Ep135: Monique DeBose

Today on the More Cheese Less Whiskers podcast we're talking with Monique DeBose who’s in LA.

You are in for a treat if you like music, and jazz music particularly, because Monique has a wonderful jazz album that's debuted on the iTunes charts at number two in the jazz category. 

We had a great conversation to brainstorm ideas around how to make her music dreams come true. We talked a lot about the importance of getting people to know you, like you and then to trust you, and by trust in this context, we talking about people trusting they will have a good experience when they come to see her perform or they buy her album.

She has the opportunity to model some of ways this has been done in other situations and really take an approach of starting in her local market to lay the foundations before looking at different ways of distributing her music or who else might be interested in sponsoring or participating in an event with her.

You're really gonna enjoy this episode. There's a lot of parallels no matter what your ‘performance’ is.

It's the same in a lot of ways to what I do. You know I go on tour each summer to Toronto, London, Amsterdam and Sydney, and I’m able to do small events like this because people know me, like me and trust me from all the time we get to spend together on the podcasts here, so I think you're really going to enjoy this episode, no matter what you do.

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Transcript - More Cheese Less Whiskers 135


Dean: Monique?

Monique: Hello. Is that better?

Dean: Monique, how are you? Yes, it is. Much better.

Monique: I'm good. How are you? Just ready.

Dean: I'm so good.

Monique: Excited.

Dean: You are? How do I pronounce your last name?

Monique: DeBose, like Debeakers.

Dean: DeBose. Okay. Just like it is. DeBose.

Monique: But more of a B sound. Yeah. DeBose.

Dean: Monique DeBose. Okay. Perfect.

Well, it's nice to get to talk to you. Rich has been telling me all the cool stuff that you're up to. I'm excited to kind of brainstorm and talk it all through with you.

Monique: Wonderful. Thank you so much. Yeah.

Dean: So, can you kind of tell me the story that kind of set it up to where we are right now and kind of what you're looking to do, what the outcome you're hoping for is?

Monique: Sure. And before actually dive in, there were two paths I felt like I could go down on this call with you today, the artist performance, Monique DeBose's brand, and then also the healer, coach, and kind of building that brand.

I think Rich asked Rich about... I said, "What do you think I should do?" He's like, "Which one feels more fun?" I was like, "Oh, the artist. That'll be more interesting and I'm curious about that." Yeah.

Dean: Yeah. That's what I'm excited about, too. Yeah, yeah.

Monique: Good.

Dean: So, let's do that. Maybe we could do another one with that but I would love to-

Monique: Cool! Okay.

Dean: That's what I'm excited about talking about, too, so maybe kind of-

Monique: Great. Well, then.

Dean: Fill me on your growth as an artist here where we're at.

Monique: Sure. So, as I'm pretty sure Rich told you and I think maybe he had emailed it to you, I just released my third album project after a long hiatus of giving birth to two other amazing projects, my two sons. So, it debuted at number two on the iTunes jazz chart. I released it independently in September, so I've been doing a lot of what feels like piecemeal and learning how to really step into getting the most out of relationships I have.

I've also created a one-woman show that has traveled both to New York and LA and has had real success in both markets. I'm looking this year to get it into other markets, smaller places within the United States, and even internationally. So, that is something I'm doing. I feel like I would love to get a handle on what my brand is and how to actually find my people, because right now, I feel like I'm just throwing spaghetti at the wall and seeing-

Dean: I get it.

Monique: what sticks?

Dean: Yes, of course.

Monique: Yeah. And so stressful and it takes me out of my artistry pretty much most of the time.

Dean: Isn't that amazing? It's true, right. That's the thing is artists who are … You truly embrace that and are amazing and that's where you shine, that you're suddenly kind of expected to now be also a marketer and have to figure all that stuff out. It's really-

Monique: Yes.

Dean: Yeah, I get it. I understand the struggle because they're almost two completely different mindsets or personalities. But there's something here, there's something about this idea of being able to detach yourself from Monique DeBose the brand and the artist and do something that is supporting of that.

So, how does it work right now? How would you state kind of the state of your career right now, what you're actually doing as an artist and what you're aspiring to? What would be a dream come true for you if you could have anything?

Monique: Well, if I could have anything, what I could see is me doing beautiful interactive concerts in gorgeous halls where people, it's an intergenerational experience where parents who are 70-year-old people with adult children who are in their late 30s, 40s, and their children even, could come and be in this field. My whole thing is about creating a field and an experience so that people's nervous systems expand. I know that's really crazy talk in some way for some people, but what I'm really trying to do in part of my past as an artist and any other title I take is creating spaces for people to have authentic experiences, to actually feel deeper than they feel comfortable, and to really hold them in that space.

