From pounding the pavement to get fans to shows to placing her music in TV shows, commercials and on websites like, Cheryl's self-generated successes have earned some serious street cred in the music industry. She has received invitations to speak on panels at SXSW and the Millennium Music conferences, and also acts as a consult and judge for the annual international Song Circle songwriting contest. Her blog, "Living On Gigging", includes articles that have been published for Performer and Keyboard Magazines plus major music blogs like Discmakers' "Echoes". She caters her writing to other bootstrap musicians aiming to step into a life full of creativity and financial stability. In addition to her writing, Cheryl has collected her experiences and tactics and developed a workshop called "The Secrets to Jump Starting Your Career" which she has given at several other festivals, universities and high schools across the country including the Sundance Film Festival, The Millennium Music Conference, New York University, the University of Connecticut and Cornell University. The premise of her workshop is having participants outline what they want to contribute to in the world, and then translate that to a sustainable successful creative career doing what they love.

E-Course Cover• E- COURSE: Cheryl is the author of "In The Key Of Success: The 5 Week Jump-Start Strategy," an incredibly effective course for indie musicians serious about breaking through plateaus in their careers. Get your copy now!
• FREE DOWNLOAD "The Creative Chronicles" are essays of motivation, tales from the road, and inspiration from the world of a music creator. And it's free! Free Download
• LIVE WORKSHOP: There are limited spots available for Cheryl's August 14th workshop in NYCcalled "The Secrets of Jump Starting Your Career". Sign up here and get a 70% discount code for her E-course at the workshop!
• CAREER CONSULTING: If you are interested in taking your career to the next level and having someone truly comitted to your success (besides your mom), 1-on-1 artist career consulting is your ticket! Read more about her coaching services and book your session here!

4 Steps to Convert Goals into Results

This entry was posted in Life Stuff, Living on Gigging, Music Gear/Processes and tagged , , , .

Published on ReverbNation’s Online Blog

This post is an excerpt from the e-course, In The Key Of Success: The Five Week Jump-Start Strategy. Click to get the rest of the course to jump start your career today!

“Goal” is such a ridiculous word. It’s a word that, once you put it in place, you automatically create its inverse: the possibility of failing to achieve it. The prospect of failure can be so scary that it becomes impossible to take action towards achieving your goal, and thus, the downwards cycle of mediocrity and spinning the wheels begins!

Let’s cut the crap right now.

The true purpose of having a goal
It’s not about the goal, it’s about the work you do in its honor. I had a goal to win a Grammy in my twenties, and when I turned thirty, it was like I couldn’t breathe I was so disappointed in myself. One of my problems was that I didn’t have interim goals. For me, it was Grammy or nothing. With no smaller goals purposefully set, I couldn’t acknowledge myself for all that I had achieved in the music industry in my twenties. All I saw was that one big failure. What I now know [read more]

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Licensing Revealed

This entry was posted in Licensing, Living on Gigging, Music Business and tagged , , , , .

Published on CD Baby’s DIY Blog

The following contains excerpts from the e-course “In The Key Of Success: The Five Week Jump-Start Strategy”.

Figuring out all the different ways to get paid has taken me years. This article is meant to consolidate and summarize some of the big concepts and get you to a point to where you can have a conversation with a publishing house, licensing library, or music supervisor, and be in the know. The main ideas to understand are:

the difference between Publisher’s share and Writer’s share;

what master, mechanical, and sync licenses are referring to;

who pays what, and how you get your cash.

1) The difference between Publisher’s and Writer’s share

One song is broken into two equal parts, or “shares”:

Writer’s share
• “Writers” include anyone who contributed to the song, specifically lyrics or melody (which are usually split 50/50), and occasionally a song-defining element (like the bass line in the White Stripes hit “Seven Nation Army”). This needs to be decided and in writing before you register the song with your PRO.

Publisher’s share
• “Publisher” includes anyone the songwriter has assigned to hold the copyright of the song. The Publisher’s share can be split between your publishing company and [read more]

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5 Ways To Freshen Up Your Live Show

This entry was posted in Living on Gigging, On The Road, Paying Gigs and tagged , , , .

