In this edition of #CREATORTALK, we speak to Lorraine Solomons. #CREATORTALK is a series of articles and interviews, with a focus on the creative industries and the the talent working within them.
PW- Hey Lorraine! How’s it going?
PW– So, first thing’s first. For those who don’t know yet, how would you sum up who you are and what you do?
I have been called an “ethical music promoter” although I don’t much like that term, as I think everyone should be ethical! I support new and independent artists from early shows to UK tours, and look at ways I can help genuinely gifted artists break the glass ceiling to reach a wider online and live audience. Over the years, we have built up a loose but strongly knit creative community of music artists, creatives and music fans too.
PW-What inspired you to start Success Express Music?
It started out with a set of vocal and performance workshops with an amazing vocal and performance coach named Joshua Alamu. I had a music shop and music school with vocal students etc at the time so we put a set of workshops together. I was so inspired by seeing the progression that Josh wrought in the singers of all ages and levels. It was amazing to feel you had a part in effecting a real change in someone’s life. I went on to focus on the apprenticeship of the live performance side (as there were a bunch of teenagers starting out) by promoting some live music nights at Proud Camden alongside established artists that I would curate. I hadn’t a clue about promoting, but I had learned that if the music is great people will come and they will stay. We built a great little scene of weekly live nights there in the small back room, and during this time I met all the artists I am still so close to today. Seeing unexpected world class performances in that little room tucked away to 20 odd people is truly what has fired me to do something, to make sure such an artist or band gets the opportunity to perform on a world wide stage as they deserve. Everyone deserves the same opportunities irrespective of financial background and this is always in my mind and heart.
PW- It would be an understatement to say that sustaining a career in the music/ creative industries is difficult- what do you think needs to change before we get to a place where this is easier to do?
It is definitely an understatement. I would say it’s impossible without any sort of financial backing. Sheer costs and logistics force most artists to give up trying to make a career out of music. If they have money they can certainly sustain it as a hobby, but very few get the budget to keep going until such times they achieve some recognition and commercial opportunities directly from their music. It is heartbreaking that the most gifted artists never ever get heard. So much needs to change, but basically I would give anything to see gifted artists and promising bands have access to some essential resources to just keep going, market themselves and get a base from which they can grow. Without that there can be no meritocracy, if it’s going to depend on personal wealth.
PW- What are three short pieces of advice you would give to an artist/ band trying to make it in the music industry?
Be authentic. if you change yourself because you are chasing the dream you will just end up a pale imitation of that which makes you unique. Write a better song. Old advice but it’s true. A great, truly relatable song will win your audience. Keep going. That’s the hardest part, as you may see absolutely nothing happening for years, but it can suddenly all come together if you have the right talent, plan and intent.
PW- In this kind of economy and industry, it can be tough to feel like you’re moving forwards sometimes. How do you battle these feelings when they come up, and do you have any advice to other people who might be struggling in a similar way?
Yes it’s really hard to keep going for me too. I don’t think you can ever tell an artist often enough you have been moved by their work or inspired by their music etc. I know I really need constant encouragement. I’d say don’t be afraid to let go of things that don’t work. It’s always the way that when you make some room, something better will grow in its place. Don’t be afraid to fail, it’s an important process and we all need to go through process and “fail” to find the right way forward.
PW- Finally, if an artist is interested in working with you, where can they find some more information?