Elisa Da Silva

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I am launching my music career by writing and recording my music and performing. I am designing a website as well as social media and Soundcloud to build my fan base and have a variety of places for them to go for updates, news, and access to my music.

Elisa is a singer-songwriter based in the UK. Her vocals mixed with her guitar playing create a dark, grunge-blues style.

WebsiteFacebook, Twitter, Instagram, Soundcloud, YouTube.

Reflective Essay

“I am launching my music career by writing and recording my music and performing. I am designing a website as well as social media and Soundcloud to build my fan base and have a variety of places for them to go for updates, news, and access to my music.” I chose to do this for my project, as I use music to express myself, it gives me a place where I can unload my thoughts, experiences, opinions and feelings, and share it with others. We all use music as an escape, or to say the things we can’t always say with plain words. It gives people something to relate to. The style of my music is reminiscent of the grunge movement from the 90s, and we are seeing a resurgence of this, in music and in fashion. This is a great time for me to begin my music presence, as it fits well into this modern grunge era that we are entering into.

I had to think about what I needed to do to make my music successful and get myself out there. I wrote up a goals list and a to-do list and started working my way through them. The website was an important part to get started on, as it is a good platform for people to view and access everything; images, music, music videos, updates, events all in one place. I had a look at other musicians’ websites to see what layout and style they had, and to see what I could draw inspiration from. After trying a few web building sites, I decided on Wix, as it allowed more creative control of the layout and design, which is crucial in developing my own brand and identifier in the market. I added a ‘Contact’ area, where people could email me to boost my discoverability, as people can email me to ask about booking gigs or press coverage. Whilst working on the site, I realised I needed to focus on image and logo. I found an image of my eyes which I edited into black and white, and used as the main image as I thought it worked as a good identifier, and added photoshoot to my to-do list.

Next, I wanted to set up a new Twitter account, a Facebook page, a Soundcloud account and a YouTube account. For the Twitter account, I used the image of my eyes as the main cover image, to be consistent with my brand style, and then for the profile picture I chose a picture of myself to create a slightly personal touch to my account. I began following other relevant accounts, focusing on UK radio stations, festivals, gig venues, music magazines, promotional pages, and other musicians. When tweeting, I used hashtags such as #grunge, #indiemusictribe, #music, as these are popular hashtags on Twitter that are relevant to my music – I want to target potential audience who are already interested in grunge and indie music, as they are more likely to follow/listen and thus build a fan base. When setting up my Facebook page, I used the eyes image, and then a simple black image with my name in white, with an ‘unclean’ font (see appendix) to contrast and continue with my black and white theme. The same went for my YouTube and Soundcloud accounts. For Instagram, I wanted to keep that personal touch – like most musicians do, as well as posting more to do with my music, to keep people updated and interested. Just like Twitter, I used #grunge #alternative #music on all promotional posts – #grunge is hugely popular on Instagram, with over 10 million posts being tagged with it, so I know my posts will reach those who are interested in it. These hashtags have added interactivity, with grunge and alternative accounts and people have been liking, favourite and retweeting my posts.

Throughout, I was writing and practising songs – some which survived to become the songs I’d use for my ‘EP’ upload. The first song, which I released as a single to generate some interest, is called ‘Drowning’. It was recorded with Robert Primrose, who is highly recommended as a producer. We met up and I played him the song, and talked about how I wanted it to sound. Rob also plays the violin, and I wanted him to feature on the track to add a haunting, ethereal effect in the chorus – similar to popular tracks by Lana Del Rey (who is deemed the ‘soft grunge’ queen according to Instagram and Tumblr posts). We then added some gritty effects to the guitar and added a drum beat to create the edgy style I wanted. Rob then spent the next few days mixing and mastering the track.  Once it was ready, I used it as an incentive on my Facebook page by saying I would post a new track once I reached 100 likes. This worked well as I reached the 100 mark fairly quickly, and then received great feedback from the song, with people liking it, commenting positively, and sharing it to their friends.

I attempted a full band and contacted commercial music students who had an interest in rock music. I had a few jam sessions with Shaun (guitar), and then he brought Ben (bass) along and we worked out a heavier version of ‘Drowning’. After a few practises, I felt like it wasn’t working, and Shaun was trying to take the music in another direction. George came to a practise to drum for us, and he agreed that it wasn’t working as well as it should be, and that I should be the sole writer. I decided to fall back on my contingency plan, to continue as a solo artist. Artists such as Lana Del Rey, who is huge on the current soft grunge market, are very successful as solo artists, and still achieve the sound they want to create by having session musicians, which is how I will create my tracks to go online.

Meanwhile I had been talking to Oliver Hutton who has a show on Spa Life radio that showcases musicians. We organised a date for me to play two songs and give a short interview. In my opinion, it didn’t go very well in terms of my vocals as I was suffering from a cold and sore throat. The interview experience was good, it gave me an idea of the types of questions people will want to know about myself and my music.

After the radio fiasco, I hit a block with my song writing. I couldn’t sing, I was stressed from work and housemate issues, and lacked motivation and inspiration. I had a few meetings with my guiding tutor, who helped me to focus on other aspects of the project; the photoshoot and marketing. I had compiled lists of ideas as well as a Pinterest board, preparing for the photoshoot. We discussed Facebook and Twitter, as I was struggling to use them effectively. We decided to target my audience by adding lyric teasers to my promotional images and posting them (with hashtags). This worked well as it is quite unique and isn’t often used as a strategy to market new material. Judging by the likes the images received, it worked well.

The photoshoot took place in Jersey, with Jessica Draisey as my photographer. We went through my Pinterest board together and noted my fondness for black and white images and themes of dark/night time – and worked with that. A particular idea I loved was the night shoot using car headlights as the main source of light. I liked the idea of silhouettes as it adds a mysterious feel – you can’t see facial features, so it can be quite dark and haunting. We tried a few different settings, such as a gothic styled fountain and a church, just to add some variety. There were a few images that I liked the most, so I edited them and used them to generate buzz and remind people that new music will be out soon.

Callum Moloney recorded the next 3 songs, ‘Wanna Get Out Of Here’, ‘Confide’ and ‘Puppet’. It took us approximately 4 days to record the 3 songs; we added a variety of harmonies, cello samples and drums – to create that grunge and ethereal sound, adding layers and depth to the songs to make them bigger and better.

I played a 15 minute set at Clifton Wine Bar open mic night in Bristol. It went very well, despite me being nervous, and many members of the audience came up to me after to compliment my songs and singing.

I released the EP on the Sunday of May bank holiday weekend and shared them on social media. In terms of timing, I should have changed the release date, as a lot of people were out celebrating the bank holiday, instead of at home on social media. However, the overall feedback of the EP has been positive, with people liking, commenting and sharing positively. Eight more people have liked my Facebook page and my Soundcloud following has boosted up to 28 followers. So to conclude, I have been successful in building a fan base – with 176 people following my Facebook page dedicated to my music.

Appendix.

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