Tag Archives: ToBeAFool

Music business??

“…you have the wrong understanding of how the music business works”

Just a quote from an email I received a while ago…
Little did I know when I started helping out and started doing things behind the scenes. Over the years I would be surprised over and over again about the music business. Surprised at the many people we’ve met who have been really supportive and genuinely kind. People who encouraged and inspired us in more than one way. Surprised at the many great opportunities that came by.
But also surprised at how rude, insulting or ignorant people can be.

“…you have the wrong understanding of how the music business works”
The person who sent me that message is right…I didn’t understand how his music business works…
In this case I sent music to a radio station, not being aware that I would be added to a mailing list and would be spammed with promo offers of the owner’s other business…
I received offers to get the music played on (mostly online) radio stations, get music placed on their own blog, get music posted on their facebook groups and and social media network, and an offer for ‘great’ gigs…all for which we would have to pay a lot of money. Maybe this works for some artists, but it’s definitely not something that we prefer to do. I unsubscribed from the newsletter. Robb’s music was removed from the station’s playlist and I received an email from the owner in which he mentioned: “…you have the wrong understanding of how the music business works”

Did that comment bother me? No, not really. It actually made me laugh. The comment did get me thinking though, because who does understand how the music business works nowadays? If one business is confusing and hard to understand it’s the music business. Sometimes I even wonder if the music business understands itself…

The only thing that really matters is to do what you love, do what brings you energy, do what makes you feel good, do what you’re good at and become better. (This counts for anyone, regardless if you’re a musician/artist or not.) Don’t take any of the negative things happening personal. Just move on and surround yourself with people who motivate you, work with like-minded people and stay true to yourself.
Music world has changed so much and today there are so many opportunities and so many ways to get your music heard. There really are so many aspects of the music business. What works for some artists doesn’t mean that it will work for others too. Keep doing your own thing, do what feels right. Try new things and always keep in mind with everything you do that it’s always better to try and fail than a couple of years later thinking ‘What if…’ Believe in yourself, trust your instincts and never give up on what you love doing.

As for Robb’s music, it may seem quiet, but behind the scenes we’re very busy. Robb and the band are working on new songs and we’re planning one last release from the album ‘Sleep Tonight’.
A couple of weeks ago Robb released a single ‘To Be A Fool’. The single got great support and some really nice feedback! Robb made a video for this single filled with silly photos and video snippets from the band and fans from around the world. If you haven’t seen the video yet, have a look:

Thank you to everyone who sent in photos and videos!




The title of this blog might make you wonder if I’m alright…
Yes I am, it’s just that I learned a new English word yesterday, nincompoop…
Robb said it yesterday. During a conversation online he mentioned being a nincompoop. Nincompoop?? What’s a nincompoop?? A very strange and very wrong sounding word it is to me! As you’ve probably read in my previous blogs, I’m from The Netherlands, English isn’t my native language. We always understand each other, but every now and then a word is being mentioned that I never heard of before…which happened yesterday. I even had to check if it was appropriate to use that word as a blog title!
I really didn’t have a clue what nincompoop means. Explanation was needed for me to understand that nincompoop means, ‘silly or foolish person’.
The word made me curious though. Where does it come from? I just spent half an hour reading about it and the origin of nincompoop is a matter of speculation. There are numerous theories to find about that word. Some say it’s coming from the Latin phrase ‘non compos mentis’, meaning “not of sound mind”, others suggest that it is coming from the French phrase ‘ne comprend pas’, meaning ‘he does not understand’. It can also come from the Dutch word ‘poep’, meaning  ‘poop’.
Anyway, I will probably never forget this word. It’s the most silly English word I ever heard.

Onto the next ‘foolish’ subject.
‘To Be A Fool’ single release! Robb will release ‘To Be A Fool’ on April Fools Day along with a video filled with silly photos and video snippets from the band and fans from around the world.
The single is a remix of the original track taken from the album ‘Sleep Tonight’, featuring the Ulster String Quartet. Together with Alan Ladd, Robb also recorded an acoustic version of ‘To Be A Fool’.
This acoustic version came about accidentally. Alan was working on a dance remix of ‘To Be A Fool’. He was trying out some chords on the piano and it sounded nice on just the piano. They decided to record it and the result is an amazing acoustic version of ‘To Be A Fool’.
You can listen to both songs now!

