The music scene is pretty great here.
We like to go to shows at the Beacham / The Social, which is usually where my friends’ bands will play on tour. Paradise Fears has played there 3 or 4 times too. House of Blues is also a great venue @mjwalker0
Episode #367 : A.V.A Live Radio Behind The Music with Jacqueline Jax :
GETTING TO KNOW MJ WALKER
by Jacqueline Jax host of A.V.A Live Radio
The music scene is pretty great here.
We like to go to shows at the Beacham / The Social, which is usually where my friends’ bands will play on tour. Paradise Fears has played there 3 or 4 times too. House of Blues is also a great venue.
I recently started producing other musicians and bands,
and it’s been awesome. There’s definitely something magical that happens when two or more people get together to play and record music at the same time.
I think right now is a pretty amazing time to be a musician.
We have access to tools and resources to record, produce, mix, and market our songs in a way that we never have before. That being said, it’s also an incredibly difficult time for the same reason. Having access to these tools means that there’s a lot more music out there, which makes it more important to differentiate yourself and have a more focused approach to reach fans.
When I released my debut EP, the response was amazing.
I was able to start a membership group called “The Inner Circle” where people vote on a weekly cover song, and we meet up every week for an interactive Livestream. It’s still going strong, and it’s been by far the most engaging part of my solo career, but I think I made a mistake by not making it very accessible. I only opened it for a couple of weeks to sign up for a year, and if you missed the deadline, you were unable to join.
I hoped that by making it exclusive,
it would keep things more special and intimate. It has been great in that way, but I also realized that there were a lot of people who missed the sign up date, and it’s harder to stay connected to them. Plus, in a world that is driven by sharing and social media, I don’t give out nearly as much free content as I’d like to share.
When I relaunch the Inner Circle in January,
I’m planning on creating a free tier + premium tier, and I’d like to make it an evergreen model so that people can subscribe whenever they’d like. I think that will help me connect more with people who have never heard of my music, and also create a deeper relationship with those who want to take it to the next level.
I think we’re living in a world
that has been transforming into more of a “snacking society” – we prefer little tastes of content without diving too deep. We have a hard time focusing on one thing for too long. There’s actually some research that shows how that’s been negatively impacting us, but I won’t go too far into it.
It seems like releasing singles,
then eventually releasing a combined album, is a smart marketing strategy to get the most out of our music. That way we can spread out the length of marketing, but still cater to those who enjoy having a vinyl or CD collection of songs.
Using crowdfunding for an entire album is definitely a viable option too.
I funded The Shift EP entirely through Kickstarter with my close friends and family.
I like having the ability to instantly share ideas and music online via social media,
but I also struggle with it sometimes. I spend most of my time focusing on writing, recording, and connecting with the Inner Circle, and I haven’t been able to share as much as I’d like to on my normal social media accounts. Hopefully, that will change when I relaunch the Inner Circle this January.
The Buddha, Jesus Christ, or Muhammed.
I think they all shared primarily the same message, but it’s been adapted over the years. Universal love and peace. They’ve inspired billions of people to overcome their limitations and suffering, and nothing could truly upset them.
I think a disconnect might happen
when someone pursues being “current and trendy” to the point that they lose themselves, but I do think that using what’s popular now as a ‘role model’ can be a powerful way to reach new fans.
Be who you are and say what you feel,
because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind. -Dr. Seuss
I started playing piano when I was six years old.
To be honest, I only played at first because my parents bribed me with video games! My dad had taken lessons when he was younger and gave up, which he always regretted, so he wanted to make sure I would stick with it. (They gave me the one thing they knew would keep me motivated.)
It became more of an intrinsic motivation in high school.
I was really shy – I considered myself one of the “unpopular” kids, and I always wished I knew how to be more outgoing and connect with people. Playing music became the tool that helped me express myself. I met some of my best friends (and started playing songs for cute girls).
I started a band called Paradise Fears with 5 other classmates in high school,
and when it came time to graduate, we decided to defer our scholarships to try out the band for a year. After it started to pick up steam, we decided to tour full time, and we were able to go on tour with some of our favorite bands growing up: All Time Low, The Summer Set, and Forever the Sickest Kids. We were also able to tour with Top 40 bands like Andy Grammer and Rachel Platten.
Last year, we decided to take a break from touring and releasing music,
which gave all of us time to pursue some self-interests. That’s one of the reasons I decided to record and release a solo project under the name MJ Walker, which has been a whole new world for me.
Down the River
Down the River is a song that uses the analogy of life being like a river.
I think there’s a naturally flow to this moment. Sometimes we fight it, and it can feel like we’re trying to swim upstream, but when we let go, it always carries us along effortlessly to where we’re meant to be.
I spent about 18 weeks struggling to learn an INCREDIBLY difficult piano part.
I didn’t eat or sleep for months while I practiced… I recorded it at the beginning of the song, and it was by far the most challenging piano part I’ve ever had to play in 18 years.
Haha, just kidding.
The song starts with a super simple piano part that most people would recognize as “that song that 2 year olds can play.” I was just sitting down one day playing that on a piano, and I had an idea that it would be fun if a song started there and then naturally evolved. When it comes to songwriting, I usually feel like the best songs come out of me when I get out of my own way, and the songs just write themselves. That’s what happened with Down the River.
I hope that people who listen to my music feel uplifted and positively charged.
When they’re going through a hard time in their lives, I hope that they can put on The Shift and feel some relief… knowing that “this too shall pass.”
On a deeper level,
I think that we’re going through a worldwide revolution of self. We’ve been identified with a conceptual image of who we are, living in a world that’s constructed mostly by our beliefs, and we’ve lost track of who we are at the core. The Shift is about breaking our pre-conceived notions and rediscovering our true selves.
One of my key beliefs is that no matter what has happened in the past,
we have the ability to let go and be free in this moment.
I grew up in South Dakota,
but I moved to Orlando, FL to live with my girlfriend (now fiancee!)
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