#110 | Spotlight: Kim Bingham | The Rock/Star Advocate

Suz is a mindset coach for music industry professionals looking to gain clarity on their goals & find a better work/life balance.

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#110 | MusicPreneur Spotlight: Kim Bingham

A journey woman & her 6 strings.

Suz digs in with her long-time client and award-winning Paris-based Canadian musician, Kim Bingham, to discuss her extraordinary journey through the music industry and what her latest chapter holds for her and her fans.

Six strings have never failed me, like for my whole life, it’s always been my go-to, consolation, best friend, accompaniment and all of that. So at the end of the day, that’s what I’m really all about.

You’re listening to Episode 110 of the MusicPreneur Mindset Podcast.


Hello! You’re listening to Episode 110: MusicPreneur Spotlight: Kim Bingham.


I’m your host, Suz, a mindset + productivity coach helping music professionals get clear on their goals, priorities, and next steps all while decreasing overwhelm and avoiding burnout.


This episode is brought to you by my weekly accountability and monthly coaching program, Rock/Star Slackers™. Slackers was created to get you focused on what matters and overcome the pesky perfectionism, controlling comparison paralysis, and Debbie downer moments that keep you from crossing off tasks on your todo list.


This supportive, focused community is hosted on Slack® where you can be as involved or as fly-on-the-wall as you’d like to be while still getting the most from our intentional structure. For less than $1.50/day you can begin to expand your team, plus have a coach in your pocket when you need extra guidance. If you’re new to coaching and want to see what it’s all about before jumping in full-force or simply need that extra support to keep you on track as you go about your day, Slackers was designed with you in mind!


Every membership comes with a FREE Rock/Star Life Planner, access to our weekly planning calls and a Slackers Only webpage with exclusive tools + bonuses. With multiple types of membership, there’s a level for everyone! Visit the show notes page, www.therockstaradvocate.com/ep110 for more info. Hope to see you in Slack!


Speaking of Rock/Star Slackers™, I want to introduce you to one of our fellow Slackers, Kim Bingham. She is a Canadian singer-songwriter, guitarist, vocalist, and composer, known for her collaborations as guitarist and background/featured vocalist with Nelly Furtado, Bran Van 3000 and David Usher. She began her career as a member of the Montreal, Quebec third-wave ska band Me Mom and Morgentaler in 1990, known for their elaborate live performances and vaudevillian-styled performance art, and released three records between 1991 and 1994.


She then moved to Vancouver and formed the solo project Mudgirl, based on the title of a short story she wrote based on a surreal extension of herself. Her 1996 five-song debut included three radio hits “This Day,” “Adjusted,” and “Contact.” After 5 years as a Mudgirl, Kim decided to change the name of her collective to “The Kim Band” and released the successful album “Girlology,” produced by Steven Drake and featured “Quel Dommage,” the French version of her radio hit, “What A Drag,” reaching No.1 on French-Canadian radio charts.


She composed the soundtrack for the Canadian TV trilogy, Les Invincibles, and won the Best Theme Song award with the theme song “The Heroes Take,” with co-writer and show creator Jean-Francois Rivard. Kim performed and produced the soundtrack album to “Les Invincibles” under Warner Music Canada and released the French-language mini-album “Intermede” with Canadian label Musik 2 Musik, and in 2008 she headlined in front of 140,000 spectators at the Montreal Jazz Festival.


In May of 2012 she released her album “UP!,”on her indie label Mudgirl Music Group. The stop-motion animation video for the single of the same name won the Best Video award at the 2013 Independent Music Awards. In January 2019, the albums other single, “Bel Ami,” was chosen as the theme song for the US TV series “Good Trouble.” Later that summer, Kimreleased her first English-Italian single, “Beppe Green,” garnering the #5 position of the Top
100 Songs of the year from Bombshell Radio.


I began working with Kim right before lockdown started in March of 2020. Watching her make the most of her circumstances while showing herself grace and prioritizing her self-care was. inspiring. She’s got a great outlook on her growth as an artist with so much ahead of her, but Iasked her to come on the podcast to share what she’s learned so far after all she’s accomplished so that you can learn a few things that may move you further along in your career. So let’s get into it, here is my conversation with Kim Bingham…


Suz: So hello, Kim, how are you?


Kim: I’m doing fine. Thank you for having me! How are you?

Suz: Good! Thanks so much for being here. So I told our listeners all about your extensive experience as a singer-songwriter, guitarist, producer, told them all about Mudgirl and The Kim Band, but I want our listeners to hear from you, what would you like our listeners to know about Kim Bingham?


Kim: Well, I’ve recently been called a journey woman, which I thought was like Johnny Cash, but in a female way, and I thought that was kind of cool. So yeah, was a songwriter first, you know, some girls have things for handbags, which I do, but I have a thing for guitars, so that’s what I tend to collect.


You know, six strings have never failed me, like for my whole life, it’s always been my go-to, consolation, best friend, accompaniment and all of that. So at the end of the day, that’s what I’m really all about.


Also I think one of the things you can say as far as being an artist today, is that actually, because I remember analog tape and analog recording, it’s actually just being an evolving artist in the 21st century and moving into the new music business and how to navigate all of that as an independent artist.


Suz: I love the way you said, “Six strings have never failed me.” That’s beautiful. You’ve accomplished so much. You’ve done so many different things in your career. You’ve worked with some of the top, top people in the business. You’ve had sync-licensing success. You’ve toured, you’ve done solo, you’ve done band… there’s so many things that you’ve done. Is there something that stands out to you the most in terms of your career thus far? Is there something where you look back and went, “I did that, like, wow.” Is there something that stands out most
to you?


Kim: I mean, there are individual cool moments. Like, for example, when I was on tour with Nelly Furtado and we were playing at BBC and we went live on BBC Radio 1, and we’re at the studios in London at the BBC, and I’m starting off the song and the countdown goes on the red light on the wall in this really amazing space.


It’s just totally magical. You feel like you’re Alice in Wonderland going through the looking glass or down the rabbit hole. It’s so amazing to be there. And they’re like, “It’s all on you. One. Two.Three. Four. Don’t fuck it up!” and that’s exhilarating.

Doing stuff on the other side, as a fan, you’re watching Top of the Pops, stuff like Letterman or Leno and all of that and Madonna is there and that kind of stuff’s fun. But then there’s also just the recurring moments in your life that you’re able to be a part of, this musical journey of the communion that you have with live audiences, and that’s actually been a real throughline for my career.


Whomever I’ve been playing with, whether it’s my own project I’m leading, or it’s my first band, Me Mom and Morgentaler, or I’m doing session work and playing with other people or just guesting. It’s always that live experience and that communal feeling of everybody’s all together and we’re on this ride.


That is the most amazing feeling, regardless of the size of the audience. If it’s a small packed club with a couple of hundred people or you’re playing an arena and it’s a few thousand or over a hundred thousand in the case when I was playing with Bran Van at the Montreal Jazz Festival, and you have all these people with their hands over their heads that are tapping along with you.


Being a part of that feeling is really the most amazing thing. It’s beautiful. I’m looking forward to getting back to that.

Suz: That’s amazing. So I know for artists when they’re first starting out and they think of all the things that they think they need to accomplish, or that need to happen, and they hold on to maybe one or two specific goals, has there been anything that you look back on where you’re like, “Oh, I thought that would be the thing. That was the only thing I was working towards,” and was it different? Was there anything that you set out to accomplish and once you did, did it feel different? Either worse or better or whatever, but did it surprise you how it felt once you accomplished it?


Kim: When I started off in my first solo project, after I left my first band, Me Mom and Morgentaler, I started off as Mudgirl and I did a demo tape. I recorded some songs after meeting the band and it started to create a real splash in the music industry in Canada, where I’m from and where I was based at the time. And then it reverberated out into the west coast in LA. And I was getting to visit a lot of really big label people and producers that are working with
Alanis Morissette, or they went on to work with Katy Perry and all of that.


And then I would see my friends who were signed, or people in my life and fellow musicians who were having the label experience and it’s a roller coaster ride and it’s not necessarily as… I mean, it gives you a lot of credibility, but as an artist to have that signed support, I noticed that none of them really enjoyed it as much as you’d think – even if they were having Billboard success and stuff.


So that was definitely something, I mean, I could see how the gears turned on a major label, international pop star way when I was working with Nelly Furtado and we would have to change plans on the spin of a dime because the single was breaking in Spain and we were supposed to be in LA to do NBA finals show or something like that.


The choices were always changing you were just chasing smoke to the fire always, and it’s really demanding. And in the end, when you are in that position all those people are really counting on you, right? So you gotta be ready for it. And that’s definitely something that I’ve observed. I’ll add in one other thing, a friend of mine who was in some pretty famous bands, her name is Melissa Auf de Maur, we share the same birthday, we’re from the same hometown, we’ve known each other for a while, and I just admire her what she’s doing in the Hudson Valley from afar. But she once said to me, “I wish you as much success as you can handle,” you know, and this is someone that had been in Hole and Smashing Pumpkins and seeing all those people in that environment, in that sphere.


So I think that that’s really my long story answer to your question is it’s not all what it appears.


Suz: That’s a powerful statement, “Wish you all the success that you can handle.” One hundred percent. You’ve had some amazing success, I mean, number one on the French Canadian radio, you’ve won awards for your theme songs for TV. I’m curious, is there a difference writing songs and then that excitement of hearing them on the radio, but then also writing for TV or film and in that sync world, is there a different approach there?


Is there a different kind of excitement to it? Or is it still, “This is my music and it’s getting out there and it’s just exciting.” Is there a different feeling in those two worlds, radio vs. TV and film?


Kim: There is a different feeling. I mean, when it’s radio or when you’re writing for yourself and your own singles, your own releases, that’s your voice unadulterated. You have control over how that all sounds and how it’s all going out to people, and its presentation and everything.

In TV, or when you’re commissioned to write for other projects, as I was, you’re dressing up the narrative that someone’s presented to you, that the director and the writers and the actors have presented to you, and then you’re sonically narrating the story. So you’re part of a larger group of people that are creating this whole universe, and it’s different. It’s definitely different.


When I was approached by the creator of the Television show, Les Invincibles, which I wrote the three seasons of the series out of Montreal. He told me, “This show’s about four guys, these four friends, and I wanted a female voice. And your musical voice is going to be this other character in the show.”


So I was writing from that perspective, he gave me some of the direction and that’s how I was doing it. When I was doing my own records, which having this contract facilitated my being able to record my own independent stuff too. At the time, I was definitely expressing everything that I wasn’t doing on the show, I was doing that way, so it’s definitely two different approaches.


Suz: It’s so fascinating to me because you’re from Canada. You also live in Paris now. You’ve recorded songs in Italian, in French, in English. What do you find most exciting about having all these tools at your disposal in terms of being able to reach different audiences and being able to sing in different languages? When you’re writing a song what makes you decide, “Okay, I’m going to record this in a particular language,” or, “I’m going to record this in multiple languages.”


Is it because it’s a specific project, or is it the type of song because it’ll work well with different markets? What is the thought process there?


Kim: From the get-go, my first band, which was Me Mom and Morgentaller, we were based out of Montreal, all like high school, college kids that got together for the school variety show and we were the big hit, so we decided we’d continue. That’s literally how it was. Of course, the McGill student union ballroom didn’t want us back any more cause we totally did wreck the place, but our fellow students loved it but from the get go, yeah, so we’re a multicultural band.

And in that band, there was an Argentinian, Chilean, Jamaican, German and all this immigrant children, melting pot kind of thing happening in Canada.

So we were singing in Spanish, we were singing in English and French in the band, and we were always asked, “Is this a put on?” I was like, “No, this is authentically our backgrounds. We speak these languages.”


So for me, it’s always been a natural outgrowth of just my upbringing. I’ve been speaking French since I was three. kindergarten was in French for me. I was speaking English and Ukrainian at home, and then I had an Italian boyfriend for four years and I was spending a lot of time in Italy. So writing “Beppe Green,” which is in English and in Italian was a natural thing for me. And sometimes it is that the music would lend itself to a particular language or there’s certain things that you just want to express.


I have the privilege and the gift of being able to express myself in different languages, so sometimes it’s the music or the inspiration that just drives me in one language or another. It’s just challenging yourself, following inspiration and just being authentic about it.


Suz: That’s really awesome. Now that we’ve kind of touched upon all of the things that you’ve accomplished. I want to talk about the here and now. Here’s where you are now. Last year, as it is a surprise to nobody, everybody’s plans kind of went on, hold, went out the window, went up in flames, all different iterations. People’s plans, basically just didn’t go the way they planned.


My question to you is how do you feel last year was for you in terms of your career? Did it feel like a pause and an uproot that just threw you for a loop? Where are you now?


Kim: Sure. I think I have to go a little bit back before COVID hit and lock down. So basically end of February/March, 2020 to kind of give some context to where my head space was at at that point. I was just looking at trying to organize my plans of what I wanted to do. I’d just released the “Beppe Green” single the summer before and that was good.


And I was just getting singles out and I wanted to get it in a more structured way in my life, because I was just doing that every few months and I wanted to get it rolling in a more organized way.


So I was thinking of what my dad had always said, “Well, you know, the biggest athletes in the world have coaches,” and I’ve always been looking at whatever kind of self-help development to see if there’s anything I can glean from it to help my organizational skills. So anyway, that’s how actually I came in touch with you, was that I had done some research as to people I was interested in working with and right around the time, right before lockdown was when I got in touch with you about the things that I wanted to do that probably wouldn’t be affected by anything else, either. It was really just up to me and being on my computer or creating things in my own space on my time and how I was going to be able to do this now and then navigating lockdown and that all just started to become a whole wash, like for everybody.


And to be honest with you, Suz, the guidance that I had with you through that time was invaluable and really was over the last year, I have been able to produce what it is that I wanted to do, but it really was of course, your great help, but also because at the root of it, I knew that it was going to be up to me regardless of what else was going on in the world.

That was the main thing and that it was really important to me and that whatever time it was going to take that was the time I was going to give it. There’s one thing that, if you want to look for a silver lining out of all of this for artists, it’s that maybe it did eliminate deadlines for a lot of us.


And that we were able to refine, evolve, review our projects or ways of working, what we wanted to do and rethink our approaches. And I know that I was open to doing all of that over the lockdown time, And I think I’ve come out a lot more organized, better structured. I’m on my sea legs on Patreon right now. But you know, that’s something I talked about with you over a year ago and here I am with it up and running, so it’s been a productive time.


Suz: Yeah. I mean, I have to say it’s been a pleasure working with you, but as you said this is you. I think coaches are helpful. I’ve had plenty of past episodes where I’ve said it’s important to ask for help, but it’s up to you to do the work. And it’s really been a true pleasure watching you put in the work and show up for yourself because that’s the biggest piece of it.


You’re going to tackle doubts. You’re going to tackle frustrations. As you said before the deadlines have gone away, but it’s also still managing the weight of the pandemic and managing the, “Yes, I have all this time, but wow, there’s also a lot of weighty things that I have not had to grapple with that now the pandemic has brought to the forefront.”

So, what I saw a lot of last year with artists was this double-edged sword, where they were hearing like, “Oh my God, look at all the free time you have now to create!” and then you’d see people point out, “Well, what free time?”


Going to the grocery store now takes twice as long because then you’re wiping things down, and then sometimes we’ll just be sitting there paralyzed with fear and doubts and overwhelming thoughts and reflections. And you know, all of this stuff takes up time. So I think it’s been an interesting journey, I know for myself and for all of the artists that I’ve watched in this past year grapple with like, “What is time? And what does time management really mean? And how much time do I need to give myself for certain things?”


And as you said, finding the silver lining in that I think is really important where it’s like, “Okay, you know what? It takes how long it’s going to take. I am here for it. I’m going to examine it and play with it and grow within it.”


And I think that that is a huge reason why you’ve been able to accomplish what you wanted to accomplish. I just think that that is such a great mindset to have, so thank you for sharing that.

Kim: Yeah. You’re welcome. I mean, I would say that during this whole lockdown period, I did have the attitude of, you know, whatever leaders of countries were saying, “This is a war. We’re at war with this invisible enemy.”


That might’ve been a little part of the mindset too. If we want to get really down deeper into it, when I think about how my European family was affected by the second World War and I just remember stories about my great-grandparents and you know, that, that was when they buckled down and got frugal, that’s when they started working the hardest, that’s when they started making the most of everything that they had and being really scrappy and I was like, “You gotta be a little bit like that.”


I think situations like these can bring out the best and the worst in us. And I’ve just been fortunate enough to have enough of a positive, optimistic mindset and enough of a sense of discipline or routine to just keep things going, fresh and productive.


So I got a new website, right? What else did I do? I also had a virtual assistant help me on a bunch of tasks, establishing all of my PRO stuff and song registration – admin things that I hadn’t looked at in years. I was like, “I have to get all this stuff straight.” Getting the Patreon together, learning how to livestream – these things I hadn’t done before, so that’s what I spent this past year doing and, I think I’m all the better for it.


Suz: Absolutely. One of the things I love when you said, you know, getting scrappy and making things work and making the best out of them, this was so exciting for me to witness in the moment and people really only got to see the finished product, but I would love for you to share the story of “Sweet Irene” and how your COVID-19 2020 music video for “Sweet Irene” came about because it was so inventive and it’s so cool to watch. And the link to that, you guys is in the show notes, please, please go watch it. It is fascinating, but it’s also really cool when you kind of know the backstory and what that process was like, so can you share a little bit about the “Sweet Irene” journey?


Kim: Sure, sure. With pleasure. So me and the director, Jolyon White, had been talking about doing a video for “Sweet Irene” and it was like six months before COVID hit. And he had gotten the production studio and crew and everybody together, and I just remember being in London in February with them and we were finalizing all the plans and then the next month COVID hit, and it was like, “We’ll just see how this virus plays out.”


And of course we all know what happened, but about three months later, he contacted me and said, “I have an idea if you want to do the ‘Sweet Irene’ video we can do it long distance, and this is the concept: We can do it with Instagram filters!” Like, okay… yeah, that’s nice it’ll be visually popping, but there’s gotta be some sort of story to it. So we created the Sci-Fi story of basically me escaping from my messy apartment and going off into space to battle a villain who looks very much like me, but with a different hair color.


I had an old astronaut costume. I had wigs. I had a green screen in my studio apartment in Paris. And he got the list of filters I needed to shoot, which was over 50 for the different parts of the songs. I mean, it was really like a million-piece puzzle or something like that to shoot, you know every little bit of the lyrics and the action and all of that.


But I did it over a few weekends, three long Saturdays, in my small place. And he’d be on the other end in London and I’d say, “Okay, I’m going to be shooting now, over iPhoto shared album, I’ll be sending you the little clips of what I’m doing on the Instagram filters,” we’d just be texting back and forth while I’m doing all of this. “Yeah, that looks good. Okay. No, take it again.” Anyway, so that’s how we put it together this Sci-fi extravaganza about getting out of
lockdown.


Suz: It was the coolest thing, and also being able to watch you as you were putting it together throughout those weeks, and hearing your feedback and talking to you about it was so awesome.


And you guys, you have to go check out this video. The link is in the show notes. It’s just so cool, and I think like a good piece of art is when you make it look easy. Because it’s like, “Oh cool. They must’ve just did all that in a green screen or something.”


And when you were telling me, “Oh yeah, there’s 50 Instagram filters, and I have to record these different parts in each of these filters,” I couldn’t even get the process clear in my head, I was like, “You’re going to what?? And the director’s not even with you, they’re in London??”


It just goes to show, everyone listening, if you want something to happen, there’s a way to do it. And it might not be or look anything like you thought it would from the beginning, but if you use what you have, and I remember you were going through your checklist and you’re like, “Yeah, I have to go into my storage room. I have an astronaut costume somewhere. I’ve got these wigs, I’m setting up these sets in my apartment.”


I mean, it was just so cool, but you did an inventory of, “What do I have? What can I use? What are my tools? Let’s make this happen.” And it really was such lesson in really true artistry, where it’s like, this is what art is about. I’ve got these tools, let me use them. Fuck you, pandemic. I’m doing this anyway. And you didn’t let it hold you back.


It wasn’t like, “Oh, well we can’t go to London, so put a pin in it indefinitely and I’ll have to do something else.”It really was so cool, and I just love watching the video. It’s just so different. So after “Sweet Irene” and after the release of that video, I know you mentioned, you started, figuring out live streaming. And earlier in this interview you mentioned being a journeyman and creating your art, but as technology changes, as the business changes, kind of adapting in each new chapter.


What has this chapter been like for you? We briefly touched about Patreon, and I kind of want to go back into what that process has been like – learning Patreon, being on Instagram more, figuring out live streaming, all of this stuff. How has that felt and what has the journey been like entering this new pandemic lockdown chapter as an artist and still trying to connect with your fans?


Kim: Sure. As far as the mindset or the paradigm that I originally come from as an artist/songwriter is one where there was a bunch of major label companies and A&R people that would basically pick you out of the clubs you were starting to pack as an indie artist, and then just put you on a huge platform, and a lot of people know about you all of a sudden.

Now, it’s kind of this huge pool of everybody’s kind of on the same platform, and how do you get your voice out there more? I would say I’m skeptical about social media platforms and that’s just my perspective as an artist, having seen also some of them come and go, you know, MySpace, right? And Vine. So I’m always skeptical about those, but I think that they are insanely useful in really strategic ways of being authentic. You just have to keep on trying to see what works for you and what your voice is going to be on those things. And I think I’m definitely still
doing that, and I think I will continue to.


And that’s kind of part of the fun challenge of it too, right? Is how to best connect with people on those platforms. I mean, I’m someone that’s had control of all of my material. I’ve licensed my stuff to major labels, so I’ve had that experience of working with a major label with my material, but I do retain ownership of my masters.

I think that if you can have ownership of the real estate that you have online, that’s key. So it’s about your websites, about your mailing list, it’s about people that are eliminating the middle man platform, so people are always in touch with you and you’re in touch with them.


That to me is really the most important thing. That’s where it’s at and everything else is a vehicle to promote or use your voice in other ways, but it’s kind of those superficial layers to these really more fundamental elements.


I personally think if that’s where your grounding is as an artist online, you just can’t go wrong after that. You can piddle paddle in every different platform is coming up every two years that everyone’s hot on, right? It’s TikTok, whether it’s Twitch or whatever it is, but if you have that, people know where to find you always.

Suz: I couldn’t agree more. Absolutely. And I think that that’s really what it’s about, if you know who you are at your core and you know how you want to communicate with your audience, the platform you use, whether it changes or time goes on and the platform is going to look different or feel different, keep staying true to you and what you want to say to your audience, and it will come across. It might be an Instagram story versus a newsletter or any of that stuff, but it’s still you, and I think that’s a really important mindset to have.


As you’ve gotten used to these newer platforms, has there been any resistance? I mean, now that you are of this mindset where you get it, what was the journey like in terms of using these newer platforms and realizing, “I can’t go out on tour. I can’t be on stage where I’m super comfortable and connect with my audience right then and there.” Has there been this adjustment period during all of this?


Kim: There’s totally been this adjustment period. I mean as you well know, I’m not on social media nearly as often as a lot of people. So when I see the artists that are live streaming all the time and that ease I’m like, “Geez, I wish I could do that!” But I don’t feel comfortable doing that. And then, you know, you start doing it and it definitely gets easier and maybe there are aspects of it you don’t like, and maybe there are aspects of it you absolutely love and you want to continue. I think that that’s where I’m at with all of these platforms.


It’s like finding out where I feel more comfortable expressing myself and how, so I’d say that that’s really it. I mean, I have a resistance to social media platforms only because of the classic complaint that those companies are using your data to fatten their bottom line, and it’s like this never-ending hungry beast.


But at the same time, it’s definitely the most immediate way you can communicate with people.


I would say, if you want to get to know me, or you want to get to know my music, you’re signing up for my mailing list because you’re just going to be in touch with me directly, and that’s where the real meat is. Or it’s the Patreon if you want to go even deeper. But I do find the challenge for me has just been all the sea of social media platforms and how people are using reels or it’s TikTok or it’s this, or it’s that.


It’s all these different things to try, like thousand different flavors and which one fits you and it can get a bit overwhelming, so that’s really where I’m at with it. I’m just going to keep trying different things and seeing what I like or what works for me, what people respond to.

Suz: Yeah. It’s finding the different tools in your toolbox and which feels good and coming from a multi-lingual artist, finding which technology language is best for you and what feels good in communicating what you want to communicate to your audience. So tell us a little bit more about this Patreon. You’ve created this nice intimate community for your fans to really get to know you on a deeper level and connect with you more. So tell us a bit more about that. For everybody curious, the link is in the show notes and so you can find it there, but what can we
expect from your Patreon?


Kim: Well, the Patreon is something that was a long time in planning. I wanted my WHY about it, to be really clear for me cause when it’s clear for me it’ll be clearer for those that become a part of that community.


So what I’m looking to replicate through the Patreon is what you’d get when you come to one of my live shows. You get to hang out at the bar in the back and have a drink while I’m playing on stage, so that’s the chat during the live stream or you want to pick up some merch and “Oh, you’re going to buy a bundle of stuff? Okay. Well, you’ve got the discount from the merch store.”


I’m always writing and studying new pieces of music, so there’s releases of either it’s a cover song or it’s a reworked original every month. So these are the things that you get, depending on which tiers you’re signing up to, too. So the tiers start at five bucks and they go to $25, $50 and $100.


This is the kind of thing that for me, I really love the model of Patreon. I’m also going to be, as it’s suggested by those of Patreon, reviewing the tiers and reviewing how things work every few months to keep it fresh and just to see what people are responding to, what people want from me. I’m really thrilled with the way it started off, and the folks that are in there with me are so precious and beloved to me, including you, Suz. Thank you for being a patron of mine. And yeah, it’s the beginning of communicating digitally with the way I would with fans at shows of mine on an ongoing basis.


Suz: Yeah, I’m thrilled to be a patron. I love getting to watch your performance. You recently did a live stream for your patrons, and I love the metaphor you used about this is the experience you’re building. If we were out at a venue, what are the different areas and ways that you could connect with fans, and then how can you do that in a virtual platform and what can that be like?

And I think that’s a really great metaphor to work with for any artists out there listening, you know, don’t overthink it. Get clear. I love that you said, “I didn’t want to commit to a Patreon without a clear purpose and intention behind it.”


So no matter what you guys do out there, everyone listening, whether it’s a Patreon or whether it’s something else, so many artists say to me, “I love performing on stage and I can’t do that. And that sucks, and it took the wind out of my sails,” but what is it about that?


What is that connection? How are you connecting? What is being transferred there and how can you then create that virtually? What is the counterpart there? What is the symbolic way to do that and figuring out that piece of it, I think is really big.


And one of the things that I loved when we were watching your live stream is one of your patrons said “It’s so refreshing to have live music again,” and it wasn’t an Instagram live where people are just kind of streaming. You did it over Zoom. And people were able to connect, talk in the chat box. It was like being at a show where you turned to somebody, watching the show like, “Oh, how was this? What are you doing here? Where are you from?” and being able to connect after the show, too.


I think it was just really cool, and it was refreshing. It was a Saturday afternoon, at least for those on the east coast, and it was like, “Yeah, let’s sit and just listen to music and be performed to.”

It was really cool as an audience member, I look forward to your next live streams that you do for that, and I’m just really excited for this community that you’re creating because you are giving value and you are really giving your time and really going deep with your fans in this community.

So I really encourage everybody, if you want to learn from Kim, be inspired by her, enjoy her music, think about joining her Patreon. You’re going to learn a shit ton, not just as a fan, but also as a fellow musician because there’s very little in this industry that you haven’t done. And I’m sure there’s still much more to do, but you have such unique and cool, varied experiences on such a global level in this industry that, you know, just to watch you and to learn from you, I think is really cool.


So I highly suggest your fellow musicians get out there and support and watch what you’ve got going on because you’re the real deal and you know what the industry can be like. And you’ve got the talent to continue to have these iterations through all these different chapters of the business when a lot of people are like, “Oh, I don’t like this new iteration. I don’t want to have to learn.” And they just give up and bitch about how the industry changed and they’re screwed.

Kim: Thanks for saying a lot of that. I really appreciate. It’s really, really kind of you. Thanks so much for all those kind words, I will say, definitely being adaptable, learning the new thing all the time, that is one of the hardest parts as an independent artist.


Regardless of whether you are just starting out right now, or whether you’ve been doing this for a long time, like I’ve been doing it for a while, journey woman that I am. You’re going to have to continue to adapt to the different changing landscape of this industry, of any industry that you’re in, but especially in creative industries, because part of being an independent artist is if you’re not willing to change and adapt and learn and study and rethink then you’re gonna stay in your niche where you are and that’s okay, but you’re going to have to keep trying. You’re going to have to keep being curious, sucking at something to get better at it later.


Let yourself suck at something! That’s big. That’s my ending rant to all of you independent artists out there, let yourself suck and then get good at it! Try not to do too much in public, but you know, if it gets you a lot of likes or views, then maybe it’s a good thing.


Suz: Could not have said that any better, so I won’t try. Is there anything else you’d like our audience to know? Anything that you’re excited to be working on that you want people to keep an eye out for? Or is there a way you’d love for them to keep in touch with you?


Kim: I would love for folks to sign up to my mailing list because when you get in on that, that’s where you’re going to learn more about me and my story, and you’ll also be getting updates on all the stuff I’m doing. And then if you want to go deeper, it is the Patreon, but yeah, I’d say sign up and keep in touch with me on my mailing list.


And thanks a lot to you, Suz, for having me and thanks a lot for all the great support and guidance that you also give, not just to me, but to the music community in general. It’s really fantastic.


Suz: Aw, thank you. Well, my pleasure and everyone, all of those links you can find in the show notes page. Kim, thank you so much for giving us your time and letting us take a peek into your career. It’s been awesome.

Kim: Thank you.


Suz: Bye


I absolutely love what I do and I’m reminded of that when I get to work with artists like Kim.


Her ability to express herself in such an authentic way with her fans and her willingness to get messy with new methods and strategies is exactly the approach you all need to create sustainability in your careers.


I hope you’ll take what she said today with you and reflect deeper on it when needed. I’ll be back next week with some additional tips for sustainability as we enter Q3 of 2021… seriously, where has the time gone? And stay tuned… because next week’s episode is coming with some announcements you won’t want to miss!


And if you’re looking for support the way Kim was last year, let’s talk! Check out the link to Rock/Star Slackers™ on the show notes page for more info or email me suz@therockstaradvocate.com and let me know you want work together.

In the meantime, head on over to the show notes page, www.therockstaradvocate.com/ep110 to show Kim some love – hop on her newsletter and consider joining her Patreon, because not only will you be entertained, you’ll be inspired as a fellow entertainer.


Until next time, Rock/Star. Keep planning, keep learning, and I hope to see you back here next week so we can get grounded to get rising! Take care.

Key Highlights

  • The many phases of Kim’s career as a musician, singer-songwriter and producer
  • The difference between creating her original work and commissioned work
  • How she learned being signed to a major label isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be
  • What it’s like being a multi-lingual artist
  • Her experience managing to navigate the COVID pandemic and lockdown
  • The process of using Instagram filters to create the music video for her single “Sweet Irene” during lockdown {Watch Below!}
  • How her mindset has kept her strong
  • Why Kim prefers connecting on her email list or Patreon more than social media
  • What was your favorite part of Kim’s story? What lessons will you take with you?
    • Let us know in the comments!

Links/Rocksources

Watch Kim’s Instagram-Filter-Inspired video, Sweet Irene!

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