• Music Business Careers,  Performance Coaching,  Stage fright

    Interview with VIBE Magazine: Stage Presence & Performance Anxiety

    STAGE PRESENCE & PERFORMANCE ANXIETY   Vibe Magazine asked me to be their guest expert to critique a few performances by Frank Ocean, Nicki Minaj, and Jay-Z.   Here is the article that was compiled by Seth Berkman:   Seth Berkman interviews Performance Coach Laura Kessler for VIBE Magazine  |  May 2012 http://www.vibe.com/article/4-helpful-tips-artists-who-cant-perform  

  • Music Business Careers

    Networking vs. Schmoozing

    Hi Laura- My question is this: I realize success in every industry requires networking but (a) I hate schmoozing and (b) isn’t that tacky for an artist to do? Is there some sort of balanced combination I’m missing? Help! -Career in Nowhereville Nowhereville, You’re right – networking is a necessary evil for major success in any industry, including (some would say especially) entertainment. While there are certainly those who have given it a bad name with their manipulative, smarmy tactics, there are also many ‘good guys’ around who likewise are seeking to find the gems among the stones. The fastest way to make these types of connections is generally through…

  • music business,  Performance Coaching

    How to Move From Classical to Rock

    Laura, Do you have any advice for a classically trained musician trying to break into more popular commercial formats? I have 20 years of experience, a Bachelor of Music, and am a very good sight reader and ensemble member, but I feel less competent and stiff trying to improvise on rock and pop. Any suggestions? -Classical but Cool CBC, This is such a common scenario, and one I even went through myself at one time long ago. You didn’t mention what instrument you play, however the strategy would still be the same for all instruments. First, recognize and appreciate the many advantages you have hailing from your classical background rather…

  • Entertainment Careers,  music business

    Insurance for Music & Art Equipment….Are You Covered?

    You work hard at your craft and play out or work offsite often. You’ve accumulated a cornucopia of professional equipment over the years that cost a small fortune and would be financially devastating to replace, so don’t become one of the many artists who neglect unglamorous yet crucial details and become unfortunate statistics each year. Make sure you have adequate insurance coverage for your professional gear. “Adequate” here being defined as coverage for its REPLACEMENT value vs. its DEPRECIATED value since we all know electronics begin depreciating the nanosecond we purchase them. Unfortunately, even if you have a renters or homeowners policy, it will probably still not provide enough coverage…

  • Vocal health

    Minimize the Effects of Summer Allergies on your Vocal Health

    While Winter typically gets the bad rap for causing sickness and vocal problems, Summer brings just as many pesky problems with its high temperatures, humidity, dry indoor A/C, and old air conditioning filters that only put more pollutants into the air (just to name a few culprits!). As is always the case year round – drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and keep your vocal chords moist and not dry. However, drink extra water during high temperatures and when drinking caffeine, alcohol or beverages with high sugar or salt content. These beverages are generally okay in moderation, but do have bad dehydrating effects on your body and vocal chords…

  • Entertainment Careers,  music business

    Free Legal Advice For Artists (Yes, Free!)

    There comes a time for every successful up and coming artist to seek legal advice. Usually, this is something we classify in the category of “Good Problems” rather than “Bad Problems,” however that doesn’t necessarily make the whole process any less stressful for most people! Before opening up the phonebook and paying $250+ per hour to an entertainment lawyer or consultant for elementary questions, it only makes sense to exploit every possible free or low cost option at your disposal first. Almost every major entertainment city has a program called Volunteer Lawyers for the Creative Arts, which is exactly what the name implies. Qualified attorneys agree to put their name…

  • Art Activism,  Creative Leadership

    Art, Controversy and Censorship …How Influential are Artists?

    By Laura Kessler “The discoverer of an art is not the best judge of the good or harm which will accrue to those who practice it…… The introduction of a new kind of music must be shunned as imperiling the whole state; since styles of music are never disturbed without affecting the most important political institutions.” – PLATO Thousands of years before Lynne Cheney or Tipper Gore ever existed, Plato expressed his own concerns about the potential influence of artists. And there has been no shortage of leaders over the years who have shared and echoed these sentiments. In the nucleus of every art controversy lies the question: Does art change…

  • Entertainment Careers,  music business

    Copyright 101 Basics

    By Laura Kessler Avoid the So-Called “Copyright Brokers” and Do It Yourself! Lately you may have noticed the increasing online presence of organizational entities offering to copyright your songs for you for fees ranging anywhere from $75-$150. While there are certainly legitimate services artists should outsource to PR companies and agents, in my opinion copyrighting should never be one of them for a variety of reasons. First, the fee to copyright a song is only $45 regardless of who registers it. Anything above and beyond that is a “service fee” and it will literally take the same amount of time to tell the broker the required information as it would…

  • Entertainment Careers,  music business

    The Artist As Entrepreneur

    By Laura Kessler THE ENTREPRENEURIAL MINDSET: SELF RELIANCE & ACCOUNTABILITY My career coaching business grew out of the realization as a teacher that what holds most performers back from finding a career as an artist is not a lack of talent, but a lack of business and emotional intelligence. As well as fear: fear that they’re not good enough, fear of standing alone, fear of getting ripped off, even fear of success and what it will cost! For the professional on a career plateau as well as the novice just starting out, here are some tenets for long-term success in the entertainment industry: COMMIT TO YOURSELF AND YOUR SUCCESS As…