As many of you know, I'm doing a concert in Los Angeles this weekend. (Here's the info.) I've done tons of these concerts over the years, mostly in New York, and this one coming up isn't really all that different from the ones I've done in the past. Except it's totally different. As a result of having done these events so often in New York, I have a list of NY actors who know my songs and I've been able to call on them over and over again to do the songs they know at event after event. (Thanks, Keith.) I have musicians in NY who know the tunes and have played them before, so we tend to have "brush-up" rehearsals in preparation for a concert. I have a trusty fan-base there, too, and I know the theater community well-enough to gauge how many tickets I might be able to sell for a Saturday night concert instead of a Monday night concert, for example.
But here in LA, everything's different. Most of my singers are learning songs specifically for this event, so we're meeting as often as possible for coachings and rehearsals. They want to be really secure in their lyrics and I want to be sure they're getting the gist of what I intended the songs to be. I'm burning CDs of my tunes for the band. They've got their work cut out for them, too, learning all that new material. We have a three-hour rehearsal on Friday and then a sound-check on Saturday and that's it. Some of their charts are really well-notated and the parts are beautifully copied, and other charts just look like chicken scratch because I scribbled them out the night before some big deadline and never went back to make them look beautiful. (Note to self: go back and make everything look beautiful.)
The big difference now is that the CD exists. I've never had that before -- where I can say to the band, "just listen to track eight and you'll hear how it goes." It's amazing the short-hand that CD provides. And it's really, really exciting.
I haven't really been tracking the sales of the CD yet. I'll get a statement somewhere down the line that tells me how many albums I've sold (how many from iTunes, how many from other sources, etc.) but I haven't seen it yet. For now I'm really just relying on the Amazon sales rank and the posts you guys are leaving on this website and on Amazon and iTunes and Facebook and MySpace... Okay, I'm just a little bit obsessed, but the whole idea of putting your music out in the world and knowing that people are listening to it in their cars and on their iPods and in their dorm rooms still kind of wigs me out. I know I've got my absolute favorite albums in the world and I've certainly never sent emails to those artists (Billy Preston? Blossom Dearie? The Indigo Girls? Janacek?) and told them how often I enjoy listening to their music. Still, how much do you think Janacek would have liked to have gotten a "Way to go, dude!" email from me?
Anyway, all this to say that the obsessive part of me wants the tickets sales to be good for Saturday night and knows it's going to be a truly fantastic evening. And the LA newbie doesn't yet know exactly how to get in touch with her local fanbase and guarantee that their butts will be in the seats. Fingers crossed.