Meet Founder of High Voltage: Chelsea Schwartz

High Voltage

 

We’re excited to welcome the enigmatic and very special Chelsea Schwartz (Founder of High Voltage) to our community of curators on Fluence. Chelsea’s wealth of talents include artist & tour management, music publicity & marketing, artist development, DJing, social media strategy and writing about all things music & nerd culture related since the age of 14. She’s 32 now…

Chelsea Schwartz on Fluence

 

Besides all that, Chelsea is also the executive producer (engineer and on-air talent!) for the High Voltage Radio Hour which airs twice a week on The Independent FM and is also available for streaming through the iHeartRadio app, Independent FM, Mixcloud and High Voltage website. Many past show archives are available via Mixcloud (whose co-founders Nico Perez and Nikhil Shah are also on Fluence), here’s one of our favorites featuring OK Go as studio guests:

 

 

We recently had the opportunity to ask Chelsea a few questions about herself, High Voltage and her advice for artists in the music industry today.

You founded High Voltage in 2003 – how did it all start?

It started when eight OK Go fans, who became friends through the band’s message board, realized we wanted to do something bigger than just attend shows. I had been a music writer for seven years at that point (and done tour marketing for three years), and always possessed that entrepreneur spirit.

We launched High Voltage online to instant success, and with the encouragement of an old boss of mine expanded it to a print format within three years. Somewhere along the way all my original partners left the music world for careers in other industries (or other personal pursuits) and I was left to run the show. That was how it started: music fans wanting to spread the gospel / give back in a bigger way than just being a fan (and possibly not have a boss to report to).

Favorite artists right now?

Newer artists: Nightmare and the Cat, Taymir, and Mother.
All-time favorites: The Black Crowes, Hanson, New York Dolls and Beck.

Advice for musicians and artists in the digital age?

Here’s the biggest piece of advice I can give any artist who is stressed about their social networks or the digital age. At the end of the day, the end goal is still the same: Connection.

The digital age just provides an easier way to connect to your fans. Instead of unauthorized biographies, fanzines and rumors, we have blogs and social networks. Remember that when you’re posting on Facebook and Twitter; let your voice shine through. Don’t just spam your message (‘buy this’ or ‘watch that’ or ‘go here’); build a community and let your fans into it.

You don’t have to giveaway everything; some mystique is fantastic. But you do have to craft a presence that allows your fans to see you’re a human being just like them. Do that and you’ll watch your post reach, retweet count and overall engagement soar; creating a domino effect in everything you do.

What’s new and upcoming for yourself and High Voltage?

High Voltage is a magazine, event production, social media marketing and artist management company. We have a radio show. We even do publicity for music and indie film/TV. We’ve recently started to produce more comedy shows and we’re loving it. Our latest development is bringing lifestyle & nerd culture content to our print issues. We’ll be spending some more time next year in the realm of ultimate fans at various conventions (WonderCon, Comic-Con, etc). I think there’s an untapped market for music there and I think High Voltage can help bridge the gap.

So, what’s new for myself? Sleep! Got a big year ahead of us 😀

Keep up with the latest music on High Voltage here, follow Chelsea on Twitter here, and don’t forget to send Chelsea tracks that rock here on Fluence.

 

Send Chelsea Schwartz Music

Meet Bruno Natal

FILMMAKING. MUSIC. ART. STARTUPS. WRITING. + MORE

At Fluence we’re bringing all kinds of creators together with people who can help them with feedback and exposure, and we can’t wait to share one of the latest people to join!

Bruno Natal on Fluence

Bruno Natal is a documentary filmmaker, co-founder of We Demand, and music writer with contributions for Vice, Spin, Urbe, and XLR8R. He is a passionate advocate of crowdfunding and new technologies, and we’re excited to bring you an interview with his latest thoughts on journalism, tech, and filmmaking.

You co-founded the innovative platform We Demand – a place where fans can go to show their support for future live events from their favorite artists. What was the inspiration and story behind the idea?

The whole idea is to connect fans and artists and give complete control of this relationship to the artists. We want to help them communicate with all of their fans for free, whenever they want. We started this as fans, trying to get bands we liked to play in Rio, where we are originally from. Most of them were skipping Rio on their tours to Brazil simply because no promoter was willing to try it out. Rio can be a very tricky market, with the weather playing a huge role in determining if people will go out at night.

