In this episode, Jared interviews Bree Noble. She shares advice on how to make the most of your networking opportunities. She emphasizes the importance of being clear and concise with potential clients, making sure to highlight the benefits of booking you as a performer.
What's up gigging pros. It's Jared and welcome back to the Gigging Musician Podcast. I am super pumped today we've got a special guest. Her name is Bree Noble. She is a Christian classical folk pop show tune and Broadway artist, host of the Female Entrepreneur Musician Podcast and the Profitable Musician Podcast. Welcome, Bree. Hey, excited to be here. Awesome. Thanks so much for being here. I'm super pumped. I'm curious, because you have a very interesting background, you are an original musician, but you also have a background in opera, could we just to kind of talk about your background as a musician? Sure. So I mean, just like most musicians, I've been singing forever. I was huge into choir in high school did a bunch of, you know, like, solo competitions and things like that, and just really enjoyed music enough to want to go on in college and be a vocal major. And I was able to perform with the school, I went to a Christian school, and I performed with the school's performing ensemble, that like I was part of our mission was to let people know about the school because the school is kind of small. So you know, there's a lot of people that might not know about it. So we went out like two weekends a month, and we were performing and all these different churches and rescue missions, and you know, all kinds of places. And that was really where I cut my teeth on performing, and just absolutely was in love with it. But I also got practical along the way, and I decided to get a double major in business. So I focused on accounting, because I actually took an accounting class for like a general ed course and absolutely loved it. which I know sounds crazy, right? But I really enjoyed it. So I decided to focus on accounting and management in the business side. And it was a good thing that I did, because, and I know we had this discussion on my podcast, like, the music department did not prepare me at all for what to do after school, like I was an amazing musician. Like, I could analyze any piece of music, you know, I could, I could write music and all the different you know, classical forms, and you know, all the things that you learn, but, and I was a great performer, and especially if classical music, and I do a couple of operas while I was there. But I had no clue what to do with that beyond going to graduate school. And I wasn't planning on doing that I considered going to graduate school in business, but I ended up you know, getting married, my husband was in graduate school, so I kind of needed to like actually bring home money at that point. So I was I fell back on my business degree. And I was glad that I had it. But I ended up working as an accountant at a company that like we made water purification systems, it was fine, but it wasn't exciting. And so I then I was like, I really want to work somewhere I'm passionate about. And I managed to get a position working for the local Opera Company, which was really exciting. We were one of the top 15 opera companies in the US in Orange County, California. And I was I became the director of finance there. So that was a really cool experience. Although I never performed there, I got to hang out with performers got to go to all the fancy parties got to sit in front row on opening night, you know, all that fun stuff. And I was performing kind of on the side, as you know, do weddings, I do. Like corporate things where I would sing, you know, I'd sing like classical pieces in churches when they needed a soloist and things like that. But I just really wanted to be a singer songwriter. And I didn't really have any clue how to go about doing that. And it wasn't until I ended up quitting my job there because I had a I had a baby. And it was really hard to balance all those things. And while I was home with her, I started to just get an inkling of like, I need to figure out how to marry this business and music thing. And think about this more like a small business than like a musician. Because I was like still in caught in that like I need to get a label to notice me I need to get a booking agent and you know all those things. And I finally realized like, hey, if I let's say I was just starting a business, doing whatever, you know, I started a bakery or whatever. How would I promote that? How would I get people excited about it and start building it. And it was very much grassroots is what I went toward, you know, people that I knew people in my church and I just started going out and getting them involved in what I was doing. And then I just started expanding out from there and that's how I ended up building my music career in very non traditional kinds of venues. So yes, I went from, like, the opera company to performing for mothers of preschoolers and, you know, women's business events and, and things like that, because it was somewhere that I could, could really have a niche. You know, I didn't want to have to compete with everybody else. Yeah, for sure. And, and from your perspective, everybody else was doing kind of the traditional route of pursuing singer songwriting. Yeah, especially at that time, you know, it was getting into the clubs getting it, you know, I had my experience with that I was with a few bands. We performed once at the, the coach house down in Orange County. We performed at some festivals and things but it's, it's such like a, it's it's, you're always like, feeling like you're clawing at it. You know what I mean? Like, you're always competing with so many people, you have to worry about, like bringing people to the events, otherwise, you won't get called back again. You know, and I didn't want to deal with that anymore. I