About The Collective
August 25, 2022
The July, 2022 Collective held at PhotoArt Gallery with special guest, Jeff Cohen. Photo: Ron Baker.
Hey everyone! Jill here. I want to tell you why I started The Collective. The quick answer is this: I want to share the connections I've made in the industry with you for the purpose of giving you an inside look into what it's really like in the music industry. I want everyone who comes to a meeting to leave feeling informed, empowered, and excited.
The first hour is our Q&A session with a music industry pro. The conversations are REAL. I think the number one thing that has impacted my journey the most is the real conversations I've had with my mentors with major successes. Their openness and honesty with me about their own journey made a career in music feel real and attainable. I have yet to find any mentors who don't have a pretty big "why" behind their decision to pursue a career in music. All of them are passionate about why they got into it and why they are still in it.
The music business is complex and heavily relational. It is not for the faint of heart. Like any business there are administrative tasks, contracts, the exchange of value, schedules, meetings, and lots of headaches that come along with it. On top of that, it's extremely competitive. So why? For me it's so simple. When I sit down to play my own music or go out and listen to an artist putting every ounce of themselves into a song in front of a crowd, I say to myself, "THIS is why".
Can you imagine a world without music? I can't. Music gets us through some of the best and the hardest times in our lives because in a song, we connect. We feel understood. We feel seen. Music reminds us that we're all human and being human is complex and hard. For me personally, it is this aspect of music that feeds my drive to succeed. And success in this business revolves around one thing - original music and what people will pay for it. And that is why we have our second hour in The Collective.
Our second hour is an in-the-round in which 4 artists play 2 or 3 originals each for us. This second hour is just for fun! I find that for the up and coming artist that frequents marinas, bars, little festivals, etc. it can be hard to find a place to play their original music and really be heard. Original music is....well, original. Original means, "created directly and personally by a particular artist; not a copy or imitation". Whether it's an upbeat, fun, catchy tune, or a heartbreak ballad, a part of the artist went into that song. That's personal and should be valued and appreciated. I hope this part of The Collective grows into a ticketed show. For now, it's artists supporting artists. And that leads me to the very early on "why" I finally started this group after years of thinking about it.
Pretty early on in my music career journey, I thought it would be fun to have a songwriter's society or something like that. But the timing never felt right and I just didn't feel like I knew enough to head it up. So years went by and as I learned more and got more comfortable with day to day music business, my little agency grew and my artist roster grew. One day, in an attempt to fill a last minute cancellation, rather than individually texting each artist to see who was available, I sent out one group text to everyone. That resulted in the artists chatting and introducing themselves to each other over this text thread and it hit me that almost none of these artists knew each other! At the time, 75% of the artists all lived here in the Upper Cumberland. I couldn't believe they had never met. And that's when I knew it was time to start The Collective. It just killed me that these artists didn't have a hub of some kind to give them a place to network, grow, and learn together. And mainly, to celebrate and have fun together.
We are in our first year. It has been a great experience so far and each time I come away with that deep down feeling of joy and excitement. It's amazing when people come together around a shared passion.
Let's keep leaning in, together.