‘To Be A Fool’ will be available on Bandcamp, iTunes, iTunes Music Player, Google Play Music, Amazon and other online music stores from the 1st of April.

Time to end this blog and why not do that with more silliness?
Robb was bored last week, so he took a lovely picture of himself…


A day later it was St. Patrick’s Day and I think Robb was still bored or simply had too much time on his hands…


Have a great week! And…remember to smile and do something silly…be a nincompoop!

Where’s my inspiration??

Ever tried writing when you don’t have any inspiration?
I am actually doing that right now… Since the start of the year I’ve been telling myself that I should write a blog again…which I did a couple of weeks ago. I hoped that by writing that blog inspiration to write more blogs would come back to me but it didn’t…
I really love writing but for some reason I am not inspired at the moment…
Somewhere in the past few months I lost my inspiration and I can’t remember where I left it 😉

Last Friday I told myself to write a blog again during the weekend…nothing happened… All that is happening is a little voice in my head telling me that I haven’t been writing for a long time and that it’s really time to get back into it again…
Numerous times I decided to write a blog. Determined I would start my laptop, open a blank page  and start writing…well…not really… 9 out of 10 times nothing would happen and if I did write something I was kind of disappointed after reading it…the delete button has been used a lot! What often happens is that there’s always something that distracts me…I end up searching for new music, watching silly videos, reading totally not important and irrelevant posts on Facebook or I put my laptop aside and start crocheting…or start doing things that are on my way too long to-do-list.

I’m off for two days now and yesterday I (again) decided to write a blog.
Well, here I am…writing…
And to my own surprise I already wrote more than I did in the past couple of weeks!
The subject ”no inspiration” seems to bring inspiration…
I might as well keep it going now!

As you’ve probably already noticed on social media or read in my previous blog, Robb will release a new single ‘To Be A Fool’ on the 1st of April. We’ve been receiving lots of silly pictures. Thank you to those of you who’ve already contributed to the video! If you didn’t join yet, you can still be involved!
Send your silly clips and pictures to fool@robbmurphy.com and you’ll see yourself in the finished video!

The artwork for the new single is finished and is created by Ronan Reid.

Artwork 'To Be A Fool' by Ronan Reid

Check out his website to see more of his great work! www.roistootall.com

Last but not least, there are a few gigs coming up in the following months:

Saturday 5th of March, Belfast Nashville Songwriters Festival http://belfastnashville.com/, In The Round Session in the Pretoria Concert Room in The Clayton Hotel Belfast http://www.claytonhotelbelfast.com/, doors 2.30 pm

Saturday 26th of March, The Good Life Festival, 1 pm http://goodlifeoxfordisland.com/

Saturday 9th of April, Irish Vegan Festival at the Ulster Hall, 1.30 pm

Time to end this blog… No blog without a song! An old song this time, ‘Never Letting You Go’.

Listen and enjoy! And…don’t forget to download the song, it’s free!


New Music Video – You can be involved!

It’s Monday and it’s stormy outside. I don’t have to go anywhere today, so after doing some necessary laundry and cleaning I’m making some coffee…time to sit down. I’m  going through the emails, catching up on social media and looking at my “music-things-to-do-list”… The list is endless and I’m wondering what I’m going to start with today…
Thoughtlessly I’m drinking my coffee while I’m looking outside…the birds are having trouble to fly in this stormy weather. This weather makes me long for summer and sunshine!
While drinking my coffee I decide that the first thing to do is to write a blog. It’s about time! With no news to share we haven’t been active on social media in the past few weeks and I didn’t write blogs. It seems quiet but plans are being made for this year and we’re taking time to catch up on work and do some necessary things for which we didn’t have time in the past year.

But…there’s news to share now!
Robb is going to release the single ‘To Be A Fool’ on the 1st of April (no joke! 😉 ) and you can be in the new music video! All you have to do is send your silly pictures or videos of you, a friend, family member, your pet etc. (past or present!) to fool@robbmurphy.com

I can imagine that you’re thinking “Silly pictures? What kind of silly pictures?”
I’m not sure if the band agrees with me, but I think it’s good to show some examples. Over the years we took a lot of pictures and by now there’s a nice collection of silly pictures of the band… While going through the pictures I notice something…Kevin in particular is very photogenic, especially when it comes to silly pictures…

Get involved! We’re looking forward to seeing your silly pictures or videos!