wanted to go perform where there was already audiences. Oh, yeah, I'm in the same boat there. You get it? That's awesome. I mean, you have an amazing story. I mean, it takes a lot of wild turns. I'm curious, though, you said you're, you're you were very big into choir in high school. What made you make the decision to want to actually pursue a major in music. Um, I think it was just like, I didn't have I, there was nothing else I wanted to do. You know, I loved it. I loved it. And I didn't have that pressure, thank goodness, from my parents of like, you have to have a super practical career. Like, they knew that whatever degree I got, I, you know, I'm an overachiever. So like, I would be able to get a position somewhere. You know, even if I made a complete, like, I didn't get any job in music whatsoever, you know, and they didn't even push me to get the business degree. That was all my idea. So I just, I knew that I loved it. Like, at one point, I thought I might want to be like a sound engineer, because I thought that was super interesting. I remember, you know, performing with my church choir on like these tours, and looking at the soundboard and being in like, total awe, like how cool like it seems so powerful to like, be in control of this board. And so I thought I might want to do that. But the college I ended up going to didn't really have a degree in that. So I just decided, you know, I love performing. And at one point, I thought I might be a music education major. And I started taking the classes. And I'm like, No, I don't like conducting. I don't like teaching brass instruments. You know, it just, I was a performer, for sure. Yeah, for sure. So you didn't want to be a teacher? Did your music professors kind of show you some possibilities in music? Absolutely not. I mean, no shade on them. But like, that wasn't their job back in the 90s. Like, no one told them they should do that. Their goal was to make me the best musician ever. And they did a fantastic job at that. Yeah. Not much has changed in the 2000s 2000 10s. Just from my experience, Dad, you Yeah. So they didn't even mention like here, or, you know, here's how to take an audition or anything like that. No, not really, I guess they figured that doing your juries was like enough experience to know what an audition would be like. And, you know, I didn't really want to do that. Any I didn't really want to, like go into opera or anything after school. So that really didn't bother me. But it was more like, you know, I'm moving to a new town. I want to get some gigs. I don't know anyone. How do I do this? And I just had no clue. Yeah, but you figured it out somehow. So yes, a lot of experimentation. Yeah. So tell us about your first gig in the real world. Um, let's see, I had a few wedding gigs. When I first when I first moved to Orange County after school. I didn't know anyone there. I got a few wedding gigs, I think potentially online or in like weddings.com, things like that when they first started. Friends of a friend, you know, I sang it a lot of my friends weddings, and then they would refer me. But I didn't really start getting any proper gigs. Like I said, I was with a few bands. And we did that kind of thing. I realized that wasn't really what I wanted to do. But when I really started pursuing it in earnest, and honestly, that was not until about 10 years after I graduate. You know, I worked in the business world. I was a director of finance at the opera company. I started having kids. So I was like, 32 you know, when I really started pursuing things in a way that was not going to be like I wasn't going to be beholden to anyone else. Right? Like, it's other things are not working. So why don't I just do this my way and see what happens. Like it can't go worse than it has. So, you know, I just basically started going because I was I was doing worship team at my church, I was doing solos I was in the choir, all that stuff. I just started going out to all those people that I knew and say, Hey, I'm like, you know, wanting to get more gigs. I'm trying to build this into a business. Do you know anyone that a like, needs people for a private party, or needs people for a community event or needs someone to perform for a corporate event, or a nonprofit. And it turns out that people in my church were very well connected. You know, a little did I know that like, some of them were like heads of nonprofits. Some of them were heads of the hospitality team for their community group that they were in. And so I just started getting gigs that way. At the same time, I had a small child. And so I started going to a group called Mothers of preschoolers. And I'm like, hey, there are people that are coming to this group to like talk, mostly to speak. But there was someone who came, who spoke and sang. And I'm like, I could do this. I could totally do this. And guess what, they have free babysitting. So I started looking into this, the the groups, and they were an international group. And so I just started looking up all of the groups all over California, contacting them, letting them know that I had a program. You know, I wasn't like, Oh, I'm a singer, songwriter. I'm like, No, I have this program. This is the name of it. This is what it talks about. I also sing during it. You know, I'll do some giveaways. It'll be fun, you know, and I just started contacting people. And pretty soon I had amassed multiple tours around California, where I was going from group to group between those groups, and like some women's community groups that I performed at that were like lunchtime gigs. Sometimes some evening like corporate gigs, and a few like coffee houses and stuff. I built tours out of that. That's amazing. It's, it's kind of like you designed your own your own gig. And then you just pitched it to people who had these connections. Kinda reminds me of like the keynote concert. So you're familiar with like