Alarke (Mary Alouette) talks about how to get superfans and how to be clear and direct with your fans in asking for what you need. She shares how her fans have shown up for her when she needed them most through Crowdfunding campaigns and private patronage.
She started her musical journey 28 years ago professionally through various daycare centers, which her parents got her into. She also did music theater professionally and eventually got into opera singing. She studied at the Schulich School of Music at McGill University in Montreal in Canada. Being in the opera took her to sing in Italy, Austria and Canada. She did some performances at the Kennedy Center and Carnegie Hall, but it wasn’t for her. She had some successes but also a lot of resistance.
That time, she then decided to fulfill her childhood dream of being a singer in New York City. She fell into singing gypsy jazz through a Craigslist ad. Alarke shares that getting into a highly specialized niche is profitable. A lot of people have it at their weddings, a lot of hot French jazz in jazz clubs, restaurants, bar scenes, and concerts.
Apart from having financial success, she attracted private patrons and crowdfunding for her music that would support my art without asking for anything in return. She was so grateful.
She also wanted to do electronic music but she didn’t know how to do it. She persevered through numerous interviews to get an audio apprenticeship at a boutique music studio in New York, where I would apprentice under producers who would produce ASAP Rocky. She was learning as she go. She learned a lot and made a lot of great connections.
She started producing and releasing her original music that combines electronic and jazz. She won awards. She was still doing gypsy jazz that time, but realized it was stiffling her growth. She eventually had to make a choice for her self-worth and self-esteem.
She started teaching more. She’s been teaching for fifteen years now. She took off gypsy jazz from her main income, free up her time and taught online. She also invested in herself and got mentorship from her life and business coach, Gina DeVee.
She applied to artists’s residences for validation and got one, a Brooklyn Arts Council, but not the big international one she wanted. She grew tired of playing small and holding herself back. She went on a month-long solo retreat in Cuba. There, she wrote an album, hired a six-piece band to record it, collaborated with some American filmmakers and music producers who went down to Cuba. They worked with Cuban hip-hop artists. She performed with them, collaborated on their albums and a documentary film. It was incredible.
Her next goal was to be in a Greek island for a month. Through word of mouth, she got a call out of the blue to volunteer at a refugee camp in Greece with this particular Broadway film and TV, talent and crew to be the music director. She immediately said yes. They put on an Arabic production of Shakespeare with a Syrian film star that the people all knew and loved. She ended up traveling The Greek islands for two weeks. It was another big turning point for Alarke.
After that, she decided to commit to her original music. She released four albums at that time and collaborated on others. Her collaboration with someone did not work out, so she decided to produce her own music. She hired mentors for accountability and she’s now been releasing those singles.
During the time she was doing gypsy jazz, people came up to her offering crowdfunding campaigns with private patronage. They happen through gigging. Some would stumble into a gig, love her music, talk and stay in contact. If she needed money for a project, she’d be nervous to email them but she would. They would say yes, and there was a semi a project budget. She’ll get it together since she wasn’t that organized that time.
Alarke did her crowdfunding through her email list and personal outreach. She’s done four crowdfunding campaigns — one on Kickstarter, GoFundMe, two on Indiegogo. She hired someone to help her strategize it more. They worked with spreadsheets. They would go through strategy months out in advance. This is after you do the budget, after the creative vision. Start with why. People are connecting to the story why you’re doing something.
She hired a VA to help her get organized, especially with details like shipping costs, etc. She hired someone because she valued her time. In terms of outreach, they created spreadsheets with three circles of influences – first is family and friends; second includes gig buddes, music friends and superfans; then the third circle are acquaintances and some friends. You need to have multiple days of authentic conversation.
Some of the cool perks she offered around the $100 mark includes a meditation station, and also a journal. She writes a little personalized note and physical copies of a CD. She’s also done jewelry, tees and hoodies and other merch.
She did offer non-physical products but people haven’t really bought those. She offered executive producer credits for $1000 and above depending on the campaign. One of the private patrons bought those. Alarke shares, “It comes down to me communicating the value of it. I offered my artists coaching, but no one bought it through that. That’s okay for me because I earn more money through direct sales than through Indiegogo taking a fee.” Of the different crowdfunding platforms. she likes GoFundMe because you’re not held to necessarily fulfill any perks.
Mary has settled in performing electronic dance-pop under her artist name Alarke. She also has a workshop where she helps other emerging and professional female artists in pop and electronic music find their signature sound and their true voice. Her free workshop can be found at FindYourSignatureSound.com. Members will go through ten steps to writing songs that you love, authentic to you, and that you can use for building your music career. It’s an accelerator combining the singing songwriting, music business for branding and finding what makes you, create your own niche. She also has SetYourLifeToMusic.com/signaturesound to help others with personal growth and spiritual elements that are crucial for getting out of your way. She also has a new branding on SupremeSound.life.
Find Mary on Instagram as @Alarke. You can also go to SupremeSound.life on Instagram or her Facebook community at SupremeSound.life.
This episode was previously featured on the Profitable Musician Show.
Links mentioned in this episode: