Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2015 = New Missions, New Languages, New Music!

Look at those above resolutions, some of the most common ones according to TIME Magazine.  Chances are you have been a "victim" of these before...  Isn't there something a bit off about these?

They are super vague!

That's a problem when making changes.  How likely are you to follow through with vague goals?  NOT VERY FREAKIN' LIKELY.  Let's have a look at some of these.

Tavel somewhere new: This is so vague it could mean flying to Beijing, China or it could mean driving down the road in your city to an area you've never been.  Well, you did travel to somewhere new!

Lose weight:  Your intentions are probably much higher, but if you got to the end of 2015 and you had lost only 1/2 lb...does that count?

Quit smoking:  A very noble goal...but when?  Sometime in the new year?  Chances are with such a vaguely worded goal, it won't happen.

Be less stressed:  Great idea!  How do you plan on measuring this?  Taking a bath every 6 months?

I think you get the point.  All these resolutions lack specificity.  You need to be specific when making resolutions, or your inner slackass will make up excuses when its too late!  "Well, I did visit Backwoods, SC when I stopped at the gas station there on our family road trip to see Grandmom.  I'd never been there before!"

So yeah, its time to get concrete, and get to my own New Year's Resolutions!  And, by telling you my missions, it actually helps me work toward them harder (yes, that's a real thing).  And I will try to make it as concrete as possible.

So without further adieu, my primary missions for 2015:

(I decided to use "missions" rather than "goals" because Benny from mentioned it, and he feels at least for him, it makes a goal that much more necessary by calling it a mission.  So let's try it!)

MISSION #1 - Release New Music:  I will release new music, maybe a new album.  The plan is Summer '15.  It depends on my final judgement call whether it will be EP or album.

MISSION #2 - Practice Instruments Consistently: I will create a schedule for practice.  I'm thinking around an hour a day, or at least 30 minutes daily.  Perhaps a mixture.  This won't be every instrument every day, but probably 1 or 2 per day.

MISSION #3 - Learn 4 Languages Simultaneously:  I will be studying Japanese, Mandarin Chinese, Korean and Russian.  My mission is to reach at least A2 level (according to the European CEFR fluency scale) in each language.  Why?  I've always found these countries fascinating, and I want to learn more about their cultures and people, and what better way than learning the languages and speaking with the people?

"4 languages at the same time?  You can't do that!" - Says who?  I'm gonna give it a shot for a year and come to my own conclusion.  I know a guy who's done it, so it is certainly doable.

MISSION #4 - Exercise Consistently:  I don't care so much about losing 5 lbs, gaining muscle or whatever.  In the past, I was super dedicated to counting calories, etc.  What I've learned is that I just feel better when consistently exercising, and I've been very bad about it lately (the past year).  So, I've already started making changes.  I am quitting my current gym and joining a brand new one.  Change of atmosphere :)

MISSION #5 - Practice Healthy Caffeine Consumption:  Originally, I was just going to start 2015 off with 1 month of no caffeine.  But I realized that this thinking was just the same as ever, a temporary fix in order to get the most "bang for your buck."  But that's not really healthy, is it?  Aside from a test of self-control, that has no long-term benefits at all.  I want long-term health, and I think the answer to that is first of all not drinking tons of coffee, but rather maybe drinking some coffee in the morning and then replacing the other "through the day" coffees with green tea or rhooibos tea or something non-caffeinated.  Green tea and rhooibos are very good for you.  This is instead what I will be practicing through the year.

See you in 2015!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

New Single "Winter Love Song" Available Now...WORLDWIDE!

My new single, "Winter Love Song" is now available worldwide!

Or get it on:

Happy holidays :)

Friday, November 28, 2014

Hey, Hello, Its Me - Part 2: Stage Names and Educating yourFanbase

Building on my previous post about the importance of artists to be real, or be themselves... (read part 1)

Why did I feel fake using a stage name?It wasn't the fact that I was using a stage name (I still am), but that I was using a super cheesy stage name.