So, creating beautiful music, beautiful interactive experience where people leave feeling like, "Oh, my god. I know Monique. Wasn't it so funny when she told us about how her sons spilled flour all over the kitchen floor?" I really want people to feel like they know me. I want people to feel like I am … This is going to sound funny, but maybe more like a guide through direct modeling of someone living an authentic, real life because I am not the most amazing singer in the world. That's not my shtick. My shtick is really being a real human following dreams, so that's a taste-

Dean: I got you.

Monique: … of what I do.

Dean: Uh-huh. And, you're a pretty amazing singer, too, so there's that.

Monique: Yes and the quality is stellar, yeah. I will not put on-

Dean: Yes. It really is.

Monique: …a crappy show. I will never do that.

Dean: Right. I think you're downplaying it a little bit coming out.

Monique: That's been part of my trouble right now. So, there you go.

Dean: I get it. No, I get it. So, how does that look in terms of how often would you like to do those types of shows? If you could pick your calendar, how often would you like to do those and where would you like to do them and how would you like to go on tour with that or would you like to do a-

Monique: Yes. If I could have it any way I want with these two small children, right now, during the month that they're in school, I would love to be doing maybe two to three performances each month, but they're not just like, "Oh, hey. She's at the local bar." Like, they are curated like well-marketed concerts-

Dean: Yeah. Events.

Monique: Yeah, events.

So, doing that, they could be anywhere in the world. Ideally, in the summer months, when the little people are not in school or tied down so much, I would be happy to travel more extensively and have more gigs, but, again, it's the quality and caliber.

I'I haven't looked at it, but a vision, ideal theme is doing performances that aren't necessarily like, "Hey, anybody can get a ticket for this." It's like, "Really, people, like, I would love to have Monique and her band in our space," like our phenomenal living room or create a concert just for our people, because those-

Dean: Yeah. I get it. Uh-huh.

Monique: …are also part of it, yeah.

Dean: Well, that's fantastic. So, is there kind of a monetary goal for these or is it really about- Okay.

Monique: Yes. I mean, it's both but one thing for sure is I do not want to be the sole producer and investor anymore. I'm putting on a show right now getting the engine started. I'm definitely going to be in the red; the red is the bad part, right?

Dean: Right. We don't want to be in the red. Nobody wants to be in the red. Yeah.

Monique: Yeah. Correct. So, I mean, I'm definitely in the red. I don't see right now how it can actually even move to the black. That's just something I've decided is has to be okay as an investment, but yes, ideally, these shows allow me to travel well, sleep well, and actually make a great chunk of change so that the musicians are consistent and want to stay involved with me, so they're paid well. So, ideally, maybe they're making a grand each show. For me, I feel like it's probably like at least a minimum of 15 to $20,000 engagement.

Dean: Okay. And is there a kind of model for that of-

Monique: I have no idea. You asked me to dream and I'm really dreaming.

Dean: Oh, no. this is great, and I don't know but this is great because it's something to reverse engineer, so you're looking at that, at the end of the day, how many people in your band-

Monique: You just made me actually think, too, like at the beginning, I actually would be 100% fine with every band member, which is probably drum, bass, piano, guitar, sax. So, there's probably five people. Then, I would be happy to come home with 5,000 from a show for me to put it in my bank account.

Dean: Uh-huh. Right. Perfect.

Okay. So, that makes sense now, that you can reverse engineer that, that we start with what that actually looks like. Believe it or not, that's part of the thing of being able to create a plan for it, is being able to get clear on what that actually looks like.

Monique: Yeah.

Dean: So, is there a model? Have you done that before? Is there any situations where that's been what's happened? Are you able to do that kind of show now?

Monique: Not yet, but I'd never actually tried.

Dean: Okay.

Monique: With my show now, yes, I'm in conversation with six different theater companies about this show. What I've asked for is a minimum of 3,000 and obviously travel and accommodation-

Dean: Yeah. Per diem. Yeah. Mm-hmm.

Monique: …and 3,000 for payment. Yeah. So, that is as far as I've gotten. I've had one show booked. The money is not $3,000, but I don't even know what the booking person said. It's probably like a thousand dollars.

Dean: Right. Okay.

Monique: That's all right now.

Dean: Yeah. And that kind of thing, when you look at it now, part of it is going to be that the more people who know you, the more sort of famous you become, the better that's going to be for you, generally. So now, it's really a math kind of situation.

Monique: A what?

Dean: A math situation. It's like the number of people.

Monique: Mm-hmm. Yes.

Dean: When you look at some different models of introducing yourself to new people. You mentioned, you said earlier on, "My people," that these are my people. Who would be on your people's playlists right now that maybe don't know you, but you would fit right in? Who is your person, you know?

Monique: Right. So, when I say, "These people," these people are kind of out of date. I actually have somebody helping me right now find out who these people are, like their equivalent and current people, but right now, what comes to mind is Sade. What comes to mind is Jill Scott. Those are the two of the types of people that I would see as part of this kind of feel.

Dean: Mm-hmm. I mean, I remember exactly Sade in 1984. That was the peak of it all, right?

Monique: Mm-hmm.

Dean: I mean, and then I guess she kind of disappeared, right?

Monique: Right.

Dean: And now she comes back to do some performances and stuff like that but okay. That's great. And that she still very well-known. I mean, everybody plays her songs and her music and everybody knows kind of thing. That's what it is.

Monique: Well, a lot of people who are 25, actually, are starting to miss the boat on that one but yeah.

Dean: Mm (affirmative). Isn't that interesting, yeah, that they don't know? But that's not to say that there aren't plenty of people who are my age that were big Sade fans, so it doesn't have to be that it's the 25 year olds now because there's way more 50 year olds plus, right, with-

Monique: Yeah, and that's really what I mean, as I objectively listen to this album, it's adult music. It's music with people who have lived experiences and wasn't beaten up in some ways and they're like back up. You have bruises and just lived some life and just in general, learn. So, and it's deep feeling music.

So, those are my people. I feel like they are adults. I feel like they have children or they at least have the age where they would have children if that was something they wanted. They've had careers. They have aging parents. Yeah.  And they have disposable income or I mean, they're not starting out in life.

Dean: Right. So, let me ask you, how do you go about getting your music out to new people now? What's kind of your strategy or have you gotten advice or is there within the music industry, what the strategy would be to get in front of new people?

Monique: So, some of the advice I've gotten is up your social media presence, like social media, social media, social media. So, I've started working on being consistent with putting out social media posts at least twice a week. I'm upping that, but that's where I've started. I have somebody helping me with figuring out apps to get more people to, like real people to following me and that kind of… So, that is happening.

I mean, obviously doing more performances is an obvious no-brainer. It's an expense that I have to measure sometimes because I'm putting on a show now where there are comp tickets. Nobody needs to pay to come in for this performance. I'm spending well over $1,000 myself to put the show up. So, that can't happen three times a week or three times a month.

Dean: Mm-hmm. But that, I mean, but maybe it could if that was packaged as an experience that you had a sponsor for or something.

Monique: Sure.

Dean: Yeah, like you look at-

Monique: I get that.

Dean: That kind of thing as an opportunity there.

So, I was thinking about, because I'm really an observer of the music industry. I kind of like watching how things unfold there. I start to see things how there's been a couple of really standout situations that I got to observe. There's a group called Boyce Avenue. Have you heard about them?

Monique: Voice Avenue? No.

Dean: Boyce, B-O-Y-C-E, Boyce Avenue.

Monique: B-O-Y-C-E. Okay. Uh-huh.

Dean: Yeah. So, check them out on YouTube. They started out, this is how they built this empire. I mean, they've got one of the top channels on YouTube. Now, they're doing more than $5 million a year from their YouTube channel and it's powering them going on tour and being artists, but what they started out doing — They're here in Florida. — is they started out doing stripped-down cover versions of the songs that are popular on the charts right now. And they did a sort of nice production value, but simple production value of the video of it. The guy, the lead singer, he's got a really nice tone to his voice. So, they would do sort of acoustic or he would either be on the piano or playing the guitar. They would be stripped-down versions of these songs.

The one that where he first showed up on my radar was years ago, One Direction had a song called You Don't Know You're Beautiful. That was like a big hit on the radio, you probably remember.

Monique: Okay. (singing).

Dean: That one. Exactly. So, that was an upbeat pop song that was all over the radio and, of course, all the One Directioners are rabid about it, but what I noticed about the pattern…

Well, I'll tell you what they did first. So, they did a slowed-down, stripped-down guitar version of that song with a slightly different arrangement. It was like magical. It was really well done.

Then, I started noticing the pattern that they would do, is they would take these songs that were right at the peak kind of thing. Right when you get right sort of… You know when a hit song kind of comes and it's at its peak, and you're looking forward to it being on the radio, and you hear it and hear it. Then, it reaches the point where it's just at the tipping point. You're like, "Okay. I like it but I've heard it a lot now."

Then, here comes this new version of that with this slightly novel approach to it. All of a sudden, you're re-in love with the song again, you know?

Monique: Mm-hmm.

Dean: Because you hear this new version of it. You start to think, "Wow! That guy's really good. Who is that?" Now, you're into their world. You go to their site and you see, "Oh, look at this. They did this song and they did Ed Sheeran and they did Taylor Swift and they did this one and they did Oasis," and all these other songs that they had that they had torn, broken down like that.