to demos? Yeah. To was a great friend of mine. Yeah, absolutely. I did keynote concerts before I knew it was called that. And before I knew him, but I was like, Oh, my gosh, that's exactly what I did when I started talking to him. Yeah, that's amazing. And it also highlights the power of networking and relationships, like you build partnerships on the back of your church, and in the this, like, you know, babysitting kind of thing. And it was amazing. Yeah, absolutely. I mean, one thing I started doing, because these mops groups, they were, you know, sometimes they'd be like, 30 minutes apart. There'd be like a community that had a few like, especially let's say, you went to like Portland, Oregon, there was a few like outlying Portland, probably like five or six different ones. And so I would say to that, because I would let them know my price. And they'd be like, oh, like, that's a little outside of their budget. And I say, okay, cool. I'll knock $50 off. If you give me a referral to another one of the groups in the area. Wow. And a lot of times they knew each other, you know, they would be communicating with them. They'd like asking each other Oh, who are the good people that we want to have come in to do our speaking and stuff like that? And so they were already network, so I just tap into their network. That's amazing. Well, Bravo for that. So you've helped other musicians do this too, right? Yes. So in 20, oh, well, really around 20. Let's see, I put out my Christmas album in 2011. That was the last major tour that I did. I did some other performing after that. But like at that point, I had two kids, they were in elementary age. And I just didn't want to leave them. I used to take them on tour with me. But you know, started becoming a problem when they were in elementary school, and they couldn't come with me. And so I just decided I'm gonna stop touring. And at one point, I thought I'd go back and get another corporate job. And I started to do that. And I was just like, I don't want to do this, like I want to work with musicians. I love this. And at that point, I had already built my women of substance platform, which is, was an online radio station now a podcast that promoted women in music and getting their music out there on, you know, an elevated platform. And so I had already had a ton of connections of pretty large email list of all female artists that I was helping in that area. And I'm like, how about I teach this to them? How do I, how about I teach how I built my music business to them, because they would often come to me and say, you know, ask me questions, or I would say, Hey, your music is amazing, like, how come I can't find you online. And they'd be like, Oh, I don't know how to do any of this marketing stuff. So I opened up my Female Musician Academy in 2015. And started teaching a lot of the stuff that I did and marketing and business stuff to, to female musicians, and then eventually expanded that beyond just females with my profitable musician summits and my rock your next release course that came out in 2020. So yeah, it's funny that I said, you know, when I was taking those courses to be a music teacher that like, I never want to be a music teacher, I didn't enjoy that. But like, here, I am kind of being a music teacher. I'm not teaching music, but I'm teaching musicians. Yeah, for sure. I mean, you're, you found the right audience for your teaching. And that makes all the difference. So I'm curious to dive into this whole concept of the female musician and your focus on it. You know, we get so wrapped up in our own bubbles that we kind of miss the issues that are current and that have been ingrained in our system for so long. Could you tell us about that, and your perspective on that? Um, you know, I started it because, number one, I was meeting a lot of great female artists as an artist, and wondering why there just wasn't enough representation. I mean, I was a huge fan of Lilith fair. And you know, all the, you know, Alanis Morissette and all the female power in the music industry in the end of the 90s. And here, it was in like 2007. And saying what happened to all that momentum, I felt like I would listen to the radio, or Sirius XM, and there just be hardly any women on there. And so I just wanted to create a place where they could be highlighted. And honestly, it started as a hobby for me that I just kind of created this radio station for me to listen to at work of all the female artists that I liked. So it started like that. And I was like, I want to, you know, I want to keep this going. When I left the opera, and I was home with my daughter, I just I wanted, you know, another outlet, like another creative outlet. And then it ended up becoming something that actually was making some money. And I just saw more things over the years of like, women just need, need a need a boost, need a platform. And, you know, my ultimate goal would be like, eventually, it's it's equal representation, right? Women and men, you turn on the radio, you turn on Sirius XM, you turn on you, you look at Spotify playlists, and you're seeing equal representation. And I do think that we have really moved a lot closer toward that in I mean, I've been doing that particular platform for 14 years. And I do think that has made a difference. That's amazing. I'm sure, you know, we still have a long way to go. What are for sure? How, what are some of the ways that we can work towards equality and representation in the music industry? Um, I think getting, giving women opportunities in all the aspects of the music industry, you know, I think there's been a big expansion in the last 10 years of women having careers in executive positions in the music industry. And so getting that top down, I think maybe like a lot of the, you know, the white males that were controlling it, are finally starting to phase out, you know, they're retiring and things like that. And