Lots of artists use stage names, which can be variations of their names, or based on their real names (ie. Vince Neil, Tommy Lee, Stevie Rachelle, Billy Idol), or a something else all their own (ie. Alice Cooper, Gene Simmons).

Stage names don't reduce the credibility of an artist, its merely an extension of their personality.  But shitty stage names can do damage.  Can you take yourself seriously with a shitty stage name?

I used Rock Hart as a stage name originally because SEKS (my old band) was a parody, half-serious and half-not (no, I actually hadn't heard of Steel Panther when I first made that film).  But when I started to get serious about being an artist, I tried and tried to take Rock Hart seriously, but could not.

But you know what?  Its all part of the journey.  It takes some time to figure out your real style, what works and what doesn't.

A stage name, to me, allows you to be a slightly different version of yourself.  Paul Stanley spoke well about it in his autobiography.  He said as the Starchild, he was still himself but a more outgoing and extreme version of himself.

It allows me for example to be Joseph at home, and Vitne on stage.  He's Hulk Hogan in the ring, but Terry Bollea at home.  William Broad at home, but Billy Idol on the stage.

I like knowing what their real name is, I think establishes a trust with their fanbase...but I think its cool to adopt a larger-than-life persona, its a part of being an artist.  You do what you as an artist think is cool.  That's how you are unique.

So what do I mean about "being yourself" as an artist?

I mean to speak to your audience, be available, act as you would normally act around anyone when you aren't on-stage.  And also, I think its important to educate your fanbase.  Are you an independent artist?  How do you feel about that?  Do you want a record label?

Do you have a day job?

Independent artists don't have to have websites that look like they were built in 1998 or have shitty recordings.  Some independents look and sound more professional than "pros."  But unfortunately, this can add a negative side, I think.  People may assume you are on some record deal with a big budget.

First of all, you can do some pretty amazing things on a minimal budget now.

Second, If I were to find out an artist I love also has a day job, I would probably support them even more heavily, sharing more of their content, buying more music, maybe even donating.

Not all artists can tour.  Maybe they have a wife and kids, work a day job (or two), pick up the kids from school and make dinner, put them to bed, and only after that do they have time to practice, record, fix their website, do promotion, talk to their fanbase.

No doubt touring is tough, but that's also pretty fucking impressive in my book.

People shouldn't think lesser of an artist or band if they are independent or have day jobs.  I do think its important for the artists to tell their fans, though, so that they understand.  Like I said before, I work a day job, but am I aiming for music full-time?  YES!  But I need your help.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Musicians! How to Effectively use CoPromote

CoPromote is an excellent tool for independent musicians to share their content.  So if you are a musician wanting to promote your music, I highly recommend it.

But it RIGHT!

STOP thinking like old-school advertisers, aka. "visibility is key - push to as many people as possible!"  - these guys have huge budgets.

START thinking this way:  "targeting is key - push to the correct people!" - way more effective for those without huge budgets...and much more people-pleasing.

The reason I'm posting a blog article on this is because I like CoPromote a lot.  But, I'm sick of having hip-hop in my feed for rock music.  It's not rock music.  I like some hip-hop, but I have rock (not hip-hop) listed as an interest for a reason.  I'm a rock artist and I want to be shown posts related to rock music.

So if you are an artist who is currently posting music and listing it in CoPromote as "rock, world, hip hop, rap, pop, r&b, children's, classical" - please STOP.  This is along the old-school advertising thought of "push to as many people as possible.  Maybe someone will like it."  Instead, why don't you list it for what it actually is...and maybe you'll get better engagement!  If you are a hip hop artist, maybe the people who see your music will actually be hip hop fans and not classical music fans feeling spammed.

I'm using hip hop just as an example because there were easily a dozen tracks in my CoPromote feed today that were hip hop or r&b which listed themselves as rock.  One was even listed as children's music.  Come on, guys.