We Demand - Fluence Blog

We knew that there were enough fans that, like ourselves, were tired of having to travel elsewhere to watch these shows. We then decided to get all of these people to crowdfund the shows and it worked! 80+ shows after that first one, we expanded to the US and became a platform to help artists connect to their fans by simply asking fans where they want to see artists play. They can then use this channel to sell tickets, make announcements or even crowdfund concerts in certain markets.

You directed and produced the wildly successful documentary film ‘Dub Echoes‘ – what inspired you to trace the origins and influence of Jamaican dub on modern-day electronic and hip-hop music?

The love for dub music, period. Chico Dub, the doc’s researcher, and I are big dub heads, and we always felt outraged for how little recognition it has gotten for the important role it has played in contemporary music history. With that in mind we just picked up a camera and went on a journey to interview everyone we thought was relevant to tell this story with no budget or proper production.

We talked to almost everyone we aimed for. Turns out that mentioning the word “dub” and “Brazil” in the same sentence is some sort of magic key to open those heavy doors. The film made it into a lot of respected festivals and eventually got a DVD release by Soul Jazz Records (a label we love), which cemented the whole journey quite well. My dream is to have a director’s cut on its ten year anniversary, with all the archived BBC footage we couldn’t afford back then – to make it perfect.

As a contributor to high-profile magazines such as Vice, Spin, Urb, and XLR8R, what counsel would you give to up-and-coming writers and content curators looking to pursue their passions further?

As a journalist, above all, I have always written about things I care about. This is one of the perks of being a freelancer; you get to pick your stories (to a minimum degree, at least). Researching and writing about what you like can make for better stories and it eases out the hard work in a way.

After deciding what story you want to tell, the next step is finding which publications to pursue. This is very important, both to not waste anyone’s time (yours and the editor’s) and also to be able to come through with something you like without having to “re-shape” the story too much in order to fit somebody else’s needs. With that sorted out, you would be surprised how far a simple email can go. Pitching the right story to the right editor in the right publication takes the luck factor out of the equation – but most of the times, you will always need a bit of luck.

What are some of your favorite websites or resources for finding fresh music, ideas, and film?

I like reading blogs, hundreds of them. By going directly to them instead of using RSS feeds, I then dig deeper when I see something I like. Also, I love to use Soundcloud and Spotify to be kept in the know in terms of new releases. Bandcamp is another great source, but nothing beats getting that odd tip from someone you know. That’s when you get to find sounds that no algorithm would be able to suggest to you.

Do you have any exciting news for upcoming projects?

I’m totally focused on We Demand now, and things are starting to happen. It’s very exciting times for us!

We Demand - Fluence Blog

You can send your media to Bruno on Fluence here, and don’t forget to add it to the Fluence network here to kickstart your feedback and exposure with digital media experts and curators on Fluence.

Feedback and Exposure For Your Media

Music Writer Eric R. Danton Joins Fluence

Fluence builds software for people who share and receive media actively. For fun or business, our platform helps curators, journalists, bloggers, DJs, writers, and other tastemakers manage the media submitted to them, give feedback, and share.

Eric R. Danton is one of the latest people to start using Fluence. He is a prolific contributor and journalist for The Wall Street Journal, Salon, Paste MagazineM Music & Musicians, Diffuser.fm, ListenDammit.com, and more. The Fluence team is super-jazzed to feature Eric and share more from him.

Eric R. Danton on Fluence

Eric has contributed to “Schools That Rock: The Rolling Stone College Guide” and American Songwriter, as well as the bygone publications Spinner.com, No Depression, Performing Songwriter, and Ironminds.com. He was also rock critic at the Hartford Courant in Connecticut from 2002-2012 and regularly appears on the Best New Song of the Week segment on WRSI-FM in Northampton, Mass.

We had the chance to ask Eric a few questions about his career and highly enjoyed his recommendations for finding fresh cultural news and emerging artists. Take a look!

You’re now one of the foremost writers on music and pop culture for RollingStone.com, The Wall Street Journal, Salon, and more. During the start of your career, what motivated you to begin writing about music?

I started as a news reporter who wrote about music on the side. It was a way to engage with something I love and have been fascinated with since I was a kid, and it didn’t hurt that it meant getting free CDs, either.

Did you ever receive a piece of inspiring advice from someone early in your career?

When I started as the rock critic at The Hartford Courant in 2002, I asked David Segal, then the critic at the Washington Post, what advice he had for a newbie? His take: “listen to as much music as you can, read as much about it as you can and cover the beat as if you were a foreign correspondent, bringing your readers reports from a place many of them will never go.” Great advice, all of it.

Who are three music writers you deeply respect?

Jon Pareles at The New York Times is the best music writer in the country, period. He has deep knowledge, far-reaching taste and an enviable elegance of style. I also greatly admire the late, great Ellen Willis for her smart criticism and conversational style, and Michael Azerrad, whose book ‘Our Band Could Be Your Life‘ is essential reading.

Do you have any favorite websites or avenues for finding new artists or cultural news?

The best way to find artists is by word of mouth from trusted sources (friends, certain publicists, writers you respect) and by listening to a lot of music, which seemingly shows up of its own accord in substantial quantities.

The New Yorker, The Guardian, Rolling Stone, Paste magazine, NPR and Salon are all in regular rotation for cultural news.

What single piece of advice would you give to aspiring or emerging artists?

Don’t be boring.


Follow Eric’s Tumblr here to read some of his outstanding reviews, and check out Listen Dammit to get your rock ’n’ roll fix. You can send media directly to Eric here. Eric doesn’t charge anything to review your media, so don’t be shy! It’s easy and free.

Request a beta account for your own profile here, and we’ll get you set up as we build the system. If you’re looking to get feedback and exposure for your media, send it to curators and experts here on Fluence.

Meet Ali Spagnola on Fluence



Meet Ali Spagnola – ingenious musician, creator of the Power Hour Album, artist behind the Free Paintings Project, and beer-shotgunner extraordinaire:

Ali’s winning and hilarious personality have charmed 1.54+ million people on Twitter alone, and she’s blazed a highly-successful career path worthy of emulation by anyone looking to harness and promote their talents in new ways.

We were beyond excited when Ali joined the Fluence community and gave us the opportunity to ask her a few questions:

In addition to your painting, design, and music composition talents, you’ve built a highly successful music career around the “Power Hour” drinking game concept. How did the whole story start? What gave you the idea?

It started when I was playing boring shows, strumming a guitar in a coffee shop. It was hard to get people excited to hear me as a new artist with new music. I knew I wanted my concert to be more like a party, so I combined the drinking game with my live show and the rest is history.

Do you have a favorite beer?

I really don’t. When I’m drinking beer to taste the beer (as opposed to a “stunt beer” that I’d use for a Power Hour or other games) I like to try craft brews. Most of the time with craft brews, you’re looking to try something new every time. So I guess my favorite beer is whatever new one I’m having next.

Any big news upcoming for your projects in 2014?

I’m working on a new album! This time the songs aren’t all necessarily a minute or necessarily about drinking but they are necessarily awesome. I’ve also been doing my “Most Googled Song” webshow since the beginning of the year. A song and video about one of Google’s trending topics every week!

What are some of your favorite websites and resources?

I loooooove Evernote. I use it all day every day for my multiple projects. I love Evernote so much, I wish I could grind it up and snort it.

What advice would you give to undiscovered and aspiring artists?

Find a way to stand out. The world is full of talented artists screaming to get attention. Make sure you have a reason to deserve that attention above all the rest.

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If you’d like to get Ali’s advice and feedback on your music or ideas, you can send them directly to her queue here on Fluence. You can also go here to read a recent success story featuring Ali and other curators on Fluence.

Creators of all kinds can sign up here to submit music, ideas, and videos for free on Fluence. Creators can also send media directly to the queues of specific curators they desire; the cost of doing so is simply the rate at which each selected curator and expert charges for their own time to watch or listen to the submission. Fluence tracks each second someone spends on a submission to give creators a fair, transparent way to receive exposure and feedback.

Curators can learn more here about the tools we’re building to help manage the demand for your time, attention, and expertise by requesting an invitation here.

Next time you throw a party, make the good times better with Ali’s Power Hour, and don’t forget to take a moment to enjoy Ali’s dance moves in ‘Trappy Bird’ from her recent Most Googled Song webshow!