Published by Discmaker’s Echoes Blog.

Spring cleaning is not just for ridding your closet full of worn sneakers, destroying dust bunnies, and scrubbing windows. I like to take the “It’s spring, I MUST clean something” energy and put it towards something other than the grossest stuff in my apartment. This year, it was my live show.

There are lots of reasons to want to freshen up your live show. Maybe you hit a point where you are performing music off your new-but-not-that-new record and feel like the show is getting stagnant- not just for you but for your fans. Or maybe you feel like you haven’t found the sweet spot of what your live show should be. Perhaps you want to experiment a bit but don’t know how.

The good news is that there are some easy ways to shift your performance, from ever-so-slightly to total overhaul, and you can gauge the results immediately… ie, people start coming out to your shows, stay the whole set, buy more cds, have great comments afterwards, YOU feel great, you feel like you hit a stride, etc etc.

Here are 5 ways to freshen up your live show without losing yourself in the process. You can take [read more]

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3 Reasons To Master Your Instrumental Tracks

This entry was posted in Licensing, Living on Gigging, Marketing and tagged , , .

When you are making a record, you put your heart and soul into the lyrics, the performances, the production, the mixing. All of these things make up your record. The good news is that you now have a true expression of YOU. The bad news: it’s not all about your voice and lyrics. Sorry kids, sometimes the best way to make money off of your music is to exploit the instrumental versions of your music. So make sure you master your instrumental tracks. This can be incredibly fruitful and a VERY good thing. Here’s why:

1. Instrumental versions of songs don’t elude to a specific place, time, or person, thus are able to fit in more scenes of TV shows and films. Without a lyrical vocal theme, there’s room for whatever is happening on screen to happen without distraction, and just the emotion of your track enhancing it.

2. Vocal versions of songs are usually mixed to showcase the vocal which may clash with a voice over or dialogue on screen. Music supervisors love the option to have the vocal come in and out, and the only way to do this is to provide mastered instrumental versions of the songs so [read more]

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The Starving Artist’s Silver Lining

This entry was posted in Living on Gigging, On a Personal Note, Published Articles and tagged , , , .

This gallery contains 2 photos.

(as first published in Discmakers’ blog, The DIY Musician)
(I was also going to title this article “Why Our Job is Better Than Theirs” or “Why Being a Musician is the Sh%t” but decided against it.)

There have been many times when I’ve caught myself in what I call P.P.P. (the Predictable Paycheck Predicament): being jealous of my roommate as she left the apartment at her regular time to go to her regular job to get her regular paycheck. (Definition of “regular,” by the way: arranged in or constituting a constant or definite pattern.)

But then I went back to sleep. And when I woke up, I probably went for a run, got some groceries, replied to emails, worked on a song, set up a pitch meeting or two on the subject of composing for a new film or licensing my last record, then I might have grabbed coffee with a friend in town, came home, called some venues for my summer tour, had a glass of wine while watching the latest episode of NCIS online, then researched publishing companies for my new indie artist E-course. Or something like that.

P.P.P. is really just another grass-is-greener complex, and once I get myself present to [read more]

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The 9-Step DIY Fan Funding Checklist

This entry was posted in Living on Gigging, Marketing, Music Business and tagged , , .

The following is an excerpt from the e-course “In The Key Of Success: The Five Week Jump-Start Strategy”. You can get the rest of the course here to jump start your career today!

The next opportunity I want to suggest to you is asking your fans to pay for your new album. From June 2010 to March 2011, I raised over $25,000 in fan donations to fund the production of my record ONE UP. It’s possible, people. But no one will give you a dime if your campaign is “I really really want to make a record- please give me money!”. You need to create an opportunity for your fans that will inspire them to participate.

I offered different levels of donation from $50 to $5,000, which meant bigger prizes for those who donated more. Play big! Never think no one will ever give little old you that much. You will be surprised. The prize for a $1,000 donation was singing with me on a song. This is an experience exchange. Someone did donate $1,000 to my record, and she told me the studio experience was worth it ten times over. A couple also donated $5,000 and I wrote a song for [read more]


5 Ways to Make the Most of the Holidays

This entry was posted in Living on Gigging, Music Business.

While the corporate world and almost everyone else are out of the office for the holidays, I often struggle with this forced “downtime”; as a full-time musician, I’m never not working. I’m either plugging my next show, looking for the next film placement, writing a song, scheduling a band rehearsal, calling booking companies, or, at the very least, thinking about one of these things. This time around, I’m lucky to be releasing an e-course which is keeping me busy (shameless and important plug: if you are reading this article, you need to check out the Jump Start Strategy). But normally, most of the things we do as musicians are hard to do when the entire music industry is hibernating for a week, and an inbox full of “out of office” auto replies is simply useless to me.

I’ve come up with a solution for RMS (restless musician syndrome) that allows me to be a part of the holiday season and spirit without abandoning my work-a-holic diligence. I want to share it with you. (This is my present to you, so don’t expect a fruitcake this year, mmm kay?)

1) Write or remix a song to have a holiday [read more]

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This entry was posted in Living on Gigging, Music Business and tagged , , , , .

Writing, for me, is like running. They are both good for me (and for those around me), yet they both take a marching band-sized cheering squad to get me started. The amount of debating, procrastinating, dodging, and fidgeting I do when I know it’s time to open a blank Pages document or put on my running shoes, is ridiculous. I’ve been on my own, making money and getting my own gigs, for YEARS. You’d think being a freelance composer and an independent artist (not to mention a personal trainer back in the day) would require mad discipline and skills to overcome the temptations of procrastination. So why have I been feeling so stuck lately??

The answer came to me recently while developing an E-course for independent musicians looking to make new strides in their careers. Through this process, I had to examine my own practices and habits. I learned that the moments of feeling stuck in my career were usually followed by moments of occupational breakthroughs. Seemingly insignificant opportunities, where I was dragging my feet to complete small tasks, opened up bigger doors. Just knowing that feeling stuck is my personal way of resisting the success that lies ahead has allowed me [read more]

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The Baby Committment

This entry was posted in Living on Gigging, Music Business, On a Personal Note.

This gallery contains 1 photo.

It’s been a while since I’ve written. You’ve heard this before, right? From other artists whose mailing lists you are on. Maybe you’ve heard it from a friend over email. Or perhaps you’ve written it yourself. The cause of such a hiatus, I have observed, is usually due to the creation of something that takes all of one’s energy and attention. I’ve heard it from my friends who just had a baby. And I’ve heard it from friends who were looking, and then finally bought a house. And I’m writing it now, to you, because I released a record.

For the past year and a half I felt like I was at war. Or at least in a very intense wrestling match… With myself, with my bank account, with my loved ones, with my music, my lyrics, with everything. It felt dramatic, pressurized, urgent, as if this was IT, the last chance, the final statement. Very theatrical, I know. Really, what was happening, is that I was making an album. That’s all.

I’ll have another post soon about my exact process of raising $25,000 from fans and sponsors to fund the record, and the process of selling [read more]


“Exposure”Exposed: 6 Ways to Create It Yourself

This entry was posted in Licensing, Living on Gigging, Marketing, Music Business and tagged , , .

exposure |ikˈspō zh ər|
• an act or instance of being uncovered

The unseen artist yearns to be seen. The unheard musician needs to be heard, and the under budget company wants to under pay everyone. While this may be more of my more cynical points of view, I’d like to start off by saying that while promises of “exposure” in exchange for goods (in this article, for the sake of argument, we’ll use a track off your recent, self-released record) is usually a scam, that is not always the case. My tour mate Shaun Ruymen has a track in the new movie “You Again”, and he most certainly has a great chance of exposure. The opportunities for exchanging your music for real, mass exposure are out there, rare as they are.

That being said, I move on. MOST of the time, when promised exposure in exchange for use of your track, chances are it’s because there’s no chance of being paid. And in most areas of the music business where there is an audience (a real audience, where you will really get said exposure), there is usually money. The PROs (performing rights organizations like ASCAP, BMI and SESAC) are close behind, ready [read more]