Also, a final thing.  Think about your audience.  Example:  If you are a Swedish heavy metal band, when you click "share this post" in CoPromote - do you care that you are sharing an article on veterinarians in Connecticut to an audience of primarily European heavy metal fans?

Share content relevant to you and your audience.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Hey, Hello, Its Me, Nice to Meet You

The more and more I think about this, the more and more it makes sense to me.  The increasingly-important need for artists to be real.

Let me elaborate.

I have two musical hats:  1)the music fan, and 2) the artist

Sometimes I get lost in the artist and forget to think as a music fan.  As an artist I'm constantly thinking of ways to better present myself, to look more professional, to sound better, to play better, how to market music, all that kinda stuff.

But then I stop and think, as a music fan, would I like it if "so-and-so" artist was hiding behind a fake name?  Would I like it if I knew that "so-and-so" wasn't a full-time musician, but also had a day job?  Would I think less of them, or would I feel for them?  Would that make them a less "legitimate" artist?

I think the first this hit me HARD was when Tom Hess told me at a music seminar that much of White Lion (you know, the 80s hair metal band) had day jobs, the entire time they were in the band.  It blew my mind because, I mean, these guys were rock stars in the 80s, ROCK STARS!  Videos on MTV, multiple Billboard charting albums and singles...really?  Could it be true?

Whether it is or not (I'm guessing it is true), it got me thinking.  It got me reading and researching.  To me as a kid and much of life so far, a "rock star" had some big record contract and were touring the world and "rich."  I started to find out that in many cases, it is an illusion.  The record contract is usually just a big loan to the artist, while the artist signs their life away (figuratively speaking), while getting a measly salary per week.  CD sales give them maybe $1 or so on re-paying their loan.  They really don't get anything of it.

No wonder they had day jobs.  No wonder so many have day jobs.  They don't want day jobs, but they have to make ends meet.  Of course some artists, make it huge and rake in tons of money with record deals, but those seem few and far between.

Anyway, it also got me thinking about stage names.

I like the idea behind the stage name.  It sets you apart, it gives you a separate persona than your normal, everyday self.  In some cases, that can be good because it can protect you.  But when I was using a stage name, something didn't feel right.

It felt fake.  (this is because I was using a really cheesy stage name!)

I've increasingly been feeling that in this digital music age, this social-networking age, being real is more important than ever.  Before the internet, artists could easily get away with it, because you didn't have wikipedia to inform people on a whim.  Now, though, I feel there is no problem in using one, but I think its nice to know the person's real name.  Lizzy Devine of Vains of Jenna fame has his real name on his facebook page.  Gotye has his real name in his bio.  They aren't trying to force everyone to call them by their stage names.  I liked that.  A lot.

My name is Joseph Kimbrell.  If you look in the songwriting credits on iTunes (if you purchased my music there, for example), it will say "Joseph Kimbrell" and not "Vitne".  You are free to call me Vitne, though, if you want.  Or Jo.  Or Joseph.  To friends and family I usually go by Joseph, but in the past I've gone by Jo/Joe.  I like Jo.

I also have a day job.

I don't have a record label, and I'm ok with that.  Actually, I like it, I think its cool.  Its a challenge, but it also is a free feeling.  Would I take a record deal?  It depends if the offer is right!

A goal of mine is indeed to make enough money on music to do it full time.  And I think it is important for you as a fan, to know.

My music is an act of love - I love making music, and I love to be able to give it to you.  Really, I'm just happy to have you listening.  If you download my music, even better.  If you pay me, I love you.  The great thing about not having a record label is that I actually receive your gifts, not the record label.

I think a lot of this is about finding "me" in the this sea of anonymity.  I'm far from perfect, but I'm a real person.  I listen, too.

So, pleased to meet you.  I'm Jo.  What's your name?

(read Part 2)

Thursday, November 6, 2014

20% OFF All Merch Sale til Nov.11

Vitne merch!

From now (actually, November 4th) until November 11th, get all Vitne merch 20% off!

On checkout, use code:  20EARLY

Shop at