So, you’re an independent musician. I bet you’ve got a new single coming out soon! You’re going to want to get that single reviewed on all the hottest blogs, and maybe even submitted to some bigger publications too. Let’s talk about how to pitch your music for review.
WHAT SHOULD YOU SEND TO BLOGGERS?
- Your song! This can be either on Soundcloud or on a cloud server (I recommend Dropbox). You can include it as an attachment to your email if you want – preferably either in mp3 or wav format – but bear in mind some bloggers will prefer not to have to download to listen.
- Your story! Tell me a little bit about you – where are you from? Who are your biggest influences? What are your greatest career achievements to date? It’s all about the song, of course, but YOU are the human interest aspect. It’s always a lot easier to write a review of a song if I know who the artist is. If you’re sharing an EPK or a bio page on your website, make sure it’s up-to-date – if it’s not, it reflects badly on you AND makes us share inaccurate information about you.
- Your artwork! Some bloggers might not need or want this, but for reviews here at Three Chords, I put your artwork in my review template graphic which is shared across our social media channels too. It helps me to recognise your song, and it will help other people too. It’s also another great way for you to share your creative vision. I would always recommend including it in your press pack.
- Tell me about the song you’re sending me – what do you want people to take away from it? Why did you write it? Is there a cool story about its origins? Similar to the previous point, writing a review is so much easier if I know what the song is about. All of this info helps me connect with your music.
- Your links – website, social media, merch store or anything else you have – and if you have a pre-save/pre-order set up for the song, send that too! How else do your new fans connect with you?!
- Pertinent dates – a release date for the single, any dates for any upcoming EP/album releases, any upcoming performances/online streams within a reasonable timeframe (and links to where people can buy tickets or tune in online).
TIMING IS EVERYTHING
- Particularly if you’re hoping to drum up interest in a release, it’s always a good idea to give the media plenty of time to work with your music. Not only does this mean they have enough time to write reviews in time for your release day, but they can help you generate pre-saves and pre-orders, too! Many bloggers and other online publications will schedule articles weeks – or more – in advance, so it’s always a good idea to get in touch as soon as you can, rather than just a day or two before your release. Otherwise, you may be waiting weeks (or more) for reviews!
- Know who you’re approaching! Even if you can’t find a person’s name, it’s always good practice to know who you’re emailing (note the publication by name) so you don’t ask a blogger to play a song on a radio show they don’t host.
- Send your emails individually. There’s nothing more ego-deflating than seeing you’ve been included in a “hi everyone” email sent to 70+ people – especially when that email asks for radio play and your hands are tied. Take the time to send an email individually to everyone. You’re sharing your new music with them and trusting them with something you’ve worked super hard on! Make us feel like we’re special for receiving it. As bloggers, our egos are very delicate.
- It’s good practice to keep track of who you’ve sent your press release to, and who has responded with a review (or whatever else you’re asking for). It doesn’t have to be anything more than a sheet of paper with names and check marks on it – but it’ll stop you from contacting the same person multiple times, or chasing up something you’ve already received.
UK-based artist Patrick Jordan is proving himself to be a jack of all trades. Following a successful career as a producer for a number of artists (including Chloe Chadwick), he has turned his hand to a solo career of his own. He’s seen even more success here, having released his music to critical acclaim and gained support from BBC radio and Spotify Editorial playlists. Holding On For Yesterday is the lead single from his forthcoming second album and is due for release on 16th October.
Jordan has a phenomenal voice. It’s rich, raw and gravelly – it’s the kind of voice that makes you drop everything and listen. Holding Out For Yesterday has a great, 70s rock n roll inspired vibe with heavily guitar-driven melodies. The Bob Dylan-esque harmonica is a nice touch and adds a little vulnerability to the song. This is upbeat country-rock at its finest.
I Drink Whiskey is the surprise follow-up to Halle Kearns’ hugely anticipated debut Pick Me Up released earlier this summer. It’s another slickly-produced country-pop bop showcasing Halle’s smart lyrics and mature vocal delivery. It’s full of layered guitars with a classic country-pop sound. This is a different side to Halle. In Pick Me Up, she was ready and waiting for – you guessed it – a pick me up. This time, though, she’s singing you know I love you but you drive me crazy. It’s softer, a little deeper, a little more earnest and emotional. As an independent artist, this sophomore single cements Halle’s position as one of the best. She’s got it all.
There’s nothing I love more than a celebration of girl power – especially when it manifests as women celebrating women. So I’m SO excited that you’ve chosen miss independent as our 25th weekly playlist! This has been so much fun to put together.
The one thing I really wanted to focus on in this collection was lyrical content. I wanted these songs to reflect a celebration of self and a true sense of empowerment, as opposed to being “yay women, boo men”. This is a playlist I truly adore, and one I’ve listened to myself on repeat, just because these fantastic women have empowered me. I hope they empower you too.
Let’s talk about highlights. I want to single out Miss Me More because it could so easily be a ‘better without you’ anthem – but it’s so much more than that. It’s a true celebration of being unapologetically you – and changing for absolutely no one.
Ladies In The 90s is a modern classic. It’s everything you want in a song about women – it’s got that perfect singalong chorus, it’s got lipstick and high heels, and it’s about women empowering women.
My final highlight this week is My Hallelujah Song because it’s such an exuberant, unabashed celebration of being exactly who and where you are.
Check out the full playlist here.
Over to you! What are YOUR favourite empowerment anthems? What are your highlights from my playlist this week? I always love to hear from you, so get in touch and let me know your thoughts! Don’t forget, you can always suggest your own playlist themes here!
Following an award-winning year in 2019, Diamonds and Whiskey are back with Wasted On Your Love recorded live at The Playroom in Charlotte, North Carolina. The song is the second track on their debut album released last November.
