Tuesday, January 13, 2015

This Year: The indie artists year

It should be noted that I have an extreme softspot for the independent artist. I am always in awe of the kind of spirit it takes to not only write and produce your own songs, but to promote, brand, and manage yourself all while touring the country and somehow making a living. I am always fascinated to hear how the independent musician makes their way in the world.

It's no secret that one of those artists, JJ Heller, is a favorite of mine. Maybe it's because she learned to play the guitar at my alma mater, or she is a DIY queen, or can pull of short hair like nobody's business. Whatever it is, there is something that is quite magical about her. Even more magical, is the month that she is having.

After coming off of a long, and I am guessing probably exhausting, Christmas tour, she spent a little time celebrating Christmas with her family. On New Year's Eve, she and her husband Dave sat down and penned the most amazing song about starting the new year off right. On a whim, they decided to record a live video of them (in their entryway) singing it. I love an artist who is so excited about a piece of work they create that they simply cannot wait to share it. In 3 days, it went viral and over a million people watched it. What??? Yeah, it was that good.

Here's what I love about the rules of being an indie artist: there are none. So, she and Dave took to the studio JUST DAYS after the viral video and recorded it. Of course they added a cello piece that can make you melt into a pile on the floor and within a week of them writing a song in their livingroom, it was recorded and available. Not only that, but radio stations were calling and requesting it. For an indie artist that is HUGE. Usually they have to go door to door like traveling bible salesman to get radio stations to play their singles.

I think the thing that is so fascinating about her story is that in a matter of 3 weeks, an artist who works incredibly hard and is incredibly genuine  not only created an incredible song, but took a chance and shared it with the world. The results have been astounding. There was nothing commercial about her approach. It's certainly not the way a label would do things. It's the kind of art that we should be supporting more. Because what we support matters. It makes radio stations and executives take notice that we're fed up with over-produced and underwritten songs. That we want fresh perspectives and positivity out there. We want choices. JJ Heller is a voice for that; it's one of the many reasons why I love her. That and the fact that she can also be doing a giant entryway project in her home at the same time.

Here's the original video she posted (and her cute entryway). If you like the song, go purchase it on itunes and let's support the indie artists who are brave enough to challenge the system and make this year the best one yet for JJ.

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1 comment:

Tracey Jacobsen said...

She is really such a lovely person in real life too! I was with her when she was learning to play the guitar in Kenya!