There will be more news to share soon, so keep an eye on this blog, Robb’s Facebook page, Twitter or website to stay updated!


A song to end this blog with…
The album version of ‘To Be A Fool’ featuring the amazing Ulster String Quartet.
Listen & enjoy!


Gigs and ducks

I already mentioned it in my previous blog…gigs…
It’s probably one of the most challenging things to get sorted if you’re a musician.
We book all of the gigs ourselves, both in Ireland/Northern Ireland and The Netherlands. There’s a big difference between booking gigs in Ireland/Northern Ireland and The Netherlands though.

Booking gigs in The Netherlands goes pretty well so far. Sure it’s a lot of work and you’ll have to search for venues who do pay artists to play, but so far we’ve been able to get paid gigs sorted. It’s simply necessary. If you’re a touring artist, you’ll have to get expenses covered. It takes a lot of time, effort and phone calls to find the good opportunities though.
Robb always comes over with the band. So when booking gigs we just have to try to get as much of the expenses covered as we can and besides that we have to be creative. Booking hotels is much more expensive than booking an accommodation for a week or 10 days. You can’t cut on flights, but it is helpful to book early, because prices for flights are always going up fast around 8 weeks before the departure date. Renting a car instead of a van is also helpful to keep the costs as low as possible. I live in The Netherlands, so I’m always driving too. But it’s not only that. We’ve been very lucky with the instruments and equipment so far, which we’ve been able to lend from very generous and kind people over here. Besides that, we’re always trying to avoid big expenses when we’re travelling. Taking food and drinks with us, so we don’t have to eat at restaurants etc. and some venues are very welcoming and take care of us all very well by providing us with food and drinks.

The first tour was the hardest one to get sorted. No experience at all and no idea where to look. There wasn’t much to wish for, we were happy to get paid gigs. During that tour there was a variety of venues, from music bars to a chapel. With the 2nd tour things went a lot easier. We found good venues and were able to book better gigs than we had during the first tour. Again a variety of venues and it was fun to do. With the third tour we’ve found a lot of new venues and some venues wanted Robb and the band to perform there again. Good venues for songwriters to perform at, and again every venue is different. We’re already looking forward to that tour!

Booking gigs in Ireland/Northern Ireland is a completely different story though. Sure booking gigs in The Netherlands isn’t an easy thing to do, but with some effort and finding the right venues, we’ve been able to book gigs.
In Ireland/Northern Ireland that seems like an impossible thing to do. You either play for free or pay for a venue yourself to do a gig, hoping that there’ll be enough audience to break even. What’s even worse is that there are more and more festivals making artists pay when they want to apply. That is just really wrong.
One of the reasons why things are so different might be because of the amount of talented bands and singer/songwriters in Northern Ireland. There seems to be much more ‘competition’ than there is in The Netherlands. Music simply is much more part of the culture in Ireland/Northern Ireland than it is over here.
There are many more differences though. In Northern Ireland/Ireland the support for local music seems to be very good. There really are numerous radio stations, including the big stations, who pay attention to new music and besides that there are some really good organisations promoting local music in Northern Ireland.
Sure there are some organisations like that in The Netherlands too, but those organisations seem to be very inaccessible. What does happen is that there is a growing amount of initiatives from people (music lovers)/organisations supporting unknown talent (from The Netherlands and abroad) by hosting gigs. Radio stations are a different story though. There are some good shows that play unknown music, but you won’t hear it on the big radio stations. And besides that…most radio stations (not all of them!! There are some exceptions!!) are always behind over here. When a certain band/artist breaks through in the UK it often takes at least 6 months to a year before radio world in The Netherlands wakes up 😉

These are just some differences between music world in The Netherlands and Ireland/Northern Ireland. And I’m sure things are different in every other country as well.
This blog may seem like a very negative story, but it’s just how the way things are and something every artist has to deal with. There’s nothing negative about it, it’s even quite positive, cause that means that we (and every other artist/band!) will have to be creative and see it as a challenge to make things work and come up with different ideas to spread the word and reach the audience that will like the music. Don’t put energy in the negative things happening, instead of that, find your own way and be you. Don’t compare yourself to others. Every single artist/band is unique and what works for others doesn’t mean that it will work for you too. Be creative, push a few boundaries, take a helping hand when offered, be thankful for the people who support you and stick to your goal.

