You Must Have the Fire in the Belly — Interview with Eric Bikales

Technology demands updating yourself from time to time and music industry is not untouched by its piercing calls. A lot of independent musicians have struggled to keep up the pace with the changing scenario and this has caused them a lot of problems when it comes to selling music and earning a living from their art.

You Must Have the Fire in the Belly — Interview with Eric Bikales

However, a seasoned campaigner like pianist Eric Bikales tells us that it is important to take help of people who know the inside-out of the changing industry while as a musician you keep creating art that is soulful and worthy of your listeners.

We talked to Eric about what kind of strategies he adopts, and the approach he maintains towards his music and life.

Q1. How important is it for an artist to make music that sells?

This is a complicated question that every artist would no doubt answer differently. For me, it’s very important that my music sells because I then know that people are hearing it. If people are buying it, then they probably value it for different reasons. Since music has been a life-long profession for me, I’m used to making a living at it. This is no different than any other profession.

Q2. What do you think of the changing scenario of the music industry where technology and social are the new norms?

Technology is wonderful. I’m a confirmed tech advocate and have been ever since my first computer back in the ’80s. Social media is also a wonderful tool that brings opportunities in communication that were never possible before. The hitch, unfortunately, is how we use these tools. It’s the “people factor” that really makes the difference. I look forward to the day when music is valued to the degree that we are willing and able to pay for — -and support the music we love.

Q3. What kind of strategies do you adapt to market your music?

This is difficult for me. Promotion is not my strong suit, and I depend on people like Sherry Finzer at RS Promotions to help me with it. This isn’t a plug really. It’s a reality to which I’ve given much thought. If I want to be the best artist I can be, I need to work on it constantly. Wearing all the hats is something some people are better suited to than I. I can’t do my best work if I have to be the record company at the same time.

Q4. As an independent musician, what do you think is the most crucial thing that helps in surviving?

If you intend to compete professionally and make a living at it, I would say:

1) You must do what you do with excellence

2) You must have the fire in the belly

3) you must have access to the great material (songs/compositions)

Q5. In the age of online streams and digital downloads, how important are live gigs for Indie artists?

Absolutely indispensable. This is just about the only way you can convince people you’re good and attract fans. Putting things together in the studio is wonderful and I love doing that. But it’s live performance that becomes essential to carving out a reputation.

Q6. A message for our readers?

Study composition, orchestration, take lessons on your instrument and practice! Be a student for life.

By Patrick Hill on November 6, 2018.