It’s been a surreal couple of days. On Monday night I played an in-store gig at Rough Trade in Bristol, a really fun, sweaty, joyful and happily rammed show with my band. I rarely drink at gigs, but decided to celebrate with a few beers and some late night tacos with my husband. Delicious!
On returning home, he received a text from a friend to commiserate him on my midweek chart placement, saying “never mind, it’s a really busy week for album releases”. We were like “midweek chart WHAT?!!” and dashed to the internet to find out what was going on. Here’s what we saw:
No commiserating was necessary – in this new bizarro world we’d suddenly entered, my plucky little independent album “Brace For Impact” was the meat in a rather strange Ed Sheeran / Oasis sandwich, my record label My Big Sister Recordings nesting familialy next to Big Brother. We were stunned.
I know musicians are supposed to obfuscate or lie by omission, pretend either to be minor celebrities or never mention the big machinery operating behind them, but if you know me at all you’ll know I’m just not that sort of artist. My album team consists of me, my husband Tim, brilliant distributors SRD, regional and national press guys Sonic and Wilful, plus Ash and Connor, two very clever Facebook ads chaps. That’s it. No manager, no label, no agent, no radio plugger – and to be honest, not for want of trying over the last 8 years, of building a dedicated audience by doing, of sending music to people, of demonstrating time and again there’s a market for the music I make. The music biz is full of gatekeepers (necessarily, otherwise they’d drown in music) and people who need to impress their bosses with quick wins, all the great managers are busy and dedicated to their existing artists and not being able to find champions doesn’t mean your art is no good.
Given all this, the sight of my name sandwiched between Messrs Sheehan and Gallagher provoked a few overwhelmed tears and quite a lot of hysterical laughter (sorry neighbours!), but then it was time to set to work, time to rally the troops.
First thing Tuesday morning before work I sent a mailout to 8000 people on my mailing list imploring them to help – if they were ever considering buying any music from me, now was the time, I said. I followed up today with a last plea to buy, share and endlessly stream, and am so thankful to everyone who has joined my mission to send the album of which I’m so proud hurtling into the big wide world at the highest possible velocity. Each and every one of you has done something very special in the name of music lovers the world over who don’t need to be dictated to by a shiny ad or subjected to relentless playlisting to decide you like something and you want it to be part of the fabric of your life. It’s a great honour to be part of that, you know.
The Top 40 is the place I found most of the bands and artists who had the biggest impact on the shaping of my musical brain (The Pixies, Nirvana, Blur, Smashing Pumpkins, QOTSA, Elastica, Suede, Sleeper, and on and on), so OF COURSE I would love “Brace For Impact” to crash on in there tomorrow and perplex the people who keep an eye on such things. I’d love to sell squillions of copies so I can fund the recording and release of my next album, play to more great people at shows, pay my band well and feel like there aren’t *quite* so many barriers to my plans. That would be ace! But thankfully my happiness doesn’t ride on an arbitrary number in a competition I didn’t really even plan to enter.
Whatever happens tomorrow I’m delighted to have “Brace For Impact” in your ears, I’m excited to start my full band album launch tour next week and looking forward to commencing the writing of the next She Makes War album before the year is out.
It’s the journey not the destination, baby, and what an amazing journey it is! Thanks so much for being part of it.
If you enjoyed this blog post, please sign up to my mailing list – I’ll send you a 5 song taster EP in return.
Thanks for supporting She Makes War!