Independent Recording Artist LANDON MICHAEL Discusses His Newest Music, Self Financing His Career and More!
Posted On 11 Sep 2019
Independent recording artist Landon Michael has self-financed over $1 million in his quest to realize his dream of becoming a professional, career musician, all while supporting a family and running a small construction company.
During his ten years in the music industry, Landon has experienced many challenges that few artists talk about, much less reveal to the public. In building his career, Landon’s expenditures for developing his brand include all the necessary elements needed to create a sound, record music, increase his fan base, and garner radio, social media and press exposure.
“For a little over ten years, I have been playing and recording music professionally,” he explains. “Most of this time has been spent weeding through the advice and suggestions of others. The music business is continuing to change, and so have I. With change comes reevaluating my strategy and finding my place in the industry. But, I always hold on to the core of what’s driving me to be an artist: to produce great music and inspire my kids to never give up.”
Landon has evolved to become a talented and stylistic recording artist recording nearly 100 songs to date. The artistry in his music maps the journey he’s taken in finding his purpose and his vision. He set out to do things differently in a changing industry; an industry where uniqueness and individuality rule. The result is a sound that’s fresh and honest.
Landon’s latest single, “Maybe By Memphis,” is set for release this Friday, September 13th. Written by renowned songwriters Craig W. Boyd and Bradley Truman Crisler, “Maybe By Memphis” is about finally getting over a relationship and moving on. “I think everyone has that someone that they regret letting go,” Landon explains. “You think about what it could’ve been. The temptation might be there to try again. But, because it took so long to get over that person, you know it’s for the best to not be together. It’s a heart-wrenching, internal struggle that you fight with every bit of your being to not give into.”
Born and raised in Missouri, and armed with talent and aspiration, Landon knew he needed to be in Nashville to pursue his music career. “While most artists tend to play live at bars and honkytonks in Nashville to get recognized and develop their career, I knew that wasn’t how I wanted to do things,” he reveals. “I wanted to learn as much as possible about the music industry. Recording allowed me to do that by meeting other musicians and industry people. This included building a brand, talking to songwriters and song pluggers, obtaining mechanical licenses, hiring a producer, booking studio musicians, finding a record deal and understanding radio promotion, and more.”
Landon concentrated on strengthening his vocals and training to become a better singer. All his hard work has subsequently produced vocal melodies that are smooth, soulful and expressive. “I came to Nashville with the intent to record songs as much and as often as possible,” he continues. “I knew I needed to build my recording experience and hone my voice. Once I felt my vocal range had developed and increased, I decided to focus next on finding that hit song that would speak to who I am as an artist and take me to the next level.”
“I also knew that if I wanted that hit song, I had to get it to radio. So, much of my resources went to accomplishing that. I have managed to reach radio in the secondary markets, including some Billboard stations. But, this is just scratching the surface of where I want to be.”
To date, Landon has had multiple songs on the radio and charting in secondary markets. One of Landon’s recent successes includes his single ”You’re Invited” reaching #1 on the New Music Weekly Chart and held the position for two weeks. Last year, Landon released his cover of Journey’s hit song “Open Arms” to country and adult contemporary radio. The single gained radio spins on both formats, and the accompanying music video was an official selection in both the Los Angeles Film Awards and the New York Film Awards.
View the “Open Arms” video HERE
Landon is at the point in his career where he’s looking for a joint venture with a record label or other entity.“I’ve done the investing that they would have to do in developing a new artist. In my opinion, finished recordings and an established brand would be attractive to any label.” Until then, Landon is willing to continue to do whatever it takes, financially and otherwise, to achieve his dream. “I have no desire to stop until I reach my goal. It’s my hope that I set an example for my children to never give up on their dreams.”
Connect With Landon Michael Online Here:
Learn more about Landon Michael in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time today! Where does this interview find you?
You know, I’d have to say working. I’m always working. Either working to pay the bills or working on my music. With any spare moment I have, I focus on my music. I try to spend as much time as I can to work out songs on the guitar or work on getting exposure or work on getting the next gig.
Now that we are more than half-way through the year, how has 2019 been treating you?
It’s been good. Released my single, “Open Arms” along with the video. But, as with a lot of artists, I will say there has been some frustrations and roadblocks. It’s all in how you react to them that define who you are. For example, we were negotiating with a potential investor for a campaign involving CRS, CMA Fest and radio tour. But, the music business, as with any business, can be fickle. Not everyone is comfortable in taking the risk. And, at the last minute, the investor backed out. So, we had to adjust and work on a smaller scale.
What are some goals that you have for yourself this year?
My ultimate goal for this year is to develop a relationship with a record label and secure a joint venture deal.
How close are you to reaching them?
You know, I’ve invested over a $1 million dollars in my career to developing myself as an artist. Everything a record label would do. That includes recording, finding a sound, creating an image, building a brand and performing live. To me, being that kind of asset is appealing to a record label from return on investment point of view. Now, it’s a matter of establishing dialogue and developing interest.
Growing up, how important was music in your life?
Music has been a part of my life as long as I can remember from being in band to playing the drums as a kid. My father knew I was going to choose music as a career before I did. I didn’t know he thought that until I found a journal of his after he passed away. He said I’d be a rock musician and not country. But, he got the music part right. Blew my mind.
Can you recall the moment when you decided that you wanted to be a musician?
It actually wasn’t till I returned home after a stint in college when I asked for a guitar for Christmas. I played that thing every day until my fingers bled. Then I realized, “I’ve got to go to Nashville and do this. “
Was it an easy or difficult choice to make?
During this time, I was playing some shows around Kansas City. I was approached by a guy who had a record label there, but was going to setup an office in Nashville. Long story short, he needed investors to setup in Nashville, which I provided. Come to find out, he spent the money on other things besides my career or the business.
Other than retaining my masters, that was a hard lesson to learn. But, I was determined not to quit and kept going. I say all that because there are going to be difficult decisions and questioning what you’re doing. Its all in how you react to them that define who you are.
Was there ever a time when you thought about doing something else?
Quite frankly, I am doing something else. That’s how I’ve been able to support my family and invest $1 million into my music career. But, the music has always been a part of me. And I’m working on making it be the only thing I’m doing.
If you weren’t a musician today, what else could you see yourself doing?
Construction and real estate have been it. I’ve been very fortunate that it’s allowed me to invest so much in my music career while supporting a family. It’s allowed me to develop as an artist they way I wanted and maintain ownership of my masters.
Would you be as fulfilled in life?
You know, I’m really at home in the recording studio. I love creating different sounds in my music. It’s allowed me to meet and work with some great musicians and professionals. But, I haven’t scratched the surface yet of what I want to accomplish. So, construction and real estate are really a means to an end.
What has been the biggest surprise so far about making music your career?
The industry itself. When you’re starting out, it all seems so glamorous. But, it’s a business. There were definitely some expensive learning curves that I had to go through that no one tells you about. This put a lot of pressure on me and became extremely stressful on my family. But, along with my family, it’s the music that keeps me grounded and focus on why I’m doing this. For me, failure is just not an option.
What has been an unexpected or welcome challenge to it all?
Most of my career has been weeding through the advice and suggestions of others. The music industry is continuing to change and so have I. With change, comes reevaluating my strategy and finding my place in the industry. But, I always hold on to the core of what’s driving me to be an artist…to produce great music and inspire my kids to never give up.
What has been the best part about it all?
I have always been driven to be a musician. Even though I haven’t made it to Billboard charts yet, having my music played on radio and building relationships with radio jocks has been great. It’s very satisfying to have my music heard and respected in such a significant part of the industry.
In reading your bio, it’s incredibly impressive that you have been able to self-finance your music career! How did you go about doing this in the very beginning?
After my first unfortunate experience with investors and the new label, I knew what I wanted. And I wasn’t going to wait on anyone to make it happen. Plus, I felt like that a real label would be more likely to invest in me if I was willing to invest in myself. So, basically, it was a lot of hard work and funneling my resources when and where I could toward my music career without sacrificing my family’s needs.
What advice would you give to others just getting started and considering doing this as well?
Understand that this is a business. The RIAA says it takes $2 million dollars for an artist to make it to mainstream. So, developing partnerships is essential.
Do your research and educate yourself about the industry. Take in the advice of others, but don’t rely on it as word. Go with your instinct and what feels right for you. And always stay true to your music.
I am curious how you are able to balance all the different things you have going on your life- a music career, running a construction firm and raising family. How do you manage it all?
It starts with an incredible support system in my wife and children. By keeping them foremost in my life, everything else falls into place. Working with good people also helps. I’ve built my construction business to where I have people who can keep things running without me always being there. On the music side of things, I align myself with people and services that continue to build my brand while I focus on the music and all the business that go along with it.
Let’s talk about your newest music. What has inspired your newest songs?
I always want to get with great and established songwriters that have perfected their craft. My focus has been on delivering my interpretation of the song. I’ve always felt that, if a songwriter has written a masterpiece, which speaks to me, I can create my sound around it.
Specially, how did your track “Maybe By Memphis” come together?
“Maybe By Memphis” was pitched to me by Seth England with Big Loud Publishing. He’s a really great guy. And once I heard it, I knew immediately I was going to cut it. It’s such a great song about letting that one get away and hoping that maybe there could be a chance to rekindle that flame. But, it’s time to move on no matter how hard it may be. I knew it would connect with people as it connected with me.
How would you say that it compares to other music that you have previously put out?
I would say the line of songs I’ve released to radio up to this point have been the compilation of finding my sound. And I love a good story in a song. Maybe By Memphis sums up everything I look for and feel in a song.
When do you hope to release more new music and a full collection of songs?
You can definitely expect more material. I’m ready to get in the studio and play with some different sounds. I have over 90 recordings that I’m considering releasing through limited platforms. In the meantime, my album Three is available.
Where can people see you perform next?
I have some preliminary plans, especially to support the release. Ideally, I’d like to develop partnerships and tour with other artists. Rather than touring solo, I feel like a tour with multiple artists with different styles really gives the concert-goer the ultimate fan experience.
What has been a favorite performance of yours so far?
There has been a couple. One would be performing at the Billboard Country Music Summit with Bo Bice, Gwen Sebastian and Madonna Nash. The other would be when I produced a concert and donated all proceeds to children with cancer in Missouri through the organization, Camp Quality.
How do you think you have grown as a musician since you first started making music?
While most artists tend to play live at bars and honkytonks in Nashville to get recognized and develop their career, I knew that wasn’t how I wanted to do things. I wanted to learn as much as possible about the music industry. Recording allowed me to do that by meeting other musicians and industry people. This included building a brand, talking to song writers and pluggers, obtaining mechanical licenses, hiring a producer, booking studio musicians, finding a record deal and understanding radio promotion.
What has it been like keeping up with your social media accounts and all of the different platforms?
That is a full time job! Social media is spinning fast and always changing. Each has its own format. Finding that right platform to reach people is a challenge. Just when you have something established and working on one platform, another one pops up that is a “must have.”
What would you say is your favorite way to connect with your fans now?
As much work as it is, social media has been good for connecting with the fans. But, I always love performing in a smaller, intimate setting. Performing is where I’m most expressive and connect with people through my music.
What has social media done for your career so far?
It has been an impact to my career allowing me to be more one on one with people. It’s played a significant part in developing my brand and image. Plus, its great for getting my music out and testing songs.
Who are some of your favorite artists or rather, what musicians have continued to inspire you and your music?
George Strait is my absolute favorite artist of all time. But, many inspire me or just blow me away with their talent. Michael Bublé, Bruno Mars, George Straight and Allison Krauss, to name a few.
Who would you absolutely love to work with in the future?
I would love to collaborate with George Strait. But, I’ve always wanted to do a duet with Allison Krauss. She’s amazing.
If you had an unlimited budget and your schedule was free, what would your dream music video look like?
Just like the songs I pick, I like a good story and characters in videos. Which means location is important in telling that story. When we shot the video for “This Ain’t California,” we didn’t have a budget to shoot anything in California. So we had to get creative and use postcards from California to tell that part of the story. I think shots of LA would’ve help express the struggle the character was going through. Ultimately, though, it did win Best Country Music Video and Best Country Song in the Lucerne International Film Festival.
What has been the coolest place/TV show/commercial that you have heard a song of yours?
I was a spokesman for Speedway Children Charities where my single, “Might As Well Be Me” was used in a PSA.
Where would you still love to hear a future song of yours played?
A ton of spins on the radio and in a feature film.
At the end of the day, what do you hope people take away from your music?
That the emotion of the song reaches and captures a moment in someone’s life. It could be getting over a lost love, finding a current love or it just having a good time. Ultimately, I want it to be memorable.
Would you like to share anything else with our readers about your music?
I’m at a place in my career where a joint venture is the next logical step. But, I want to make sure it’s the right fit for me, and for them as well. This will allow me to continue building the brand with my music and connecting with the fans on another level.