Something totally off topic to end this blog with…
In one of my previous blogs I wrote about the unexpected visitors we had last week. Mr. and Mrs. Duck who came for a swim in our pond. They were back yesterday!!
Seems that they liked it…maybe the food supply wasn’t bad after all 😉
I sat outside for a while, watched them and gave them some bread. They stayed for a couple of hours before leaving. I wouldn’t be surprised if they become regular visitors from now on.
IMG_1064 IMG_1081

I shared this song, To Be A Fool, in a previous blog, but I’m sharing it again, cause it’s about the things I wrote about in this blog. Anything is possible if you put your mind to it and stick to your goal.
Have a listen!


Where there’s a will, there’s a way…

As you can read in my previous blog, I’ve been working with Robb Murphy, singer-songwriter from Northern Ireland for the past 2 years. A while ago I started thinking about writing blogs about my experiences, because a lot has happened over the past few years and a lot has changed. I decided to give it a go and start writing. So here I am, writing another blog.

What started out with sending music to radio stations grew into so much more.
Thinking back makes me laugh, cause how little did I know when I started helping out Robb. Like so many other people, all I saw/heard was the finished product…an album. I never really thought about the work that’s being done before and during the release of an album and what needs to be done to spread the word.
I was lucky enough to see the process of making the album ‘Sleep Tonight’. Robb wrote a blog about it some time ago. Gives an idea of all the work he and everyone involved did to record the album.

I really admire the perseverance, creativity and skills of all musicians involved.
Perseverance is probably the most important trait a musician/singer-songwriter needs to have. Without that you really won’t get far. But where there’s a will, there’s a way.

Finding that way is a different story though. There really is a lot of work to do when you’re an independent singer-songwriter and to keep things going, having a helping hand is not an unnecessary luxury. The work is never ending. There are endless options and opportunities and there are so many tools that can be used to spread the word.
But not everything always works and it’s hard to know upfront what will work. You need to try and find out. Do it and after a while you’ll know if something worked out the way you hoped for or not.
If not, then you just need to move on and focus on what does work, try new things and hope for the best.

Hope…that makes me think of a quote from Shawshank Redemption…

“Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things and no good thing ever dies”

Shawshank Redemption…one of the best movies ever and it makes me giggle, cause something funny happened about 2 years ago…
During a conversation with Robb, Shawshank Redemption came up. It came up because back then I tweeted Tom Robinson (BBC6 Music) every now and then to ask him to play Robb’s music and it reminded Robb of that movie.
Andy Dufresne, the lead character, applies to the Maine State Senate for funding to expand the prison’s library. For years he gets no response to his weekly letters until the Senate finally sends him $200, thinking Andy will stop requesting funds. Instead of ceasing his letter writing, he starts writing twice as often. It results in a major expansion of the prison’s library collection.
I remember that I was joking about it, saying I would tweet Tom Robinson twice a week then to get him play Robb’s music.

I went on tweeting Tom Robinson every now and then….
Robb responded to the next tweet I sent to Tom Robinson, saying:
“she’s going to do an ‘Andy Dufresne’ on you Tom, good luck ;)”
A couple of weeks later I found out that Tom Robinson blocked me on Twitter.

So….here’s some advice…don’t tweet to Tom Robinson to ask him to play a track too often….cause you’ll be blocked. In case you’re wondering….I’m still blocked. Think I’m facing a life sentence here 😉
This is a perfect example of something that totally didn’t work and actually was a waste of time, but what happened is funny! And thankfully there are so many other possibilities and opportunities that do work.

There’s a song Robb wrote about sticking to your goal and not giving up.

The song is called ‘To Be A Fool’, listen and enjoy!

Robb also wrote a blog about this song which you can read here: