something I'm not a fan of), then asked everyone to sing the chorus with me...? Sounds planny. I put down a basic piano part and sung a melody (pretty badly), and sent it to the masses. After not too long I had a handful of recordings and things were starting to feel real. It was rather exciting - not to mention daunting. Then eventually I found myself with 20 sets of vocals. Yes, that is 20 artists (well, 19 plus me). Golly! Just 5 sounded pretty huge already! This was to be the unofficially official New Artist Spotlight song. But I needed it to work as a standalone song in its own right for all the streaming platforms, which was tricky in terms of lyrics. And yes, I sent out the melody and words of the chorus before actually finishing the song... This all worked pretty well because of the multiple meanings of Spotlight and what it could suggest.
I was adamant with myself that I would not be tuning or timing any of these vocals. And frankly, I didn't need to! I wanted the song to sound as genuine as its motive, sentiment and intention. For this reason, I didn't want to turn it into some sort of modern electronic song. I needed this to be comfortable and somewhat classic sounding. Channeling Wings-era McCartney, I managed to make the song he never wrote. Or I at least attempted to. McCartney is in my blood. Eventually, my ode to the New Artist Spotlight was done. Phew! I kept within the bounds of sanity, but added a little of my "CC Magic" (as it has come to be coined in the NAS) to the bridge, just for good measure. And also because I am incapable of making a normal song.
So to everyone in and around the New Artist Spotlight (you know who you are), I would just like to say:
""Thanks y'all, really appreciate it" 😉 (but seriously, thank you - you all mean so much to me)
It would mean a great deal to me if the song is listened to, added to playlists and shared.
Please share this blog post too, if you can - every little helps.
LET ME KNOW WHAT YOU THINK OF THE SONG!
AVAILABLE ON ALL STREAMING PLATFORMS
For more info on New Artist Spotlight: