Meet the little Monsters (Pt 2 Fear Series)


 March weekly series topic deals with “Fear” and how it relates to independent artists careers.

As human beings we all want to be acknowledged for our efforts as well as our triumphs.
 Parental support of our artistic pursuits is not common. Rather than live with the fear of not being taken seriously, or not taking ourselves seriously, many retreat into the shadows, behind barricades built by criticism, when these barricades are  left unattended they harden like little cement walls. These little cement blockades limit our creative growth, when the creative muse is trying to stretch.

Imagine that you live on a great big farm, in a comfortable home surrounded all around by land filled with many trees, thick brush, and heavy foliage. 

You have one long bike path that leads to the main highway, all along the path are these “cement barriers” along the route, making the path difficult to navigate. The path to the highway is much too long to walk, and riding a bike will insure that you get to the main path where the other "riders" are peddling along  down the street.

Learning to let yourself create is like learning to ride a bike, you start with baby steps to gain your confidence,  you learn balance, and technique, you pray that you avoid any obstacles along the way. You are learning, be patient and understand your initial efforts are not going to be masterpieces. Critics will unfairly judge your work against master artists, since that is what “they believe” to be the standard other artists are measured against.
Regardless, what level of success you achieve, the struggle continues.
Master artists struggle with pleasing their fan base, and satisfying their creative muse- Think about when  Bob Dylan went electric, or In this video clip where  Joni Mitchell shares some amazing insights on  Jimi Hendrix


Our Immediate family, fearful friends, spiritual & social communities all weigh in on what notions they “believe” are acceptable.  Each of us has beliefs,  Acceptance of the notions in our mind that something is true or real. 
Beliefs reflect an individuals “notions” about what it means to be a artist, It does not reflect FACT.

Each of us has  a internal dialog that tells us
  • I’m not good enough
  • I will hurt or embarrass my family and friends
  • I will be awful and look foolish
  • I don’t deserve to be successful
  • Artists are not successful = I won’t be successful
  • What if I run out of Ideas

Negative beliefs (notions/ NOT FACTS) keep you scared and stuck, they make you retreat and hide in a safe place, and not develop your skills to prepare you to succeed.


To create is part of who you are as a artist, your ability to adapt, and grow will be so much easier if you take the time to clear away the obstacles on your path.
 Each of us can work diligently to clear away the external blockades, and criticisms created by others, that can still leave quite a clutter behind,
Have you thought about the blockades and criticisms that you create?   The scary stuff that separates us from success is being brave enough to clean house INSIDE.

Want to test this out?   Get a blank sheet of paper, and a pen, on  the paper  write 5 times
My name is _______(write your name), I am a successful artist.
As you start writing, and re-writing the sentence, you’ll start to hear a internal dialog “no your not”  “Poser”   “Artist-Shmartist”, all kinds of nasty stuff comes up.
Remember you want to write 5 times “My name is _____(write your name), I am a successful artist”.  Also write down  all the negative stuff, the nasty little monsters that your head dreams up.  Don’t be shocked if there is really nasty things, your subconscious will attack everything, your sexuality, your spirituality, and anything in between

On a new sheet of paper list the negative beliefs that you noted in one column , in the next column, to the right of the “belief” note who said this in your life was it a parent, teacher, partner, friend? Then draw one more line to the write of the person, creating a 3rd column and next to the negative belief write a positive alternative.

Weed out the little monsters, from your victory garden.  Like a garden, from time to time the little monsters will still need  a little weeding out as part of ongoing garden time.
How does your garden grow? Do you have Little Monster you hear from a lot?

 Artist Master Class: Special Invitation:   
More info HERE:

In today's indie market there is TONS of competition. In today's economic market everyone is working harder for even less money. How do you capture the attention of hard working fans that may not even know you exist?

There are lots of ways to invest in your career that help you make meaningful progress toward growing your creative business.

Each month's Master-class topic is focused on helping you grow your creative business. You will be provided with a syllabus filled with exercises and strategies that are successfully used by top selling artists and businesses around the world, that you can apply directly to your creative business!

Visibility Master Class you will learn:

- Identify and Create multiple revenue streams
- How to increase your exposure
- Identify who your fans really are
- How to focus on WIIFTY (what is in it for them and you)
- Which Business partnerships pay off
- How you can use analytics to measure your growth.
-              Apply exercises directly to your business
At the completion of each module you are issued a Master Class Certificate of completion.
 At the end of 12 months you will have achieved Master Class status and receive a  MCC- Master Class Certification

-       Written monthly exercises keep you focused on the area of development, with the guidance of your business development executive and guest experts to educate, prepare, and mentor creative leaders in a safe encouraging creative environment.

Tamra Engle is a independent music business strategist based in the S.F. bay area she is available to help you manage your next project, for private consultations to help you develop your independent music business, or to  produce your next musical demo. You can read more about her,  and join her mailing list at  you can email her at

 More info HERE:

Growing our musical business- Coyote Grace interview

               Coyote Grace photo: by Libby Bulloff 2011 (c)

We often get so focused on what is in front of us, we don’t stop to savor the successes that have occurred along the way. I wanted to check in with musical friends and former clients Coyote Grace to share in their own words what tips and  secrets they use to support  their  growing musical business:
Key to Interview:
TE: Tamra Engle
CG: Coyote Grace
MTC=Michael Connolly

TE: Your music offers listeners the roots of down home Americana with a bit of a twist. To listeners who have never heard of CG how do you describe your musical style:

ING: This question is probably every artist’s least favorite question, but I’ll try to have fun answering it:  Imagine Gillian Welch and James Taylor have a one-night stand. Then, the unplanned kid is adopted by Indigo Girls, has crazy cat-lady Joni Mitchell for a nanny, and grows up playing with the neighbor kids, Nickel Creek. Eventually, it falls in love and runs away to elope genderbendy heart-throb, Girlyman.  That bastard lovechild is Coyote Grace.

TE: Are there any  “little known secrets” about the CG family that folks might not know that you don’t mind sharing?

ING: We started as a sweet heart duo. A lot of our fan base may not be hip to the fact that we are no longer romantically involved, but the chemistry and history is still there. We are still best of friends and family to each other. Another little known fact is that our great friend and long time musical collaborator Michael Connolly has been in the wings and behind the scenes since the band’s beginnings. A man of many talents, we are honored to have him as a full time band member now (and in on this interview as well!).

TE: You began your career as buskers in Pike Place Market in Seattle in 2004, and recently you completed tours with the Indigo Girls and Girlyman. What unexpected lessons did you learn from working with these bands that have helped you develop your creative business?
ING: Touring with the Indigo Girls and Girlyman has given us the opportunity to attune our stage show for bigger venues and larger crowds -  from longer more involved sound checks to appealing to a crowd of hundreds as opposed to a packed pub.

Joe: Also, we’ve learned to not make fun of the sounds guys.  They are      god.

MTC:  Lessons of the road: It’s hard to keep up with a van driver that sleeps all day and drives all night. We are our own roadies.

TE: I understand you broke record sales for a opening band touring with the Indigo Girls?  Congratulations! Were you prepared for the increased demand of your merch inventory?  If not how did you handle it?

ING: We had reinforcements in the inventory department at home - aka MOM and DAD.
Joe: One time, we ran out of credit card slips and went to a Home depot to see if they had any on hand. That huge corporate store didn’t have any, but the hot dog vendor guy outside did.
MTC: It was his last day working there, so he freely gave them to us. Even though they were covered in hot dog grease, we were happy to take them.

TE: It is a really tough time economically & personally for artists establishing and growing their music business- Have you have to change how you do things as a result of the economic climate?

JOE:  Not really. The biggest impact we’ve seen at our level of the music industry is that quite a few of the venues in our circuit are closing. We’ve been able to find shows elsewhere, but it’s sad to see these sweet places go.

TE: What is the most important lesson you have learned about building the CG music business that prepared you for touring with larger touring acts.

ING:  Showing up is half the battle. Just keeping at it when others started to give up life on the road has seriously contributed to our success.

MTC: In 2008, we played a single show opening Indigo Girls in Seattle, and after that, we didn’t know what the next step would be. Two years later, Amy & Emily asked us to do a string of 3 tours with them all over the country, which was a slow but natural progression from playing that first show with them.

JOE :  But during that 2-year gap, we just kept doing what we do - playing shows, increasing our fan base in different cities and writing new songs till the right opportunity presented itself. They knew we were still out there and the buzz about us was growing in lots of grassroots communities.

TE: It seems like you are always on the road touring nationally.
Keeping balance in relationships  & routines is pretty hard when your on the road. Do you have tricks that you use to help you stay healthy and centered day to day?

Joe : Emergen-C emergen-C emergen-C  and try to get enough sleep!

ING: Small routines, no matter how trivial they are, help provide a sense of familiarity when you wake up in a different place every day. I bring my loose leaf tea and travel mug. And the nightstand beside whatever random bed I’m sleeping in looks exactly the same each night.

Joe: Yeah, I bring my house slippers on tour.

MTC: Knowing coffee will happen in the morning keeps me from feeling homesick.

ING: We also try and make sure our tours are no longer than 2 weeks because we really value home time and having a balance between home and tour.

TE:  Thank you for sharing your tips for growing your creative musical business.
Readers, we would love to hear what tips and tricks do you use to help you keep balance in your relationships and routines in the comment section below.
COYOTE GRACE: Backstage rehearsal w/ Indigo Girls and Julie Wolf
Video used by permission via: Coyote Grace

Buy this terrific CD!   

LINK: to video of green room jam w/ Indigo Girls

Picture Coyote Grace –4 © 2011 by Libby Bulloff.

LINK: to video of green room jam w/ Indigo Girls
Picture Coyote Grace –4 © 2011 by Libby Bulloff.
Video & Link used by permission Coyote Grace 2011
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