This live rendition is absolutely beautiful. Featuring an emotive vocal performance, subtle harmonies, a simple electric guitar and some light percussion, this is one of the most heart-wrenching singles of the year. This release treats us to a whole new facet of this hell-raising band, who usually tear up the stage with their bluesy country-rock. It’s a tale of heartache and leaving love behind, and it really does tug on the heartstrings. Hell-raiser? This time, it’s heart-breaker.
UK-based Stevie Daniels is set to release his highly-anticipated debut single on Friday 25th September 2020. Down By The River is a song born from thoughts of rivers, flooding and the destruction of riverbanks, which soon became a metaphor for alcohol abuse.
Although this is his debut, Daniels is certainly no stranger to the scene. Earlier this year he was a finalist for best original song at the SW20 Country Music Festival. He recently organised the ‘Saloony Tune’ Festival alongside Jamie Mongardi.
This song has great pace – it’s absolutely perfect for a driving playlist. It boasts a lovely traditional country vibe in terms of the musicianship, but the lack of clarity in the vocal production suffers lets the song down. Still, there’s tremendous potential here for Stevie, who is wildly talented – I’d love to see more boundaries pushed in the next record.
Following her previous single Get Wild, Donna Marie brings This World to the table. This World is different from the typical country music subject matter, says Donna. The lyrics highlight many of the problems created by humanity. The song was recorded during lockdown and showcases Donna not only as a fantastic singer-songwriter but as a talented multi-instrumentalist and producer.
This World is heavily guitar-driven, and Donna’s mature, earnest vocal delivery tugs at the heartstrings. It’s not as simple as a criticism of the way we’ve treated our planet. It’s a desperate plea to do better and to make amends. It could be an allegory for a fractured relationship or broken friendship – that’s the power and relatability of Donna’s writing. This song could be easily interpreted to suit almost anything you want it to.
As a member of THE SONGS AND STORIES COLLECTIVE alongside Tennessee Twin and Sarah Yeo, Donna released a cover of Humble and Kind during lockdown. Get Wild was chosen as record of the week by Country Radio UK and Nashville Sessions on Jorvik Radio. It also featured on our Girls’ Night playlist.
We caught up with New Mexico-native Teagan Stewart to talk about her upcoming EP – and of course, we had to ask about #whatmadeyoucountry!
When I was 11 or 12, I wrote a journal entry in a notebook at school why country music is the best genre and my favorite. That notebook is still in a drawer at my parent’s house and I remember how funny I found it 12 years later – way too self-assured, but passionate and still true to how I feel about country music today. Country music is storytelling, above all else. It is wordy and detailed and complicated. It’s not distilled in a pure, simplistic form, like pop. Country is full of character in the way the instruments are played and the way it’s sung. It’s sometimes full of satire, self-deprecation, and larger-than-life characters. Other times, it’s a confession, loneliness, and one acoustic guitar. I love that country music has such a broad range of topics (being a child of divorce, to meeting a homeless man who was a war veteran, to relishing the view of your front porch looking in) and that alone makes me feel like I will never get tired of listening to or exploring country music.
I definitely can’t remember the first country song I ever heard, since my parents had it on the radio since I was little! I do remember I got a CD/radio player in my room when I was about 11 and that jumpstarted my voracious clip of consuming country. I don’t remember (the first gig) with accuracy. Every summer starting in elementary/middle school, my parents would buy the “Megaticket” to the amphitheater where all the country acts rolled through. I saw everyone, from Brooks & Dunn to Tim McGraw to Miranda Lambert. There was a time, probably in 2009, where I had seen, either as an opener or headliner, nearly every single country artist who was on the radio, big or small. Those concerts solidified my passion for country music, for sure. The feeling of standing on the grass, singing out loud, the drums pumping through the ground and the guitars wailing… There was nothing else like it.
The one artist that inspired me most is Carrie Underwood. There was no one else I listened to most as a kid. Her voice, her storytelling, and her ability to navigate the music industry after her win was so inspirational to me and I was hooked. I even remember her playing her first tour after Idol at the New Mexico State Fair and prefacing “Before He Cheats” with “I’m not actually that kind of person!” I feel like I grew with her and there’s truly no other artist like her.
If I could only listen to one country album for the next decade, it would be Own the Night, Lady Antebellum (the real Lady A is blues artist Anita White). Already one decade down!
I would sing The Night Before (Life Goes On) as a challenge to my middle school self to see if I could hold those high notes (I couldn’t) and push the limits of my range. I also sang it back when I was a kid who had only dreamed of what love might feel like, all the way through my first boyfriend and first kiss, until the subject matter of the song finally caught up to my life and I broke up with a boyfriend the summer before I left for college.
Good Directions is one of my favorite songs. I love the simple story of it and how the chorus moves the story along. I love the instrumentation and the hillbilly-vibe. Will always be one of my favorite songs.
Making Memories of Us is perhaps my favorite love song of all time and often moves me to tears. It is the pinnacle of what true love means to me and few songs have ever made me feel like this one does.
Gunpowder & Lead is super memorable in pop culture, but for me, it represented a grit and fierceness I didn’t find when I listened to anything else. While owning and brandishing a gun to kill an abusive boyfriend doesn’t relate to me in any real way (especially not as a child), the brazenness and “give no f***s” attitude was something I immediately respected and felt was true to the kinds of songs I wanted to sing.
I love Gary LeVox’s voice and it was a game changer in country music, I think. To have those kinds of pop runs, high range, and expressionistic voice dominating the song and still be country. I love the lyrics and the imagery of Fast Cars and Freedom. I’ve never once heard it and not immediately been transported to a road trip with crisp, morning air.