Brand Interview: Rebeca Vallejo, Performance Artist, New York City
How long has your company been in business? Please tell us a bit about your company, its mission, goals…
I have been a professional singer (EuroLatinJazz) for over 13 years now. My mission as a performing artist (without wanting to sound corny) is to try to “make our world a better place” by means of providing heart-felt high quality entertainment: Every time I see a member of the audience smiling, tapping their foot and looking like they’re having a great time, I feel like the world has, at that very moment, shifted towards being a more positive entity.
As a performing artist, my goal is to be able to reach (and hopefully move in a constructive way) as many human beings as possible.
Do you donate to charities? Tell us about that also and why.
The way my performing business contributes to charities is by providing free music to social events, or fundraising acts for causes I personally believe in. To help them gather economic means and exposure I also help them create awareness by adding them to my own publicity campaign for the event, making their logo visible and their cause present in all of my promotional materials.
Tell us about your brand.
There is an existing cliché that artists have a really hard time thinking “as business people”, therefore they let other players around them (managers, promoters, publicist) take care of that aspect.
While that cliché certainly does prove to be a reality for many artists, I believe that as an artist, although dealing with the business side of things might not be your “cup of tea” (and there is absolutely nothing wrong with leaving it to the pros when it comes to selling and marketing your goods) one still has to be fully aware of the concept of branding. The main reason is because it is extremely important how you present your artistic vision to the world, another reason is because branding is not too far removed from being an “artistic concept” as most artist might think.
As a performing artist your brand identity does not just consist of a logo, a web page or a letterhead…
Everything you do becomes branding: from the clothes that you wear while performing, your hairstyle and make-up, to the way you conduct your promotional campaigns. When performing, the repertoire you choose in each concert has to reflect the album/product you are selling at that point in time, and even, to a certain extent, the type of musicians you collaborate with and the causes you contribute to all end up becoming part of your brand identity.
For the stage presence part of my brand identity, I personally have tons to thank… my dear friend and phenomenal jewelry designer Akiko Kijima (head jewelry designer for Betsy Johnson); she made me understand the power of a stage image and my career has highly benefited from that.
When it comes to the other aspect of business branding, the many years of being in the music scene have taught me the rest and I’m still learning!
How did you know what typeface (font) would be right for your company wordmark or logo? If your logo has an illustration, describe why that art was the right thing, animal, place, object, etc…
I was ever so lucky to have a fantastic multimedia artist Billy Diaz (http://bdmgvisual.com/) work with me on my logo identity, what he came up with, a combination of my initials with using a very “retro” font, fits perfectly, with my artistic personality.
How did you decide on the right color palette to fit your company look and feel?
At the time we designed my current website my thoughts were to translate the warmth of the Latin and Spanish sounds mixed with the classy-dreamy, almost nostalgic connotations of traditional jazz. We felt that a palette of earthy colors would provide the most appropriate look for this task.
Nowadays, as I am working on my next album, because my musical sound has mutated to a point were the flamenco sounds of my ancestors are much more present we will be updating my brand identity and the colors black and red will be more present.
How did you decide which type of designer to work with, or did you design your own identity and web presence?
A common friend introduced Billy Diaz to me. The minute I saw his first sketches of ideas I knew he was “the one.” During the last few years I have been doing some concept designs myself (with the invaluable help of my husband, Geoff Mosher (http://www.thegeoffmosher.com), who executes my thoughts perfectly + adding design concepts of his own) but always keeping the logo identity.
In what order did you present your company to the world? Did you start with marketing and products, or website, blog and social media?
As a performing artist it all started with live performances; then I created my first album and followed up by expanding my promotional efforts from local to national by going on my first tour through the south of the United States.
By the time of my second album, my promotional efforts expanded from national to international with a series of performances and tours overseas. It was at this time that I started sending out “The Newsletter”, a more personalized outlet to let my fan base know about my “musical whereabouts.” It was also during the promotion of my second album that I became more and more aware of the power of media and so I try to infuse my live performance with as much local press as possible. Social media has, over the years, gotten increasingly stronger as a resource for promoting live shows and project releases. So, it has been during the last year that I have included web and blog listings as part of my marketing tools as well.
How long after the launch of your company did you start pitching in social media?
I started using MySpace back in 2008 when it had become “a thing” for musicians around the world (it was said that, in Europe, agents would ONLY look at your MySpace page to consider you for their programming).
Then came Facebook and I only did promotion of things on Facebook “here and there” at the start. However, during the last two years I have become very active within the Facebook community (thanks to my dear husband, Geoff Mosher, who is a bit of a social media wizard). I am well aware of Linkedin and of Twitter but I have decided to leave those two “on the side” for right now. After all, there is only so much one can maintain and manage!
Did you do research or study any software, take webinars, teleclasses, before approaching any area of your marketing or web presence?
Years ago, I had a “day job” where I was the general manager of a company that created industry based on-line directories. In trying to maximize the performance on those directories I did a great amount of research where I became very familiar with the basics of SEO. Currently, besides having the great help of my husband when it comes to social media, I take on-line tutorials from my email marketing company, Constant Contact, to maximize the power and reach of my Newsletters.
Do you advertise locally in newspapers and/or nationally in magazines? Are they effective?
I do find it very effective to advertise live shows in local publications and on blogs/web postings that serve the area/borough where the show will be. At the end of the day, it is all about expanding your fan base by exposing new potential audiences to your musical product. While it is true that your friends will come and support you at the beginning, there is a limited amount of concerts they will attend despite their unconditional love for you and your songs.
Do you advertise online using Google, Facebook or on other company sites? Are they effective?
As mentioned before, Facebook has become a prominent tool. I also distribute my newsletters through Constant Contact, which allows you to link your email campaigns to your social media. Those two outlets have been very successful for my performing career.
Which social media site to spend the most time on and how does it help marketing your business?
The Immediate nature of Facebook helps to market your business in the sense that it helps you show, semi-constantly, that you are “doing things” and “going places.” They are instant ways of keeping you “on sight” because, as we all know, “out of sight, out of mind” and you want to be in people’s minds so they follow your projects and come to your live shows.
Do you belong to community sharing websites? Which ones and how effective are they in building your audience? What are the best features that help your business?
As a matter of fact, I do, and during the last few months I have been discovering that the marketing power of such websites, fueled by a strong sense of proximity and community are not to be taken lightly:
I belong to Meetup where I create “meet up groups” for key live shows. I am also member of both Spanish Red, a Facebook type of share service for Spaniards living in the US.
When you printed your products, packaging, business cards and other print marketing did you choose an online printer or visit a local vendor?
I have been ever so lucky to have found, very early on in the game, an online printer, which happens to be also NY based. I have been using the wonderful services of 4over4.com for the last 10 years and I vouch for them 300%. Their products are greatly priced, look fantastic and they provide excellent customer service. I also admire the fact that they provide several “green” options for printing.
Did you know anything about different types of papers, when you wanted to print your marketing materials?
In general, I’m a very ecologically conscious type-of person so I tend to research to see which option would be the most environmentally friendly when it comes to printing products.
Have you ever used “green” technology in printing, using FSC certified papers or recycled paper and if not, how likely are you at trying this on a next project?
I do use recycled paper for 95% of my printed promo materials.
If you sell products, are they produced in the USA or abroad?
So far, my two albums have been produced and manufactured in the US, and as of right now, my next album will follow the same lead.
Do you speak at events? If so tell us about that.
I don’t, but I would love to! Part of the promotional package of my next album will be a series of music workshops. Since my next album has a stronger presence of flamenco in it (harmonically fused with Jazz and Brazilian music sounds) those workshops will give a brief history of flamenco music, and tackle the task of explaining how I fuse flamenco with other musical genres.
Having been a “right-off the boat” immigrant who has integrated quite well into the “machinery” of this country, I would love to, at some point in the future, talk about how my experience has developed and how that has influenced me as a creator. It is my hope that talking about that can inspire other foreign artists residing in NYC, be positive, constructive and create an awareness of what one has to go through as an artist from another country living in the US. In short, I’d be more than happy to give talks about that!
What is coming up in the year or two we should watch for?
I am entering the studio in January to record my third album so, watch out for its release in the spring of 2013!!!
BUT before entering the studio I have two last performances this year:
* Nov 9th , 7pm at Instituto Cervantes NY
* Nov 16th , 7pm at DROM
Is there anything you haven’t yet tackled, but will want to do soon?
I believe my hands will be “quite full” with the production of my next CD, so, I should aim to tackle that in the most productive way.
To learn more about Rebeca Vallejo, visit the links below:
Facebook Fan page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Rebeca-Vallejo-EuroLatinJazz/330170327717
Direct FB page: http://www.facebook.com/rebeca.vallejo.9
El Ciego Sol: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cFk3eBZjPcE
Azucar, Canela: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O25GFoxXJZI
Youtube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/rebecavallejo?feature=results_main