Then, as they're building that audience, then what they were able to do was build and work in original songs that they had. I thought, "That's really an interesting thing," because the reality of the way we're wired is that we're not really looking for new music. We're looking, when we're scanning the radio or doing the things, we're looking for the songs we like, right?

Monique: Mm-hmm.

Dean: I mean, that's just the way we're attracted. We're not seeking out new music generally. We listen to what's presented. I thought, again, about why a show like American Idol is so successful is they're doing cover songs, a different version of the songs all the way that you're falling in love with the artist and their ability. Then, they've built this fan base. Now, they can introduce the new songs.

By the time they're done and have won the show, when their album comes out, you're already big fans. You know them, you like them, you love their voice, and you trust that they're going to put out an album because they've chosen, if they've done it right, songs that give you a representation of what they're going to be. Then, if the album is like that, it's great.

I started seeing that playing out again and again of people doing that similar model where you can slide in on somebody's love for Ed Sheeran or Taylor Swift or One Direction or whatever and introduce yourself to them by meeting them where they are kind of thing, you know?

Monique: Yeah. I like that.

Dean: You think about how that, especially with jazz, there's such a great songbook of historical stuff that is to draw from. You look at Rod Stewart basically reinvented himself doing the sort of-

Monique: Great American Songbook. Right. Mm-hmm.

Dean: … the Great American Songbook, exactly. That he actually sold more albums of that then in his entire career before that. He was already one of the top-selling artists ever, you know?

Monique: Mmm.

Dean: So, it's kind of an interesting thing that. Now you're three albums in now of all originals-

Monique: Mm-hmm.

Dean: …or do you do covers or-

Monique: No. Our first album was all originals, second album was covers with a few originals, and this album is all originals. The second one had some jazz standards on it.

Dean: Right. Yeah. So, it's an interesting thing as I look about what's going to fuel your ability to do these shows is your ability to draw people who know you, like you, and want to be with you, that audience of the things. That's why somebody like Boyce Avenue can go on tour and have an amazing sellout tour because they have millions of YouTube fans, subscribers that are there, and why somebody comes out of American Idol and has a number one album because they've got a built-in audience there.

So, part of any of this dream is going to have to be driven by the number of people who know you, like you, and want to spend time with you, as far as going … It's difficult to sell tickets to a new artist when they don't have an experience of you kind of thing. That's an uphill battle, or have you found that to be true?

Monique: No. Absolutely. Yeah. As you say that, I'm just wondering about what, "Oh, do I need to, like, get a guitarist over here," and we start recording some nice videos of other people's music.

Dean: I think that would be maybe a really great opportunity for you to take that kind of social media approach to it.

There's an interesting thing. I say I'm an observer because I love seeing the models and how things work. I watched a movie recently again that was a movie from few years ago called Killing Bono. It was about U2. It was about U2 and this other high school group that started up at the same time in Dublin. They all went to school together. At the time, the other band was the better band. U2 was basically the second-best band in Dublin, and went on to become the biggest band in the world.

But the interesting thing of it is that we're in a society right now where the cream definitely gets to rise to the top. There's no lid on keeping anybody down. There's no middle man anymore. It used to be like in the old days, you had to be discovered and get signed as an artist to a label who would then have all the thing to get you on the radio, which was the only outlet to the world or get you on the TV shows and publicity and all that stuff. But now, you've got the opportunity to go direct. No middleman to your own audience and for free, really. It's amazing that way.

And you can also, if you have some budget for it, you can amplify that reach to specifically and exactly the people who you are trying to attract. So, what I would look at perhaps doing is picking an area like right around you even or somewhere because there's some interest in travel in someone who's come from afar in a kind of thing, like you're right in the hotbed of that everybody is there in LA.

So, where are you? Where do you do some of your performing right now? If we were to have a heat map of Monique DeBose footprints?

Monique: It would be very cold, first off, because I just put the album out in September and starting to do shows now. So, the first show that's on the book is in Santa Monica at the end of this month. I have a goal before this month is over to have two more shows booked in the next couple months, so I would say Santa Monica. I would say like West Adams, Los Angeles. I might say those are probably some places I would probably say first. Then, also, there's a place that is Herb Albert's club called Vibrato. I've made some contact and started a conversation with their booking manager. So, that would be a different part of Los Angeles.

And you just reminding me, I just made connections with the man who used to be in charge of LA's Grand Performances. So, maybe I could check in with him about possibly getting back on that roster for live shows sponsored by the city.

Dean: Mm-hmm. Well, it's kind of an interesting thing, that now there's like you can … If I take it at that micro level of building an audience that one of the things you could do is target specifically the right people just in Santa Monica, for instance, right?

Monique: Mm-hmm.

Dean: That you could just focus all of that just on reaching Santa Monica and building awareness. The first thing that we have to get to is that people know that you exist, that they know you, that you're a name that they've heard and that when they listen, just even for one song or half a song or something in their newsfeed or in their Instagram that they like you, right?

Monique: Right.

Dean: "Oh, that's great." That's where what's really the most interesting thing. When I talk about the covers or about songs that are familiar is that it's difficult to put everything together and gauge whether they like something when it's new and they don't have any frame of reference for it, like you don't know where it's going or you don't know … Maybe they like the tone of your voice, they like the sound of the music but it's a little awkward when you're listening to new music for the first time because you don't know how it's going to go.

One of the advantages of doing a stylized or slightly different arrangement or something of a very well-known song is that you've got the advantage that that will keep them interested, keep them engaged because they like that song. "Oh, I love that song." Now, they've got a context for how that song is supposed to sound. If you're now doing a version of it that is honoring of the original but it's uniquely novel and they get a chance to see, "Wow! I really like her. She's great," because you're great in the context of you're doing a great job with a song that they already love, right?

Monique: Yeah. Uh-huh.

Dean: So, you come in and just like a seasoning, different flavor of that kind of thing. That awareness of you is going to build now for, "Oh, yeah. I really like her. I like her." Over a little bit of time, you start to kind of build that audience of people who know you, like you, and trust you. By trust you, I mean that they trust that they're going to enjoy their evening, if they go and spend the time with you, other than if they don't know what to expect, then it's that.

I mean, you know who struggles with that? I almost feel bad for these legacy artists, like somebody like Sade, it would be very difficult even in a concert now, if Sade's going to be able to fill a concert because she's Sade, because we all love her from the 80s, right?

Monique: Mm-hmm.

Dean: But if we go to that concert, what we're looking for is for her to play that music, right?

Monique: Totally, right.

Dean: The balance is that it would be so difficult if she comes in and doesn't anchor to that, but is only interested in playing the new material,-

Monique: Right. We would not be happy. Yeah.

Dean: … it's a difficult experience. So, there's that to it.

But I think you look at, it would be, it's very economical and compact to build this audience specifically around where you might be performing. I imagine it would be even easier just kind of outside of LA, like to go to Santa Barbara, to go to Orange County, or to go to Calabasas or those kinds of markets where there might be the perfect kind of venue for it.

Monique: Well, funny enough, I'm actually going to Santa Barbara next weekend to sing two of my songs with my co-writers because they're part of an event. They said, "Oh, come sing some of the music." So, but yeah. I just love that you said that. I'm like, "Oh, I'm going to be there anyway and I'll check out the place."

Dean: Yeah, but that's kind of neat in Montecito or in Santa Barbara that there's those kinds of things are … If you start building kind of an audience ahead of time where you're going to be performing, you've got the opportunity to then kind of radiate out from there as you grow, as you want to go to other places, like if you're going to go to New York or go to London, you can do that same thing where you don't have to be globally known. You don't have to be globally famous to fill a venue in a club in New York or in London or whatever. If you are focused just even in that area, there's that opportunity.

I do these events that are three days, small group, 12, 14 people. I travel each year and do a little summer tour where I go to Toronto, London, Amsterdam, LA, and Sydney. I have audiences in those places so that all I have to do is say, "Hey, I'm coming to London. Here are the dates. Would you like to join us?" I'm able to sell out those events because I've got a group of people who know me, like me, trust me and would want to spend those three days with me. It would be very difficult to go into that without that, you know?

Monique: Yes, and what are some actual things I could do?

So, real world example, I've got this February 26th show that doesn't cost anything to come but I know it's probably one of the smallest factors at this point. How do I get Santa Monica to know me in these next 25 days, at least to start building that energy?

Dean: Sure. I think that part of it is you may even take your music video… Just, that you have a great video that I saw?

Monique: Yeah.

Dean: You have that great video. That would be the fastest thing that you could do is put a couple of hundred dollars towards running that for exposure to just the people who you would say would be the ideal audience. Like, if you take a radius right around where the show's going to be and you pick the right people, if you pick the age and the demographic kind of makeup or whether they like certain artists that you might … I mentioned who would you sit alongside the playlist of?

And so, you start to think about there are lots of people within a 20-mile radius of the club where you're going to be who are whatever the right age group would be. You could test different age groups. You could test the younger versus the older. You could split it, say 25 to 35, you go 35 to 55, you go 55 plus and see who's interacting more with it, who resonates with it. You could pick people who like certain artists that the people who like Sade, who like this, who like … Start making this profile of the ideal person that you would like to have out there. You could do a video ad to get in front of those people and build an audience of people who watch the videos, so you can retarget them for the show that's coming up.

Monique: And by all this, I'm assuming you haven't said it, but you're saying like, "Though Facebook and…"

Dean: Through Facebook and Instagram, yeah.

Monique: Yeah, Instagram. Okay.

Dean: Yeah. And I just think that if you look at the… I think it would be very neat for you, too, if you have a small, even venue where you could just do pop-up performances or something, where but it's all completely only for the purpose of streaming it live to Facebook to just like come in and play a song or two or whatever. It's almost like Daryl Hall does these Live From Daryl’s Place videos that were really popular. Guests pop by and they'd sing and record everything and play it out live but that, I think might be a really good way of becoming, like we say, if we're going to be the number one band in the world, you got to become the number one band in Dublin, that it's easy to, when you constrain yourself to a certain thing that all the people in the ZIP Codes or in Santa Monica that like the artists that most align with who you are, that they all know you and you are in their world, you know?

Monique: Yeah. I do know. That's great, yeah. I will do that. I'll do that.

Dean: Yeah. Then, you don't have to worry about going to all those other places. Go to where you want to perform and build an audience because it's not like people from Poughkeepsie are going to be traveling to LA to come see you yet. Yet.

Monique: Yes, yes.

Dean: Yeah. Then, the other things that you might want to look at is that that audience of people. You attract a type of audience that is different than perhaps other artists would, you know?

Monique: Sure.

Dean: That you're attracting people who … What brands or what people would be excited to align with you on that way, to have … Even if you talked about a vineyard or something … Some very famous jazz festival is basically, it's an alcohol brand that runs the festival. They're looking for content for evenings that they could have events for their clients or would love to sponsor your tour or sponsor your event series in LA, if you have a context for it, you're basically providing content that would be valuable for them to align with.

Monique: Right. That, actually, I don't actually have any information on that yet because I have no idea.

Dean: Right. Well, that's part of the thing like thinking like a marketer, then, right? That's the thing about it is you have the opportunity to package your own stuff. There's nobody stopping you doing anything.

Let's look at Sharon Osbourne, for example, putting Ozzfest together as this big festival that also happens to headline Ozzy Osbourne. Then, it was a vehicle for him but also was a wildly profitable event to bring in other bands, so if you're thinking about there's probably other artists like you who are having this same thought. "How can I just get exposure? How can I create these events?" So, if you start thinking about sort of non-traditional distribution models where you kind of think like the Chicken Soup for the Soul books, the part of the success of that was that they were selling in places where books weren't normally sold. That was the model of it taking off. They were independent, self-published and they've sold hundreds of millions of books.

Monique: What do you mean when you say, "They were selling books in places like in hair salons?”

Dean: Right, like all these places where their books were talked about but it wasn't like just the bookstore. You started thinking about things like when I mentioned about Ozzfest or, you know, the blue collar tour-

Monique: Mm-hmm.

Dean: It was Jeff Foxworthy and those guys putting that together, banding together to create a bigger event than what just one person is doing, but you think about all the things that music… And if you get right down to it, the artistry of music is one thing but the supported, the money from music comes from what the environment of it is around, you know?

Monique: Mm. Mm-hmm.

Dean: I heard because there's a great guy, Ralph Murphy is the guy's name. He's the ASCAP songwriter ambassador. He helps people with songwriting. He's saying that there's a difference between a song that works at 10:30 at night and a song that works on the radio at 7:30 in the morning. The business of radio, the business of music is about the radio station needs the song to keep Nancy on the station till the car dealership ad comes on at the end of the song at 7:30 while choosing the car pool, right?

Monique: Right.

Dean: That's why they play hit songs so that people, they don't jump off the station looking for something that they know and want to listen to. The really interesting thing about the way he thinks about it is to acknowledge that, in a way. Think about what is the business of this? The environment that the music is going to be in, how can you think about the person who's ultimately the stakeholder here, right?

Monique: Mm-hmm.

Dean: If you play at a club, if a club is paying you an appearance fee to do this or a promoter or somebody is doing that, what drives that, where that money is coming from is either ticket sales or the venue, knowing that that's going to bring people who are going to buy food and alcohol or whatever. There's money coming around it. Anytime that money is being played in public, it's brought to you by somebody who's turning that attention into money.

Monique: Got it. Turning that attention into money?

Dean: That's what's happening. I mean, the whole reason radio is free is because they get you to listen to that radio station and the car dealership ad comes on right after your favorite song and then the next ad and the next ad because they tell you, "Coming up, this song." So, you're paying attention, you're listening to the ads to get to the free song that's coming up, right?

Monique: Yeah.

Dean: Now, and the reason that people are paying bands or performers to come and play in their club is because it's going to draw people to the bar or to the club or to the restaurant so that they're going to spend money. It's all about the economics of it.

Monique: Right. So, when you say all of this, then it has me like, yeah, you definitely have to think outside the box when you're a new artist in a lot of people's eyes. You don't have any real appeal yet. You may be talented and there are a lot of talented people like what is the actual appeal so how can I turn the music, like make it attractive. Like, what environment does it need to live in or what can I create around it? Yeah.

Dean: Yes. That's the opportunity that then you get to do what you love to do, which is to actually perform the music. That's really the thing, like if we could wave that magic wand for you is you would just be booked two to three times a month to go fly in, everything's all set up. You do your performing and then you leave in a limo and get on your jet and fly back to your home. That would be the dream come true, right?

Monique: Yeah.

Dean: But that's going to be on the heels of that there's money being made somewhere. The money has to come from somewhere. The hipper you can get to that that's really what it is, that's where you can create opportunities to make that happen.

If you look at a club that… I say nontraditional things, like thinking outside the box. If you're thinking like what would traditionally be thought of as like Friday and Saturday night thing, if there was some way to create something that could be like Tuesday night jazz or there's some venue, something that's helping them create an environment around your music that's going to increase the revenue that they're making, you know?

Monique: Right.

Dean: Do you perform at places typically where it's restaurant or bar or lounge or something like that?

Monique: I have done that. Yeah, I have done that. This gig on the 26th is at a bar and it's actually at 5:30, which is why there's no cover charge. I'm doing that on purpose, too, like I chose to do it early so that I can invite people who are influencers or in the business waiting to hear me at 7:00 or 9:00 at night. They want to be home in their beds.

Dean: Right. Exactly. That's great. As that's billed now, they're like, "Then, it's going to be the main event," that, at some point, now, they know you, they like you, they love you, and they'll go anywhere to hear you. That's really how we want to get but that's going to require that the more people know you.

So, when you look at it right now for starting at the baseline here. We start with where you are, how many people do you have an email address for that you could send out a message to directly right now?

Monique: About 2,000.

Dean: Okay. Then, that's a good start, so are they geographically…

Monique: I would say probably like maybe 30% are local.

Dean: Okay and are they pegged that way?

Monique: It might be more than that.

Dean: Are they tagged that you give them the…?

Monique: No, I'm terrible about…

Dean: Ah! Got you. Got you.

Monique: I do not have that skill set right now in terms of like MailChimp, I just have a huge list. I haven't ever really spent time organizing it, which needs to happen.

Dean: Well, we need to get you switched over to GoGoClients, so that you can build…

Monique: What's it called?

Dean: GoGoClients.com, so it's like the email thing that you would use for MailChimp, but it's a CRM and you can have landing pages and all this. It'd be exactly what you need to build this out. That's going to give you a good way to identify people by where they are geographically so that you can, if you're doing the Facebook ads or you're doing anything where people can come and download something or click to download or click to join your list or get free music or get anything from you, you'd be able to then say, "These are my Santa Monica people and these are my Santa Barbara people and these are my,"-

Monique: Totally, yeah.

Dean: That's going to be a valuable piece of this here.

Monique: Yeah.

Dean: But I mean, it's exciting. There's so much kind of potential for thinking outside the box here, you know?

Monique: Yeah.

Dean: You got the goods. You got the number two album on the jazz charts right now, so you're not just some hopeful, you know?

Monique: Right.

Dean: You're a proven artist. Let's not take that lightly. That's a good thing, but you just need to figure out how to get people on board the Monique train here, you know?

Monique: Yeah. I don't think I've ever been really successful at figuring out what that requires. It's a lot of just throwing things and seeing what works, but yeah. Okay. No, I really hear that.

Dean: So, what did you … Let's kind of recap what you … How did all this kind of land or what did you hear here or anything that's unclear?

Monique: Well, honestly, nothing's unclear. Originally, when you were saying, "Oh, you know, maybe you might want to start with songs that people know and do your little stylized different arrangement of it," my stomach started to drop a bit. I was like, "Oh, no. I wanted to put my music out," but I really heard what you said. It made sense to me. I was just, "Well, what songs are actually interesting to me that are popular right now?" I even thought jazz songs, I'm like, I'm wondering if that's not even a train I want to get on because even when you do a new version of a jazz song. It's still an old song.

Dean: What if you did a jazz version of popular songs. That's really what-

Monique: Well, that was what had more piqued my curiosity and interest in, or-

Dean: But there's some artistry to that still.

Monique: … what songs are out that I like that I can create-

Dean: Yeah. You put your-

Monique: … a jazz version of?

Dean: … Monique goodness into it, right?

Monique: Yes.

Dean: Where you're not doing a photocopy of the song. You're not doing a note-for-note recreation of it. You're not trying to mimic them. You're taking the soul of it and keeping that intact, but putting your novel arrangement to that, your specialness on it. I think if you listen to some of the Boyce Avenue ones. I point to them only because they are probably the most successful who've done that path, you know?

Monique: Yeah.

Dean: There's a lot of parallel lessons that you could learn because who's looking for a band called Boyce Avenue? It's hard to break through with new stuff.

Monique: Yeah. No. That's something I took away with it. I'm like, "Oh." It's just percolating some ideas. Even when you said Daryl's Place, Live from Daryl's Place. I thought, "Oh, I have a space and musicians I work with." I'm like, "Oh, what if we just created something?" I also heard a Facebook Live performances. If I can just set that up and schedule it properly and then maybe I can start to get some traction there.

Dean: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Monique: And something else. Oh, the piece around targeting specifically the right people in the area that I am.

Dean: Yeah.

Monique: And I also heard the Santa Barbara piece or a piece that's a little further out of this very concentrated, infiltrated market. So, those two pieces sat with me as well as … I am going to do the Facebook ads on the specific people like... Yes.

Dean: Yes.

Monique: And I'll do couple tests with younger audience v. older audience.

Dean: Right. See who resonates. See who's paying attention.

Monique: So, those are the pieces I took away. Yeah. Then, also, one of the main overarching pieces that you really spoke to is people need to know me, they need to like me, and they need to trust me or trust that they'll enjoy their evening or their experience.

Dean: Yeah. That's exactly true.

Monique: That's powerful so I'm really looking at, "Okay, how do I help people know me? How do I help people like me?" I'll run it through that filter before I put something out.

Dean: Yeah. That's it. Knowing is getting in front of them and like you. It's like trying to get into this ultra-exclusive club and you're trying to come up on your own versus coming up with somebody who's an insider there. "Oh, you're with them." That's what this cover song model really does is like you're riding in on the coattails of somebody who they already know, like, and trust.

Monique: Yeah.

Dean: That's why, right?

Monique: That makes a big case, yeah. I really get that.

Dean: Yeah. Part of the thing is, if a song is three or four minutes and if it's a new song, if you jump in anywhere in that four minutes, you don't have any context. It's like looking. All you're seeing is what's being revealed second by second as you go, but if it's a song that you love and you know each note and each nuance of it. Then, you jump into the middle of something within four or five seconds, you know this is a song you love and, "Wait a second. This is a different version of that." You're hooked into it now.

Then, they're looking at you as you're singing this song that they really love. They're going, "Wow! She is really good," because now they've got a context for, "I love this song. I know how this song is supposed to sound and she is really singing this song well, different. I like her. Who is this?" Now, they go and now you've got this entrée to introduce on that basis. First impressions. That's really what it is.

Monique: Right. You're making me think actually about this show. Right now, the show I have for the end of the month, I have it that I'm doing only the songs from the album. So, I'm curious about maybe throwing in and possibly even taking out one or two of my own and throwing in some covers-

Dean: Yeah. I think it might be risky. It's like-

Monique: of really my arrangement.

Dean: … trying to get a kid to eat vegetables or whatever. You've got to give them something they like and that they're familiar with.

Monique: (singing). That's what I got. Right.

Dean: That's right.

Monique: Yeah. Okay.

Dean: Ah! So funny.

Monique: All right.

Dean: Monique, you're delightful. I've enjoyed this.

Monique: Thank you.

Dean: I know you now. I like you. I trust you. I can't wait to meet you.

Monique: Wonderful. Thank you very much. I feel the same. I appreciate it. I appreciate your time, too.

Dean: Okay. I've really enjoyed it, so I'll let you know when we put up the episode, but where can people go to get to know, like, and trust Monique DeBose right now?

Monique: Well, I will say, "Go to moniquedebosemusic.com."

Dean: Okay. Perfect. That's D-E-B-O-S-E and Monique is M-O-N-I-Q-U-E debosemusic.com. Perfect!

Monique: Yeah. Thank you. Thanks so much.

Dean: I love it. Say hi to Rich for me.

Monique: I will. Thank you so much for your time. All right. Bye-bye.

Dean: Talk to you soon. Bye.

There we have it. Another great episode. I really enjoyed that conversation because I really like talking about how things can be built from the grass roots up and I like creative connective thinking about seeing how you could apply other things like Ozzfest or like partnering with a winery or a vineyard or a particular brand to engage people who want to meet and reach the same audience that you're reaching. So, nontraditional kind of thinking, but understanding what's actually happening with the art that you're creating is that how is the money being made and how can you align yourself with the goals of the people who are actually underwriting or supporting all of this?

So, very fun. If you want to download her music or check her out, I'd recommend going to her website and seeing what she's all about. She's got some great videos on YouTube, too.

There we have it. If you want to continue the conversation here, you can go to MoreCheeseLessWhiskers.com. You can download a copy of the More Cheese Less Whiskers book. If you'd like to be a guest on the show, just click on the Be a Guest link and we can get together and talk about your business. So, that's it for this week. Have a great week. I'll talk to you next time.