we're getting some really amazing women in those positions. And starting from the top down, is really the way to infiltrate. And, you know, also getting getting women educated and confident in all areas. So you know, a lot of women are starting to learn how to produce and do you know, do live sound, and a lot of women doing really well in music, licensing and things like that, and being supervisors for music. And so I just think that, you know, the more women that we can get involved in all the different areas of the music industry, the better and I really see this happening a lot now, and I'm so happy for it. Yeah, that is fantastic. And really good. Good suggestions. So thanks for all your work on that, too. What are you currently up to? I know you've got a bunch of things out. You've written a book. And yeah, tell us what you're doing nowadays. Sure. So I mean, I wrote my book and 2019, the musician's profit path that's always available on Amazon. Like I said, I released a course in 2020, which was so timely because I released it right before the pandemic, and then the pandemic happened and people couldn't perform. And so what were they doing, they were releasing music. So the rock your next release program, which is what can help you plan and execute a successful release of an album or an EP. And so that's, you know, kind of a bread and butter program for me now. And as well as that I've got, you know, my music, female Musician Academy, where I still am focusing just on females in there, because I love having this community, and this safe place for women to be able to talk about the things that do happen, because there still are things like that, right? There's uncomfortable things that happen to us as women in the music industry, where we feel like we've been slighted discriminated against, made to feel uncomfortable, whatever it is, talk down to mansplaining. You know, where we can have those conversations. It's not like we're sitting there griping all the time, like it is a positive community. But I want to have a place where, where women feel like they can talk about those things if they do happen to them. And there'll be people that understand. Yeah, that's amazing. So what are some pieces of advice that you can give to gigging musicians. I mean, I think what you brought up earlier, the networking is the key. Any way you can network, if you can network with fellow musicians, and you know, gigs swap, do gigs together, share contacts, if you can, like I was saying, you know, get kind of focus on referrals, and get those people that really do love what you do to get your name out to new people. Because everybody has a network. Right. And you may think, like, I was like, oh, you know, all these senior citizens at my church. You know, I wasn't sure that, like, they were my demographic, and they weren't necessarily my demographic for all of my music. But I also performed a lot of, you know, Broadway and classical, and they love that stuff, you know, or holiday music. And they have so many connections, you know, they've, they've got a ton of experience, they've got a ton of connections, because they've been around a long time, especially established in that location, if they've been there, for many of them had been there for their entire life, you know, they got a lot of connections. So it doesn't have to be people that are necessarily in your main demographic. Think about the, you know, the other things that you can do. And also, this is a little off the networking, but have a program, like, offer different programs, as I said, I didn't go out to these mothers or preschoolers and say, I'm a singer, songwriter, you know, I would love to come perform for your people, they would have been like, like, what, what is that? Like, it's not, it's not tangible to them. But when I said, Hey, I have a holiday program, it's called gift beneath the star, and I incorporate all these, you know, these Bible passages, and then I sing these songs, or I have this, you know, talk about my, my life called you or my vision, and I incorporate these songs. And here's kind of some of the, the stories that I talked about in there. And this is, you know, what it, what it what the aim or the, you know, the lessons or whatever that the program has, like, they want to know what they're getting, and why they should book you. So you can't be vague. Right? It's like you have to make them a concrete offer. Yes, that is not just, Hey, my name is Jared Judge, I want to play at your venue. That's right. Like what do I get when I bring you play violin hire me? No, you know, that's not gonna be it, right? Yeah, for sure. That's great advice. Thank you. So we are coming to the end of our episode here. What are some of the ways that the Gigging Musician Podcast listeners can connect with you further? Absolutely. So I always like to point out my 15 sources of income you can tap right now. So I used to have one called 1919 sources of income that you haven't probably haven't considered for your music career, but I actually updated it because of the pandemic for you know, things that were a little bit more relevant now. So now it's the 15 sources of income you can tap right now, and that you can find at my website, FEMusician.com. or I think yeah, 'F' as in female 'E' as an entrepreneur musician dot com and then also, you know if you are releasing music or even if you're just trying to get PR for yourself as a performer, I've got a cheat sheet that will help you get more PR for whatever it is you're doing, especially for your release, and you can find that at ProfitableMusician.com Awesome and Bree is also the host of the Female Entrepreneur Musician Podcast, which you can find on Spotify and Apple Music, and also the Profitable Musician Podcast. So great. Thank you so much for joining us on The Gigging Musician Podcast and to our listeners. Always remember, you are just one gig away.